Shopping for the best crossbow for the money can be difficult because there are so many options from online and local retailers. Whether you are shopping for a bow for turkey hunting, for target shooting, or for big game, the crossbow options do not change much. Of course it is wise to choose a crossbow that fits the body shape of the full size adult or a bow for a 12 year old.
The newest crossbow packages includes plenty of package options. Most retailers will have packages for sale at different price points. You will need to decide whether you want to add bolts, scopes, or other accessories. Doing the right research will help you determine the best affordable crossbow for your hunting and shooting needs. The article will help you with choosing the right crossbow.
- 1 I- What to look for when buying a crossbow ?
- 2 II- Top 10 rated crossbows on the market
- 2.1 1. Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)
- 2.2 2. Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Package with ACU-52
- 2.3 3. Barnett Ghost 350 CRT Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Illuminated 3x32mm Scope) by Barnett Crossbows
- 2.4 4. Excalibur Matrix 330 Mobu Vari Zone Crossbow, Camo, Large
- 2.5 5. Carbon Express Intercept Axon Crossbow Kit (Rope Cocker, 3 Arrow Quiver, 3 Crossbolts, Rail Lubricant, 3 Practice Points, 4×32 Glass-Etched Reticle Lighted Scope)
- 2.6 6. SA Sports Fever Crossbow Package
- 2.7 7. Fastest crossbow: Barnett Ghost 410 CRT Crossbow Package
- 2.8 8. Most powerful crossbow: Excalibur Matrix 380 Crossbow Package, Realtree Xtra, 260-Pound
- 2.9 9. Automatic crossbow: Parker X110-PS Concorde Crossbow, Camo Soft Touch Finish
- 2.10 10. Womens crossbows: Parker Bows Challenger Ladies Crossbow Package with 4X Multi-reticle Scope
- 3 III- Help selection the right crossbow
- 4 IV- Tips review
- 5 V- Which Leading crossbow brand
- 6 VI- Choose Crossbow or Compound bow
- 7 VII- Summary
I- What to look for when buying a crossbow ?
Before you spend hundreds of your hard-earned dollars on an expensive crossbow, it is a good idea to investigate your options. They will be different if you prefer to hunt for large game, medium game, or small game. A professional outfitter will be able to help you determine exactly what you will need to find a modern bow at price that meets your value budget. These are some of the most important factors to consider before making a purchase:
- Purpose: What is the purpose for your crossbow purchase? Are you planning on hunting for game or are you planning on entering in archery competitions? The amount of hunting you do and where you hunt will be a factor in the type of crossbow and the price point you choose.
- Weight: The weight of the crossbow will be important, too. No one wants to carry around a bow that is too heavy and if it is too light, it might not shoot exactly the way you want it to shoot. The ideal weight of draw is usually around 150, but it can also be anywhere between 75 and 200 pounds. The higher the draw weight, the power of the release will be offer more force for the animal you plan to kill. If the draw is too weak, you will have to be very close to get the kill you want and you do not want to overload your prey with a draw weight that is too high.
- Noise: Another consideration is the noise that the weapon makes. If your goal with the crossbow is target practice and archery competitions, then the noise the crossbow makes is not a factor. However, if you pick a noise crossbow to use in the woods, all of your potential prey will know you are in the woods and will stay away from you. There are accessories you can add to dampen the noise and there are several factors that will increase the noise your crossbow makes.
- Speed: The speed of the crossbow is also important. Most of them have a designated FPS. Bows with a 250 fps will be sufficient for most targets. But, some come with a fast fps, around 350, which is more than enough for deer hunting and for other game. It is important to keep in mind that the fps is labeled while firing the crossbow under perfect conditions. You will most likely not get 250 or 350 fps in real-life situations with weather, nervous heartbeats, and other issues that can affect the outcome of the shot.
- Manufacturer: The manufacture of the model does matter because of warranties and guarantees. Some models are designed to be used for a year or two until hunters move up into better models. Some outfitters have favorite manufacturers, so before you visit a store, check out what models and manufacturers would be the best fit for your experience and needs.
