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A powerful beast

For some tasks; whether you are driving a car, a motor bike or simply hunting with a crossbow there is such a thing as too much power.

As said previously while on the bow and arrow day we had a go with my latest super duper crossbow, 200lb+, and very impressed we were too. The only thing was that it is simply too powerful for the original purpose it was bought for which was to hunt rabbits and pigeons. You would get them, the bolt travels at 420 ft/sec which means that at the ranges we were looking at, 15 to 25 yards, it would take less than a quarter of a second to get there. Not enough time for even the fastest rabbit to move. Notch up one rabbit.

The issue though is that during the bow and arrow session the bolt was going completely through the archery target. Coupled with a broadhead it even went beyond the target into the grass. As a rabbit or a pigeon don’t have the stopping power an archery target has we thought the bolt will go right through the rabbit and hardly be slowed down. The chances are it would get stuck in a tree or buried in the ground rather than just being stuck into your new meal. We won’t be able to afford to lose any bolts after an event never mind it looking like it could be a common occurrence.

This means that for our needs the most powerful crossbows, the ones we look at, are actually not the best for our needs. Larger crossbows are for larger creatures, deer, horses, cows etc. while smaller crossbows are what we are really looking for as our main tool. In addition to being smaller they are much cheaper and there is a good selection.

Our problem is that we are unable to test the crossbows hunting for real to find out what is the best for rabbits, sheep, deer, etc. we just have to try them out and see what happens to dummy targets.

Of course, before we worry about bolts going through we need to make sure that we can hit our target every time. Much easier with a crossbow with sights anyway. I would guess most people could get good scores with a crossbow at a max of 25 yards.

Then we come down to a compound crossbow or a basic crossbow. The main benefit of compound is power in a smaller package. We want to get away from that so a simple crossbow can easily supply the power we need. I’m more likely to be hunting rabbits and pigeons than deer. These simple crossbows are easier to repair as well so it is win win. It is amazing what you learn and deduce when you are trying things out in the field.

I’m now looking at basic crossbows of around 100lb as the mainstay of my preps. There are a few good ones out there worth looking at.

63 comments to A powerful beast

  • moosedog

    One of my favourite sites sells crossbows starting at 150lbs but also has pistol crossbows at 80lbs. Having had no experience with either do you know if pistol crossbows would be any use for hunting small mammals or are they just a toy? (A pretty awesome toy though!)

  • half

    I’ve just bought a venom Tiapen crossbow which I’m very happy with. Its a pistol crossbow but with a shoulder stock so its really stable and accurate to shoot. The shoulder stock is used to draw the bow back making it very consistent.

    • Northern Raider

      What I like about my Taipan is the basic but bloody effective 4 pully wire compound bow its fitted with as standard which a competant DIYer can rewire themselves. And the Taipan has the added bonus of being able to accept the fibre glass recurve prods from the 80lb draw Cobra pistol crossbows.

      Both use the 6 1/2 inch modifiable bolts as demonstrated by W & C on the forum.

      • mark watts

        I assure you that by putting the 80lb prod on youll more than double its power!! I have several pistol xbows inc yours (which i really dislike) but your xbow will turn into a very serious weapon after carefull though!

      • mark watts

        Forgot to add…you must attach the 17.5″ STRING..not wire with the 80lb prod which should come with it.

  • Timelord

    There are a lot of pistol crossbows out there that are poorly designed/made and would not last long in the field. They chew through strings as well. Try a catapult. Lightweight, pocket sized, easily obtained ammo and a much faster reload rate. It won’t matter that you will lose a lot of bolts whilst hunting, as stones or lumps of metal are easy to come across. Ideal for smaller game. Much underestimated! Also, you don’t mess up the prey to the same extent. Ideal for stunning or lob shots for bait.

  • Skean Dhude

    I have a pistol crossbow but prefer the accuracy of the larger version. I can’t really see a use for a pistol crossbow when you can have takedown full size.

    Although, I can see a use for them in some circumstances for rabbits etc. if you don’t have the funds or space for a larger version in your BoB.

