Top 10 Best Sports & Hunting Crossbows Reviewed – Entry-Level, Intermediate & Advanced User Needs Covered
- Carolina Pina
When I bought my first crossbow, it became a turning point in my lifestyle. Back then, I couldn’t pick the best crossbow on the market according to my own choice. However, the one I had made me activate my sports life. More noteworthy, I started spending so much time in nature!
Little had I known when I first began my archery journey was that the crossbow is such a powerful ranged weapon! I had no idea that it had a sighting range much better than the bow and arrow. I fell in love with it and learned so many interesting things about this amazing machine over the years. Today, you can choose between many different types of crossbows and arrowheads, and some of the modern crossbows have the same force of penetrability as the Magnum 356!
In this review, we will share the finest models today’s market has to offer that my team and I found after a lot of research and testing sessions. You will also find a buying guide to help you make your purchasing decision an informed one. Read on to see which one fits your needs the most.
What You Will Get Here
- Best Crossbows Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
- Why You Should Trust Us
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Our Top 10 Best Crossbows List
- Our Top Pick: Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package
- Great for Entry Level: Crosman CenterPoint Sniper 370- Crossbow
- Budget Buy: PSE Viper SS Handheld Crossbow
- Advanced Choice: BARNETT TS390 Crossbow
- List Of 6 Other Crossbow We Reviewed
- Other Tested Products
- Why Is It Important to Find the Right Crossbow for You?
- Types of Crossbows
- Crossbow - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
- How to Use a Crossbow to Achieve Accuracy?
- Care & Maintenance
Best Crossbows Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
Barnett Jackal Crossbow PackageRead Full Review
Crosman CenterPoint Sniper 370- CrossbowRead Full Review
PSE Viper SS Handheld CrossbowRead Full Review
BARNETT TS390 CrossbowRead Full Review
Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS CrossbowRead Full Review
Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR CrossbowRead Full Review
PSE Fang Series Compound CrossbowRead Full Review
Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow PackageRead Full Review
Tenpoint Turbo GT Crossbow PackageRead Full Review
Excalibur Crossbow Null Matrix SMF Grizzly CrossbowRead Full Review
Why You Should Trust Us
The Ranger Expert team is a great fan of archery. In fact, we love the art so much that we often end up replacing guns with bows when hunting. Like me, other team members have hunted most of their lives and as a result, they have a rich hunting experience with different types of bows, including crossbows.
What’s more is that we use this website to share our hunting experience. We also review hunting gear that we used ourselves to help you find your right match. We’re not affiliated with any of such product manufacturers. We give unbiased and reliable product reviews with the sole intention of benefiting other bow lovers just like us.
So, you can rely on the information on this site and we strongly believe that you’ll gain a lot from this portal in case you don’t have such rich experiences like us when it’s about outdoor activities.
How Did We Pick These Products?
Picking the top ones from so many options was not an easy task for my team and I because thorough testing was required for this type of weapon. When we decided to prepare this review, we first went online to select the most popular and top-selling crossbows out there. After spending about 22 hours, we were able to list down 25 such products.
In the next stage, we carefully tested each one of these crossbows that took us close to 3 months to complete. Our volunteer team also joined us in the testing procedure and we kept our focus on factors like the quality of workmanship, bow weight, draw weight, speed, arrow type and size, design, cocking aids, noise, and accuracy. Then, we collated our findings with the data from our volunteers and made a comprehensive buying guide with reviews of the top rated products.
We also consulted other toxophilites and experts that had practical experience on these crossbows just to cross-check the reliability of our research process. They shared their valuable opinion with us and suggested a few changes. We adjusted the reviews and were finally able to make this top 10 list consisting of the most deserving products.
Our Top 10 Best Crossbows List
We have categorized our top picks according to the type they belong to. Having analyzed their basic features, we came up with this shortlist. We categorized the features so that you can easily recognize the right model for yourself. Enjoy!
This is simply the best crossbow today's market has to offer. It belongs to the compound type. It has a sleek design we would describe as the military. You will definitely love the touch and feel of this model. We would mark it as an ergonomically shaped and attractive model.
