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Archery Sighting In And Getting Familiar

Sighting In And Getting Familiar

collage of killer instinct crossbow, crank device and inserted bolt.
Prepping for some shots.

If you’ve been keeping up with The Bow Bully Blogs you’re aware I recently ordered the Killer Instinct SWAT X1 Crossbow. I’ve set it up and now it’s time to shoulder it and take some shots. Where do I start? Unless you have information that the company you bought the crossbow from stating the scope is zeroed, always start at a close range to prevent flinging bolts in unintended directions. I’m starting at fifteen yards. 

Get the Feeling

The first shots, I attempt off-handed, were really close and I need to “feel” the trigger anyway. I know, I can’t just stand there and pull the trigger, there’s some cocking necessary first! 

While I’m preparing to crank this guy, I take a look at it and think to myself, can it get any narrower? I had to remind myself of what the cocked and uncocked width was. My research shows the cocked width is 6.25” and the uncocked width is 9.75”! Amazing, no wonder it’s called the SWAT! 

Silent Crank or Cocking Rope?

I attach the compact silent crank to the butt of the crossbow, then I release the crank hooks and attach them to the string. After installing the crank handle, I turn the handle enough to tighten the string so there’s no slop in it.  I place my left foot in the stirrup and crank it up! No, not like Nascar, it was relatively quiet. When I hear a click and the safety button goes from fire to safe, the cranking is complete! 

This step, like all the rest, is very important so listen up! Remember to remove the crank before shooting! While holding the handle tightly, I press the release button and roll the crank handle backwards until the hooks are loosened enough to slide them off. Now I can pull the crank off the butt of the crossbow. 

Nock, Nock, Nock! 

Almost ready to pull the trigger on this one! Take a close look at the included HYPR 390 grain bolts. Notice on the 20” carbon fiber shaft there are two white vanes and one red one. Are you looking at the same thing I am? Did you just ask why the vanes are different colors? I was about to explain, hold your horses! 

Everything has a particular design and some things are more like puzzles that have perfectly fitted parts that improve the functionality of the product. I told you to look at the bolt, you see the red vane? That’s the one I want pointing up, that will also allow the nock to line up properly with the cocked string. I insert the bolt into the riser end of the crossbow onto the flight track nock first. (Just in case you wanted to know). I then tilt the crossbow up in a safe direction at a 45 degree angle and push the loading lever up until the bolt is seated. 

Not A One Shot Deal

The very next step is to tell myself to CALM DOWN!! I’m excited to see how my new crossbow is going to perform and hear the sound of the field tip smacking my new Big Shot Ballistic 450 target. To find out the real performance is going to take some time, it’s not a one shot deal. There’s the hold and comfortability factor as well as trigger function that makes all the difference when shooting a new anything! My first shot is at fifteen yards and offhanded. 

Almost On Bull

This Lumix Speedring scope must have been semi-zeroed out of the box! My point of impact (well the bolt’s POI) is slightly left, otherwise great! I’ll shoot it two more times at the same distance to be sure it’s not just a fluke. I discover it is not. 

two targets showing how close the bolts hit to the bullseye: the left hit slightly high and right, the right hit slightly low and left.
I start and 15 and you might want to hang out at 35.

I like to move back in increments of ten yards at a time. I could keep the same aim point from fifteen to twenty-five, which is the top of the triangle, but at thirty-five I my aim point is the bottom of the triangle. After one windage adjustment to the left, I’m shooting spot on at thirty-five. 

This Is the Hang Out For Now

If you’re following along and maybe you’re not a seasoned crossbow shooter, it may be best if you hang out at thirty-five yards for a time. That way you can get accustomed to the grip, the crisp three pound trigger, and the optic. Once you’re comfortable there, then we’ll talk about taking it back further. Really, it’s not a suggestion. Go poke some holes in that Big Shot Ballistic 450 while you get familiar.

author avatar
The Bow Bully
The Bow Bully discusses a variety of archery topics and offers tips, advice and the occasional nudge to make you a better bowhunter. With years of experience, and an attitude to match, you'll find the Bully has something to offer both beginners and seasoned hunters.

2 thoughts on “Sighting In And Getting Familiar”

  1. Bull

    Nice bow,, and a good tutorial for the first shots from any bow.

    “My point of impact (well the bolt’s POI) is slightly left, otherwise great!” Your POI was to the right according to your picture.


    • Ha, thanks ED, and thanks for catching my error. I tell people all the time, I need an editor! I guess you’ve got the job and starting June 8th at 12:47pm is perfect!

      Thanks again Ed,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the read!


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