THE HUNTING JACK

Best Crossbow for Hunting 2023

Crossbow hunting is nearly as old as time itself. You would have thought that all the hunting crossbow design advancements would have happened by now, right? Well, think again. There is still a huge market for the old-fashioned crossbow. In fact, this market is constantly growing.

Crossbow designers are constantly trying to reinvent the weapon. This leaves you, the huntsman, with a wide range of contemporary crossbows to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a recurve crossbow or a compact crossbow, you’ll find it in most good hunting stores.

But how do you choose a good crossbow from a bad one? Surely all you need a crossbow to do is comfortably fire an arrow at a target quickly. There are, in fact, several characteristics that separate the leading crossbow brands from each other. You can identify an Excalibur crossbow from a Barnett one, for example.

In this guide, I’ll compare and contrast some of my favorite crossbows for hunting. I’ll highlight the best overall, as well as the best crossbow for the money.

The Best bow for Hunting Overall – Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040

Best Crossbow for the Money – Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow

The Best Crossbow for Treestand Hunting – CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow

Best Crossbow for Hog Hunting – TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow

Best Recurve bow for Accuracy – Excalibur Bulldog 440

Best Crossbow for Moose Hunting – BearX Constrictor CDX

Best Crossbow for Deer Hunting – Killer Instinct Fatal X Crossbow

Best Long Distance Crossbow – Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR

 

Which Type of Crossbow for Hunting Do You Need?

Before we get into the comparison aspect of this article, I must identify the different categories of crossbows I will be talking about. Given that crossbows have existed as a hunting tool for millennia, it makes sense that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some styles have all but disappeared, while other crossbow types remain.

The crossbow market is dominated by five distinct styles of crossbows. These styles include one-handed, two-handed, compound, recurve, and reverse-limb crossbows. When it comes to buying one, it’s important to know the difference to identify the right model for you.

It’s also important to note that some crossbows discussed in this article may fit into more categories than one. For example, a one-handed crossbow could also be considered a compound crossbow.

One-handed crossbow

The best crossbow for turkey hunting is a one-handed crossbow. This style is probably the least common of the main crossbow types (I haven’t included one in this list), but it is still worth mentioning. It comes small and compact and is, of course, designed for one-handed usage.

One-handed crossbows can only shoot arrows so far, but they do so with accuracy. Due to their short distance, they are best suited for smaller targets, such as turkeys. They are also sold cheaper than two-handed crossbows.

Two-handed crossbow

Although obvious, it’s worth mentioning that you need two hands to use a two-handed crossbow. Most of the crossbows in this list require two hands in some way.

Two-handed crossbows are bigger, heavier, and more powerful than one-handed crossbows. They are used to take on bigger game, such as deer and moose. They’re also used to shoot targets that are far away, provided they deliver high velocity.

Compound crossbows

Compound crossbows are the easiest to use and are a great choice for beginners. They rely on pulleys to draw the bow string up. With these pulleys doing the work for you, the draw weight is reduced. This not only makes the motions easier but also allows you to focus on other aspects of the crossbow.

You can normally tell a compound crossbow apart from a recurve crossbow based on its limbs. Compound crossbows have shorter limbs that are bendable. In addition to this bendable mechanism, compound crossbows tend to have far more components than recurve crossbows. All these components add up, which is why compound crossbows tend to be heavier than recurve.

Recurve crossbows

A recurve bow features limbs that curve in the opposite direction from your body. They also have fewer components than compound crossbows, which makes them lighter and easier to hold. The fact that these bows curve away from you gives them more power. Both the power stroke and the velocity of the arrow are increased with a recurve bow.

Recurve crossbows do have their downsides, too. For one, you have to manually cock them. Furthermore, they have longer limbs. This second point makes them difficult to maneuver in some situations. It also means a recurve is not the best crossbow for treestand hunting.

Reverse-limb crossbow

Reverse-limb crossbows are like compound crossbows, only in reverse. The limbs can be found at the back instead of the front. This reversal creates more balance and higher shooting speeds. A higher shooting speed is achieved thanks to the fact that the string stays in contact with the bow for the duration of the firing motion.