It comes in a package with lots of useful accessories, and you can also get some more from the market. You will get a superb, red-dot sight, three 20-inch arrows, bolts, and a quick-detach quiver. Its smooth trigger pull is enabled by a built-in ADF MIM trigger. In addition, a 150-pound draw weight ensures easy handling. It has a 315 FPS velocity. This feature, in combination with the draw weight, makes it a perfect choice for middle-sized targets.
Such excellent usability and surprisingly good performance are significantly enhanced by its high energy wheels. In addition, the compound crossbow system is completed with synthetic string and cable mechanism. It is these two features that allow its 315 FPS velocity.
One of its assets is a lightweight stock, also in military, high-camouflage style. It is 32.5 inches long and 26.5 inches wide. This model weighs 7 lbs total. Other important specifications refer to the energy and power stroke. Energy equals 95-foot-pounds. The power stroke is 12 inches. The greatest competitive features of this product are its power, velocity, and accuracy. At the same time, these are the three most important features of a crossbow. We can say that it can easily be compared to much more expensive models. It is perfect for hunters. In general, it is an excellent value for the price.
- Compound type crossbow
- A12-inch power stroke
- Energy equals 95 – foot-pound
- 315 FPS velocity
- 7 lbs. total weight
- Uses 20-inch arrows
- ADF MIM trigger
- 150-pound draw weight
- 18 or 20-inch bolts
- Red-dot sight
- Dimensions: 32.5 x 26.5 inches.
Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package is an excellent choice for hunters. We think that the manufacturer made a very smart combination of draw weight and velocity, making it an impeccable weapon for middle-size to larger targets.
In addition, its overall design is reinforced with the superb red-dot sight system that allows accurate targeting. Lack of flaws and so many pros led us to make this package the first choice of this list. Barnett also produces some other top of the line models such as Ghost 410, 420, Quad 400, Wildcat C5, Predator and Gamecrusher.
This is a perfect choice for all beginners. It belongs to the compound crossbow category. It has a convenient, compact design. In addition, its 185 lbs draw weight is not too much over the recommendations for the beginners.
Its most interesting peculiarity refers to the noise suppression system. It is equipped with built-in string stops that make it very quiet. This model has another competitive difference. Its limbs are fitted with help of a CNC machine. They are very precisely shaped and positioned. As a result, you can significantly improve your accuracy with this weapon.
One of its greatest assets is the velocity. It can reach 370 FPS. Next, its power stroke equals 13.50 inches. It is suitable for big games.
Now, let’s introduce you to the package. You will love the CenterPoint sniper this model comes with. In addition, you get three 20-inch bolts, a rope cocker, and a quiver.
Its stock is fully adjustable. It also has a pass-through foregrip which enables very good accuracy. As a result, this model will truly make the entry-level users fall in love with this sport. It will boost your self-confidence and help you learn targeting and precision shooting.
As we have said that this model is very good for the entry level, you are probably worried about its safety features. CenterPoint Sniper 370 has it all covered. It is equipped with two safety mechanism. First of all, the auto-safety system prevents accidental shooting. Second, the anti-dry system additionally protects you, your environment, and the crossbow itself.
- 185 lbs. draw weight
- 20-inch bolts
- 370 FPS speed
- 18-inch cocked axle-to-axle width
- 4×32 mm scope sniper
- 5-inch power stroke
- Noise suppressing stops.
The thing we love about this entry-level crossbow is its amazing anti-noise and anti-vibration system, but Centerpoint Tormentor Whisper 380 has a silencing system that helps it shoot more silently. So, you can go for that model to get a quiet shooting experience. However, we were amazed at the testing results regarding velocity. Pass-through foregrip increases your accuracy too. This is one of the most powerful crossbow models that will satisfy your needs when it comes to big games. It will definitely trigger your will to spend a lot of time in the mountains.
If you are looking for a crossbow for a young person, look no more. Similarly, if you are a senior user with a passion for this discipline that won’t go away, the PSE Viper SS Crossbow is exactly what you need.
Why are we so sure of this being the perfect choice for kids learning how to use a crossbow and for seniors? The draw weight is only 50 lbs.! In addition, this model is one of the smallest crossbows on the market, being very compact and lightweight. As a matter of fact, our team and users around the world agree that this is a great compact choice. It measures 6 x 4 x 6 inches and weighs only 1.6 lbs.!