- Accessories: Since crossbows do not always come complete with all of the necessary accessories, you should look into what the cost is to completely outfit the crossbow to meet your needs. There are scopes, noise-dampening accessories, cocking aids, and more. These accessories could break your budget, especially if you are looking for an inexpensive or mid-priced model. You might even be able to use homemade items as accessories to help your shooting improve. And, of course, you will need a good quality case to protect your investment.
- Budget: This is always a concern. No one wants to go into debt for a crossbow. They are available at price points under $100 and many are priced well over $1000. They come with a variety of features and accessories at all price points.
II- Top 10 rated crossbows on the market
These crossbows are designed especially for young & adult hunters. They are lightweight, durable, and easy to use. They also tend to come with safety features that crossbows designed for adults do not include. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)
The Barnett Jackal is military-grade, but still very affordably priced. The grip and hand placement features are comfortable, so hunters can use the crossbow all day without suffering from gripping fatigue. It comes with several accessories like a foot stirrup, bolt retainer, trigger mechanism, and high-energy wheels. It has a 315 fps paired with a 150-pound draw weight. The crossbow weighs 7.7 pounds, so it is not ideal for a young hunter who is just learning the ins and outs of crossbow shooting because they can get fatigued holding onto a tool that weighs that much. This crossbow is best used with medium to large game, like deer. It is an accurate bow that many buy as a starter weapon, but end up using much longer than they anticipated.
It may not look like a crossbow for children to use, but teens have had success with it. Like any weapon, young users need to be fully trained. The strings do need to be waxed on a regular basis, usually after 5 to 10 shots, depending on the weather. Users who pair it with a shoulder strap do not complain about the weight of the item, since the shoulder strap helps take pressure off of the arms and upper back.
2. Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Package with ACU-52
The Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader is a best selling crossbow. The lightweight bow weighs only 6.6 pounds and shoots up to 330 fps. The riser is made of machined aluminum. It also comes with an energy wheel loaded with DynaFlight 97 string and cables. The configuration on the Wicked Ridge is customizable. The draw weight is 165 and has a 19-inch axle-to-axle cocking. This smaller hunting crossbow has safety wings above the grip. It also has other safety features that users appreciate.
Users have complemented several features of the Wicked Ridge Invader G3. They appreciate the simple instructions that made it easy to assemble the crossbow. Most users only needed a handful of shots before they tuned the scope. Shooting from 30 yards is accurate and deadly for small, medium, and large game. The bow does have noise, so some hunters have added dampening accessories to quiet it down. The price is right and the product is high quality, so users definitely have recommended this crossbow over and over again. Many hunters have used this bow for over four years without any problems. The name is appropriate for the damage the bow does when the bolts leave it to strike the target.
3. Barnett Ghost 350 CRT Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Illuminated 3x32mm Scope)
by Barnett Crossbows
This is one nice bow. The Barnett Ghost 350 CRT is loaded with useful features and it is manufactured with precision. It weighs 7.5 pounds and has what Barnett calls the Carbon Riser Technology that helps keep the weight low. It includes Whiplash cams for comfortable shooting, Anti-Dry Fire metal injection molding trigger and crosswire strings to powerful release and force. It is made in the USA and comes with a five-year warranty. To stay safe, hunters should wax the string after every ten shots. The 175-pound draw weight has 350 fps velocity. The bolt length is 20 inches. It has a 12-inch power stroke and draws 116-foot-pounds of energy.
This is a powerful crossbow from the industry leader. Seasoned bowhunters have fallen in love with this bow because it is lightweight and easy to shoot. The comfort of the bow makes a big difference with veterans and rookies, alike. The crossbow takes less than 30 minutes to assemble, which is practically unheard of in this price range of crossbows. Most users only need a handful of shots to zero in the scope and get the shots on target. Its rope cocking device is easy to use and protects the hands for a long day of successful hunting.
