If you are looking to buy a crossbow to suite your needs, then you will want to know what you are looking for. Popular television shows and movies have made this a rather difficult task as of late. Most crossbows on the market are designed to look good and sell to those that have no actual hunting experience.
Some simple “tell-tale signs” that you are looking at one of these crossbows is if their are zombie or Hunger Games designs on the crossbow. This might be a great crossbow for your zombie killing party, but it is not the best crossbows for the money. They are designed to look great instead of actually perform as you would expect, unless you are prepping for zombie hunting pass on these.
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the options and make a rash decision. We have constructed this list of things that you should keep in mind when separating the good from the bad. Feel Free to ask us if you have any questions along the way!
Keep in mind that you are about to buy a weapon, and safety should be your main concern. You want to make sure that it is as safe as it can be before you make the purchase. If it’s going to explode and send projectiles everywhere, then you want to know ahead what will happen and avoid that kind of disaster.
Every crossbow is equipped with a safety latch, but the best crossbows are equipped with automatic safety latches. This safety will automatically engage as soon as the crossbow is cocked, eliminating any chance of forgetting to engage it manually. This also prevents you from dry firing your crossbow, which can cause significant damage to limbs of both you and your crossbow.
If you break a crossbow down to the basics, you will see a single hook holding the string back under pressure. When the trigger is pulled, the hook folds down and releases over 150 lbs of pressure to send the arrow sailing. Unfortunately, the huge increase in demand for crossbows has led to manufacturers cutting corners to save money and stay competitive.
A cheap crossbow will have a plastic hook that could let go at any time, a good crossbow will have a metal trigger system to ensure that you are safe. These crossbows typically will market that they have an all metal trigger mechanism because they are aware this is a huge selling point, so just take a look at the box.
When you are out looking for a crossbow to take hunting, you want to consider that you will need to carry and fire it. You don’t want a huge crossbow that is going to limit your mobility and not allow you to find a target. You want to make sure that you can get where you are going with as little resistance as possible.
The weight of the crossbow matters for two major reasons. The first reason is that you don’t want to carry too much extra weight for a few hours in the woods looking for game. The second is that you will need to be able to keep your crossbow up, level, straight, and steady when you are shooting your target. If you can only hold your crossbow in position for 5 seconds at a time, then you are going to have a very small window of opportunity.
Some crossbows come with a scope and some do not. If you are looking for value in your search for the best crossbow, then you want to find one that includes a scope. A high quality scope can make a huge difference in your accuracy and save you an abundance of time when zeroing in on your target.
Unlike firing a rifle, you need to factor in the distance of your target when you shoot a crossbow. An arrow will drop some with every foot it travels. A good scope will do that math for you by showing you where to aim at specified distances. This will save you valuable time while trying to line up that perfect shot.
Speed / Power
You want to make sure that you consider the speed and power of the crossbows that you are comparing. You don’t want to purchase a crossbow that is perfect for target practice just to learn that it isn’t powerful enough to take down what you are trying to hunt. Imagine going polar bear hunting with a crossbow that isn’t powerful enough to take it down.
Crossbow power is measured but how many Feet Per Second (FPS) the arrow is traveling when it hits a target at optimal distance. You will find a large variance in this statistic, but the best crossbow for medium sized game will be rated about 300 FPS. The bigger the better of course, but that’s where the prices will start separating from the pack.
Crank or Cocking tool
It takes over 150 lbs of muscle to cock a crossbow in the field. That may not sound like a lot, but imagine trying to hook the string on a tiny hook while you are holding that much pressure. For that reason, it is always a good idea to have a device that will give you some mechanical advantage over the crossbow.
You can find anything from a crank that will hook on the back of your crossbow and allow you to crank it back, to an extension rope so that you have a better angle. There are several different cocking tools on the market, and if your crossbow comes with one then it will save you money.
It’s hard to gauge how much noise a crossbow is going to make by looking at it in a box, so you may need to research this online. You don’t want a crossbow that is going to extremely loud every time you fire it. If you are 15 yards away from a bear or anything else and miss, you don’t want them to know where you are.
Any reputable crossbow manufacturer is going to provide a warranty on the entire crossbow. This won’t cover the string because they need to be replaced periodically, but everything else will be covered. In your search for the best crossbow, you should make sure that you get 2 years coverage at the minimum without having to pay extra money for your warranty