Most hunters tend to forget that compound and recurve crossbows are mechanical devices. Like mechanical devices, they require proper care and maintenance for optimal performance. Components and parts wear out and will occasionally need to be replaced. Crossbow scope adjustment is also necessary from time to time in order to ensure an accurate shot. When you throw the human factor into the equation, even the best models, such as the Barnett Vengeance crossbow, can’t do its job unless the shooter does theirs.
When it comes to maintaining and achieving consistent shot accuracy, most issues are human-based. These crossbow tips will discuss how to improve your aim and shot accuracy, how to properly use and care for your bow so you can get as much use out of it as possible, and what other methods you can use that can help to make you a better bowhunter.
Crossbow Shooting Tips for Improved Accuracy
There are many important crossbow tips you should follow that will help with consistency and accuracy. Some of these tips involve the bow, but most all boil down to the shooter. The following are some factors that will negatively affect your shooting accuracy:
Fit: Not all bows are the same width, length, and weight. While there’s a bow out there for everyone, they aren’t one size fits all. You’ll find that there’s a direct correlation between accuracy and how well a bow fits you. If the bow feels too wide or long, too heavy, or it’s awkward to hold on target or even lift, then the bow isn’t right for you. You can read our top crossbows buyer’s guide to find out how each bow handles and what you can expect in terms of heft, performance, and ease of use. You should also check out the spec sheet for each model to learn more about weight and measurements.
Most bows are built on rifle-like stocks and shouldn’t be difficult to handle or be overly burdensome. The trigger should be crisp and smooth with little creep. Make sure you check out the length of the pull of the trigger.
Right arrows: Most bow manufacturers will recommend certain grain weights and lengths for different models. Others will go a step further and recommend a specific fletching length or type of material. While most bows are able to shoot arrows with any type of nock, manufacturers usually recommend a specific type.
In order to get the most accuracy out of your bow, only go with the type of bolts the manufacturer recommends. The same arrows should be used for hunting and scope adjustment. Changing arrows usually leads to inconsistent accuracy. You’ll achieve improved control and optimal arrow flight when using an arrow that flies at a moderate or slower speed. Using arrows that aren’t recommended by the manufacturer will result in added stress on the crossbow, which can void the manufacturer’s warranty and may even lead to injury.
Shooting a Crossbow for the First Time
The crossbow can be used for many different types of hunting. It can be deadly accurate and it’s capable of cleanly taking down even the biggest game. Learning how to bow hunt can be intimidating, even to an experienced hunter, so here are the basics of how to shoot a bow, once you’ve found the right type of bow for your hunting expeditions.
Obviously, practicing with your bow will be important in the beginning. You should spend plenty of time at the range before your first hunt until you become comfortable handling and using your bow.
Cocking the crossbow will take a lot of patience to learn. There are a couple of methods used for cocking the bow: crank operated and manual.
To manually cock a crossbow, you’ll need to first locate the stirrup, which is placed at the front of the crossbow. The next step is to evenly pull the string back across both sides of the barrel. This can be difficult with bows that have a draw weight that’s over one hundred and fifty pounds. If you fail to pull straight, you’ll end up misaligning the bow.
Use a rope cocking device to make manual cocking easier. These devices will help to center the string and they come highly recommended by experienced hunters. This type of device is basically just a pulley system.
Cranks are much easier to use compared to manual cocking, however, using this device will take much longer. A crank is basically a winch. Some cranks are integrated into the bow and other cranks come as separate devices. To crank cock the bow, engage the crank, turning it until the string is cocked, then pull the crank back into place.
How to Aim A Crossbow
In order to aim straight each and every time, the bow must be cocked straight. Once it’s locked into position and fully cocked, the serving will need to be centered using equal lengths on every side of the rail. If the serving is off center by even just a fraction of an inch, the impact point will be off target right or left by several inches. Bow’s with a longer range will be even more off the mark. Usually, most hunters will have more strength in their dominant arm. When cocking, the dominant arm often pulls the string faster and easier compared to using the non-dominant arm.
In order to correctly center the string, we recommend marking the serving using a felt pen, on each side of the rails while the string is at rest. When cocking, make sure you concentrate on the process, using the marks as a guide that will help to keep the string equal on both sides of the rail.