Read more : Barnett Ghost 350 CRT Crossbow Package Review
4. Excalibur Matrix 330 Mobu Vari Zone Crossbow, Camo, Large
When a hunting crossbow is named after the most famous sword in history, you know you are in for a high quality product. The Excalibur Matrix 330 is a quality product that gets the job done. At 350 grain, it offers 330 fps. The draw weight is an impressive 220 pounds, making it one powerful shooter. The power stroke measures in at 11.37 inches, with an overall length of 33.87 inches. Eighteen inch arrows work best on this bow.
It is a lightning fast bow that tops any starter bows on the market. Bowtech recently purchased the Excalibur brand, so the brand will continue to produce quality products and an appropriate price. The rope cocker does make the draw extremely easy, even when shooting at targets over 50 yards away. The serving and string do perform better with a little wax. This brand and model is certainly a favorite with veteran hunters and target shooters alike. You will not be disappointed with the Excalibur Matrix 330.
5. Carbon Express Intercept Axon Crossbow Kit (Rope Cocker, 3 Arrow Quiver, 3 Crossbolts, Rail Lubricant, 3 Practice Points, 4×32 Glass-Etched Reticle Lighted Scope)
One of the best high priced bows is the Carbon Express Intercept Axon Crossbow. This bow is military grade spec and commercial specs. The 29” rail allows for complete customization. The design platform is Picatinny. Even though this is the most expensive crossbow on this list, it is a repeating crossbow that makes hunting incredibly easy. It is an accurate shot with compact designs for tight spaces, like blinds. When cocked, it measured 13.5 inches from axle to axle. It is designed to be used by hunters who are left or right handed. The trigger is made entirely of metal so it is one of the safest on the market. It comes fully loaded with a dampening device so your target will not hear you cocking and firing.
The Carbon Express bow comes with a five-year limited warranty. It is a product that is assembled in the USA. The bow has plenty of power to take down small, medium, and large game. The sight is dead-on accurate and most hunters do not need to set it with a few practice shots. Not only is it designed to hit a target with accuracy and efficiency, but it is also fun to use, because it is so well-made that users do not have to worry about it at all.
6. SA Sports Fever Crossbow Package
The SA Sports Fever Crossbow is affordable and comes loaded with all of the necessities for kids and beginning tactical shooters. The string measures 26.5 inches and the crossbow, fully loaded, weighs in at 4.85 pounds. Without the stirrup foot added, the crossbow is 31 inches in length and 27 inches from the limb tips. The limb itself is made of compressed fiberglass, so it is durable and lightweight for small hunters. It comes with a variety of accessories that would cost more than the crossbow if purchased individually.
Users love the affordability of this product and they also appreciate the added value of the accessories. The crossbow has a flawless finish, making it an attractive option for beginners who want to shoot well and look cool at the same time. Women also like this crossbow because it is easy to handle, accurate, and good looking. There is a safety catch that needs to be detached before the hunter gets too close to the prey; otherwise, it takes too long to detach and get the arrow out before the prey gets away. The cocking rope that comes with the bow works well, so a replacement or upgrade is not necessary.
Read more: SA Sports Fever Crossbow Package Review
7. Fastest crossbow: Barnett Ghost 410 CRT Crossbow Package
Not many crossbows can claim to the be the fastest, but the Barnett Ghost 410 CRT will sneak up on you and surprise you with its speed and power. This powerful weapon has a 185 pound draw weight that helps it reach an fps of 410. When cocked, it measures 20 inches from axle to axle. The strings do need to be waxed after every ten shots and because this is such a powerful tool, Barnett highly recommends reading the owner’s manual to fully learn about the crossbow and all of its features.
