A Comprehensive Guide to The Best Crossbow for Hunting

best crossbow for hunting

Fed up with hunting with a rifle? Using a crossbow is not a bad idea.

However, choosing the best crossbow for hunting is no easy task. Even serious archers might have a hard time deciding amongst thousands of models on the market.

Don’t worry.

We understand your concern. That is why we compiled this list of the best crossbow models for you to consult.

Let’s get started!

Best Crossbow for Hunting – Quick comparison

Product images Product names Editor's rating Price
BARNETT Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) See on Amazon
Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) See on Amazon
CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo- Crossbow Package 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) See on Amazon
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) See on Amazon
SA Sports 647 Empire Fever Pro 175LB Crossbow Package 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) See on Amazon
Bear X Saga 370 Ready-to-Hunt Crossbow Package 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) See on Amazon
BARNETT TS390 Crossbow 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) See on Amazon
TenPoint Invader X4 Crossbow Package 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) See on Amazon
CenterPoint Tyro 4X Crossbow Package 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) See on Amazon
BARNETT Assault 350 Crossbow 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) See on Amazon

Related:

Types Of Crossbows

Before digging in, let’s learn some basic information about crossbows.

Generally speaking, there are three main types of crossbows.

Compound Crossbow

This is arguably the most popular type of crossbows, and for good reasons.

In particular, the compound crossbow is more affordable than other types. Also, it is durable and versatile, making it perfect for hunting games that take place in extreme environments.

The compound crossbows have a complicated design; therefore, beginners might find it hard to set up for the first time. Nonetheless, it is easy to use and control once you are familiar.

Other advantages of compound crossbows are amazing durability and accuracy.

However, this type of crossbow is not without drawbacks. It is quite heavy and tends to decay after a while in use.

Recurve Crossbow

The recurve crossbow is believed to be the oldest ancestor of the modern bows.

The term “recurve” is probably inspired by the delicate curve pointing toward the target at the end of the crossbow. The curve is not there for decoration. Rather, it plays an important role of locking the string in place, thereby ensuring safety for users.

The biggest downside of recurve crossbows is the reduced lifespan of the string. In other words, you will have to replace the string more frequently.

Rifle Crossbow

This is the most recent type of crossbow that combines the use of a crossbow with a rifle. It offers many benefits that normal crossbows do not have, for example, enhanced sights, amazing accuracy, narrow width, and many more.

The only drawback of rifle crossbows is the complex design that might result in difficulty to control.

Crossbow Parts

Here we will show you the parts of a typical crossbow.

Riser

The riser is where the limbs are attached to. It is usually made of magnesium or carbon fibers to minimize the weight.

Stirrup

Stirrup, also known as cocking stirrup, is the metal ring attached to the stock tip. While cocking the bow, the archer will place his foot on the stirrup to prevent the whole thing from slipping.

Quiver

This refers to the container used for holding bolts. A normal quiver can carry about 3-4 bolts.

Depending on the crossbows, you can find the quiver on top of the bow or under it.

Limbs

The limbs are attached to the end of the riser in a crossbow. They are supposed to provide kinetic energy to the bow when you are drawing it.

The recurve crossbows feature longer limbs than their compound counterparts.

Cables

Along with the cams, the cables will adjust the firing power of the crossbow.

Trigger

The trigger in a crossbow works exactly like in a gun. To be specific, when you press the trigger, it releases the latch that holds the bowstring.

This part can be found either underneath the latch or behind the latch.

Foregrip

The foregrip is there to provide you total control of your shot and avoid accidental firing. In addition, it allows you to steady your aim.

Serving

It refers to the 4-inch wrapping of thread around the string. The role of serving is to protect the center and the loops from the arrow retention spring.

Stock

The stock is the base that keeps the trigger, sight bridge, and barrel together. It is also where you hold the crossbow.

Latch

The latch is supposed to keep the string in place until you press the trigger.

Sight Bridge

As its name might suggest, the sight bridge holds the sight.

Arrow Retention Spring

It is the metal bar that holds the bolt on the track until the trigger releases the latch.

Barrel

This is the track that keeps the bolt and the string aligned on the top of the crossbow.

String

The string connects both limbs together. It stores kinetic energy that will be transferred to the bolt later when the trigger is activated.

