Looking for the best crossbow? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find honest and unbiased crossbow reviews of only the best selling and top rated crossbows available on the market today.
Our reviews and guides will quickly help you make an informed decision about which crossbow is the best for your needs. Whether you are looking for a crossbow for leisure activities, hunting or sports, this guide will help you find the best for you.
These weapons come in a variety of shapes, sizes, pulling mechanisms and most importantly, they have different calibers and shooting speeds. If you are not in a hurry you can read our reviews below.
QUICK CROSSBOW RECOMMENDATIONS
- Barnett Whitetail Hunter II: Best low budget crossbow
- Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR: Best entry-level crossbow for beginners
- Barnett HyperGhost 425: Best Value Crossbow
- Excalibur Matrix GRZ 2: Best Recurve Crossbow
- TenPoint Vapor RS470: The Best Reverse-Draw Crossbow
- TenPoint Viper S400: Best Compound Crossbow
- QUICK CROSSBOW RECOMMENDATIONS
- Choosing a crossbow YOU can afford
- Best Crossbow Reviews for 2022 – Our top picks
- 1. Barnett Jackal Package – One of the best beginner crossbows
- 2. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II – Best Budget Crossbow
- 3. Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR – One of the best entry-level crossbows
- 4. Barnett Whitetail Pro STR – Efficiency and speed at their best
- 5. Excalibur Matrix GRZ 2 – One of the Best Recurve Crossbows
- 6. Wicked Ridge TenPoint Invader X4 – A Lightweight and Fast Crossbow
- 7. CenterPoint CP400 – A Very Affordable Top Tier Crossbow
- 8.Barnett HyperGhost 425 – Best Value Crossbow
- 9. Wicked Ridge RDX 400 – The Best Reverse-Draw Crossbow
- 10. TenPoint Crossbow Turbo M1 – A Super Light, Fast and Accurate Crossbow
- 11. Excalibur Micro Suppressor – The Most Silent Crossbow
- 12. TenPoint Viper S400 – A Lightweight and Highly Maneuverable Weapon
- 13. Ravin R20 – One Of The Most Compact Crossbows
- 14. TenPoint Vapor RS470 – The Safest Crossbow with High Accuracy
- Best crossbow for women: Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger
- Which are the leading crossbow brands?
- Choosing the best crossbow for your needs
Choosing a crossbow YOU can afford
Choosing the right crossbow can be an easy task when money is not an issue. If you are willing to spend a large sum, whatever you choose to buy will most certainly have a quality standard above average; that is if you go with a well-known manufacturer, of course. The real headache begins when the budget is limited and, therefore, you need to find the crossbow that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Don’t worry though, we have taken the boring part of doing an extensive research out of the equation and we provide you with the best crossbow for the money for every possible budget: under $200, $200-$300, $300-$400, $400-$500, $500-$600, $600-$700, $700-$800, $800-$900, $900-$1000 and finally $1000+. Enjoy our crossbow reviews.
Best Crossbow Reviews for 2022 – Our top picks
1. Barnett Jackal Package – One of the best beginner crossbows
The Jackal is a little more pricier than the Arrow Precision Fury, but as the price gets higher so is the quality. Barnett, one of the world’s most popular crossbow manufacturers, has put together a package (it contains a quiver, some bolts and a red dot sight) that you can use right out of the box. Assembling the crossbow is a relatively easy and short process even for beginners; it may vary from person to person, but it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. The only thing missing to go hunting as soon as you get it is some broadheads.
The Jackal comes with a military style stock and its grip is separated. This lets users grip the weapon more like a pistol which leaves your hand with more freedom. The body is lightweight enough, but also durable and its great design may be a plus for someone who cares about the looks. It also comes with a dry fire prevention safety so you don’t accidentally shoot it when not loaded.
