We conducted a practicing session with several crossbows on the market and analyzed their performance, quality, and overall efficiency. We found Barnett Jackal as our top pick that offers an ultimate hunting experience.
- Best Crossbow on the Market
- Best Crossbow under $500
- Best Crossbow for the Money
- Best Cheap Crossbow
- How to Choose
The crossbows are becoming quite popular in recreational activities, and we are expecting more of these products coming out in the market. Manufacturers are coming up with something creative and offering you exclusive features and accessories. You might get confused from the bunch of items placed right before your eyes. It’s important to narrow down your choices and find out which model suits your needs. We tested more than 50 crossbows from various manufacturers and evaluated their performance in detail. Afterwards, we made a short list of top five crossbows and reviewed them. These reviews will help you learn about the best options that go perfectly with your needs and styles.
Purchasing online can be a great option if you know what you are looking for. You can benefit from our buying guide which compiles all the essential information you need to know to purchase the best crossbow on the market. Once you go through the buying guide, you will be able to differentiate among models and their price to pick up one that fulfills your requirement in your budget. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, this guide has everything you need to know.
Top 5 Crossbows
|Best Crossbow on the Market
|Best Crossbow on the Market
Barnett Ghost 360
|Best Crossbow under $500
Wicked Ridge Invader
|Best Crossbow for the Money
Excalibur Matrix 380
|Best Cheap Crossbow
SA Sports Fever
Crossbow Buying Guide
How to Choose
Noise is a crucial feature to consider particularly for expert hunters who want their bows completely silent. A unit that comes with parallel limbs gives quieter shots. The cam mechanisms create noise. So, you need to decide whether the sound is essential to you, but you can always upgrade your hunting gear later.
If you are looking for a fast shot then probably you should choose a compound type of bow as it stores energy. The bolts determine rate; therefore, it’s essential to select the right size and strength.
The crossbow weapons are produced by various manufacturers offering different specialties. It’s important to check the reputable manufactures by reading reviews of their products online. It will make more accessible for you to shortlist product based on your needs and preferences.
Modern crossbows come with extra features for enhanced accuracy, flexibility and safety. Some of these accessories come along with the unit whereas others you need to purchase separately. Below we have listed some of the additional features to let you assess whether you need them or not.
Hunters usually find ranges quite beneficial. They are required for accuracy of shots and are available in four variations including visual, single red point, multi-reticle and multi-red mark.
These accessories are used to reduce noise that comes after a shot. They are usually attached to the limbs of the bow.
The cocking aids assist in correctly positioning the crossbow which is significant for its accuracy. These are available in the form of elastic straps or cranks. Though the most commonly used items are rope and straps, the crank offers a more natural way to cock it.
The Crossbow Draw Weight
The crossbow draw weight refers to the force required to cock your crossbow. If the draw weight is higher, it will be tough to pull the string. The minimum weight you should consider is 150 pounds when purchasing the crossbow whereas anything less than that is suitable for practice. The weight is crucial if you want to make sure that your arrow kills the prey instead of merely wounding it. Also, remember that if you are cocking the crossbow using your hand, you are lifting the weight equal to the draw weight of the crossbow. To make it easier, you need to reduce the amount of force required to draw your crossbow. Here, we recommend you to get a rope or crank cocking device.
Velocity of Your Weapon
The velocity of the weapon is measured in feet per second. It determines the speed at which your arrow is going to travel over the 20 to 30 yards. Here you should consider a minimum of 200 FPS. Also, it is to be notified that the actual velocity will be primarily determined by the draw weight of the crossbow along with the weight of the arrows you intend to you. A bulky arrow will travel slower compared to a lightarrow shot from the same equipment. When you see a velocity for a particular model, it is usually the calculated weight of arrows that come along the crossbow.
The power stroke is the distance that a string will travel from its free position till it reaches the latch and cocked. Most crossbows have a stroke somewhere between 10 to 14 inches. The higher the power stroke, the more powerful the arrow shot will be. Another significant thing to keep in mind is that whether the stroke is adjusted in a right way on the crossbow’s draw weight.
Energy output determines the total amount of energy which needs to be transferred from the crossbow string to the arrow when released. This factor primarily depends on two things, i.e., the draw weight and power stroke. The higher draw weight and longer power stroke will have more energy to be transferred to the arrow and faster it will fly. Also, you need to consider the design of the weapon such as the arrow track design and the reliable release mechanism. All these factors will have an impact on the accuracy which is quite essential. At the end of the day, a powerful crossbow is of no use if you are unable to shoot it accurately with comfort. Another critical thing to remember is that when choosing a particular crossbow, make sure it offers a draw weight of minimum 150 lbs, a velocity of minimum 200 FPS and a power stroke of 10 inches to get a powerful and accurate weapon suitable for both hunting and practicing.
Limbs on Crossbow
The limbs are a significant part of a crossbow that is attached to the riser. Every high-quality crossbow feature limbs made of carbon, fiberglass or a combination of these materials. They are usually lightweight and highly durable which is crucial considering the physical stress generated by the crossbows. If you are choosing a crossbow with limbs constructed from aluminum or wood, keep in mind that it will be unable to withstand rough and tough use.
Price does not always determine the quality of the product, but in case of crossbows, it does. You will hardly find any high-quality crossbow for less than $100. If you are purchasing a cheap model, it will likely to have low quality and will break after few uses. Also, it can be harmful at certain times. Many reputable brands are offering crossbows that cost less than $200, but an extremely less price will be an unwise decision when it comes to severe hunting job. If you have enough budget to purchase a reasonable and quality crossbow, we recommend you to spend around $300 on your first purchase. It will make sure that the weapon you get will last long for several years no matter whether your preferences or skills are changing over time.
Now that you know the basics of what to look for in a crossbow, it’s time to assess your requirements, set a price range and choose the best crossbow in your budget. The crossbows are available in various categories, and that means you can find the one appropriate for your big sports hunting, target practicing or just for fun. If you are looking for a crossbow for serious hunting, we recommend you to invest some extra bucks and get a high-quality product.