A 160 lbs Bow Pull

paleraider

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So I was listening to a Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast about the Mongols. He stated that the draw on their bows was 160lbs. I am finding this one a bit hard to digest but after some light googling it seems to be a generally agreed upon number by "historians". So I thought I would throw this one out here and see what people thought. Is that kind of draw weight even reasonable, could anyone here do that without a release?

Another interesting thing is they were taught to let the arrow fly at the moment when all 4 of the horses feet were in the air, talk about being in tuned with your animals. The also apparently used their thumb to draw back their bows. They would wrap it around the string then lock it in with their other fingers. Overall I am finding reading about their exploits, tactics, and strategies to be very entertaining.
 

Dameon

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Mongol archers were sentenced to death if they missed. I'd practice like my life depended on it if that is the case.


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paleraider

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They had some seriously draconian penalties for messing up, usually being beheaded, and you usually only got to mess up once. This is one of the reasons why they were so much more disciplined on the battle field than their contemporaries, mess up an you get yourself and your squad mates killed.
 

Superkodiak38

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The Mongols shot a horn composite bow and that draw weight is certainaly acheviable with those materials. Many of the english war bows had draw weights of over 150 pounds and shot arrows well over 1000 grains. Those weights and arrows where meant to defeat armor as well as kill horses. This is a neat video about the Shipwreck of the Mary Rose

Archery - Longbows of the Mary Rose - The Infinite Curve
 

ben h

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That's crazy they could pull those weights. One time I bought a PSE that the cables had been wrapped wrong and it was set at 102 lbs and it was all I could do to pull that back. 150 lb+ is nuts.
 

307

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"The older I get, the better I used to be". I'd imagine in a couple hundred years, I'll be damned impressive.
 

mj23polaris

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I think it was one of Joe rogan's recent podcast they were talking about how the Mongols wiped out 10% of the earths population.
Wonder if about 5% was their own people if they had that strict of rules were you miss once n get beheaded......

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paleraider

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Found some more info. Apparently there are several records of many of them being accurate out to 500 meters with their bow on man sized targets. I am not sure I could shoot an IPSEC target with a rifle at 500 yards off of a horse....okay lets be honest I am 100% positive I couldn't do it! I don't believe all of them could do this as it was more of a competition to show off to foreign dignitaries so they were probably the best of the best but still very impressive feat.
 

Desk Jockey

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I have always been a bit skeptical of those accounts. It just seems crazy that those archers were so capable and no one, using contemporary gear designs can match the performance. Not even with modern gear.

I am pulling a compound bow with a 70% let off that draws half that weight. 160 pounds is crazy.
 

Beendare

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Put me down as skeptical too. The 180# in the vid was 'Estimated" The ones they tested to 30" was 34 kilos....76#.

I doubt the archers in those days were coming to a full 30" DL....

In the vid they said they found bowstings..... but none were capable of anything like 180#.

If they were really experts they would be able to tell by the arrow spine as its crucial in a bow with no cutout. They have 2,000 arrows....easy to test and see what they spine out at.

Or it could be like a couple of the guys I've sen at Trad tourneys bragging "I shoot a 70# longbow"...but then they don't come anywhere near full draw.

Edit; I'm looking at this wrong. The heavy bow guys weren't shooting MOA accuracy.....and poor arrow flight from the bow would correct itself at the 200-400yd distances they were raining these arrows down. Its not out of the question to think there were guys capable of shooting them....as in those days they wanted a heavy arrow thrown as far as possible.

I was surprised to learn [from some 100# longbow guys] that once you get up into that 100+ bow range, sure they shoot logs, but spine wasn't as finnaky as I would have guessed. They say bow efficiency drops for longbows at those heavy weights.

Come to full draw with a 70# longbow....28" or in my case 30". It doable if you train a little bit. Speculating here but coming to full draw with 160# that last 3"-4" would be tough. Even if you train, I'm a pretty big guy, decent strength in my youth....and I bet I could have pulled a 160# bow ....to MAYBE 24".....no way I'm holding it at full draw -30"- and aiming.
 