Adding together the good quality, the low price, the ergonomic design and its durability, there isn’t much more a hunter or a target shooter could ask for within this budget. In my opinion, this is the best crossbow for beginners and I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for something to start with. Click Here For Our Thorough Review
- It is very affordable
- Its great design
- Its solid construction
- We would like a rope cocking mechanism included in the package
- It’s not the most silent crossbow
2. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II – Best Budget Crossbow
With a body mass of 6.4 pounds, the Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II is a lightweight crossbow, especially when compared to other models on the market. Axle to axle, the crossbow measures a little over 16 inches, and it is not too large or cumbersome to prevent you from using it along with a tree stand or hunting blind.
You will get a fair share of features and advantages, such as the TriggerTech technology with a three-pound trigger and zero-creep release. The main benefit from this type of configuration is the superior accuracy you get, even if you are just a beginner. Another good thing about this model is that it comes along with some accessories that you won’t have to pay extra for, right out of the box.
You will get a 4×32 scope, a quiver and two Headhunter arrows, a rope cocking device, and lube wax for the string. Let’s not ignore that you will also get a nock sensor and an anti-dry fire mechanism that prevent accidental shots. With standard safety features in place, this model is an excellent option for most beginners. Click here for a more thorough review
- The TriggerTech technology offered for this model ensures high accuracy even for novices
- You will get a wide array of extras that will help you to achieve better performance
- The crossbow is super quiet and will not give away your location when you’re shooting
- As far as the provided scope is concerned, the quality could have been better, as some customers say in their reviews
3. Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR – One of the best entry-level crossbows
If you don’t want to waste time browsing but get directly to a crossbow that does its job, then you have landed in the right place. This crossbow is really attractive, first of all, thanks to its design, which was created having in mind the needs of every user, on top of the cool lines it has in order to pump you up.
Because accidents happen, this device has several features that are meant to stop them as much as possible, including the finger safety reminders and the floating bristle arrow retainer, which are basically ways of making sure that you and your group of hunting friends won’t get hurt while you are out there in the woods.
The device also comes with many accessories that are much needed, like two headhunter arrows of 22 inches and a rope cocking device. The scope used for it is not really a highlight, but, in all respects, it is usable and easy to change, if you wish to. Click here for a thorough review
- The device has a floating bristle arrow retainer which is very useful for stopping dry-firing from ever happening.
- In order for you to feel safer, the crossbow has finger safety reminders, which is a really good thing, especially for beginners.
- It includes a package of other things you will use, such as a multi-reticle scope, headhunter arrows of 22 inches, rope cocking device, lightweight quiver, and more.
- The scope is on the weaker side, but still a good choice for beginners.
4. Barnett Whitetail Pro STR – Efficiency and speed at their best
You might fall in love with this bow from the first glance, as its Tru Bark camo pattern will catch your eye. If you like to stalk your prey without worrying that you might be heard, that’s an excellent choice for you. Due to the string dampeners it comes along with, the crossbow is silent and deadly, and there will be no noise to draw the attention of the deer you’re hunting.
Users will appreciate the fact that this model comes equipped with a plethora of extras, such as an illuminated scope, a cocking rope, a side mount quiver, and two arrows. The manufacturer also provides lube wax that will help you keep the string and the bow in good functioning order, and prolong its lifespan. While it is not exactly a lightweight bow, at 6.9 pounds, it is decent compared to other models on the market that can go well over 8 pounds, without accessories.
Another thing that we want to talk about is the array of safety features that are present. The anti-dry fire trigger will ensure that you won’t run the risk of launching accidental shots. Also, the finger guard will protect your hand, and you will also get a nock sensor and finger safety reminders, all contributing to the safety factor of this bow.
Especially novices and hunters who only use the crossbow occasionally will be able to take advantage of such features. Click here for a more thorough review
- At 400 fps, it is a pretty fast and accurate crossbow
- You are not only deadly but silent as well, when you shoot this bow, due to its string dampeners
- The reticle sight scope helps with increasing your accuracy
- Cocking the bow seems to be a bit of a hassle, according to some users who noticed that even with a cocking rope, the process still seems annoyingly difficult
5. Excalibur Matrix GRZ 2 – One of the Best Recurve Crossbows
If you’re looking for a feather-lite crossbow that is powerful enough to help you catch your game and still feel comfortable whenever you handle it, the Excalibur Matrix GRZ 2 is the best option on the market. The product combines Excalibur’s legendary design and technology, delivering the most rugged and reliable crossbow in its class.
