Outdoor

Top 5 Crossbow Buying Tips

Crossbows are an incredibly efficient hunting tool, with quite the “bang” for the buck. Of course that all rely on if you pick the right equipment to do the job. Here are the top 5 things you need to know before buying a crossbow.

1. Price Point

We all knew this one was coming. Just like anything in the world you’re going to get what you pay for. A good crossbow runs the gambit from three hundred dollars to a thousand. You’re putting a lot of tension on a static frame and then unleashing that tension very rapidly. Physics can either be your friend or your enemy, depending on the quality of the machine you purchase. The last thing you want to happen is to have a bolt under tension, squeeze the trigger and have a catastrophic failure sending the bolt and pieces of your bow everywhere. Not only is this dangerous in and of itself, but imagine being on a hunt for an animal that just realized you were there and it isn’t your biggest fan. Even though the price range is pretty large for a quality crossbow, I’d still expect to shell out closer to the thousand dollar range if you want something reliable and sturdy. TenPoint makes a great starting crossbow where you won’t break the bank and you’ll also get everything we suggest in a starting machine.

2. Power: Draw Weight

We’ve already covered that you don’t want your machine to break on a hunt, secondary to that you don’t want to merely irritate the animal you’re hunting. You want to put it down on the first shot. Preparing a follow-on shot with a crossbow can not only be time-consuming but also dangerous. The draw weight you need is usually a well-established minimum set by regulatory agencies. Your hunting crossbow should have a draw weight between seventy-five and one hundred twenty-five pounds. That’s quite a gap! I personally would lean more on the side of the one hundred twenty-five pounds to ensure I don’t turn from hunter to the hunted. You should also be able to repeatedly pull the string back as well. The high draw weight will do nothing for you if you can’t seem to ever pull your own weight, literally and metaphorically speaking. Have enough power to get the job done.

3. Ammo: Don’t go Cheap

Just like with a rifle, the quality of your ammo plays a tremendous role in your success. Your bolt needs to be heavy enough and fly straight enough to take down the game, while also having a sufficient broadhead to finish your game off as quickly as possible. These three things are all part of your ammo purchase. It’s not like a rifle where if you buy some bad ammo, you can just drop it on targets at the range. The ammo you purchase here, you keep, and usually use with you on the hunt. Don’t get frugal all of a sudden because you overpaid on a bow so you think the ammo you buy won’t matter. It does. More so than even a rifle. You want the bolt to make an impact so you’re looking at around three hundred feet per second (fps) for a hunting bolt. Newer bows are pushing for more speed and have been getting close to four hundred fps. You want the bolt to fly straight, the best arrows are made from carbon and have the proper fletches and nock to be shot from a crossbow, not a compound bow. They are not interchangeable! Lastly, you want a broadhead that’ll do the job. That means it has to be sharp, durable and heavy. Machined broadhead tips are the most popular item right now and have a weight of around 100 to 125 grains. Remember, this is ammo you keep, make it worth keeping. You can find good ammo and good broadheads at Cabela’s or again at TenPoint.

4. Optics

This is relatively simple. You should be able to see what you’re shooting at. This is not a rifle, your range and velocity are much different here. Having an optic zeroed to your bow will take most of the guesswork out of your shooting experience. Optics range anywhere from zero magnification to five times magnification. We don’t recommend anything too ostentatious, lest your optic cost more than your bow, but it should be reliable and give you a feel of ease when operating your crossbow.

5. Maintenance

You’re going to have to clean and service your crossbow just like any weapon. The friction on the cables and string create fraying and need to be addressed as soon as you notice them, lest you risk catastrophic failure of your weapon at a most unfortunate time. Bowstring wax and lubricant on the rails will cover most of this and you don’t even have to break the machine down.


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