How to Cock a Crossbow

How to Cock a Crossbow

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If you are new to hunting, you are about to discover an exciting new hobby that like so many other people out there, you might just end up becoming addicted to. However, when starting out, you might be plagued with insecurities and questions about whether you have the correct equipment and are adopting the right techniques for success.

That’s where we can help with our expert reviews and knowledge-based articles. Knowing who to ask and where to go to for honest and friendly advice can be difficult so you are very welcome and hopefully we’ll cover off all the essential topics regarding crossbows and getting the most out of your hunting experience or target practice.

Today we’re taking one of the most basic but fundamental questions, how to cock a crossbow, and putting forth our recommendations and some best practice tips and techniques that you can hopefully take away and put into practical effect yourself.

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It’s All About the Weight You are Willing to Cock

First up, knowing how to cock your crossbow isn’t just about technique. It can also determine what crossbow you decide to purchase in the first place. One of the most important considerations is how much weight you want to cock which will ultimately have an impact on the equipment you purchase.

If you have a bad back for example and need to have a lighter load, then you will be wanting to go for something that’s compatible with a cranking device that should be able to take 90% of the overall cocking weight.

Before You Begin

However, you can’t do anything without an actual crossbow and when it comes to deciding which to go for, again you have several choices. You can choose a:

  • Recurve crossbow
  • Compound bow or a
  • Reverse limb bow

As with the weight issue, knowing what you are cocking can help you find the perfect match. The crossbow should feel like a natural extension of your own body and be as effortless and comfortable as possible for you to use. Let’s looks at some of the pros and cons of these crossbows when it comes to cocking.

The recurve has to be the most challenging type of crossbow to cock so if you are having any problems with this element, go for something that’s more user-friendly, especially if you are a relative novice.

In the middle of the range, there are compound crossbows which can vary significantly regarding their quality and cocking weights. For perhaps the combined best of both worlds, a reverse limb crossbow might work for you better if you want to enjoy a low cocking weight but still maintain an impressive velocity. The choice is entirely yours, and everyone has their personal style, technique, and favorite bows.

No matter what the crossbow you’ve selected there is a universal stance to be adopted. You must ensure that your foot is always correctly secured and seated into the foot stirrup before you commence any cocking action. This simple tip will minimize any potential injuries or damage to your crossbow.

It’s also of vital importance that you disengage the safety feature before cocking your crossbow. Follow these two procedures no matter what style of bow you own and you are in good stead.

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Three Main Ways to Cock a Crossbow

Essentially there are three ways in which you can cock a crossbow, and those are with your bare hands; rope-cocking devices that generally take off 50% of the cocking weight; and the cranking-style devices we just mentioned above that can reduce the weight by up to 90%. It’s all a matter of personal preference, but also your own physicality  may impact that decision.

Bare handed

First up, this offers a fast operating technique, and in many instances when you are out hunting, speed can be of the essence in an opportunistic moment. Using bare hands requires skill and expertise, and it can be punishing on the fingers and increase the chances of cocking unevenly or even dry firing. It’s a technique that is far more susceptible to general mistakes, especially when you are first starting out and are less likely to be consistent or precise with your delivery.

One piece of advice if you a fan of the bare-handed method is to mark the string with two lines along the flight track; that way, when you are pulling the string you should know precisely when the string becomes centered to the latch. Cocking evenly will result in more consistent and ultimately successful shots.

Using a rope-cocking device

Rope cocking is less expensive than having a cranking device and takes 50% off the weight burden. It’s a relatively easy process to get the hang of and will deliver more consistent and accurate results than using your bare hands, especially when you are getting started.

On the flip side though, if you don’t adjust your rope cocker correctly, you might find yourself with problems, so invest in a good brand if you are going down this route to ensure reliability and minimize errors.

What about the more expensive cranking devices?

So therein lies the main rub – they are often considerably more expensive but not only that, they tend to be louder as well as slower. Not everyone enjoys that loud clicking sound, and for some people, lack of responsiveness might be an issue.

On the positive side though, they offer almost effortless cocking conditions by significantly lowering the weight which for some people, might be absolutely necessary. They make an excellent choice for hunters with any disability or who suffer from back issues. Overall they also deliver consistent and reliable results with dry-firing a virtual impossibility.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Hopefully cocking a crossbow is no longer a great mystery, and you can adopt the technique that is suited best to you. In the end, it will come down mostly to your personal preference, and any underlying physical condition you may have that might impact your ability to use this method. Good look with choosing the right crossbow for you, and happy hunting!

About the Author Pink Crossbow

Lisa loves the outdoors and enjoys exploring a wide-range of activities. A mother of 3 whose seen far too many friends suffer from cancer, she believes Pink Crossbow reflects a sport for LIFE. It's a reminder that archery belongs to everyone regardless of age, size, or gender...and real enthusiasts aren't afraid to wear pink!

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