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Yeah I’ve been debating that with him for years. There is zero evidence, at least that I have seen, that steel prod crossbows performed in a manner in any way inferior to composite prod crossbows historically. To the contrary, the steel prod weapons seemed to perform a bit better except in extreme cold, for which the composite prod weapons were preferred.
There is an assumption, which Tod embraces, that people in the medieval period routinely made dumb decisions based on fashion or politics. I think it’s rubbish.
The theory that steel prod weapons are inferior to horn or composite prod weapons has actually arisen just in the last few years, and only, IMO, because Andreas Bichler and maybe two other people have started to be able to make composite prod weapons which are starting to approach the historically reported performance. And shoot 40% better than Tods weapons.
This is the problem. Tod is a tinkerer. He is not a historian. He doesn’t make any real effort to emulate historical methods or practices. He does very little research. And yet he’s becoming influential on the nerds. Good for him, his videos are fun. But they ain’t science by a long shot. Especially when it comes to crossbows, his weapons only perform at about half of the historical standard.
Keep in mind that the actual historically described characteristics of medieval swords and armor have been explained away as rubbish by engineers for years, until testing proved the historical sources to be correct. The most recent example of this was in Nova’s “Secrets of the shining knight” show where they made a high quality 16th century [plate armor] harness from scratch and it proved capable of resisting a musket ball from 20 feet. Numerous engineering types, even some who should have known better, have claimed that medieval armor couldn’t withstand firearms, let alone muskets, for the last 20 years that I’ve been following this, in spite of the historical evidence.