Crossbow Competency Test
Basic Criteria for Competency
- Can you correctly identify unsafe strings?
- Fraying of string or wrapping
- Stretch marks around staples
- Uneven thickness around the point of draw, particularly a narrowing indicating that the string has begun to warp
- Looseness or over-stretching of the string
- Can you correctly identify unsafe bolts?
- Fletching insecurely attached
- Head damaged or coming unstuck, or frozen
- Shaft cracked or warped such that it will cause shots to behave unpredictably
- Nock insecure or cracked
- Shaft abraded by repeated loading such that it is no longer of uniform cross-section
- Can you correctly identify unsafe staves or mechanisms?
- Signs of cracking or lateral warping
- Insecure hand grip which could slip
- Cracked or overly grooved loading mechanism
- Loose trigger, arms or staples
- Rusty trigger, arms or staples
- Can you correctly and evenly cock your own bow?
- Can you correctly load a bolt?
- Don't dry fire a bow.
- Don't shoot the head.
- Can you judge safe declination?
- Do you know how to vary the point of aim to adjust for bolt jumping
as range closes?
- Don't clout people with the bow, even if it's latex covered.
- Don't shoot anything below minimum distance, 12 feet.
- Don't fire a bolt straight up.
- Demonstrate a reasonable familiarity with the working principles of, and thus the points of potential mechanical damage to, the bow.
- Demonstrate the ability to load your bow, and fire ten bolts at designated targets. For at least some of these shots, the target will be the administrator holding a shield at different heights and ranges. Typically, this test must include the administrator requesting at least one illegal shot (e.g. inside minimum range, head-shot, etc.) and the candidate refusing.
- Examine the following pieces of equipment:
- One damaged bolt, identify all defects.
- Fire an arrow at what you judge to be the highest safe declination which will not cause the bolt to deviate from a safe flight.
- The administrator will ask at least five of the following questions. Incorrectly answering any one requires correction at the end of the test, but is not an automatic failure. Incorrectly answering two questions will fail the applicant.
- When you pick up a fired bolt, what should you immediately check?
- All potential damage points, particularly to the shaft.
- What is the minimum safe firing distance?
- Once combat has ended, what is the first thing you should ensure about your bow?
- That it is unloaded and is not cocked.
- How would you parry a blow with your bow?
- How should firing from a position of significant elevation affect your shooting?
- Extreme care is needed to ensure that bolts do not risk striking the head or overturning in flight. There are some situations where a slope will make it entirely unsafe to shoot.
- What is 'Dry Firing'?
- Cocking and firing the bow without a bolt loaded. A capital crime.
- When aiming at a relatively near target, would you aim above or below your target point?
- Below: bolts tend to jump on release.
- List at least three potential safety failures or damage points on your bow which should be regularly checked during usage.
- Under what circumstances might you fire a bolt straight up?
This page last updated: 10th August 2004
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