Suggested period equipment standards

From SCA Lochac
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Society Target Archery Marshal's Handbook (October 2016) includes an appendix of standards for period equipment. They are included here in plain English.

These are not hard and fast rules, and the Target Archery Marshal-in-charge of the competition can set their own requirements for period equipment, including costume.

General standards

If the style and construction of your bow can be documented to pre-17th century, then it can be defined as period bow. Bows which don't meet these requirements can still shoot in the open division of a competition, if available.

If you want to use uncommon equipment, you should bring documentation to support its use. The Target Archery Marshal-in-Charge has the final say, unless the Deputy Earl Marshal for Archery or their designated duty is present. If approval is given, we recommend that you get it in writing and keep it with your documentation and the equipment for future reference.

Your bow may not have to conform to your persona or costume. Marshals running period competitions can have stricter equipment requirements, such as asking your costume to match your equipment.

Modern materials such as plastics, or synthetic glues, finishes, fibers (strings) or artificial sinew, etc. are allowed, as long as they don't give you an unfair advantage in performance over period materials. Composite bows (of different woods or backed with sinew or rawhide, etc.) are allowed. Whatever the bow is made of, it must look like a period bow.


  1. Your bow shouldn't have any modern features, such as full or partial center-cut handles or built-in shelves. Many modern longbows have some center-cut on their handle part (riser in a recurve), which means the bow wouldn't qualify as a period bow. Hand bows with grips narrower than the limbs are not considered to be center-cut.
  2. Your bow shouldn't have anything added solely for sighting/aiming.
  3. Your bow shouldn't have modern-style attachable arrow rests. However, you can use a protruding rest made from layers of leather, or other period material, added to the handle.
  4. You can use simple modern metal nocking points or tied on string or other documented period-style nocking point. Some competitions may not allow any form of arrow rest or nocking point.
  5. You can use any period-style release appropriate for your bow, e.g. a thumb ring for an Eastern-style bow, but you aren't required to do so.


To qualify as a period crossbow:

  1. The stock should be made of wood
  2. The stock can't have a modern-style rifle butt
  3. The lock and release mechanism should be documentable to pre-17th century. The mechanism should be made of any suitable material.
  4. It shouldn't have front sights
  5. The prod can be made of any material
  6. Strings can be made of any material, except metal
  7. Whatever the materials, the crossbow must look like a period crossbow
  8. Your crossbow can be shot from any position. However, you can only hold your crossbow in your hands, not resting on a sandbag, or similar, unless the rules of a competition specifically allow the use of period-style shooting benches, rests, or similar.
  9. Slings shouldn't be used for shooting, but can be used to carry the crossbow.

Arrows and bolts

  1. Some period arrowheads can cause excessive damage to the target or backstop, so you may not be allowed to use them. Check with the owner of the target.
  2. Nocks can be either self or reinforced self, or period-style insert nocks. They should be of materials that are similar in appearance to period materials, and also similar in style.