Best Crossbow Reviews 2017 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Hunting can be done not just with guns but with an assortment of different weapons.

Some hunters go for more old-school approaches, using bows or crossbows. A crossbow in particular is both fun and challenging to use in a hunt.

Picking out the best crossbow 2017 for hunting is not an easy thing to do.

There are a lot of things to consider and a lot of details that you will have to sift through. Crossbows in 2017 are far more evolved than their predecessors.

They have different calibers, increased projectile velocity and a longer shooting range.

Going on your hunting trips with a crossbow can be a very rewarding experience. You will face different challenges and conditions that the gun does not offer. This can help you become a better hunter while making the hunt a lot more fun.

With different values come different degrees of power and different accuracy ranges. This makes the modern crossbow a lot more versatile, capable of hunting all kinds of game. It also gives you a much more primal sense of hunting. Not to mention the fact that it allows you to recover your projectile. This makes it a lot more manageable and far less wasteful than a gun.

The first step, however, is finding the best crossbow for your archery needs. Every archer takes his time when picking out a crossbow. Slowly and carefully going over all the information, comparing limiting his options.

In order to find the best crossbow for your hunting needs, you will have to do the same. The market has a lot of choices available for you, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. It is up to you to go through them all and find the one that works best for you.

Best Crossbows Reviews in 2017

As an archer, the best way to pick the best crossbow is to compare them all. That way you can find out which one is the fastest, lightweight and stable enough for your hunt.

There are a lot of crossbows on the market. There is a crossbow for beginners, a crossbow for professionals, A crossbow for fast shooting, or a steady shot. That being said, here are 10 of the best ones available for purchase.

Crossbow NameShipping WeightDraw weightDraw weight 
Excalibur Matrix SMF Grizzly
(Best on The Market)
11.3 pounds200 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Barnett Recruit Compound10 pounds130 pounds3 arrows Check Price
SAS Crusher
(Tactical Crossbow)
12.6 pounds150 pounds4 arrows Check Price
Barnett Outdoors Ghost12.4 pounds165 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Barnett Jackal Crossbow12 pounds315 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Arrow Precision Inferno
(Great for Deer Hunting)
9.9 pounds175 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Barnett Wildcat C5
(Fastest and Affordable)
12.2 pounds150 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Barnett Ghost 410 CRT13 pounds185 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Barnett BCX Buck
(Commander Extreme CRT)
12.4 pounds185 pounds3 arrows Check Price
Barnett Penetrator15 pounds175 pounds3 arrows Check Price

Although limited to only 3 values, this table helps you get an idea of the crossbows featured.

The first thing that you will have to do before buying a crossbow is figure out it weight. Lightweight crossbows are easy to carry and easy to reload and fire, but don;t pack much force. Heavy crossbows are able to provide a lot of force and penetration power, but are harder to carry and reload.

The best crossbow for beginners should be a fine balance between lightweight and heavyweight. The best crossbow for professionals is heavily specialized and favors specific technical details.

To help you get a better understanding, here is a more detailed view at the aforementioned crossbows.

1. Excalibur Matrix SMF Grizzly - Best Value Crossbow

One of the most important things when taking a shot with a crossbow is its balance. The more balanced and stable the crossbow, the more accurate the shot is. That being said, recoil and push-back are serious factors to consider before shooting.

This is what this crossbow manages nullify and mitigate. While it does pack a lot of power behind every shot, it is also very stable. With the added stability and the top mounted scope, this crossbow is very accurate over long ranges. All this adds up to one of the best crossbow for beginners.

Every single piece, nook and cranny of the crossbow is made to be accessed with ease. From cocking the string back to loading the arrows, adjusting the scope and shooting. Every single aspect, other than cocking the string, was designed with as much ease as possible in mind.

The body of the crossbow is designed to be as lightweight as possible and absorb additional forces. While small, it is able to provide proper gripping and and allow the shooter to maneuver it with ease.

Draw Weight: 200 pounds

Velocity: 305 FPS

Arrow length: 18 inches

The bow used to fire the arrows with is a recurve bow. It is able to put a lot of power behind each shot and add more tension stability. Two things that make this crossbow great for long distance medium game hunting.

