Are you looking for the most suitable crossbow for your next hunt but a little confused about where to start? Don’t worry; I got you covered, as I know the importance of multiple factors that play a vital role in ensuring the best purchase.
To get the answer to how to choose a crossbow, you landed in the right place. Keep reading this buying guide. In this article, I have covered all features, so you understand your needs and pick the one that goes best for you.
Things to Consider: How to Choose a Crossbow
1. Compound vs. Recurve Crossbows
Which crossbow suits you the most depends on your nature. Are you a person who likes to keep things in the best form and take care of them to maintain their performance? Or are you the one who uses things whenever you need them and find it tough to take care of them?
If you are the first one, the compound crossbow is an ideal pick. A compound crossbow provides maximum speed and power, and you can quickly draw with it. However, it needs extra care, which often takes a lot of time and attention. But as a caring person, this suits you the most.
In contrast, if you are the second one, who uses a crossbow for hunting after weeks or months, you should choose a recurve crossbow. With recurve crossbows, you don’t need to spend time cleaning or setting it. However, it is pretty tough to handle. If you like challenges, then you can go with them. In both cases, if you want extra functionality as well as power and speed, then a compound crossbow is best with the only downside, which is maintenance. But as a passionate hunter, this will be a piece of cake for you.
2. Speed and Power
Speed and power are the essential factors in determining target accuracy while you want to know how to choose a crossbow. Many things make your shot powerful, i.e., crossbow built, bolt weight, head of the crossbow, speed, etc. however, it is just a part of power. However, a good combination of power and speed gives you mind-blowing results.
Other than power, speed itself has a unit which is FPS (feet per second), so you can pick a precise speed according to your needs. The minimum FPS is 200, while you can increase it to 470 FPS. As a professional user, you can go with high FPS and power. However, in the case of a beginner, a crossbow with less power and speed works best because, in the learning phase, it is tough to evaluate things at high speed and power.
3. Power Stroke and Draw Weight
The draw length of a crossbow named Powerstroke is quite questionable. To measure the Powerstroke, you have to measure the distance between the draw at its resting position and its stretching position. For adults, they often provide draw length up to 11 inches to ensure a power shot. Check it before making a purchase.
On the other hand, the draw weight depends on Powerstroke, as it is the force you apply while stretching the bowstring back. Both factors determine the speed of your bolt, as the more Powerstroke is, the more power you store, and it takes more time to accelerate the bolt.
If you are a professional, a crossbow with a high draw weight is perfect, but as a beginner, a lightweight works best because it is easy for you to cock them.
4. Size and Weight
Crossbows need to be small and lightweight as you have to carry them in the forest for more extended periods. Having a heavy and oversized crossbow makes it tough to hunt for long. Although the size and weight are directly proportional to the speed and power, if you want speed and power, an increase in size and weight gives desired results.
This factor is more prominent in recurve crossbows, while the speed and power of compound crossbows do not depend much on size and weight. The recommended size and weight for a beginner are low as he/she is in a learning phase and find it tough to control the crossbow while maintaining precision.
It is so challenging for a crossbow to be less noisy because of high FPS. However, the manufacturer often tries to add new features to lower the sound. Look for a crossbow with less noise, so your target never gets attentive, and you never miss your prey.
With crossbows, you have to aim your target from hundreds of feet, which is quite tough to manage with old iron sights. Therefore, for advanced crossbows, an optical scope works best. Having a crosshair and one dot scope is best to overcome the precision problem whether the target is near or far. However, it is challenging to carry both. Here you can try multi-reticle scope as all one solution.
7. Types of Triggers
The type of trigger often depends on the model of crossbow that you choose, as each model has a different one. They vary in weight, pulling power they take, and the amount of pressure needed for a fire. The least creep model is recommended for a newbie, or you can choose one according to your desired features.
8. Safety Features
Having a crossbow comes with many safety precautions, so you never hurt yourself while handling it. Therefore, manufacturers have now added some security features to enhance safety. While buying a crossbow, look for the following features.
- Trigger Safety
Trigger safety ensures a safe start and avoids an unwanted shot, so never accidentally hurt yourself or any fellow.
- Finger Guard
Never put your finger in the way of the bowstring as it takes such high power to shoot. Now, new designs come with safety that doesn’t allow you to put your finger in front of the string or broadheads to provide protection.
- Anti-Dry Fire Machine
Pressing the trigger without adding a bolt to it is known as the dry fire, which harms the crossbow and your body because all stored energy is transferred here instead of the bolt. New designs ensure an anti-dry fire mechanism that avoids fire without bolts and saves energy as well as from an injury.
9. Assembly and Takedown
Crossbows often come in part to save cost and space, but it takes extra effort, or in the case of beginners, it takes expert help. So if you are new to it, try to pick one with fewer assembling steps. After this, takedown is also not easy and takes professional help till you learn by yourself. It is like folding the bow; however, this is for hunters who have to travel in the forest and carry crossbows a long way.
Multiple additional features make it easy to use crossbows.
- Cocking Device
Cocking multiple times makes it challenging for a hunter as it takes a lot of effort. The use of cocking devices reduces this pressure to a great extent by reducing draw weight.
This is like a tool that holds your bolt either attached with a crossbow or with your body.
Hunters wear this to hold the crossbow in the woods while walking and when the crossbow is free.
- Noise Dampeners
This is an essential accessory for hunters because noise can make prey attentive.
What to Look For in a Hunting Crossbow?
Hunting crossbows need specific features to work better in woods. For example, it should be lightweight and small in size to make it easy to carry. Also, the addition of noise dampers is not needed for recreational use. Furthermore, using a quiver and sling is recommended to ensure convenience in the woods. Consider all these factors before picking a crossbow for the hunt; otherwise, you might regret your choice.
What to Look For in a Recreational Crossbow?
The recreational crossbow doesn’t need any additional accessories. Often it comes with low draw weight and adds scopes to ensure accuracy. For these crossbows, there are no other requirements to improve the results except practice.
What size crossbow do I need?
There is no fixed answer as the size of the crossbow depends on your experience and the niche where you want to use it. If you are a beginner and want to hunt, you should choose a small-sized crossbow.
What is a good fps for a crossbow?
If you are a hunter, you should pick a crossbow with 300FPS. Also, it depends on the use; for recreational purposes, you don’t need much higher FPS, but for hunting, you can go to 400FPS.
What is the easiest crossbow to use?
As a beginner, you must pick a crossbow that is easy to use and lightweight. For this, Killer Instinct Lethal 405 is recommended. It has everything that you look for to hunt in the woods with ease.
It is essential to pick the crossbow after observing all your needs and expertise level while answering the question of how to choose a crossbow, so you never regret your decision later. Consider the size, draw weight, power, speed, crossbow types, safety accessories, and trigger type to get what you need. Don’t just jump into the market and buy one crossbow; look for all these mentioned features to purchase the best product for you.