Best Crossbow Reviews

You’re an amateur who’s just watched ‘The Walking Dead’ and are now looking for the best beginner bows so you can get into the thrilling hobby of crossbow hunting – read on to find out about this classical weapon of hunting.

Crossbows have seen more advancements in the past two decades than in the last two millennia. New materials for their limbs, strings, arrows, sights, and stock designs have created the modern crossbow – more accurate, more user-friendly, and more effective on the hunt.

Nevertheless, the crossbow is still a short-range hunting weapon with an upper range cap of 40 yards for deer-sized quarries.

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CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
Killer Instinct Boss 405 Pro Package. This is a Dead Silent Deer Hunting Crossbow with a Scope, Quiver, Rope Cocker, and 3 HYPRBolts.
Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Crossbow Pro Package. This Top Archery Crossbow is The Best Addition to Your Hunting Gear!
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
Killer Instinct Boss 405 Pro Package. This is a Dead Silent Deer Hunting Crossbow with a Scope, Quiver, Rope Cocker, and 3 HYPRBolts.
Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Crossbow Pro Package. This Top Archery Crossbow is The Best Addition to Your Hunting Gear!
#1 Best Seller
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
Killer Instinct Boss 405 Pro Package. This is a Dead Silent Deer Hunting Crossbow with a Scope, Quiver, Rope Cocker, and 3 HYPRBolts.
Killer Instinct Boss 405 Pro Package. This is a Dead Silent Deer Hunting Crossbow with a Scope, Quiver, Rope Cocker, and 3 HYPRBolts.
Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Crossbow Pro Package. This Top Archery Crossbow is The Best Addition to Your Hunting Gear!
Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Crossbow Pro Package. This Top Archery Crossbow is The Best Addition to Your Hunting Gear!

But within this range, the modern crossbow guarantees a very accurate shot. However, you should know that hunters utilizing compound bows will have the advantage of a faster second shot compared to a crossbowman, and experienced bow hunters will normally be more successful.


Crossbows also make more noise than bows, and they are harder to carry due to their extra weight. However, despite these pitfalls, crossbows enjoy considerable popularity, here’s why:

  • They are historical weapons of the hunt and have been used effectively against games worldwide – including Africa.
  • They are exact, which appeals to hunters who don’t want to leave anything to luck. Often, bench rest rifle shooters become fans of the crossbow’s ability to shoot at the same target in its 40-yard range consistently.
  • Those who aren’t able to use a bow due to injury, age, or insufficient arm strength can get a taste of archery hunting thanks to crossbows. Combined with optical sights, and coupled with the fact that users don’t have to strain as in the case of a bow, archers can hunt game ten or even twenty years after their effectiveness with the bow has diminished.

What are the Features of Modern Crossbows?

Just like there’s an argument about the compound and recurve bows, there’s a compound vs. recurve crossbow debate going on. The recurve is simpler since it doesn’t have the complex stringing needed for the asymmetric-wheel or round-wheel compound crossbows.

The compound crossbow normally has shorter limbs, making it easier to use in tight spots than its recurve counterpart.

Certain compound crossbows can shoot the same weight arrows swifter than certain recurves, even though a compound crossbow is the present record holder for speed among production bows.

Some decades back, nearly all crossbows had limbs made from steel. Today, nearly all bows have either composite or fiberglass limbs, with designs going from a single long and thin bow to thick barrel stave shapes.

Several manufacturers have started producing crossbow limbs with a composite split-limb combination to reduce the weight and equalize stress.

Stocks of composite plastic and laminated wood strengthened with metallic elements can now be purchased. These molded stocks allow for greater variation in design and may also have wind-up or string cockers.

The stock supports the arrow rail, firing elements, and bow; it also lowers the crossbow’s heaviest component. Certain crossbows come with skeletal stocks to keep the weight low. Normally, the greater the crossbow’s weight, the easier it is to shoot with accurately since the weight lends its stability in the instant when the arrow is in the crossbow’s guide rail.

Power Requirements

Normally, crossbows are ranked according to their pull weights, which can be anywhere from 80 to 200 pounds. This kind of string stress can get you a top arrow speed of 340 fps. If you’re hunting deer-sized game, a 150-pound pull weight is recommended.

