Self-cocking crossbows often get referred to as pistol crossbows. They are more affordable than other types of crossbows, but they also are smaller than the traditional models, such as a recurve or compound crossbow. Ammunition is also much cheaper than that of usual full-size arrows.
They are primarily a good choice if you are a beginner trying to pick up this skill and see if it is something you would like to do on a longer-term basis. They do not look as intimidating as a full-size crossbow, and it will make it easier to learn even if you have never practiced before.
They are lighter, small, and more user-friendly than other types of crossbows. Here’s more information on how self-cocking crossbows work.
Are self-cocking crossbows appropriate for hunting?
They work similarly to any other type of crossbow, but you need to consider that the smaller size of the ammunition will also have a smaller punch. In simpler terms, the bolts used by self-cocking crossbows are lighter and smaller than usual arrows. When you hunt, you need a blow strong enough not only to hurt the animal but to deliver a fatal hit.
Other than that, it is indeed possible to hunt with a self-cocking crossbow, but it is recommended to have a range of between 20 and 40 yards (the lower the skill, the closer you should be to your target to make sure you are successful).
So, you can take pretty much any small game there is – ducks, squirrels, rabbits, and rodents, among others.
A weapon for short-range hunting
Self-cocking crossbows are often used in short-range hunting to target any quick-moving small game such as rodents. They are similar to usual crossbows in that they have mounting rails on the top.
They include a fore sight and rear sight, much like a gun’s iron sights. The pin and the groove can be removed and replaced with any other type of sight that you prefer.
Usually, most self-cocking crossbows use the red-dot sights, as they are more useful and common in close game hunting.
What does ‘self-cocking’ mean?
This concept is quite misleading. Although it implies the weapon cocks itself, this is not the case. The ‘self-cocking’ concept means that you can cock your weapon without using any additional equipment (for instance, a rope cocker).
A self-cocking crossbow means that it has a lever or something similar at the back, which lets you cock it using only your hands.
Assembly and maintenance
When you purchase a self-cocking crossbow for the first time, it might be quite awkward to put it together. The product comes disassembled, and include the pistol body, limb, and accessories.
The most challenging part is stringing. It is recommended that you have a stringer or choose a model that already comes with a stringer if you do not have any experience.
In terms of maintenance, you should lube the string every eight to ten shots. Whenever it is possible, you should also put lube on the rail. This will help you keep the string in good condition for a more extended period.
How to use a self-cocking crossbow
Firstly, you need to cock the string. Pull back the string using both your hands until it clicks, applying equal pressure when cocking to keep it in the center.
After it is cocked, trigger the safety mechanism. Now you can place the bolt in the firing groove and put the string in the nock.
Your weapon is now ready to fire, which happens as soon as you let the safety go, and you squeeze the weapon’s trigger. The only way of de-cocking a self-cocking crossbow is to fire the bolt.
Self-cocking crossbows are more difficult to aim because they are lighter than a full-size crossbow, so you need to be cautious when you fire.
So, how does a self-cocking crossbow work? A self-cocking crossbow is not, in fact, self-cocking. Instead, it means that you do not need any external devices to cock it, which makes it easier to operate.
It is not appropriate for larger game hunting, such as deer, but it can be successfully used to kill small game, such as ducks, rodents and squirrels, among others. Since you should only fire from 20 to 40 yards away, the techniques you can use are quite limited.
Unless you do have some ninja skills, it might be more efficient if you wait for your prey in a tree or on the ground and not chase it – wait until the unsuspecting animal comes to you. Make sure you can always guarantee a humane, clean kill.