Crossbow Legislation
Source:  Act 2003
Section 1 - (Sale): It is an offence for any person to sell or let on hire a crossbow or part there of to a person under the age of 18.
Section 2 - (Purchase): It is an offence for any person under the age of 18 to buy or hire a crossbow or part there of.
Section 3 - (Possession): It is an offence for any person under the age of 18 to have with him a crossbow which is capable of discharging a missile, or parts of a crossbow which together can be assembled to form a crossbow capable of discharging a missile.
* Hunting with a crossbow or bow is illegal in the UK.

Be sensible when using and transporting use a case or bag, it is legal to own one but they should not be carried in public and only used on private land. Respect should be given at all times as it is a lethal weapon if used incorrectly. Be very careful where you shoot and ensure there is plenty of room beyond where you are aiming in case you miss using a crossbow target will significantly reduce damage to your crossbow bolts.
There are two main types of crossbow available to the shooter today, the main difference is that the compound crossbow has a cable and pulley system to enable the rigid prod (bow) to delivery more power and to make cocking slightly easier as you only pull the full draw for the first 3-4 inches. The recurve crossbow depends on the strength of the prod and length of string pull (from rest to trigger) to determine the power generated. The higher powered (200lb+) recurves will require a cocking device as they can be just too hard to pull back by hand.

A recurve crossbow is a bow that has tips curving away from the shooter, the string loops on the end of the bow. The recurve bow's bent limbs have a longer draw length than an equivalent straight-limbed compound crossbow, giving more acceleration to the projectile and less hand shock. Recurved limbs also put greater strain on the materials used to make the bow, and they may make more noise with the shot. The better recurve crossbows will have a riser and 2 limbs (see diagram) instead of a single bow that slides through a gap at the end of the stock. Having a split limb system allows the bolts to travel closer to the top of the limbs and reduce the pull downwards on the string increasing accuracy.

The compound is the modern crossbow, the limbs are usually much stiffer and shorter than those of a recurve. This limb stiffness makes the compound crossbow more energy efficient than recurve crossbows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound crossbow has the string attached to the pulleys (cams), one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. Shaped pulleys (cams) will give much better relief (reduced draw weight) then simple circular wheels.

There is a third type of crossbow which fits in neither of the previous two examples although they do look similar to a compound crossbow. These crossbows use wheels (not shaped cams) on the end of the stiff limbs but have one continuous string not 2 cables and a string. These crossbows have the advantage of being easy (can be as low as 60lb draw) and quick to cock without placing any strain on the shooter or the need for a cocking device but they do not deliver the same power when firing a full size bolt. Using one string will allow the shooter to release more bolts and reload quicker than the traditional recurve or compound crossbow. Our exclusive Talon crossbow range feature these crossbows and they can fire 8mm Ball Bearings at speeds in excess of 400fps.

Recurve crossbow diagram
Compound crossbow diagram

images courtesy of

Safety & Maintenance

1.  Always read and fully understand the suppliers manual before shooting your crossbow.
2.  Never ever fire your crossbow with no bolt inserted, this is called a dry fire*.
3.  Keep your fingers and thumb below the flight deck out of the path of travel for the string and cable.
4.  Use only the manufacturer's recommended bolt weights and length.
5.  Be mindful of your immediate surroundings when firing, DO NOT rest your crossbow against a wall tree etc.
6.  Always think of safety first, ensure that there are no obstructions that will hit the limbs of the crossbow.  Make sure there is plenty of clearance for the limbs to move forward when shooting.
7.  Maintenance is important, you should wax the string (not the serving) every 15-20 shots and place a small amount of oil on the arrow track (sides of barrel).
8.  Never store and transport in a cocked position.
9.  Crossbows are dangerous and should be treated with the upmost respect at all times.
10. Never leave a shooter aged under 16 years unsupervised.

* Please do not return a crossbow as faulty when the wrong bolt or no bolt has been used when firing. This misuse is simple to spot and will invalidate your warranty.

Other Crossbow Uses

Crossbows are very versatile tools and are not just used for hunting or target shooting. The ability to fire a projectile  accurately that can be attached to a line and therefore retreavable is very useful indeed. The crossbow is probably the most powerful and accurate method of delivering an object that can be recovered. This ability lends itself to some very unusual uses, if you know of an unusual use for a crossbow let us know and we will feature it on this page.

Tree Climbing
Imagine having to climb an extremely large tree such as the highest in the world. If the branches are not reachable from the ground you will be facing a pretty impossible task. Well there is an answer, fire a cossbow bolt attached to a line high into the tree branches. The line can then be echanged for cord and then eventually rope which can be used to scale th tree. If you think we are pulling your leg take a look at the video which logs the climb to the top of the worlds biggest tree.

Mountain Rescue
Crossbows can actually be used to save lives, hard to believe I know. A crossbow is the perfect tool to accurately and quicklysend a line across a ravine. As with the tree climbing a thin line is attached to the crossbow bolt which can then be exchanged for a thicker rope. Using a crossbow for this type of rescue can save precious time and increase the chances of survival.

Magic Acts
Crossbows are perfect for the dangerous circus or magic show act. They are dangerous but in the right hands exciting but safe. As you can see from the videos the simple crossbow can be turned into a show that will both amaze and astound the audience. If you watch closely you will notice that they do not use any spaecialist crossbows infact some of them are budget crossbows. This just shows how skillful these showmen really are.

Whale/Seal Biopsys
Probably the strangest request we have had was for a crossbow to use for whale and seal biopsys. This took a bit of explaining by the customer but eventually we understood the logic behind their request. They need to tak samples of the whale or seal to test but they didn't want to trap it, so with an adapted crossbow bolt they could shoot the whale with the minimum of discomfort. The crossbow bolt is adapted to take a small piece of whale then retreived by the shooter. Using a lower strength crossbow prod (bow) the scientists can get very close to the whale or seal without causing it too much discomfort.