- SCA archery and thrown weapons is about using, making, and knowing about pre-17th century archery equipment, and throwing weapons.
- You may be allowed to use modern-style equipment, if it meets these standards, but not all competitions have to allow modern-style equipment. The Target Archery Marshal-in-charge can set requirements for the type or authenticity of equipment, including costume, used in their competitions. Suggested period equipment standards are included as an appendix to these rules.
- If you have a disability which means that you need some extra equipment, or equipment that is normally not allowed, so that you can participate, make sure the Target Archery Marshal knows about it.
- You have the ultimate responsibility for the proper care, inspection and safe use of your equipment, and for following these rules.
- You must not use any equipment that you know is unsafe, or against the rules of the competition.
- The Target Archery Marshal-in-charge, or any assisting Target Archery Marshals can inspect your equipment to make sure that it is safe and follows the Kingdom rules. If they find that your equipment is unsafe or doesn't meet the rules, you can't use it.
- If you aren't sure about the safety of your equipment, don't use it. You can ask a Target Archery Marshal to inspect your equipment for you. They will try to find any safety issues, and let you know what to do about them. They'll also let you know if the equipment doesn't meet the rules.
- The Target Archery Marshal might not find all of the problems with your equipment, so their help doesn't take away your responsibility for your own equipment.
- Your bow can be made from any material, as long as it is safe to shoot. The competition rules can restrict what materials your bow can be made out of.
- You can use any kind of bow, except a compound bow. Competition rules may restrict what kind of bow you can use.
- The competition rules can let you have ranging or sight marks on the limbs or riser, but your bow can't have adjustable or fixed sights. If it does have them, they need to be removed, or made so that you can't use them.
- Your bow can be of any draw weight that you can safely use. If a Target Archery Marshal sees that you can't draw the bow safely, or it is too powerful for the range or target, they can ask you to stop using the bow.
- Your bow can't have a modern spring or flipper rest, or plunger button. The competition may allow you to use simple rests, such as:
- one-piece plastic rests
- non-adjustable wire rests
- feather, bristle, or leather rests
- built-out shelves or rests
- the shelf in a cut-out window.
- You can use period string release devices, such as a thumb ring. You can't use modern string release aids, unless you have a disability that would stop you from participating without them.
- You can't use stabilisers or clickers.
- If your bow has a cut-out riser (one that you can look through from the side, often found in take-down bows with metal risers), the openings need to be covered so that it looks more like medieval archery equipment.
There are mundane laws that apply to the possession and use of crossbows for target archery activities (practices and competitions). A summary of the laws and conditions of crossbow ownership and use in the SCA in Australian states and New Zealand is an appendix to these rules.
- You may not be able to use your crossbow at all events, even if you have the appropriate permits and licenses.
- If the event allows you to use crossbows, you must carry the applicable permits or licenses at all times while in possession of a crossbow, and show them if you are asked to.
- In Australia, our insurance company only covers us for the use of crossbows on stationary targets, so even where groups and individuals hold all the proper mundane licenses and permits, we can't use crossbows in target shoots involving moving targets.
- In New Zealand, you don't need a permit to have a crossbow, and you can use your crossbow with moving and stationary targets.
- You can't use a non-period center-shot trackless crossbow.
- You can't use compound prods or break-cocking crossbows.
- You can use a crossbow of any draw weight that is safe for you to use. If a Target Archery Marshal sees that you can't draw the crossbow safely, or it is too powerful for the range or target, they can ask you to stop using it.
- The prod of your crossbow can be made of any material, as long as it is safe to shoot. The competition rules can restrict what materials your bow can be made out of.
- If your crossbow is made after October 2016 and the prod is made out of wood or metal, it should have some form of safety strap, sleeve, or other method to reduce the chance of someone being injured by a broken limb.
- Your crossbow can have simple rear sights, but it can't have front sights.
- The stock of your crossbow can be of any material. The competition rules can restrict what materials your crossbow can be made out of.
- If you have a modern stock with openings that can be seen through from the side, you need to cover or fill the openings, so that it looks more medieval. Openings that are used for gripping the stock don't need to be covered.
- Strings should be of the right length and strength for your bow type and weight. Your bowstring can be made of linen, silk, artificial sinew, or modern bowstring materials, as long as it is properly constructed.
- You can't use a string that has become knotted, or been repaired by knotting strands together. This doesn't include strings that are designed to use knots, such as a bowyer's knot.
- You can attach a single nocking point using one or two locators to the string. It can be made of metal or tied on.
- Your locators can't be set in such a way that you can use them for sighting.
- You can't use peep sights or kisser buttons on the string.
Arrows and Bolts
- The shafts of your arrows must be made of wood or bamboo-like materials.
- You can have shafts made of a single wood or footed shafts.
- The Target Archery Marshal-in-charge can choose whether to allow broadheads or other tips that could cause excessive damage to the targets.
- The fletches of your arrows or bolts must be made from feathers or other pre-17th century fletching material. You can't use plastic vanes, but you can use plasticised feathers.
- The Target Archery Marshal-in-charge of the competition can allow arrow nocks, and caps, rings, or nocks for bolts made of any material, as long as they are securely attached.
- Exemption: Children can use non-wood arrows with plastic vanes in practice and competition.
- Exemption: If you are a new adult archer, until you can get your own wooden arrows, you can use non-wood arrows with plastic vanes in practices, but not in competitions.
- You can use any type of quiver, except one that attaches to the bow.
There are mundane laws that apply to the possession and use of weapons designed for throwing for target activities (practices and competitions). Some weapons may be illegal to use or possess. A survey of relevant legislation that applies in each state and territory of Australia, or New Zealand, has not been done.
You must investigate the relevant weapons legislation that applies, and abide by it.
Throwing knives are legal to possess and use in New Zealand for legitimate purposes (such as competition and practice), it isn't legal to bring them into the country.
- Knives should be of a size and weight that allows them to be thrown safely and easily.
- The handle of the knife should be firmly attached.
- The throwing surface should be free of burrs or protrusions that can cut or injure an unprotected hand upon release.
- Axes should be of a size and weight that allows them to be thrown safely and easily.
- The handles of all axes should be firmly attached.
- Some axes are designed to allow the head to slide up a tapered handle and pressure-fit on. The heads will come off if they are pushed toward the butt of the handle. When the axe is used, the head is forced into place and seats tightly. The inspecting marshal should ensure that the head does indeed seat tightly and will not slip over the taper.
- The haft cannot have any major cracks.
- The haft cannot have any burrs or rough surfaces that can cut or give splinters to an unprotected hand upon release.
- Spears may not be excessively long or heavy.
- Spearheads must be firmly attached to the shaft of the spear.
- The shaft cannot have any burrs or rough surfaces that can cut or give splinters to an unprotected hand upon release.
- The shaft must be sound and without major cracks.
Specialized Throwing Weapons
- Specialized throwing weapons are any weapons that have been designed with more than one impact surface to increase the chances of the weapon sticking in the target. Because they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they must be judged on an individual basis.