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I've tried to check Q&A before asking, but I haven't seen this question asked specifically.

If the loading property restricts me to firing my crossbow once per turn, may I throw an improvised or ranged martial weapon as a second attack? I do not have the Crossbow Expert feat.

I'm finding with hunter's mark and Colossus Slayer, an archery ranger would be more effective on average with throwing 2x darts than with firing one crossbow bolt.

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If the Crossbow was already loaded

Both heavy and light crossbows have the two-handed property, so you have to get the dart with your free object interaction.

Bows are much better with Extra Attack

If you do not have the Crossbow Expert feat, even a Shortbow does better damage than any crossbow, or a Longbow better than Heavy crossbow + Dart.
If you do have Crossbow Expert, a Hand Crossbow provides best DPR.

There is no situation, where a non-hand crossbow is a good option for DPR if you have Extra Attack. I would argue even if you don't have EA, Hand Crossbows are the only good crossbows.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since crossbows have the "ammunition" property, doesn't drawing a piece of ammunition and loading it into the weapon come for free as part of the attack with it (and not require a use of "interact with an object")? So couldn't you have an unloaded crossbow in a hand, then drawn and throw a dart, and then load and fire the crossbow? (Or vice-versa). \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Jun 5 at 21:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme, you are right, it is such a stupid rule I did not consider it. "Loading" takes so much time you cannot do it twice, but so little it is not even using up your free object interaction. \$\endgroup\$ – András Jun 6 at 16:02

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