Originally Posted by Micke D
Itís definitely not lead, itís a reinforcement piece of iron or steel thatís riveted in the nut. All crossbow nuts have this from at least the 14th century.
yes can also be made of iron.
the metal you can easily test with a magnet and the function of the counterweight with a shaft through the hole of the nut.
I believe it is a counterweight, apart from this a hole with metal will weaken the nut and not reinforce it.
the later 18thC brass nuts also have a counterweight, a metal bar placed on the width of the nut , reinforcement is no question here also.
all the 17 and 18thC crossbows I have and had in my collection had a counter weight build in making the nut always turning into the same position.