Take care of your crossbow to get the most out of it. Most crossbows and tend to go into storage at the end of the bow hunting season. This is why they need some care before storage. There are a few things you can do that will help prepare your crossbow for the winter. The importance of proper maintenance before storing your crossbow or even traditional bows is to ensure a long-lasting and reliable product. This article will share some easy tips and tricks to make sure your crossbow is protected from the elements during storage that even beginners can do.

Maintenance Tips for Crossbow Storage

After each use, inspect and clean your crossbow and store it properly with other hunting equipment when not in use. Proper maintenance would act as a stabilizer that reduces vibration and, in turn, reduces stress on your limbs as well as the main body of the crossbow would be more robust. These are all maintenance steps to consider before storing your crossbow away for the winter season.

1) Cleaning the crossbow

The first thing that you need to do before storing your crossbow is to clean it. Take your time and make sure all bow areas, including the limbs, barrel, string, and trigger system, are free of oil, grease, dirt, or other contamination. A clean bow helps ensure maintenance-free storage. If you’re out for crossbow hunting on tree stands or ground blinds, your crossbow and even carbon arrows are bound to get filthy. 

Wipe down with a cloth and a light cleaner. Avoid using soap or water on the metal parts! Soap and water will leave residue; this residue could gum up your gearing system and cause bolts to fire incorrectly. The case is the same with modern bows and arrows. You should also check the tension of your bowstrings after cleaning them with a damp cloth, as they may loosen in between shots if not correctly tightened. 

Hydro-dipped camouflage coating may react unfavorably to cleaning agents or various chemical solvents, so it’s important to clean with water only. Otherwise, you’ll end up scratching the coating on your bow and possibly damaging it. Be careful not to disturb the coating, as the low-cost coating is a thin layer of oil applied by hand for uniform color and effect.

2) Apply oil/grease

Before storing your bow, ensure it is lubricated and properly adjusted to prevent friction from accumulating in the bow limbs. There are a few steps that you can do to help avoid friction build-up. You should grease the limbs of your bow with light grease when it is broken down for storage. A light grease such as Vaseline or petroleum jelly can be used on the string, but only enough to help prevent rust. Regularly inspect your bow to ensure that it is adequately lubricated. 

When storing your crossbow, it is best to apply a light coating of grease to the moving parts or dry them thoroughly before storing.

3) Inspect cables and replace if necessary

The chances are that you have never had to replace the cables on your crossbow. They are made from high-grade materials and can last for many years. You may need to replace them if they become worn out or broken, but this is rare. However, if they become damaged or broken, you should inspect them immediately and replace them if necessary to avoid damage to the bow that may result from arcing. 

Waxing and conditioning the string and cables are essential so that it does not become brittle and crack or shock the bow’s limbs when you are shooting. This will cause a malfunction in your bow and could result in serious injury.

4) Inspect bolts and replace if necessary

Most crossbows have bolts that are made from carbon steel. They oxidize over time and corrode, causing them to lose their strength and wear out quickly. So you need to inspect your bolts for signs of rusting and replace them as needed. Checking your bolts for rust is easy. Most bolts are designed with clear eye holes, so all you need to do is look through the eyehole into the bolt to inspect the rust. You can also use a flashlight to inspect for rusty bolts.

You will need to tighten the bolts and screws in your crossbow if they are correctly fit before storage. Most crossbows come with hex-head screws so that you can use a hex wrench for adjustment.

5) Lubricate trigger mechanism, axles and bearings

For crossbows with a trigger mechanism, remember that they can wear out over time. Apply light grease to prevent friction and wear in the trigger system. It will help prevent future malfunctions of the trigger system and issues like dry firing or jammed fire.

Also, make sure you lubricate all moving parts inside the bow like gears, bearings and axles as they may become worn out over time. This can be a serious issue if they’re kept in storage without being looked at, as they may damage or destroy the entire bow.

6) Clear dirt and debris from the flight rail

After testing, if your crossbow shows no signs of rust or damage during maintenance and you are confident that it is safe and free from any additional foreign debris, remove all cords. Filth can accumulate especially after bowhunting on flight rail. Cleaning the machined flight rail is especially important as it is the part that will be touching the bowstring, and it is the most likely place for debris to build up as kinetic energy is transferred from this part. If you store your bow for more than a few months, you may want to clean the rail with a damp rag after restringing. You might also need to try loading some crossbow bolts to see if the fitting is proper. 

Clearance between the flight rail and string is critical because it should be about three-quarters of an inch. If there isn’t enough clearance, dirt and grit in the string can cause damage to your crossbow’s trigger system and mechanicals.

Once the cleaning process is finished, you can make sure that invisible dirt is removed by using an air compressor or a can of compressed air.

7) Clean the scope lenses and lens covers

Most crossbow scopes are designed to be waterproof, so the lenses and lens covers can be cleaned easily for top-quality target archery. It is important not to leave any moisture or water on the lenses because it can damage your crossbow scope. Water and other liquids like sweat can also cause fogging, so make sure that you properly dry the lens covers and lenses with a dry cloth before storing your bow.

If you use grease or oil on either of these components, make sure that they don’t get into the scope’s openings or on its body as it will become a problem for target shooting.

8) Pack your crossbow in a case and keep it in a cool, dry place

After cleaning your crossbow, you should store it in a case to protect it from moisture, dirt and debris. It’s also important that the hunting bow is stored in a place where temperatures are relatively constant. If it freezes or gets too hot, your hunting equipment could get damaged. Most cases are made out of hard plastic and will protect your crossbow from all kinds of damage.

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Hopefully, you will never have to store your bow for a long time, but if the situation calls for it, you can follow these tips on storing your crossbow safely. Proper storage is important to ensure that your crossbow remains in good working order when you’re ready to use it again.