Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

One of the biggest hurdles for those who want to learn about bowhunting is selecting the right crossbow. There are a variety of choices to consider which we’ve listed below:

Compound against Recurve Crossbows

The distinctions in a compound and recurve crossbows are largely the same for the regular compound and Recurve bows. Compound bows benefit from simple devices to offer greater power and speed while being much easier to draw. They can achieve all this while reducing the size of the bow, which is crucial for hunters.

For normal bows, the choice between compound and recurve is usually an issue of personal preference. This indeed applies to crossbows too. Recurve crossbows are more traditional and are more difficult to master. If you’re looking for a classic then go with the Recurve.

In general, however, it is a matter of preference about having the best weapon, we suggest using a compound. The higher speed and power mean greater lethal shooting for hunters as well as better accuracy for recreational target shooters. In addition, the reduced axle-to-axle distance means better moving and quieter.

One of the biggest drawbacks of compound crossbows is maintenance. A greater number of parts means more upkeep and a greater chance of misfiring while hunting or in the distance. If you’re an experienced archer and are willing to spend the effort to maintain your equipment that’s not an issue. If you’d like to leave your crossbow at home for long periods and use it on a hunt it might be better to use a recurve. more suitable.

Speed and Power

Speed is excellent however it’s not the only thing. Humans killed giant mastodons using longbows that fired at less than 200 FPS, long before they invented crossbows that had up to 400+ FPS not forgetting guns that shoot bullets at speeds faster than sound.

When you look at crossbows, you’ll see their maximum speed in FPS, which is a reference to feet in a second. Crossbows can range from around 200 FPS when they are at their slowest speed to 470 FPS for the highest speed. The higher speed has two primary advantages.

It is the most important thing because it will improve precision. When they fly the bolts will naturally drop towards the earth. If they fly faster, they will have a shorter time before they reach their goal. This improves your accuracy for hunting, which is a huge benefit for shooters who target.

The second is that speed can be translated into power, which could translate to more lethality. However, power is dependent on many more elements like that the bolt’s weight, the weight of your broadhead, and so on. If you understand your physical physics, velocity is just one element of the equation for power. Crossbows are also equipped with power statistics based on standard bolts. It’s the crossbow’s FPKE. This refers to foot-pounds of kinetic energy. Although not a big thing for archers with a passion for the sport it is vital for hunters who hunt big game.

The sole reason to reduce your speed and power, aside from seeking a challenge is the fact that stronger, faster bows are more prone to mistakes in the shooting. When using a compound bow it could be due to incorrect maintenance or synchronization with the cameras. It could also be instability or jerks when you’re firing. For beginners, it’s best to start to something less than powerful, and then progress to more powerful.

Drawing Weight and Power Stroke

The power stroke is an obscure term for what’s the draw length of a crossbow. It’s the distance that extends from the string’s backmost drawn back and cocked to its at-rest, uncocked position. Modern adult crossbows do not have power strokes less than 11 inches. Certain states require a minimum draw length, as well as other requirements, make sure to check them out before purchasing.

Power stroke affects speed. The longer the power stroke indicates that the crossbow can be the more effective in accelerating the bolt. This is especially true of recurve crossbows for which increased power stroke is the most common way to boost FPS. This isn’t as important when it comes to compound crossbows they can make use of the latest cam systems to boost speed, with no increase in the power stroke.

Draw weight is a measure similar to a power stroke. It determines how much force you require to pull the bowstring inwards and to cock it. A majority of that force is transferred to the bolt. So larger draw weights will mean greater speed, more strength, and kinetic energy.

As opposed to bows that are regular draw weight does not have many drawbacks because the trigger mechanism keeps the string securely. But, heavier draw weights may be more difficult to cock for novice or younger archers, and thus less difficult to maneuver for shooters who enjoy recreational targets. If you’re hunting for sport, the bigger the more effective. In the first place, you’ll need enough weight to comply with the state’s regulations that typically range between 75 to 150 pounds. In addition, you must have enough weight to be able to defeat the sport you’re looking for. These are general rules:

Small game (rabbits, squirrels, etc. ): 125+ pounds

Medium game (whitetail deer, goats, etc. ): 150+ pounds

Large game (elk small bears etc. ): 175+ pounds

Extra-large game (moose, grizzly bears, etc. ): 200+ pounds

Size and weight

In the case of crossbows, the bigger isn’t always the best. Particularly for recurve crossbows, more length and limb width equals greater speed and power. But this also means less maneuverability. It’s difficult to maneuver through thick vegetation and could also create unwanted noise. Furthermore, heavy crossbows are difficult to control and aim whether hunting or at the range.

