The crossbow may look a lot hardier and more solid than a regular bow, but if the hunter is to make the most out of this kind of weapon, it is best to give it the same tender loving care they would give to any other piece of hunting gear. There are systems of interconnected parts that need to be waxed, inspected, cleaned or limbered up, so knowing how to go about everything spells the difference between optimization of the weapon and not being able to make the most of it at all.
The crossbow is a special weapon that requires more than just wiping with a cloth dampened with water, alcohol or any other inapplicable formula. Experts recommend using specially formulated bow wax. Regular waxing of the cables and strings helps prolong the life of those components, which can wear out with the passage of time. Compared to those of regular bows, the strings and cables of a crossbow need more frequent waxing. Crossbow strings can dry out and fray but if the user religiously waxes them, it can keep its top notch shape and strong condition.
When being drawn, the string of a crossbow holds greater weight, often more than twice a regular bow’s draw weight. To maintain the high performance level of the string, it needs to be waxed regularly. Since waxing a single string will only take a few seconds, that shouldn’t be hard to do at least once a month or on a once-a-week basis. This will keep the component from breaking in the field during those critical shooting moments.
Lubricate and/or oil the vital parts:
Several parts of the crossbow need to be lubricated to ensure reliable and consistent performance on the field. These include the rail, trigger box, exposed mounting bolts, wheels and axles.
The rail has to be lubricated to ensure smooth traction of the bolt and minimal friction, which results in considerably increased accuracy. To do this successfully, two drops of lubricant can be applied to the middle of the rail then spread across the full length of the component using a finger. Experts do not advise vaseline-based lubricants for this purpose. The rail should be lubed every 75 to 100 shots. Doing it too frequently will wear out the center serving on the string.
A Vaseline-based or petroleum jelly-type product accumulates dirt easily and can be the source of crossbow problems. Stick to oil-based lubricants that dry quickly. The crossbow has to be lubed as soon as possible if it is used in the rain or falls in the water.
One or two drops of lubricant can also be applied to the trigger box. Do the same with the visible mounting bolts, including those that go between the stock and the riser. This will provide protection from damage and corrosion due to the elements.
In a similar fashion to a gun, a crossbow is outfitted with a trigger and safety mechanism. Put a few drops of oil in it, as well as the safety slide. Doing that at least once a year ensures faultless performance from the trigger while preventing the safety system from freezing up or getting rusty.
Use 4 to 6 coats of tung or linseed oil on the stock. Another coat may be added, or any premium furniture oil after around six months. You can also use furniture wax.
Overapplication of oil just results in annoying stickiness. If this happens, eliminate excess oil by wiping it off with an alcohol-moistened rag. It is not wise to oil the wood more than around once a year, as this could cause damage to the wood.
The wheels and axles of a compound bow will turn as smoothly as they should if some lubricant is applied to them.
Check the essential components:
Before every shooting session, never skip the inspection of the vital working components of the crossbow.
Tighten loose bolts and nuts. Remember that high-speed crossbows are subjected to excessive vibration, which necessitates thorough checking for tightness. Loose nuts and bolts are also a source of noise, which can be bad for stealth hunting.
Check if the riser or limbs move independently of the stock. Check for the presence of twisting or cracks in the limbs. The arrow shafts should not show bending or splintering.
Periodically, the bowstring should be inspected for any signs of wear or serving separation, particularly in the center where the arrow is positioned.
The bowstring should be of the appropriate brace height. The brace height measures the distance from a string at rest to the belly or inside surface of the bowstave. Ideally, this factor should be between 3 and 4 inches. To shorten it, take one end of the string off the bowstave and twist it a few turns.
The bow mounting should be tight, and the hunter should ensure this is so before firing, which ensures safety. Driving in the wedges will tighten a bow-iron weapon. For a bound-in bow, make a couple of hard stitches on each side of the binding using a heavy needle threaded with a length of stout cord. The cord binding should end up hard and not easily give at any degree when pressed by your fingers.
Retighten all the bolts, including all those you have attached yourself.
Replace what needs to be:
When you notice signs of separation of the serving or any appearance of breakage, put in a new string. Experts recommend string replacement every few years. If the weapon is regularly used, the cables and strings should be replaced every three years. You will need to replace the string at the first sign of breakage or visible serving separation. The string typically lasts anywhere from 200 to 1,000 arrows, depending on the crossbow type. Neglecting to faithfully wax the string reduces its lifetime by about ⅕.
Keeping a spare string on hand any time you go target shooting or hunting is always good advice.
Clean the components:
Lens cleaning wipes should be used on the optical part of the crossbow to prevent smudges. This needs not be done often, and only when your vision gets obstructed or when you get fingerprint smudges on the lens.
Do clean off any collected dirt or dust on any part of the weapon. You can use a can of pressurized air to do this well. Work on the grooves, connection points and nooks.
To ensure that your crossbow remains a trusty hunting weapon, you should take care of it in the best way possible. This will not only ensure consistent performance but also helps in keeping the crossbow working at its peak. Taking care of your crossbow guarantees dependability for lasting use.