The Chinese repeating crossbow was invented about 400 BCE, and was in continuous use until the end of the Boxer Rebellion (mid-1800s). Often referred to as the "Medieval Burp Gun", the average weapon (and this one) had a magazine that held 10 flightless bolts.
The string is captured between the magazine and the magazine's base, keeping the bottom bolt from falling into position. By pushing forward on the leaver, the magazine moves forward, capturing the string in a double hook. This pushes down a button, which acts as the trigger. Simultaneously, the first bolt falls into place. As the lever is pulled back toward the operator, the string is drawn back to it's full draw. When the magazine comes into contact with the stock, the trigger button is pushed into the magazine, displacing the string and sending the bolt on it's way.
With experience, it is possible to fire this weapon as often as once per second. With multiple crossbow men thus equipped, the mathematics are staggering: ten archers could put 100 bolts into the air in the first 10 seconds of battle.
My crossbow is carved, the dragon based upon one that was engraved on the helmet of a Mongolian soldier who lost his life during Kubilai Kahn's failed attempt to invade Japan.
Interested in learning more? Here is a note and contact info from the person that made this crossbow:
I am with the SCA (for 25 years now) and do custom work.
Malaki Dracwin aka David Swanson
1606 West Cherokee
Enid, OK, 73703
He also has a booklet on how to make this project
Chinese Repeating Crossbow Project
Author: Malaki Dracwin
Like The Crossbow Project, this book takes you on
a step-by-step project to build a repeating crossbow
of your own - The Chinese Repeating Crossbow
Project is your step by step guide to creating one of
your own. Originally made as early as the 4th century BCE, the repeating crossbow remained in use through
the Boxer Rebellion. When completed, the magazine holds 10 bolts and is fired via a simple lever action.
Although not as accurate as the standard crossbow,
the repeater allows the user to fire as many as one
bolt per second. There is little wonder why it is now
referred to as the “Medieval ‘burp gun’”. As a bonus,
my article Carving 101 is included. Magic Mouse
E-book available on searchable CD ROM for $10.00.
All ebooks from Magic Mouse Productions and all
products from the Wizard’s Workshoppe are available
through our PayPal account.
S&H charges may apply
He also has a crossbow project. The stock is carved in the shape and form of a dragon and it's absolutely beautiful! Check out more (and bigger) pictures of this awesome crossbow - medieval crossbow