For compound crossbows, the dimensions aren’t so much a determinant of power and speed as it is a sign of power and speed, so strive to limit your weight, length, and limb width — also known as axle-to-axle width, or ATA for an oblique crossbow, as minimal as you can. For archers who are young or small, it is a great way to aid.

It’s essential to be aware of your state’s rules. In addition to mandatory draw weights, a lot of states also have minimum lengths as well as limb widths that you must follow. For instance, New York State requires a limb width of at minimum 17 inches. That’s enough to use any crossbow that is compound and has an overall length of 24 inches. Be sure to verify the requirements of your state.


Noise is a problem for bowhunters due to crossbows being known to be noisier than standard bows. The bows’ strings are very agitated when firing the bow, and you can hear a loud sound as the bolt is removed from the crossbow.

Even the slowest crossbow shoots so quickly that the bolt can’t reach the quarry longer than the sound. It’s not enough for an animal to flee however they could leap or shake, which could lead to an ineffective, non-lethal shot. If you’re going to go crossbow hunting, take note of how the maker has managed to reduce the noise. It could be as simple as adding dampeners for the string.


The aim of a crossbow or bow is much more complex than shooting at a gun. The bolts and the bows are prone to dropping fast and can lose significant altitude, even at distances of less than 100 yards. Therefore, the scopes themselves must be able to provide precision at different distances.

The latest optical sights are best for this. A lot of crossbows have wide “iron” sightings, however, they are less effective and thus less ethical for hunting. Of, of course, those who shoot for fun might still appreciate them for the added challenge and nuance they bring to the game.

Archers who shoot for fun usually shoot at the same distance. Therefore, the scope is only required to have one crosshair or dot. If you decide to change the distance, it is easy to focus on the scope. The hunter doesn’t know the distance or proximity to their target is likely to be. This is why hunters should opt for a multi-reticle scope that features multiple crosshairs or dots precise for various distances.

Different types of Triggers

Triggers vary greatly between crossbows of different models. Some are light and require only a little pressure to fire the bolt, whereas others feature a “creep.” This means that the further your trigger is pulled, the more difficult it will be to pull. It typically takes a substantial amount of pressure to trigger the bolt.

It’s difficult to evaluate the worth of various triggers. It’s usually an issue of personal preference. Some archers like the convenience and quickness of a silent trigger. They can fire instantly. Others, particularly those experienced with firearms, appreciate the feel of triggers that have greater creep. This lets you feel the bow more strongly and allows for greater control and precision.

Most of the time you’ll need to test and see the one you enjoy. For those who are unfamiliar with crossbows, we suggest a trigger that has at least some movement. A light trigger could fire too quickly in the case of someone who hasn’t mastered their precision.

Safety Features

Crossbows are extremely sophisticated technology-driven weapons. Security should be the foremost concern. In the event of a mishap, you risk hurting yourself, another person, or harming the crossbow you are using. Nowadays, crossbows have a variety of security features. It is essential to find an item that comes with the entire set, particularly for those who are just beginning to learn.

Trigger Safety

Similar to guns, many crossbows are equipped with safety mechanisms that stop their guns from firing if they are they are turned off. This is probably the most crucial safety feature your bow should be equipped with. If you don’t have a safety feature the possibility of shooting your archer or another archer while hunting or at the range of targets. Additionally, the majority of states require bowhunters to use safety equipment with their crossbows.

Basic crossbows have manual safety features that you must activate after you’ve cocked your bow. They continue to engage until you’re ready. These bows require the constant attention of safety. This is something you should be able to do, naturally. But all archers, even those with the highest level of discipline do make mistakes. Crossbows of today often have safety mechanisms that activate automatically when you draw the bow. They offer an extra layer of security, so you should seek out one if you can.

Finger Guards

Crossbow strings can push solid bolts that have metal broadheads up to a quarter of the speed of sound. Imagine the harm they could cause if they strike your fingers when firing. Amputation of the fingers is a real risk.