The compact and lightweight weapon is designed for all game in any hunting conditions, so you can rest assured its trajectory and speed will not be affected by wind or rain. It weighs around 5.5 pounds and comes with three high-quality Diablo arrows ready to be shot. Read full review
- The crossbow is made of sturdy and reliable materials that won’t break, chip, or corrode in time, maintaining the same high-quality standards season after season.
- At just 5.5 pounds, the Excalibur Matrix GRZ 2 is one of the most compact and lightweight crossbows in its category, without feeling flimsy or less powerful than any other heavier unit.
- The item is carefully designed to meet even the standards of picky hunters, so you can rest assured it will help you catch any type of game, regardless of the weather conditions outside.
- The maximum draw weight is 200 pounds while the cocking effort is at around 100 pounds.
- Perhaps the only thing that could set back this item is the not-so-clear assembling instructions. They are not very intuitive, especially for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with crossbows. However, watching an online video can help you assemble the device in about half an hour and start testing its capabilities.
6. Wicked Ridge TenPoint Invader X4 – A Lightweight and Fast Crossbow
If you are thinking about upgrading to a lighter crossbow that won’t be so hard on your shoulder but will still allow you to shoot with great power, then you should take a look at the Invader X4. This American-made crossbow with added safety features is lightweight and easy to use thanks to the integrated ACUdraw cocking device and narrow design. Read our full review.
- At only 6.3 pounds, this is a lightweight crossbow that is easy to carry and use. Plus, it’s only 15-inches wide, so that you can shoot even when you have limited space.
- Cocking will no longer be a problem, thanks to the ACUdraw that is completely integrated and user-friendly. The draw weight is reduced by 5 pounds, and you can start shooting right away.
- With a 13.5-inch power stroke and 360 FPS speed, you can enjoy high speed and power while also staying safe. The Invader X4 features a fore-grip, elongated safety wings, and an ergonomic pistol grip with trigger guard, for comfort and added protection.
- You will be able to start shooting right away because this crossbow package includes everything you need for hunting or target shooting. You will get a lightweight scope, 3-pack arrows, and a 3-arrow Instant Detach Quiver, all for a much lower cost than a compound crossbow.
- The XX75 Magnum arrows are made of aluminum, which is not as good as carbon, but they are still precise and powerful. Plus, the scope doesn’t have lighting for shooting in low-light conditions.
7. CenterPoint CP400 – A Very Affordable Top Tier Crossbow
CenterPoint Archery has raised the bar in performance and design with the brand new CP400 crossbow based on licensed HeliCoil technology. The product doesn’t only feel secure and sturdy in your hands but is also lightweight and will help you enjoy the ultimate hunting experience whether you’re a newbie or a professional hunter.
When fully-drawn, it can shoot at a maximum speed of 400 fps, surpassing your expectations both in the field and in the 3D range. The crossbow comes fully equipped with all the necessary accessories to start hunting right away. Read our full Review
- The CNC-Machined Cam System boasts the licensed HeliCoil technology that ensures perfectly balanced cams.
- Unlike other similar items from the same price category, the new CP400 crossbow is compact and comes with a sturdy and comfortable handle that prevents hand fatigue and allows you to easily maneuver the item or carry it with you.
- The compact design measures 6 inches in width, axle to axle when fully-drawn, helping you to conveniently carry the crossbow and store it whenever you’re done using it.
- Another feature that we liked about the particular CP400 is the high speed it delivers, of up to 400 fps, with a punch of maximum 142 fpe for downrange accuracy. This way, you can easily reach your target, whether you use the crossbow in the wild or the range field for practice.
- Although the item comes with a full set of useful accessories, it only includes three arrows, so you should consider buying at least one or two additional sets if you want to practice and boost your shooting skills faster.
8.Barnett HyperGhost 425 – Best Value Crossbow
If you’re looking for a professional hunting tool to take to your next expedition in the forest, consider the new Barnett Hyper Ghost 425 crossbow. It comes with a complete set of accessories that will enhance your hunting experience and help you shoot the biggest game.