Integrated cocking aids and rope cocking devices can also be a big help.
Best Shooting Practices
A shooter will usually run into several problems when it comes to achieving consistent accuracy. But for the beginner, one of the biggest problems is not holding the bow steady. Fortunately, manufacturers have come a long way in designing bows to be less awkward and cumbersome and reducing the bow’s overall weight. however, bows can still be difficult to hold on target, especially for longer periods of time. In order to increase your accuracy when sighting, make sure you shoot from a bench, just like you would when you’re sighting a rifle. This can simplify accuracy problems and will make the process much easier. Use safety rails to your advantage when you’re hunting from elevated tree stands. If your stand doesn’t have a safety rail, shooting sticks or another kind of support aid will really help.
Most shooting accuracy issues are caused by poor tuning and loose components. These issues can easily be avoided with routine maintenance. Every crossbow comes with a user’s manual, sighting instructions, and assembly instructions. It also often features a list of maintenance procedures.
Usually, the manual will also include how to change the crossbow string, how to lubricate the flight rail, and how to wax the string. Some manufacturers checking limb condition and looking for frayed strings, and oiling some of the major components, such as the axles and trigger box.
How to Change Crossbow String on a Compound Bow
Most modern models of crossbows use pulleys and cams to create a more energy efficient compact weapon. But this type of high-tech construction can put the bow at a disadvantage when it comes to changing the string. In order to change the string on a compound bow, you must have access to a bow press. The bow press will slide the string into place and compress the stiff limbs. This is a process that you can’t easily do in the field.
The first step will involve waxing the new string and looking it over to check for flaws. Waxing the string helps to make the installation process easier, but it can also extend the life of the string.
Next, place the bow in the crossbow press. Make sure you use a bow that has been approved by the bow’s manufacturer. You must slowly compress the limbs in order to loosen the string. The bow press helps to reduce the possibility of the string breaking during the process.
Now you’re ready to install the new string over the old one while it’s still on the bow. You must follow the old string. Next, remove the old string carefully without dislodging the newly placed string.
While it’s in the bow press, inspect the bow, checking the stock, stringer, cams, and pulleys to ensure that all of the components are in proper working order.
Release the tension on the bow press to remove the bow. Look at the bow’s alignment to make sure it didn’t get bent while in the bow press.
Now you can test out the bow at your local range. Cock it and check that the string doesn’t bind and that the cams are able to roll freely. Fire off a bolt and check that it shoots straight.
By carefully following the manufacturer’s recommendations, the bow’s string should easily last at least two hundred shots.
Forty yards is still the industry’s max recommended range, despite the fact that manufacturers continue to push the limits of both range and speed. Bolts will certainly fly farther, however, doing so accurately is an entirely different matter.
In order to put game down humanely and quickly, the hunter must know the range of their target. But not every hunter is able to estimate range accurately. A buck might be twenty or thirty yards away. Those ten yards can mean the difference between failure and success.
Use a rangefinder to help determine the distance you’re shooting if you’re not able to do this by sight alone. A rangefinder is an important part of the beginner’s hunting arsenal and it can be used to mark the distance to game, tree stumps, and other objects from your blind or stand. When a deer works past the mark, you’ll instantly know exactly how far it is.
Important Bowhunting Safety Tips
Never ignore hand placement. You don’t want to injure your thumb and fingers when shooting, but unfortunately, this can be all too easy to do. Beginners will usually hold a crossbow like a rifle, which will place their thumb and fingers in a dangerous position because the fingers tend to get in the way of the bowstring. When the arrow quickly releases it can remove digits before the hunter even knows it. Make sure you carefully and properly hold the bow each and every time.
Never try shooting with your weak hand. When you do so, you can end up seriously injuring yourself. The bow’s balance can make it difficult to accurately shoot from your weak side. Instead of using your weak hand, move your body so you’re able to take the shot using your strong one.
Shooting with a crossbow can be exciting and challenging. But in the beginning, you need to pace yourself. Never shoot beyond your ability. If you’re able to accurately place an arrow at a distance of twenty yards, then you can shoot from your preferred distance. But if you’re having trouble hitting a target from forty-yards, then don’t try to shoot game from that distance. Not only will you just waste time and arrows, but you may end up only injuring an animal instead of taking it down.