  • Kenneth Eames

    SD and Timelord, Thanks for your input. I have a catapult and will soon add a small crossbow. I will add extras such as catapult rubbers and bowstrings, etc.. I am thinking that I could try making a lot of arrows, if I can obtain the correct wood and feathers. Arrow points could probably be made out of odd pieces of metal or knapped flint. When I’ve decided which bow to buy I will start experimenting. Kenneth Eames.

  • moosedog

    Thank you all for the replies: half, that is an awesome looking piece of kit! Timelord, I was debating whether to get another catapult, I think I will now. Skean Dhude, the price of a full size crossbow isn’t much more than their pistol versions so you’ve started one of those “shall I, shan’t I” debates in my mind now!

    • Northern Raider

      My Petron Sniper 150 draw bow only cost about £75 from Ronnie Sunshines or Chiltern Archery and its designed so the front end is hinged so you can change prods without having to string or unstring the prod first. It also means that this bloody well made bow can take 45 lb, 95 lb and 150 prods, cheap full sized adult firepower for armageddon.

  • bigpaul

    we all know that with these powerful crossbows it is possible to put our back out just trying to pull the string back to cock it again, in fact many people have commented on how difficult this is. for this reason i discounted crossbows in my armory and instead went for a standard traditional bow and arrows.

  • james jackson

    how good would a 80ld crossbow pistol be for stopping power against a person. As we cannot get guns for legal reasons the crossbow works as a substitute. Their is less to go wrong with them. im looking at the venom Boomslang Recon it has a 120ld draw, so not the most powerful but has enough stopping power for basic hunting and will be able to shoot up to 60m. But it folds down, the bolts are cheep and so are the strings. So in the long term it will makes me feel i would be able to protect the household hunt for food, and it can have a fishing reel on it(though not sure how it works). I like the idea of it folding down as if i need to travel due to something happening ie flooding, ect ect, i will not look a threat to others whilst on the road and still have a weapon close at hand


    I really like PSE Tac-15i Crossbow and the 185 lbs Barnett Ghost 400 a bit pricey but if you can afford it, its well worth the money. You should also look into recurve bows you can takedown and its easy stash away, you probably need a lot practice with it.
    Are the basic cross bows easier to repair than the compound? really in a SHTF scenario you will need to be able to fix your bows yourself.

  • fred

    No casualties then? Hope it went well.

  • james jackson

    another consideration when picking bows… If you have an accident or ill will you be able to draw it. It might sound dramtic, but the more powerful the bow the harder it is to draw, and the more complicated the harder it is to fix and even fiddle with to moke it work how you would like.
    I love the recurve bow, but would take lots of practice to use propely and i feel a crossbow with a basic design will be easyer to find parts for ie strings.
    another consideration is if you couldnt shoot the bow for some reason would it be easy enough for a novice to use………

    • Northern Raider

      Thats an understatement JJ its the mistake I made back in Feb when I bought my Petron Sniper, I tried to be a clever git and attempted to cock the bugger without the cocking rope, I not only wrecked my back but I’ve done major damage to my leg muscles, tendons, sinews, new ending and plumbing, I’ve been rushed in and out of hospital 3 times now all because of my one time act of stupidity. Even today months later I cannot walk more than a few yards and am still mainly confined to bed. months later and I’m still peeing blood, loaded on anti biotics and living on painkillers. Be careful folks them bows can hurt you as much as they can hurt your target.

      • james jackson

        sorry to hear about the back, i know what its like, i have had spinal deconpressive surgery 3 weeks ago. I’m hoping to be given the all clear in the next month and then try to get fit again. Lucky mine wasnt from being daft, well this time at least 😉
        After this i realise that anything i have has to be usable to any novice, just in case it happens again like it has you when we need to be able to do things the most. Health matters never take into account whats going on! If anything the aftermath will make it worse if we alone or have equipment that only we alone know how to use. Sometimes keeping things simple are a must.
        keep 4 or 5 strings dry and sealed away as well as all the rest of the things needed for the bow. I personaly feel the bow is one of the main items on a list, as they have few things to go wrong and could probably have a bodged repair with what could be found. guns are great but access to them and knowing how to clean and keep them in order is a thing most people dont know much over. Heavy crossbows are good for heavy game. But how much of that will their be? One thing we all will need to learn is how to gut and pluck things.

