CROSSBOW ASSEMBLY & SETUP
WHAT TO EXPECT: Your new crossbow and accessories will surely require some light assembly and basic setup. Most manufacturers include complete instructions, and in most cases, only simple hand tools are needed. A typical crossbow package will arrive as you see in the photo at right. The bow-section always comes preassembled, but it often must be fitted to the stock using the supplied fasteners. Scopes, Red-Dot Sights, Laser Sights, and Fiber-Optic sights are sometimes pre-installed, but not always. Some manufacturers package these items separately, so you may need to mount your rings and/or your sighting device as well. Finally, you will need to mount your quiver bracket and any optional accessories (slings, cocking devices, monopods, etc.) onto the stock. Then you're ready to shoot! Typical assembly time is about 20 minutes.
MISSING PARTS: For faster service....should you discover you are missing any parts or fasteners during assembly, please contact the crossbow manufacturer and request any missing parts be shipped directly to you. Here is the contact information for the various crossbow manufacturers.
90554 Hwy 99 N
PO Box 105
Mint Spring, VA
2727 N. Fairview Ave
1325 Waterloo Rd
SETTING UP TO SHOOT: Once your crossbow is assembled, you will need to find a suitable and safe place to shoot. You'll also need a good quality target, preferably a target specifically approved for crossbow use. We suggest a quality bag-target or a layered foam target like "The Block" for stopping high-energy crossbow bolts. Be advised that bales of straw/hay or cheap Styrofoam squares will likely NOT be able to stop incoming crossbow bolts, especially at close range. This will also be a good time to consider safety on your shooting range. No matter how good of a crossbowman you are, on occasion a shot will NOT go as planned. Always consider where an arrow could go in the event of a premature release, misfire, mechanical failure, or just a very bad miss. Consider anything forward of your shooting position to be in the "danger zone".
PREPARING TO SIGHT-IN YOUR CROSSBOW: Virtually all crossbows will come with an Optical or Red-Dot Scope. They vary by design and manufacturer, but you will likely have 1 of the 4 views when looking through your crossbow sighting device. Look through your scope and determine which style you have. Note: Red-Dot scopes turn on and off (battery powered). You will not see the red-dots until you power-on the scope. If yours does not come on, check the battery to be sure it's properly installed.
For sighting-in, you'll be starting from scratch in most cases, but some crossbow manufacturers pre-sight their crossbows to make the process a little easier. Either way, some adjustments are surely going to be necessary to get your crossbow hitting right on the X. LEARN HOW YOUR SCOPE ADJUSTS: Before you begin shooting, this is a good time to get to know how your scope adjusts. All scopes have a windage (left/right) adjustment which is located on the side of the scope, and an elevation (up/down) adjustment located on the top of the scope. These adjusters for the top and side turrets are covered with screw-off dust caps. To access the actual adjustment mechanisms, you must unscrew and remove the caps.
SPECIAL TIP: Adjustment caps are easily cross-threaded. They are usually machined with very fine threads, so be careful when taking them on and off. They are also easily dropped and lost outside. We recommend you remove them while still indoors and put them in a safe place. You can replace them later when you finish sighting in your bow and return indoors.
Once you remove the caps, you'll see the adjusters inside. The adjusters will have arrows indicating direction for adjustment and a slot for a screwdriver or coin (usually a penny works like a charm).
If you've never adjusted a scope before, the process is pretty simple. As you move the adjusters, the respective directional arrows tell you which way your point of impact will be adjusted. This can vary from scope to scope, but it's generally clockwise for UP and RIGHT, and counterclockwise for DOWN and LEFT. As you turn the adjusters you will hear a "click". Each "click" represents a change in M.O.A. (minutes of angle) toward your intended target. For most scope designs, a single "click" adjusts your impact point 1/4" @ 100 yards (or about 1/20th of an inch @ 20 yards). More on this later.
ROUGH-SIGHTING: Begin Up-Close! Stand just 10 paces from your target and fire your first shot (use your top red-dot or top crosshairs). If your arrow (bolt) hits in or near the bullseye, you're in business (skip down). If you miss the target at such close-range, you may have improperly installed your scope. Please recheck your mount. If your scope is mounted properly, then you'll need to begin by making a MAJOR adjustment to the scope. For example, if you missed low, turn the elevation adjuster 2 complete turns (towards the UP position) and try again. Repeat this procedure until you're hitting within a few inches of the bullseye.
SHOOT FOR TIGHT GROUPS FIRST: Before you can begin to zero-in your scope at distance, you must be able to shoot a tight and repeatable group. A single arrow doesn't really tell the story, particularly while you're learning. Move out to 20 yards, and fire three shots at the bullseye. As long as the arrows are hitting the target, don't worry about where they're landing - and don't compensate your aim on the 2nd and 3rd shots. Just aim for the bullseye each time. Use your best technique. The object is to get all three arrows to land close-together in the target (in a spot no larger than a tennis ball).
You will be wasting your time adjusting your scope if you're not shooting tight groups first. In the Poor Grouping Illustration (at left), it isn't clear which way the bow is missing. One of the arrows is in the bullseye, one is high-left, and the other is low-left. Making adjustments based on these results would be a futile effort. So before you begin making adjustments, practice your aiming and trigger technique until you can shoot a tight group of 3 arrows every time.
BASE DISTANCE: Once you're shooting tight groups, it's time to permanently sight-in your crossbow. Regardless of what type of sight you have, you'll need to decide on a "base" distance first. The base distance will be the distance at which your top aiming point (red-dot or reticle) is dead-on. For single-dot and single-reticle scopes, this distance can be any distance you wish. For triple-dot and multi-reticle scopes, the aiming points are staggered to give you approximately 10 yard increments, starting with a base distance of 20 yards. For the purposes of illustration, we'll assume a 20 yard base distance for every scope type.
SIGHTING-IN: Sighting in your bow will be a process of trial and error. You'll have to shoot, adjust, shoot again, adjust again, etc. So allow yourself some time to get this right. Begin by taking 3 shots into the target, then examine where the group lands.
FIRST VOLLEY & ADJUSTMENTS: In this example (left), the group landed approximately 1" low and 3" to the right. At 20 yards, your 1/4" MOA click adjustments will adjust your point of impact by roughly 1/20th of an inch per click. So you'll need to adjust your scope 20 clicks UP (clockwise on the elevation adjuster) and 60 clicks left (counterclockwise on the windage adjuster). Then pull your arrows and shoot again.
SECOND VOLLEY & ADJUSTMENTS: If you've done everything right, your new group will be closer to the bullseye (though likely not perfect just yet). In this example, the group was improved, but is still 1/2" low. So you will need to make an adjustment by going another 10 clicks up on your elevation adjuster. Then pull the arrows and shoot again.
BULLSEYE: You may have to repeat this trial and error process a number of times to get your arrows to land precisely in the bullseye. Once you've finished, your crossbow will be sighted-in at your base distance (in this case - 20 yards). Remember to replace the adjuster caps on your scope.
STANDARD SCOPE SETTINGS: As discussed earlier, you can set your scope for any base distance you prefer, but these are the "standard" settings for the major types of crossbow scopes.