I second that notion. Go with ranger. Fighter can be made in that kind of character, but if you re rookie, and don't know what feats to take, ranger is maybe better. And ranger has a lot of cool things, like tracking, animal companion, he is more skillfull etc.
About feats, I forgot which one does he get for free in 3.0, I'm mostly playing 3.5. In 3.5 you can chose which weapon style you want(ranged or dual wield) and then you get free feats as you progress. But for ranged character, you usually go with precise shot(very important), point black shot, rapid shot, and a such. You will want rapid reload for crossbows. For atributes, put most in dexterity, strength is not important for crossbows, get good constitution, and you will want wisdom for spells which you get later. You need 10+ lvl of spell to cast them. Rangers have 4 spell levels. Intelligence is good for extra skills, although ranger get quite a lot already.
If you decide to go for fighter, you will want similar feats and attributes,you just won't need wisdom and intelligence that much, so you can play with lower dices.
Some multiclass option like those linked could probably work very well, but I do not like multiclassing and prestige classes too much. I'm not powergamer type of player, I usually stick with core classes, feats and such. One of the reasons is that we usually die gruesome death before high levels usually, and in our campaigns ressurections is quite rare
Ask anything else you need help with.