Some of the best features of this crossbow include the Triggertech triggering system, single-bolt assembly, an anti-dry fire trigger, and a metal injection molded trigger for enhanced balance and comfort whenever you plan on shooting an arrow. Full review
- The new Barnett Hyper Ghost 425 comes with exclusive Hyper flite arrows that measure .204 inches in diameter and are designed specifically to match the products from the Hyper series of crossbows. They deliver incredible strength and power, allowing you to take down the game with just one shot.
- The ultra-deep penetration is combined with 425 fps of unstoppable speed, which makes this crossbow one of the fastest in the industry and an excellent addition for professional hunters.
- The item is delivered with a full set of useful accessories, including three 22-inch arrows, a premium illuminated scope, lube wax, and rope cocking sled for an improved hunting experience.
- Despite its incredible balance and sturdy design, the crossbow is lightweight and features a single-bolt assembly so that you can easily mount it and use it.
- Before taking it into the wild, we suggest that you carefully test the crossbow and make sure the trigger and safety work correctly. Make sure no one is around when you perform the test and always use protective equipment to prevent unwanted injuries.
9. Wicked Ridge RDX 400 – The Best Reverse-Draw Crossbow
The first Wicked Ridge flagship model, the RDX 400 is an American-made reverse-draw crossbow that offers powerful 400 FPS speed for a remarkably low cost. More and more bowhunters go for reverse-draw crossbows that are capable of higher speeds without increasing the draw weight.
The RDX 400 combines patented reverse-draw technology and a slim design that is only 9-inches wide, with the Reaper Cam System, for 400 FPS speed and optimized accuracy. It also features a lightweight riser, an auto engaging trigger, and a pre-installed noise dampening system. For increased protection, it features a trigger safety and the Wicked Ridge Dry Fire Inhibitor.
If you are a reverse draw fan this is the best crossbow for you at this price range! Click Here For Our Thorough Review
- With a high 400 feet-per-second speed and a low price tag, the Wicked Ridge RDX 400 offers a great speed-to-value ratio.
- Thanks to its patented reverse-draw technology, it doesn’t feel as heavy as other crossbows, and you get better down-range accuracy with less effort.
- It’s ideal for tree stands or ground blinds because it’s only 9-inches wide, and it comes with a noise-dampening system for great stealth.
- The Wicked Ridge trigger safety and the Dry Fire Inhibitor optimize your safety by preventing accidental firing.
- The RDX 400 package includes the ACUdraw cocking device, the TenPoint scope, three arrows, a quiver, and a string stop system. You can also opt for the Rope Sled instead of the ACUdraw.
- The Pro-View scope doesn’t provide great visibility when shooting after dark. Plus, it is only calibrated for 50 yards, which is a small distance considering the range of the RDX 400.
10. TenPoint Crossbow Turbo M1 – A Super Light, Fast and Accurate Crossbow
If you are ready to take your hunting skills to the next level, it’s time to consider a powerful crossbow that is upgraded for an excellent performance. The TenPoint Turbo crossbows are well known for their quality, and the Turbo M1 is the lightest, slimmest, and fastest version.
For the price, you might find it more expensive than other models on the market, but the competition cannot offer the same excellent durability and efficiency as the TenPoint Turbo M1. For this reason, many people prefer it, and choose to spend a little more on hunting equipment that they know that will last them for many years.
You might want to spend the extra bucks to enjoy the top of the line performance offered. Plus, it comes with the upgraded ACUdraw PRO cocking device, three Pro-Elite carbon arrows, a quiver, and a Pro-View scope. Click here for a thorough review
- Weighing only 6.4 pounds, with a 9-inch width, the Turbo M1 is remarkably light and narrow for a powerful crossbow. This makes it hardly visible when you are hunting and allows you to fire more precise shots. Adding to that, the integrated ACUdraw cocking device makes cocking much easier.
- Shooting with improved accuracy even at over 50 yards, and a speed up to 370 feet-per-second will allow you to upgrade your hunting skills. The package also includes three Pro Elite 400 carbon arrows and an Instant Detach quiver so that you won’t waste any time when you need to take that perfect shot.
