The best hunting crossbows have more to them than meet the eye. Speed, accuracy, and durability all come into play, but there are other factors to consider; like scope and, more importantly, cocking device. That can be a difficult and somewhat tricky decision to make.
Cocking devices come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and utility. Mostly, you’ll want to choose a cocking device for your crossbow based on two things: ease of use and improved efficiency.
The first part of this deals with two major types of cocking devices. Some are built directly into the butt-stock of the crossbow, which we call “integrated”, meaning they go everywhere the crossbow goes. In the end, however; there will be slightly more weight added to the crossbow, but it is fairly minimal comparatively.
The “Big Dog” of them all is the crank-assisted integrated cocking device called the ACUdraw. This beast does add more weight to the crossbow than the ACUdraw 50, but it can do far more than the ACUdraw 50 to assist the shooter. The internal components allow the ACUdraw to reduce the amount of force required to cock the crossbow to a mere FIVE pounds. That’s quite staggering! In terms of efficiency, this cocking device takes the cake. The ACUdraw is a cocking device designed for a family of hunters, so that people of all ages, strengths, and physical ability can cock and shoot a crossbow with relative ease.
One thing to note about the integrated cocking devices is that they can be fitted into the stock of almost all TenPoint, Horton, and now Wicked Ridge crossbows, making them exceptionally versatile and unique.
The other type is an external or accessory cocking device. This is something like a “rope cocker” that can simply be tossed into a pack or pants pocket for storage once the bow has been cocked. One issue that these cocking devices can cause is a tangled mess of cord, prohibiting you from potentially cocking the crossbow quickly a second time. Another possible problem you might run into is misplacing your cocking device, and then not having it in your pack or soft case when you really need it. Talk about a headache.
The other element, regarding efficiency, mostly deals with how much help a particular cocking device gives the shooter. Many rope cockers, like the DeddSled 50, reduce the force required to cock the crossbow by 50%. This makes heavier draw weight crossbows a little easier to manage. We also offer an integrated cocking device, similar to a rope cocker, that does the same thing: the ACUdraw 50 cocking device. A HUGE benefit with the ACUdraw 50 is that you’ll never have to worry about losing or misplacing the tool you need to make cocking your crossbow easier. Another benefit is that this mechanism features retractable cords, so you won’t have to deal with dangling rope. It will all retract into the cocking device housing in the butt-stock of the bow.
There is one cocking device that we offer that sits right in the middle of traditional rope cockers and their integrated counterparts. The ACUrope works exactly like the retractable ACUdraw 50, but is not integrated into the stock. This means you get the benefit of a lightweight cocking device that is easily packable, without having to deal with twisted or knotted cords, but also won’t have to contend with the added weight of an integrated cocking device. Another benefit of the ACUrope is the addition of a holster in the package, making it a great companion to have for hunters and target shooters alike.
So how do you choose the right one for your needs? To start, you have to decide what you’re capable of pulling back in terms of draw weight. In other words, with how much ease do you want to be able to cock and shoot your crossbow repeatedly? For most people, that’s a no-brainer. “Give me the one that reduces felt draw weight by at least 50%!” But you can’t stop there.
At this point, cost can become a factor. Obviously, the more advanced and complicated the technology, the more expensive the cocking device. Your basic DeddSled 50 will be on the more budget-friendly side, while the ACUdraw might cost more up-front but will likely save your back in the long run.
Once you know what your budget is for a cocking device, you can determine whether or not it is worth your while to have it integrated into the crossbow itself. This decision is completely up to your own personal preference, but there is something to say about NEVER having to worry about losing the very thing that enables you to shoot and hunt with your crossbow.
We know that there are people out there with all different opinions about what constitutes the “best” cocking device, and that’s alright. Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide which one is right for you. That’s why we have several options to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. If you want to learn more about our cocking devices, how they work, and which one might suit you best, stop in to your local retailer. They’ll be able to provide you hands-on experience with each of them, enabling you to choose the right cocking device for your needs.