Another thing to note about this crossbow is its quiver and its position. It rests on the right side of the frame, parallel to it. This makes it very easy to grab an arrow and slide it in when cocking the string. This in turn allows the hinter to take a faster shot.

One of the oddest features that this crossbow presents us with is its scope. While it is great for taking long distance shots, it does not fair well against close proximity targets. Often times the shooter has to make lengthy adjustments to it before taking a close shot.

Probably the biggest letdown that this crossbow has is the trigger system. Often times it feels too sensitive and too close when cocked. That being said, the shooter has to practice extensively with it in order to get used to it. This way the shooter avoids accidents and mishaps on hunting trips.

Pros
  • One of the best crossbows for beginners
  • Very balanced
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful
Cons
  • Close range aiming is a problem
  • Cocking the string is often times difficult
  • Both the string and the scope are high maintenance

2. Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow package - Best Lightweight and Fast

Barnett it a company with a long standing reputation when it comes to crossbows and hunting equipment. The thing that made them stand out is the fact that they adapt their products to suit the hunters needs. This is what made Barnett create the Recruit crossbow.

The Recruit is an aptly given name. The size of the crossbow is reduced when compared with the average standard. Even Barnett boasts about it being probably the best crossbow for beginners, teens, women and small framed shooters.

While the size is reduced, so is the effort and power needed to shoot it. The draw weight is 130 pounds, meaning that the string is much easily cocked. The scope itself is a close range amp scope which gives the shooter ample visibility both short and long range.

The frame that it is built on is rather narrow and compact. Similar to the frames of assault weapons, it is easy for the shooter to get used to it rapidly. It is also lightweight and maneuverable, the hunter being able to take the shot from multiple positions with comfort.

Draw Weight: 130 pounds

Velocity: 300 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

The crossbow stock is adjustable, making it possible for the hunter to assume an even more comfortable position.

The bow used is a compound metallic one. It relies on a system of pulleys to cock the string and create as much tension, without hindering the hunter. That being said, the crossbow might be small but it packs quite a punch. The compound bow is able to fire the arrow at 300 feet per second. That speed and force makes this little crossbow able to take on any kind of game.

Although smooth and comfortable to use, this crossbow has some downsides to it. One of the biggest ones is the position of the quiver, sitting across the frame, under the bow. This makes it harder to reload after each shot, making the hunt drag on for longer than expected.

Another thing to mention here is the fact that maintenance is a bit more difficult with this crossbow. The design has a lot of moving parts and a lot of small areas and design elements. This in turn makes it pretty hard to clean and can be prone to jams and misfires if not maintained.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Very easy to use
  • Compact and adjustable
  • Silent
Cons
  • Difficult to perform maintenance tasks on it
  • Quiver is not in an ideal position
  • The scope can be hard to get used to at start

3. SAS Crusher - Best Tactical Crossbow 

Tactical crossbows are rare in a hunting scenario, however they are more than welcome. Such is the case with this particular crossbow.

The overall design is a tactical one. The design elements carefully placed along the frame in order to maximize usability and vision. Probably the most unusual element of them all being the foregrip installed under the bow. This gives more stability and comfort when going hunting with this crossbow.

While it is not the best crossbow for beginners, it is a great crossbow for long distance hunting. The scope that it sports is a long range rifle scope, and the velocity of the arrows is 325 FPS. These things alone make this crossbow great for long range medium game hunting, however with a catch. The arrows have a drop point that needs to be factored in when taking the shot.

The bow itself is a compound high-performance high-tension one. It is able to shoot 20 inch long aluminum arrows at 325 feet per second. This makes the arrows also pack enough force and penetration power behind them.

Draw Weight: 150 pounds

Velocity: 325 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

The shooter’s comfort came into play when designing this crossbow as well. Right off the bat you will notice the shape, size and positioning of the stock. It is aligned with the trigger mechanism, which allows for a more natural body position. This in turn allows the shooter to maintain a more comfortable position when taking the shot. Even if it requires you sitting still over long periods of time, this crossbow has you covered.

One of the biggest inconveniences that this crossbow sports is the quiver. While it is planted across the tip of the frame, under the bow, it also faces right instead of left. This makes it slightly more difficult and inconvenient to reload after each shot.

