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Crossbow pistols?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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We pee deep. Ew!
Sep 24, 2002
I know that I'll go down in flames for this, but is it feasible to use a cross-bow pistol as a fresh-water speargun? The reason that I would be interested in doing this is that Pennsylvania fishing regulations have recently been ammended to allow the use of cross-bows for taking rough fish (carp, suckers, eels and gar). Spearguns, on the other hand, do not seem to be legal.

Although the drag of the water is likely to reduce the speed of the bow's arms considerably and the rig will probably generate a bit of fuss when it fires (cavitation and all that), I'm hoping that it would still have enough oomph for shooting carp etc. at relatively close range. I was also thinking that it would be possible to make certian modifications, like rigging a heavy crossbow pistol (say 80#) compound style -- that would cause the bolt to move at 2x the speed of the arms.

If it would work, you have to admit that it would be a really-bizarre-but-kind-of-cool sport.

Ok, so now let the flames begin :blackeye.
Pezman ck the regs closely. Sometimes they just stipulate the way a spear is projected,ie., mechanical, handpower, ect. It seems like if crossbows are allowed spearguns should too. You may get in on a technicality.
First check to see if you are even allowed to get into waters controlled or owned by the DNR, other than swimming areas.
If not than try and get permission from privately owned waters, then you should be able to use a speargun and hunt any speices of fish.

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Ya know, give me a week or two & I'll get a cheapy off ebay to test with in my pool :hmm
I was thinking the same thing Pezman. I would love to test this. I know there are alot of older crossbows out there. I would also appreciate any members that have any opinion on the matter. Thanks
I occasionally spearfish with a guy who is also a big time bow hunter. I asked him one day about using a crossbow underwater. He said he tried it and the power was pitiful. He said a speargun with only one band was way stronger. We reasoned its like you said about the bow arms. For a bow arm to move, it must move water along its whole surface, which is a huge amount of water to displace, where the rubber tubing of spear contracts along itself so only a small amount of water must be displaced.
If they allow crossbows, wouldn't they also allow polespears? I know I could get close enough to a carp to hit it with a pole spear- and I suck compared to most of the others on here. Plus, it would be a fun fight once he was stuck!

Damn! Stupid laws of physics!

I may just spear anyway and plead ignorance -- pretty much any arresting officer will immediately see that I have an excellent basis for such a position.

I've been working on ways to overcome some of the physical limitations:

Super-heavy e-glass springs that have multiple pullies (say 4x or even 8x) would be able impart high speed to a bolt, even if they aren't moving all that fast.

If you use springs with a square profile, they would generate less drag (thereby moving faster).

Since the springs won't move very far, they can be swept way back, so the gun would have a reasonable profile.

If you use a really heavy bolt, it might carry pretty nicely in the water

I'm going to take another look at Sven's article on building spearguns and see if I can whip up a gun that can effectively circumvent PA's restrictions.
I got an email back and the officer said crossbows are legal under water did you get it I forward it to you Pezman? Pretty intresting.
How about this? Take a speargun and bolt the bow part of a cross bow on it. Load the rubber bands and put the line of the bow on last or on the last notch of the shaft, by itself. Presto, you now have a crossbow, that just happens to have rubber tubing as well. If the water keeps the bow from flexing fast enough for the line to stay up with the shaft, it won’t impair the rubber tubing wishbones from releasing.
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With some further thought on this, the pushing of the water with the bow arms is going to magnify the kickback of the gun. So just forget to load bow part. The bow should then act like a giant kick reducer and stabilizer.
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How about this for thinking outside the box- A speargun is a modified crossbow with shorter arms? Any lawyers want to help support our cause-

Crossbows and spearguns are the same?
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Pa Teeny,
I think your right, but if it were I, I would bolt on some visible arms and hopefully avoid having to prove the argument in court.

That gives me an idea for a cross-bow that uses rubber tubing as the power source. Basically, the arms will just be used as a place to stretch two tubes (as opposed to stretching them along the barrel as in a conventional spear-gun). Pullies will be used to make sure that the wishbone runs along the axis of the gun. I think that I can hack this together pretty easily using an old speargun and off-the-shelf archery parts.

Having bands provide most of the propulsive force should take care of the water resistance issues and hopefully the contraption will be close enough to a crossbow that any game wardens will just laugh, shake their heads and spare us both a day in court.

I still need to get my eyes on the actual legislation that allows crossbows. As several people pointed out, the distinction between a speargun and crossbow is not all that clear.

If I get a PA-legal speargun made, I'll post some pictures
I am with you Pezman. I will see what I can modify. I would love to see the official definition of a crossbow with accordance to the PA fish comm. I would be willing to argue the areas that hold the bands as the arms. I also ask Hoyt about if they have ever tested them underwater and they said no and they do not reccomend it.
From: "TIM via LEK" <tim@hortonmfg.com>

Subject: RE: Horton Manufacturing Inquiry Form Submission All headers
All attachments
Horton has never tested any of its bows underwater and we do not recommend that
they be used underwater as they were not designed for that purpose.
This was the question posted to fish commission. I am not sure of Mr. Geisler's title with the Fish commission?

From: "Geisler, George" <ggeisler@state.pa.us>
Subject: RE: Crossbow underwater? All headers


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2004 10:38 AM
To: Geisler, George
Subject: Crossbow underwater?

Can I use a crossbow underwater? If not how much is fine? Just curious
Pezman, here is what I got as a reply to my question.

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 14:39:13 -0500
From: "Geisler, George" <ggeisler@state.pa.us>
Subject: RE: Bureau of law enforcement All headers

The Fish and Boat Code follows the same legal definition for "crossbow"
as the Game Code. On page 9 of the current PA Digest of Hunting &
Trapping Regulations, it says "In order to meet the requirements of a
legal hunting device, a crossbow must have a minimum draw weight of 125
pounds and a maximum draw weight not to exceed 200 pounds."

Webster's dictionary defines a crossbow: "a weapon for discharging
quarrels and stones that consists chiefly of a short bow mounted
crosswise near the end of a stock."

WCO Geisler

-----Original Message-----

I think a stick with the bands attached will cover the legal issues?
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