Keeping your crossbow loaded at home or in your hunting trailer is great for readiness, but it means you have to find a way to store it with a bolt open and ready to fire again.
You also need to figure out how much time you can leave the crossbow loaded before it’s unsafe to shoot again.
Locking your crossbow open and loading a bolt with the string cocked back reduces the risk of accidental discharge.
How Long Can You Leave a Crossbow Loaded?
You can, in fact, leave your crossbow fully loaded for long periods of time.
But you need to pay attention to the conditions of your particular crossbow and bolt combination to make sure your equipment lasts.
Cocking your crossbow with a bolt in place puts more strain on the parts than shooting, so you’ll need to pay close attention to the condition of your cams and limbs if you leave your crossbow in this state for an extended period.
You’ll also need to be careful not to leave your crossbow in the cocked position when traveling with it in a vehicle. Doing so could leave you vulnerable to fines and/or tickets if you’re stopped by law enforcement and they notice you’re in violation of state crossbow laws.
How to Store a Crossbow When You’re Not Hunting
Before you cocked your crossbow with a bolt in place, you should make sure your crossbow is fully unloaded. That means removing the bolt and the string so it can’t be fired.
You should also store your crossbow without a bolt installed. That way, you can store it without having to leave it cocked. If your crossbow has an adjustable or repositionable limb system, you can also make it less dangerous to leave loading.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve removed the string from the bow. Next, you can remove a couple of limb bolts to reduce the strain on the rest of the bow. If you’re storing your crossbow in a case, you can leave it cocked if it has safety on it.
If you don’t have a safety on your crossbow, don’t leave it cocked in your case. If you’re storing your crossbow in a garage or shed, consider adding a padlock to the limbs to avoid having it accidentally fired by someone who doesn’t know it’s cocked and loaded.
Is It Safe to Leave Your Crossbow cocked and loaded for long periods of time?
Yes, it is safe to leave your crossbow cocked and loaded for extended periods of time. But you’ll want to keep track of the time spent in this state. Long-term loading is best for shorter trips and hunting seasons where you don’t have easy access to a place to shoot.
You’ll have to reset your bow after you take it out of this state, so you’ll want to take note of when you left your bow cocked and loaded. Cocking your crossbow with a bolt in place puts more strain on the bow, especially if you leave it that way for long periods of time.
If you notice any changes in the condition of your bow, you may need to change how you store your crossbow or even consider a different model. You can also avoid these potential issues by only leaving your crossbow in the cocked position for a week or less.
How Often Can You Leave your crossbow cocked and loaded?
Short answer: It depends on the model of crossbow you own and how you’re storing it. Some crossbows can be safely left cocked for as long as a month, while others may only be able to stay in that state for a week or less.
It’s best to store your crossbow in the cocked position for shorter periods of time and only leave it in that state when you absolutely have to. Keep in mind that a rule of thumb is that you should not leave your crossbow cocked for more than 10% of the total time you own it.
That means if you buy a new crossbow and leave it cocked for a month, it’s not a good idea to leave it cocked for another full month.
You can leave your crossbow cocked and loaded for long periods of time. But you need to be careful and keep track of your own equipment to make sure it’s ready to go when you need it.
Keep an eye on the condition of your bow and its parts during long-term loading. If you notice any anomalies or changes, take the time to examine your bow and make any needed repairs.
Keeping your crossbow ready to go is the best way to enjoy your time spent hunting or target shooting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you leave a crossbow loaded?
Leaving a crossbow loaded can be dangerous, as the weapon can fire inadvertently if it is handled carelessly or dropped. It can also lead to structural damage to the limbs of bow due to string tension over time, which can make them brittle and prone to breaking during use. Additionally, leaving a crossbow loaded for long periods of time can also cause the crossbow strings to weaken, which could lead to them breaking and potentially injuring you or someone nearby when fired.
How long can I leave a Barnett crossbow cocked?
The best practice for a Barnett crossbow is to never leave it cocked for more than 24 hours. Leaving the bow cocked for long periods of time can cause significant damage to the limbs and string, leading to decreased accuracy and possibly even failure of the components. As such, it is important that you always uncock your crossbow after each use.
Should I decock my crossbow after every hunt?
The short answer is yes. After each hunt, decocking your crossbow should be the first thing you do. Decocking will release the tension on the limbs, prolonging the life of your bow and helping to avoid any potential accidents. If you are in a hurry and need to keep your bow cocked for an extended period of time, make sure that you are properly trained and understand the safety protocols.
Can you unload a crossbow without shooting?
Yes, it is possible to unload a crossbow without shooting. To do so, you must first make sure that the crossbow is in a safe direction and that there are no other people or animals in the vicinity. Once you have verified this, you can pull back the string of the bow by pressing down on the cocking mechanism and carefully guide the string towards the trigger. Then, you can slide the safety off and release the bowstring with your finger. This will cause the bolt to be safely ejected from the barrel of the crossbow without releasing any arrows. You should then store your unloaded crossbow in a safe place until it is ready to be used again.