Crossbows – This type of archery bow requires you to mechanically draw back the bolt and then lock it at full draw before pulling the trigger to shoot the bolt. There are two types of crossbows: recurve and compound. Recurve crossbows are distinguished by tips that curve away from the shooter. These crossbows are often a better choice for the novice because its out-curving ends enable the archer to more effortlessly draw his bow. Consider the advantages and disadvantages for each type. The main disadvantage of recurve crossbows is that they put more strain on the arrows and they are louder than compound crossbows, which is a huge factor if you are shooting live game. Compound crossbows are slightly more complex, with extra cables for pullback, which requires much more strength in order to draw the bow. Here are some features to consider in purchasing your crossbows:
Bow Length: The trend today is for very short crossbows. They are handy in tight situations, like hunting from a blind, however, you will need to use a release aid. Longer crossbows tend to be more forgiving and tend to be more accurate for indoor targeting.
Bow Weight: The trend today is for very light weight crossbows, however, they tend to not be as accurate as a heavier bow. A light bow is nice if you are packing it all day on long hunts. Most target shooters use heavier bows and add stabilizers to absorbs vibrations to improve accuracy.
Brace Height: This factor probably influences accuracy and speed of the crossbows more than any other feature. Brace height is the distance from the string to the grip of the bow. A lower brace height gives a longer power stroke so the arrow absorbs more energy and is faster. It also keeps the arrow on the string longer so any irregularity in your form has more of an effect on the arrow. Crossbows with a brace height below 7 inches tend to be a little trickier to shoot when hunting.
Cams: The larger aggressive cams give more speed, however, they also make the crossbows harder to draw.
Bow Draw Weight: Crossbows with a hitting power of 50 lbs will kill just about any animal you will hunt in North America. Don’t get a heavier draw weight than you need. You should be able to draw the bow straight back without raising the bow or having to put a lot of effort into it. Realize that you need to be able to draw them in slow motion after you have been sitting on a stand in cold weather for several hours. If you think that you will only be using your crossbows for target shooting and maybe small game, consider buying crossbows with a 150 lb draw weight. In most areas, this is the legal hunting weight that is required and nothing more is needed if you do not plan on going after big game. If you are planning on going after bigger game, you will want something with a little more hitting power. Generally, crossbows with 200lb draw weight or more recommended, however, there are a few high quality 175lbs crossbows that generate speeds well over the 200 lb models. Be sure to check the speed rating, this will give you an idea of the efficiencies of the crossbows.
Draw Length: Most people today have too long of a draw length. They try to pick up speed by increasing the draw length causing tension in the muscles which ultimately reduces accuracy.
Crossbows are an excellent choice for big game hunters who prefer bows, but do not have the skill for traditional archery. People with disabilities or reduced strength may find them useful for its ability to shoot the projectile without holding the weight of the bow string at full draw. Consider the primary purpose, and don’t get caught up in the hype to get more than you need when selecting features on your crossbows.
Here are some other cross bows to consider.