Choosing A Crossbow – A Buyers Guide
Dating back to the 5th century, crossbows have been around for a while and they’re definitely here to stay. They open up a whole world of opportunities, making it easy to practise target shooting and go hunting. Plus, they work flawlessly with telescopic sights.
That said, choosing the best crossbow can be a tough decision. This is particularly because they come in so many different shapes, sizes and pulling mechanisms. But, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of top-rated crossbows to help you find one that meets your lifestyle and budgetary needs.
Reviews of the Best Crossbows
Excalibur Matrix 355 Crossbow– Best Recurve Crossbow
If you’re hell-bent on investing in a recurve crossbow, the Excalibur Matrix 355 is perfect for you. Equipped with compact recurve technology (CRT), this model is a little pricier than other crossbows. However, it has enough features to justify the hefty price tag.
For instance, it has a sleek design and is well-built to provide years of service. It sports exceptional PowerLoad limbs, which the manufacturer claims are 60% stronger than regular limbs found in competitor models.
What’s more, the crossbow is fitted with Ergo-grip stock. This is a feature unique to crossbows made by Excalibur and it comes in handy. You will see a hole -where you’ll place your thumb, finger guards and rubber-grip design to prevent your hands from slipping.
Another feature worth pointing out is the ease of assembling the Matrix 355. Sure, recurve crossbows are generally easy to piece together but Excalibur takes things a notch higher.
For starters, they’ve provided a manual that provides detailed instructions of how to assemble. We like that the manual also outlines maintenance and safety procedures. The assembly is fairly simple and it entails attaching the prod to the stock, connecting the scope, the quiver mount and you’re good to go.
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Has an ergonomic design
- Suitable for hunting and target practice
BARNETT TS390 Crossbow– Best Compound Crossbow
If you prefer a compound crossbow, Barnett TS390 is your best bet. It offers two main qualities that are essential for bow hunters: quality craftsmanship and incredible performance.
In terms of build, this crossbow is well-crafted. It comes with a ventilated stock, which is also adjustable. There’s also a flight track, which is constructed using CNC-machined aluminum to enhance durability.
At 7.6 pounds, the TS390 is one of the heavier crossbows, which can be an advantage depending on what you’re looking for. It makes the crossbow more capable of withstanding external elements.
Besides, the manufacturer has incorporated a fiberglass-composite step-through riser. This blend of materials ensures that the crossbow is still comfortable and easy enough to manipulate.
The crossbow also features a reasonable draw weight of 187 pounds. This makes the bow manageable and user-friendly for any user with average skills.
Furthermore, the TS390 enables you to shoot arrows at an impeccable speed of up to 390 feet per second. To add to this, the crossbow generates 128 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy and its power stroke reaches 14.25 inches.
- Superb speed of 390 FPS
- Includes a rope cocking device
- The CNC technology helps to dampen noise
- Arrives mostly assembled to save you time and energy
A little heavy, especially if you add all the accessories
Barnett Jackal Crossbow– Best Crossbow for Hunting
It can be hard to find a high-performance crossbow that’s great for hunting and also affordable. But Barnett Jackal defies the odds by providing the best of both worlds. True to the manufacturer’s claims, this crossbow will definitely be a fantastic addition to your arsenal of hunting tools.
The first thing you’ll notice about this crossbow is its elegant design. It has a unique stock with a military-inspired theme. In addition to making the crossbow look sleek, this stock provides a comfortable and solid grip. This crossbow also sports quad-style limbs that provide ample stability and support. This way, you can make the most accurate shots.
And while the Barnett Jackal is not the lightest in our review, it’s light enough that you can carry for long distances. Its lightweight profile also helps to prevent arm fatigue, which can impede your accuracy in the field.
Barnett Jackal also offers top notch performance. Its draw weight is rated at 150 pounds with 95 FP of kinetic energy behind every shot. Factor in the arrow speed of 315 feet per second, and you have a weapon you can use to take down a variety of wild game.
- Sleek and sturdy build
- Quad-style limbs for maximum stability
- It’s backed by a 5-year warranty
Does not include any rope cocking mechanism
TenPoint Turbo GT Crossbow– Best Portable Crossbow
An advantage of investing in a lightweight crossbow is that it’s easily portable. This is an important feature if you carry your bow on long hunting trips.
