Crossbow Range and Accuracy

This arrow is the last of four shots in the center of this 20-yard target shot with Horton Legacy crossbow.

This arrow is the last of four shots in the center of this 20-yard target shot with Horton Legacy crossbow.

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 “Can I make my crossbow shoot like a rifle?” The short answer  is, “No, you cannot.”  Most crossbows if fitted with proper arrows, points and loaded correctly have a maximum recommended range of about 40 yards for a 150-pound pull instrument. Depending on the launch velocity, the arrow may drop from between 3 and 10-inches at that range if the crossbow is sighted in at 20 yards.  

 The crossbow is no rifle. It is an accurate short-range piece of archery equipment that can reliably kill deer and other game. The best thing that a new user can do to improve accuracy is to make sure that the string is positioned in exactly the same place (left and right) on the barrel when the crossbow is cocked. If it is pulled one way or another the arrow will have a laterial drift. Mark the string with a dab of white paint on either side of the barrel so you can instantly see if the string is properly positioned.  

 Although you may be able to easily cock your crossbow, a rope cocking device helps insure that you have even tension on the string and will improve accuracy.

 The next most common error made by new shooters is not pulling the arrows straight out of the target and slightly bending the shafts. With carbon arrows this is not quite as bad a problem as it once was, but be careful anyway. Also shoot only one arrow at the target at the time, retrieve that one and shoot again to keep from ruining your shafts and fletchings. Modern crossbows at 20 yards will shoot arrows in very nearly the same hole.

 A rangefinder is the single most use useful accessory tool for making killing shots on game. Shoot your crossbow enough to learn what your drop is at various ranges and write this info on a piece of tape and stick it on your crossbow in a place that you can instantly reference.

 Read your instruction manual, and apply the recommended lubricants to your string and barrel. I also put a protective coat of oil on all the steel parts, pins etc.

 There is much more about how to target, use and maintain crossbows in my book Crossbow Hunting that is available from and other sources. 
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 Crossbow provided by Horton.

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  1. Pingback: Index of First 150 Post, New Intern « Backyard deer hunting

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