Another thing to mention about this crossbow is the fact that it also requires a lot of maintenance. The string in particular is a bit more demanding. The shooter has to wax the string after every 5th or 6th shot. This means that you might find yourself taking it apart and waking the string while out hunting.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to shoot
  • Tactical design
  • Ergonomic gripping
Cons
  • High maintenance
  • The quiver is in an uncomfortable position
  • Can easily underestimate its power

Barnett never ceases to amaze us with the products that it makes available to the general public. For a successful hunting trip you need to have the right gear for the job.

The most difficult and by far most annoying game is fast game. Shooting at a moving target is one thing, shooting at a target moving as fast as a car is another. Taking the shot with a crossbow makes it even more difficult because of the things you have to account for.

The Barnett Outdoors Ghost 360 CRT makes your life a lot less difficult in that regard.

Equipped with a long range rifle scope, it is able to offer you great visibility over very long ranges. This is particularly useful when aiming at an animal running over the speed limit. Another great advantage that this scope brings is the ease of adjustment. It is very easy to adjust and focus the scope without having to take your finger off the trigger.

The Carbon compound bow that sits at the front of the frame is the real star of the show. Capable of firing 20 inch carbon arrows as fast as 360 feet per second, it packs quite a kick. The arrows fired by this crossbow carry enough energy and penetration power to go through thick hide without a problem.

Draw Weight: 165pounds

Velocity: 360 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

Another great feature that this crossbow brings to the table is the anti-dry fire trigger mechanism. This is more of a safety feature than anything else. It stops the shooter from taking the shot if it is not in contact with the string. Such a mechanism is great for making sure that the shot packs as much force as it can. It is also great for making sure that you don’t dry fire and risk breaking the crossbow.

The only downside that this crossbow has is the shape and positioning of the stock. It more or less forces you to angle your neck slightly in order to peak through the scope. While it is no problem when standing, it can be a problem when hunting. If you are already in an uncomfortable position while tracking your target, aiming the crossbow makes it worse.

Pros
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Fires strong shots
  • Great for fast moving targets and long distance shooting
Cons
  • Can force the hunter in an uncomfortable shooting stance
  • The crossbow is too powerful for short range shooting
  • Can be very difficult to cock without the included cocking device

5. Barnett Jackal Package - Best crossbow for Beginners (Under 300)

The Barnett jackal wears its name with pride and rightfully so. There are very few crossbows out there that can brag about their swiftness, the Barnett jackal is one of them.

The design of the crossbow has a lot to do with this. Everything from the reload stirrup to the scope design and mount was designed with speed in mind. The frame itself is lightweight, meaning that it is very easy to carry around and adjust.

The firing mechanism is, once again, designed with speed in mind. The trigger mechanism is very efficient and fast without being particularly sensitive. The release distance is small but the trigger is stiff and harder to press. This way the designers at Barnett are able to make it a fast shot without accidental misfires.

Another thing worth noting is the scope that it packs. It’s a compact viewfinder which works great for close and medium range targeting. While it might not perform great at long distances, it is well suited for most close hunting environments. The reduced size of the scope allows it to be planted much closer to the shooter. This frees up a lot of space over the firing mechanism and allows for faster reloading.

Draw Weight: 150 pounds

Velocity: 315 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

The bow that it packs is a double density compound carbon fiber bow. It is what gives it the small draw weight of only 150 pounds. It is also able to fire an arrow with a speed of 315 feet per second. This makes it pack a lot of pressure and momentum, translating in penetration power upon impact.

Something very important to note about the bow is the fact that it has a smaller profile than others. This adds to the pressure and the power behind every shot. It also helps with aiming the crossbow better if you drop the scope and use the iron sight.

The only gripe that a lot of shooters have with this crossbow is the actual cocking mechanism. Because of the design, it can catch a lot of dust and dirt, especially on long hunting trips. Cleaning it is rather difficult and almost impossible without disassembling it and cleaning every piece. Other than that, general cleaning and maintenance is easy to do.

Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Low profile bow
  • Designed for swiftness
Cons
  • Difficult to clean the cocking mechanism
  • You will need some time to get used to the scope

Although not as recognizable as Barnett, Arrow Precision crossbows serve a very good purpose. While it might be hard to understand at first, they are popular because they are slower and more balance. That being said, the Arrow Precision inferno Fury is among the best beginner crossbow options on the market.

The reason behind its success especially with beginners is not only its ease of use but also its balance. Unlike other crossbows in its category it sports a recurve bow instead of a compound one.

While this does make it slightly harder to cock, it also gives it a steady tensile pressure level. It also allows for less recoil force when firing because of the reduced movement range of the recurve bow.

The frame is something that will stand out right off the bat. It is made to be as light as possible. In order to achieve that, the designers kept it as skeletal as possible. There are no extra rails or support for them on the frame. The stock, trigger grip and horizontal grip are the only solid pieces on the frame.

The scope that it uses is a red dot viewfinder which helps the shooter easily track and aim. It is a medium range scope, meaning that it works at medium and small ranges, not at long ranges. The fact that it is a red dot sight also limits it in regards to long range tracking and accuracy.

Draw Weight: 175 pounds

Velocity: 235 FPS

Arrow length: 16 inches

Unlike other crossbows for beginners, this one also includes an anti-dry fire mechanism with an added thumb guard for protection. This helps beginners get more acquainted with the feature while protecting the actual crossbow from damage. All this, combined with the dip camouflage pattern, make it a great choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

The only major downside of this crossbow is the way in which the hunter has to hold it. The frame design is the classical crossbow design which has the same stock design as a shotgun. This means that the hunter has to hold his entire arm up at shoulder level when aiming and firing. While this may not be an issue on the range, it is a big problem when out hunting. This position can lead to soreness and joint problems in the future.

Pros
  • Very easy to learn and master
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Reduced recoil force
Cons
  • Uses the traditional crossbow design
  • Red dot sight inefficient at long ranges
  • Lacks tactical attachment rails and brackets

7. Barnett Wildcat C5 Package - Fastest and Affordable

Sometimes it is not about having the fastest reload time on a crossbow. Sometimes it is about firing the fastest arrow. Simply put, the faster the arrow, the bigger the forces behind it.

This is what the Barnett Wildcat C5 is all about. Projectile speed.

While it might not look much different than any other crossbow out there, it comes packing some surprises. First off, it packs an intricate crosswire string system. This amplifies the capabilities of the compound bow at the front of the frame. While the bow in of itself is nothing to scoff at, the crosswire strings add more power to each shot.

The crossbow has a relatively low draw weight of only 150 pounds. An interesting addition to the frame of the crossbow is a crank attachment. It allows the shooter to crank and cock the crossbow using a crank instead of pulling on the string. The crank cocking device is sold separately from the crossbow package.

Draw Weight: 150 pounds

Velocity: 320 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

Another thing worth mentioning here is the red dot sight. Although small it is positioned in a comfortable position, riding high on the rail. This allows the shooter to aim more efficiently and comfortably without having to angle his head.

The red dot sight also offers the shooter all the information that he needs about the shot. This crossbow is among the fastest shots out there and the shooter can also make the fastest decisions. The information provided by the scope helps to that end quite a lot.

One last thing to consider regarding this crossbow is the actual frame. Built to be as light as possible, it is able to take quite a beating. While the stock and grips are comfortable, the real strength is in the actual body. Balanced and well built, it is able to mitigate the pressure and impact of every shot, even the fastest ones.

The only downside with this particular crossbow is the quiver design. Although detachable, it is basic and difficult to attach to clothing or other pieces of gear. It is also uncomfortable to use and can feel tight to maneuver and grab arrows from.

Pros
  • Among the fastest firing crossbows on the market
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver frame
  • Very useful and comfortable scope
  • Crosswire system
Cons
  • Can be difficult to clean and maintain properly
  • The quiver is uncomfortable

8. Barnett Ghost 410 CRT - Best Speed

While there is a market for the fastest shooting crossbows out there, not all make it to the top. The Barnett Ghost 410 is in the top 3.

With an arrow firing velocity of 410 feet per second, this crossbow shoots lightning fast arrows. 410 feet per second equates to 279.5 miles per hour which is a third the speed of sound. It shoots arrows at speeds that some small aircraft can achieve.

