Crossbow Maintenance – Taking Care Of Your Weapon

Crossbow maintenance is less demanding than taking care of a regular bow, which sometimes leads people to believe it’s of lower importance. Nothing could be further from the truth; failing maintain your crossbow properly will reduce your shooting accuracy, as well as the lifetime of the individual components. Below is a list of things you should do to keep your weapon in tip-top working condition.

Wax The String (And Cables)

The most important step. Typically you will get a tube of wax with your crossbow package, but if you don’t make sure to buy some. You will want to wax the string, as well as the cables in the case of a compound crossbow, on a fairly regular basis. How often you should apply the wax depends on the type of crossbow (compound? recurve?) and the materials used. You should always check the instruction manual that came with your x-bow and see what is the manufacturer’s recommended waxing frequency.

  • Apply the wax to the length of the string/cables, except for the part that’s right above the arrow rail, as it will gum up the trigger box.
  • Once applied, rub in the wax using your fingers; the generated heat will melt it so it sticks for longer.

Lubricating The Rail

Doing this will provide for much smoother traction of your bolt with minimum friction, substantially increasing accuracy.

  • Apply two drops of lubricant to the middle of the rail and spread it across the entire length of the rail with your finger.
  • Never use vaseline-based lubricants.

Lubricating The Trigger Box & Exposed Mounting Bolts

You’ll want to apply one or two drops of lubricant to the trigger box, as well as onto any visible mounting bolts, such as the ones connecting the riser with the stock. The goal of the latter is to protect the bolts from corrosion and damage due to weather conditions.

If you have a compound bow, apply some lubricant to the wheels/axles as well to make sure they turn as smoothly as possible.

Inspect Your Crossbow & Arrows Before Shooting

This is a must-do, and it should become a habit before every shooting session, be it target practice or a hunting trip. Check for the following:

  • Loose bolts; wiggle the riser/limbs (prod) to see if it moves independantly from the stock.
  • Cracks or twisting in the limbs.
  • Splintering or bending of arrow shafts.

Keep An Eye On The Bowstring

Periodically check the bowstring for any signs of wear or separation of the serving, especially in the center where the arrow is nocked. If you start noticing any breakage or obvious separation of the serving, replace the string. Depending on the type of crossbow you get, a string can last for anywhere between 200 and 1,000 arrows fired. If you forget to regularly wax your string, you can expect its lifespan to be cut down by about 20%. I recommend always keeping a backup string with you whenever you are shooting, just in case.

Clean The Scope Lens

Ideally, you should use lens cleaning wipes for this purposes so as not to smudge the lens. You don’t need to do this one often, just whenever you notice your vision starts to get obstructed or if you accidentally leave a fingerprint on the lens.

Get Rid of Dirt

I recommend using compressed air in a can for this one. Make sure to get rid of any dirt and dust that might be stuck inside the rail and in any possible nook, groove, or connection point. Take a good 2 to 3 minutes to do this one properly.

  • Always perform this step after coming back from a hunting trip
  • If you see any dirt in the rail, get rid of it before you apply any lubricant

Periodically Re-tighten All Bolts

This goes for bolts attaching the stirrup, the prod to the stock, the quiver mount, and everything else that you attached yourself. Keep a proper screwdriver / hex key with you at all times and check the tightness of the bolts every 50 – 100 arrows fired.


Add a Comment
  1. i bought my first crossbow at a gun show in miami. an inexpensive 50 lb. one. If i put the bolt all the way back, the string usually jumps the bolt. I’ll try some lube but I’m puzzled. any ideas? thanks for your time and God bless.

  2. What kind of lubricant do I use for the rail? Silicone,graphite,mineral based?
    I have a Barnett recruit recurve.

  3. I am a woman and last year I could cock my cross bow, this year I can not. It is squeaking as I try.
    Is this just a need for waxing strings and lubing rail?
    I have a Parker Concorde self cocking crossbow but I need to be able to manually cock when CO cartridge is empty.

  4. My crossbow cocks and is well waxed, but for some reason when I fire it the bolt doesn’t have any power in it. It goes for about 12 feet then hits the ground. Would I need new strings or is it something else?


  5. i bought my crossbow in thailand for 400 THB (about 10 dollars) and it fires for 80 meters in 0 degrees vertical angle, by the way, its wooden
    my question is, how to maintain it (it is fully wooden)

  6. First of all I hunt out of a box blind. I cock my crossbow and hang it in my stand until I am done with it. Sometimes as long as 5 to 6 days. Is this bad for it?

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