  • Northern Raider

    My Petron Sniper full size bow came with a 150 prod ideal for hunting large game or zombies after TSHTF, But you can also get pre strung 40 lb draw and 95 lb draw and 175 unstrung prods will also fit.
    I agree with SD that in the high loaded prods 150 lb upover they are simply far to powerful for small game and vermin hunting, My first shot with the 150 prod fitted disappeared over the other side of the quarry after going straight through the target.

    I intend to use 40 lb for target practise in the garden, 95 lb draw for chooks, flying rats, bunniers etc.

    I have the Venom Taipan Carbine at 80lb and the Cobra pistol bow at 80lb and I think they will be suitable for small game hunting after TSHTF as well as security indoors.
    JJ has a valid point about cocking larger bows as my wrecked back and groin injuries which I got trying to cock the petron without a cocking aid is why I’m in and out of hospital lately.

  • Northern Raider

    Just a reminder that if you do equip yourself with a crossbow for your kit dont forget the essential spares

    String wax
    Plastic prod ends
    spare strings
    I reccomend spare prods as well
    and lots and lots of bolts

  • moosedog

    Gosh, that’s an awful injury you’ve sustained Northern Raider, from doing something that novices like me would be extremely likely to try. If I can say “lucky” in the circumstances it’s because it didn’t happen in the heat of battle. I hope you’re soon on the mend. The Cobra 80lb pistol is the one I was thinking of buying, more as a hobby than anything else, so seeing your comment about small game hunting I think I’ll give it a try.

    • Northern Raider

      Make sure you get the Mk2 Cobra its vastly superior to the original version, pity tyou aint in the north east cos I have both and you could have inspected both.

      • james jackson

        are you close to the lincs area?

        • moosedog

          Thank you for that Northern Raider.

          James, yes I am, in the City of Lincoln.

          For those of you fainting at the lack of OPSEC there, if you can find me then do pop in for a cup of tea!

          • james jackson

            nice to see somebody close, im in one of them small villages close to grimsby

            • moosedog

              I envy you being in a small village, I love Lincoln but a city isn’t the place to be when society breaks down. Saying that I’ve lived in places where it wasn’t good with society intact!

          • james jackson

            the bigger problem is people are people, doesnt matter if its a city or a village. They will all panick and be a pain when things happen. Very few people plan for a future that they will have little comforts and have to work for what they have. In my village their are now lots of either old or young familys. The lucky thing their is a very big comp school. The first place i would raid if anything happens. Woodwork tools, first aid kits, and canned food,

            • moosedog

              An excellent idea to raid a school, not somewhere I’d thought of before.

              The big problem with cities is the infrastructure, mainly the sewerage system. When that fails, as it will in the event of a collapse of society, the situation will be horrendous with diseases like cholera becoming rampant within days. Then the bodies will start piling up, adding to the problem. Living in a small community you won’t be immune from this but it won’t be nearly as bad as in an area with a large population. This is why I don’t stock much food: at the first hint of trouble I’ll be off to a safer location, returning if the situation doesn’t turn out to be too bad.

  • Skean Dhude

    This crossbow, a Triton, is the most powerful bow I have at over 200lb. However, it was a piece of cake to cock it with the string once we bothered to ead the instructions, it was impossible to cock without.

    • moosedog

      I will have to do some research on these things, I’ve been tempted for many years by crossbows and done nothing about it, now with the advice from Northern Raider I’m sending off for a Mk 2 Cobra pistol. The 150lb rifle they sell looks awesome and isn’t too expensive either.

  • james jackson

    must admitthe Mk 2 Cobra pistol does look good, with 3 strings, 30 steel tipped bolts and 3 lube it comes to 86 pounds. cannot really go wrong with that price. Best still its self cocking

    • Northern Raider

      JJ if you get extra bolts and strings and nock ends ( highly reccomended) make sure the bolts are the armex type with a full length alloy body and seperately fitted fletches and nocks. See the forum for W & C s article on modifying those bolts. As for the strings try and get the better quality ones that have a nylon sleeved fitted centrally to protect the string from wear.

