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21 Homemade Crossbows For Hunters And Survivalists

Crafting a homemade crossbow has been a rewarding experience for me, providing a versatile tool for hunting and protection. Unlike firearms, a DIY crossbow allows for silent hunting and defense, making it ideal for scenarios where bullets may not be readily available or appropriate. As a hunter and survival enthusiast, I’ve found that wooden crossbows can be constructed at minimal expense and operated without ongoing costs, making them invaluable for off-grid living or as a supplement to traditional hunting methods.

Whether you’re living off-grid or simply enjoy the sport of hunting, a homemade crossbow offers a cost-effective and sustainable way to procure food. By mastering the art of crossbow hunting, you can enhance your self-sufficiency and provide for your family during hunting seasons. Additionally, the simplicity and primitive nature of crossbow hunting add a unique dimension to the sport, appealing to those seeking a more traditional approach to hunting and wilderness survival.

Having explored various Homemade Crossbows myself, I understand the importance of having the right tools for poultry processing. Similarly, I’ve delved into crafting homemade crossbows for hunting and survival. Just as with chicken pluckers, having a few homemade crossbows on hand ensures you’re always prepared for hunting opportunities, whether it’s for food or protection.

1- Survival DIY Crossbow

Having faced survival situations myself, I understand the importance of having essential tools like a homemade crossbow for hunting and protection. With the right DIY crossbow, you can fulfill crucial needs for food and security, which are vital for survival in challenging environments. Following detailed instructions, such as those provided by instructables, ensures that you build a strong and effective crossbow capable of aiding in your survival efforts.

By utilizing free crossbow plans and mastering the art of crossbow construction, you gain valuable knowledge and skills that can be used for bartering in times of need. Beyond mere survival, the game meat, pelts, and fish harvested with a DIY crossbow serve as valuable commodities for trade and negotiation. As you become proficient in building and using homemade crossbows, you empower yourself to navigate survival situations with confidence and resourcefulness.

homemade crossbow
Survival DIY Crossbow, By instructables

2- DIY Crossbow Pistol

The second one we have is a DIY crossbow by instructables that sounds like a lethal weapon but it’s not. The finished crossbow is made to have a little fun with rather than for hunting wildlife like deer. Perfect for shooting wine corks, bottle caps, small rocks, or other small projectiles. But it’s powerful enough to take down a small game.

In these detailed instructions we will see how to use a strip of poplar lumber to create a crossbow pistol. It’s a simple project and would be great for the novice woodworker. It would also make a good crossbow for a young hunter to begin target practicing with.

DIY crossbow
how to use a strip of poplar lumber to create a crossbow pistol, Image via: instructables

3- Powerful Crossbow

We recomment this for hunting small to medium sized game, this powerful crossbow will help you put meat on the table.

If we follow these free video instructions for building this homemade bow and arrows by instructables we can live a survivalists lifestyle without a store bought firearm. Replenish your arrow supply as needed with the skills you will learn from this tutorial.

homemade bow and arrows
Powerful Crossbow, Image via: instructables

4- Bicycle Wheel Crossbow

I’ve personally delved into the world of homemade crossbows and stumbled upon an ingenious idea from Gianni Pirola GP DIY on YouTube. This method involves crafting a crossbow using recycled materials like an old bicycle wheel, which I found incredibly fascinating. It’s not just about building a weapon; it’s about embracing creativity and resourcefulness while making something practical for hunting and survival.

We like the idea of using what you have and being self-sufficient and its also a trend that continues to grow. Keeping usable items out of the landfill by recycling is good for the planet. This YouTube video will show you step by step Instructions on how to transform a bicycle wheel into a hunting weapon.

Use the DIY crossbow for hunting small game, killing dangerous predatory animals, or for target practice.

5- Wood and Aluminum

In this ideas we will see the classic crossbow design that is made with wood and aluminum to provide the user with lightweight efficiency. This homemade crossbow by motherearthnews won’t weigh you down while on a hunt, and will shoot accurately when a game animal is located.

