This weapon resembled a wooden crossbow, but with steel components. The stock was about 18 inches in length, while the bow was 24 to 38 inches in width. The largest and most powerful variations of this weapon weighed around 18 lbs. Respanning the crossbow required the use of a windlass, which was a winding pulley machine attached to the stock. The large Steel Crossbow windlass was most effective when used by a two man crew; one to hold the crossbow and the other to attach the windlass (smaller Steel Crossbows needed only one man to reload).
- Range: 150 ft (50 meters)
- Bolts: 13 in
- Materials: Steel and Wood
- Pull Weight: 400 lbs (large)
- Reload time: 2 bolts per minute (small)
- Reload time: 57 seconds (large)
By the 15th Century, most crossbows were made of steel. It had a greater range than the traditional longbow and required less training to use. Compared to a wooden crossbow, the steel variety had a longer range (380 yards or more), better armor penetration, and could be used as a club at close range when out of bolts. However, it didn't solve the crossbow's greatest fault, which was the long time it took to reload after firing.
Tests In Show
On the show, in Season 2, the steel crossbow was the long range weapon of Vlad the Impaler, and was pitted against the repeating crossbow used by Sun Tzu. It was only able to get off two shots within the 30 second time limit, delivering one kill but with the second shot bouncing off Sun Tzu's leather armor. Although this weapon apeared to be big and powerful, its slow reload time and low damage cost it the edge.
In Season 3, it appeared again as the mid range weapon of Joan of Arc. This episodes showed it could shoot further distance than William the Conqueror's composite crossbow. The average reloading time limit was 57 seconds, delivering 6/9 hit ratio with 4 kills. The edge went to the steel crossbow for its greater accuracy and range, despite the test lasting 10 minutes 47 seconds, it is superior in an offensive seige as sieges can take many days to complete and the longer ranged crossbows can stay out of the enemy's range: especially when hiding behind cover to reload.