Lots of folks who’re new to archery think that shooting a crossbow accurately is easy-peasy. As a matter of fact, not every crossbow can shoot dead-center right out of the box.
To get pinpoint accuracy, a crossbow needs to be fine-tuned a little, but within the recommended limitations. Today, we’re going to learn how to shoot a crossbow accurately.
This is intended to help you get consistently accurate results out of your gear. Before then, let’s learn about a crossbow and how it’s used.
A Crossbow – What Is It?
A crossbow is a mechanical bow consisting of moving parts for projecting the arrow. The difference between a crossbow and a traditional bow is that the latter involves manually drawing the bowstring to shoot an arrow.
Due to the mechanics and moving parts, it’s almost effortless to draw the string of a crossbow, and the actual draw is powerful. It’s the crossbow’s power and accuracy that makes it ideal for hunting some of the world’s largest wildlife creatures.
The mechanical design of a crossbow requires it to be used horizontally and not vertically, just like a compound bow or longbow. It might interest you to know that the crossbow has an historical existence, having been around since the medieval times.
Enough for now; let’s cut to the chase and see how to shoot a crossbow.
How To Shoot A Crossbow Accurately – Effective Guide
Step 1: Choose The Right Crossbow
Choosing the proper crossbow is the very first step towards accurate crossbow shooting. The right crossbow is one that you can hold comfortably, which also translates to easy cocking of the bow. Such a crossbow is likely to afford the best accuracy.
Step 2: Maintain Your Crossbow
A bow that’s in its best shape is more than likely to provide accurate shots all the time. Most of the bow maintenance procedures are labeled in the owner’s manual.
General maintenance processes include ensuring the string is properly waxed and flight rail lubricated. The string and flight rail are vital parts of your crossbow, so keep them in tip top shape.
Step 3: Calibrate Your Scope
Lots of today’s crossbow scopes are intended for crossbow shooting using circles, dots or crosshairs to show distances out to 60 yards (or further). For accuracy, such scopes are designed out to 40 yards, but over time their accuracy declines.
In order to determine the accuracy, take a steady rest at a bench and shoot 3-4 arrows at increasing distances. Adjust the top-most scope reticle so it’s accurately set to hit a target at a 20 yard range, and then make a 10-yard distance increment.
Most modern crossbows assure dependable accuracy under hunting conditions when designed out to 40 yards. Crossbow accuracy tends to fall off beyond 40 yards due to things like wind deflection, shooter error and loss of arrow speed.
For hunting purposes, you’re required to limit your shots at game to 45 yards. But under perfect conditions with no wind or obstacles, 60 yards out West is acceptable.
Target shooters are permitted to double those standards for purposes of competition. However, accuracy certainly fizzles with increasing distance to the target.
Step 4: Cock Your Crossbow Correctly
Having calibrated or adjusted your scope, now we can focus on the mechanics of how to shoot a crossbow. Even if everything’s set properly, it’ll be of no use if the bolt is cocked off center.
Check on the string, and ensure the cocking is perfectly straight. You’ll see a big negative if you cock your crossbow bolt even a fraction of an inch to the right or left, because your arrow won’t go where you want it to!
All you need to cock correctly is simply your crossbow and marker. Leave a mark on the crossbow in a position where the flight rail passes over it when not cocked. Then, make certain that the mark is lined up with centered trigger mechanism. An alternative way to cock easily and correctly is using a rope cocking device.
Step 5: Steer Clear Of Crossbow Canting
Eliminating crossbow canting is another way to fire a crossbow with pinpoint accuracy. Basically, crossbow canting refers to leaning your bow too much to the right or left. It’s when one limb of the bow is lower compared to the other, thus affecting the accuracy of your shot.
Installing a simple level on your bow is the best way to make sure you ain’t canting to the right or left. Just line the level up so you can make a straighter and more precise shot.
Although avoiding canting is super easy, it can really throw off an otherwise accurate shot. Steering clear of this issue makes a huge difference, so get a crossbow level to address it once and for all.
Step 6: Keep It Slow & Steady
Let the knocked arrow sit tightly on the crossbow rail and press the stock firmly against your shooting shoulder. Make sure to place your other hand on the fore-grip.
Place your hands and fingers out of the path of the bowstring; otherwise painful things could manifest upon pulling the trigger. In order to make the shot steady, prop up the crossbow against the side of box blind or hunting blind.
Leave adequate space for the limbs to expand without striking anything that’s likely to damage the crossbow or cause hazardous limb fracturing. Pull the trigger slowly like it was a trigger on a riffle.
Avoid jerking the trigger or pulling it back suddenly as this might result in poor shot placement. Exhaling, completely focus on your chosen downrange spot and start squeezing the trigger gently.
While still exhaling, slowly squeeze the trigger to get the definitive focus for the shot you’re about to take. Make sure there’s a little air left in your lungs so you may be able to exhale after firing. This is to avoid moving or lifting your head.
Pull the trigger slowly and smoothly in order to hit your target spot. Remember, arrows travel much slower than riffle bullets and will significantly be affected by the wind.
It’s good to practice shooting during windy conditions to be able to understand the impact of the wind on shot placement at variable wind speeds and shot distances. The further the shot, the more severely the wind affects the arrow placement.
Our tips on shoot a crossbow accurately won’t guarantee firing at peak accuracy the first time, but they’re meant to get you started in the right path. Shooting a crossbow accurately every time requires some skill, which can only be learnt through practice.
In that case, we advise you to practice all these steps regularly so you can get the best possible accuracy. Practice makes perfect, and will up your shooting skills and make you a bona fide candidate for sports, hunting, or recreational activities.