- You also get a Pro-View scope that is mounted on a 7/8-inch mount that is perfectly adapted for the overall length of the crossbow. The Turbo M1 is easy to assemble in no time and ready for great shots straight away.
- The Turbo M1 is a bit of an investment, but it is well worth the money because you get a super light, fast, and dependable crossbow, plus everything you need for great results from day one.
11. Excalibur Micro Suppressor – The Most Silent Crossbow
The Excalibur Micro Suppressor was designed to provide efficiency in any hunting circumstances. This crossbow’s most remarkable feature is the fact that it is super quiet, which is essential for hunters who approach the prey and try to shoot from a small distance. The device’s Sound Deadening System is the innovation that helps minimize sound.
This crossbow’s sound-deadening system has several components that work in unison to help hunters minimize the sound they produce while shooting. This product was developed on the praised Micro 355 platform.
It comprises a rubberized stirrup and hold-down spring and recoil anti-vibrant system silencers. The Excalibur Micro Suppressor shoots up to 355 feet per second. Overall, it is 31 inches long, weighs 5.4 lb, and has a draw weight of 280 lb and stroke of 10.2 in. Click here for a more thorough review
- The crossbow’s vibration and noise are significantly reduced compared to what you get with most crossbows. This means that your chances of shooting the target are improved and your overall hunting experience becomes more enjoyable.
- The crossbow’s Bullpup Ready Rest stock is light and equipped with rubber grip inserts that make it easier to control and more comfortable to hold.
- The crossbow’s X-Hanger quiver is easy to detach, and it is attached to a tactical Picatinny rail that can be provided with extra attachments.
- Moreover, the ultra-compact and narrow design of the Micro Suppressor make it easy to carry, store, and to handle.
- The device’s ambidextrous cheekpiece, finger guards, and anti-dry-fire system make it a safe option.
- This sturdy and reliable crossbow from Excalibur helps shoot with precision.
- The finish on the crossbow’s limbs might chip off due to repeated shooting.
The following , are the most technologically advanced and powerful crossbows money can buy, period. Without taking their price into consideration, these powerhouses should make every crossbow enthusiast drooling with anticipation of owning and shooting one. If you are a seasoned hunter or an elite target shooter, and you don’t want to compromise quality when it comes to your “shooting companion”, then read the following crossbow reviews carefully!
12. TenPoint Viper S400 – A Lightweight and Highly Maneuverable Weapon
One crossbow that looks like it may check all the boxes for what you need is the Viper S400. First of all, the construction is one that you can rely on, as it was made with one thing in mind: to make the crossbow easy to carry and to maneuver it just as easily, thus giving you more freedom when you are out in the woods.
This crossbow uses a Tenpoint advance S1 trigger. What does it mean? To put it shortly, you will have 0 creep when you use the crossbow, which, again, is a thing that aims to make the hunting experience a much more pleasant one, without any small things that would normally create a little bit of frustration, to say the least.
The lines used for it and the overall feel is something right off a thriller, so there’s no doubt you will feel really good using this crossbow, every time! Read our full Review
- The design is compact, which makes it easy to carry and highly maneuverable, which is good news for any hunter.
- The TenPoint advance S1 trigger will lead to the device having 0 creep, thus making hunting a better experience.
- Thanks to the ACUslide silent cocking and de-cocking system, you have the ability of de-cocking the arrow, without needing to shoot one.
- The cranking effort goes smoothly up until you reach around the last 4 inches, which is when things tend to get a bit more difficult.
13. Ravin R20 – One Of The Most Compact Crossbows
This Ravin crossbow comes fully assembled and pre-tuned. It is accompanied by 6 arrows and nocks, a removable cocking handle, quiver, mounting bracket, and 6 100 Grain Practice field points. It also incorporates a 100-yard illuminated scope and sling mounts. The kinetic energy of this crossbow reaches 164 foot-pounds.