 

The Best Crossbow for Hunting Overall – Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040

Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040 in predator dusk color

Why I love it:

I love Ravin crossbows generally because they offer incredible max speeds while featuring barely any draw weight. If you’re out to shoot arrows to kill, this is the crossbow for you. Especially so if your hunting trips tend to total hours on end, as your arm won’t get sore with this draw weight.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 450 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 180 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 12.5″
  • Draw Weight: 12 lb
  • Weight: 6.75 lb
  • Overall Length: 29″

Pros:

  • Lightweight crossbow: For being so full of features, the Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow is surprisingly lightweight. At just 6.75 lbs, it’s unlikely to weigh you down when out on the hunting range.
  • Great optics: This is probably the best crossbow for optics power. Each crossbow features Ravin’s 100-yard illuminated 550 scopes. With this, you can scope out anywhere between 30 and 100 yards in front of you. These scopes are also recoiled and shockproof and boast illuminations to help you see in the dark.
  • Powerful: With a max speed of 450 fps, your targets won’t know what hit them. This Ravin hunting crossbow likely has the most powerful velocities on the market.
  • Perfectly balanced: Thanks to Ravin’s HeliCoil cam technology, the bottom and top cams stay in place when shooting. This allows for this crossbow to feel perfectly balanced in your hands. This technology also sends the arrows forward at a pace of 450 FPS.

Cons:

  • Cocking rope required: Unfortunately, you can’t cock this weapon on your own. Once you’ve activated cocking, you need a cocking rope to take care of all consecutive shots. This means that once you start cocking, you can’t stop it.
  • Expensive: Like most Ravin crossbows, the price tag on this model is significant. It currently sells for $2,389. This is significantly more expensive than some of the cheaper crossbows I’ll cover on this list.

Full review:

Going deer hunting? You need a powerful crossbow that can serve you over long periods of time. You need a crossbow that won’t strain your arm through continued use. You need the Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040 Color. This crossbow is as premium as it gets. For a premium price, you’ll never have to invest in a crossbow ever again.

This high-powered machine operates in complete silence. The HeliCoil technology shoots the arrows forward without making the faintest noise. On top of this, the arrow boasts a silent cocking device. This means you can successfully creep up on prey without them having the faintest idea of your presence. Of course, this is what every hunter strives to achieve.

With this technology, this high-speed crossbow can send arrows flying directly within a distance of 60 – 100 yards. This means that the crossbow is more than capable of shooting close range, as well as targets positioned slightly further away.

The optics make lining up your shot easy and hassle-free. Whether you’ve got an eagle eye for target shooting or not, this crossbow feels as though it does most of the work for you!

However, is it the best crossbow for the money? Most likely – if you’re going to get a crossbow, you may as well get the best on the market. Although the $2,000+ price tag may appear intimidating, what you’re paying for is quality.

The likes of the CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow can be bought for less than $1,000; it’s not worth the maintenance involved. You frequently have to change the string and other parts of this less-than-premium bow. If you use your bow regularly, the cost of maintenance will add up.

With the Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow, you pay one price, and that’s it. You won’t need to be constantly changing broken parts.

The only real downside, then, is the rope cocking device. While some may view this component as handy, it gives users less control over the cocking aspect. Some people like cocking each shot themselves, so they view the rope cocking device as lazy. Plus, once you start cocking this device, you cannot stop. This is inconvenient if you lose sight of your target.

 

Best Crossbow for the Money – Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow

Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow in black and white camo

What I love about it:

Wicked Ridge are known for producing budget crossbow kits that provide high-speed shooting. The Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow is the best example of this. It currently sells for under $800!

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 400 FPS
  • Kinetic Energy: 132 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 13.5″
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • Overall Length: 35.5″

Pros:

  • Lightweight overall: Not only is the crossbow itself lightweight, but the draw weight is also easy on the arms.
  • Fast: At a max speed of 400 FPS, you can’t really fault this budget crossbow option.
  • Great for beginners: The Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow is quick to learn and easy to use. If you’ve never used a crossbow to hunt, this is a great crossbow to start with.
  • Great price: Wicked Ridge have a good reputation, but they don’t make their crossbows unaffordable. For under $800, this is the best budget crossbow on the market.

Cons:

  • Creates noise: Hunting is all about stealth, and this crossbow doesn’t always help. It can give off a noise that could potentially alert your target.
  • Weak string: While the overall build of the crossbow is strong, the string is notably weak. If you plan on using your crossbow regularly, you may have to also change the string regularly.

Full review:

This compound crossbow serves every purpose you’ll need from a beginner’s crossbow. Plus, the affordable price makes it a less risky purchase. It’s a great crossbow to test out crossbow hunting with. If you don’t like it as much as gun hunting, you haven’t made too much of a financial loss.

Compound crossbows are simply easier to aim, draw, and shoot. Although it may have a slightly heavier draw weight than standard compound crossbows, it still feels comfortable to use. The Wicked Ridge Invader 400 crossbow gets you used to lighter shooting, as well as more advanced and heavier shooting.

