How to String a Crossbow

Given the amount of tension a crossbow is designed to hold, restringing one might seem a little intimidating. However, you should actually restring your crossbow every 200-600 shots, which is fairly often if you do much shooting. Even the best crossbows will need this sort of maintenance, luckily it isn’t all that difficult.

Why You Need to Know

Bowstrings wear out, and when they do, they’re no longer safe to use. You’ll notice when the string is starting wear, as little fibers will start sticking out of it. If it gets really bad, the individual strings will start to pop out, and then you’ll know it’s time for immediate replacement. To fix this problem, you’ll need to become proficient with stringing your crossbow.

If you’re using a wooden crossbow, you’ll actually want to remove the string for storage, as the wooden limbs will lose their elasticity if kept under tension. Fiberglass limbs don’t have this problem, so you’ll only need to worry about restringing after a few hundred shots.

How to String a Crossbow

There are two ways you can go about stringing a crossbow, with a cable stringer or without. First, we’ll go through how to do it without one.

Without a Cable Stringer

Start by attaching one loop of the bowstring onto one of the nocks (the notched-out end of the bow limb). Then, put the bow towards the ground so the stirrup (the part you place your foot in for leverage while cocking) is lying flat on it. Then, put your foot into the stirrup and pull the limb that does not have a bowstring attached to it towards you. Now, loop the free end of the bowstring onto the empty nock. It’s a simple process, but does require some strength if you’re using a crossbow with a larger draw weight.

With a Cable Stringer

The process of restringing can be made even simpler with the use of a cable stringer. A cable stringer essentially acts as a very lightweight bowstring. To start, attach one of the bowstrings onto the nock just as you would without the stringer. Now, attach the ends of the cable stringer onto both nocks of the crossbow. This won’t be very difficult because the cable stringer is longer than a bowstring and won’t hold as much tension. Cock the bow, and then attach the free end of the bowstring over the remaining nocks. Release the tension by firing the crossbow (don’t dry fire, though); one end of the stringer should fall right off, as the bowstring is holding the tension now. However, the end you last attached the bowstring to will be holding the stringer in place, and you’ll need to use a flathead screwdriver to pry the stringer end out from under the bowstring. While this process takes a little longer than doing it without the cable stringer, it’s safer since it doesn’t require you to apply as much force to the crossbow.

Replace Before It Becomes Necessary

As you can see, stringing a crossbow doesn’t take too much time or effort (especially if you use the cable stringer). Always be sure to replace your strings when you start to see some wear; it’s not worth injuring yourself or ruining a hunting trip just to save a few bucks.

If you would like to see a more in-depth video of how to string your crossbow, check out the video below.

If you’re still unsure of how to go about stringing your crossbow, this helpful video might give you a clearer picture of how do it using a cable stringer.

Photo of author
Justin Archer
Hi, I'm Justin Archer a family man with 2 boys and a wife. I'm an outdoorsman who loves hunting, fishing, hiking and lots of other outdoor activities. I love testing new outdoor gear, learning new things and passing on the knowledge I have gained. Feel free to contact me anytime -

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.