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When you buy and use the best crossbow, you’ll experience hunting trips as you’ve never experienced them before. But if you’ve never used a crossbow to hunt, or if it’s been years since you bought one, you might get a little overwhelmed when faced with the sheer number of options available on the crossbow market today. To help you find the best crossbow for your hunting needs, we’ve purchased the top options available and put them to the test. We also tested some of the best hunting shooting accessories. Check out what we found.
During our testing, we measured factors and features like draw weight, power stroke, firing velocity and overall design and durability. With these factors in mind, our top pick is the CenterPoint Sniper 370. With a powerful firing velocity and beginner-friendly design, this crossbow is perfect for beginners and veterans alike. Keep reading to learn more about the Sniper 370 and our other top picks for 2019.
The CenterPoint Sniper 370 crossbow is appealing for beginners and seasoned crossbow hunters alike due to its great accessories and fast firing velocity. While its 370 FPS firing velocity isn’t quite as fast as the Carbon Express or PSE Thrive crossbows on our list, this is still more than powerful enough for most hunting applications.
The CenterPoint crossbow also includes a bunch of accessories that are enough to get beginners started. You get a 4×32 mm scope, tactical stock, parallel quiver and three carbon arrows. These are great things for beginners to own off the bat. It allows you to experiment with accessories and see what works for you or not. We weren’t especially pleased with the scope’s overall quality, but this is something you can swap out in the future. All in all, if you need a high-quality beginner’s crossbow, the CenterPoint Sniper 370 is an excellent choice that will last you for many years to come. Speaking of the great outdoors, check out the best kayak for beginners.
Related: Also check out the best crossbow scope.
Barnett is one of the most well-known names in the crossbow industry, and for good reason. Their crossbows are made with superior quality and include premium features. The Whitetail Hunter II crossbow follows that same approach. With the lightest weight of any of the crossbows on our list (only 6.4 lbs), this is the perfect crossbow for hunting trips that require some hiking and trekking through the wilderness.
The crossbow also features a 350 FPS firing velocity, which is the lowest on our list. We found 350 FPS sufficient for most our needs, though, so it was an easy point to overlook. You’ll also get a 4×32 scope, parallel quiver and two arrows included with your purchase, which is always nice. One of the features we liked the most about the Barnett Whitetail Hunter was its proprietary TriggerTech technology, which eliminates trigger creep and gives you one of the smoothest trigger experiences out of any crossbows we tested. Another product with a similar FPS is the Excalibur Matrix 355 Crossbow Package which has a measured kinetic energy of around 96 ft-lbs to make up a fast and powerful crossbow. This is a loud crossbow though, so we highly recommend wearing the best shooting ear protection while firing this. While hunting, take the best coolers with you.
Related: See also the best archery target.
As you probably know, one of the most important aspects of crossbow hunting is how quiet you can remain during the hunt. If you’re too loud, your prey will hear you coming and you’ll never get a shot. The same is true for when you fire your crossbow. Hunting crossbows can be loud when firing, but the CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper isn’t. It’s the quietest crossbow on our list, which is surprising for its extra-affordable price point. If we weren’t the ones firing the bow, we probably wouldn’t have known that it fired at all.
The Tormentor Whisper also features one of the fastest firing velocities on our list, measuring in at 380 FPS, which is especially good for a crossbow at this price point. We were impressed with this crossbow’s compact design, as well. It’s narrow enough for use in tree stands or other tight quarters, but it’s one of the heavier options on our list. At 7.8 lbs, it may be a little cumbersome while you’re tracking your quarry over long distances. If you’re looking for a good budget crossbow that’s also incredibly quiet, then you can’t miss the CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper. For another compact yet powerful product, check out the TenPoint Turbo GT Crossbow Package. If you want to take your outdoor adventures on the water, learn about the best place to buy a kayak too.
Cocking your crossbow can be one of the most time intensive and frustrating processes, especially when you’re in the middle of the hunt, but the Carbon Express X-Force Piledriver eliminates that issue altogether. This crossbow includes an incredibly helpful quiet crank cocking wrench, which prevents you from having to cock your crossbow by physically pulling the bow strings back. Simply attach the crank and twist the handle. This saves your hands and allows you to cock your crossbow faster than any other option on our list. Just don’t shoot the best inflatable kayak when you go adventuring.
On top of this, this crossbow is designed with customization in mind. You get an adjustable butt stock and a foregrip with multiple positions for the ultimate versatility. It’s also fairly lightweight, weighing in at 7.2 lbs, which is about average for the crossbows we tested. That’s good because your other gear like the best survival knives add to your weight as well. Another one of the Piledriver’s best features is its 390 FPS firing velocity, the second highest on our list. This high of a firing velocity enables you to shoot your targets at farther distances with more accuracy. If you find yourself needing some more flexibility and ease of use in your crossbow, then the Carbon Express X-Force Piledriver 390 and its handy crank wench is the choice for you. Wicked Ridge crossbows also have options with built-in cocking devices to help make user experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
If you’re looking for speed and a premium design in your next hunting crossbow, you can’t afford to miss the PSE Thrive 400 crossbow. While it’s the most expensive crossbow on our list, it offers the most value by far, especially when you consider the sheer power it packs into each one of its shots. With a blistering fast 400 FPS firing velocity, you’ll be able to hit your targets from farther away. Couple that with the unique computer numerical control (CNC) trigger mechanism, and you’ll have the most precise shot of any of the crossbows on our list.
