Goat’s Foot (Gafa, Gaffle, Pied du Biche or dog’s foot) cocking lever is possibly the best spanning aid you can get for a stout medieval crossbow. The Gafa is a compact, folding iron lever that can span a 200 lb. crossbow with ease. It fits easily into your belt, or hangs from the waist: works quicker, with less effort than the Wippe lever.
However, a gafa requires a ‘wrist’ pin mounted through the stock just behind the lock, to operate. What’s more, the gafa itself must be built to the right dimensions. Some gafas are too small for certain applications, while others may be too large. In particular, the distance between the side-rails is critical, and the length of draw must be sufficient to get the string back to the lock. If you want your bow re-fitted for a gafa, you’ll have to send it in for adjustment.
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