The Ravin R20 is also provided with a built-in Versa-Draw cocking mechanism and offers the possibility to deploy a safety switch. Other features that make it stand out are its anti-dry fire and auto safety system, as well as its helicoid technologies.
This is a powerful crossbow that can shoot up to a dazzling speed of 430 feet per second with a 13-inch power stroke.
The HeliCoil technology coils keep the device’s cams in perfect balance and enable them to rotate at 360 degrees and stay at the same level while you draw and shoot the crossbow with ease and precision.
The R20 is not an inexpensive crossbow though. It’s not recommended for beginners or recreational hunters- unless of course money is not an issue. But, if you are serious about bowhunting you need the best gear you can afford. And if you can afford it, don’t hesitate. This is your new crossbow. Enjoy it. Click here for a thorough review
- This Ravin crossbow provides increased accuracy due to its innovative technologies such as the cables that coil away from the crossbow’s cams using helical grooves, which keeps them balanced.
- The Ravin R20 is a compact device that offers rifle-like accuracy and a speed of more than 400 feet per second. It is fast, precise, and easy to use.
- The comprehensive package that accompanies this crossbow makes it ready for use as soon as you’ve bought it. This Ravin model is also provided with safety mechanisms.
- Overall, due to its innovative features, speed, and sturdiness, this crossbow would be a good investment.
- This crossbow might be a little bit too noisy when compared to competition at this price range.
14. TenPoint Vapor RS470 – The Safest Crossbow with High Accuracy
With its incredible speed and advanced safety features, the Vapor RS470 is definitely a game-changer when it comes to crossbows. Not only do you get unrivaled speed and up to 48% more accuracy, but you can also easily cock and safely de-cock with the innovative ACUslide system. This light, compact, and easy to maneuver crossbow also comes with a complete hunting system.
While this TenPoint crossbow might be priced a lot higher than other models, its lightweight and powerful design make it well worth the extra cost. It is in our opinion the best crossbow for 2020. Click Here For Our Thorough Review
- A game-changer when it comes to cocking, the ACUslide system is perfectly controlled. Unlike standard cocking systems where there’s a risk of losing control, with ACUslide, you can backwind the handle, and it allows you to stop at any point. The safety wings and the Dry Fire Inhibitor are additional protection features that make this crossbow extra safe.
- Designed for outstanding shots, this crossbow reaches speeds up to 470 feet-per-second and an elongated power stroke of 17 inches that increases the speed while minimizing the draw weight.
- The trigger design allows you to have more control and an overall accuracy increased by an impressive 48 percent, including same-hole accuracy.
- The Vapor RS470 comes with six Evo-X carbon arrows and six Lighted Evo-X carbon arrows for maximum speed. The Evo-X scope is adapted for low light conditions, and the integrated string stop system makes the crossbow less noisy.
- This is a costly crossbow, but it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- The Vapor RS470 doesn’t come with an instant detach quiver, and the one that is included in the package isn’t secure enough for the arrows.
Best crossbow for women: Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger
While crossbow hunting is widely regarded as a male sport, more and more women across the country take part in it each year. Manufacturers, understanding there is a market out there, have dedicated a lot of their resources to research, in order to provide the ladies with their dream crossbow. Wicked Ridge has managed to produce a real gem that female hunters will really appreciate. The Lady Ranger’s cocking is easier than ever with the self-retracting cocking system that comes with it. It weighs only 5.9lbs fully set-up and the speed of the arrow reaches 300fps. Most girls should love the pink details on the crossbow.
>>Check Current Price on Amazon.com<<
Which are the leading crossbow brands?
Nowadays there are many crossbow manufacturers competing on this particular market, some of them with years of expertise and tradition behind. The most famous for their quality in archery equipment and more especially crossbows are:
- Wicked Ridge
- Arrow Precision
- Carbon Express
- SA sports
- Diamond Archery
Choosing the best crossbow for your needs
If you’re about to get into the crossbow game, it’s imperative to consider several aspects to make sure that the weapon you want to purchase is right for you. The first thing you should know is that modern crossbows are much easier to use and boast greater effectiveness and accuracy than older models.
