How To Cock A Crossbow, Explained! ( Barehanded, Cocking Rope, Crank )

Man in shop looking at crossbow

As technology advances, we are faced with multiple choices for all items we purchase. Each one shows the benefits it provides without listing the drawbacks. Purchasing a crossbow is no different. In this article, we will discuss the different methods of cocking a crossbow along with the pros and cons with each.

Before purchasing a crossbow, you need to take your own personal health and strength into consideration. Pulling a bow back does not take as much strength as cocking a crossbow. However, it takes a lot of arm and back strength. Keep your limitations in mind as we review the different methods.

 

Different Types of Crossbows

There are three different styles of crossbows, a recurve crossbow, a compound crossbow and reverse compound crossbow. It is important to understand how these bows differ because it impacts the cocking method you must use.

 

recurve crossbow
Recurve crossbow

 

compound crossbow
Compound crossbow

 

reverse compound crossbow
Reverse compound crossbow

 

Tip: All crossbows include a foot stirrup that you place on the ground and step your boot into. Remember to do this securely to stay safe. This step also keeps your crossbow safe.

 

3 Different Ways to Cock a Crossbow

Barehanded

man cocking a crossbow barehandedThe first method of pulling your crossbow into cocked position is to use your hands. Many people can do this without any issue, but for others, it is a lot harder than they have seen on television. Especially on The Walking Dead.

The higher poundage of your crossbow, the harder it will be to pull back. However, the bolt will fly farther and flatter. Even if you are in good health and plan to utilize this method, we do not recommend attempting to cock a reverse compound crossbow with your bare hands. Why? That type of crossbow does not give you enough space to safely do so.

 

Pros

One of the most obvious pros is that you can cock your crossbow anywhere and do it very quickly. This is great for quickly prepping for a follow-up shot or if you stumble onto some animals that you hadn’t expected.

 

Cons

The con with this method is that if you don’t pull the string straight back evenly and the string is off centered even a little, it can cause inconsistent shots. So if you find your shots are inconsistent, it could be because you are cocking barehanded.

 

Cocking Rope

bowstringer cocking ropeA cocking rope is a device that aids in cocking your crossbow. This rope has two hooks and creates a pulley system so you only have to pull about half of the poundage weight. Each rope comes in a standard length and you personally adjust it for your bow’s length. Otherwise, the rope will be too long and your arms will be extended higher than is deemed safe. This can cause a dry fire.

To use a cocking rope, simply attach one hook to the string and wrap the middle over the cocking string groove. Then, hook the other end by pulling out the string from inside the handle until there is no extra length. Finally, mark the spot and tie a simple knot there.

Afterwards, recheck it. If both hooks fit with the rope on the cocking string groove, you can pull it tight and cut and burn the end of the rope. Some hunters like to pull the string back slightly to get the other hook onto their string. If you have any slack in the string, it can cause the hooks to fall off as you go to pull the handles.

cocking ropePros

The positives of this method are that the string is drawn up evenly and you will have more consistent shots than if you were to cock it with your bare hands. Another benefit is that you are only pulling on 50% of the draw weight. That should give you the stamina to hunt longer.

Cons

The cons are if your rope isn’t cut to the right length it will be very cumbersome to use. My friend had purchased one for his hunt and I got to see firsthand the annoyance that came from not adjusting the rope.

Regardless, using the rope does take an extra step. If you need to quickly load a bolt, it will be based on how smoothly this sequence happens. Additionally, the rope should never be placed around your neck where the hooks and handles can dangle into the bow as you cock and shoot the crossbow.

 

Recommended Cocking Ropes

Barnett Crossbow Rope Cocking Device  

             Barnett Crossbow Rope Cocking Device

This cocking rope does the trick for anyone looking for quality combined with lower cost.  The Barnett Crossbow Rope Cocking Device is durable and accurate as long as you pull the strings back evenly and smoothly.

Check The Price in Amazon!

 

TenPoint Acurope Rope Cocker with Case

TenPoint Acurope Rope Cocker

This rope cocker is one of a kind. It not only does the job correctly, but it also retracts the rope back onto the handles. This great feature allows the hunter to easily attach the cocking rope to the strings and then quickly place it in a pouch on their belt for the next use. Even better, it happens without dangling strings getting tangled or being cumbersome in packing away.

Check The Price in Amazon!

