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Combat Archery

Combat Archery Marshal-in-Charge

Lord Tobyn Kembold – East Kingdom

Pennsic Deputy CA-MIC

Master Erikson - Midrealm

Combat Archery will take place during the Armored Field Battles (Monday), Bridge Battles (Thursday) and the Castle Battles (Friday).



Would you like to volunteer some time to learn more about combat archery and help out? Volunteer some of your time to help as a Scribe!

If you have never worked at Inspection Point for Combat Archery, you have missed a great experience learning and working with some of the most knowledgeable combat archery folks in the Society. Simply show up and we will take care of the rest. You will not only learn how inspections are done for the ammo used in your Kingdom, you will learn about the many different types used around the Society.


Inspection Point for Combat Archery will officially open on Thursday, July 31 at 9:00 am, although we will be unofficially "around" likely on Wednesday "setting up shop" and inspecting as able.

A Quick Reminder: The Owner of combat archery equipment does NOT have to be the person that brings the equipment to Inspection Point to be checked. Anyone may bring combat archery bows, crossbows and ammunition to be inspected. The person presenting the equipment for inspection will have their site token number recorded as “point of contact” for the gear being checked. If there is a problem with any of this gear on the field, we will find the point of contact to direct us to the owner.

With this in mind, there is NO REASON to wait until the last minute to get your combat archery gear inspected.

  1. All armor inspections shall occur at Inspection Point.
  2. All initial combat archery weapon and initial ammunition inspections shall occur at Inspection Point during posted hours (likely 9-2 daily). Any changes in the inspection hours will be posted outside the Inspection Point as early as possible and supersede the hours posted in the Pennsic booklet.
  3. There will be no "in-battle" re-inspections of cleared shafted/tubular ammunition under any circumstances, including within a battle comprised of 2 parts (such as traditional Castle Battles).
  4. Immediate post-battle (on-field) re-inspections of all ammunition are likely (weather and logistics permitting).
  5. All arrows or bolts must be inspected for a specific day's use, and be marked with the "color of the battle".
  6. All combat archery ammunition must have a printed label (not hand written) with the owner's name and Kingdom affixed to it. The label must be in English utilizing a legible/readable font and be completely covered with clear wrapping/shipping tape.
  7. If the combat archery ammunition is group ammunition, the group name can be used in place of the owner's name. If the group name is used, a point of contact for within the group is required. Specifying the Kingdom is mandatory on all labels.
  8. After each battle involving combat archery, the arrows/bolts need to be re-inspected for the next official Pennsic sponsored battle.
  9. It is strongly encouraged to get your Combat Archery ammunition inspected AT LEAST the day before any battle since showing up on the day of the activity will likely result in insufficient time to have equipment inspected.
  10. Inspections will officially cease 45 minutes prior to the posted start time of any battle so that the marshals have time to get ready for the battle. Marshals not fighting may volunteer additional time but are not expected to.
  11. No "in-camp re-inspection" of combat archery ammunition is planned. The Marshal-in-Charge of Combat Archery for Pennsic reserves the right to grant an exception for a re-inspection location in extreme circumstances. All approved inspection forms and requirements for the inspecting marshal must be used.
  12. All marshals who are qualified in their own Kingdom to inspect combat archery ammunition or equipment and plan on inspecting at this Pennsic MUST sign in with the Pennsic Combat Archery Marshal in Charge (or his designee) and be "oriented" on the areas they will be inspecting by the appropriate staff. Oriented marshals will then be issued a badge that will quickly identify what they are allowed to inspect at Pennsic 43 having met those requirements.
  13. NO MARSHAL may inspect combat archery equipment and ammunition unless they have signed in, been issued an inspecting marshal badge by CA-MIC or Deputy CA-MIC after being oriented for consistency with the conventions of the for the current Pennsic combat archery rules. This includes the proper way to fill out the inspection forms being utilized.
  14. NO PVC Bows/Crossbows will be used in Combat Archery at Pennsic.