At this weight, bows will shoot clean through the deer if you use a broadside shot. Additionally, most robust shoots can cock a 150 lb. crossbow with their hands by utilizing a foot stirrup. Using a rope cocking aid, available from most manufacturers, can reduce the pull weight to half. Crank cocking aids, though cumbersome and slower to use) need just 10 to 15lbs of pressure to cock a crossbow with a high pull weight.

Arrows and Points

Carbon ExpressChoosing correctly splined arrows of proper length combined with an effective game-killer point is just as essential with a crossbow as it is with a bow. The best bow brands will always provide a list of the series of recommended arrows and point weights. Carbon, aluminum, and composite arrows are available today with several different mechanical and fixed points.

Remember that faster arrows will shoot better with mechanical broadheads than with fixed blade broadheads. Arrows made from aluminum usually perform nicely with 125 grain fixed points, whereas carbon shafts are more effective 100 grain or lower.

Always use hunting arrows and points to target your bow – field points and broadheads can have a considerable disparity in their flight characteristics, even if they are of identical weights. You can use a small rubber gasket for lining up the blades of mechanical points with the arrow’s fletching for optimum results.

SightsNikon Bolt XR

Crossbows normally come with iron, optical, or red-dot sights. Optical sights might seem to be unnecessary for a weapon limited to a 40-yard range. They’re still useful for accurate compensation of the crossbow arrow’s rapid drop in flight between 20 to 40 yards. Knowing the exact target range of your prey is crucial, which is why a laser range finder is required for achieving a clean kill using a crossbow.

While you’re buying any crossbow (even a beginner crossbow), it is a good idea to purchase necessary accessories with it since the accessories produced five years later may not fit the crossbow you’re purchasing today.

This is enough of an introduction on crossbows – even for those who have never used one before. The rest of the article will cover various aspects to be considered when buying a crossbow. It will have a bow comparison encompassing cheap crossbows, best bow for beginners, powerful crossbows, and so on.

What to Consider Before Purchasing a Crossbow

If you’ve never shopped for a crossbow before, and you’re out in the market looking for the best bows for beginners, you should bear in mind that purchasing a bow is a tough decision.

The optimal way to determine the best starter crossbow for yourself will be to try it out. If you’re browsing through an online store, it’s better to find some time to visit a specialized shop where you’ll be able to test-fire a version similar to yourself. (Read Deer Kill Zone)

There are plenty of things to look out for before you decide on a particular crossbow. Since it’s a lethal weapon, the most crucial among these, regardless of whether you’re looking for great bows for beginners, the best compound bows, or the best recurve bows, is safety.

In this respect, critical features include the anti-dry-fire device and the auto safety engage the mechanism. Always remember that dry firing your crossbow (i.e., shooting it without having an arrow loaded) carries the risk of its limbs and stings cracking, which can cause injury to your face and arms.

Compound vs. Recurve Crossbows

Many different crossbow models are being sold in the market today. The final comparison culminates into the two major categories they belong to – compound vs. recurve crossbow. (Click here for Our Recurve Crossbow Guide)

Compound bows are considered the modern variation of crossbows and can be easily distinguished by their sturdier, shorter limbs. These two vital features are the reason professional hunters regard compound crossbows as more energy efficient. Here are the advantages offered by the best compound bows:Compound-vs-Recurve

  • Significantly faster draw with a smaller weight.
  • Less force is required on the trigger sears.
  • A greater power than the best recurve bows because of faster bolt speed.
  • Incorporate a simple cocking device
  • More narrow overall due to which it has greater efficiency in densely vegetated areas

Despite these advantages, you should not say that the compound version of the crossbow has a greater number of moving parts which can wear out relatively quickly, which is why, if you plan to use it regularly, you will have to make time for maintenance. Furthermore, compound bows are a lot heavier and noisier, particularly if you consider their front section’s associated weight and density.