As expected, its speed is significantly lower than that of the models we showed you so far. Its size, mechanism, and, most importantly, draw weight, enable a speed of up to 215 FPS. However, you can be sure that this is more than enough for beginners and kids.
The manufacturer wisely thought of its safety system. It has a safety lock and a built-in cocking system. In addition, it is equipped with the popular anti-dry mechanism. Also, your child is 100 % safe as this model has the auto-safety feature and a finger guard. However, if you are looking for a stronger model from PSE, you can try TAC 15 that comes with 170 lbs draw weight.
What about precision? Surprisingly, our test showed that this small, lightweight crossbow enables rather precise results. The reason might be the high-tech track rail system.
In the end, we must warn you that the manufacturer emphasized that this product is safe for 18+ users and parental supervision is required for those under 18.
- 1,6 lbs. total weight
- 50 lbs. draw weight
- 6 x 4 x 6-inch dimensions
- 215 FPS speed
- Auto-safety mechanism
- Finger protection system.
We grade this model as 7/10, based on excellent compactness and low weight. This is the best budget crossbow for young adults and children. Even though the arrows could be much better, remember that you can upgrade them. You can use those for archery target practice. Choose high-quality arrows for the real thing.
In conclusion, we highly recommend this compact, affordable crossbow.
This is one of the models that shocked us during the testing. We will not hide its strongest asset from you any longer. It is a high speed crossbow that shoots at an amazing speed of 390 feet per second! This is the fastest crossbow for the money. Interested? Let’s discover the rest of its features together.
The draw weight of this juggernaut among crossbows equals 187 lbs. Surprised? We were too. It is suitable not only for men and advanced users, but also for youth, females, and seniors.
On the other hand, it is not a lightweight model. Despite being the most lightweight model in this series by Barnett, it weighs 7.6 lbs. Some users say that this can be a lot if you are planning a long hunting session. On the other hand, we liked its shape. It measures 36.25 x 18.875 inches. We guarantee that it is a comfortable model, suitable even for users with shoulder issues.
It is equipped with a trigger tech system. It also has the anti-dry system and the nock sensor.
Now that you know why we loved this advanced model so much, you must be wondering what the manufacturer prepared for you in the package. You will get an already assembled crossbow. Many users are very pleased with this fact as the assembly can be tiring. In addition, the package contains two 20-inch arrows, a quiver that holds 3 arrows, a rope cocker, a standard 4x32 scope, and a lube wax.
- Comes with a foot stirrup.
- Built-in anti-vibration system.
- Made by a trusted brand.
- Has a light CST riser.
- Anti-dry fire system.
- MIM trigger.
- Finger safety system.
- 7.6 lbs. total weight.
- 187 lbs. draw weight.
- Produces 390 FPS speed.
If there was one word to describe this superb model, we would say state-of-the-art. It is perfect for different terrain and climate conditions. It is mostly chosen by hunters and advanced users. Simply put, we would call it perfect for the big game. It is definitely among the best crossbows for hunting.
List Of 6 Other Crossbow We Reviewed
350 feet per second is the maximum arrow speed this crossbow can develop. It has a very good draw weight which equals 150 lbs. Therefore, it is often chosen by women, youth, beginners, or seniors.
The Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS Crossbow model is equipped with a Realtree Extra Camo. It is 100 % made in the USA. You will love the fact that it comes already assembled. This is a very smart decision by the manufacturer as beginners often choose this model.
The package is rich with accessories. This model comes with a rope cocker, a quiver for three arrows, and two extra 20-inch arrows for practice. In addition, you will get a 4x32 scope and a lube wax.
The total weight of this crossbow equals 6,4 lbs. It is not extremely lightweight, but also not heavy. It is among the lightest Barnett models.
- ADF anti-dry-fire system
- Nock sensor
- 6,4 lbs. total weight
- 150 lbs. draw weight
- 350 FPS speed
- 20-inch arrows
- 4×32 scope
- Comes with a lube wax
- 122 – foot pound kinetic energy
Low draw weight which equals 150 lbs. and an amazing speed are the pros of this superb model. We love its killer performance and high-end technological features. But you have to be well-equipped to get your desired results.