  • Northern Raider

    I think the full sized crossbow is on offer at Ronnie Sunshines, make sure you get the one that has the gate on the front so you can fit pre strung prods, its a remarkably very very high quality bow for little money.

  • Timelord

    In my humble opinion (lol), I reckon crossbows are much overrated for indoors protection. One shot with a light aluminium dart that may or may not find its target in the turmoil + probably not time to reload and so having to drop the crossbow and then start fiddling around for another weapon – is quite possibly handing the tactical advantage to the intruder. Secondly – even if the lightweight alloy bolt does penetrate the target , the odds are that it would not be an immediately incapacitating wound – if serious at all. As for bigger more powerful crossbows, then the bolt will probably pass clean through and may not hit anything vital to stop the assailant as desired. Again – reload will likely not be possible in an aggressive encounter. Other methods of dealing with this scenario would give more advantage. Like caltrops on the floor in the dark or blackpowder alarm mines which are shotgun blank cartridges that are able to be purchased by any responsible citizen. What about just a bright light in the aggressors eyes at the optimum moment or a flashbang/thunderlash, bought or homemade. One of the tactical problems with using a light crossbow indoors, is that you are expending the element of surprise for what may not be a decisive shot and in so doing could actually enrage the aggressor into a kill or be killed action — at which time you now have to discard the crossbow and hopefully bring to hand a suitable defensive weapon in time. Forget all this idea that you can sight with perfection on an opponents throat or eyeball etc – that will all go out the window in a high adrenaline close quarter encounter – especially in the dark or room to room. You can not relay on that for your lifesaving plan. If you think like that, then you are deluding yourself. What do the military educated Commanders say? – Any plan does not survive first contact with the enemy!! What damage do you think a black widow catapult could do loaded with 0.69 calibre lead ball or rolled up scrap lumps? The reload rate is faster, it is ideal in confine areas. It does not require loads of spares & technicana and is easier to carry around. remember – high speed (subsonic) lightweight projectiles do not have much knockdown power compared to slower moving but heavy projectiles. (still moving fast enough not to be able to dodge). Would you rather be hit by a SUBSONIC 0.22 calibre lead pointed bullet at 1000 feet per second or a lead ballpein hammer but only travelling a few hundred feet per second? Ballistics/trauma data is all important in this debate.

    Now if you use heavier bolts and some of the very nasty looking multi bladed heads now available – then that is another matter!! Still, some of the above issues need to be considered….

  • Timelord

    Just to note/ I have one of those 80lb lever cocking pistol crossbows. I bought it a few years back out of interest. After trying it out > I found these issues :-

    It was poorly designed out of cheap materials. The cocking mechanism did not last long & was superflous and time wasting anyway, so was discarded. As you will see looking at commercial pictures online, the bow is canted quite strongly in relation to the launching rail, but this does not stop the strings being worn away at a rapid rate. I polished the ramp and lubricated it which helped but the design flaw was too great to overcome. The bow nocks are cheap plastic affairs and can be knocked off during handling/storage. The trigger assembly was cheap quality and contained plastic components on the one I had. The anchorage ponts/screws that held the bow in place were a horrendous design, that not only worked loose but placed points of high stress on the back of the fibreglass prod. Basically they were turn screws that pinned the bow in place. This is not good for prod longevity – especially from composite materials such as fibreglass. This was altered and the prod was bound in place with many many wraps of waxed string so that it was similar to the originals. this spreads & absorbs the forces through the prod and stock. It also does not work loose. The sights were a waste of time and so removed. it was easier to just get used to point aim & fire. Quicker and just as accurate – possibly more so with lots of practise. unfortunately due to the overall cheap poor quality mass market chinese manufactured design, it was not possible to achieve the amount of practise desired without the contraption sawing through strings at a high rate. The problem with modifying kit is that if you start off with fundamental crap, then there is only so much you can do with it – so now this piece sits in my museum of how not to build something. It is a shame, because this technology is very ancient and is readily available. I saw some beauties this weekend at a medieval fayre I went to. The real deal & pretty indestructable – which is what you need when playing around with the physical forces a crossbow stores up. IMO these 80lb pistol crossbows rate very poorly and I regard them as a mildly dangerous toy/novelty item – at worst I regard them as a fatal misconception.
    Play safe – TL.

