The stocks on the models that I fired were about a foot and a half to two feet
from the firing grip to the end. Take a close look at the ones pictured with
no obvious butt, what they have looks more like an almost pointed stick than a
shoulder stock. Looking closely at the section about six to eight inches
before the end, you will note that most of these older models (again, the ones
without the heavy ball on the end) have a rounded indentation on the underside
of the stock. Squeezing the release bar pivoted a small metal wheel with a
hook in it, thus releasing the string and returning the wheel back to it's
ready position.

Odd, indeed, when compared to what the modern man knows of firearms, but
remember that a crossbow does not kick, it pulls. There is no need for a
rifle-like shoulder stock at all, even on today's x-bows.

On accuracy: They aren't. Again, with only two feathers, bolts are not stable
at range, but they are still powerful. Primary usage was by those defending
castle walls against massed attackers. At 200 yards it doesn't matter who your
target is, there's a press of fools out there, shoot and you'll hit someone,
and that's all that mattered. Sure you might not go through the joker in the
full plate, but you can go through his horse, and that joker won't be scaling
your wall anyway, it's going to be the guy in the chain and/or padded jerkins
that will be coming, these fools are easy prey to a heavy crossbow, and I
praise Rich and Colin for adjusting the damages to match.

I'm just trying to impart some practical knowledge gained trying (and failing)
to make a good medieval crossbow and firing well made replicas of them with
friends and colleagues. There were far more crossbows than just this
particular style, after all, man has been ever relentless in the pursuit of a
better way to kill...

Tim Nutting