How to Make Your Own Hunting Crossbow (and Impress All Your Friends)

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Last Updated on July 30, 2021.

Writer for Minuteman Review, handgun aficionado and artisan firearms reviewer. 

How to Make Your Own Hunting Crossbow (and Impress All Your Friends)

Crossbows are popular weapons within the hunting community. They have a horizontal bow mounted on a stick, called a stock, and they shoot projectiles, called bolts, at targets. Crossbows can also be constructed by hand, using supplies from your local hardware store. If you’re ready to impress your friends with your DIY skills and learn how to make a hunting crossbow, you’ll need to start by gathering the necessary materials.


Tools and Materials You Will Need

Before you dive headfirst into the challenge of making your own crossbow, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct tools and materials:

Materials

  • One PVC pipe (3’, diameter 1.2”)
  • One PVC pipe (5’, diameter 1.5”)
  • One PVC bend (diameter 1.5”)
  • Three PVC bends (45°, diameter 1.5”)
  • One Y PVC connection (diameter 1.5”)
  • One PVC tee (diameter 1.5”)
  • Two pulleys
  • 10’ of rope
  • Eight crossbow bolts with ring and screws
  • PVC glue
  • Protective foam/rubber
  • Five PVC collars (diameter 1.5”)
  • Two toothbrushes
  • Wood trunnion (24”, diameter 0.3”)
  • A 3’ strap
  • A long tape

Tools

  • Drill
  • Hacksaw
  • Blowtorch
  • Gloves
  • Meter and pen
  • Cutter
  • Knife
  • Metal file
  • Clamp

Step-By-Step Guide

Once you purchase the necessary tools and materials for the project, you can begin constructing your hunting crossbow.

Step One: Make the Bow

Place a 1.2” diameter PVC pipe into a 1.5” diameter tee. Ensure the PVC tee is placed directly in the center of the pipe before marking the spot on both sides. This allows the pipe to be centralized once it is being handled.

Heat the PVC pipe with the blowtorch, softening the plastic. Once you’ve done this, you can flatten the pipe to create the shape of your bow. Soften the plastic in sections of 5”-8”, ensuring you move the blowtorch carefully. This will prevent the PVC pipe from burning completely.

Leave a 3” gap on both sides of the pipe where you’ll place the pulleys. 

Step Two: Install the Pulleys

Ensure the pulley rests on the end of each arc by dragging it to the correct location. Cut them out using your hacksaw. Next, create a hole on the tabs you just made.

Position the pulleys in the appropriate spot and screw in properly with a bolt. Ensure both pulleys are lined up correctly, facing each other. Pull the rope to ensure it gets across the pulley. Then, fix the end of the rope to a screw and stretch.

Step Three: House the Rope

Place your 1.5” diameter PVC pipe into the tee. Stretch out your rope and ensure it is lined up perfectly in the direction of your crossbow. Then, mark the position where the extended piece of rope ends.

Make two holes, ensuring you have enough space and distance to place the arrow. Protecting the rope from the screws, place them and fasten them with bolts.

Step Four: Make the Crossbow Stock

The crossbow stock is the wooden centerpiece of the mechanism. It holds the bow, bolts, and trigger mechanism. Cut a PVC pipe, so it has a diameter of 1.5”. You can use this pipe to fix the elbow of the crossbow.

Next, ensure all the components are glued together; however, avoid fixing the stock directly on the crossbow. Allow all the glue on the stock joint to dry for at least 10 to 20 minutes.

Step Five: Make the Crossbow Trigger

This next step involves cutting an 8” long strip and placing it in line with the PVC pipe length. Using your blowtorch, heat the pipe you will be using. This allows the material to flatten, letting you form into the perfect shape.

Next, make a small hole in the pipe to insert the screw. The screw creates a lever. Make a slit in the pipe for the cross trigger. 

Step Six: Create a Cable Pass

To prevent friction and stop cables from tangling, you must make a perpendicular slit. Do this in the direction of the rope and the center of the pipe. This creates the body of the bow.

Drill a sequence of small holes in the pipe. File up the slot angle, ensuring this step does not damage the rope.

Step Seven: Create an Arrow Guide

This is where the toothbrushes come in - divide them into two halves. Then, take your PVC collar and place it on the crossbow.

Using an adhesive to hold a PVC collar in place, ensure it is done inside out and in a “V” shape. Use another PVC collar and clip it 4” away from the position of the trigger.

Step Eight: Build the Quiver

Quivers can be made from the pipe pieces leftover from creating the trigger or protective foam. 

Start by placing the foam into the PVC pipe and drill some small holes. Ensure the holes are smaller than the size of the diameter of the arrow you are going to plant.

Cut the second piece of the leftover pipe in half lengthwise. Make some incisions on the foam body. This acts as an area for the arrow to wedge. Using your blowtorch again, heat 15.7” of the pipe you will be using. This will help flatten and soften the pipe, allowing you to connect both elements on the quiver.

While on the second pipe, use glue or screws to fix the other part to it. Fix the PVC collar that is 15.7” in diameter. Ensure it can quickly snap directly into the body of the screw.

Step Nine: Camouflage Your New Crossbow

Now you’ve built and assembled your crossbow, all you need to do now is camouflage it. Use camo-style tape and wrap it around the entirety of the crossbow. This will ensure you and your crossbow are concealed from your prey when out on your next hunt.


Final Thoughts

Now you’ve learned how to make a hunting crossbow; you’ll be able to show it off to all your hunting friends on your next expedition. From ensuring you have the correct tools and materials to going the extra mile and camouflaging the final product, you’ll be able to head off on a hunt using the weaponry you made with your own hands.

For an more guide on DIY bow and arrows, read full guide.

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