It is equally chosen by the young, seniors, women, and experienced hunters. It is the most versatile model in our review coming under 500 USD.
STR refers to Step Through Riser, an innovative and ergonomic design which improves the balance by shifting the weight from the bow riser to its stock to enhance the accuracy and stability. This crossbow comes with a fierce speed of 400 FPS being associated with 165-lbs. draw weight, 140 Ft.-lbs. kinetic energy and a strong 16.375 inches power stroke.
This is definitely one of the best crossbows for seasoned bowhunters. This is one of Barnett’s most beautiful and high-end models that has been built on STR platform that has string dampeners functioning as a noise cancellation device. The Anti-Dry-Fire (ADF) feature keeps this tool save preventing any accidental dry fire.
You will be amazed at the accessories Barnett is offering with this bow. It comes fully assembled in ready to shoot condition. The 22 inches arrows, well-built side mount quiver, Soft-Lok Floating Arrow Retainer, illuminated reticle scope Picatinny rails, 4*32 mm illuminated reticle scope, lubrication wax, etc. exclusive features help this one stand out from other counterparts.
Apart from the technical aspects, this bow has a topnotch design and finish to attract avid hunters. And the manufacturer is quite successful in this regard as people are buying Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR Crossbow Triggertech Trubark Camo 400fps BAR78004 like a hotcake.
- Draw Weight: 165 lbs.
- Power Stroke 16.375-Inches
- Kinetic Energy: 140 Ft.-lbs.
- Patented Step-Through Rise
- CNC Machined Flight Track (Aluminum)
- ADF (Anti-Dry-Fire) Trigger System
- 4 x 32 Illuminated Multi-Reticles Scope
- Side-Mount Quiver
- Lube Wax
- 3 Picatinny Rails
- Two 22-inches Headhunter Arrows
- Crank & Rope Cocking Device
- Nock Sensor
- 400 FPS speed
This bow is the most suitable for full-sized hunters who want a prime speed with a moderate draw weight. It performs great with the help of high-end features and compatible accessories. You have to be capable of using this bow to get precision in target shooting. This bow requires the shooter to have a basic level of understanding on the mechanism of a crossbow. If you handle it well, you will surely have an optimum result.
The Fang Series crossbow package by PSE Archery belongs to the compound type. It comes in a package with lots of useful accessories. You will get string stops that reduce the noise produced during the shooting. In addition, you get three 20-inch bolts. There is a cocking tope, a rail lube, and a foot stirrup. The foot stirrup will make your progression with this crossbow faster, as it provides very good support while targeting and shooting. In addition, it protects the bow itself. Finally, the package includes a 4X32 MR Scope.
The greatest advantage of this model is affordability. At the same time, its features are good enough to satisfy a beginner, an intermediate user, or a hobby/recreational user. Most noteworthy, it develops a speed of 330 FPS.
Another thing we liked about this crossbow is the same safety system as the previous model we showed you, i.e. the CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow. It comes with an anti-dry technology and the auto-safety system.
Ergonomic design is important for passionate users. Holding, carrying, and maneuvering a poorly-shaped crossbow can be very exhausting. This is especially true if it lasts for a long time. During our testing, we liked the ergonomics of this model. Most noteworthy, it is rather lightweight and compact. In addition, the trigger has a very soft, comfortable coating. It enables a good grip.
Last but not least, we also liked the design. It is fully covered with an attractive camouflage pattern. It is a combination of oak and mud. We can say that it belongs to a military-style archery model.
- Up to 330 FPS speed
- Anti-dry system
- Auto-safety mechanism
- 6 pounds total weight
- 165 lbs. draw weight
- 22-inch bolts.
No doubt this is perfect for beginners due to its nice draw weight – 165 lbs. and the fact that beginners opt for cheaper models. Its price is its strongest asset. However, don’t underestimate this beautiful model that should be part of your crossbow essentials. It comes with a well-equipped package. It will surely surprise you with its capabilities once you get used to using it.
Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Package is perfect for hunters looking for lots of advanced technology systems.
