Join Date: Mar 2012
Thank you all for your thoughts & ideas. One of my first impressions was that it might be a 'rubber band gun' as well. However India rubber, in the period we are looking at, was not, I think, up to the job. It was used as a waterproofing compound, a sealant & perhaps a weak elastic. Whereas the simple bow was a know instrument in many forms. The current owner believed it to be a rampant gun, which it is not - hooks going over a wall to absorb the recoil..... no need to go there.
With the questions:
1. About the attachment of the bow; is there any movement in the hooked iron bracket to allow for fitting the bow and retaining the cord or leather lashings? (I can see that these lashings can't go all way round the forestock and barrel because these might block the view of the gun sights)
Those iron brackets are unmovable. The bow would be placed against the end grain of the stock between the top & bottom row of hooks, this does not obscure the arrow. The lashing would pass diagonally across the mid point of the bow, diagonally from hook to hook, top left to bottom right, etc. This would effect a very firm & sound fastening & still not obscure the arrow's hole, nor pass over the top of the gun's stock. All the pressure from the bow being drawn would be taken by the end grain of the stock that the bow is placed upon. The lashings would take no strain.
2. If the notched iron sear bar for holding the cocked bowstring is substantial enough to handle a bow of any real power -- the spring-loaded rotating "nut" in the stock of a medieval European crossbow can handle the pressure of an enormous draw weight, but I have a hard time visualizing how substantial the design of this Indian system is.
The sear bar is short & stouts & move down a short distance, it does not rotate like a crossbow or stone bow 'nut'. It does appear strong enough to handle a bow that can be drawn by hand, but not a bow that would require a mechanical device or leg strength etc.
3. What sort of bow might have been used -- self, composite, or comp./reflex? The design of the "grip" portion to better accommodate fit to the pronged retaining mount...
I think an ordinary bow, perhaps a small compound, that can be readily drawn with two hands would work. I see this combination weapon as more of a 'novelty' than something that is highly lethal & very practical - as is true for the majority of combination weapons, most are too impractical for battle use. Of note the gun's loading rod is only 30cm long & stops at the 2nd barrel band - it is aesthetic only. With a bow mounted this combination weapon would have looked 'cool' and would have been a novel arm to show ones friends & to shoot at targets with - the sort of thing we all like now as well as they did then. But I do not see it as a battle weapon, it would be quite unwieldly, I would not want to be armed with it after the first bullet & arrow have been discharged.
It is certainly a fascinating thing.