This crossbow comes with Acudraw draw technology. Although this may be shunned by more experienced crossbow users, it makes crank cocking as easy as possible. That’s not to say this crossbow does not teach you any crossbow skills. It definitely runs you through the motions of what you have to do with more advanced models. It’s a great stepping-stone crossbow.

Despite being seen as a beginner compound bow, it’s still mightily powerful. It features a max speed of 400 FPS and kinetic energy of 132 ft.-lbs. This gives it more than enough power for shooting small game. It also makes it one of the best crossbow for elk hunting.

Another good feature of this crossbow is the 5S cam system. This makes cam rotation simple and makes it easier to carry out the power stroke.

Despite its wide profile, the Wicked Ridge Invader is also one of the lightest crossbows around. Its 6 lbs weight makes it ideal for hiking and stalking your prey.

 

The Best Crossbow for Treestand Hunting – CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow

CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow with a slim profile

What I love about it:

The CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow is about as silent as they come. Not only that, but its size and weight make it perfect for aiming and drawing from a treestand. If you’re looking for a tree stand crossbow for under $1,000, you should consider the CenterPoint Wrath 430.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 430 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 164 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 15″
  • Draw Weight: 200 lbs
  • Weight: 8.3 lbs
  • Overall Length: 28.26″

Pros:

  • Quiet: The CenterPoint Wrath 430 provides absolute silence. When hunting close-range, you need absolute silence to guarantee success. Silence is provided by the vibration dampener, string suppressor, and bolt retainer.
  • 100% safe: This CentrePoint model has several safety features in place to ensure your crossbow hunting trip is injury-free. Specifically, the anti-dry-fire stops accidental trigger pulls from occurring. Additionally, a finger guard is in place.
  • Smooth draw: Thanks to the 200 lbs draw weight and the high-grade materials used to build the crossbow, this CenterPoint product provides a comfortable and smooth draw.
  • The foot stirrup folds: You can choose between three levels to fold your foot stirrup to. This can help you to cock the rope and support your hold on the bow.

Cons:

  • Frequent rail waxing: You have to wax the rail a couple of times per hunting session. After every 10 shots, you’ll likely have to wax the rail. This is because the string wears out easily.
  • Heavy: The draw weight may be light, but the bow itself is quite heavy. If you’re hunting involves a lot of holding and waiting, this bow may become a bit painful for your arms.

Full review:

The CenterPoint Wrath 430 fits the bill for a lot of categories. It is very affordable, extremely safe, and offers a smooth draw. Above this, it’s a premium build for tree stand hunting. If you like to get a bit of height for your crossbow hunting, this is a great option. The compact design of this CentrePoint product makes it ideal for use in cramped conditions.

The speed and the strength offered by this bow ensure all your kills are quick and ethical. It features a max speed of 430 fps. This extra 30 fps puts it a cut above standard Wicked Ridge models. This speed ensures your shoots are straighter so that you can hit your target more accurately. It has a much lower drop-off rate than the Wicked Ridge Invader.

Accuracy is further guaranteed thanks to the fixed power scope. This scope features highly visible red and green reticles. These help you focus on your target until you release the arrow. While this arrow produces mixed results in dark conditions, you can definitely still use this power scope when it’s dim.

It reaches this high speed despite its thin profile. Normally, an arrow profile needs to be much thicker to get over 400 fps. However, the CentrePoint gets away with 430 despite having a width of just 9″.

A huge benefit is that you’ll rarely hear a sound from this arrow. This means your prey are less likely to hear you firing at them, no matter how close they are!

One downside is that this CenterPoint bow is quite heavy. At 8.3 lbs, it may put a strain on your arm after a day of hunting. For a more lightweight crossbow, go for the Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow – it’s over 2 lbs lighter!

A further downside is its high maintenance. While all hunting crossbows require some degree of maintenance, this bow needs to be fixed every 10 shots on average. The materials used to make this bow may be slightly cheaper than others on this list. For this reason, you need to wax the rails every 10 shots. You may also need to replace the string regularly.

 

Best Crossbow for Hog Hunting – TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow

TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow in true timber viper camo

What I love about it:

This crossbow offers all you need to score some wild hogs. Specifically, the TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow features ACUdraw and a pro-view scope. It provides you with everything you need to aim and fire accurately at smaller game.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 360 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 115 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 14″
  • Draw Weight: 180 lbs
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs (not including accessories)
  • Overall Length: 30″- 34.9″

Pros:

  • T5 Ambidextrous Trigger pull: This arrow ensures comfort no matter which hand you prefer to pull with. Breaking at around 3.5 pounds, the Titan M1 Crossbow has over half less creep than other TenPoint models.
  • ACUdraw featuring: When you buy the Titan M1 Crossbow on Euroopotic, you get ACUdraw technology with the bow. This technology reduces the amount of effort you need to put into cocking. The cocking device also ensures that you shoot arrows straighter and on-target.
  • Good price: Sold for under $900, it’s a good buy for those looking for a lower-priced crossbow for the money. It may not be the cheapest crossbow on this list, but it’s definitely up there.
  • Fast shooting: Arrows shoot out of this crossbow at an impressively fast rate. The average-sized arrow will shoot at a speed of 370 feet per second.