Get these free plans we are sharing with you to learn how to build this DIY crossbow that looks and performs like an expensive store bought model. The front bead design will enable the user to get an accurate shot on the target every time.

homemade crossbow
Wood and Aluminum crossbow, Image via: motherearthnews

6- DIY Wooden Crossbow

I’ve personally found great value in the step-by-step pictorial instructions provided on instructables for crafting homemade crossbows. Every aspect of the DIY process, from materials to firing techniques, is thoroughly explained and illustrated, making it accessible even for beginners. By following these detailed instructions, you can transform simple materials like wood and rope into a powerful and accurate weapon capable of hunting small game effectively.

how to make a crossbow
DIY Wooden Crossbow, Image via instructables

7- Monster Crossbow

Crafting a mega-sized monster crossbow isn’t just a DIY project; it’s an adventure that demands respect for its immense power, as I’ve learned firsthand. Even seasoned hunters should approach it with caution, acknowledging the potential risks associated with handling such a formidable weapon. Tailored for serious hunters, the free plans provided by wideopenspaces offer guidance on constructing a DIY crossbow boasting an impressive 1,000 pounds of pull power. Particularly suited for survivalists or hunters residing in regions abundant with large game animals such as caribou or elk, this formidable weapon stands as one of the top choices for safely and effectively bringing down sizeable prey.

Video instructions make the process of building this heavy-duty crossbow from wood and metal straightforward and accessible. Drawing from my own experience, I recommend paying close attention to each step, ensuring precise assembly to maximize the crossbow’s performance and safety.

DIY crossbow
Monster Crossbow, Image via wideopenspaces

8- Adult Toy

I remember when I made my own crossbow at home. It was like a grown-up version of the toy crossbows we used to play with. Just like those toys, it’s only for shooting targets, not for anything serious.

If you want to practice your aim for hunting, or teach someone new, a homemade crossbow like this one by woodgears with big arrows is perfect. You can shoot into hay bales safely and get better at aiming.

DIY bow and arrow
Adult crossbow toy, Image via woodgears

9- Automatic Crossbow

Crossbows were originally designed to have one arrow loaded for shooting at a time but in this plan we will see this new homemade crossbow design by popularmechanics has changed all of that.

Fully automatic crossbow is created from wood and can hold several arrows at once to reduce the re-load time. Smooth and accurate arrow shooting will provide you with a weapon that is capable of taking down more than one game animal at a time, or stop an attack of a pack of wild predators threatening you or your livestock.

homemade crossbow
Automatic Crossbow, Image via popularmechanics

10- Repeating Crossbow

This is one of my favorite homemade crossbow by vintageprojects as it can handle as smoothly as a rifle and provide five arrow shoots at once without re-loading. A vintage design that has stood the test of time, and in the hands of a skilled hunter, this homemade crossbow will be able to hit a target 40 yards away.

Free plans are on a downloaded PDF file and will take you through this homemade crossbow build step by step.

homemade crossbow
Repeating Crossbow, Image via vintageprojects

11- Crossbow Made From Scratch

Making a homemade crossbow was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It’s a weapon you can craft using only natural stuff you’d find in the wild, making it perfect for survival situations.

If you’re curious, there’s a helpful video by survivallife that guides you through the process of turning regular items into a precise homemade crossbow. It’s a handy skill to have in your survival toolkit.

homemade crossbow
Crossbow Made From Scratch, Image via survivallife

12- Crossbow Revolver

I remember when I tried making a homemade crossbow after seeing one on Gizmodo. It’s perfect when you need both speed and accuracy from a simple weapon.

The crossbow I made from their free plans shoots arrows so fast you can’t see them without slow motion. It even has a cool feature using a toothbrush to let it fire up to four arrows without reloading.

Crossbow Revolver
Crossbow Revolver, Image via gizmodo

13- Crossbow Made From All Wood

Making a homemade crossbow like the one from Instructables was a fun project for me. It’s made entirely of wood and is super accurate, perfect for target practice or hunting.

If you like archery or need a reliable hunting tool, this DIY crossbow is a great choice. It’s simple, effective, and gets the job done, arrow by arrow.

wood crossbow design
Crossbow Made From All Wood

14- Medieval Crossbow

These free plans will show you how to make a replica of a medieval crossbow by popsci like those used centuries ago in battle.

As we know crossbows were popular weapons during warfare because they did not require physical strength to use. The crossbow was also smaller and lighter than a traditional longbow and made it much easier to carry into battle.

The characteristics that made the crossbow popular centuries ago are the same ones that make them popular today. Learn how to make a functional medieval crossbow with these detailed instructions.

Medieval Crossbow
Free Plans For Medieval Crossbow, Image via popsci

15- Pocket Crossbow

This small sized DIY crossbow by instructables is meant to be a created as a practice craft and not as a real weapon. Made from popsicle sticks and a paper clip, this pocket crossbow is an ideal craft to create on a rainy day. You can hone your creative skills with this free video on how to build a pocket crossbow.

