How Does a Crossbow Work?

Last Updated: 13.08.20


Crossbows are preferred by many hunters because of their practicality and long line of tradition. If you want to learn more about how to select the right bolt for hunting, check out this post that we have prepared for you!

The fascination that many have with crossbows has something to do with their complex history. For thousands of years, people have been using these devices to hunt. However, utilizing such a weapon can be rather tricky for a newbie. If you want to know more about how crossbows work, this article is packed with the info that you need.

Main parts of a crossbow

Currently, there are two kinds of crossbows that you can purchase: recurve and compound bows. However, both devices feature the same parts. The stock of a crossbow is the part of the weapon that you actually hold while shooting. The stock rests on the user’s shoulder and it is made of plastic or wood.

The foregrip is the part of the weapon where your aiming hand rests before shooting. It helps users get better control and steady their aim. There are currently numerous kinds of crossbows that include removable and even collapsible foregrips.

The trigger of a weapon of this sort is the part that releases the string and fires the bolt. Trigger mechanisms generally have two simple designs. They are located underneath the latch that holds the string in a cocked position or they can be mounted behind the trigger.

Besides, the safety is also an important part of a crossbow because it prevents any accidental releases. There are also units that include a dual safety system.

The barrel, also known as the track or the rail features a grooved track that aligns the bolt with the string. Barrels are often made of a multitude of materials such as plastic and polymers. Carbon fiber rails are also quite handy and they are both durable and lightweight.

The part of the device where the limbs attach is called the riser. These have numerous configurations. The risers serve the role of keeping the limbs of the bow at the desired level. The limbs are the ends of a bow that are mounted horizontally. Limbs are longer in the case of recurve bows because extra length is needed to create the power that propels the bolt. The strings are connected to each limb.

Another vital component of a crossbow is its cable. This part is only found on this kind of weapons. The cable works in tandem with the cams, it reinforces the crossbow and it adjusts its firing power. Plus, this part keeps the cable taut underneath the barrel and the string pulled back.

Maybe the most important part of a crossbow is the string that propels the bolt forward. A string influences the overall performance and the power of the weapon. To be efficient, a string has to be lightweight and durable so that maximum energy is transmitted to the bolt.

The serving is wound tightly around the string. It protects the string from the spring that holds it into the cocked position. To be sure that each shot that you take is efficient, it is vital that you keep it on either side of the latch.

The flight groove is the part that stands between the latch and the bow. Its role is to allow the arrow to stay perfectly aligned with the string. Moreover, the piece that keeps the bolt on the grove until the trigger releases it is called the arrow retention spring.

This part allows you to carry the crossbow in between locations in a cocked position so that you can fire whenever a shot is possible. When the crossbow is drawn, the part that captures the string is known as the latch.

Plus, the sight is also vital as it helps the hunter in the process of aligning the bolt with the intended target. There are three kinds of sights available: pin and peep, scope, and red dot. The place where you mount the sight on the weapon is called the sight bridge.

The cocking stirrup is a metal foothold that is placed on the front of a crossbow. Normally, hunters place their feet on it while they draw the string into the initial cocking position. The stirrup also has the role of protecting the bolt from getting damaged during transportation.

Finally, the quiver is where you carry the bolts. Quivers come in numerous shapes and sizes as well as configurations. A typical model can hold about three to four bolts at once. There are units that can be mounted parallel to the bow itself or directly onto the barrel.

How to load a crossbow

In simple terms, pulling the trigger on a crossbow releases its string and pushes the bolt that has been loaded forward at high speeds. Modern models can actually fire at a speed of approximately 400 feet per second. Although crossbows are shorter than classic longbows their velocity comes from their compact design and the mechanics that hold the bow in place.

Before one can use a crossbow, he/she has to load it. To do so, one has to first place his/her foot on the cocking stirrup. By doing so, the device is safe to handle as the weapon is planted in the ground. Then, the hunter pulls back the string with cocking ropes.

Next, one has to orient the cocking ropes. Be sure to pull back the bowstring correctly. Then, put the middle of the rope in the groove. This will tighten the cocking ropes while you pull the ropes. Place the middle of the bowstring on the groove by the stock, on top of the bow. This will help to create the tension necessary to pull the bowstring back.

The cocking hooks should then be placed on the bowstring on both sides of the barrel. The hooks should be facing away from you. If you are looking for consistency in accuracy, it is advisable that you mark the location where you place the hooks. This way, you will be able to place the hooks in the same spot every time.

Slightly, pull the ropes so that the handles are completely even with one another. If you fail to do this correctly, it might cause inconsistencies to show in your accuracy. Next, pull the rope back with plenty of force until you hear two or three clicks. The sound of the clicks is an indication that the bowstring is cocked and ready.

Once you get to this step, it is vital that you do not place your finger on the trigger. Finally, you just have to place a bolt in the barrel groove and you are ready to shoot.

All novices out there should remember that the experts do not recommend firing a crossbow that does not feature a bolt. When a bolt is not placed in the latch, the kinetic energy created is not transferred correctly and it gets absorbed by the crossbow.

As a result, serious damage can be caused to the weapon. Even more importantly, this might lead to the hunter being injured. In extreme cases, the user can die as a result of them. Therefore, whenever handling a weapon of this sort, precaution is advisable.



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