The bow is a serious tool. It is lightweight, weighing 7.3 pounds. It includes the Carbonlite Riser Technology that makes it a lightweight crossbow that can be used for a full day of hunting without any fatigue. The CRT puts the balance point of the bow on the strong shoulder of the shooter. It is loaded with safety features so despite its power and speed, it is a tool that is safe to use as long as the user treats the crossbow with respect. It is an ambidextrous crossbow, which is should be at this price point. It is a popular option for veteran shooters as well as shooters who have some physical limitations.
8. Most powerful crossbow: Excalibur Matrix 380 Crossbow Package, Realtree Xtra, 260-Pound
Along with the fastest crossbow, there has to be a most powerful crossbow. Excalibur created the Matrix 380 Crossbow and it quickly snapped up the superlative. The power comes from the 260 pound draw weight that delivers 380 FPS velocity. This crossbow is covered in the RealtreeXtra Finish camo pattern, so it is powerful and attractive. It has a 13.1 inch power stroke and the ergonomic grip is popular with hunters. Excalibur consistently delivers one of the best crossbows in the industry and this one is no different – other than its outstanding power.
With the Matrix lineup, hunters get reliability, durability, and functionality in a compact and impressive product. This machine is not only powerful, but it does all of its work quietly. The scope is dead on, so it is easy to strike the target with full-on accuracy. Hunters and shooters have been able to accurately hit targets more than 50 yards away. It may not be the fast of all crossbows, but is certainly not the slowest. This is a recurve crossbow, so it has a slightly different shape than most other bows. It does require maintenance, but the jobs are easy enough for the owner to do.
9. Automatic crossbow: Parker X110-PS Concorde Crossbow, Camo Soft Touch Finish
The Parker X110-PS Concorde Crossbow is an automatic weapon that keeps hunters shooting. It does require the use of a 9 ounce refillable CO2 bottle to keep the automatic power going. It offers a 300 FPS performance speed with its quick-draw system that cocks in about two seconds. The same button releases the bolt, too. In order to keep the noise of the crossbow at a minimum, it comes with an anti-vibration system that calms the shock of the shot. It is a heavy crossbow, simply because it has a self-contained shooting mechanism and a connected CO2 canister. But, the crossbow is easy to carry and set down inside of a blind. It is accurate at distances over 50 yards.
Hunters love this bow because it is easy to use and makes hunting fun again. The crossbow will shoot about 50 shots before the tank needs to be refilled. CO2 is cheap to refill, so many hunters will bring a few canisters with them on their hunting trips. Some users do not want to wait the two seconds to reload and cock the crossbow, but for those who love this bow – they truly love it. The Parker Concorde is not an inexpensive model, so it is a good choice for veteran hunters who know they like the automatic design.
10. Womens crossbows: Parker Bows Challenger Ladies Crossbow Package with 4X Multi-reticle Scope
Now that women are enjoying the excitement of hunting, it was only time before a manufacturer developed a crossbow just for women. The Parker Bows Challenger Ladies Crossbow is a favorite for its design and list of features. It offers and FPS of 300 with an adjustable draw weight that varies from 125 to 150 pounds. The power stroke is 10.625 inches and the crossbow only weighs 5.5 pounds. It has a larger axle-to-axle measurement than other crossbows with its 21.875 inch length. It comes in the popular Muddy Girl pink camo pattern, making it a fancy choice for women who enjoy hunting and want to look good at the same time.
This American made product is compact, lightweight, and safe to use with a left or right handed shooter. It comes with a vented forearm and an anti-dry fire mechanism. It has a natural point of balance and an aluminum riser. The barrel is made of a ballistic polymer. The trigger is a G2 bullpup. Women find this crossbow to be manageable, especially after using a full size men’s crossbow. It is powerful and can be used on small, medium, and large game – even deer. This is a great product for an affordable price.
III- Help selection the right crossbow
Selecting the perfect crossbow is a relatively easy task. Most crossbows are about the same size with the biggest differences coming in subtle total weight, the pounds used for draw, and the feet per second (FPS) that the arrow travels upon release. Of course there are small crossbows, but the adult sized ones are close in size.