Understanding Different Types of Crossbows
Modern crossbows are available in a variety of styles and each has its own unique characteristics. Some of the most common variations you’ll encounter include:
One- and two-handed crossbows
Crossbows are available in two-handed models and one-handed “pistol” models. Two handed crossbows are the most common by far and are appropriate for the widest variety of situations such as hunting, fishing, scientific sample-collecting, target shooting, and even military use. They are generally the most powerful and accurate variation, their aiming is familiar to most, and their handling and operation are easily learned.
Although less common, one-handed crossbows are popular for specialized purposes such as target shooting, small game hunting, and even self-defense. They generally lack the power and accuracy of two-handed versions, but are lighter, more compact, easier to use, and less expensive.
Compound vs Recurve vs Reverse Limb
The main difference between a compound crossbow and a recurve crossbow is in the way the string is attached to the limbs or prod. A compound uses cams or pulleys to draw the string up, which allows for a “let-off” and maximizes the stored energy; “Let-off” is a term used in order to describe the reduced draw weight that comes from the cams taking over. This, in fact, makes cocking a compound pretty straightforward once you reach that break-over point. However, this has nothing to do with being able to shoot accurately, as it locks into place at full draw.
Moreover, a compound requires shorter limbs than a recurve. This might be a great asset for you, depending on what your hunting area is like and whether or not you need to maneuver you crossbow through tight spots.
Because of all of the mechanisms existing in the front part, a compound crossbow may feel “front heavy”. The additional front weight may cause some slowness in bringing it up to aim and in holding it in a shooting position for an extended period of time.
Another disadvantage is that in the unfortunate case the string breaks, you are done hunting for the day, as a trip to your local dealer or a bow press is required to replace it. That’s why you should try to keep an extra string on hand and check the pulleys and cables on a regular basis. Replacing a bad string is a lot easier if you have it in hand, instead of trying to find, or worse yet, to order one! On top of that, if you were to break a steel cable, you could get injured.
A compound is also louder at the point of release. There are a few things you can do to make them quieter, but never to the point where they would make less noise than a recurve.
Another point against compounds is that the cams can sometimes be knocked out of sync, which in turn may cause the bow to shoot inaccurately. This can also be fixed, of course, but not while you are hunting.
Using a recurve crossbow instead of a compound comes with its advantages as well.
- A recurve has tips that curve away from the person that is shooting it.
- They are lighter, therefore easier to carry if you have a long distance to travel before getting to your hunting stand and easier to pick up quickly to aim at your target. Additionally, the reduced weight of a recurve is a major plus for both women and kids.
- A recurve is usually of a lower price, since it has fewer parts and that in its turn hints fewer things could possibly go wrong.
- They are quieter when they are fired, as they do not have cams and a cable in motion.
- They need minimum maintenance. As long as you keep the trigger clean, the rail lubed, you change the string periodically, and/or put on a new serving, a recurve will be good for many years.
- When changing the string, you do not need a bow press, although it is always safer and even recommended to use one. If, whatever the reason may be, you needed to change your string in the middle of a hunting trip, it is possible and you can continue your hunt.
The main disadvantage to using a recurve is that it is harder to cock. You are the one pulling the weight all the way until it is in the cocked position, which can be quite hard to do. Many hunters compensate for this by using a string cocker, which helps reducing the amount of strength needed to cock them. Even when cocked, recurve limbs are longer than a compound, which can make it a bit harder to maneuver in tight areas, to make your shot.
Numerous experienced bowhunters suggest that beginners should use a recurve crossbow. We believe it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Take your time, look at, compare, and shoot a variety of bows and then make your decision.
Numerous experienced bowhunters suggest that beginners should use a recurve crossbow. We believe it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Take your time, look at, compare, and shoot a variety of bows and then make your decision.
Reverse limb crossbows
Reverse draw technology (RDT) is a recent innovation which essentially reverses the limbs of a conventional compound crossbow, giving RDT crossbows an unmistakable appearance and drastically altering their performance. Due to this design’s success and efficiency, many manufacturers have added RDT models to their lineup, and some companies focus on RDT crossbows exclusively. Some of their advantages include:
- Balance: The reversed limb orientation moves the riser and limb pocket assembly much closer to the trigger, effectively shifting the center of gravity toward the shooter, reducing front end weight and allowing a more comfortable and stable shot.