Top 10 Best Crossbows For Hunting

#1 BARNETT Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow

See Price On Amazon

Topping our list today is the STR crossbow from Barnett.

The crossbow is made of fiberglass composite, which is lightweight to carry around.

Such a compact crossbow provides high performance with 375 FPS and 118.6 lbs of kinetic energy. While it is powerful enough to hunt down preys, newbies still manage to control the bow effortlessly.

The axle to axle width of 18.125 inches is an advantage when you use the crossbow from a hunting blind or a tree stand.

When you buy this Barnett model, you will get a complete package that includes every hunting accessories you need, including multi-reticle scope, headhunter arrows, quiver, cocking aid, and even lube wax.

However, we advise you to buy a better scope to make the most of this crossbow.

The weapon is mostly pre-assembled, so it is little for you to do when it arrives.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight body
  • Fine kinetic energy
  • A ready-to-hunt package

Cons

  • Terrible scope

#2 Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow

See price on Amazon

The next candidate is also a Barnett crossbow from the same series as the #1. Is this model different from its counterpart?

Well, there are some differences in the specs.

In particular, this Whitetail Hunter II unit has a speed of 350 FPS and produces a kinetic energy of 103 lbs. The axle to axle width is 16.125 inches.

The specs make it ideal for beginners who are new to the crossbow hunting game.

The weapon features all stainless steel components, which can withstand the extreme weather conditions in hunting trips. On the other hand, it is lightweight to carry around.

Safety features are also added, including the anti-dry fire.

Like the Barnett STR, this model comes in a ready-to-hunt package with 4×32 scope, cocking device, quiver, arrows, and lube wax. It is mostly assembled before being shipped to your door.

However, the manual did let us down a bit. It was confusing and we could hardly figure out how to assemble the crossbow from it.

Pros

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons

  • Confusing manual

#3 CenterPoint Specialist XL 370

See price on Amazon

If you like the camo style of the #6 but want more power, then this Centerpoint Specialist XL 370 is the ideal option.

It is similar to the Tyro 4X in most ways, except for the added power. In particular, it delivers a 185-pound draw weight and a speed of 370 FPS. Impressive!

Also, while the Tyro 4X is a recurve crossbow, this unit is a compound one.

Other features have little or no differences.

The Specialist has a fully adjustable stock for a customizable fit. In addition, there are quad limbs, CNC machined aluminum rail, and CNC machined cams.

Safety features are equipped to protect you and the crossbow itself. We have the finger guards, anti-dry fire, and the safe trigger mechanism.

Along with the crossbow, the package comes with 4x32mm scope, carbon bolts, quiver, rope cocker, and sling.

Pros

  • Fantastic power and speed
  • Safety features added
  • Fully adjustable stock

Cons

  • Scope of average quality
  • Assembly required

#4 CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370

See price on Amazon

Another product from CenterPoint!

This unit has exactly the same specs with the Specialist XL 370.

There are not many differences in the features, either.

This unit comes with adjustable stock and foregrip, quad limbs, and machined cam system, all of which deliver power and accuracy.

A highlight of the AXCS185CK is the string suppressors, which reduce noise and vibration in each shot.

The whole thing is lightweight yet durable with aluminum and composite materials. You will find it easy to carry and maneuver on the field.

Last but not least, it is backed with a 5-year limited warranty. Buy with confidence now!

Pros

  • String suppressors
  • Amazing power and accuracy
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Sloppy adjustable stock

#5 SA Sports 647 Empire Fever

See price on Amazon

We would like to introduce a crossbow of SA Sports. It is one of the top selling crossbows for hunting of all time.

The Empire Fever Pro will impress you at first sight with its design.

It features an ambidextrous auto safety, which means both left and right-handed archers can use it effortlessly. What’s more, there is a large hand saver palm grip and a boot style foot stirrup.

There are other convenient features that will surely satisfy you. For example, it offers the molded broadhead wrench, an adjustable scope mount, a storage compartment, and a device port.

The technical specs are not too impressive, but acceptable.

