How To Cock a Crossbow?

Cocking a crossbow makes a big difference in winning or losing the game. Cocking a bow before firing help you determine the crossbow of your need or choice. In simple words, it helps you to select how much weight you are willing to cock. Leaning a crossbow in an accurate way is important as an improper cocked crossbow can cause significant accuracy problems.

Draw weight isn’t a problem while you are looking to purchase a crossbow. It is your personal preferences and physical condition that should determine what type of cocking device you should select to go with your device.

Developing a proper cocking and uncocking technique can help you achieve accurate and consistent bolt flight.

There are 3 similar ways to cock a crossbow such as rope cocking device, bare hands, or integrated rope cocking device.

How to Cock a Crossbow - Basic Steps

You can master the skills with consistent practice and efforts. Cocking has the same basic principle that applies to reverse compound, recurve bow and compound bows alike. Whether you cock the crossbow manually or use a cocking device, there are simple steps that one can follow.

Step 1: While cocking crossbow, you can move the safety instead of the fire position. It is located on the side of your crossbow or can be found on the rear of the side bridge.

Step 2: Point the crossbow to the floor so that foot claw touches the ground. Place your foot in the foot claw to keep crossbow down while yanking the string back.

Step 3: Place the Ball of the Foot in the Cocking Stirrup. In case of manually cocking the crossbow, putting the bowl of your foot in the foot stirrup help you prevent the slippage.

Step 4: Grab the String Back with a smooth and constant movement while bending over the stock. You can pull the string with the help of a cocking device. Draw the strings evenly along both the sides of the barrel to the latching and safety mechanism.

With the longer stock on some compound crossbows and recurve crossbows, you’ll have to lean to the side when cocking since it isn’t possible to bend over the stock and reach the string.

Step 5: After you cock your crossbow, load an arrow, and you’re ready to shoot. Switch the safety off the fire position.
It will engage the safety automatically. Check your crossbow manual to see whether to engage it manually before cocking your crossbow.

Cocking Tips of Cocking a Crossbow

There are a few simple tips and tricks that you can employ to increase your crossbow accuracy tenfold and safety.

Shorten the Cocking Rope

You put your hands, arms, lower back, legs into the pull. If you cock a longer recurve crossbow, you might not bend over the stock to do it. Factory Cocking ropes are too long or may put you at serious risk of a shoulder injury. A cocking device assures consistent string placement.

Adjust the length of the rope, so it matches your cocking stroke.
In case you cock manually or use a cocking device, maintain the string in the same evenly centered trigger-latch position each time you cock. You can mark the string with a marker on each side of the rail. It will ensure your consistent string placement. Keep the crossbow pointed in the safe direction while cocking.

Mark Your String

Cocking a string evenly is essential. An Uneven rope length on either side of the arrow leads to the string being latched off-kilter in the trigger mechanism. One must mark the string with a marker to pull the string in a uniform and even manner. Once you have cocked makes sure the string is equidistance from the arrow track.
If it’s not safely recocked, uncock and re-cock it safely.

Cocking with a rope cocking device
Rope Cocking Device

You can safely cock a crossbow using a crossbow rope cocking device. This is the easiest way to cock a crossbow. Its length is adjustable and it takes more than 50% of the weight. It helps to keep consistent accuracy.

Rope cocker comes in standard length that must be adjusted to your height to avoid you having both arms at maximum height and not be able to cock the crossbow. Some crossbows include a shallow groove near the back of the stock for a rope cocker.

  • Rope cocking aid is less expensive than cranking devices.
  • It is quiet and easy to use.
  • Chances of dry fire are less.

Cons

  • If the retractable system fails, it is necessary to replace.

Using a Cocking Rope is very simple:

Step 1: Point empty bow towards the ground and place your foot in the foot claw.

Step 2: Hook the clamps in the string. Make sure that you have even tension on both sides.

Step 3: Pull the string back using the crank handle until the crossbow safety is engaged.

Step 4: After you cock your crossbow, place the safety switch to SAFE, and you can load your crossbow to shoot.

Cocking with cranking device

Cranking Device

Cranking device is generally integrated with a removable handle. Its handle works with a cranking mechanism lowering the weight up to five pounds in some cases. In most of the models, the handle is removable from the shooter sight for firing.

  • It is almost effortless by lowering cocking weight.
  • It is fully integrated and easy to use.
  • It is excellent for disabled or back injured people and those that don’t have the strength to pull a bow back any other way.
  • Dry fire is impossible virtually.

Cons

  • Its clicking sounds can be noisy for some.
  • It is expensive.

Things to Avoid While Cocking a Crossbow

  • Serving must be centred while a crossbow is cocked and loaded so that equal lengths are on either side of the rail.
  • When cocking, relying too much on your dominant arm can cause your serving to off centre. Usually, most people have a dominant arm, with more strength than others that can lead to that arm by pulling string faster and disrupting the balance. A solution to this problem is to mark the serving with a marker or pen on both sides of the rail while the crossbow string is at rest.
  • Dry firing can cause severe damage to the crossbow. Therefore never dry fire your crossbow to practice cocking.

How to uncock a crossbow?

The ultimate way to uncock crossbow is shooting an arrow into the soil in a safe area. There are three ways to uncock the crossbow:

Using a Discharge Bolts

In this method, the discharge target is used to unload the bow. Discharge targets are small archery targets that are portable and have a thick material. It will stop a bolt at close range. Discharge targets are easy to use.

Using an Unloading Bolt

Discharge bolts are specially made for uncocking a crossbow safely. These are heavy duty arrows. The technique is the same, though you have to shoot a crossbow in a safe area and at last some cranking mechanism offer.

They can work well. However, they need soft ground, and there is a chance of them burying themselves deep into the dirt or worse skipping off the field.

Using a Crossbow Defuser

Crossbow defuser is a device that fits into your crossbow and holds the crossbow limbs so you can slowly release the tension safely. Crossbow defusers are excellent, but you’ve to know how to fit and use them properly.

The other safest method is to uncock the string by reversing the cranking mechanism of the crank aid that allows you to do it.

Safety tip: Don’t dry-fire to uncock a crossbow, this may result in damage crossbow or even worst, your own self.

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