Before you buy a crossbow, you want to know how long your investment will last. Having hunted with crossbows for many years, I’ve learned about how long they will last.
How long will a crossbow last? Given the proper care, your crossbow will last 10 years or longer. You need to take care of the cams, strings, cables and trigger, but how long it lasts will also depend on the brand. The crossbow has 16 main components, which require occasional maintenance to keep it in good condition.
Now that we covered how long it lasts, we will look at proper maintenance, when to replace a crossbow and the factors that influence how long a crossbow will last. Keep reading if that interests you.
Your Crossbow May Last Less than 10 Years for Avid Hunters…
Avid hunters may need to replace their crossbow every three to five years since they shoot it more frequently, but the average hunter will see their crossbow last for 10 years or longer. Think of this as a general rule, rather than the gospel because many factors influence how long it lasts, which we will cover in a bit.
The strings and cables of your crossbow have a high risk of breaking at some point, but you can replace them before that happens. In fact, replace them before this happens. You should replace your crossbow strings and cables every two years. You can tell when it needs replacement because it starts to fray.
Expert Tip: Always replace the crossbow strings at the same time as the cables. This ensures that they both work correctly and one won’t give out on you before the other.
Maintenance of Your Crossbow
From time to time, you want to inspect your crossbow for damage. Check the limbs, bowstring, cables and cams to see that it remains in good condition. Shooting a damaged crossbow, like shooting a damaged bow, can lead to serious injuries.
Signs of damage that you may want to look out for include:
- Checking the string for signs of wear
- Inspect the safety to ensure that it works
- Check the trigger to see that it works
- Make sure the arrow retention spring holds the arrow correctly
- Inspect the limbs for integrity
You want to fix the damage before you fire your crossbow again. Regular inspection prevents more expensive problems from entering the picture.
Along with checking for damage, you have a few things that you need to do for proper maintenance of your crossbow to make sure that it operates at its best:
- Check the sight battery and replace if needed
- Examine the sight screws to make them tight
- Ensure that your sight is mounted correctly
- Replace broken or cracked arrow nocks
- Discard cracked or broken crossbow bolts
- Inspect the quiver and see that it sits properly and isn’t damaged
Good maintenance of your crossbow will go a long way to making it last longer. You, for example, want to keep it clean of dirt and grit that can accumulate on the rail. This prevents damage. Take a can of compressed air and spray it over the crossbow to eliminate the grime. Compressed air especially works well on the trigger mechanism and remove the dirt from the tight and hard-to-reach corners of the crossbow.
After you clean it, you may want to check the screws on the crossbow to ensure that they remain tight. You can tell when the crossbow has loose screws because it vibrates when you shoot. Over time, the recoil of the crossbow works the screws loose and requires tightening. If they seem to loosen often, you may not be tightening them enough.
Finally, you will want to wax the crossbow string and cables to make it last longer. Most manufacturers recommend that you wax the crossbow string every 75 shots. Waxing prevents fraying, and at the same time, it keeps your string waterproof so that it lasts longer. Once water penetrates the string, it becomes heavier and won’t shoot as fast.
New Technologies for Crossbows
For many crossbow enthusiasts, how long the crossbow lasts doesn’t matter as much as seeing a new crossbow and wanting to buy it. After a few years, you may find it beneficial to upgrade to a new crossbow because of how companies continue to innovate in this market. You have new technologies that often cause people to buy a new crossbow long before their first one gives up the ghost.
Check the market every few years to see the new stuff offered because it regularly changes. You don’t have a specific time where you will need to replace the crossbow, and many times, it will last a long time. If you’re interested in a great new crossbow, check out the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Mossy Oak Bottomland Crossbow.
Many people wind up owning far more crossbows than what they ever intended to own. A crossbow will sometimes last however long you want it to last.
Factors That Influence How Long Your Crossbow Lasts
You have a few factors that will have an influence on how long a crossbow lasts. Some of the things that can impact it include:
- Chosen brand
- Frequency of shooting
- How you store it
- Wanting new technology
- Personal preference
Because we already spoke in-depth on maintenance, I won’t go too deep into it here, but you will need to occasionally replace the strings and cables to keep it working its best. Poor maintenance can hurt the performance of your crossbow, which can make someone abandon it sooner than needed.
Not all crossbow brands were created equal and some last longer than others. Check the warranty of the crossbow to see how long the manufacturer intends to back up their product. This gives you an idea of how long they think their product will last. For example, Excalibur, Killer Instinct and Mission all offer lifetime warranties to one degree or another. This tells you that they have at least some confidence in their brand. Check the specific terms and conditions to know what to expect from the warranty.
Frequency of Shooting
Frequent use will wear down the crossbow sooner. Most often, however, you can replace individual parts to keep the crossbow functioning. If you only use it for hunting season, rather than for bowfishing as well, your crossbow will last longer. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t shoot it as often as you want—get your money’s worth—but understand that it may wear out sooner.
How You Store the Crossbow
At the end of each crossbow session, you will need to store it properly so that it lasts. Most people recommend that you leave the string on the crossbow since it won’t hurt it like it would with a bow. The only time that you need to remove the string is when you replace it. You can use either a hard or soft plastic case to store the crossbow. Hard cases give it extra protection.
Put the crossbow in a cool and dry location. We would advise against storing it in a garage or damp location because this can cause it to rust. In a location with excessive heat, the crossbow string and cable may start to rot. Keep it in a safe place away from where you might bang it around. It won’t last long in a location like that.
Wanting New Technology
Most crossbow enthusiasts replace their crossbow more for this than actual wear and tear on it making it no longer usable. One example of a new technological improvement is when TenPoint reversed the cams on the limbs. This increased the power stroke and made for a faster shot. Improvements like that always keep people buying the newest technologies to enjoy them.
In some cases, a crossbow will last for as long as you want it to last. I have heard of hunters who have hunted with the same crossbow for over 20 years. Provided you take good care of it, you may only need to invest in a crossbow one time. However, I personally think the fun of crossbows is having a few on hand to play with. Not only that, but when a buddy comes over, it makes it easy to give them the spare one while you go target shooting.
When to Replace an Old Crossbow
It can be fun to look on the market at new crossbows, and you may want to replace an old one when you see that new technology coming up the pipeline will significantly improve your hunting experience. You have many manufacturers making some interesting innovations in this market. If you’re interested in looking at another great crossbow for the fun of it, check out the RAVIN R10 Crossbow Package R014 With HeliCoil Technology.
How long should a crossbow last? You can expect a crossbow to last anywhere from five to 10 years, but some crossbows will last as long as 20 years. How long it lasts often depends on the person and how well they maintain it. Given the proper care, they will last a while.
Do crossbows wear out? The parts of a crossbow, like the cams and string will eventually wear out. You can, however, replace most components on a crossbow and keep using it. Usually, crossbow users will keep a crossbow for up to 10 years before they replace it.
What is the life of a crossbow? Most crossbows will last 10 years before you need to replace them. However, a large element of personal preference comes into play here where it lasts as long as what you would want it to last. This also depends on how much you shoot it.
As you can see, you have a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to how long your crossbow lasts. For some people, it may last three years with heavy shooting. Your average crossbow shooter will get 10 years of good shooting out of it. If you only pull it out for hunting season, it may last a while. Other people may feel drawn to buying a new crossbow because they love the hobby and want to add other choices to their collection.