First, let’s see what comes in the package. This crossbow comes with a multi-line scope. In addition, we liked its cocking mechanism. Namely, it comes with the ACUdraw type. You will also get an easily detachable quiver that holds three high-quality arrows. You will also get those three arrows for a good start of the game!
The feature we liked the most is the 3x multi-line scope. It allows a larger view filed, up to 15 %. In addition, it is waterproof. This is why those of you who love exploring different terrains will adore this crossbow.
Now, let’s analyze its key features. You already know it: draw weight, speed, total weight. This model has a good balance between these three features. Its draw weight equals 165 lbs. Therefore, it is suitable for proficient users, but also for a somewhat stronger female, for intermediate-level users, and even seniors in good shape.
Next, the speed equals 330 FPS. You probably wonder how can 165 lbs. draw weight produces 330 FPS speed. The key is in the ACUdraw mechanism. It is responsible for decreasing the draw weight. In this case, it decreases it by an amazing 50 %!
In the end, Wicked Ridge is a trusted brand with years of experience. Their strongest asset is the fact that they design, manufacture, and test their bows right here in the USA.
- 97 – foot pound kinetic energy
- 165 lbs. draw weight
- 330 FPS speed
- 6 lbs. total weight
- 5-inch power stroke
- Comes with a dry-fire inhibitor
- Designed, made, and tested in the USA
- Limited lifetime warranty for the bow
- 5-year warranty for the scope and limbs.
This model is a very good choice for deer hunting. Its ACUdraw mechanism, the excellent 330 foot per second speed, and safety mechanisms place this model to the top 10 crossbows in the market. If you have more budget, go for the high-end model from this company- TenPoint Stealth NXT.
In addition, users trust this brand and the fact that it is 100 % manufactured in the USA.
Finally, this is an award-winning model. It is often chosen by intermediate-level hunters.
This middle price range crossbow is the winner of several awards. Namely, it won the Game & Fish Reader's Choice Award in 2016. What are the peculiarities of this model? Let’s find out.
It has an excellent power stroke of only 12.6 inches which is, according to the critics, its strongest asset. The draw weight equals comfortable 175 lbs. Here comes the main part: the arrows will mesmerize you with a breath-taking speed of 360 FPS! 107 FP of kinetic energy proves its killer performance.
What else should we say about this model after these amazing specs? It comes in a package with 3 arrows, a quiver that holds three arrows, and a quiver bracket. These pro-elite carbon arrows measure 36 x 12 x 7 inches and weigh 6.5 lbs. It used Lithium batteries. 1 battery required for operating the crossbow comes in the package.
Its un-cocked axle-to-axle width measures 17.5 inches. The cocked state equals 13.5 inches. It is equipped with the ACUdraw technology we all love. It enables a reduction in draw weight up to 50 %. One of its benefits is the fully-machined riser made from aluminum. It has 11-inch limbs and a safety trigger.
- 360 foot per second speed
- 105 FP kinetic energy
- 6-inch power stroke
- 5 lbs. total weight
- 175 lbs. draw weight
- Lithium battery-operated.
TenPoint Turbo GT’s amazing power stroke, optimum draw weight and ultra-modern precision-enhancing systems make it one of the best crossbows for the money.
The manufacturer also provided high-quality safety mechanisms. The only flaw is the battery-operated mechanism. However, it requires only 1 Lithium battery. Finally, the users are satisfied with the package content.
In the end, we have decided to present you with a model with a rather high draw weight. It equals 200 lbs. However, its performance and other features are very good. It is suitable for experienced and strong users. You can try Excalibur Micro 335 or Excalibur Assassin for greater draw weight.
Arrow weight will be a minimum of 350 gr to fit this model. The manufacturer recommends using an 18-inch arrow.
Let’s talk about its appearance and physical properties. Materials used are extremely durable. This is perhaps the strongest asset of this model. It has a mossy oak design that provides very good camouflage. It also looks very attractive. This is not a very heavy model in total. It weighs 5.5 lbs. It measures 36 x 30 x 10 inches.
The only feature we expected to be slightly better is the arrow speed. This crossbow reaches 305 FPS. It is a satisfactory speed, but the draw weight was more promising.
This is the perfect model for experienced hunters who cannot afford the pro model by Excalibur. This is especially true for the costly Matrix Series. This model is a very good substitute.
