Combat Archery Rules
Revised / Reviewed February 12, 2012
It is the responsibility of every combat archer to be aware of not only their own kingdom rules but the society rules also.
Many people forget that Combat Archery operates under two sets of rules. The base or foundation of the rules for combat archery is the most current set of Society Rules.
The 11/2/2008 revision can be found at the Society Marshal’s page under armored combat. The quick site location is http://www.sca.org/officers/marshal/docs/marshal_handbook.pdf
Remember, the Society Rules can be made more stringent by a kingdom, but they may not be made less stringent.
Middle Kingdom Combat Archery Rules
Revised / Reviewed October 26, 2013
This year at Pennsic 42 the Middle Kingdom Earl Marshal and I went over the revised combat archery rules for the upcoming update of the Midrealm Armoured Combat Fighter and Marshal Handbook. The rules were approved then.
The decision was made that these rules would go into effect 1 September 2013. That is after the normal combat archery season and in plenty of time before any in Kingdom or out of Kingdom Events.
The new rules will likely be located in Appendix A, which has been the Combat Archery Rules section in previous Handbooks.
Master Erik Erikson the Scout
Deputy Earl Marshal for Combat Archery
Appendix A: Combat Archery Rules
Middle Kingdom Additions To Society Missile Combat Rules
This is the latest Version (ver. Add new version number) of the Middle Kingdom Armored Combat Fighter and Marshal Handbook (Add new number) , dated Add new date and released Add new date. The majority of the combat archery rules are found in Appendix A but there are additional combat archery rules scattered through the entire handbook. It is your responsibility to find and read all rules that apply to combat archery. Please note that Combat Archery is often referred to as CA throughout the rest of theses rules.
Combat archers are encouraged to visit the following website for rule and convention updates as well as construction and inspection standards: http://www.havenholde.net/35footspear/
All armored combatants on the field are considered engaged with any combat archer at all times whether facing towards or away from the archer.
B. TARGET AREA
The valid target areas for missile weapons are the same valid target areas that thrusting tips have. Arrows and crossbow bolts can be blocked by shields and armored combat weapons.
There is NO minimum distance at which a combat archer shooting a bow or crossbow may release their ammunition. Arrows or bolts must completely clear the limb or prod before they strike their target to be considered good.
C. MISSILE WEAPONS CONSTRUCTION
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.
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.
1. Tubular Ammunition:
- Combat archery arrows and bolts must be made out of 100 PSI irrigation tubing (Sil-o-flex or equivalent).
- Tubular shafts are NOT permitted to have any slits cut into the shaft to insert any type of fin or fletching.
- The tail end may have a nock cut in up to ½ inch in depth.
- Wooden nocks are not legal to be used with tubular ammunition.
- The back end of the shaft must be open (to permit inspection of the inside of the tube).
- Round disks of foam are to be used instead of square pieces for the ½ inch of required foam on top of the rubber stopper. The square pieces create corners that can penetrate too far into a helmet’s grill.
- The tips are to be size 6.5 rubber stoppers (with a 1/4 or 3/8 inch hole in the center) or modified Baldar Blunts, and they must be secured according to approved construction techniques. After padding, the heads must be completely covered with red duct tape.
SILOFLEX EQUIVALENT TUBING
If you decide to make or use combat arrows or bolts using Siloflex-equivalent materials, you will have to bring the following with you when you have your equipment inspected:
- a sample of the equivalent material that is marked on the outside of the tubing
- a copy of the manufacturing specifications.
Manufacture Specification Sheet for the product must demonstrate:
1. The name of the manufacturer or trademark
2. The material is manufactured to ASTM D2239 or ASTM D2737 Standards.
3. The material is sized as 1" ID (inside diameter) if D2239, or 1-1/4" OD (outside diameter) if D2737
4. The material is manufactured from PE 3408 or PE3608
5. The material must have a pressure rating of 100 psi if used for tubular ammo.
An example of a manufacturing specification sheet for a Siloflex-equivalent material can be found HERE. Please note that inclusion of this sheet on this site does not remove any inspection requirements.
Marking on the shaft:
ASTM, NSF, and AWWA standards provide that pipe and tubing must be marked at frequent intervals. The labeling must include:
1. The manufacturer's name or trademark
2. The standard to which it conforms
3. Pipe size
4. Material designation code (PE 3408 or PE 3608)
5. Pressure rating
2. Shafted (fiberglass) Ammunition:
Only one style of fiberglass shaft combat archery ammunition has been approved for use in the Middle Kingdom.
- The ONLY fiberglass shaft size than can be used is 1/4 inch diameter.
- The ONLY type of tape than can be used to cover the shaft is fiberglass-reinforced tape (strapping tape).
