How to Cock a Crossbow, Explained In Detail

Crossbows are excellent weapons at short ranges as they are lethal, but you might struggle to hit the target at long degrees.

That said, if you are more into traditional hunting, crossbows are just the perfect solution for you. They are compact, beginner-friendly, and straightforward to use. Not to mention lightweight as well.

This mighty weapon can striker your targets with better efficiency and precision. With all that said, learning to use a crossbow still requires some patience and awareness from your end.

The first step in shooting a crossbow is learning how to load and cock a crossbow. Don’t worry; I’ll go over how to cock a crossbow so that you’ll be less oblivious when it comes to crossbows after reading my guide.

So you’re ready? Good, Let’s get going.

How to Cock a Crossbow by Hand?

How to Cock a Crossbow by Hand

There are a ton of individuals who love to cock their crossbows with hands, and it makes sense as it’s the most economical option of all as you’ll be not using any extra gadgets to cock your bow.

Not to mention it is one of the fastest ways you can cock your bow and get ready for another shot which might come in handy if you have to shoot for a follow-up shot.

That said, cocking by hand does come with its fair share of disadvantages that you should be acclimatized with if you are going to end up following this method.

Speaking of which, the very first one is — strain on your back. You see, if you are cocking crossbow by your hand, you’ll have to repeatedly bend every time to just cock it back, and this will put a ton of strain on your back.

Also, you’ll feel more fatigued if you are pulling a draw weight of 150 to 200 pounds. Not only can this discourage you from pulling further, but it might also cause an injury in the worst possible case.

To make your experience even more uncomfortable, these days, crossbows also come with a narrow axle width, so if you proceed to cock the bow by pulling the string back, it might pinch you and give you a heck of a pain.

That’s where gadgets come in handy, as they effectively reduce the poundage to pull so that you can pull comfortably without any safety concerns.

The following common problem with hand pulling is to pull the string with an uneven force, which may seem easy, but at the end of the day, you might pull the string off from the center, and you might miss your shots from several inches as it will throw off your aim.

Therefore, if you are going to cocking the crossbow by hand, make sure you’re developing a correct repeatable method with the proper posture. So that you will not only cause less injury to yourself, but it will also promote a better string position that you can rely on upon without a hitch.

Now that all of this is said, it’s time to look at cocking the crossbow by hands.

  • Make sure that you’ve correctly placed your food into the crossbow’s stirrup and pointed the bow at the ground.
  • Next, bend down slowly by bending your knees as much as you can as you go bending your back.
  • Now grab the string by extending your arms and keep them straight; ensure to hold the string with three to four fingers as the fewer fingers you use, the better it is.
  • After that, slowly pull the string without yanking it. Your motion should be smooth and straight.
  • Pull the string into the notch at the backside of your bow, just before the buttstock.
  • Make sure that during this process safety switch is engaged.

If you keep repeating, hopefully, you’ll find a procedure that works wonders for you. You should pay more attention to your finger movements and spinal posture. When you resume back to your original standing position, your eyes should be looking straight or slightly upwards.

Typically, the consistency of your shots will determine your ability to cock the X-bow properly by your hand, as well as consistently performing the same cocking procedure.

This may sound daunting, but with practice, you’ll eventually get there.

Cocking your crossbow by hand is the most convenient and fastest way possible, albeit a bit hard yet doable if you learn to do it correctly.

Tip:- If you’re hand-cocking your crossbow, you can mark the middle of the string with a permanent marker at the point where it crosses the stock so that you can ensure that you’re cocking is uniform every time you hand-cock it. With the help of the mark, you can cock your crossbow where the mark is in the center of the cocking mechanism.

How to Cock a Crossbow With a Rope-Cocker?

Rope-Cocker

A rope cocking device is the most inexpensive and excellent way of cocking your crossbows. This device can effectively reduce around 50% of draw weight when you pull. Meaning, if you are dealing with a 160 lbs draw weight, you’ll only need the strength of 80 lbs to pull.

Therefore, if you are not in the physical realm, experiencing physical problems, or don’t have the strength to cock the bow by hand, you can go for this thrifty alternative.

Generally, the rope comes with two pulley hooks and a handler at either hand that you’ll hold on to while pulling. That said, many of the modern crossbows come with an integrated rope-cocker that works just the same as the separate rope. However, you might have to place the center of the rope in the notch in this case.