- 5 lbs. total weight
- 200 lbs. draw weight
- 305 FPS speed
- 30x30x10-inch dimensions
- Mossy oak design
- 18-inch arrow.
This superb model by Excalibur is usually chosen by those who cannot afford expensive Matrix models. Even though it is not good for youth, it has an excellent performance that helped it gain a place in this list.
We love its attractive design. It is aesthetically pleasing and contemporary. In addition, its superb materials ensure durability and strength.
Other Tested Products
- 1150 lb Black/Wood/Camouflage Hunting Crossbow
- 280lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
- 3Leader Accessories Crossbow Package
- 4Barnett 78134 Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow
- 5Barnett Recruit Terrain Crossbow, 330 FPS
- 6BOLT Crossbows The Seeker Crossbow
- 7Karnage Apocalypse Crossbow Package
- 8XtremepowerUS Multifunctional Crossbow 80 lbs
- 9Barnett TS390 Tactical Series Crossbow, 390'Per S Crossbow
- 10Arrow Precision Inferno Fury Crossbow Kit
- 11SA Sports 306102 Empire Dragon
- 12Bear Archery Kronicle God's Crossbow
- 13RAVIN R10 Crossbow Package Predator Camo
We did extensive research to find out the deserving crossbows to be listed on our top 10 list. However, we came across some models that had the potentiality to get a spot on our list but couldn't make it to the final list as we had only 10 spots to allocate. Here are a few of those models, we want to pay honor to them as they're worth mentioning.
I. Ravin R9
- Rifle-Like Slim Profile
- Shoots at 390 Fps
- Supports Picatinny Rail
- Shoots at 350 Fps
- 150lbs Draw Weight
- Suitable for Any Weather
III. Ravin R20
- 100 Yard Quality Illuminated Scope
- Auto Safety Feature
- Excellent Camouflage Design
IV. Nitro XRT
- Excellent Speed (470 Fps to The Max)
- Produces Less Noise and Vibration
- Evo-X Marksman Range Scope
- Easily & Quickly Detachable Shoulder Mount
- Shoots at 270fps
- The Magazine Can Hold up to 5 Carbon Bolts
Why Is It Important to Find the Right Crossbow for You?
A crossbow is a bow-type weapon dating back to the Medieval era. Nowadays, it is used for recreation, hunting, and sports. It has a trigger, a stock, and a bow. In my case, the tables have turned when I found my perfect crossbow. I could maneuver it more easily. Most importantly, I could hit the target with amazing accuracy! I finally felt completely free and safe with my crossbow.
You really need to know your weapon well to be successful in this discipline. Everyone is different. You should try several crossbows in order to find the one that suits you most. New crossbow technologies are bringing about dynamic and state-of-the-art solutions each year.
Your perfect model depends on whether you’re looking for a professional or a recreational or a homemade crossbow. Do you want to have some fun and spend time in nature? Do you want to join a professional club? Are you aiming at competitions? Is hunting your field of interest?
Answer these questions and you will narrow down the different categories. Also, take into account your age and physical condition. There are hundreds of crossbow models for sale and making the right choice will bring you a step closer to the flawless experience with this majestic weapon.
Different Parts of a Crossbow
There are lots of parts, at least 15 of which are the major ones. Let’s learn more about their parts and accessories.
1. The Stock
It is part of a crossbow that supports the bow. It also ties the barrel and the trigger. This elongated frame is also known as a tiller. You place the stock against your shoulder. That’s why it is important to choose the right model.
2. The Bridge
It’s an essential component designed to hold the sight. If you aim at 100% accuracy, focus on finding a sturdy bridge.
3. Retention Spring
It’s closely related to the latch. It prevents the arrow-like projectiles, bolt, from slipping out. If you set your arrow retention spring correctly, you can handle the crossbow freely. It will remain ready for sudden shooting.
4. The Trigger
It’s responsible for releasing the string. It can be located under the latch. Otherwise, it can be found in front of it. The trigger should be equipped with a safety mechanism. Chinese vertical trigger lock and
European rolling nut lock are the two salient trigger methods used for crossbows.