One of the biggest contributing factors to this speed is the overall design of the crossbow. The frame stands out as being a bit different, somehow. It is because of the position of the cocking mechanism and the trigger. Unlike some designs that carry a longer frame, this one is a short frame. This means that the cocking mechanism and trigger are placed far back on it. This actually forces the center of gravity forward, making the shooter have to compensate in his stance.

Because of the design, the engineers at Barnett have added a sturdy pistol grip and a compound horizontal grip. This makes it easy and comfortable to hold when aiming and shooting.

Draw Weight: 185 pounds

Velocity: 410 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

The bow that it sports is a compound carbon fiber bow which is backed by a crosswire system. Unlike most other bows out there, this one holds a steady leveled profile. This, combined with the arched bridge and the cross sections give it a massive kinetic boost when cocked.

Another thing to note here is the scope. The scoped Barnett chose to go with on this crossbow is a long distance one. This is because it’s not only one of the fastest shots out there but also one of the most stable.

A long distance scope is of far greater use here because it gives the hunter a real edge. It also help him utilize the power behind the shot and hit long distance game with relative accuracy.

The scope is also the main drawback of this crossbow. Because of its positioning over the cocking mechanism, it makes it stand further back on the frame. This means that the shooter needs to think about his position before aiming.

All it all it is well worth it. It is one of the fastest crossbows on the market. With a bit of practice it can be the best one you ever had.

Pros
  • Among the very fastest crossbows on the market
  • A more compact design
  • Properly calibrated long range scope
Cons
  • Aiming through the scope can be uncomfortable
  • It takes a while to get used to the speed of the projectile
  • The string and crosswire mechanisms are high maintenance

The good people at Barnett managed to prove tat less is definitely more with this crossbow. While it is not among the biggest of crossbows, it definitely is among the heavy hitters.

Right out of the box, the first thing that you will notice is the fact that this crossbow is a little small. This was actually a design choice and it is reflected in every aspect of the crossbow. While it might be a bit difficult to get used to at first, there are some advantages to it.

First of all, it is far easier to balance and use. Second, it allows for larger flexing angles and more bow power. This essentially makes it the small crossbow that could.

The overall design is a simple one. The frame is made out of a single solid piece, with a pass-through foregrip and pistol grip. The body is lightweight and solid, with a shock absorbing stock with side padding for comfort.

Draw Weight: 185 pounds

Velocity: 365 FPS

Arrow length: 18 inches

The scope used is a long range optical rifle scope. This gives it an increased range and gives the shooter optical coverage with a wide field of view. It is easy to adjust and focus, making it easy to hone in on a target. The best thing about this scope is the fact that it requires very little movement to use. An average shooter can use the tip of his finger to operate the control knobs.

A very important role is also played by the stock of the crossbow. It is positioned lower than then frame’s profile line. This makes it very comfortable to hold and shoot while aiming through the scope. It increases the overall ease of use while allowing the hunter to take more unusual positions while stalking.

The bow is the star of the show here. It is basically a compound carbon fiber bow, with a bit more flexibility than the rest. This high degree of flexibility is achieved through the increased separation of the carbon fiber blades. This makes the bow flex all the way to a 90 degree angle. The increased flexing angle means more power delivered to the arrows.

The only gripe that users have with this crossbow is the actual recoil. When you shoot the crossbow, it delivers too much power for its size. The bow ends up recoiling and the hunter has to deal with the pressure of it.

Pros
  • Small and compact size
  • Powerful scope
  • Fast projectile velocity
Cons
  • Might require a bit of getting used to
  • Maintenance is a bit of a chore

10. Barnett Penetrator Crossbow package - Premium Red Dot Sight

More often than not, we prefer the tool that can get the job done, no matter what it is. The same is true with crossbows. Sure, we like extra things, systems and attachments. At the end of the day, though, we need one that gets the job done.

This is what the Barnett Penetrator does. Just like its name implies, it penetrates, and it does a good job as well.

Right out of the box, you will see that there is not much to look at. In fact the overall design is about as generic as it can get.

The frame is balanced with an open pistol grip and a closed foregrip. The body is lightweight and can withstand a lot of force and punishment.