  • Timelord

    Just looked – mine was a Cobra.

  • Northern Raider

    Wet & Cold has an article on the forum showing you how to modify your 6 1/2 inch bolts to make thgem more usuable, I disagree with much of what TL says on pistol bow so its horses for courses.

  • Northern Raider

    Forgot to add that I do agree with TL over good quality sling shots firing 38 calibre or bigger steel or lead balls. That reminds me about a sling shot “expert” who called in for coffee some time back, He spent ages taking the time to explain the superiority of the slingshot in various circumstances, but this expert did not even know that most slingshots are held with the grip in the horizontal position.

  • Northern Raider

    Ref TLs comments about high string use, I’m getting over 80 bolt before I have to replace the nylon shrink fit tube on the string, Wondering if TL is using the cheaper strings that dont have the nylon wear guide?

    Got a bag full of the nylon nock ends for the prods just in case, only bust one so far.

    The anchorage points for the bow limb are supposed to be protected with the provided two rubber pads and one steel pad that the allan bolt secures again, again I’ve fired over 80 bolts and the bow blade is still in place ?

    The triggers for me are on par with most budget crossbows and its still better than many air rifle trigger actions.

    Agree with useless sights on Mk 1 Cobra, they were useless, I fitted a reflex sight on mine. On the Mk 2 the 13 mm scope rail is replaced with a 20 mm Picatinny rail which massive allows the choise of better sighting kit.

    I rate the MK 1 as modest but useful and much better than a stick or knife, especially for smaller people, I do like the Mk2 its been much improved and refined by the manufacturer.

  • half

    Timelord, to make those 80lb pistol crossbows truely deadly you could coat the bolt tips in poisons. In the northern hempisphere Monkshood part of the aconite family was used in the past. Needs handling with great care though, even just touching the plant can kill you.

  • Timelord

    I will post a few pics of my modified (sawn off 🙂 Cobra pistol xbow on the forum. I did reinforce the string with an extra layer of whipping thread but I may try some nylon wraps as NR suggested. Even with a usable pistol xbow, I still think it’s tactical effect using standard alloy type light target bolts is much overestimated. You have to remember with these devices – that the damn things need reloading under combat conditions. This takes time. Having a stick or a knife is rapidly reusable and less likely to fumble. Really comparing one of these type of pistol xbows to a stick or knife is poles apart. What the xbow needs to be considered with is its real life scenario effectiveness – not just the one you can envisage easily with the odds of surprise stacked in your favour. What type of bolts are you going to fire? If it is pretty standard alloy target bolts, then the effectiveness will be inferior. Forget the imagery and hollywood film interpretations of xbow trauma and look at real world studies of ballistic damage by xbows. Historical & modern. That will stand you in good stead to be able to seperate modern myth from reality.

    Thankyou for the poison info:-). I personally will be avoiding the technicalities & handling of those substances, especially in an expedient situation. If you can, then excellent but I am wary of the possible mishaps and the time/handling it entails. Plus, if you miss or don’t penetrate, it dosn’t help. I will have enough chemical worries to deal with without adding biohazard to my stockpile. lol.

    This thing about slingshots – I believe “catapult” is the correct term. I find myself & my associates using the term “slingshot” in error v.often as well. I think this may be an Americanism and in fact an incorrect one to boot. Slingshots, As we keep reminding ourselves – are those pouch and two thong affairs that are swung in an arc before releasing one of the thongs to hurl the projectile forwards (hopefully). They are an excellent bit of kit – time served but need mastery and are not ideal in confined spaces/buildings etc. David & Goliath etc…

