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A crossbow has a stock that is similar to a firearm, and it shoots shorter arrows than conventional archery equipment. These shorter arrows are sometimes referred to by the medieval term “bolts.”

Compound crossbow diagram identifying parts

Compound Crossbow

Safe use of a crossbow requires following the safety rules for both firearms and bows. 

  • Like conventional bows, the crossbow is limited to short-range shooting. For most crossbows, 30–40 yards is the maximum range.
  • Always unload your crossbow by firing it safely into a target or into the ground.
  • Always practice these crossbow safety rules:
    • Keep your fingers below the flight groove.
    • Beware of objects around the bow's limbs.
    • Never “dry fire” a crossbow.
    • Keep the rail properly lubricated.
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  • Topic 3 of 5
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