When it comes to making the decision, most hunters prefer a faster FPS. This means the arrow will travel quickly, giving it more force to strike the target. The majority of adult-sized crossbows will take out any animals from small birds to large elk or bears. But, with more FPS, you can usually shoot from farther away, which is safer to do when hunting the larger game. A common white-tail deer can usually be shot with 30 pounds of draw and 240 fps. Most crossbows come with much more draw, some have over 200 pounds.
It is invaluable to try out the crossbow you are considering. You will need to cock it and then hold it in a ready position to see if the bow is right for your body type. A bow that is too heavy or has too much draw weight will cause fatigue and it could cause uncomfortable compression in the back. Anyone with physical limitations might want to avoid a crossbow with too much weight in the front end.
It is also important to consider what you are going to use your crossbow for before you make your purpose. If you are simply going to shoot targets with it, then smaller crossbows with 250 fps should be acceptable. However, if you are planning on shooting big game, you will want to have serious fps, like 300 or more because that speed will have enough kinetic energy to take down an elk at 50 yards. A good outfitter will be able to help you with the ideal fps for your desired use.
IV- Tips review
Hunting with a crossbow is not something that people do on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important that hunters and shooters pay close attention to the crossbow they buy. It needs to be safe and reliable so it will work in situations like hunting for wild boar. It is important to have the right broadhead for the goal of your shooting.
Some people will choose a broadhead for moose because it will take out any large game. There are others who look for broadhead for hogs or smaller animals. It is vital to make a tactical decision about the crossbow before you buy it, so you can decide what model will work for you budget, hunting frequency, and ability.
The speed of the crossbow will make a difference in the type of game you are allowed to shoot. In some states, there are laws that regulate the size of the crossbow and the game hunters can use one on. The weight of the crossbow and the draw weight also factor into those regulations. The faster the FPS, the heavier the draw weight tends to be. Small game do not need large numbers and fast FPS.
Some crossbows are extremely noisy, while others are absolutely silent. It is important to remember that woodland creatures have outstanding hearing, so any little noise that the cocking and release mechanism makes will startle animals that are farther away than you think. Fortunately, most crossbows come with dampening tools and if they do not, there are plenty of accessories that can be purchased for a low price. It is extremely important to be invisible and silent when out in the wilderness hunting for game.
The track of the arrow should also be a significant factor in your purchase. Some crossbows come with sights that take several shots to be set. The best options come with sights that are dead on and arrow tracks that maintain that accuracy. If you have to use half of your arrows to set the sight and the arrow track, you have overpaid for the product.
The manufacturer is another important consideration. There are plenty of manufacturers who make their crossbows in the USA, others simply assemble them in the US. Some come with limited warranties that last for a few years, other some with lifetime warranties. If this is an important factor to you, check out what is offered before committing to a purchase. There are also plenty of manufacturers that are well known for their top quality products – even at the lower price points.
V- Which Leading crossbow brand
There are several crossbow brands that consistently deliver a high end product, even at low-end prices. After looking at reviews, it becomes easy to see what manufacturers and brands are the favorites with hunters of all levels.
The Excalibur frequently tops best brand lists. This brand is known for its dead on accuracy at all levels. This comes from the fact that the brand is small and managed by bow hunters who love what they do. They test their own products and make it to their dreams and specifications. When a hunter designs and manufactures a product for hunters, you can see why it is a favorite.
Parker Bows is a company that prides itself on innovation. They were one of the first companies to recognize the unique needs of the female hunter. They have the best warranty in the business and their quickly growing company is located in the US. They are one of the fastest growing companies in Virginia and proud to be a manufacture of a product that hunters take great pride in using.
Barnett Crossbows has been manufacturing the popular weapon since the 1962. They continue to have patents awarded to them for their ideas and innovation. The full-service archery company produces everything from powerful crossbows to slingshots and accessories. The company is all about hitting a target, whether it be with their products or on the range.