    Steel ball is better than stones in a catapult and every boy’s eyes gleam with the first idea of using ball bearings instead of stones. This is about as far as the mental process gets for the majority. If we use ballistic damage studies from low velocity firearms like black powder pistols from the 18th century and compare it to recent modern firearms with their small calibre supersonic bullets, we will see that firstly – they are all lead and secondly, that the ballistic damage achieved by a slow moving but large calibre lead ball is pretty horrific and often more devestating than the modern small calibre rounds generally used now. Ok, so a catapult is not going to achieve anywhere remotely near a black powder pistol velocity but still the lump of lead will be moving rapidly towards its target. The ballistic properties of lead are far superior to those of steel when launched with the same force. Steel has not caught on at all in the firearms community – because it is significantly inferior as a ballistic projectile. It does not deliver anywhere near the same punch and stopping power as lead and it does not deform and dump all its kinetic energy into the target to the same degree does lead. It will be easier to source lead from roofs and flashings or lead acid batteries (with the right precautions)than ball bearings, which while they will be all around, they will need prising out of machinery using tools or a ball bearing stockist or suitable engineering factory will need to be located. The lead does not even need to be molded into a projectile for a catapult. It can just be squeezed or rolled into shape or the historical thumb tip in sand mold can be done round a campfire. How quick could a sufficient quantity of projectiles like this be made up? Compare that to making bolts. Not that bolts are too hard or even that usable crossbows are no good in my opinion – just that the whole picture needs to be considered before getting carried away with the technical gadgetry side of it and the idea that a light alloy target bolt will be your saviour. I do like crossbows and intend to make a carbine folder in the near future, but I am aware of their strengths AND weaknesses and so they will be treated as a luxury item that is nice to have in the right circumstances. Anyone heard of “zip guns” or “fillipino poltic shotguns”? Easy to source materials & make than most other lethal weapons and v.effective. Of course quite illegal as we stand now, but an interesting mental comparison study all the same….

    For me, without firearms, a crossbow would be for hunting small to medium game and also for possible long range disuasion if I could not avoid/evade a hostile threat. Close in, then I would not be fumbling around with any type of crossbow.
    Regards, TL.

    (For small game, then don’t use points – use birding blunts, which are rubber stoppers that fit over the end of a standard wood dowel type shaft. These are effective to stun and knock down small game and they do not pierce the quarry making a mess and possibly rupturing its intestines etc. The bolts/arrows can be found much easier as well and do not burrow themselves deep into the earth as do a large percentage of crossbow pointy bolts. Just a useful tip. haha)

  • Timelord

    “fillipino PALTIC shotguns” that should read!!

  • Northern Raider

    TL is that one of the early plastic bodied Cobras? if it is I can understand the issues you have got, all my Cobras are the later aluminium alloy bodied versions.

  • half

    I use M10 hex nuts for my catapult ammo, get 1000 for about the same price as 100 11mm bbs. I do have a mold to make lead shot but for now I like the hex nuts. And ya, I don’t fancy messing around with poisoned bolts. In the dark under pressure and rushed the last thing you want to do is give yourself a nasty little nick.

  • Timelord

    It is a factory black painted alloy bodied one. I have moved my discussion of this to the forum now. Thankyou, TL.

  • Timelord

    (just one more note:-)

    Hey half, it would be easy to dip those hex nuts in a tin of molton lead and then pull them out to cool off. You could even just press a small lump of lead into the threaded centre. the thread would hold the lead in place. This would seriously increase the impact force of the nut. also, the lead might break free at the moment of impact and cause an increase in trauma of which I am not sure without experiment. It would be an easy fun project to try out! Regards, TL.

  • half

    Timelord, some Americans but bbs in the center of m10 or m8 hex nuts. I’ve not tried it myself though. The m10 packs a nice punch on its own. Heavy is always good though if you can hit with it, which right now after a few months off my aim is pretty bad. Back to using 9.5mm bb and I’m getting my eye back in but will be a few more days before I can hit a 2p all day long with a hex nut or larger bb.

  • silencej

    hey people,
    i have been reading your posts and they are pretty informative and i have been thinking crossbow for a hunting weapon if and when, they are probably the most common sense as they also pin a target and have more stopping power than a air rifle.

    Has anybody looked into sling shots (of David and Goliath type fame) rather than the catapult which relies on rubber or springy material?

    Somebody mentioned personal protection, crossbows in my opinion would be second to a large and heavy lump of wood for residential protection.

