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Crossbows and Crossbow Hunting
By Art Champoux
Apr 9, 2008 - 7:10:35 AM

Jack Milligan knows what a crossbow can do and how much fun it is to do it.

          Crossbows have been around for at least 2 thousand years. They were used to shoot on horse back and defend castles. The 2nd idea was the best.  It needed to be cocked back manually and on a horse was not very practical.
But defending castles it was a perfect way to use them. Almost every civilization used them because of their power and ability to knock down men and animals.

While the crossbow was a pretty awesome shooting weapon, it didn't lend itself to rapid fire so was out of the question until it was decided to use them in waves of men shooting them in layers. Much like the musket line was used later on.

    The men in lower layers would shoot first then as they loaded them the 2nd row would shoot. It is known that up to 15 rows of crossbows archers would shoot in tandem. One had to be careful to not stand up too quickly I would imagine.

BowTech Stryker.

TenPoint Pro Elite.

The use in hunting was also a valid use as the crossbow was fairly proficient in taking down game. However it also had it's drawbacks due to it's not being useful on horseback, nor as a rapid fire weapon. History has shown it be very effective and responsible for taking all kinds of game from small to larger game animals such as Red Stag and Grizzly. If one is prone to believe medieval tales a few dragons were also taken down due to crossbows. Of course there is also the wonderful tale of William Tell, his son and the apple.

    The Crossbows of today have gone through some incredible changes and with the advent of the compound are shooting arrows well over 300 fps.

Excalibur Relayer Y25.

Barnett Quad 400.

   Ten Point, Excalibur, BowTech, Barnett, Horton and others are producing some of the highest quality, reliable, performance oriented crossbows ever designed.  I personally use the Darton Fire Force and can tell you, this is one fun, mean shooting machine. It propels a bolt about 375 fps. It is a real easy cross bow to use and for me, due to debilitating shoulder problems making it impossible to pull my bow, it's been my savior allowing me to keep hunting and enjoying the sport I love when I had to put my compound bow away.
     When I installed the red dot sight and the easy cocking device it was very easy to load, cock and shoot.  Most bows from the other crossbow companies do the exact same thing. And most offer a Crossbow Sling making the crossbow easier to carry.

Darton Storm.

Horton Recon 176.

All crossbows are a marvel of technology and my crossbow is no exception. As a lifetime archer it was relatively simple for me to acclimate myself with the Fire Force and within about 10 minutes of practice I could put all 3 arrows in a circle of about 4 inches at 20, 30 and 40 yards. Unlike other bows that have some recoil a crossbow has very little recoil. And no stabilizer is needed.  The one thing I would recommend is the Simms system for stopping noise and vibration. They will work on any crossbow and will improve the quality of every shot.

I would also advise either a hip quiver or a quiver that is made to attach directly to your crossbow. All crossbow companies offer quivers that will fit their bows. Keeping your crossbow steady, like all shooting products, is important. You can shoot off-hand certainly but you can also find a log to balance your bow on or buy a shooting stick for greater accuracy. That is the way I prefer as my shoulders won't take the strain of shooting without support.  

Parker BuckBuster.

   Like archery, shooting a crossbow is challenging and fun. They are not for everyone but they do provide another means by which to hunt and shoot. If you, like me, have to stop shooting archery due to illness or injury the crossbow makes perfect sense. Like any shooting sport, practice, be safe, be ethical, make every shot count and enjoy the challenge. My Muzzy MX 3 fly like a dart and this year I hope to put one in a nice buck.

For more go to:

BowTech Archery
TenPoint Crossbows
Excalibur Crossbows
Barnett Crossbows
Horton Crossbows
Darton Crossbows
Parker Crossbows

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