The crossbow company with the best name is Wicked Ridge. The company leads the industry in affordable products designed for the outdoorsman. The company prides itself on making accurate, reliable, and durable products that last. Their customer service is one of the best in the industry.
Carbon Express is the last of the top brands in crossbow manufacturing. They offer a full selection of crossbows at several price points so every hunter can afford a quality bow. The company is located in Flint, Michigan and has won several awards for their archery products. They are accurate and reliable, which is what every hunter and shooter wants.
VI- Choose Crossbow or Compound bow
Shooting with a crossbow or a compound bow is an exciting way to hunt or enjoy target practice. Hunters and competitive shooters are fortunate that they have so many options in the types of bows they want to use. There are several pros and cons to both the crossbow and the compound bow.
When it comes to the pros of the crossbow, there are many. First, the crossbow bolt can be locked into place and held there until the target comes into view. This is convenient for hunters who do not have body strength to hold onto a cocked bow for an extended amount of time. Many crossbows are easy to cock because they come with a rope and mechanism that reduces the amount of draw the hunter needs to use. Because the hunter does not have to hold the bolt back, the crossbow is relatively easy to aim and then fire. Today’s crossbows come with plenty of safety features, too.
The cons to using a crossbow are few. Most hunters complain that crossbows are not exciting to use. Since they can be cocked for a long time, there is not much excitement factor in getting ready for the shot. If a hunter wants to enjoy the experiences of aiming and firing under pressure, then a crossbow is not a good choice. However, if the hunter wants an easy shot to take out as many targets as possible, the crossbow will do the trick. One other con is that crossbows can be rather loud and need to have dampeners added to them.
On the opposite end, the compound bow has several pros. The first is the enjoyment of using the product. It does offer the excitement of drawing and shooting in real time. The draw is easy because the compound bow uses a pulley mechanism to make it easier for the user. They usually come with accurate sights, but since most users experience the joy of the hunt, they are experiencing a thumping heart and nervous hands. These, too, have many safety features added to them. They are quiet weapons because the pulley system does not make noise upon release.
The cons of the compound bow are the opposite of the crossbow. The compound bow can create fatigue quickly due to the fact that the hunter need to hold the arrow back before the shot. This can be exhausting for hunters with physical limitations. Since the bow needs to held by the hunter, the adrenaline rush of making the shot can fool with the accuracy of the shot. This is a common problem for hunters, even though they love the moment they aim and shoot.
Shooting a crossbow is one of the most exciting weapons to fire. Shopping for them is equally exciting…and a bit more challenging than firing one. When you begin your quest to add the perfect crossbow to your collection, you will have many options to keep you on the hunt. Some of the options are best for competitive shooting and some are designed for hunting. Whether you buy one for $100 or $1000, there are several features, brands, and sizes to explore. It is in your best interest to give several crossbows a test drive, because a bow priced under $200 will feel differently than one that is priced under $700.
It is also a good idea to check into the features that come with the bow. Some will have dead-on accurate sights, comfortable shoulder straps, and a quality quiver. These features can also impact the price. There are beginner crossbows that are priced under $300 that come with all of the necessary features and there are bows that are priced over $900 that do not come with any extras.
Despite any negative comments you may have heard, today’s crossbows are safe hunting tools for beginners and veterans. It is always important to read the safety manuals and abide by the standards that the manufacturers set. Bows at all price ranges will include safety manuals and most have video tutorials available online. It should not matter if the bow is priced under $400 or above $600, they should all come with similar standard safety features. Most come with manufacturer’s warranties on the safety features, too.
Since crossbows can cost upwards of $800, it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the features and models. A $400 model might have the perfect draw, but it might not have the adjustability that you need. Just because a bow has a high price doesn’t mean it is perfect for you and your hunting needs. Many rookie crossbow hunters benefit from learning from the veterans. And, in the same vein, veterans who want to update their crossbow selection can learn from their fellow hunters who have recently updated their collection, too.
We welcome your experiences about purchasing your newest crossbow. Please include the price you paid, too.