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

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

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.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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...

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

Game & Fish Digital Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Boss Buck introduces attractants that are powerful and long-lasting. Whitetail

Apple & Acorn Liquid Attractants for Deer Hunting

Game & Fish Staff - June 10, 2020

Boss Buck introduces attractants that are powerful and long-lasting.

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology. Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the track. Whitetail

Aim True, Track Smart: Harvest Recovery

Wayne van Zwoll - December 26, 2019

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the...

Become a better poor-weather deer hunter. Whitetail

Make Bad Weather a Deer-Hunting Bonus

Terry Madewell - November 27, 2019

Become a better poor-weather deer hunter.

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