are occasional, is to carry it with its bow-string hitched over the
catch of the lock, the bullet in the pocket of the string and the lever
extended. See fig. 116, p. 180. Then when a shot offers, the lever can
be at once pressed home into the stock and the weapon is instantly made
ready for use.
With a little practice, the lever can be set free from its catch and
the bow-string in this way slackened to unbend the bow if it is not likely
to be discharged for some time.
To do this, hold the crossbow in your left hand as when using the lever
to bend its bow, p. 181. Place the right hand firmly over the knob of the
lever and at the same time pull back with the left thumb, (i.e. the thumb
of the hand that grasps the butt,) the spring catch which secures the lever
in its cavity in the stock. This will enable you to let the lever come
gently forward out of the stock.
In this manner you can gradually unbend the bow, the action of doing
so being the reverse of that shown in fig. 117, p. 182.