using crossbows

crossbow
This is the crossbow which I purchased early in 2010; my very first bow of any kind. I bought it on Ebay as a "buy now" deal. The stats, as per the seller:

Seller: http://www.eGeneralProducts.com
They call this the CF-119 crossbow.
Price was US$93.95 and after postage it came to C$123.90
Length: 31"
Weight: 5 lb 7oz with 2 arrows
14 15-inch metal arrows included
Limb (bow): Compression molded fiberglass
Limb length: 27"
String length: 25"
Draw weight: 150 lbs
Draw length: 11 1/4"
4x20 scope
Barrel: Diecast steel
Stock: Plastic Grips, Polished to black, comfortable to hold
Initial speed of arrows: 218 feet per second
Auto safety cocking mechanism
This crossbow is fully suitable for large game hunting
Very good accuracy for up to 60 yards.

One problem I ran into was that the stirrup would not attach to the stock properly.


Don't let anyone fool you; putting the string on this baby takes an Act of Parliament!


If you are new to crossbows as I am, then for sure (!!) you need to view the set of videos which you can find online at http://www.crossbowed.org/.

ebay ad



This is the item as I found it on Ebay.


broadheads


I got two three-packs of Broadheads for US$9.99 and that was US$21.47 with postage.

They seems to be a bit "flimsy" and I've seen these in a local store at C$20 EACH!


User's Manual:

The tiny "manual" that came with this crossbow, printed in Taiwan, was, in all honesty, a joke. It was so bad that I immediately started re-writing it and taking new photographs for the benefit of the manufacturer in Taiwan.

Accessories you will NEED:

First, you will want to put the string on the bow:

As mentioned above, a 150-pound crossbow is not easy to handle. Tools can be purchased for putting the string onto the bow and other tools for cocking the bow once the string is in place. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here's what I have found, and trust me, you will NEED these tools.

METHOD ONE: Let's call one end of the bow/limb "A" and the other end "B." for this discussion.

For this, the most common tool is a second string, almost identical to your "main" string, but a bit longer. The idea is that you put one end of your "main" string on end A, then put this "stringer" on BOTH ends of the bow, then pull on IT until you can put the other end of the "main" string into end B. Then you have to struggle to get the stringer off end B where the "main" string is on top of the end of the stringer. This is still a VERY difficult job, imho. Some of these have rubber "rings" on the ends. Expect to pay about $25 for one of these.

crossbow stringer

METHOD TWO: A much better tool for stringing, imho, would be one that uses pulleys in such a way as to give you a "mechanical advantage." On the left here, you can see me using mine.

Buying one similar to this will probably put you back at least $50.

This one cost me the price of some cable, two "S" hooks and two little pulleys.

The problem with this one is that somebody has to put the string on (or remove it) while I pull on the two wood handles.


crossbow stringer
METHOD THREE:This is the first stringer I made. All this cost me was one "tie-down" and a bit of scrap wood. Yes, I know; it looks bad. That's OK, I'm not trying to impress anyone; all I want is something that will do the job and this "machine" will stay home; I can use it to put the string ON when I leave, and then, back home, use it to remove the string IF I don't plan to use it for several months.

But it WORKS.

And I do NOT need another person to put the string on while I hold the cables back.

This one would be excellent for anyone who is having "back problems."



Then you will want to be able to cock the crossbow:

(once the string has been mounted on the bow)

METHOD ONE: This uses a cord with loops on the ends to put your hands through, and has a little "cocking sled" with two hooks to hold the string. This method gives you no mechanical advantage and takes a great amount of pulling power.

METHOD TWO: A very easy way to cock your crossbow would be to use a winch. The problems with these winches are that (a) they cost upwards of $100 and (b) they are awkward if mounted on the bow, and awkward to haul around if not mounted on the crossbow. You can even get winches powered by a tiny electric motor - IF you want to lighten your wallet by $200+.

METHOD THREE:

crossbow cocker



This is the first cocker I made.

This one will provide some "mechanical advantage" making it much easier to cock your bow.

