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How to String a Crossbow

A man with a crossbow in his hands.
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Crossbows are very powerful, which makes them that much more intimidating for beginners to restring. Regardless, all crossbows need some maintenance to make sure that they are in top condition. Regular care is also crucial in the maintenance of safety standards.

You need to string your crossbow about every 200 to 600 shots depending on the specific bow. This is fairly regular, especially for enthusiasts. Luckily, this process is pretty straightforward, even for beginners. That being said, you first have to be well-versed on some technicalities involving crossbows.

About Crossbows

The more you use bowstrings, the more they get worn out. Worn-out bowstrings are dangerous, not only to the user but also to those around them. The beginnings of wear are evident when you start seeing little fibres poking out of it.

When entire strings begin to stick out, this means your crossbow is due for a replacement immediately. You have to be capable of stringing bows if you are to fix the problem, as it could impede the use you get out of it.

For crossbows made of wood, you will have to take out the string from your crossbow to keep it under storage. Limbs made from wood do not keep their malleability when extended for too long. This is not a concern for those people using fiberglass bows, as they do not suffer from this loss of tension.

Ways of Stringing a Crossbow

The option involves using a stringer but first, we will look at how you can get through it without the need for one.

Restringing Your Crossbow Without a stringer

To start, you need to have an end of the loop attached to a bowstring on the notched end of the crossbow’s limb. Lay the crossbow flat on the ground. This should help have the stirrup parallel to the ground. The objective is to generate enough leverage to cock the crossbow. This may take a bit of effort, so you don’t have to be too concerned that you might break it.

With your foot firmly on the stirrup, tug the limb not attached to the bowstring towards you. Create a loop at the unused opposite side of the bowstring on the empty nock. Afterward, your crossbow should be ready for use.

This process is not difficult and does not take too long. It does, however, require a lot of effort. This is the case, particularly when dealing with larger crossbows that have greater draw weight.

Restringing Your Crossbow With a Stringer

Even though you can restring your crossbow without a stringer, it can prove to be very difficult, especially when restringing a more powerful crossbow. Luckily, using a stringer makes it possible for regular people to restring even the most powerful crossbows with relative ease.

Essentially, a stringer is a small lightweight bowstring. Start by attaching one of the crossbow strings onto the nock just like you would if you did not have a stringer. Proceed to attach the end of the stringer onto both nocks of the crossbow. It should not be too difficult considering the stringer is significantly longer than the bowstring. It also does not hold too much stress.

Cock the crossbow, then pin the ends of the bowstring over the leftover nocks. You should now reduce the stress by pulling the crossbow trigger, though you should take care not to draw fire. The opposite end of the tool should come off as the string on the crossbow holds much of the tension.

At this point, the end last attached to the bowstring will hold the cable stringer steadily. To pry it out of the bowstring, you will need a flathead screwdriver. Although this process is more time-consuming, it is safer and requires a lot less effort. This procedure is recommended for most people, particularly amateurs.


Maintenance costs can be expensive, especially when dealing with higher-end models, specifically compound crossbows. Higher-end models also tend to have tough bowstrings, as they are required to handle a lot more tensile strength when compared to their counterparts. When dealing with the more high-end crossbows, you should seek out a professional to avoid any potentially costly damage to your bow.

Always ensure you have the right bowstrings for the more powerful crossbows. Using cheaper varieties could prove costly in the long run as the likelihood of them breaking is higher. Always try to stick to the manufacturer-recommended brand of bowstrings.

Replace Strings Before It’s Necessary

Safety should be the number one priority when dealing with crossbows. After seeing just how easy restringing a crossbow can be, especially when using a stringer, users should make sure they replace any strings before the problem becomes more serious, or even potentially fatal.

You should keep a lookout for any tears on the strings and take the necessary steps to replace them immediately. You should also use the manufacturer’s recommended brand of bowstrings. This is because depending on the power of the crossbow, some bowstrings may not be tough enough to handle the tensile strength of the weapon.

Before each hunting season, it is advisable to have your crossbow inspected by a certified professional. This would be enough to point out any potential points of failure that can be very dangerous on an active hunt. A professional should be able to point out what part needs replacement, as well as any seams on the bowstring that could destroy the crossbow.

Unlike traditional bows, crossbows – especially compound crossbows – have a lot of moving parts. Typically, the more moving parts there are, the more the likelihood of a failure. As such, you should make an active choice to have the machine regularly lubricated and waxed where needed. This should be done periodically to prevent otherwise expensive or potentially dangerous failures.


There are more ways than just one to string a crossbow. It is recommended you use the stringer to do so as it is faster and easier than using your free hands. This is particularly the case when dealing with smaller users, as it does not require half as much effort.

The process is slow but progressively gets easier with more practice. Remember, when dealing with crossbows, safety should always be at the forefront of every decision made.