 

TenPoint Ten Point Acusled Crossbow Rope Cocking Sled

TenPoint Ten Point Acusled Crossbow Rope Cocking Sled

TenPoint is a brand that makes durable quality products and their Acusled Crossbow Rope Cocking Sled holds true. This cocking device also retracts the string allowing you to quickly and safely put it away on your belt.

Check The Price in Amazon!

 

Crank

Crossbow Crank CockerThe third and final device is a crank. This can be built into your crossbow. For some models, you can purchase an aftermarket kit. The crank has the highest accuracy rating out of all three methods of cocking your crossbow. In many models, you are able to remove the crank handle to allow fewer obstructions while hunting.

Pros

The biggest pro of the crank is that it delivers the most consistent shots. That makes it perfect for anyone! This includes youth, beginners, and those that don’t have the strength to pull the crossbow back any other way.

Cons

The cons are that it takes additional time and some cranks are noisy. However, there are some cranks that allow you to turn the sound off. This is a great added feature to look for if you plan on hunting live game.

 

Recommended Crank Crossbows and Kits

Excalibur C2 Crank Cocking Aid

Excalibur Crossbow C2 Crank and Cocking AidThis crossbow crank can be added to an Excalibur crossbow for the ease and consistency you need when cocking your crossbow. It is durable, easy to use, and extremely smooth. It is also very quiet which is a great feature when you climb into your blind and then want to cock your crossbow.  Being stealthy is a very important factor when hunting big game.  This crank aid attaches to your bow in seconds.

Check The Price in Amazon!

 

Mission Archery RSD Cocking Aid

Mission Archery RSD Cocking AidThis crank designed by Mission Archery leads the industry as the first every silent crank system.  You’ll find this to be optimal when you need to be quiet in the field as you cock your crossbow.

Before you head to your hunt, just attach the anchor under the stock on your crossbow. This allows you to attach the cocking aid in seconds and remove it just as quickly.  The RSD is also spring loaded. So, after you release the button, it will retract the rope by itself in less time to get you on your hunt faster.

Check The Price in Amazon!

 

TenPoint Stealth NXT Acudraw Pro Compound Crossbow

TenPoint Stealth NXT Acudraw Pro Compound Crossbow

TenPoint never fails us when it comes to developing great equipment. This crossbow comes top of the line with a built-in crank. The bow itself stands at six inches axel to axel when cocked.

The Acudraw crank handle actually attaches under the buttstock and snaps into place. It is always within hands reach and quick retrieval. As an added safety feature, this crank has a switch on the back of the buttstock that you can switch on or off to engage mode. Lastly, the Acudraw will retract back into the bow as you bring the sled to its original position.

Check The Price in Basspro!

 

How to Safely Cock a Crossbow

hunter cocking crossbowWhen cocking a crossbow it is best to have a shot routine in order to ensure you follow safety procedures. The basics of are to place your foot into the boot stirrup securely, attach the stringer, grab the string, and crank into the cocked position.

Alternatively, you can use your crank to cock your crossbow and then place it on safety. Finally, remember to properly load your bolt so it is engaged and in the correct potion.  For more details and tips see my other article “how to safely use and shoot a crossbow.”

 

One Final Word About Cocking Crossbows

I think of crossbows the way I think of muzzleloaders. You have one shot, so you need to make it count and each cocking method has its pros and cons. Barehanded has the greatest speed but the worst accuracy. Cocking devices take longer but are far more consistent. Cranks are the most consistent but take the most time to cock. Make sure you pick the best method for you and your crossbow.

 

How To Cock A Crossbow, Explained! ( Barehanded, Cocking Rope, Crank )
3 (60%) 1 vote

Chris Waters
Chris Waters was born and raised in a small town in west Arizona of around 5,000 people. At a very young age, he was introduced to hunting by his father. He has hunted everything from muzzleloader to archery, including deer, elk, antelope, ducks and more. He loves every minute of being outdoors.Chris would prefer to kill a smaller deer or elk with his family right next to him, than hire a guide and kill a Boone and Crocket animal. Every spring Chris and his wife Janell toss their two kids on their backs and hike the hills looking for deer and elk antlers. Chris also loves to fish and has been to Alaska where he was able to catch halibut and king salmon.Chris has a Bachelors of Science in Management from Western International University and he is an avid golfer with a few trophies on his shelf. On nice days he enjoys flying over his small town and the country he hunts in his powered paraglider. He is self published author. He is laid back and even with limited experience, he prefers to do all his own repairs, from fixing his own vehicles, to home projects allowing him to better his knowledge in everything he does.

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