Battle Rules Specific to Combat Archery

  1. The Pennsic Combat Archery Marshal In Charge, his Deputy and those approved designees may inspect all combat archery equipment and ammunition to the enclosed "Pennsic Standard" which supersedes any Kingdom level. Any decision may be appealed utilizing the proper chain of command.

  2. There shall be NO gleaning of ANY ammunition at Pennsic 43.

  3. All bows, crossbows, ammunition and conventions shall meet, at minimum, all Society standards for construction. They must also meet any additional restrictions described in this document, or restrictions declared by the Pennsic Combat Archery Marshal In Charge as needed.

  4. Combat archers need only a half gauntlet made to the standards for gauntlets but without finger protection.

  5. As with any weapons form, an archer may yield to an opponent, and archers should feel free to loudly express their "dead/yield" status. Courtesy taps delivered by an opponent should be accepted by the Combat Archery combatant as the gift they are. Likewise an opposing fighter throwing excessive or repeated blows into a "subdued/dead" opponent will face disciplinary action.

  6. Minimum range for a shot is "clears the bow".

  7. Targeting of the back of an individual (alone or in an organized unit) is prohibited. A cluster of folks may be targeted in THEIR situation 180 degrees and a rearward facing opponent shot thusly should accept the strike.

  8. This applies equally for an opponent who has rotated after release. But the actual specific targeting of the backside of any individual is prohibited.

  9. There is no limit on the amount of ammunition an archer may carry unless pre-defined in a specific battle scenario

  10. Ammunition must be re-inspected (post-battle) by approved designated Combat Archery marshals prior to reuse.

  11. REMINDER: Inspection of shafted ammunition WILL NOT OCCUR between 2 portions of an extended battle (eg. BETWEEN the 2 portions of a Castle Battle) by either side, by any marshal, nor as any courtesy as there is neither appropriate time, oversight, manpower, nor focus to do so properly, fairly, and without bias.

  12. Pavises shall follow the rules set forth in the current Society Combat Archery rules revision. A combat archer may carry and use shield or pavise; however, as long as they are carrying such, they cannot span (cock a crossbow or draw a handbow) nor loose their weapon.

  13. Archers may have a backup weapon on them, but MAY NOT draw it until their bow has been safely disposed of (taken off the field, discarded in a low traffic area, handed to another combatant, etc.).`A crossbow must be placed outside the combat area or in the keeping of another combatant who will accept it before drawing a back up weapon.

  14. Upon drawing a backup weapon to enter combat, both hands must be appropriately armored.

  15. Any direct strike upon a marshal, even unintentional, causes instant CA death (and should garner an immediate apology)

Bow/Crossbow Using Fiberglass Shafts

Bow/Crossbow Using Tubular ("Siloflex") Arrows

Post Battle Sorting Procedure – Required!

After ANY Pennsic sponsored battle, ALL Combat Archery participants are required to help collect ALL arrows/bolts (not simply their own) and bring them to the designated area for re-inspection (likely SOUTH of Battlefield just outside boundary). Friends/Family are welcome to help! YOU are REQUIRED to assist!

The Process: After each battle, all fiberglass ammunition shall be placed in one pile & the tubular ammunition in another to facilitate re-inspection (by the marshals). The piles should then be subdivided by bolts &arrows forming 4 piles.

Combat Archers (not marshals) will then divide the piles by owner (so cooperative help is appreciated at this critical juncture). Once an owner claims a pile is likely complete, marshals will begin the re-inspection process for ammunition integrity as quickly as available. Be sure you do not remove your arrows/bolts from the field until they have been inspected after the battle, as it is vitally important that we ensure the safety of all ammunition as well as obtain incidents of failure, if any. This process should also reduce loss due to theft as any ammunition noted as heading "away" should be suspect and questioned.

Editorial: Patience is needed and anything you can do to aid the process is welcome; the marshals have protocols to follow to insure the safety and integrity of the ammunition being inspected. Anyone not able to assist can be promptly moved rearward in the inspection process to allow those "more helpful" be on their merry way faster.