It keeps your hand stable. It improves your accuracy. You feel you are in control of your crossbow. For experienced users, getting a removable foregrip is the right option.
6. Flight Groove
It’s a very important element of a crossbow that facilitates the launch principle. It enables the utmost alignment of the arrow with the bow’s string. It is found between latch and bow.
We can say that the string is a crossbow’s key part. A good string can significantly improve your performance. It can increase or decrease the firing power. Bolt launching feet per second is determined by a string. You should pick the string based on several features. Those are material, weight, breaking strength, and elasticity. Durable and lightweight strings are a great choice.
Moreover, there're other parts, such as,
The latch is responsible for capturing the string. It holds it in place until you release it.
Sight is another important element of accuracy. It is crucial for bolt alignment with the target.
Serving ensures the shot consistency. Its mechanism protects the string.
Riser supports the limbs and holds them at a certain angle.
A Barrel is a rail important for bolt and string alignment.
A Limb is the end of a bow. It is an elastic part that can bend. It accumulates mechanical energy coming from the elastic forces.
A Stirrup is a foothold providing support for you. Also, it protects the bolt.
Quiver is basically a bolt container. Usually, they can carry three to four bolts.
Types of Crossbows
1. Recurve Crossbow
Its name comes from its curved geometry. It has three curves in total. Rigidity is its key advantage. It is 42 to 72 inches long. The arch is usually 66 inches long. It has a laminated limb structure. The riser is usually made from aluminum alloys, wood or metal. They are lighter and usually inexpensive than the compound types.
2. Compound Crossbow
The key difference is the existence of the wheels. It is placed at the ends of the limbs. In addition, it has a tendon and cable system. This allows better accuracy, easier crossbow handling, and higher tension. As a result, this arrow is much faster. It requires less draw weight than the recurve crossbows and is one of the quietest crossbows. As a result, compound crossbows are more expensive.
3. Pistol Crossbows
The strongest asset of this type is the effectiveness and high accuracy rate. On the other hand, you must be strong and have the energy to effectively use it. Draw weight usually equals 80Ibs. It is suitable for small targets.
4. Repeating Crossbow
The greatest advantage of this type is its automatic system. It saves your precious time in case of a sudden shoot and allows for continious shooting.
Apart from the mentioned types, semi automatic, pump action, bowfishing, reverse, toothpick toy, folding and air crossbow are a few notable types of crossbows.
How Much Draw Weight is Required for Your Purposes?
Never think that the most powerful crossbow is always the best crossbow out there. Rather, this could become a burden. Also, don’t underestimate the power of your crossbow. Remember that a draw weight of 150 lbs combined with good velocity is more than enough to hunt down a medium-sized target.
Always choose the model based on your body constitution, age group, and needs. We recommend the following guidelines when it comes to the draw weight.
Youth should pick a model with a draw weight less than 160. Beginners and females can handle anything from 160 to 200. The experienced users should always choose more than 160. Seniors should stick to the models with a draw weight less than 160.
Crossbow - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
The following factors will help you to select the one that works fine for you .
- Bow Weight: Bow weight is important as it can increase or decrease maneuverability. In addition, this factor is often the go/no-go feature for the youth, women, and seniors. Also, low bow weight models are especially suitable for beginners.
- Draw Weight: Draw weight categories vary from less than 160, 160-200 and more than 200. It affects the ease of handling and arrow speed.
If speed is your key goal, opt for a crossbow enabling more than 300 FPS. You should choose a compound bow.
3. Arrow Size and Track
Arrow track directly affects the arrow launching curve. This also affects accuracy and speed. Similarly, arrow size dictates its aerodynamics. Furthermore, it is related to the arrow weight, together with other factors.
5. Extra Parts
If you want versatile usability of your crossbow, look for a package with lots of extra parts. Red-dot sight, foot stirrups, etc. can enhance your performance.
6. Cocking Aids
These are very helpful for beginners. They save time and energy for cocking and loading bolts. In addition, they ensure that the bow is cooked perfectly, each time.
Design affects both the technical performance and aesthetics. Curves heavily affect arrow speed and accuracy.
You have to spend at least $300 for a quality product. Let's have a look at the price ranges to determine the category that suits you.
