So, you just bought your first crossbow, or maybe you are a seasoned hunter or archer. One of the first things you should familiarize yourself with is the function and proper maintenance of your crossbow for peak performance. Although crossbows are simple in design and easy to understand, they are not toys. Learning how everything works and how to maintain it is just as important as learning to shoot. This article will focus primarily on the right way to maintain and care for your new crossbow.
Regular Waxing of the Bowstring and Cables
The bowstring and cables are essential to the proper function of your crossbow. Continued use and weather conditions can cause fraying and drying out of the strings. Waxing helps to prevent this. It also adds a waterproof element, creates smoother action, and reduces friction.
The strings are easily done by applying wax directly to the exposed parts. Just be sure to avoid the serving portion of the line, as this can cause gumming up of the trigger. After applying the wax, begin rubbing it into the string evenly with your thumb and index finger. Remember, only apply wax to the exposed part of the string.
Manufacturers will include a tube of wax with their crossbow kits. However, any high- quality bowstring wax will work. The frequency of waxing varies depending on how often it and what the conditions are when in use (rain, snow, sunshine, etc.). Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper function. Under normal circumstances, cables and strings should be replaced every couple of years.
Lubricate the Rail
An essential aspect of proper crossbow maintenance is the lubrication of the rail. Doing this will have a direct relationship with the efficiency and function of your crossbow, minimizing friction, and maximizing arrow accuracy. It should be done every 50-60 shots or if it begins to look dull and dry. A crossbow rail should always have a glossy shine to it. Again, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as each crossbow may have different requirements.
Apply two small drops of rail lube and rub it along the length of the rail to ensure an even application. There should be a light sheen on the rail when adequately lubricated. Be aware not to over oil the rail. Only genuine crossbow rail lube should be used. Do not use petroleum-based products or WD-40 as these can collect dirt and possibly destroy the trigger mechanism.
Protecting Your Crossbow From Rain Damage
If you’re hunting in the rain and the crossbow gets wet, it is essential to be sure to dry all the components thoroughly. You can place the crossbow near a vent or fan to aid the drying process. Once dry, attention is turned to lubrication. You will need to wax the strings and cables. Make sure they are thoroughly dry before lubricating, or moisture will get trapped in the strings, and mold can occur, causing further damage. Next, lubricate the rail, trigger box, and mounting bolts to prevent rusting. When lubricating the crossbow, remember, less is more.
Inspecting Your Crossbow Before Each Use
Proper inspection during your crossbow maintenance crucial to not only the function of the crossbow, but also for the safety of you and those around you. It is essential to check for signs of wear and tear before each use. Your checklist should include cables, string, serving, cams, limbs, riser, rail, screws, retainer, and arrows. Checking the bolts should be done with the use of an Allen wrench. If a string shows signs of wear or begins to fray, it should be replaced. If you are unfamiliar with how to change a bowstring, it’s recommended to have a professional do it. Study the owner’s manual for the proper function of the components and safety. Make sure you are fully aware of any damage, cracking, or malfunctions before use and address those issues immediately.
Cleaning Your Crossbow
Clean your crossbow thoroughly after use and before lubrication. You can use a soft cotton towel with purified water to wipe down your crossbow to remove any dirt or debris. However, one of the best ways to clean your crossbow is with the use of a can of compressed air. This way, you will be able to clean the hard to reach areas from the build-up of dirt. Never use any cleaning solvents as they may react with the coating on the stock or limbs, causing it to flake or peel. Always use lens cleaning wipes to avoid making any scratch marks on the lens, which can impede your sight. Be sure the crossbow is completely dry and free from dirt before lubricating it.
Safely Storing Your Crossbow.
If not in use, it is best to store it in a hard crossbow case. The case will protect it from possible damage during travel and the surrounding elements. Although some people hang it on the wall, the advantage of keeping it in a case is that it will keep it clean, free from dust and debris accumulation. It is best to store the crossbow in a cool, dry place. It should not be exposed to excessive heat or cold. Please do not leave your crossbow in direct sunlight as it can quickly dry the strings and shorten their lifespan. Keep it out of the reach of children. When storing it for the off-season, you can remove the strings and cables, so the bow remains as relaxed as possible to maintain its strength.
If you take the time to follow these few easy steps, you will ensure proper function and extend the life of your new crossbow. Thus, eliminating possible complications and allowing for smooth and accurate shooting every time, giving you more time to enjoy it in the woods or on the range. As always, know your owner’s manual well, focus on product safety, and follow the recommended guidelines.