That said, the TenPoint Turbo GT is one of the lightest crossbows on the market. Tipping the scales at 6.5 lbs., this compound crossbow is also highly durable. The safety wings are constructed using reinforced nylon, a factor that not only enhances its durability but also its safety.
Apart from its weight, the GT’s compact design is another feature that makes this crossbow travel-friendly. When fully assembled, the bow measures a measly 35 inches long, making it incredibly easy to handle.
Another thing you’ll love about this crossbow is that it gives you two options of cocking mechanisms: AcuDraw or AcuDraw 50.
In case you’re not familiar with these terms, the AcuDraw 50 entails a self-retracting rope cocking gadget that’s permanently attached to the crossbow’s stock. AcuDraw, on the other hand, is a cranking system which is also built into the crossbow’s stock, but without any loose parts.
- Has a lightweight and compact design
- Excellent safety features
- Impressive 360 FPS speed
- May come with integrated cocking mechanisms
Does not come with noise dampeners or string suppressors
KingsArchery Crossbow– Best Value Crossbow
Have you been looking for a crossbow that offers maximum value for your money? If so, the KingsArchery Self Cocking Crossbow is a really good option. It’s one of the most affordable models,and yet it doesn’t skimp on essential features.
Right off the bat, one of things you’ll realize is that the manufacturer offers a variety of packages to suit different archery needs. You can decide to purchase the crossbow-only package that comes with 27 arrow bolts. But if you need a more comprehensive package, you can opt for those that come with a number of arrows. Some have up to 120 arrows.
One feature that makes this crossbow stand out is the material used in its construction. While most manufacturers prefer to use wood, KingsArchery has used fiberglass for this bow’s construction offering several benefits – it’s springy, light and still durable.
Another thing that really impresses us entails the crossbow’s self cocking mechanism. Not only does this make the bow easy to handle but it also guarantees maximum safety. Moreover, the crossbow has adjustable sights, an aspect that helps to improve your aim.
- It’s equipped with a revolutionary self-cocking mechanism
- Package includes 27 aluminum and PVC arrow bolts
- Comes with adjustable sights
You may find it difficult to use the self-cocking technology
PSE ARCHERY Fang HD Crossbow Package– Best Crossbow for Accuracy
There’s nothing as disappointing as missing your target when you’re bowhunting. But at times, it’s not your fault that the white-tailed deer got away. It could be that your crossbow is poorly-designed. If you’re looking for a crossbow that’s made with precision in mind, the PSE Fang HD is just what you need.
As its name suggests, this is a comprehensive package containing everything you need for your archery and hunting expeditions. Included in the package is a 35.5-inch crossbow, limb dampers, string silencers, dual string stops, a cocking rope and more.
However, the true star of this kit is the crossbow that offers unparalleled precision. The manufacturer has equipped this bow with reverse cam technology. This feature facilitates more power and speed without adding unnecessary bulk to the crossbow. Thus, you’ll be able to shoot and aim with ease and speed reaching up to 405 FPS.
The anti-dry fire protection is another element that sets this crossbow from the crowd. This is a feature incorporated in the trigger system to prevent dry firing- the action of shooting the crossbow without any arrows in place.
Also, this crossbow is designed to generate as little noise as possible. This is enabled by the limb dampeners and string silencers that work well together to reduce string vibration and noise. So if you’re hunting, you can rest easy knowing that your prey won’t get spooked in case you misfire the first time.
- Offers superb precision and speed
- Comes with an array of accessories including cocking winch and cocking rope
- Equipped with technology to prevent dry-firing
- Generates minimal noise thanks to the string silencers and limb dampers
Quality of the scope and bolts can be improved
Guide for Buying a Crossbow
It’s no secret that the crossbow has advanced significantly in the past few years more than in the past. This piece of equipment now features new materials that are used to construct its strings, sights and cocking mechanisms. So here are some of the things you should take into account when purchasing a crossbow:
Type of Crossbow
In the same way that traditional bows are categorized as recurve or compound, we also have recurve and compound crossbows. The recurve crossbow is the most preferred thanks to its minimalist design.
It doesn’t have any sophisticated moving cams or cables- an aspect that helps to reduce the bow’s overall weight. It also doesn’t have the stringing that’s usually needed for asymmetric wheel compound crossbows.
A compound crossbow also has certain features that distinguish it. For one, its limbs are shorter and this makes for easier handling when you’re in tight spaces.