Overpowered and non-inspection warning

Anyone using fiberglass-shafted ammunition in a heavy bow or heavy crossbow will be banned from all fighting activities for the rest of the War and will be subject to other disciplinary action via the proper heavy weapons violation inquiry procedure.

Likewise, ANY use of uninspected ammunition or weapons on the battlefields of Pennsic will prompt immediate removal from the battlefield and will be subject to other disciplinary action (including potential fighting ban) via the proper heavy weapons violation inquiry procedure.

Combat Archery Equipment Specifics

  1. Bow
    1. Loops in bow string ends made by compressed metal / plastic clips are not allowed.
    2. Ensure that the string is not showing excessive wear.
    3. Measure the draw weight of the bow with a calibrated scale to ensure it is within appropriate specs. The handbow must be designed/constructed to draw @28" or it cannot be used in SCA combat.
    4. Check the bow itself for cracks or gouges, as well as for significant limb twist that could make the string leave the tips
  2. Crossbow
    1. Loops in crossbow string ends made by compressed metal / plastic clips are not allowed.
    2. No combat archery "Pistol" type crossbows are permitted.
    3. No combat archery crossbow will be permitted to utilize a mechanical advantage cocking lever sometimes calld a "Goat's Foot".
    4. No Chinese repeating crossbows, nor repeating crossbows of any other type, are permitted in combat archery.
    5. Ensure that the string is not showing excessive wear
    6. Check that the lock mechanism releases smoothly under simulated pressure
    7. Check that the lock mechanism is solid and will not accidentally release.
    8. Ensure the stock has no failures between the bow and lock
    9. Measure the draw weight (in inch-pounds) of the crossbow with a calibrated scale and ruler to ensure it is within appropriate specs for the combat ammo being shot.
    10. Check the prod for cracks or gouges, as well as for significant prod twist that could make the string leave the tips
  3. Shafted Ammunition
    1. DO NOT cover the entire head of any style Baldar head being used on fiberglass shafts with tape. The type of head must be inspected by observation to insure the proper head is being used and the condition of the head. This cannot be done if the head is completely covered with tape.
    2. Neither Fellwalker nor solo Tennis Ball ammo will be permitted at Pennsic.
    3. NO form of plastic or feather fletching will be permitted on fiberglass shaft ammo.
    4. Fiberglass-shaft arrows and bolts must be equipped with a Society approved anti-penetration device (APD).
    5. Solid-style nock ASGARD (APDs) anti-pentration devices are permitted to be used ONLY if the nock remains solid. Cutting any type of slot into the solid nock is not a Society approved modification and will not pass inspection.
    6. Absolutely no wooden shafts are permitted or metal in ANY part of the ammunition construction.
    7. Fiberglass-shaft arrows/bolts must be covered from behind the blunt, to the front of the Anti-Penetration Device (APD), in a sturdy tear-resistant tape, such as strapping, electrical, or duct tape.
    8. Grab both head & tail and pull "away" with moderate force. If either head or APD moves longitudinally, the ammunition fails.
    9. Hold the shaft and APD close together and attempt rotation of the APD using minor torque as not to overly stress any existing glue seal. If any rotation of the APD occurs, the ammunition fails and needs re-securing.
    10. Hold the shaft and head close together and attempt rotation of the collar using minor torque so as not to overly stress any existing glue seal. If greater than slight rotation of the collar upon the shaft occurs, the ammunition fails.
    11. "Slight rotation" has been roughly defined by previous Pennsic KEM's to mean no greater than 1/8" lateral movement around the shaft.
    12. If ammunition is a type with foam, check that the foam tip cannot be forced more than 1/2" into a legal faceguard. If penetration COULD occur more than 1/2" inside a grill, the ammunition fails.
    13. Check the shaft for signs of cracking or other failure. Check that ammo is properly labeled and taped.
  4. Tubular Ammunition
    1. Shafts
      1. The shafts of combat arrows and bolts must be constructed of Sil-o-flex (or approved equivalent) tubing with the following specifications: 100 PSI pressure rating and either 1.25 inches exterior diameter or 1 inch interior diameter.
