Cleaning Your Crossbow Trigger Mechanism

Basic trigger mechanism cleaning is a do-it-yourself task.

Unlike a firearm’s trigger mechanism, which is completely enclosed, dirt and debris can occasionally infiltrate a crossbow trigger mechanism at the opening of the string latch. If you notice your trigger doesn’t pull as smoothly as it once did, it may be time for a cleaning.

If you decide to tackle the chore, here are some tips to dry and clean your trigger mechanism. Depending on the brand of crossbow you are shooting, the trigger mechanism may, in some cases, be easily removed from the stock as a single unit. Some mechanisms, however, are mechanically tied to the stock and are better left in place.

The first order of business is to do your best to remove debris and water from the trigger mechanism without disassembling it. Two very functional and handy items for doing this are a can of compressed air, and a dry-spray solvent such as brake cleaner. This type of cleaner and others like them are applied as a liquid, but evaporate at a very rapid rate. They are excellent tools for blowing out water and loose particles and debris without leaving behind any film or residue of their own. They are non-corrosive, and non-lubricating.

Compressed air and a dry-spray solvent are keys to cleaning a crossbow trigger mechanism.
Compressed air and a dry-spray solvent are keys to cleaning a crossbow trigger mechanism.

Loose debris and dirt can be blown from the nooks and tight-spaces with the can of compressed air, as well as displacing water from the mechanism. The solvent can then be used to flood an area of concern with fluid, which will then run out; carrying with it the loose debris and will almost instantly dry, any water that was present will have been displaced, leaving the treated areas dry.

The treatment should be performed in a well-ventilated area. Rubber gloves and safety goggles should be worn as well. A good method of application would be to first use the compressed air to remove and displace as much of the water and debris as possible, then perform a treatment with the solvent, inserting the spray tip in various openings with the mechanism tilted to encourage the fluid and debris to run out along the easiest flow path possible.

Then, finish with another treatment of compressed air. Allow for a few minutes of drying time in case the cleaning fluid has migrated into places where it could pool, retarding the drying time slightly before you perform the lubrication of the mechanism.

Please note that this compound may have an adverse effect on your crossbow’s finish. Use care when applying these types of solvents when the trigger mechanism is cleaned while mounted to the crossbow’s stock.

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