Therefore, if normal bow cocking seems kind of more daunting to you, you should go for a rope cocking device. It will make the cocking process a whole lot easier for you.

Here’s how you can cock the bow with the help of a rope cocking device.

  • The first step is the same, to place your feet into the stirrup firmly.
  • Make sure that your safety switch is engaged as the string might not latch.
  • Now take the rope-cocker and place the center of this rope into the notch before the buttstock.
  • Once done, hook the handles on the bowstring by moving the pulleys down the rope.
  • Ensure that you’ve placed the pulleys at equal distance from the rail, as if you won’t, it might lead to an inaccurate shot as well as prove to be dangerous.
  • After the pulleys are attached to the string, gently pull the handles till the string locks into the place, you’ll hear a click sound once done.
  • Make sure that your movement is as smooth and constant as possible, as yanking the string could damage not only the crossbow but also injure yourself.
  • Before moving on to loading the crossbow, ensure that your safety switch is on.

You see how simple and straightforward it seems, it’s because all the procedures you’d typically do to cock a crossbow are mentioned here, but the device makes all the steps much easier for you.

How to Cock a Crossbow With a Crank Cocking Device?

Crank Cocking Device

A crank cocking device can effectively cock your crossbow evenly and improve accuracy while also reducing the overall pull strength. With the help of this device, you can easily pull the string with little to no effort at all. It requires around just 10 to 15 lbs of strength, so there’s that.

It is a device attached to your handle, and it has ropes extending from either side that can be attached to your bowstring with the help of hooks. All you have to do is simply rotate the handle of the cranking device; that’s it. Since the device is fixed into one position, it allows you to pull back the string consistently every time, leading to a much higher accuracy rate.

When it comes to cranks, some of them are removable, while others mostly stay on the stock of your crossbow. Now each one has its own benefits and demerits, and you should follow the one that works best for you.

In case the crank device is removable, you should ensure that it is stored safely so that you can use it later. Other than that, having a removable crank device can help you aim better as it won’t come in your way.

On the other hand, if the device stays on the stock, you should ensure that it doesn’t affect your aim while shooting.

Here’s how you can cock your crossbow with a hand crank aid.

  • As usual, make sure that you have your crossbow ready and pointed out in the ground while your foot is firmly placed in the stirrup.
  • The first step is to disengage your safety, and pull the bracket or the rope, and attach it to the string of your bow.
  • Once you have attached the bracket to the bowstring, you have to re-engage the safety and start turning the device.
  • You’ll require a couple of cranks with minimal effort to pull them back till you hear the sound of double click, which means that it’s been cocked.
  • Now you can take the safety of and back out the rope or the bracket.
  • After this, if you have a removable cranking device, you’d have two options, either keep the cranking device as it is and go with your shot. Or you can just remove the crank by loosening the thumbscrew; this way, you’ll have less obstruction while shooting.

That’s all you have to do; it seems pretty easy, right? But crank cocking devices are mostly expensive and may break your bank.

Besides that, they are also time-consuming; though you’ll have to put in less effort, it is traded with more time consumption, let alone the noise it produces.

With all those minor snags, the crank cocking device is still the most efficient way to cock your crossbow.

Tip:- Make sure that you’re not using this device to de-cock your crossbow. If you want to de-cock, you can do that by either shooting at a target or on soft earth, for instance, sandy soil.

Still, Stumped?

If you’re still unsure and not confident to cock your crossbow, don’t worry. I’ve just the video for you. Here, you can watch the video to understand how to cock your crossbow correctly step-by-step.

Conclusion

Cocking your crossbow is not that hard task after all, right? Make sure that you’re following the steps I’ve mentioned to avoid any kind of damage to your crossbow or yourself.

Now that you know how to cock a crossbow, head to your range, get ready with your target and start shooting some bolts.

If you are with me till here (the end of the article), I reckon you’re among the persons that love to take out the time and do things the proper way while getting prepared for success. Therefore, I am optimistic that you’ll be ready to take your hunting to the next level with just a few shots and more confidence.

With that being said, if you have any conundrums relating to cocking or loading the crossbow, or perhaps about hunting in general, don’t forget to shoot them in the comment section below. I would love to help you guys out.

Till then stay safe, keep shooting, hunting, and fishing!

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