For your information, it has a draw weight of 175 pounds and enables the bolt to fly at 235 FPS.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Convenient design

Cons

  • Confusing assembly instructions
  • Weak string

#6 Bear X Saga 370

See price on Amazon

We will review the Bear X Saga 370 crossbow to end our list today.

This is a compact yet powerful bow that any archer would want to bring along in their hunting trips. It has KE of 110.84 pounds and power speed of 370 FPS.

In terms of the construction,   There are also five settings to offer a fully customized experience.

Like the Centerpoint Sniper 370, this Bear X weapon is equipped with string suppressors for noise and vibration reduction.

Other accessories included in the purchase are scope, cocking rope, quiver, carbon bolts, sling and rail lube.

Pros

  • Amazing power speed
  • Adjustable stock and cheek piece
  • Dual-mount string suppressors

Cons

  • Quite heavy

#7 BARNETT TS390 Crossbow

See price on Amazon

This TS390 crossbow is for intermediate archers.

It is more powerful than the three BARNETT models above, considering the specs.

It can shoot at 390 FPS and produce a kinetic energy of 128 pounds. The draw weight is about 187 pounds.

What we need to trade for the power is the weight. The BARNETT TS390 is heavier than the other three units, about 7.6 pounds. However, it is not way too heavy. An adult man can still manage to carry it around without much effort.

Some parts of the TS390 are also upgraded. For example, it features the patented step-through riser, string dampeners, and aluminum flight track, all of which combine to give you smooth, silent, and precise shots.

The manufacturer had safety in mind when making this crossbow. They equipped it with nock sensor, anti-dry fire trigger, finger guards, and finger safety reminders.

Pros

  • Adjustable stock
  • Upgraded components for effective shooting

Cons

  • The stock can come off if extended too far

#8 TenPoint Invader X4 Crossbow

See price on Amazon

Can this TenPoint crossbow earn ten points from you? Let’s see.

This unit is one of the lightest crossbows on the market, weighing only 6.3 pounds. Even a woman can hold it effortlessly.

Despite being lightweight, it still provides great power with 112 KE and 360 FPS. The width measures 15 inches, which is narrow enough for more chances in tight situations.

Each part of this TenPoint crossbow is equipped with advanced technology to ensure the best experience for archers.

For instance, it has the 11’’ WRX laminated limbs and speed-inspired 4S cams. The pass-through foregrip and safety wings are also there to provide protection and comfort for the shooter’s hands.

The purchase includes 3x multi-line scope, 3 packs of aluminum arrows, and instant-detach quiver.

However, we would appreciate if the manufacturer provided carbon arrows. Aluminum arrows are a bit outdated.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great power
  • Advanced and durable components

Cons

  • Aluminum arrows

#9 CenterPoint Tyro 4X Crossbow

See price on Amazon

With a camouflage body, this Centerpoint is the perfect crossbow for hunting that will hide you from the preys.

It comes with an adjustable stock that offers a customizable fit. That said, you and your friends can take turn using the weapon conveniently.

The design of this Tyro 4X crossbow is thoughtful, having a compartment under forearm. You can keep rail lube and other accessories that you might need during the hunt there.

This unit has a draw weight of 175 pounds, which is above average. However, it is only able to shoot the bolt at 245 FPS maximum. This speed is rather low if you compare to aforementioned models on the list.

The biggest downside of this Centerpoint weapon is it takes much time and effort to reload. Otherwise, it is a decent choice for beginners.

Pros

  • Compartment under forearm
  • Adjustable stock
  • Camouflage body

Cons

  • Difficult to reload
  • Assembly required

#10 BARNETT Assault 350

See price on Amazon

BARNETT is a trusted brand in making crossbows, so don’t be surprised that we introduce another Barnett model here.

Regarding construction, it is mostly similar to the Whitetail Hunter II crossbow. To be specific, it weighs 6.4 lbs and shoots at 350 FPS.

The 165-pound draw weight is perfect for beginners to practice, as it does not require much strength to cock and shoot, while being powerful to take down the target.

There are safety features to protect you and the equipment itself, including the anti-dry fire and the grip finger guards.

Also, we cannot miss the trigger technology that allows for smooth and accurate shots.

The BARNETT Assault weapon comes with the same hunting accessories. As we suggested above, consider replacing the scope for a great hunting experience.