Under $300: This is the basic crossbow category. It is a good choice for beginners' crossbows. Also, it is suitable for occasional, hobby users. Don’t expect any advanced features, such as built-in safety systems or the red-dot.
$300-$500: This category often surprises us with some advanced models. You can expect a very good speed from those costing under $500. In addition, look for additional equipment within the package.
$500-$1000: Red-dot system, finger protection, and foot stirrups are among the features you must get in this price range. Also, advanced safety systems and precision-enhancing features are expected in new models under $1000.
$1000+: This is the professional crossbow category. You can expect perfect aerodynamics, superb durability and state-of-the-art solutions. Noise suppression system, automatic safety, and accuracy-improving features are a must.
Safety features in a crossbow include finger protection systems, anti-dry fire systems, and the anti-auto shooting mechanisms.
Accuracy is obtained through a series of systems. Scope, shape, type, and materials heavily affect accuracy.
11. Kinetic energy
Kinetic energy is used to express crossbow power. However, don’t exaggerate with KE, as it can mean that your crossbow is too complicated.
Noise-suppressing systems can be simple or advanced. Simple systems are basic string stops. Advanced systems can be expected only in more expensive models. In addition, these types usually have anti-vibration mechanisms as well.
How to Use a Crossbow to Achieve Accuracy?
Even though there are several different crossbow types in the market, the working principle is almost the same. Operation mode requires some skills. Once you learn them, you can apply them to different types of devices. Those general guidelines include the following::
- Use the foot stirrup if your crossbow has one
- Apply pressure to the stirrup to ensure a firm position and better accuracy
- Always make sure that there is contact between the arrow end and the string
- Make sure you hear a “click” sound when cocking the bow.
And, don’t forget, only practice can lead you to perfection whether you are using a crossbow or a compound bow. Crossbow type and quality heavily affect your performance. However, choosing a device suitable for your needs is the most important step toward achieving accuracy.
Care & Maintenance
Keeping your crossbow in good condition is essential for achieving the desired results. More importantly, it is crucial for your safety. Here are some crossbow care and maintenance tips:
- Always keep your crossbow in a case, away from children and people who don’t know how to use it
- Re-tighten the bolts after fifty to one hundred shots
- Check for damages before each use
- Always replace damaged and worn strings without postponing it
- Lubricate the barrel, trigger box, flight groove, and bolts according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Wax the cables and strings periodically.
Using a crossbow for both professional and recreational purposes is an enjoyable experience. We tried to provide a comprehensive and analytical insight into types of modern crossbows. Our final goal was to compose a helpful, detailed guide to choosing the right crossbow.
During our testing procedure, we evaluated more than 25 different models. Those were made by different manufacturers and belonged to all four types of crossbows.
Overall, we concluded that the Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package is the very best crossbow model out there. We based our decision on the key features described in this crossbow review.
The most affordable model is the PSE Fang Series package. It offers a very good value for the price.
Another very interesting model is the lightweight, compact PSE Viper SS. We are sure that this is an excellent choice for youth and seniors.
We looked for crossbows from some other prominent brands like Silent Strike, Stryker, Mission, Horton, Killer Instinct, Carbon Express, Jaguar, Bear, Rural King, Camx, Man Kung, Bruin, Scorpyd, and Parker. No model from these manufacturers could make it to the top 10 list as per our benchmark.
There are definitely lots of other high-quality models in the market. Always remember to focus on your preferences and needs when buying a crossbow.
1. Are crossbows really that powerful?
Ans. Yes, the high-end models are way more powerful than the modern compound bows. Crossbow bolts usually weigh 400 grains and even more that you can shoot at 350 fps.
2. Is a crossbow deadly?
Ans. Of course they are. This is not a toy to play with but a weapon that could kill or badly injure someone.
3. How far will my crossbow kill?
- For a skilled arbalist, the range is 80 yards at most
- For the intermediate, it's 60 yards maximum
- For the novice, 30 yards
4. Could a pistol crossbow kill?
Ans. It could if it hits the vital organs but we don't recommend that because this will rarely be humane.
5. Should I try dry firing my crossbow?
Ans. No because you would end up damaging the weapon when the bowstring will violently bounce back on the crossbow.