  • The Bear

    I have the orginal 80lb cobra pistol crossbow it will shoot a bolt clean though the back of an old arm chair at 30 feet I would not like a bolt in my guts from it , so its like every thing you pay your money and make your choice , A pick axe handal on a coller bone will break it clean and there ain’t no one who will want to fight you with their collar bone shattered about a tenner in D.I.Y shops. You can try lashing a huntig knife to a sturdy pole or stick good for jabbing or slashing at a distance but lash it well .

  • Axon

    I have bought a crossbow after reading here, and being verbally advised. I chose a 175lb draw bow with dot sight, bolts, string etc at a good price. It arrived in 24 hrs (excellent service from hunters i managed to assemble it in my kitchen in a few minutes, with a teaspoon, butterknife and elderly screwdriver (which compromises my daily toolkit). I had to phone up to ascetain what was the auxiliary string and what was the real one… I could not get it strung…???
    then an hour later i realised the draw was TOO HEAVY!!! I am very strong for my size and age, but a 175lb draw is over my bodyweight. I managed at last to string it, by lying down and using my feet in the string and my hands in the foot brace and using my whole body to cock it! God forbid i should have to use it in an emergency!!! Having cocked it I had to fire a bolt -which went straight over the hen coop (thankfully!!!!) -hit a concrete fence post and bent to!!
    If you are going to get a crossbow, have a go first, if you cant cock it easily, get a lower draw weight, if TSHTF no one cares about bravado or your ego. get something you can use.

    • Skean Dhude

      or get a cocking aid. On the bow and arrow weekend none of us could cock my 200lb crossbow. With the cocking aid it was easy. Many crossbows come with one but they can be bought seperatly.

  • Axon

    I have just ordered a cocking rope 🙂
    Thank you again.

  • a crossbow does have advantages .once cocked you can walk around for hours with it in a survival situation until you need a shot. as a dissuasion device a crossbow is highly intimidating due to the fact they are known to be lethal where even a powerful catapault would have to strike the head to stand any chance of even slowing down a potential agressor .as for hunting try getting near enough to say a rabbit to take a lethal shot ( about ten meteres ) not easy !whereas a bow will take down a rabbit at over 60 meters ( if you can use it accurately) plus if in a shtf situation a bow gives much more options on game size

  • silencej

    @ Axon
    red dot sight will be cool while the the battery lasts but, i have found that in all my air rifle scopes (£50 to £100) once the battery goes a few times or they get left on and burn out they are next to useless (little fingers playing with them) if you can find a scope that uses AA batteries for availability can also be repaired easier, reflex scopes are kinda easy to work on as i have repaired 2 or 3.

    @Russ Wills
    i think and i may be wrong but there seems to be a lot more skill involved in using a bow/arrow than a crossbow,
    So for Joe Bloggs to pick up and use either weapon a crossbow would be more ideal than a bow, until the person using either has the time to practice

  • I have several pistol and full power xbows. The mk2 metal pistol xbow ive pimped to achieve up to 300FPS but depending on which bolt i use it averages about 270FPS In a critical situation i would use 3″ WASP bolts very sharp hard steel heads and its more like a bullet than bolt. Ive shot this clean thru a pigs head smashing the skull thru n thru (not a live animal) AS for knock down power im quite sure it would shoot a bolt with a heavy bulbus head at around 150FPS that would smash ribs etc plus totally taking all the wind out of someone. i think no matter where it hits it will disable..i cant really say this weapon “out of the box” would have enough grunt to be affective though…maybe with a broadhead..also i can reload this weapon a fast as a slingshot..(self loading)xbow.

  • Tonka

    I agree with the recurve crossbow being the way to post SHTF. However I you can get special small game tips to prevent over-penetration. This may be worth trying on the more powerful bows. I have a 175lb recurve bow, and I am looking for a less potent prod for it. I need a spare or two anyway, and it’s not something that can be drawn quickly and quietly in the field.

