shoot your bolt

shoot (one's) bolt

To exhaust oneself doing some task and thus struggle to complete it. Try to pace yourself—if you shoot your bolt now, you'll never make it through all 18 holes.
See also: bolt, shoot
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

shoot your bolt

BRITISH, INFORMAL
If someone has shot their bolt, they have done everything they can to achieve something but have failed, and now can do nothing else to achieve their aims. The opposition have really shot their bolt; they'll never ever get any more votes than this. Note: This expression uses the idea of an archer who has only one arrow or `bolt' and is defenceless once he has fired it.
See also: bolt, shoot
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

shoot your ˈbolt

(informal) make a final attempt to do something, especially if this attempt comes too early to be successful: In an argument it’s important not to shoot your bolt too soon. Keep one or two good points for the end.In this idiom, bolt refers to an arrow that was shot from a crossbow.
See also: bolt, shoot
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
All you have to do is shoot your bolt and wait.' 'Whereas she, yes I know, risks her life with every child.
You shouldn't have to wear gloves to shoot your bolt gun.