- The ONLY type of head that can be used is the Baldar “Fathead” and the ONLY anti-penetration device that can be used is the Baldar “Asgard”.
- You must utilize the approved construction standards posted on “The 35-Foot Spear” site located at http://www.havenholde.net/35footspear/
- No form of plastic or feather fletching will be permitted on fiberglass shaft ammo.
- DO NOT cover the entire head with tape. The condition of the head must be inspected by observation and to insure the proper head is being used.
D. SWITCHING WEAPONS
Prior to picking up another weapon, a bow must be laid aside. A crossbow must be placed outside the combat area or in the keeping of a marshal or another combatant who will accept it before drawing a back up weapon. To use a backup weapon such as a sword, the hands must be appropriately armored.
A combat archer may use thrown combat weapons with half-gauntlets for hand protection.
Pavises shall be constricted follow the rules set forth in the current Society Marshal’s Handbook. A combat archer may carry and use a pavise: however, as long as they are carrying such, they cannot span (cock a crossbow or draw a hand bow) nor fire their weapons.
E. LIST FIELD SAFETY
Combatants shall be reminded that when leaving the battlefield, they may not remove their helms or other armor until they are outside of the buffer zone. Despite there being a buffer zone, combat archers are responsible for their missiles and must avoid shooting towards unarmored people such as marshals and spectators unless there is sufficient distance between the archer and unarmored people. The goal is to avoid errant or deflected arrows from exiting the buffer zone.
During a Hold, an archer must un-nock the arrow from their bow or remove the bolt from their crossbow. They may nock the arrow or replace the bolt again when the “ON YOUR GUARD” or equivalent, such as “make ready” command is given. A crossbow may remain cocked.
G. TYPES OF COMBAT ARCHERY AUTHORIZATIONS
- Combat Archery as an additional authorization for an Armored Combat fighter who already has a weapon and shield authorization. There is no special permission or trainer required.
- Chivalry sponsored Combat Archery as the first authorization. See details below.
- Bypass Combat Archery authorization as the first authorization. This does not require a Chivalry sponsor but does require permission from the Regional Armored Combat Marshal or the Kingdom Earl Marshal, and is only granted in special cases.
H. COMBAT ARCHERY AUTHORIZATIONS
- The primary authorizing marshal needs to be satisfied that the authorizee has a basic knowledge of the CA rules. This is demonstrated by answering questions derived from the Society/Midrealm rules for combat archery. A list of potential questions can be found under the authorization section of http://www.havenholde.net/35footspear/
- The first round is to test safety, accuracy and appropriate response to return fire. This is to be an ongoing duel. An experienced fighter who is authorized in combat archery will stand 10 to 30 yards away from the authorizee. After the authorizee has fired several shots at the fighter, the fighter will start to move around and return heavy fire at the authorizee who is still shooting. The authorizee should be allowed to discharge up to 24 shots before a pass/fail determination is made, unless it is readily apparent that the authorizee is unsafe or inaccurate. During the shooting duel the authorizing fighter should position himself in such a way to see if the authorizee will avoid taking a shot towards the sidelines or bounds of the list area. If the authorizee passes, the second round will be set up.
- The second round is a full melee combat scenario with four or more armored combatants per side in addition to the authorizee and the authorizing Marshals. One authorizing Marshal can either participate or observe from close by. The other authorizing Marshal should be observing from near the edge of the field to note how the authorizee behaves within the broader context of the melee. The authorizee shall demonstrate proper engagement of targets, acceptable responses to being pressed and charged, and situational awareness, to include recognition of the limitations imposed by boundaries and spectators on available targets.
- As with any Armored Combat authorizations, there must be two authorizing marshals. They may be two Combat Archery Marshals who have CA authorizations, or two Armored Combat Marshals who have CA authorizations, or one of each kind of marshal.
Program for Chivalry-Sponsored Combat Archery Authorization
- To expand the number of combat archers while providing a more "period" approach to the use of archery on the field of battle.
- To allow those who train directly under a member of the Chivalry, the opportunity to authorize in CA without authorizing in weapon and shield first.
- To offer continued guidance to combat archers in the Rules and Cultural Expectations for combat archery among the Armored Combat Fighters.
- Any member of the Chivalry may undertake the training of Combat Archers.
- Anyone wishing to authorize CA as a first authorization may seek out a member of the Chivalry for training. Members of the Chivalry may also seek out gentles they feel would be interested in becoming combat archers.
- Any member of the Chivalry that agrees to take on such gentles agrees to become responsible not only for their training in CA, but also for their training in the culture of Armored Combat as practiced within the Midrealm.
- The Chivalry sponsor must be present during the authorization!
- The actual authorization must still take place at an SCA event during a melee.
