How Accurate Is A Crossbow?

How Accurate Is A Crossbow?

Last updated on July 1st, 2021

The accuracy of a crossbow is entirely dependent on the range that it’s being fired from. While the same could be said for any weapon, all of which become less accurate as the distance that they’re being fired from increases, it’s especially true where crossbows are concerned.

The thing is, crossbows are incredibly dangerous and accurate as short-range weapons, and that’s why hunters like to use them. They’re quiet, efficient, and powerful, all of which make it possible for hunters to get as close to their target as possible before they pull their trigger and bring their prey down with a single shot.

Under normal hunting conditions, crossbows are accurate at anything up to forty-five yards, which is the maximum range that most shooters are advised to fire from. Anything over that, and the wind speed, loss of arrow velocity, and human error all come into play and directly affect the accuracy of any given shot.

The accuracy of a crossbow is significantly increased if it’s being used on a shooting range, and target shooters can, and often do double that forty-five-yard limitation of their weapon when they’re shooting in competitions.

There are a number of ways to increase the accuracy and effective targeting range of a crossbow, and these include using a telescopic sight and shooting while the weather conditions are optimal.

If the wind speed is negligible while it’s being shot outside or a crossbow is fired indoors with the aid of a chronograph (a crossbow) the range at which it’ll be accurate is greater but again will be reliant on the ability of a shooter.

Why Is My Crossbow Shooting To The Right?

If your crossbow is shooting to the right or the left when you’re firing it, it’s almost certainly a cocking and loading problem.

The easiest way to address and correct the problem is by carefully cocking the string, and if it’s off centre when you’ve drawn it back and cocked and locked it, then that’s the reason why your shot is pulling to the right or the left.

It could also be because your crossbow hasn’t been properly tuned, or there might be an alignment problem. If you place your crossbow on the ground and look at the right and left limbs of the bow, they should both be level.

If they’re not, there’s a problem with the bows set up that will cause it to shoot off centre. If the right limb is lower than the left, it’ll fire to the right and if the left limb is lower than the right, it will fire to the left.

These issues are relatively easy and straightforward to correct, and if you take your crossbow into any gun or archery store, the counter staff will be able to tune your crossbow and adjust its alignment or they’ll know someone who can.

You can, of course, always do both yourself, and if you’re not sure how to do either, a quick visit to YouTube will provide all of the answers that you need as well as hundreds of tutorials dedicated to teaching you how to properly tune and set your crossbow up.

Does Temperature Affect Crossbow Accuracy?

Unfortunately, the temperature of the air around you while you’re shooting can have a dramatic effect on the accuracy of your crossbow. While the temperature doesn’t actually affect your bow, it can play havoc with the flight path of an arrow.

The temperature of the air increases and decreases its density and atmospheric pressure, and the greater that the density of the air is, the slower an arrow will travel, and likewise, the higher the atmospheric pressure is, the slower an arrow will travel.

As warm air always rises, the atmospheric pressure on a warm day is lower than it would be on a cold day, when cold air falls and atmospheric pressure increases. And cold air is also much denser than warm air is, which means that you’ll be more accurate if you shoot on a warm day instead of a cold day.

If you shoot on a cold day, your arrow won’t travel as far as it would on a warm day and will lose velocity and speed much more quickly.

So if you want to ensure that you always hit your target and want to maximise your chances of landing a bullseye or bringing down whatever prey it is you’re tracking, you should hunt and shoot when it’s warmer outside.

Does Cold Weather Affect A Crossbow?

While it’s historically likely that at some point in the early evolution of the crossbow the extreme cold might have damaged or adversely affected the way that a crossbow performed, due to the way that modern crossbows are made and the materials that are used in their construction, even the most extreme weather conditions and the lowest temperature won’t have any negative effect on a crossbow.

The same can’t be said for a shooter, however, as the human part of the equation will fail, and succumb to the cold long before his or her crossbow does.

While the cold won’t have any undue impact on the way a crossbow performs, it does affect the flight path of an arrow Cold weather will affect the accuracy of a crossbow, but it won’t do so because of any detrimental impact it might have on the bow, it’ll only affect the accuracy of the arrow it fires because of the air density and atmospheric pressure that accompanies cold weather.

As cold air falls, the air density on a cold day is much thicker than it is on a warm day and as the atmospheric pressure is also higher on a cold day than it is on a warm day, any arrow fired by a crossbow on a cold day will lose speed much more quickly (as the air it’s travelling through is thicker it’ll slow the arrow down much faster than it would when the air is less dense on a warm day) and as it loses speed, it won’t travel as far as it normally would and won’t be as accurate.

It’s your arrows, and not your crossbow that you need to worry about when the weather turns cold and winter sets in.