Another perk of compound crossbows is that they allow you to shoot arrows at faster speeds. This is made possible by the advanced lever-and-pulley system incorporated in the bow. This feature allows for greater potential energy.
With crossbows, there are two types of weight you should consider namely: the total weight of the crossbow and the draw weight.
Draw weight is the amount of force you need to draw or pull the string back into the cocked position. Depending on where you live, the state may have regulations on the draw weight. If you intend to use the crossbow for hunting, the ideal draw weight ranges from 75 to 125 pounds.
You also need to account for the overall weight of the crossbow. The rule of thumb here is to opt for heavier crossbows if you want greater speed and stability.
Still, don’t forget to take your physique into consideration. If you choose a crossbow that is too heavy for you, you’ll have a difficult time aiming. This means you’ll have to find a bow that strikes that perfect balance.
Just as important as your physique is your height. Ideally, most crossbow manufacturers design their equipment for an individual of average height, which is about 5.6 feet.
In case you’re wondering, the reason why your height matters is because it determines your capability to put the string into the cocked position. If you’re shorter, there’s a possibility that you won’t be able to put the string correctly and this will affect the accuracy of your shots.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot with a crossbow if you have a short stature. Manufacturers have found a way around this and they now equip their inventions with a variety of cocking aids- these could be integrated into the bow itself or detached.
If you’re trying to keep the weight to a minimum, you’re better off with the external cocking device. Just be sure to store them safely to avoid misplacing. Also, attach them to your crossbow properly to avoid a tangled mess.
Best Crossbow Brands
Since the company’s foundation over half a century ago, Bernett has been revered for providing high quality crossbows. The company, which started with one individual’s dream, has so far sold more than a million of its crossbows.
Every year, the company looks for ways to improve on their current products while also inventing advanced equipment. This helps them address the needs of their customers adequately. Some of the features you can expect from a Barnett crossbow entails strength, speed, power, efficiency and accuracy.
Another company you can rely on for premium crossbows is TenPoint. Even though the brand is not as popular as Barnett, they’ve actually been in the industry for a while. 2020 marks the 27th year that TenPoint has been in the archery business.
Given their extensive experience, it is no wonder that they’re able to produce high-performance bows. In fact, their machinery and equipment are quickly becoming a favorite of many hunters and target shooters.
Like Barnett, TenPoint has been releasing new features to improve the performance of their bows. In the course of this year, this firm intends to launch their revolutionary ACUslid cocking/decocking system. Put simply, this feature is meant to help you cock and decock your crossbow without generating any noise.
If you’re looking for a company that offers a variety of archery equipment, KingsArchery is your best option. This brand prides itself on versatility, providing everything you need for your hunting and target shooting activities.
Whether you’re looking for crossbow strings, sights, scopes or arrow points, KingsArchery has got you covered. Another thing you’ll love about KingArchery products is that they’re affordable. Important to note though is that the brand has just recently ventured into crossbow manufacturing. For this reason, they don’t offer an array of products in this segment.
Some archers swear by compound crossbows while others prefer recurve models. If you belong to the latter camp, Excalibur is the brand to choose.
They make leading recurve crossbows, which are not only loved for their ergonomic designs but also speed and overall performance. If you’ve used an Excalibur crossbow before, then you’re probably familiar with how fast these bows shoot arrows.
This company also prides itself in making durable products. The Matrix 355, which features Realtree Xtra Finish and PowerLoad limbs is the perfect example of a durable crossbow.
PSE is short form for Precision Shooting Equipment, which is an Arizona-based company boasting an experience in the archery industry for over 50 years.
One aspect that stands out about this firm is that they tailor their bows for different types of customers. They make Olympic recurve, conventional recurve, youth bows and more recently, crossbows.
PSE has also diversified into other archery products such as arrows, quivers, armguards, arrow rests among others. However, their main specialization is bows, which is why they’re able to make quality models like the Fang HD crossbow package.
Choosing the best crossbow shouldn’t be difficult. The best way to go about this is to narrow down on the most important features. These include the type, draw weight and total weight of the crossbow. You should also consider your height. If you’re a bit short, it’s a good idea to look for crossbows with cocking aids.
Lastly, focus on what you hope to achieve with your new crossbow. Do you want a crossbow that offers utmost precision? Do you prefer one that provides value for money? Or perhaps you want one with travel-friendly features so it’s easy to carry to your hunting trips. Based on your individual needs, you’re likely to find a crossbow from our detailed reviews.