Buying the Best Crossbows for Hunting

crossbow hunting

Crossbow hunting has become more popular over the past few years as hunters and target shooting enthusiasts find that crossbows offer the perfect blend of rifle and compound bow. Although the legality of hunting animals with crossbows depends on which part of the world you live in, crossbow hunting has become a fairly mainstream activity in North America. Despite the fact that those skilled with alternative hunting weapons will likely be able to transfer many of their skills to the crossbow, there are many other factors to crossbow hunting that make it distinctive. Ensuring that you are aware of these factors and how they affect your hunting style is essential to maximizing your crossbow hunting skills.

If you are new to the sport, there are many different factors to consider when deciding on the best type of crossbow to use. One of these factors is the shooting speed, which will determine how fast your arrows reach your target. This is very important because the lower speed crossbows will increase the chance that your prey will move out of range of your shot before the arrow reaches them. For crossbow hunters who limit their hunting to the shooting ranges, this is not likely an issue unless you use moving targets. However, for those who plan on taking their game into the real-world, it is best to go for crossbows with higher shooting speeds. Getting a feel for the speed that your bow shoots at is important because it will allow you to place your shots in anticipation of how fast your arrows are going to take to reach your target.

Three Important Crossbow Features to Look Out For

  1. •Shooting Speed
  2. •Noise level
  3. •Weight

Another factor to consider when deciding on the best crossbow to use is the noise level of the crossbow. Many crossbows utilize technology that reduces the noise level of the product, however those that do not are much louder. In general, noisier crossbows are not ideal, although it ultimately comes down to what kind of hunter you are. For those that do no place much value on stealth, the noise level of your crossbow is likely irrelevant. Additionally, for seasoned hunters with impeccable aim, noise level is also not a huge issue if you can ensure that you hit the vitals of your prey on the first shot.

EDITORS PICKS – THE BEST CROSSBOWS FOR 2014

Description
Photo
Price
Rating
Buyer Reviews
Excalibur Matrix 380 Crossbow Package, Blackout, 260-Pound

$$$9.88View
Barnett Ghost 400 CRT Crossbow Package

$$$9.22View
Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit

$$9.62View
Barnett Penetrator Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3-20-Inch Arrows and 4x32mm Scope)

$$$9.77View
Barnett Vengeance Crossbow with 3x32mm Scope Package, 140-Pound Draw Weight, Carbon Black

$$$9.84View

A final factor worth mentioning that will contribute to determining the most suitable crossbow for you is the weight of the crossbow. Those who prefer to have a high level of agility and speed in their hunting experiences are recommended to use a lighter crossbow. Light crossbows are also great options for younger hunters and inexperienced crossbow users. Take at look at our Pistol Crossbows article for a look at a great alternative to regular crossbows for younger and inexperienced hunters. Additionally, for hunters that tend to remain stationary and wait for their prey, using a light crossbow may not be a huge issue.

Related Reading:  Hunting Safety – New Hampshire Fish and Game Association

Take a look at our Crossbow Buyers Guide article for more information on how to choose the best crossbow for you. In order to help you get a better idea of what makes a great crossbow, the following section of this article will outline three high quality products of varying price ranges. The following three products are excellent crossbows that provide many of the desired factors mentioned above. Take in the following information and utilize it to help you get an idea of the best kind of crossbow to use for your hunting style and the price that you can expect to pay for it.

Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit

The Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit is a Crossbowhunting.net Editors Pick and is available from Amazon.com

Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit

The Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit is a $500 crossbow that packs a great amount of value for the price and is comparable to high-end crossbows that are priced at double the amount. It features a 14.5 ” power stroke, a weight of approximately 6 pounds, a length of 37.5″ and an arrow length of 20″. This crossbow is very well made and can reach arrow speeds upwards of 305 feet per second. Additionally, the accuracy is very high, making this a great crossbow for intermediate to advanced hunters that want a very reliable bow. The draw weight is 175 pounds and the power stroke is 14.5″, which gives you a very easy cocking experience. To top it off, it comes with a very clear multiplex crossbow scope, a rope cocking aid and 4 field point arrows. The only downside to this product is the sound, which is quite loud. This may be disappointing for hunters that prefer to use a stealthy approach. Ultimately, this is a great product from Excalibur that provides an unprecedented level of quality for a very reasonable price. Read User Reviews from Amazon.com

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package

Dollar for Dollar, you’ll have a hard time finding a better crossbow than the Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver , 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver , 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)

Another great quality crossbow for an even cheaper price of $275 is the Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver , 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight), which features a shooting speed of 315 feet per second, an 150-pound draw weight and comes with a premium red dot sight. The design of this crossbow is sleek, with a divided foregrip to ensure that you always have comfortable hand placement. Additionally, the high energy wheels used in the quad limb assembly in combination with the unique string and cable system contribute to the high-speed of this device, reaching up to 315 feet per second. To top it off, this is a very lightweight unit, making it ideal for hunters that want comfort and increased agility. The only downside to this crossbow is the synthetic string system, which has a tendency to wear out and fray over time. However, at the end of the day, the weight of the unit in combination with the fast shooting speed and sleek design make this a great crossbow for hunters that want a fast, comfortable weapon to increase their hunting game.

Wicked Ridge Warrior HL Premium Crossbow Package,
The Wicked Ridge Warrior HL Premium Crossbow Package, 175-Pound crossbow sits at a price of $425, right in between the products mentioned above. It features a shooting speed of 300 fps, a draw weight of 175 pounds and a 12.25″ power stroke. One of the biggest pluses of this crossbow is the 3.5 pound pull that utilizes patented trigger technology, making it the smoothest and quietest crossbow in the industry. Another great thing about this product is the multi-line scope, which is very effective up to a range of 50 yards, making this a great choice for long range hunters. The only downside to this crossbow is the bow magnets, which have a tendency to slide around and make a minor amount of noise. However, all things considered this is a great buy that is only slightly lesser in quality than the Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit.

Deciding on the Best Crossbow for You

Ultimately, the three products listed above are each great quality crossbows that will take your hunting game to a higher level, whether you are a beginner or an expert. Although the Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit is undoubtedly the best quality, its loudness may not be ideal for hunters that prefer to stay quiet. However, for those hunters with impeccable aim this is not an issue. The Wicked Ridge Warrior HL Premium Crossbow Package, 175-Pound is just slightly below the Excalibur Axiom in terms of quality, although its reputation as the quietest crossbow in the industry may be enough the set it above the Excalibur for stealth hunters. Finally, the Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver , 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight) is the cheapest option of the above crossbows. Although the quality is the lowest of the three, this is not as necessarily a bad thing given the extremely high quality of the other options. The comfort and lightness of this crossbow make it ideal for those that want a swift and comfortable hunting experience, as well as those without as much money to spend.


Taking the various factors mentioned above into consideration when purchasing a crossbow is very important. Everything from speed and weight to the type of arrows and your experience level will factor into determining the best crossbow for you. Even if you are an expert hunter with years of experience, using the wrong crossbow can limit you from reaching your full potential. Conversely, if you are a beginner, choosing an unsuitable crossbow can result in the stifling of your learning process.

Purchasing a crossbow as a beginner is a very difficult thing to do; without any background information it can be hard to know what features are best suited to a hunting style that you have not even developed yet. The best thing you can do is take as much information as you can from the above article, as well as in our other articles such as Crossbow Hunting Range and Crossbow Hunting Tips. After you gain enough practise, experience and knowledge, you will have no problem choosing the most effective crossbow for your hunting needs.

Further Reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbow

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