Cons:

  • Have to assemble it: If you’re looking for a crossbow that’s ready to rock straight out of the box, this isn’t the one for you. When you buy a Titan M1 Crossbow, you’re given the crossbow in pieces. Although it’ll be easy for experienced bowmen to put these parts together, it may prove challenging to those who are new to the sport.
  • Low max speed: At just 360 FPS, the Titan M1 Crossbow is only really designed for close-range shooting. With lower velocity, arrows shot from this crossbow can only travel so far before dropping off. This gives you a limited range.

Full review:

TenPoint is one of the most respected crossbow manufacturers in the U.S. Ohio-based, they’ve been manufacturing crossbows for a while now. They even own Wicked Ridge crossbows. So, you can trust them to know a thing or two about crossbow construction. So, how does the TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow hold up?

It’s definitely a top choice for taking on hogs and smaller game. When shooting smaller animals, you’ll have to move closer to your target than you would for bigger animals. This lightweight crossbow allows you to creep up on your targets easily. Plus, the addition of ACUdraw allows for the draw weight to be lighter and your shots to be better targeted.

Once you release an arrow from the cocking mechanism, it will fly through the air at a speed of 370 feet per second. So, your target will unlikely be able to move an inch during this time.

However, this weapon only really excels at target shooting and killing smaller game. It features a max speed of 360 fps, which is relatively low. Especially when compared to other crossbows on this list, such as the Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040 Color, which features almost 100 fps more.

So, while this TenPoint model will serve you well for killing smaller game, I’d recommend investing in a slightly more powerful crossbow for bigger game. Luckily, the TenPoint is not an expensive piece of kit. So you can justify buying two if you’re serious about hunting.

 

Best Recurve Crossbow for Accuracy – Excalibur Bulldog 440

Excalibur Bulldog 440 with charger in mossy oak camo

What I love about it:

Recurve crossbows are generally favored by hunters looking for a lightweight crossbow that’s easy to use. The Excalibur Bulldog 440 ticks this box and also provides users with one of the best scoping features available. The combination of the R.E.D.S suppressor and the Twilight DLX scope makes this crossbow an awesome choice.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 440 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 200 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 19.5″
  • Draw Weight: 300 lbs
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • Overall Length: 35.75″

Pros:

  • Perfect for scoping: The attached Twilight DLX makes this crossbow perfect for deer hunting, hog hunting, and any other type of hunting you could think of. Excalibur isn’t exactly clear on how much range this gives the recurve crossbow. However, we’d estimate around 6X magnification and 100 yards of vision.
  • R.E.D.S suppressor: This Recoil Energy Dissipation System ensures no noise is created from the Excalibur Bulldog 440. This suppressor is strategically attached and bears the brunt of the string. It prevents vibration, shock, and any form of noise from occurring.
  • Charger EXT Silent Crank System: Not only does this ensure that the system cranks silently, but it also reduces the burden of the draw weight. The significant draw weight of 300 lbs is reduced to 15 lbs of effort thanks to this mechanism.
  • Fast: At 440 fps, you can ensure that this crossbow takes care of business swiftly. Not only is it silent, but it is also totally deadly.

Cons:

  • Difficult to master: Although the Charger EXT can help reduce the draw weight, the crossbow is still challenging to pull. Especially so for newcomers to crossbow hunting. For this reason, we’d recommend this product only to the experienced.
  • Have to assemble it: Unlike some recurve crossbows, this one does not come preassembled. For that reason, you have to put it together yourself. However, if you buy the parts as part of a pack, it comes with a DVD explaining how to build it. This makes constructing the crossbow somewhat easier.

Full review:

Two things that are guaranteed with this deer hunting crossbow are speed and accuracy. Speed comes from the solid build of the crossbow. The impact-resistant composite and lightweight structure of the crossbow are always ready to fire arrows at great distances.

The built-in cranking device ensures this shooting feels comfortable and also convenient. Not only does this take away the cranking responsibility from you, but it also reduces the draw weight significantly.