The trade-off, of course, is that it will be slower.

Note the two little chain connectors; they are opened just enough to let it over the string and when you are done, they are screwed to close them and avoid losing them.

These "chain connectors" are commonly called "Quick Links."

As for the 2 pulleys, they are King Chain 1-inch, Rope Pulley, Swivel Eye, Single Sheave, for 3/16" rope. The "sheave" is the grooved wheel.

This is a very low-cost solution to the cocking problem.











Here I am, using that cocker. It worked very well.

It is easy to adjust the length of the cords to suit your particular need.


And finally............... drum roll please............ after much dreaming.........

The Latest and GREATEST............!

Looks like I have come up with the ultimate tool; it does BOTH; STRING the crossbow AND COCK it!

And it is made from "stuff found around almost every home."

And you do NOT NEED any help to use it. Here it is:

crossbow cockerThe two "S" hooks near the bottom of the picture are from rubber tie-down straps that you can pick up along any highway. I cut the large loops leaving only enough to just hold the eye-bolts which come out the back of the wood handles. I have laid a drinking straw under these S hooks here just to hold them up for the picture.

These two large S hooks are hung into a metal band made from a piece of aluminum tubing flattened with a hammer. Where that band fits over the end of the stock, I glued a piece of rubber from a car inner-tube. On the outside (back) of that band, I glued a piece of foam rubber which has a groove for the cord.

Here it is, ready to string the crossbow.

With your foot in the stirrup, pull back on the wood grips and hook the eye-bolts into the cut S hooks being sure that the S hooks are bent enough to hold the bolt eyes. Then put the string in place. If you need a length adjustment, untie the knots, adjust and re-tie.

To cock the bow, simply slide the 2 leather loops with their two small "S" hooks off the end of the bow, and lay those aside. Then open the chain connecters enough so that these connectors will fit over the string on either side of the stock.

Then proceed as before, and cock the bow.

You can make this one yourself.

For the benefit of those who just don't want to spend the time gathering all this material, here is a "kit" that is for sale. THIS worked fine for my 150-lb bow; any stronger bows might be too strong for the large S hooks. Maybe. Price: $38. Just email me; my addy is near the bottom of this page.


crossbow kitHere is what the kit contains:
cord: 8 feet, 1/4 inch hollow core
2 pullies
2 chain connectors
2 blocks wood, drilled, unsanded
2 small S hooks
2 small bolts for leather
2 pieces of leather, punched
foam rubber, uncut
metal band, drilled
2 large S hooks, uncut
2 eye-bolts, washers, nuts
1 piece rubber, not trimmed
my card


I'm not done dreaming up other solutions; more to follow as I fine-tune them.

YOU are Invited!

If you have a crossbow or crossbow accessory that you are wanting to sell, in quantities, as a business, I can help you. Send me a sample. If I like the product, I'll put an ad on this page for you, with a picture of the product and your e-mail address (and/or your URL on the picture.

Incidentally, a crossbow shoots ARROWS; not "bolts." A "bolt" is something different. Check it out on Google if you don't believe me.

Another "terminology" item: I refer to the flexible part as the BOW while others refer to it as the "LIMB." To most people, a "limb" is an arm or a leg, or a small branch on a tree. "Bow" makes much more sense.



Safety:

1. For your own protection as well as that of others, and to protect your crossbow, please take these warnings SERIOUSLY. Your crossbow is a dangerous tool. It should never be treated carelessly or without great respect.

2. Please be very careful; if you are shooting at dangerous wildlife, you will not get a chance for a second shot.

3. Never drop your crossbow; it may suffer damage not visible to the naked eye.

4. Never fire the crossbow without an arrow in place.

5. Your crossbow should be kept away from children; it is not a toy.

6. Never cock the crossbow unless and until you are about to shoot it at a proper target.

7. Be sure that your arrows are in the proper position for shooting. The back of the arrow should be against the string.

8. Never aim the crossbow at anything which you do not intend to shoot.

9. To put the string onto the bow, use a "crossbow stringer." Unless you are very experienced, you might break the bow if you do not use a stringer.