DIY crossbow
Pocket Crossbow, Image via instructables

16- Pistol Crossbow

Exploring homemade crossbows featured on Instructables, I learned about their potential for hunting and protecting livestock, similar to DIY electric fences, without relying on bullets. This inventive solution could save a significant amount of money typically spent on ammunition, given the reusability and ease of crafting arrows.

If you’re interested, you can also create a pistol crossbow using similar methods. It’s not just for shooting arrows – you can use it for various projectiles, making it perfect for off-grid living and hunting without relying on expensive ammo. Check out the free plans to make one yourself. Even if you’re not into hunting or living off-grid, it’s great for target practice.

homemade crossbow
Pistol Crossbow, Image via instructables

17- Wooden Crossbow

Exploring homemade crossbows like the one featured on Wikihow, I gained insight into their design and utility. Though I didn’t personally construct them, I found the free plans helpful for understanding how they’re made from wood, suitable for both hunting and recreational use.

Even without building it myself, I could see the potential benefits of having a crossbow like this. It could be handy for hunting small game or just for fun target practice. If you’re interested, these plans make it easy to get started with your own wooden crossbow.

Wooden Crossbow
Wooden Crossbow, Image via wikihow

18- DIY Mini Crossbow

Learning how to craft a weapon like a homemade crossbow can be incredibly useful, especially in survival situations. Even though I haven’t personally made one, I recognize the value of having such a skill. The mini crossbow from Survivalsullivan, for example, seems like a practical choice for hunting, self-defense, and even trading if needed.

These plans offer guidance on making a crossbow using sturdy and flexible materials, like paracord or dental floss for the bowstring and a large nail for the trigger. Whether you’re living off-grid or simply interested in survivalist techniques, mastering this skill can be crucial. Even if you’re already familiar with crossbow making, these plans might still offer some helpful tips and tricks.

how to make a mini crossbow
DIY Mini Crossbow, Image via survivalsullivan

19- Homemade Crossbow Fishing

Make this homemade crossbow to harvest fish to supplement your diet. Watch this video and discover how to make a crossbow for fishing on youtube and how to use it for fishing.

Crossbow fishing is a great way to add variety to the diet. It will allow you to harvest fresh fish from any lake, stream, or river you may be nearby.

A DIY crossbow is lightweight and is easy to carry along with you when you’re backpacking or camping. Fresh fish is rich in nutrients and protein and is plentiful throughout the year. This strong crossbow built for fishing will let you harvest large or small fish. Ideal for areas where fishing with a net or rod is not a good option.

20- DIY Longbow Transformation

Repurposing an old longbow into a DIY crossbow is a clever idea. I found a helpful video on YouTube by Scott’s Place that demonstrates how to do just that. With the crossbow being lighter and more compact, it’s convenient for hunting trips and just as effective for gathering food.

Whether you’re hunting small game or safeguarding your homestead, a sturdy crossbow like this one proves to be a valuable and versatile tool. It’s worth considering for anyone interested in self-sufficiency or outdoor activities.

21- Crossbow Pistol

The last one we have is small but accurate, this crossbow pistol by instructables is easy to carry along with you when hiking through the woods. This DIY build is made simple with the free plans included on this website, and a video of how to shoot this crossbow pistol is also on this website.

The trigger on this crossbow pistol enables you to time to get a good aim on the target so when the arrow is shot it will hit the desired target. Compact in size, yet powerful enough to kill small game.

Homemade Crossbow Pistol
Free Plans For Homemade Crossbow Pistol, Image via instructables


Homemade crossbows help you in any survival situation where you need three basic necessities of life i.e food, shelter and water. You can build from any of these diy crossbows that help you hunt for food or living off the grid.


Science Direct, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Volume 79, April 2021, 102147, “Crossbow injuries: A case report with experimental reconstruction study and a systematic review of literature”, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1752928X21000329

MDPI, Engineering Proceedings Volume 55 Issue 1 10.3390/engproc2023055048, Published: 5 December 2023, “Ancient Chinese Repeating Crossbow: Basic Research to Science Education in Museums”, https://www.mdpi.com/2673-4591/55/1/48

Quora,”Are crossbows good for hunting?”, https://www.quora.com/Are-crossbows-good-for-hunting

About Farhan Ahsan

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. I always love to write about gardening, sustainable life, off grid living and homestead farming.

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  1. I recall when I was in high school, I was in a wood shop class. One of the projects was for a crossbow stock made of oak. The teacher ordered a kit for us which had all the metal parts and three bolts. The bow was made of some alloy like stainless steel. All three of my bolts ended up in the ground, and I could not find them. I never found any more to shoot so I sold the crossbow at a garage sale.

    I regret it now. I wish I could find the company which sold those kits.

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