Instant Legolas

joergIf you’ve read this blog before, you may have seen reference to Joerg Sprave of the Slingshot Channel (pictured right) who is a German gentleman who loves to tinker with bows and crossbows (and has a ridiculously awesome laugh). Well Joerg has gone further than anyone has with innovation to archery in the last 50 years by creating an integrated release aid, 5 arrow magazine and sight that literally turns a compound bow into a pump action, semiautomatic capable of shooting 5 arrows accurately in as many seconds. Its been called the “Instant Legolas” after the insanely skilled Elven archer from Lord of the Rings and is effectively a completely new ‘class’ of archery.

automatic-bow-instant-legolasIts gone through some major iterations all of them made in wood like the one shown to the left to get to where it is now. So where is it now?  In collaboration with SteamBow from Austria, Joerg has produced a completely CNC machined version. This puppy is no longer an experiment or flight of fancy, its now commercially available. At 1000 euros just for the magazine/release aid, its not cheap but the first 100 sold out in 90 minutes and the second run of 400 sold out in 2 days. Archery … there’s a new thing in town!

inst legolas

“Let me show you its features!”

I’ll let the man himself showcase his ‘finished’ creation to you in the video below. Its called The Fenris and seeing what this thing can do is quite extraordinary. You can watch the reveal video here. Explanation, demonstration and Joerg laughing.

But is it archery? …… Sort of but its a similar ‘into the darkness’ leap in archery innovation to the one that took us from the standard takedown Recurve to the Compound. I’m not sure anyone can predict if this is a significant innovation or will be just a curiosity. I doubt anyone predicted just how big the compound would become.
Honestly, I think this will be for hunters and hunting only … I can’t ever see this in traditional target competition or even Field/3D but then again I suspect that’s what they said about the compound. Still … its an incredible achievement to make such a huge advancement on an invention that’s been around for anything up to 50,000 years! And you know you’ve come up with something different when someone copies your ideas (see references below for a 3d printed version!)

tod medieval legolasWhile Tod of Tod’s Workshop (a fantastically skilled “medieval” craftsman shown on left) has proven this device could easily have been made during the medieval period for a longbow had anyone thought about it. There has been some good natured discussion on just who would have used this militarily (peasants or trained troops) and in what tactical situation (open field, siege, close range assault) and the reasons it wouldn’t have been used … with Tod’s views found here.
What sparked furious debate was when the discussion turned to adding a draw assist mechanism which the Instant Legolas had originally. Toning down the war bow 180-200lbs draw weight with something that provides a let-down like effect would have made longbows far more accessible especially to other nations. Tod tried and came up short because his theoretical “medieval” design for a draw assist mechanism proved unstable. Here is his attempt at making a medieval draw assist mechanism for an instant legolas. However the discussions on the draw assist went on with a lot of people thinking hard about how to make a medieval assist work and they may have cracked a light, viable, medieval draw assist methodology. Tod discusses many of the attempts briefly before getting to the viable design at least in his opinion.

Further Reference:

Fenris Unboxing and Setup by Joerg
Fenris arrives at the 2022 ATA show
Inspired by the Fenris, a similar 3D printed “clone” 

Hope you enjoyed this article and perhaps check out some of our other archery related but slightly odd takes.

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(Pictures taken from screenshots of Tods Workshop and The Slingshot Channel youtube videos for the purpose of reporting.)

Glasgow Archers

We are an amateur archery club based in the centre of Glasgow.

1 Response

  1. January 5, 2021

    […] of the mad scientists of archery like Border Bows or Jörg Sprave, the evolution of archery kit is mostly iterative. Minor changes here and there are a staple of […]

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