The stock is padded on the side, offset towards the bottom of the body and is able to absorb shocks.

Draw Weight: 175 pounds

Velocity: 350 FPS

Arrow length: 20 inches

The things that are not all that generic on it are actually what makes this crossbow special and appreciated.

First off, the scope. It is a long range 4x32 mm magnification rifle scope with short click controls and fast focus lenses. It is the kind of scope that you usually find on long range hunting rifles. This helps the hunter not only see at a very long distance, but also have an extended field of view.

The bow is what is able to put the penetration power behind the arrows. It has a cross-wire system backing it up, and flexible carbon fiber blades. This helps it deliver devastating power with every shot. So much power, in fact, that it is able to take down just about anything. From the smallest of game to the hardest to kill animals, this crossbow is a fitting match for them.

The problem with this crossbow is the process of reloading it. It is able to deliver a lot of power. It also needs a lot of power to be cocked and reloaded. While the package does come with a cocking rope, it is still hard to properly cock. This is because it also has a slightly longer than average strong travel distance. While this is helpful when shooting, it can be very annoying when reloading.

Pros
  • A lot of penetrating power
  • Can take down even the strongest of game
  • Powerful optical scope
Cons
  • Difficult to reload
  • Longer string travel distance
  • The bow itself requires a lot of care and maintenance

Understanding Different Types of Crossbows

There are different types of crossbows on the market that can be purchased. In order to get the best crossbow you have to choose the right kind of crossbow. Finding one that will make your hunt easier, more challenging or more interesting is key.

In order to do that though, you need to know the different types of crossbows out there.

1. Recurve crossbows

These crossbows use a recurve bow to propel the arrow. This makes them harder to pull back and cock, however they have a longer travel distance. All in all they are more difficult to use in a hunting situation. Experts and professionals are usually the ones that go for the recurve crossbows.

2. Compound crossbows

These are the more modern crossbows that rely on compound bows and pulleys in order to cock and shoot arrows. These are among the most energy efficient crossbows on the market. They are also recommended for beginners and are a lot more easier to use in general.

Using carbon fiber and metal limbs and blades, the bow can stretch and store a lot more energy for the shot. This translates in faster arrows that pack a lot more energy and power. Compound crossbows are also very good for long range shooting.

3. Pistol crossbows

While these are a bit of a novelty, they can also make for good close range hunting weapons. They are, in essence, miniature crossbows, the size of a pistol. They don’t require much draw weight, usually around the 50 pound mark. They do pack a lot of power behind their shots, as long as the shots are for close range targets. The arrows tend to lose a lot of energy and momentum the further they fly. This makes medium and long range hunting very difficult with them.

4. Rifle crossbows

These are among the longest and most accurate crossbows on the market. So accurate, in fact, that you can easily hit targets at up to 300 feet away without a problem. They usually allow the shooter to mount different types of optics and sights onto them. They also behave like a rife would when shooting and aiming.

These crossbows are great for long range hunting, however they tend to be very loud. They also require a lot of power to cock and reload.

5. Bullet crossbows

The name more or less gives this one away, a bullet crossbow is a crossbow that fires bullet-like projectiles. The basic principles apply, it uses a bow and string in order to propel the projectile forward. It just uses pellets, balls and other such projectiles instead of arrows.

Wile these crossbows are not recommended for hunting, they can still be very dangerous and caution should be exercised. They might be too weak to hunt with but you can still injure and cause damage with them.

6. Repeating crossbows

Last on our list is more of a novelty than anything else. A repeater crossbow has a reloading mechanism. This drastically reduces the time between shots and takes manual cocking and reloading out of the question. Some even come with storage options for 5 or 10 arrows at a time.

The problem is that these crossbows are quite rare and can suffer structural damage due to repeated use. The mechanisms themselves are not among the best designed ones.

While they might be fun and more relaxing to use, they are not really recommended for a hunt.

Crossbow Buying Guide

There are a lot of options for you to choose from when it comes to buying a crossbow. There are different types, different designs, different options and different specs.

It goes without saying that there is no perfect all purpose crossbow. Like everything else on the market, some crossbows are better in some situations than others. In order to pick the best crossbow for your needs, you will first need to know what your needs are.