And while we have our own personal gripes with the “Highlander” camo (we don’t think it looks the greatest) and the included stock, we can’t deny the overall quality and value this crossbow offers. In the end, you truly do get what you pay for with the Thrive 400. We were also impressed with lightweight design this crossbow offers, weighing in at only 6.7 lbs. If you’re okay with spending a little more than average, then the PSE Thrive 400 is well worth it, especially considering all the features and value that comes with the higher price tag. If you’re looking for an even more powerful product, consider the Ravin R20 crossbow, which has an arrow speed of 430 FPS and a built-in cocking device. Don;t firget the best sleeping bags when hunting.
You may be asking yourself, “What is a crossbow?” Well, the answer is pretty simple. A crossbow is actually a medieval device that functions much like a bow. However, when comparing a crossbow vs bow, you will see that they function quite differently. The crossbow uses a mechanism to draw back the string and hold the arrow and place, and uses a trigger to release the arrow. While the description is simple, crossbows come in all shapes and sizes now. However, among their differences, there are a few key things to look for.
FPS is one of the most important things when looking for the best crossbow, and, as I said above, you get a solid FPS from the draw weight and power stroke. Generally, you need at least 150 lbs. for the draw weight. The draw weight determines how much force pushes the arrow forward when the crossbow is fired.
Read More: M4 Tactical Crossbow Uses A Red Dot Sight To Find Targets
The power stroke determines speed. The longer the power stroke, the faster the arrow will go. This is, of course, is also affected by the draw weight. Together, the two factors determine the FPS. The higher the FPS, the faster and deadlier the arrow will be. While a lethal shot is possible at lower speeds, a higher FPS ensures a faster and more humane shot. High FPS can also improve accuracy within a certain range.
Other factors we considered were weight and size, but those factors depend heavily on the size and strength of individual users.
Crossbows are great for hunters, especially those who like the challenge of bow hunting but want the ease of use equitable to that of a firearm. When comparing a compound bow vs crossbow, crossbows have a much higher FPS, making them more accurate and deadlier. Crossbows are also great to have for target practice. If you enjoy archery to any extent, a crossbow is a great buy.
From a hunting standpoint, crossbows offer more of a challenge. The max range for a crossbow is 30 yards, which is a pretty short distance (especially considering crossbows can only be used during firearm hunting season). Many people prefer the short distance though because it requires the hunter to be creative in order to draw in game.
However, they also have many advantages. Crossbows aren’t as loud as guns, not to mention arrows are often reusable (unless they break off in your game). Crossbows are also easier to use than regular bows, and you have the advantage of adding scopes to them.
There are few things you should always consider when buying a crossbow. Here is what to look for in a crossbow:
Recurve vs. Compound
Not Enough Power: You will want to find a crossbow that is right for your needs, of course. Since hunting is the key purpose for owning a crossbow, you will want to make sure you buy one with enough speed and power to take down whatever you are hunting. If hunting is your reason for owning a crossbow, make sure you don’t get one with a draw weight lower than 150 lbs and a power stroke no shorter than 10″.
Too Much Draw Weight: The draw weight is important, but it can also be a huge hindrance. A lot of people may not be able to cock a draw weight of 200 lbs. Make sure you are capable of using the crossbow you purchase.
Spending Too Little: Don’t cheap out on your crossbow. Understandably, you don’t want to go into debt, but that doesn’t mean you need to get the cheapest bow out there. Generally, the more you spend, the better built your crossbow will be.
Owning the best crossbow is just one factor to consider in your hunting experience. Aside from researching crossbow reviews, if you are a full-blown outdoorsman, you will want to consider things like tents, outdoor lights, and how to charge your phone. You may also need to find some ways to entertain yourself while out in the woods (when you’re not hunting, obviously).
If you still aren’t sure if crossbows are for you, maybe you should look into another archery weapon. For instance, you can get a solid compound bow for a comparable price to crossbows. If you are a beginner and need the practice, you’ll definitely want to get a target as well.
For the hunters out there, you may be wondering what can you hunt with a crossbow. Well, really, you can hunt just about anything. While they are mainly used for deer hunting, you can hunt turkey, squirrels, or any other variety of game.
Lastly, be sure to check any laws and regulations in your area regarding crossbows. Some states only allow crossbows during firearm season, while many allow it to be used during archery season as well. Check here to see what is allowed in your state. Unfortunately there is no real standard crossbow regulation, show be sure to look into your local laws to see what you need to do to stay within the bounds of the law.
Just remember to stay safe and have fun!