There are a few different ways of cocking a crossbow and it will be an important decision depending on what you want to use the crossbow for.
Cocking By Hand
This is the “default” way and makes use of a foot stirrup. The stirrup is either attached or built in to the front of the crossbow and makes pulling the string into the cocked position easier.
The problem with this method is that you can have inconsistent pressure on the 2 different limbs which can throw off your aim. If you cock your crossbow by hand you might pull the string slightly to the left or right, thereby creating different pressure between the limbs.
If you do target shooting this is definitely NOT the way to cock your crossbow. However, there might be certain hunting scenarios where you are forced to cock by hand.
TIP! If you cock your crossbow by hand make a mark in the middle of the string exactly where it crosses the stock. You can then use this mark to cock the crossbow, with the mark in the centre of the cocking mechanism.
Crank Cocking Device
A crank cocking device can normally be attached to the stock to help cock the crossbow. This is a lot easier than cocking by hand, only requiring around 10 – 15 lb of tension.
Some cranks can be removed after cocking the bow, while others stay on the stock. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Below are the main considerations:
- If it is removable, where will you store it after cocking the crossbow?
- If it stays on the stock, does it affect your aim or the balance of the crossbow?
While cocking your crossbow with a crank is the easiest way of cocking it there are some drawbacks:
- The device is quite expensive
- It can take some time to cock the crossbow
- It can be noisy
Rope Cocking Device
While a rope cocking device is not as effective as a cranking device, it will still half the effort required to cock the bow. It is the most popular way of cocking your bow as it is also very cheap compared to a cranking device.