      2. Arrows - A tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) combat arrow has a maximum length of 28 inches. This is measured from where the bow string touches the nock to the base of the approved tip. The 28 inches length is the maximum length; a shorter length may be used for those having a shorter draw length. A nock may be cut into the tail end, but may be no deeper than 1/2 inch. Wooden knocks MAY NOT be installed or used.
      3. Crossbow Bolts - The maximum length of a tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) combat crossbow bolt is 28 inches as measured from where the prod string touches the bolt to the base of the approved tip. There is no minimum length for a crossbow bolt. Past history has shown crossbow bolts around 14 inches fly well and work on most crossbows.
    2. Tips
      There are only three (3) approved tips for use on tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) combat shafts: Modified Baldar Blunts, Rubber Stoppers (6.5 size) and tennis balls heads.
      1. Modified Baldar Blunts
        1. Any classic style of Baldar Blunt can be used in this manner, whether 1 or 2 piece mold or designed for fiberglass or wood.
        2. Older or newer style "egg" shaped Baldar Blunts are NOT approved for use on tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) combat shafts.
        3. The modified Baldar Blunt must be slipped 1/2 inch over the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft.
        4. Baldar Blunts should be modified by separating / cutting the fins from the outer collar, but the outer collar must remain intact.
        5. Fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape is the only material approved for securing the Modified Baldar Blunts onto the shaft and one of the two materials used for securing the rubber stopper into the shaft.
        6. Electrical tape may not be used for securing Modified Baldars.
      2. Rubber Stoppers
        1. A rubber stopper, size 6.5 should be used (preferably with a ¼” inch hole in the center to allow greater compression into the shaft).
        2. The stopper must be inserted 1/2 inch into the shaft.
        3. It is suggested to use the white/off-white rubber stoppers that are gum rubber because they are softer and compress better than the neoprene.
        4. For accurate information on securing the Rubber Stopper Head on/in the Shaft (2 Methods), visit http://www.35footspear.com/.
      3. Foam
        1. Resilient Foam: The Society Definition is: dense, plastic, closed-cell foam such as ethyl polymer.
        2. Both rubber stopper and Baldar Blunt heads must have resilient foam padding secured on the tip.
        3. Rubber stopper heads must also have a side wrap of foam.
        4. Resilient foam approximately the diameter of the stopper must be secured to the tip so that there is at least ½" and at most 1-1/4 inches thickness after taping with fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape.
        5. Round disks of foam are strongly suggested instead of square pieces which have caused problems with the square corner of the foam and some helmet grills.
        6. The resilient foam must be secured with several pieces of fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape that will cross each other on the top of the foam. Each piece must start from at least 1" down the shaft, go up over the tip and then back down the other side of the tubular (sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft at least 1".
      4. Side Wrap - (Required for Rubber Stopper ONLY; Modified Baldar Blunt does not require a side wrap.)
        1. The side wrap of resilient foam must extend from the tip of the padding to at least ½" over the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft and be secured with fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape.
        2. The side wrap of resilient foam must be wrapped around the padding/stopper/shaft so that the ends meet without a gap and secured with fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape.
        3. The side wrap must be secured to the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft with several pieces of fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape that will cross each other on the top of the resilient foam.
        4. The total diameter of the final head assembly must be at least 1½ inch.
        5. It shall not be possible to force the head of any combat archery ammunition more than ½" into a legal face guard.
    3. Nocks
      1. A nock may be cut into the tail end, but may be no deeper than ½".
      2. No wooden nocks, wooden plugs, corks, pool noodles, tape or anything that closes off the end of the tubular ammo will be permitted and are not legal to be used with tubular (Sil-o-flex equivalent) ammunition at Pennsic.

Additional Ammunition Notes

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