The time of year has arrived when many crossbow hunters remove their crossbows from storage and begin to prep them for summer practice. This is an exciting time for most because it means they are one step closer to enjoying the fall deer hunting season. When you pull your crossbow out of storage this year, do not allow your excitement to shoot your crossbow cause you to forget proper maintenance procedures and make one of these three critical mistakes.
#1 – Do not take your hunting crossbow out of storage and begin shooting without first checking for loose, worn, or damaged parts.
After you have stored your crossbow for several months, the first thing you should do after removing it from the crossbow case is check all the nuts, bolts, and screws for tightness. These parts can loosen over time from shooting and from transporting to and from the field. Your crossbow has many parts that will not function properly unless mounted securely – like the scope rings, for example. Remember also not to over-tighten, as hand-tight is all that should be required for most folks. Failure to complete this check prior to taking your first shot could result in serious damage to your hunting crossbow or even injury to yourself.
Another part of your crossbow that you should check prior to shooting is your cocking mechanism. If you have one of our stock-mounted cocking devices, like the ACUdraw, ACUdraw PRO, or ACUdraw 50 SLED, check the cords for wear and have them replaced if necessary. These devices also use power springs that can wear out over time that may need to be changed. If you notice that your sled or hooks and handles do not automatically retract back into the cocking unit, then you will likely need to replace the retraction spring.
Your next pre-shooting maintenance step is to lubricate the moving parts on your hunting crossbow that require it – like the axles, Dry-Fire-Inhibitor, trigger mechanism, and safety slide. These parts should be lubricated at least once per year to ensure proper and smooth functioning. Please check the General Owner’s Manual for your specific model to determine which specific areas need to be periodically lubricated with oil. TenPoint’s Flight Rail and Trigger Lube works great for this and will not gum-up in cold weather or collect dirt and grit like other manufacturer’s gel-based lubricants. Failure to lubricate these parts at least once per year will lead to excessive wear, rust formation, and improper functioning of your crossbow.
#2 – Do not forget to apply string wax and conditioner to the string and cables prior to taking your first shot.
Over the course of time, especially during periods when you have stored your hunting crossbow, the string and cables can dry out, making them susceptible to premature and excessive wear or even breakage. If your string and cables have any exposed, non-served strands, apply string wax to them. Always be sure to thoroughly work the wax into the strands by rubbing them with your thumb and forefinger, which heats the wax and melts it, allowing it to soak deeply into the strands.
For the string and cables servings, apply a string conditioner like TenPoint’s Premium Lubricant with Foam Applicator to the string’s center serving and the end loops on the cables. If your hunting crossbow has not had string and cables changed in a couple of years, you should have them changed out prior to beginning your summer practice routine. TenPoint recommends changing the string and cables on your crossbow every two years to keep your crossbow in top shooting shape. To find a local dealer who can change the string and cables for you, please click HERE.
#3 – Do not grab a handful of crossbow bolts and start shooting them without first checking for cracks, dents or damage from prior shooting.
You should ALWAYS check your crossbow bolts for cracks, dents, or damage prior to shooting them. Inspect carbon crossbow bolts for small cracks, as firing a damaged carbon bolt can cause it to shatter, potentially causing serious injury to you. Aluminum crossbow bolts can become dented or bent, which can cause them to fly in an unintended direction, leading to damage or serious injury. Crossbow nocks can also be damaged from shooting and you should make inspecting the nock on your crossbow bolts for damage part of your regular shooting routine. Finally, spin your arrows after screwing in your practice points to check for bent ferrules, inserts, nocks, or shafts. If you find any arrows that wobble when you spin them, determine which part of the arrow is not straight and replace that part, if possible.