- Note: The purpose of this program is not to see how many new CA authorizations can be generated, but rather to increase the awareness of Combat Archery and to offer continued guidance to combat archers in the Rules and Cultural Expectations for combat archery among the Armored Combat Fighters. It is hoped that members of the Chivalry that take part in this program will continue to oversee all of the combat archers they train.
I. COMBAT ARCHERY (CA) MARSHALS
Please note that Combat Archery is often referred to as CA throughout the rest of theses rules.
Duties & Limitations
- A CA marshal is able to inspect all combat archery equipment and ammunition.
- If a CA marshal has a CA authorization, they may take part in CA authorizations.
- A person does not have to be authorized in Combat Archery to be a CA marshal.
- An Armored Combat Marshal must also be warranted as a CA Marshal to be able to inspect combat archery equipment and ammunition.
- If an Armored Combat Marshal has a CA authorization, they may take part in CA authorizations.
- NOTE- Only an Armored Combat marshal may inspect armor.
Inspections will include bows, crossbows, and all types of ammunition approved by the Middle Kingdom.
- The first part of the equipment inspection is to determine if the bow/crossbow is safe to use. These inspection standards are based on the most current Middle Kingdom Missile Weapons Marshal’s Handbook and posted CA equipment inspection standards.
- The second part of the equipment inspection will be to determine the draw weight at 28 inches of the bow or the inch-pounds for the crossbow to ensure that the equipment meets the standards for the type of ammunition being used.
- All ammunition will be inspected to ensure it meets the current construction and safety standards of the Middle Kingdom. It may be marked with paint for some larger events.
All combat archery marshals must have the following with them while they are working as a CA Marshal:
- Bow gauge for measuring poundage
- Ruler or tape measure for determining draw length
- Inspection gauge to determine at least 1½ inch diameters for heads of ammo
- Three ring binder with the most current copy of both Society and Middle Kingdom rules involving combat archery.
A Combat Archery Marshal will be required to submit a Doomsday report each year that is due by December 1. The report will be sent to the Deputy Earl Marshal for Combat Archery who will use it for his report to the Kingdom Earl Marshal and the Society DEM for combat archery.
Process to become a Combat Archery Marshal
- Contact the Middle Kingdom DEM for Combat Archery expressing your desire to go into training. Send full contact information with your request.
- The Middle Kingdom DEM for Combat Archery will send you an MIT form to start the process.
- You will have one year to complete the process.
- A MIT will need to know how to inspect equipment and ammunition.
- The MIT will need a class and hands-on practice to demonstrate their knowledge on ammunition inspection and construction.
- The final step will be an open book test on general Middle Kingdom and Society Combat Archery rules.
- When the training is completed and the MIT form filled out, it will be sent to the DEM for the final approval.
NOTE- This is a new program, so there will be changes and refinements as needed.
J. COMBAT ARCHERY EQUIPMENT
All equipment should be consistent with archery equipment used between 600-1600 AD in appearance and function.
- Bow strings with loops made by compressed metal / plastic clips are NOT allowed.
- All handbows must be designed & constructed to draw at 28 inches length. Any other draw length is prohibited for SCA combat.
- The minimum poundage for all handbows is 20 pounds at 28-inch draw length.
- Light bows measure up to 30 pounds at 28-inch draw length. Light bows can shoot either tubular or fiberglass shaft ammo.
- Heavy bows measure 31-50 pounds at 28-inch draw length.
- Heavy bows must be marked with a 4-inch wide band of red material (tape, cloth, etc.) that goes completely around the upper limb of the bow to show marshals at a glance they are heavy bows and may not shoot fiberglass shafts.
- Heavy bows may only shoot tubular ammo.
- Crossbow strings with loops made by compressed metal / plastic clips are NOT allowed.
- The minimum poundage for all crossbows is 400 inch-pounds.
- Light crossbows shall measure 400-600 inch-pounds and may shoot tubular or fiberglass ammo.
- Heavy crossbows shall measure 601 - 1,000 inch-pounds.
- Heavy crossbows must be marked with a 4-inch wide band of red material (tape, cloth, etc.) that goes completely around the right prod of the crossbow to show marshals at a glance they are heavy bows and may not shoot fiberglass shafts.
- Heavy crossbows may only shoot tubular ammo.
The following are not allowed in a combat archery environment in the Middle Kingdom:
- Hand slings.
- Stone bows.
- Small pistol style crossbows
- Forward or rear style pistol grip/s
- Combat archery crossbows which utilize a mechanical advantage cocking lever (sometimes call a “Goat’s Foot”)
- Chinese repeating crossbows or repeating crossbows of any type
- Split prod design for crossbows utilizing a center shot system (an individual prod on each side instead of a solid one)
- PVC bows in heavy weapons combat.