- Increased power stroke: The string stays in contact with the arrow for the full length of the barrel, giving RDT crossbows higher speeds per pound of draw than conventional crossbows.
- RDT crossbows generally produce the least amount of noise and vibration.
- They can be even narrower than conventional compound crossbows.
Tips for making the most out of our crossbow reviews
Although differentiating the best crossbows from a mediocre product may seem complicated, you can easily do this after checking the next points.
Speed: If you’re looking for fast and powerful shots, you should go for a compound bow, which can deliver the energy and speed you expect. For the best results, don’t forget to check the size and strength of the bolts.
Arrow Track: Also called flight track or barrel, the arrow track defines the physical structure that makes it possible for you to launch an arrow. The more precise the structure, the more accurate is the delivery of the arrow downrange.
Noise: The quietest crossbows you can find are the recurve models with parallel limbs. If you need a bow for hunting, specialists advise you to get a this type of bow, even though it doesn’t shoot as fast as a recurve bow.
Weight: Weight is very essential when choosing a hunting crossbow. While light crossbows are easy to carry around woods, heavy crossbows are easier to keep steady when shooting. Since these two aspects give rise to a major contradiction, the best thing to do when buying a bow is to consider your own physical limitations.
Draw Weight: Referring to the amount of pull necessary to flex the limbs of a bow into the fire position, the draw weight varies quite greatly among different types of crossbows. Typically, the higher the draw weight value, the faster the arrow speed.
Parts: To make sure that you buy a good crossbow, it’s critical to check all of its parts. Opting for a bow made of metal is the best purchase decision if you want to get a high-quality weapon. The crossbows that come with plastic parts can break down after only several uses.
Additional Features: Although most crossbows follow the same basic design, some weapons are equipped with particular features that ensure greater dependability, accuracy, and safety. Additional features include cocking aids, which help you to cock the bow correctly; scopes, which improve the accuracy of your shots; and noise-dampening devices, which reduce the noise and vibration after a shot is fired.
Manufacturer: Crossbows vary not only by type, but also by company. One thing you can do to choose the best crossbow is to visit a dealer and test the products of different manufacturers. Furthermore, you can read various crossbow reviews to discover the best brands in the market.
How Much Draw Weight is Required for Your Purposes?
Crossbows are available to address a wide variety of needs but the most popular, of course, is hunting. Today’s manufacturers realize most hunters target medium- to large-sized game, such as whitetail deer, black bears, moose, and similar animals, and their crossbows are designed with these animals in mind (and even much larger ones!). For medium-sized game like whitetail deer, a crossbow with a draw weight of at least 150 lbs and velocity near 300 fps is recommended and generally more than enough for a humane kill – some reverse draw crossbows can get by with a lower draw weight, but this is the general rule of thumb and consensus among hunters. As the size of your target game increases, your draw weight and total arrow weight should as well.
Besides draw weight, kinetic energy (KE) output is a metric commonly used to represent a crossbow’s power, but scrutinizing it can make choosing a crossbow more complicated than necessary. KE is dependent on arrow weight and velocity and it decreases as the arrow travels, so the KE delivered to a specific target in a hunting situation will be an estimate at best. If you keep the general rule for draw weight and velocity mentioned above as a guideline, and buy from a reputable manufacturer, you will find yourself with a perfectly capable crossbow without much hassle.
Time to Choose the Best Crossbow
Now that you’re familiar with what’s available and understand the basics of what to look for in a crossbow, it’s your turn assess your needs, establish your price range, and choose the best crossbow for the money.
The crossbows belonging to these categories are further divided based on their primary use. This basically means that you can find crossbows appropriate for big game hunting, target practice and fun. If you need a bow for serious hunting, make sure you get a high-quality product.
If you take the time to check all these points, along with our crossbow reviews, before investing in a bow, you have great chances to find the ideal crossbow.