Killer Crossbow

In this edition of “Weapons,” we take a look at the first non-firearm in the series. Belonging to the smallest category of weapons, the Crossbow doesn’t receive a whole lot of love for a number of reasons. Perhaps with a few game improvements and some better understanding, this weapon will find some new fans.

Added in the 0.44 update, this bolt firing apparatus was unlike anything that came before it. Join me as I talk about how and when to take advantage of this bow’s capabilities, and why it can be better than a gun in certain situations.

Excalibur Axiom SMF

Though it is similar to many modern crossbow designs, the one in DayZ draws most of its influence from the Excalibur Axiom SMF model. This particular crossbow is no longer in production, but remains an important example of what a new age version of this old school weapon can do.

The Axiom is a recurve crossbow known for its consistent power and excellent accuracy, capable of firing its bolts over 300 feet per second (93m/s) and maintaining its shooting line and oompf at over 70 meters. That makes it capable of putting down most big game, with the exception of heavier animals like bison.

In real life, the Axiom has standard scope mounts, and came from the factory with its own perfectly suited “multiplex” scope. Similar to the holosight we have in-game, this optic has multiple reticles and a maximum magnification of 2.5x, requiring only small, easy adjustments for range compensation.


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Having gained a reputation as a “bambi weapon,” few players take this weapon seriously when they see their enemies equipped with it. To be fair, even those with the intent to use it well probably aren’t experienced enough to be dangerous with it. In a way, not being afraid of someone wielding a Crossbow is probably a safe assumption.

You can use this to your advantage by surprising enemies with their guard down who assume the least of you. The Crossbow thrives on exploiting your enemy’s weakness.

...Or is it?

On the other hand, a lunatic with a gas mask and a crossbow can be a little scary looking. So, you can go a couple of ways with this. It’s all in how you present yourself and how you behave towards your enemies.

Big Game Hunter

The Crossbow is an excellent tool for hunting animals and zombies. Small game like rabbits and chickens might be a challenge to hit over longer distances, and cows are too dense to be killed quickly by arrows, but everything else is fair game.

When targeted appropriately (no limbs), zombies are an easy takedown usually only requiring one shot.

Tactical Goofiness

You look a little weird reloading a crossbow in this day, and the action certainly isn’t as graceful as slotting a new mag on a contemporary firearm. Don’t let that deter you from exploring the capabilities of this weapon, just prepare yourself for the little bit of clunkiness that goes along with it.

Reloading a fresh bolt is relatively quick if you’ve got a quiver on hand. Your biggest challenge is going to be finding bolts to supply the bow, but those are relatively easy to come by inside full quivers found at deer stands.

Two Options, One Obvious

You really have three sights to choose from on the Crossbow: iron sights, holosight, and pistol scope. For targets under 50m, the iron sights are completely acceptable and are easy to compensate for as you aim farther out.

The pistol scope can be stolen from a LongHorn pistol, and works well to add spotting capabilities to your Crossbow. Unfortunately, it’s not well suited to duty on the limited range bow, and better fits the longer range abilities of the LongHorn where it originates. It will almost always cause you to aim too high, even at the Crossbow’s maximum realistic range.

The real winner is the holosight. These can be found at deer stands and are perfectly suited to the Crossbow’s abilities. You have a standard crosshair reticle and a minor zoom, as well as range markers that make it easy to compensate for distance when sighting a target.

Sneak All Day

It may not be dead silent, but the Crossbow is a reasonably quiet weapon. The sounds resulting from firing it are minimal, making it a solid choice for close range stealth operations. The bow itself even blends in reasonably well in many conditions, but the yellow feathered bolts attached to it make it slightly more obvious visually.

Target Practice

If you’re new to the weapon, it’s highly recommended that you get a feel for it first before putting your life on the line. It can be excellent at close range, but will not do well reliably past 100m and that will not work for the playstyles of many people.

Take it out for a spin and get comfortable with it before you decide that it isn’t for you. Every weapon in the game should be experienced first-hand at least once. You never know what you might like if you never try it.

Shared by Tatanko on February 22, 2016

The eleventh in a many-part series covering the different weapons found in DayZ Standalone.

Many thanks to official forum user Dudester100 for assisting with the album.