Crossbows Buying Guide
What is a Crossbow?
Crossbows are used for hunting and target shooting. They shoot arrows at high velocity and can be very dangerous if you do not know how to use one and don’t learn properly. The bolts that a crossbow shoots are also called arrows. The design of the crossbow has a mechanism that will keep the bow drawn back once you have drawn it, so you don’t have to stand there holding it.
There is also a trigger that you press to release the string. The way the crossbow’s strength is calculated is by how far the string is pulled to draw the bow. Most crossbows pull weight is in the 80 to 200 lb range. The higher the number, the stronger and farther the arrow or bolt will go when released.
Types of Crossbows
Crossbows are made in two basic types or designs: The Recurve Crossbow and the Compound Crossbow. There are some great advantages to both designs as well as some disadvantages to each.
Recurve Crossbow – The Recurve bow is the most basic design of crossbow and also the oldest. You may not know what recurve means. Recurve is the term that defines the way the tips or limbs of the bow face away from the user. Some of the advantages of the Recurve bow are that it typically requires less maintenance than the compound bow due to having fewer parts that can be broken.
If you do break a string, fixing it, even if you’re outdoors, is very easy. The recurve bow is much quieter than the compound bow as well. It may not be as accurate as the compound bow due to the fact that there are no mechanisms that make cocking the bow easier, but it is still an excellent choice for newbies to the crossbow scene.
Compound Crossbow – This is a new design in crossbows that are made up of shorter limbs and shorter strings that are attached to pulleys. Drawing a compound bow is much easier than drawing a recurve model due to the cam system. More energy is stored in the bow due to this cam system and that makes it a more powerful crossbow as well. The arrows will travel faster to your chosen target as well.
The cocking mechanism makes coking the bow very simple and the shorter limbs make it ideal for tight spaces. It is heavier than the recurve which could be a problem for lighter weight people and there are more breakable parts as well. Unlike the recurve bow, if a part breaks on the compound bow, it will not be able to be fixed out in the field. Compound bows are generally more expensive than recurve bows as well but for the serious crossbow enthusiast, they are a good choice.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Crossbow
There are several things that you will need to consider when you are shopping for a crossbow. It is important to know the regulations and guidelines locally and for your state as well. Look over the considerations we have listed below and see which are the most important to you before you choose the crossbow you want to purchase.
- How will the crossbow be used? – Knowing what the primary use will be for your crossbow is an important thing to consider before you purchase one. This will determine which one will be the right one for your needs. Since crossbows can be used for things such as target practice, game hunting and just playing around having fun, you will factor this in to the choice you make.
If all you are using a crossbow for is fun, the size of the crossbow and its weight are not really that relevant. If you will be using your crossbow for serious hunting then you will want to get a high quality bow that is lighter and more compact, especially if you will doing a lot of hiking. If the bow will be stationary, weight is not as important since you won’t be lugging it through the woods.
- Speed of the bolts – If speed is what you are looking for, you will be happier with the performance of the compound bow. Because of the Recurve’s different design, it doesn’t store up as much energy as the compound bow does. Another factor that determines speed is the bolt or arrow that is used. You want to match the size and strength of the bolt to the crossbow you are using. Accidents can happen by using the wrong bolt. The manufacturer of the crossbow will list the bolts that can be used with the particular model you want.
- Quieter is better – When you are out hunting you need things to be as quiet as possible. Out of the two designs of crossbows available, the recurve is the quieter one. This is due to not having the cams that the compound bow has which makes it nosier to operate.
- How much is too much? – You don’t want to get a crossbow that you have trouble carting around. Heavier is usually going to be the steadier options because the added weight prevents the bow from moving around. If you’re hiking while you’re hunting, you will not want to have to carry a super heavy crossbow around. There are many different sizes and weights available so determine whether you need a more mobile crossbow so you can make your hunting treks without breaking your back.
- Who makes them? – The different manufacturers make crossbows that vary a lot by size and weight. Make sure that you check out reviews on specific brands and see what consumers who have purchased the models you are interested in are saying about using them. It’s a good way to get information that will tell you the things the marketing campaigns are not.
Other Features to Look For
Crossbows typically offer many features that ensure or enhance accuracy, dependability and safety. Some crossbow manufacturers may offer kits or packages where they offer additional things besides the crossbow itself including bolts and quivers and more. Always know what features your crossbow offers before you purchase.
Crossbow cocking – Cocking the crossbow is very important when it comes to how accurate your shot will be. Coking isn’t always easy; it is definitely something that requires significant strength. There are devices that a crossbow user can purchase that help with cocking the bow so you do not need to have an extraordinary amount of strength to get it done.
Cocking with a rope device – This is a very popular method of cocking the crossbow because not only is it easy to do, it is inexpensive as well. If you are using your crossbow for target practice, the cocking method using the rope device reduces the strength and work needed to cock the bow by 50%.
Cocking with a crank device – This is by far, the easiest was to crank a crossbow. They are perfect for older crossbow hunters, those with arthritis or physical limitations or those with less upper body strength such as a younger teen. Crank cocking devises are much more expensive than the rope cranking devices. The crank cocking device takes a bit longer to fully cock the bow as well.
Crossbow Scopes – Having a good scope on your crossbow ensures that your accuracy is as good as possible. They are very beneficial for hunters to have on their crossbows. There are 4 different types of scopes that can be used on a crossbow.
- Optical – Optical scopes have a cross hatch that the hunter can see when looking through the scope. They use this crosshatch to line their targets up.
- Multi-Reticle – This is a cross hatch with finer lines that improve the perspective the user has of the range they are hunting on.
- Single Red Dot – This feature offers one dot with the job of improving the users aim.
- Multi-Red Dot – These dots will also help with aiming and accuracy.
Crossbow hunting is a very popular sport and hobby and its popularity is growing each year. There are many different styles of crossbows that will be in either the compound or recurve designs. The information that we have included here will help you understand the features that crossbows can have.
When you know what elements to look for, sorting through numerous choices becomes much easier. The three top rated choices reviewed here and the buyer’s guide have been written with the objective of helping consumers find the best crossbow for their money and to also give them the knowledge to choose from the different styles available.
When you know what to look for, shopping becomes simple and even enjoyable and you can be confident that you have made a choice that you will love for a long time to come.