At the other end, recurves are the oldest and simplest model of the crossbow. Recurve crossbows are identifiable by their distinct appearance since they have a tip that curves away from the shooter. They have bent limbs to enable a longer draw weight to accelerate the bolts/arrows.

Besides reducing the shock felt in hand, the recurve design is also less noisy when shooting – but this doesn’t mean that it its totally silent; you will detect a clatter when shooting with a recurve crossbow. In addition to generating less noise compared to compound crossbows, the recurve model has the following advantages in the recurve vs. compound bow comparison:

  • It doesn’t need to be extensively maintained, making it an ideal weapon for longer hunting trips.
  • It doesn’t make way as much as the compound model to be carried about with relative ease.
  • Its lighter weight makes it easier to aim.
  • Easier to restring as opposed to compound bows that need a bow press for fixing a broken string

The primary disadvantage of recurve crossbows is that they don’t have a cocking device and thus require a degree of physical strength from the user. Additionally, the recurve model doesn’t have the same accuracy or power as its compound counterpart. A recurve bow will also require a greater draw weight for comparable arrow speed because of its wider design.

Whether you go for a recurve or compound crossbow is ultimately based on what feature you prefer since both models have certain exclusive features. However, if you’re starting with a crossbow, it will be more sensible to go for the recurve version since it is lighter and more easily manageable – recurves are the best bows for women for the same reason. (Looking for a compound bow? (Check out our extensive guide here)

Furthermore, because of the recurve’s simplistic design, it is easier to use in that you won’t have to figure out it’s working when in a tight spot. However, if you’re an adept hunter looking for a strong and impactful weapon, the compound crossbow will be far more suited to your needs.

Arrows and Bolts

Even though lighter projectiles have a greater fly speed, you should note that reputable manufacturers all have a suggested minimum grain weight for getting the best output from their crossbow models. Shooting lightweight projectiles place extra stress on your crossbow’s various components, resulting in them falling or breaking and putting you at risk of injury.

Thus, it is advisable to be aware of and use only the best crossbow arrows/bolts meant for your crossbow. Additionally, shooting with bolts/arrows that your manufacturer doesn’t support may void the crossbow’s warranty. (Read Best Scopes For Long Range Shooting)

The crossbow bolt/arrow is made from carbon or aluminum and has a length of about 20’’. It consists of the following parts:

  • The head is normally fastened into the insert present at the front of the shaft. You can buy Barnett Outdoors Carbonarrows with either broadheads or field point heads, with the former including sharp edges that are used primarily for hunting. Field points don’t have any sharp parts and can hunt either small game or for practice.
  • The shaft – this is the elongated, thin body of the bolt/arrow
  • The insert is the round pullout attached to the shaft’s front. It can be made out of brass, aluminum, or an alloy of the two metals.
  • The nock – this is the small part fixed to the shaft’s rear. It can be made from aluminum or plastic and touched the string when you cock the crossbow. Nocks come in either flat style or half-moon style. Half-moon nocks incorporate a small groove that makes horizontal alignment between the arrow and the string easier.

Besides buying the proper crossbow bolts, if you’re serious about hunting with a crossbow, you should also consider purchasing one of the best crossbow scopes since they make all the difference in getting a clean kill with your first shot.

What are the Top 3 Best Cheap Crossbows?

Finding a top-notch, affordable, and durable crossbow under $500 can be quite challenging. With such a large variety of models to pick from, it can be hard to figure out which ones are the best and which ones aren’t that great.

We’ve made that effort on your part and rooted out the models that are a waste of your time and money – here are the best bows under 500 we have selected after our research:

Jaguar CR-013 Series Crossbow 175 lbs. Spring

Jaguar CR-013 Series Crossbow Kit, 175-Pound
  • Hunting crossbow designed with accuracy, safety, and durability in mind
  • 175-pound draw; fires crossbow arrows at speeds of 245 FPS (feet per second)
  • Slotted cast-magnesium barrel for accurate bolt flight tracking
  • Weaver-style rail includes a single dot 30mm red dot scope with 7-level brightness adjustment
  • Includes six-bolt detachable quiver, four 16-inch aluminum crossbow bolts with 150-gr points, safety glasses, and a shoulder sling

For $300, the Jaguar CR-013 Series Crossbow 175 lbs. Spring is our number three choice in this category. It offers great value at its cost and has a 30-millimeter red dot sight included, besides a shoulder strap to provide a comfortable and stable shooting experience.

