Is there anything more frustrating than lining up a shot with your crossbow, letting the bolt fly, and realizing it’s coming in too high? What gives? That perfect shot has gone to waste.
If you’ve ever experienced this, then you must be frustrated and looking for answers. You’ve come to the right place. However, it will be a little more complicated than you may have thought at first.
A crossbow may shoot too high for several reasons. The components that make up the crossbow may be loosely fitted. This happens naturally as a crossbow is used over time, since each shot sends vibrations through the bow. Another common issue is that your crossbow is not tuned properly. This happens over time and can have a variety of effects on your shots. But, chances are good you’re not lining up your shot properly. This is by far the most common problem, but it is also the easiest to fix.
We’ll look at each of these issues to see how we can overcome them and keep our crossbows firing as accurately as possible.
Identifying and Fixing a High Shooting Crossbow
Figuring out which issue is causing your crossbow to fire high isn’t easy. When you notice that you’re having trouble lining up the height of your shots, you should start looking into each of these issues. The chances are fairly decent that your issue is coming from multiple problems rather than a singular one.
Begin your investigation by testing the fit of the various components. You may find that your crossbow is shooting high for something as simple as a loose scope. When the scope is loose, it doesn’t represent where the bolt is going accurately, and you end up with a shot that is too high, low, or even to the side. Simply tighten and resecure the fit, and it’ll start shooting better.
Since crossbows vibrate every time you shoot them, they are constantly shaking the various components, reducing the strength of their position. In time, it will lead to bad connections. We must perform regular maintenance to fix this. We’ll cover this more later in this article. This maintenance should also help you to quiet an overly noisy crossbow. Find out more about noisy crossbows in our article on Quieting a Loud Crossbow.
If you aren’t tuning your crossbow, then you will find that you shoot higher or lower than you initially intend to. The brace height of your crossbow is the distance from the bowstring itself through to the belly side of the riser. It is measured from the center of the crossbow prior to being cocked. Marking this will help you get a sense of where the bow is tuned to.
As you shoot your crossbow, it will continue to vibrate. One of the effects this has is to slowly untune your string. Watch that mark you made, and you’ll realize that the string is actually moving forward, a little bit at a time. This changes how the string affects the bolt, along with the physics of the shot. This all then leads to a higher or lower shot.
You want to bring back the string to tighten it into its original position. Modern compound crossbows have a bolt you can turn to make adjustments to the string. This affects the tiller, which is the balance between the two limbs of the crossbow. Changing the tiller will tighten or loosen the string and give you a more accurate shot.
The final issue that greatly affects how you are shooting is how you line up the shot. A crossbow is not like a gun; although you could hold a gun sideways and still fire it off and hit a target, a crossbow is carefully designed to be shot a certain way. When aiming, you must hold your crossbow level, so both limbs are parallel with the ground. When you are cantered one way or the other, it will affect the weight of the bow, the aiming, and the shot itself.
Make sure you are always shooting from a crouched position, keeping the limbs of your crossbow level to avoid this problem.
Can a Scope Affect My Shot?
Using a scope is a good idea, as it makes it much easier to get a shot on a target. When purchasing a scope, make sure you only purchase a high-quality scope. If you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend, a highly rated one like this is a good investment.
Using the right scope depends on whether you are looking to hunt or shoot targets. There are two types of scopes you can purchase: those that are multi-crosshair and those that are multi-dot. The different styles will offer varying levels of light gathering for illumination. They will also offer different magnification levels and a wider or smaller range of sight. All of these components will have an effect on how you are shooting.
Those who have been hunting for a long time tend to lean toward multi-crosshair scopes because they find them to offer better accuracy. However, newer archers may find it difficult to line their shots up with a scope because they don’t understand how to read it properly. This particular issue can be solved by spending more time getting used to your scope.
Does Range Play Into the Accuracy Equation?
How close or how far you are from your target will have an effect on how well your arrow lines up with your intended target. The industry recommended range for crossbow targets is 40 yards. Anything less or more will require compensation.
It’s easy to shoot a bolt further than 40 yards, but accuracy will likely be lost in the process. Figuring out the range of your target can cause a lot of problems. It isn’t easy when you are new to archery, and it can even be difficult for those who have been at it for a while.
You can purchase a rangefinder to get an accurate reading of the range so you don’t have to guess it. This will help you determine if you should get closer, back up, or take the shot.
Can My Posture Affect My Shot?
Crossbows are pretty heavy and many people experience a bit of a shake when holding them. A tiny shake may not seem like a big deal, but it can still ruin your shot. Crossbows have gotten lighter throughout the years, but they are still not so light as to eliminate this issue.
The best way around your posture affecting your shot is to shoot while at a bench. You should be crouched down for the best support. If you can, use a solid surface to help you take the weight off your arms and keep the shot lined up, then do it.
Standing up and overextending your arms will only lead to more strain and a reduced accuracy. Stay on target by only firing with proper posture.
How Should I Maintain My Crossbow for the Best Accuracy?
When you buy your crossbow, it will come with a manual. Pretty much every piece of equipment you buy in regards to your crossbow should come with manuals. If they don’t, then you should look online to see if there are any on the company’s website. The instructions listed should walk you through maintenance.
In general, a crossbow will need the flight rail lubricated regularly. You’ll also typically want to wax the string. Some crossbows have a tendency for fraying in the strings or showing damage in the limbs. The trigger box should be oiled regularly and, if you have a compound crossbow, there will be axles to oil.
When we talk about performing regular maintenance, we aren’t basing it on a yearly or monthly basis. With that said, it should be noted that leaving it in bad weather will lead to more required maintenance. Primarily, the variable we judge maintenance on is how often the crossbow has been shot. You should typically be performing maintenance no less than every 200 times the crossbow has been fired.
Fixing a crossbow that is aiming too high is a matter of diagnosing the problem by looking at each of the common causes. It must be noted, however, that many of the issues that cause a crossbow to aim too high or too low can also cause your shot to veer one way or the other when you pull the trigger.
There are even more issues that could cause a crossbow to aim to the sides, but just because you are aiming too high doesn’t mean there aren’t horizontal issues at play as well. Check out this article Why Your Crossbow Shoots to the Left (And How to Fix It) on the topic to learn more about improving your crossbow’s accuracy.
Remember that the biggest factor that could be reducing your crossbow’s accuracy is poor maintenance. If you are taking care of your bow, then you should know exactly what is wrong with it when it starts to act up. This knowledge comes from careful observation of your bow and how you handle it, and such can only be gained with experience.
So get out there, get shooting, and start stacking up that experience.