The Chinese repeating crossbow. Quite a legend. Online research shows that it originates to the 4th century.
A very famous Chinese strategist, Zhuge Liang (226-481 AD) is believed to have “upgraded” an earlier design from a tomb dating 4th Century BC.
This new design was able to fire multiple arrows (bolts) in succession, was last used in mass formations which helped shape the China-Japan war of 1894. It was named after Zhuge because of his improvements. You can see it spelled a couple of different ways; or “Chu-ke nu” or “Chu-ko-nu”, the first being correct. It literally means “Zhuge Crossbow”
The weapons were very common among the Manchurian troops, and can be seen in photographs from that era.
It was introduce to the Koreans in 1418, and was given the name “sunogung”. Everyone seems to be impressed by it’s mechanism and ease of firing. This rapid firing design is why it was so impressive.
Even though it has a short range, the owner of the weapon would dip the bolts into poison. So even if an enemy were to be hit by a bolt, and not suffer a mortal wound from the bolt itself, the poison would work it’s way into the bloodstream and inevitably end their life with a “slight delay”.
In China, the crossbow revolutionized the war. The warriors would line up and fire multiple bolts at riders on horseback as a fist strike. Because of the rapid fire mechanism of the Chu-ke nu, it was used as the “first strike” defense in close combat situations.
What I like about firing the miniature Chinese Repeating Crossbow is the sound and feel of the bolt leaving the chamber. You can load 6 to 7 bolts, and the firing mechanism is just “push forward and pull back”.
Other people who first fire one will do it slowly, thinking that it needs time to load the next bolt. This is not so! Once they have been exposed to how fast it can fire, the fun begins. The accuracy is good too.
In conclusion, the Chinese Repeating Crossbow, often called the Chu-ke nu, has been around for a long time. The actual detail that goes into the design and assembly of the crossbow is what gives this weapon it’s uniqueness.
Anyone who has fired the Chu-ke nu and realized how fun it is, usually asks the same question: “Where can I get one?” ScanzonCraft, makers of fine wood products, in association with Micro-Weapons.com have answered that question – THEY do!