This is a powerful crossbow that shoots at 245 feet per second and has a 34.5’’ length. The Jaguar CR-013 crossbow comes with four 16’’ inch bolts, seven brightness adjustment levels, and has a composite stock made from fiberglass. It comes in two finishes – camo or black.

This is an excellent crossbow for those beginning their journey as crossbow huntsmen or those who have a tight budget. It is extremely accurate and definitely reliable on a hunt.

Barnett Penetrator Crossbow

Barnett Penetrator Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3-20-Inch Arrows and 4x32mm Scope)
  • Powerful, accurate crossbow has innovative design with shoot-through foot stirrup, and 12-inch power stroke capable of producing firing speeds up to 350 feet-per-second
  • Five-to-one safety factor; Crosswire string and cable system with high energy whiplash cams for faster, quieter shots; bow has new Anti-Dry Fire (ADF), Metal Injection Molding (MIM) trigger system with 3.5-pound pull
  • 175-pound draw weight, 116-foot-pounds of energy, 12-inch power stroke, and 350 feet-per-second firing velocity; 37 inches long and 24 inches wide, with 8.6-pound weight; fires 20-inch arrows
  • Includes limited five-year manufacturer's warranty
  • This item is not for sale in some specific zip codes

The Barnett Penetrator Crossbow has a near-perfect user rating and comes highly recommended by its owners. It is available as a package with a Quiver, 3-20’’ arrows, and a 4x32mm scope. At a price lower than $500, this is excellent value.

The crossbow is both powerful and easy to use, providing an accurate shot. It has an innovative design that gives a shoot-through foot stirrup, besides a 12’’ power stroke that can fire at speeds of up to 350 FPS.

It yields a 175-pound draw weight and utilizes 20’’ arrows, providing 116-foot pounds of energy and measuring 37’’ long x 24’’ wide. It also comes with a limited manufacturer’s warranty for five years. It is easy to operate and highly accurate.

Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow

Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3-22-Inch Arrows and 4x32mm Scope)
  • Popular Quad 400, redesigned to maintain its reputation as shooter's favorite with new features
  • Includes 3 arrow quiver, 3 arrows 22-Inch, 4x32 multi-reticle scope
  • 345-Feet Per Second firing velocity, 150-Pound draw weight, 112-Feet Pounds of energy
  • 15.5-Inch power stroke, 9-Pound weight, 37-Inch length and 26.75-Inch width, 22-Inch arrows
  • This item is not for sale in some specific zip codes. Item does not include a crank cocking device

This is our top pick for the best cheap crossbows. The Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow is an excellent cheap crossbow and is, in fact, the best crossbow under $400! It comes in a package that packs a Quiver, 3-2’’ arrows, and either a 4x32mm scope or a quality 3 do red dot sight.

This crossbow has been revamped to incorporate new features to keep its reputation as a favorite intact. The Barnett Quad 400 has a shooting speed of 345 feet per second, a draw weight of 150 pounds, and an energy output of 112-foot pounds with a 15.5-inch power stroke. It weighs 9 pounds, has a length of 37’’ and a width of 26.75’’. All in all, it is a gratifying experience to shoot with this bow.

The Excalibur Ibex SMF crossbow kit is another excellent choice if you’re willing to spend a little over $500 for the added quality. It comes with an SMF scope and Realtree AP and has a draw weight of 175 lbs.

What is the Best Beginner Crossbow?

After going through lots of models claiming to be the ideal crossbow for beginners, we decide to choose a novice crossbow archer.

It wasn’t easy since many a good beginner bow out there, but our absolute favorite from among these was the Excalibur Axiom SMF – a fine bow from one of the top bow brands. It is a powerful crossbow, but at the same time, it doesn’t exceed the $500 price point.