10. If any part of the crossbow has suffered any kind of damage, DO NOT USE the crossbow. If you do use it, you may cause extremely serious damage or injury to yourself, other people, or to your crossbow.

11. When you put your foot into the cocking stirrup, put your foot into it right to the arch of your foot to prevent slippage.

12. Use the strength of your arms and legs as much as possible, instead of your back, to pull the string back.

13. Note that the arrow must slide under the "arrow retention spring" to hold it in place until you shoot.

14. Never use arrows which are shorter or lighter than the ones recommended for your crossbow.

15. When hunting, use "broadhead" tips on your arrows.

16. Do plenty of "target-shooting" before you go after wildlife with your crossbow. Use a backstop for your arrows which is large enough and thick enough to make sure that no arrows will go past the target and possibly hurt someone or cause damage.

17. Make sure no children nor pets (e.g. dogs) are running around and which might run into the "Line of Fire."

18. If you live in a town or city, there may be by-laws which do not allow shooting crossbows within the corporate limits. Please check this out. Furthermore, even if there are no laws prohibiting this, it might be unwise to do so. Arrows can glance off some surfaces and go in a direction which was entirely unintended, and cause injury or damage.

19. If you have picked a safe area to do your target shooting, a backstop might be made from old pieces of carpet. If you hang up some pieces measuring, for example, 6 feet by 6 feet, from a wood rack, and have maybe 6 or 10 layers of such old carpet, that might be a good backstop which will allow you to recover your arrows without damaging the broadheads you may be using.

20. If you are using a tree-stand, use the recommended safety procedures such as a safety restraint.

21. Never cock the crossbow while you are in the tree-stand.

22. REMOVE the arrow when descending from the tree-stand.

23. Uncock your crossbow by firing an arrow (not with broadhead) into the ground. Make sure it is not going to hit some hard substance which will make it ricochet off and cause injury or damage.

24. You may carry the crossbow while it is cocked, but DO NOT keep an arrow in it while carrying it.

25. Do not hold the crossbow in such a way that the string can hit your fingers when you fire. The string can cause serious injury to fingers.

26. Never put your trust in the safety-catch of any crossbow. They can fail.

Other ideas:

If you are not going to use your crossbow for XX months, it would be wise to remove the string from one end of the bow. This will prolong the life of both string and bow. I really did not know what number to put where I have the "XX" so I asked on a forum and got some good feedback on that subject and about waxing my bow-string. You can find that thread here: http://www.crossbownation.com/community/showthread.php?p=78148&posted=1#post78148.

Some arrows have a 'nock' on the back end, others do not. When buying arrows, look for the ones that do have them. The nock helps ensure a good connection between the arrow and the string. Here is a picture showing one of each:

arrow nock

Forum: If you want to discuss crossbow matters or ask for advice, try the forum at http://www.crossbowforum.com/.

As a crossbow user, you will probably find this site useful: http://www.crossbownation.com/index.html; they also have a forum there.

I've been searching the WWW for a set of free plans to make your own crossbow but so far, my search has not been fruitful. Most sites offer free plans but when you go there, they don't. IF I ever DO find a good plan, I'll put the link here. Otherwise, I may have to make my own and post the plans here. Maybe the best one so far is at http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2006/08/01/build-a-hunters-crossbow/ and the best one for a "repeating" crossbow at http://www.vintageprojects.com/archery/crossbowfull-plans.pdf

My crossbow came from
Coll-Fu Enterprise Co., Ltd.
No. 45, Guang Rong Street
Tou Liu City, Yun Lin
Hsien, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Tel: 886-5-5341206
Fax: 886-5-5326096
E-Mail: collfu@ms14.hinet.net

I use my crossbow at my cabin.

YOUR OWN Property:

If YOU are an outdoor enthusiast, as I am, and are looking to buy, or lease or sell a "Recreational Property" then this page will interest you: http://www.sticksite.com/RecreationalProperties/.


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