Pros

  • Lightweight and short
  • Perfect draw weight for newbies

Cons

  • Terrible scope

How To Choose The Best Crossbow

Take below factors into consideration before jumping to buy the best crossbow for hunting.

Types

We have already introduced to you three types of crossbows above. Take your time to learn about the pros and cons of each before deciding on what to choose.

Speed

One of the most frequently asked questions we received is, “What is the fastest crossbow?”

The answer is a lot. Thanks to modern technology, some crossbows can travel at 400 FPS.

However, you do not need that fast crossbows for hunting. That is not to mention high speed will make the bow less forgiving for any mistake.

Safety

Every archer, especially beginners, should pay attention to safety features of a crossbow to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the equipment.

Some essential safety devices include anti-dry fire, auto-engaging feature, forward grip design.

Weight

Weight is another important factor when it comes to choosing a crossbow for hunting. Of course, a lightweight crossbow allow you to carry it along effortlessly in a hunting trip. However, heavier models provide more stability when firing.

Additional Features

Most crossbows for hunting come with basic parts we discussed above, but some weapons have additional features to aid in accuracy, safety, etc.

Some extra features you might need are cocking aids, scopes, and noise-dampening devices. Consider carefully if you need one, as more features mean more money spent.

How To Use A Crossbow Effectively

Do not rush out to hunt as soon as you purchase the crossbow. You cannot have a successful expedition without knowing how to use a crossbow effectively.

Let’s discover with us!

Use Quality Arrows

Shooting with cheap arrows flying like a knuckleball will take you nowhere near the target. Therefore, it is advisable to buy quality arrows designed for crossbow hunting.

Have Perfect Support

Make sure that your crossbow is placed on a stand when aiming your target. That way, the stand will reduce the chances of shaking and allow you to shoot more precisely.

Know Your Range

Learning the range is essential as the arrow will lose its energy and speed if travelling too far. Also, you need to know the distance between you and the target to have powerful and accurate shots.

Learn To Use Modern Technology

Modern technologies increase the efficiency of a crossbow significantly. Some advanced gadgets that you should not skip include scoped sight and range finder.

Also, other hunting gears, namely hunting GPS, hunting camera, hunting backpack, etc., may come in handy during your trip into wilderness.

Practice In The Field

It is always true that practice makes perfect.

If you are a beginner, regular practice will help you get a feel of the crossbow and shoot better. Also, you will gain more experience to deal with specific issues that might happen in the actual hunting conditions.

Crossbow Care & Maintenance Tips

  • Wax the cables and string regularly along their lengths
  • Lubricate the rail to reduce friction
  • Lubricate the trigger box and exposed bolts
  • Lubricate the wheels/ axles (compound crossbows)
  • Check the string regularly for wear and tear
  • Clean the lens of the scope
  • Remove the dust and dirt on the body of the crossbow
  • Store crossbows properly
  • Avoid leaving the bow cocked for a long time
  • Keep the crossbow in a bow case during transport

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there crossbows for left-handed archers?

A: The answer is no. Unlike the rifle, crossbows eject no kind of spent casing, so you can shoot the bolt any way you like.

Q: Can I change the string on my crossbow on my own?

A: Yes, you can, as long as you have the right tools.

Q: Are crossbows legal for hunting everywhere?

A: It depends on the state regulations in your area. Check them out to make sure you do not violate the laws!

Q: How far can I hunt using crossbow?

A: Some crossbows even allow you to launch an arrow hundreds of yards away, but it is really challenging to ensure accuracy at long distances. For beginners, we advise you to practice within 30 to 40 yards. Over time, when you are gradually improving your skills, you can hunt at further distances, up to 80 yards.

Q: Can I cock a crossbow by hand?

A: Yes. You can always cock a crossbow with your own hands, if you are strong enough to pull it back. However, manually cocking is not recommend as the string might not stay in place leading to inconsistent shots.

The Bottom Line

This is the end of our review on the best crossbow for hunting. Have you decided your partner yet? Take your time and if possible, go to the store to try them out so that you can make a wise decision.

Thank you for reading! Do not forget to like and subscribe for more useful post.

Futher reading:

A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting with a Crossbow

7 Tips You Should Know About Deer Hunting with a Crossbow

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