  • al

    Hi all,
    I have the cobra 80lb self cocking crossbow…its a decent weapon for target fun..and it will it is usable for small game…will go thru chipmunks and squirrels no problem and with some practice will easily hit its mark at 25 yards…personal experience here. The problem is it will..the critters won’t passes right thru and has no stopping power. For small game you need a blunt tip.
    If you are serious about survival, you need to learn the skills that will let you survive.. we al know that..and that’s why I suggest you take up archery…invest in learning the skills of archery… you can fashion a bow and arrow out of so many things… the skill is fun to learn and and something that will allow you to protect yourself and provide food. You also can’t beat some of the takedown bows out there..some easily fit in your Bug out bags….hth, al

  • mark watts

    I have three 80lb self loading of i have pimped from 300fps..(depending on bolt) it has shot clean thru a door..then some..see y/t “pistol xbow versus door” iam quite sure it would shoot clean thru someone at 30ft i add weight to my bolts for a better punch thru..the standard gold or abs bolts are too light for my xbow…saying this a full xbow at a slower fps will allways have much more kinetic energy therefore greater power.

  • I have a Barnett Commando, some 15 years old but kept in tip-top and well hidden just in case the laws change again…
    In honesty, the time taken to draw and lock, I will always favour my longbow.
    However, crossbows can be used effectively with less practice.
    However, both options offer distance defence and great for food hunting.
    I’ve owned pistol type x bows and in honesty, much less accurate. If you can, go for the full size and practice, practice, practice.

  • midnitemo

    I’m drawn excuse the pun to long(recurve) bows as an option to back up the shotguns but i think pistol crossbows in close quarter conflicts are a little overated as i reckon you may not even get that one shot of unless you leave it cocked permanently(not really an option)i just see them as a bit of a toy and why would you hunt with it if you had a larger more accurate crossbow available?

  • Stokey161

    I have and have used the Armex Tomcat MK2 80lb pistol crossbow for the past 2 years and i have to say for the price you just can’t beat it. Initial crossbow cost is £30, strings cost £3 each, and 240x ABS Bolts £36 (240x Aluminium bolts £72) but there are a few things to bare in mind:

    1: The strings don’t last too long, around 20-40 shots before they start to fray in the middle and at the loop ends – The way I have modded mine to last longer is to put heat shrink over the middle and the ends (NOT OVER THE LOOPS) to prevent fraying or at the leaset to slow down degredation (IF YOU TRY THIS BE CAREFULL NOT TO BURN THE STRING). but to be honest at £3 a string its a small con compared to the pro’s.

    2: Bow hunting is ILLEGAL in the UK and Pistol crossbows are ILLEGAL in most US States.
    I use this crossbow for target practice and is my main CQB firearm for SHTF. (I can fire off about 10 bolts a minute)

    3: Use gun grease on the cocking mechanism’s rails (this will require removing the front grips) this will ensure easy reloading and won’t ware down the powdercoat as quickly. Also to be noted is noise the cocking arm does make a bit of noise and uppon release of the bolts there is a distinctive thud of the string hitting the two reloading arms.

    Having said all that the power of this crossbow is not to be underestimated it will penetrate body armour at 10 feet. ( I know, I tested it, much to my dissapointment. I did not test at other distances as I didn’t want to risk ruining my nice new vest any more)

    So for SHTF CQB its an O.K. weapon as long as you get the drop on your opposition.
    and for Hunting (Post SHTF) it will do fine for small game (rabbits, squirrels, fish), as long as you don’t rush the cocking/loading you wont make too much noise.

    also there are other bolts that work for this xbow with barbs and that you can attach fishing wire to. they are red or yellow in colour and are advertised as fishing bolts i believe (only seen them on ebay) I tryed these out once but they are not briliant as the tips need supergluing onto the shafts for them to be effective (i.e. not fall off mid flight or worse whilst leaving the bow, had that happen too).

    just so people know i also have recently aquired a barnett ghost 410, LOVE IT!!!!

    Hope this info helps x

  • Stokey161

    forgot to add prices are from excellent customer service.

  • Prepper leigh

    Anyone had practical use of an arrow shooting slingshot?
    Seen these on line and I think you could fashon an arrow-rest on a standard black widdow.
    This would be a good hybrid between my bows and sling.

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