But, trying to keep in mind not to place fingers directly in the path of the bowstring won’t be enough. A lot of archers, particularly those who shoot firearms, feel it normal to raise one or two when aiming the bow. This is a pattern that can be difficult to overcome.

A truly secure crossbow won’t allow you to do this. It must come with an arm guard and two wings that flare and are that are attached to the front stock. They cover your fingers and stop your fingers from rising above the rail. Problem solved.

Anti-dry Fire Mechanisms

Dry firing occurs when you fire your crossbow, but without a bolt on it. It could happen when you are cocking the bow, then pulling the trigger accidentally before firing the weapon. Imagine the kinetic energy that the crossbow generates as well as the huge FPKE number that is in the specifications. The crossbow typically transmits all of this energy into the bolt, however, in the event of dry firing then what happens to it? In the bow itself. Dry firing, as well as damaging your bones, could severely damage the crossbow. It may even fracture limbs and make the weapon inoperable.

Nowadays, manufacturers typically incorporate anti-dry fire systems that stop that the bow from firing with the bolt being loaded. The only exceptions to this are bows with budgets, which are trying to reduce costs in every way they can. This is tempting however anti-dry fire mechanisms could save more than their nominal cost particularly if they prevent the bow from being destroyed and having to repair it or purchase a brand new one. Additionally, they will prevent the risk of bringing a splintered branch to your eye.

Assembly and Takedown

Unless you hire an expert bow maker to complete the job for you, the majority of contemporary crossbows have to be assembled before you purchase the bow. It’s usually not a huge thing and involves just some steps such as attaching the bow which includes rail and limbs to the stock you have and securing the accessories. It can sometimes be an uneasy choice as an increased amount of home assembly could lower costs, but it may also be difficult for those who are new and do not be aware of how to put it all together correctly. Make sure to limit how much assembly is needed within your budget.

Takedown is different. It’s more than just taking down the crossbow, but making it easy in a simple method. It could be done by locking parts and folding mechanisms. Takedown crossbows are generally more costly and are generally only suitable for bowhunters who have very specific requirements. For instance, they’re great to carry during camping trips with survivalists. For the average bowhunter or shooter on target, it makes bows easier to store in the off-season. The question of whether it’s worth it is dependent on your personal preference.


We’ve talked before about scopes and safety options, that are among the most essential crossbow accessories. There are other accessories, however, which are vital.

Cocking Device

A cocking device makes life much easier for the biggest bow hunter. Constantly cocking a bow that has more than a hundred kilograms of draw force will cause fatigue. A cocking device is an automatic winch that utilizes simple devices to drastically reduce drawing weight.


It is essential to have something to hold your bolts. Quivers can be connected to the crossbow’s body or be standalone accessories that you can wear on your belt or your shoulder.


Slings allow you to put your crossbow on your shoulders and back. Hunters will require one so that they don’t need to hold their bow in their hands as they walk through the woods, or climb into the tree stand.

Noise Dampeners

It’s not so important for shooters who target, but hunters need to be as quiet as they can. Noise dampeners can be found for the limbs, strings, and cams of your crossbow.

What to look for in the Hunting Crossbow

A crossbow for hunting must include a few features that you do not normally need. For instance, noise-reducing devices and silencers are not necessary for shooters with a target shooting hobby, however, they are essential for hunters. The size is also a big matter because you’ll have to carry the bow for a longer period and get it through smaller spaces. Similar to hunting crossbows, they often feature camo-colored finishes that can aid in hiding from wildlife.

The most important aspects to keep in mind when hunting crossbows are the draw stroke and power stroke weight. They decide what species you can hunt. It is essential to have an effective weapon.

In addition, numerous laws govern bowhunting. The majority of states have the minimum requirements for power strokes draw weight, safety features. There’s no need to be concerned about these rules when you’re shooting for fun but you need to purchase a legally-licensed weapon to hunt.

What to look for when buying purchase of a Recreational Crossbow

For the average shooter who is not a target shooter, a lot of hunting crossbows perform just as well. There’s no need to have all of the equipment. But, shooters who compete might need more advanced models for competition. They typically come with lower draw weights and weight overall than hunting ones. They also have higher-end scopes and require exact tuning to achieve the best accuracy from the crossbow.

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