Wirezoll Crampons, 24 Teeth Stainless Steel Ice Cleats Fit Boots and Shoes, Safe Protect for Hiking Fishing Walking Mountaineering etc. - 1 Pair - Upgraded Version (Black, L)
  • What can the crampons help with? - Strong crampons with 24 spikes provide excellent traction on a variety of terrain, especially for winter under snow and ice. Robust anti-skid ice cleats can aggressively grip and stay in the ground which help you keep balance and stable
  • When do we need the crampons? - While walking on icy or uneven pathway, the ice cleats could be used on angled terrain, ice roads, icy driveway, mud and wet grass, dangerous sections of trail etc.
  • Who can use the crampons? - Suitable for teenagers, adult and elders, male and female. the stainless steel traction cleats are easy to take on and off; the Straps included ensures more comfort and safety will not rust and be more firm and durable,
  • How to use the crampons? - Toes into the sign of Front; Stretched to the heel, can be fixed; The front of wire and toe cap should keep a line; Use the Strap to keep the ice cleats solidly attached to shoes. The crampons can work with various kinds of sports or hiking shoes, mountaineering boots and so on
  • What will we get with the crampons? 1 Pair upgraded stainless steel 24 spikes crampons, 1 Pair straps for fixing, and 1 BAG for carrying. The crampons can be folded into the storage bag attached and very conveniently to carry. Perfect for travel, sports and other outdoor activities

This is a recurring bow, which means easy to use and maintain, and, therefore, it is an excellent choice for beginners – it is also one of the best bows for women because of its ease of management.

It has an accurate shot, doesn’t weigh much, and can be carried around with ease on the hunt. The Excalibur Axiom SMF has a draw weight of 175 pounds and works with 20’’ arrows.

As far as user opinion is concerned, it is one of the top-rated bows in the market since it frequently gets five-star ratings. To conclude, if you’re looking for a deadly accurate, affordable, and lightweight crossbow, this one bears our mark recommendation.

What is the Most Powerful Crossbow?

Just as a matter of interest, we resolved to find out the crossbow worthy of the title of ‘The world’s most powerful crossbow.’ After our research, we discovered that the model that answered ‘What is the fastest crossbow?’ was the Scorpyd Velocity 165 lb. crossbow.

Barnett BC Raptor Reverse Draw Crossbow Package, Camo
  • Adjustable Butt Pad
  • CNC Machined Aluminum Flight Track
  • Finger Reminders and Pass-Through Foregrip
  • Carbon Riser, Reverse Limb, String Suppressors, Laminated Limbs
  • 16.75-Inch Axle to Axle

This exceptionally swift powerhouse incorporates a draw weight of 165 pounds, an arrow speed of as much as 425 feet per second, and kinetic energy output of 163 pounds per foot.

It is priced at $1400 and upwards, so it isn’t cost-efficient by any means, but if you’re in the market for the most powerful and fastest crossbow made, this is the one for you!

What is the Best Overall Crossbow?

After conducting a crossbow comparison of some high-end crossbow models offered by various good bow brands, we concluded that the Excalibur Matrix 355 is the best overall crossbow to own.

Currently priced at $736, this crossbow packs Excalibur’s Ergo-Grip and Compact Recurve Technologies, making it comfortable to hold and carry around on a long hunt. It has undergone a recent redesign to improve its performance and is a compact, lightweight (5.4 pounds), the most silent incarnation of its former self.

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The crossbow draws easily and is deadly accurate at distances exceeding 70 feet! It possesses a shooting speed of 355 feet per second and has a large draw weight of 240 pounds. However, it comes with a rope cocking aid to make for an easy and smooth cocking action. The crossbow comes with a ‘Kolorfusion’ applied Realtree Xtra Camo, Quad-Lock riser, four arrows, and the rope above cocking aid.

This bow has received excellent reviews from users who have praised it for its good balance, great scope, and ease of use. Female users of small stature have also commended it for its ease in carrying and compactness.

Once you’ve tried out and enjoyed hunting with crossbows, you’ll want to give regular bows a try for a better challenge – the PSE Brute X Compound Bow and the Martin Takedown recurve bow are two best options that you might want to look into.

Best Crossbow Reviews

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