After you’ve figured out what your hunting style is and what needs must be met, you will have to start exploring. Compare crossbows, see which one does what better, see what you can live with and without. The way in which you do this is by following their technical specs. That being said, there are 4 major things to look out for.

Draw weight.

Draw weight is the force needed in order to pull the string back and cock the crossbow and reload it. The draw weight is measured in pounds. If a crossbow has a 150 pound draw weight, the string requires a force of 150 pounds to be pulled.

A general rule of thumb dictates that the bigger the draw weight the bigger the force behind the arrow. However this mostly applies to recurve crossbows and old school ones.

Speed

Speed is indicative of the velocity that the arrow achieves when shot out of the crossbow. It is measured at its peak, right as it leaves the arrow track. It is measured in feet per second (FPS) and slowly decays as it flies further.

The more speed a crossbow can provide, the bigger the force behind the arrow. This translates into distance traveled and penetration power. The more the arrow travels, the slower it gets and the more power it loses.

Scope

All hunting crossbows have a scope or some sort of sights. This helps the hunters take better aim and increase their chances of catching anything. However, not all scopes can be good for a crossbow.

Because of the basic principles behind a crossbow, arrow drop rate is important. This means that the further an arrow travels, the more it drops. That being said, the scopes that come with the crossbows have to have a drop compensation scale. This will help you get a better idea of how to aim your crossbow and compensate for the drop rate.

Arrow Track

The arrow track is the groove in which the arrow sits when loaded into the crossbow. Once the trigger is pressed, the string is released and the arrow is pushed down the arrow track. The arrow is considered as being fired the moment its fins no longer touch the surface of the arrow track.

It is one of the most vital parts of a crossbow and should be examined carefully. Make sure that the arrow track is not too deep or too shallow. To deep and it creates drag, too shallow and the arrow no longer sits neatly in it.

Also, make sure that the arrow track is at least as long as the length between the tips of the bow. This is a minimum length required in order to actually be energy efficient with its shots.

You will need different values for all 4 technical details. They change depending on your favorite hunting style and what you are hunting for. However it properly analyzed and prepared for, you will be able to find the best crossbow for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of questions floating around this topic and for good reason. That being said, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about crossbows.

What should I look for in a beginner’s crossbow?

Balance and ease of use. Don’t go for a crossbow that is hard to reload or extremely powerful. Grab a medium powered one until you get used to the energy of the shots and learn how to aim. Once you get more comfortable with it, you can try out new models.

How much should I trust customer reviews on the matter?

It is worth looking at reviews to get a good idea about the product. Usually there are people that write detailed reviews about their experience and share their knowledge in the process. While it is not the ultimate way to go about it, a few reviews won’t hurt.

What can I hunt with a crossbow?

Pretty much anything that you can hunt with a gun. There are exceptions like elephants, rhinos, hippos and other excessively big animals. However anything from squirrels to grizzly bears can be successfully hunted with a crossbow. Just make sure you have the right one for the job.

Are the arrow sizes set or can we use different ones?

The only size that differs from arrow to arrow is the length. Their width is the same, so any crossbow can theoretically fire any arrow. We’ve included the standard sizes that these crossbows fire however you can feel free to try other sizes out.

There are different sizes, different materials and different tips. They differ in regards to speed, distance and power, so don’t expect any even trades when switching between arrows.

What kind of maintenance does a crossbow need?

First of all it needs cleaning. There is dust, dirt and various thing that it can catch while on a hunt. So you will have to disassemble it, or as much as you can at least, and clean it up properly. If it has any moving mechanical parts, like compound crossbows do, you will want to lubricate them as well.

Next is waxing. There is special wax that is being sold by crossbow vendors everywhere. What it does is coat the string with a protective layer. A rule of thumb says anywhere between 5 and 10 shots the string will need waxing.

Conclusion

A crossbow can be a lot of fun and a great hunting weapon at the same time. There are a lot of choices on the market and there is a lot of searching to do.

Spend the proper time and make preparations, read the proper reviews and specs and don’t rush it. Once you filter through them and narrow your choices, you can decide what is the best crossbow for you.

Angel Lane: