How To String A Crossbow (2 Effective Methods)

Crossbow owners need to string their crossbows once in a while. So, how to string a crossbow should not be a question after going through this detailed guide.
By Rebecca Rios | Updated On February 12, 2023
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how to string a crossbow

If you own a crossbow, you should know the stringing procedure. Since the crossbow string’s lifetime expires, you have to string the crossbow. Many new crossbows are already strung, so there is no need to string a brand-new crossbow. But after completing the stringing life, you will have to string the crossbow again. Because when bowstrings wear out, they are not safer to use. The lifetime of a crossbow string depends upon various factors, including; string quality and the model of the crossbow.

The confusion about how to string a crossbow is very important to understand. I will include all possible methods to string a crossbow in this article. So, continue reading!

How to string a crossbow?

If you are unaware of the correct procedure, stringing a crossbow can be arduous and dangerous. The process becomes much easier and safe after understanding the stringing mechanism. Typically there are two methods to string a crossbow:

  1. String a crossbow by hand.
  2. String a crossbow with a stringer.

Without sounding biased, a crossbow stringer is the best and a safe method to string the crossbow. It demands less effort and body strength. Stringing a crossbow with the hand is an effective way too. Since it is the oldest method to string the bow, the process is authentic too. But with time, new products are designed to save time and energy, just like a crossbow stringer.

So, let’s start the methods of stringing a crossbow. But before proceeding, ensure that the safety is switched ON when you load the crossbow. Also, try to wear eye protection while working on the crossbow.

String a crossbow by hand:

A crossbow, crossbow string, and a hard surface are the only requirements for this procedure. String a crossbow manually demands more arm strength and energy. This method depends upon your body’s strength as force is needed to be applied. This method is easy if you are strong and muscular. String a crossbow by hand is accessible for crossbows with less draw weight.


  • Start the procedure by attaching one side of the crossbow string to one of the nocks. Leave the second nock empty and ensure the de-nock side is loose. Here, you should be careful; the loop of the crossbow string should be properly fixed in the first nock.
  • Put down the nocked side of the crossbow on the hard surface. Bend the crossbow and face the empty nock side upwards. The empty nock side should be towards your dominant hand.
How to string a crossbow
Nocked side of the crossbow
  • When you lean at the bow, stabilize the barrel’s back with your non-dominant hand. While doing so, hold the loose end of the string using your dominant hand.
How to string a crossbow
Hold the loose end of the string
  • Place your foot into the stirrup. It is recommended to use your dominant foot for ease. Also, step on the stirrup barefoot to stay away from the damage. Try to place your foot centre of the prod so that the prod can tilt smoothly. Do not apply pressure on the stirrup; otherwise, you can damage or break it.
How to string a crossbow
Foot in the stirrup
  • Put your hand on the barrel of the crossbow. Hold the barrel and pull it towards you. With your non-dominant hand, pull the limb that does not have a crossbow string upwards. Continue applying pressure with your foot.
How to string a crossbow
Barrel of the crossbow
  • Finally, it is time to nock the other end of the string. Attach the loose end of the string onto the free nock. Release the barrel and use the dominant hand to loop the string in the second nock.
How to string a crossbow
Nock the other end of the crossbow
  • Now, it is necessary to check the crossbow and examine both nocks. Both loops of the string should be fixed in place.

The manual procedure to string a crossbow by hand is completed.

The whole process is clear and easy. But for crossbows with a larger draw weight, the process can be challenging as extra strength is needed.

Please beware that this method is unsuitable for compound crossbows since compound bows have a pulley at the end. A hard surface or floor is effective if you perform the procedure indoors. But if you are outside, a wooden block is beneficial to string the crossbow. If the wooden block is unavailable, you can even use your shoe to do the job. All you have is to set the shoe on the ground, and the sole should be upward. Then, string your crossbow.

String a crossbow with a stringer:

A crossbow stringer makes the stringing process much safer and easier. But this method can be a little time-consuming. A crossbow, crossbow string, and a stringer are necessary for this process. This method applies to every crossbow irrespective of its draw weight and the physical strength of the person stringing the bow.


How to string a crossbow
  • To start the process, place the crossbow on the ground or a flat hard surface.
  • Insert one end of the bowstring onto one nock of your crossbow. Do check the string should be fixed tightly with the nock. Leave the other second of the bowstring as it is. Do not insert it.
How to string a crossbow
Attach bow string with crossbow
  • Now, take your crossbow stringer and attach one end to the loaded nock of the crossbow. Attach the other end of the stringer to the other empty end of the crossbow. Fix the stringer on the top of the bowstring. This process is simple and only demands a little energy. The crossbow stringer is longer than the actual bowstring. That is why it attaches to both ends without applying much pressure. Try to keep the length of the crossbow string the same as the length of the bow span.
How to string a crossbow
String the crossbow
  • The next step is to cock the crossbow. Vertically rotate the crossbow so that the barrel is at an upward position. Place and fix your foot in the stirrup. Draw the crossbow stringer until it is cocked. Ensure that the loose end of the bowstring does not strike anywhere.
How to string a crossbow
Cock the crossbow
  • Insert the remaining loose end of the actual bowstring in the corresponding nock. Be careful in attaching the bowstring to the nock, as you have to ensure the loop of the bowstring is beneath the loop of the crossbow stringer.
  • Release the safety and uncock the crossbow by firing a bolt (here, fire does not mean dry fire). When you do this, one end of the stringer will fall off. This release is because the tension is now in the crossbow string. So, both ends of the bowstring remain in place.
How to string a crossbow
Attached the Bowstrings
  • The end, where you attached the bowstring in the last, still holds the other end of the crossbow stringer. Carefully remove the other end of the stringer from the nock. You might need to forcefully remove it, but please be gentle to avoid any unpleasant situation.
  • A flat screwdriver or any similar tool can help to make your task smoother. The flat screwdriver helps to loosen the stringer loop so you can remove it easily.
  • Stinging the crossbow with a cable stringer takes longer than the manual procedure. But this process is safe and only demands a little physical strength.
  • Now, it is necessary to check the crossbow and examine both nocks. Both loops of the string should be fixed in place.

The procedure to string a crossbow with a stringer is completed.

How to string a compound crossbow by yourself?

A compound crossbow is an upgraded version of the crossbow that uses pulleys and cams. Compound crossbows are more sophisticated and energy-efficient bows that require more maintenance and care. To string a compound crossbow is more arduous than the recurve bows. A compound bow press is needed to make the process easier. Seek help from the manufacturer to choose the perfect bow press for your crossbow.


A compound bowstring, compound bow press, safety glasses, and of course, a compound crossbow are the requirements for this procedure.

  • Replace the old bowstring with a new one if it has any fault; otherwise, it can break during the stringing procedure.
  • Rub bow wax on the new bowstring. Waxing increases the string’s life and makes the string easier to install.
  • Adjust the crossbow in its bow press.
  • Loosen the string by pressing the crossbow limbs.
  • Fix a new bowstring on the compound crossbow.
  • If you already have a bowstring in the crossbow, then fix the new bowstring while the old one remains there. Do not remove the old string yet.
  • Now, carefully remove the old string after fixing the new one. Here it would help if you were extra careful not to remove or loosen the new bowstring.
  • Check the vital parts of the crossbow, such as; cams, stock, pulleys, and limbs. Ensure all the parts are in perfect working condition. In this step, the bow press is still present in the crossbow.
  • Now, remove the bow press after releasing the bow press tension.
  • Fire the bolt in an archery range to check the restrung crossbow accuracy.
  • In the end, if you feel that the bowstring is not properly adjusted, you must fix the bow press again and install the bowstring.

restring a crossbow:

For the restringing procedure, follow the steps of ‘string a crossbow by hand,’ but in reverse. Place the crossbow onto the ground or a flat surface. Remove the string from one nock that is in front of you. Hold the crossbow and unstring the loop from another nock too. While restringing procedure, carefully handle limbs and the string. Hence, the process is simple and can be done within minutes.


I have deeply explained both methods of stringing the bow. The manual method is time-saving but energy-consuming. However, using a stringer saves energy but is time-consuming. Choose between both methods

No matter what procedure you are going to follow, please note down some effective tips beforehand. Remove the bowstring when the crossbow is not in use. To maintain the quality, regularly apply wax to the bowstring. Consider replacing the stringer to avoid wear and tear.

Hopefully, you learned something from this article. If you did, connect with WideHunt for more informational material.


The average lifetime of a crossbow string is normally one to two years. However, a crossbow string of premium quality lasts even four to five years. The crossbow string’s lifetime depends upon the bowstring’s quality, your shooting schedule, and maintenance of the string. It is recommended to replace both string and cables while changing the crossbow string.

An Allen wrench is used to serve the purpose of crossbow stringing. Adjust a new bowstring by using an Allen wrench. This way, you will not need a bow press to string the crossbow.

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