Cross Marks The Spot

9 accuracy tips for getting the most out of a crossbow

Cross Marks The Spot
9 accuracy tips for getting the most out of a crossbow

If you can accurately shoot a rifle, you should be fine with shooting a crossbow, right?

Or wait ... do you have to be accurate with a bow to be able to have tight groupings with these hybrids?

According to David Barnett of Barnett Crossbows (www.barnettcrossbows.com), the answer is both, sort of.

"Understanding the mechanics of shooting a rifle is important. But just as important is knowing the properties of archery gear and the relationship between a bow, the arrows (or bolts) you select and the different points you can elect to use," he said. "The bottom line is that transitioning from a gun to a crossbow is very seamless, even though the limitations of a crossbow are very similar to a vertical bow.


This said, Barnett walks us through his best tips for improving crossbow accuracy:


  1. Use a cocking rope:
    "Cocking by hand is inconsistent. You want equal amount of draw on each limb and your string perfectly centered on the flight track. If your string is off center just a little, your bolt flight will be altered, reducing accuracy."

  2. Mark center:
    "Even if you are using a cocking rope, mark the center of your crossbow string while it is at rest. This way, if you loose your rope cocking device, you can cock the bow by hand and know if the string is centered on the track."

  3. Broadhead selection:
    "If you use fixed-blade broadheads, keep the maximum diameter to or below 1 1/8-inch. Because of the high speeds of most modern crossbows, larger diameter broadheads offer inconsistent patterns."

  4. Arrow check:
    "Always check your arrows before you shoot. A damaged fletching, nicked nock or insert could not only dramatically affect your accuracy, but could also damage your bow and cause you injury. Crossbows are under a lot of pressure and torque. Any small problem with a bolt is magnified when you squeeze the trigger."

  5. Go with the grain:
    "Always keep your bolt setup consistent. Make sure the shaft length and weight doesn't vary. And keep your field points and broadheads all the same weight. Mixing points and shafts of different grain-weights can be confusing and may result in accidentally shooting a bolt that's heavier or lighter than you expect."

  6. Wax and lube frequently:
    "I recommend waxing your strings and lubing the flight track every 15 to 20 shots (Barnett Crossbow Lubewax). You want to keep the friction to a minimum on the flight track to increase longevity of your strings and the bow shooting at top speed. Once you coat all the strings and cables, rub the wax in with your fingers."

  7. Shoulder, squeeze, rest:
    "This reminder sounds silly, but remember to pull the crossbow tight to your shoulder. A lot of people forget this simple rule because there is no recoil. Also remember to squeeze the trigger like on a rifle, don't pull it sharply. And use a rest when possible. Shooting sticks are great for crossbows!"

  8. All about the length:
    "Make sure you always shoot the proper length bolt. Crossbows are generally built to launch a specific weight range, most of which comes from the bolt. Shooting one too heavy or too light will eventually cause the bow to malfunction or break. Long term accuracy is certainly lost at this point."

  9. Practice, practice, practice:
    "Again, this seems elementary. However, many folks head out to the woods with a crossbow thinking it's easy after shooting a tight group in the backyard off a bench. Hardly the case. Put yourself in hunting situations and practice shooting from a prone, kneeling and standing position. You'll find that shooting a crossbow is a unique combination of gun and bow ... and the only way to perfect it is by practicing with one!"

Go to 2013 Deer Camp

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Master the hang-and-hunt strategy to unravel the deer rut. Whitetail

Field Skills: Go Mobile to Tag Rutting Bucks

Tony Peterson - November 22, 2019

Master the hang-and-hunt strategy to unravel the deer rut.

He found his 19-point 'buck' to be a doe as he started field-dressing. Whitetail

Missouri Hunter Bags Rare Antlered Doe

G&F Online Staff - December 02, 2019

He found his 19-point 'buck' to be a doe as he started field-dressing.

Amid CWD concerns, the evolving regulation of attractants may change the way you hunt. Whitetail

Deer-Urine Bans: The New Normal?

Carolee Anita Boyles - March 27, 2020

Amid CWD concerns, the evolving regulation of attractants may change the way you hunt.

Take advantage of the second rut and arrow a great buck to close your season. Whitetail

Bowhunting: Second Rut, Last Chance

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn - December 23, 2019

Take advantage of the second rut and arrow a great buck to close your season.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now