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TJ

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Weren't the original English longbows something like 160 lbs?

Looks like your correct. A quick google search came up with this. Interesting stuff

The power of these medieval War bows was breathtaking. Detailed analysis of the War bows recovered from the Tudor warship Mary Rose, which sank in battle in 1545 with an almost complete inventory including hundreds of bows and thousands of arrows, show the draw weights ranging from 80lbs to 180lbs with the most prolific being in the 140lb range..........."
 
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Formidilosus

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So I was listening to a Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast about the Mongols. He stated that the draw on their bows was 160lbs. I am finding this one a bit hard to digest but after some light googling it seems to be a generally agreed upon number by "historians". So I thought I would throw this one out here and see what people thought. Is that kind of draw weight even reasonable, could anyone here do that without a release?

Another interesting thing is they were taught to let the arrow fly at the moment when all 4 of the horses feet were in the air, talk about being in tuned with your animals. The also apparently used their thumb to draw back their bows. They would wrap it around the string then lock it in with their other fingers. Overall I am finding reading about their exploits, tactics, and strategies to be very entertaining.


The mongols, and to a lesser extent a bunch of other steppe tribes, were the most dominating military forces in history. Most of the world and especially the west, have no clue what they actually did- instead believing in "horde of millions".


Several bowers have recreated the Zargalant bow, Cagaan Chad, the Scythians, etc. to exact dimensions and they were all between 120-180lbs.





Shooting these bows and especially with a thumb ring is quite different the western style, though it's the most fun I've had with a archery.


IMG_7492_zpskpsld4tl.jpg


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Mongol archers were sentenced to death if they missed. I'd practice like my life depended on it if that is the case.


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Negative. The Yasser (written law) did have death for many things, however missing wasn't one. If a Mongol failed to pick up a bow string that another dropped, that would be death. If if one man in an Arban (10 man Unit) charges into battle and the rest didn't follow, the whole Arban would be killed. If an Arban retreated and the rest of the Tumen (10 Arbans) didn't follow.. they were all put to the sword.
 

Jimbob

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I don't doubt it for a second. Humans are way more capable than we think. Nowadays we are so soft that it is hard to imagine what our potential is. When a man dedicates his LIFE to something the potential is mind blowing.
 
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paleraider

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That is an awesome looking bow! Do you have a strap or thumb ring that you use?
 

Formidilosus

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That is an awesome looking bow! Do you have a strap or thumb ring that you use?


I started with a horn thumb ring, but now use a leather thumb ring. The horn ring is great but I have really jacked up joints from breaking my fingers as well you get less control and don't "feel" the arrow and string with the hard ring. The leather ring works great.

IMG_7639_zpsljbkq9zj.jpg




In any case you can just see a little of my thumb being shredded from shooting. I started with a Korean composite (Hwarang) that is 66lbs at my 32in draw. Jacked my fingers all up. As soon as I got it I was shooting somewhere between 200 and 400 arrows every day and it destroyed the thumb. Got the bow in the picture above which is a 36lb at 32in Yuan Dynasty style, and am using it to practice.
 
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I don't doubt it for a second. Humans are way more capable than we think. Nowadays we are so soft that it is hard to imagine what our potential is. When a man dedicates his LIFE to something the potential is mind blowing.

That is the thing. I don't care how much time one spends in the field these days.....he is still a part timer. This was these guys life! They did it day and night everyday.....because their life depended on it, not because it was a fun hobby.
 
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paleraider

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That is the thing. I don't care how much time one spends in the field these days.....he is still a part timer. This was these guys life! They did it day and night everyday.....because their life depended on it, not because it was a fun hobby.

They also began their training with bow and horse when they were 3 years old. The younger women in the tribe were given this task. One thing that is not often brought up is that the women in these plains tribes were also very capable archers and horsemen. In fact it was also their duty to protect the tribe when the men were away raiding and hunting.

I also agree that we really can't comprehend how tough these people where. They had no modern amenities. They scraped and fought for their survival constantly. This, as every army they went up against found out, made them incredibly hard and capable men.
 
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