Crossbow hunting is a lot different from rifle shooting. Of course, rifles offer hunters a much higher range in terms of distance, but for those who tend to favor a more traditional hunting style, the crossbow is the perfect solution, which is lethal at short ranges.
The crossbow, designed like a horizontal version of a conventional bow, is an incredible weapon capable of dropping some of the world’s biggest game. It’s also a mighty weapon, one that can strike a target efficiently. If you’re planning to learn how to use it, then maybe you should know that while it is not rocket science, you still need to have enough practice to master its use.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the key steps we need to take when we cock and load a crossbow. The process is pretty straightforward and easy, but a bit of a mistake can mess it up. Let’s get started!
Loading and Shooting:
Shooting a crossbow is really not that difficult compared to shooting a gun or a traditional bow. Besides, in many states, hunting laws allow the use of crossbows instead of traditional bows or weapons by physically impaired hunters and senior citizens. That alone is a simple indication of how a modern crossbow is user-friendly. There are three necessary steps:
1. Cocking the Crossbow:
Crossbow cocking is the most critical step in the whole process and maybe the most challenging step to master. If it is not done correctly, it may result in an inaccurate shot due to a misaligned string.The three ways of Cocking::
I. Manual Cocking by Hand:
Manual cocking is perhaps the quickest method of loading a crossbow for firing. For manual cocking, you must first position your foot in the foot stirrup at the front of the bow. As soon as your foot is in the stirrup firmly, draw back the crossbow string equally over both sides of the barrel until it cocks. If you fail to use equal force on both sides, the bow will be unbalanced, costing you a faulty shot.
II. Manual Cocking by Rope-Cocker:
Sometimes, cocking by hand is extremely hard for crossbows having draw-weights more than 150 pounds. Therefore, a simple pulley-based device, known as a rope cocker, can be used to alleviate the stress on your hands when cocking it. All you have to do is attach the device to the string, then place your foot in the stirrup and pull until the string is cocked.
III. Cocking using a Crank:
If you have physical problems or lack the strength and endurance for manual cranking, the best alternative is a crank. The crossbow crank is a winch-based system that simplifies drawing and locking the string, although the process may take longer to finish. All you need to do is turn the winch until the string is fully cocked, then disconnect the crank for later use.
As soon as the crossbow is cocked, engage the safety. The safety unlocks automatically on some models. Review the owner’s manual to find out how the protection on your bow is activated.
Try to keep the front end of an already cocked crossbow down or at least in a safe direction even if the arrow is not yet loaded. Until the arrow is placed in the firing position, and you are ready to fire, do not disengage the protection.
3. Loading the Crossbow:
Once you have cocked the crossbow successfully and safely, the loading process is quite simple. However, it is essential to do it properly if you’re intending to get a perfect shot.
Most crossbow manufacturers recommend specific lengths and grain weights for different models. Others also suggest different materials, specific nocks, and flinching range. It is determined through extensive research and testing, based on the power stroke of a model, draw-weight and what works best to sustain the stable projectile
The best way to ensure fast and controlled arrow flight is by using an arrow that flies at the speed specified by the manufacturer. Using lighter arrows or arrows not advised by the company may increase the likelihood of injury and void the manufacturer’s warranty. Lastly, prior to using it, give every bolt a spin test to test for straightness.
Steps to Follow For Loading Crossbow:
You’re all set to load your Crossbow now. There are just a few simple steps:
I. Take out a bolt/arrow of a crossbow from your quiver.
II. Mount your chosen bolt on the rail of the crossbow.
III. Place down one of the vanes in your bolt so that it can move smoothly through the groove of the crossbow.
IV. Slide the bolt a little farther, until the crossbow string is seated firmly.
V. Ensure that the vane on your bolt is aligned with the barrel channel of your crossbow.
Tips and Techniques:
Although loading is a quick and easy process, we want to share some tips and techniques for loading a crossbow to make this process error-free.
Reduce the Cocking Rope:
The cocking ropes used on a crossbow are generally very long. Having the rope slightly shorter will make a huge difference and help to ease the entire cycle of cocking; ensuring your safety too. Instead of making several attempts, make the requisite changes in advance to the cocking rope, and ensure the cocking stroke fits in.
Spot the String:
Cocking the crossbow a little away from the center will mostly lead to a missed or an inaccurate shot. Therefore, to avoid this, using a marker, mark a spot on the string near the trigger mechanism; this will make loading very simple and will also help to improve the precision level.
Spot the Rope:
Another tip for a balanced string is to draw a spot in the middle of the cocking rope. Now, try fixing it in the middle of the stock, the marker spot will make sure you pull the rope backward with even pressure.
Check the Safety Checklist:
You need to inspect and verify a few things before starting the shooting for a safe and enjoyable hunting experience. Such as:
- The Crossbow limbs have the most tension, check them before using. If they are damaged, replace them promptly!
- Always check the bolt’s condition before shooting and use the size of the bolt as specified in the manual.
- The mainframe of the crossbow, also known as stock, should be clean and in good working condition.
- To avoid a misfire, check your cables and strings for any physical defect.
- Hunting isn’t just a physical battle; it’s also a game of mind. So keep focused and have a clear head.
- Keep your fingers away from the path of the released string. As the rebounding string can hit with sufficient force to disfigure your fingers when firing. Better be safe!
- Also make sure that there are no other obstructions in the path of the limbs, such as branches.
- Last but not least, warm up yourself before the real game.
We’ve covered a lot, and now it’s time to give a shot to everything you’ve learned so far. Crossbow hunting can be a worthwhile experience.
They allow you to have the thrill of using a bow, without having to cope with the hardships of the traditional bow.It requires time and patience to learn how to use a crossbow, and learning this skill requires a tremendous amount of training. Before starting your practice, make sure that the state you live in permits the use of a crossbow.
After all, it could be lethal weapons.If you have read this article thoroughly and done some practice, I personally believe that you are fit to go on another expedition, with an enhanced confidence level as to how to cock and load the crossbow and take an accurate shot.