The second most important component of this crossbow is the Frictionless Roller Catch Technology. This ensures that each arrow slips out of the crossbow smoothly and crisply. With the Recoil Energy Dissipation System also in place, you won’t hear any noise, and you also won’t feel any recoil. This keeps your prey unaware and you unharmed.

In terms of speed, this crossbow delivers 440 fps of arrow-firing power. This is an impressive speed and makes it one of the fastest crossbows on this list. However, it falls slightly behind the Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040 Color by 10 fps.

The crossbow demands a bit of DIY as it does not come constructed. The bow stringer does not come pre-attached, which is probably the most difficult component to put together. Although the Excalibur Bulldog 440 does come with a DVD explaining how to put it together, some may find it difficult.

Currently available for $1,399.99, it is not exactly the cheapest recurve crossbow on the market. However, it is also not the most expensive. So, if you’re looking for a powerful, accurate, and mid-range crossbow, consider the Excalibur Bulldog 440.

 

Best Crossbow for Moose Hunting – BearX Constrictor CDX

BearX Constrictor CDX in TrueTimber Strata camo

What I love about it:

When it comes to taking down moose – or any large type of game, for that matter – you need a crossbow that delivers power. The BearX Constrictor CDX may be compact, but it certainly doesn’t fail to deliver on strength.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 410 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 136.22 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 12.7″
  • Draw Weight: 190 lbs
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • Overall Length: 32″

Pros:

  • Big draw weight: Normally, we’d list draw weight as a con, but not in this case. The draw weight of 190 lbs creates the blistering power you need to take out big game. Without it, you’d have to settle for turkey hunting.
  • Compact and versatile: Its overall length of 32″ makes it a top choice for all crossbow hunting trips. Whether you’re trailing on the ground or up a tree stand, you can easily maneuver this crossbow to your advantage. Whether you’re in a tight space or out in the open, this crossbow will never work against you.
  • Some degree of scoping power: The BearX Constrictor CDX delivers the very basics in scoping. With adjustable lighting and a red/green reticle, you can definitely use it to scope out some big game.
  • Adjustable: Several parts of this crossbow are adjustable to allow you to use it with maximum comfort. Specifically, the buttstock and cheekpiece can be altered.

Cons:

  • Lacks automatic cocking device: When it comes to cocking, you’re on your own. Although some people prefer cocking by themselves, this is a disadvantage for some.
  • Heavy: 9 lbs is undeniably heavy for a crossbow. This may not be a bother to some but could cause strain for others.

Full review:

The BearX Constrictor CDX is truly a one-size-fits-all crossbow. Users can adjust the buttstock and cheekpiece to make the crossbow as comfortable as possible. This makes it ideal for longer hunting trips with plenty of action.

Comfort is furthered by the smooth trigger pull. Plus, there’s an anti-dry-fire mechanism in place. This all adds up and ensures that the crossbow won’t cause you any discomfort or, in the worst cases, injury.

The only thing that’ll likely cause you discomfort is the weight of this crossbow. Clocking in at 9 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than the Ravin R29X and the Wicked Ridge Invader 400. While this is fine for hunting trips that involve staying in the same position, it may become a bit annoying if you have to do a lot of walking. At least this weight proves it has a solid build.

However, parts of the crossbow can be loosened and moved to make carrying easier. For example, the quiver can be moved when not in use.

Other benefits of the BearX Constrictor CDX include the impressive 136 ft.-lbs of kinetic energy. This bone-crushing power is enough to take down any big game, moose and deer especially. At 410 fps, you’re also granted a decent range with this hunting crossbow. You’ll be able to shoot moose from about 30-4o yards away with full power.

Like most other crossbows, the BearX Constrictor also comes with several safety features in place, including an anti-dry-fire trigger.

It wouldn’t be fair of me to argue that the BearX Constrictor CDX has the best scoping mechanism on the market. Its scope features a red/green reticle which you can adjust depending on the light conditions outside. This isn’t exactly unique or amazing. However, what more do you really need? It’s definitely enough to scope moose and deer.

 

Best Crossbow for Deer Hunting – Killer Instinct Fatal X Crossbow

Killer Instinct Fatal X Crossbow with minimal camo

What I love about it:

Killer Instinct truly lives up to its name with the Fatal X Crossbow. With killer optics, a 3.5-pound trigger, and an arrow speed of 405 fps, you’re sure to have a successful deer hunting season with this crossbow.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 405 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 142 ft-lbs
  • Power Stroke: 13.5″
  • Draw Weight: 195 lbs
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs
  • Overall Length: 29.75 – 31.50″

Pros:

  • Slimline optics: The narrow build of the optics doesn’t add a lot of weight to the crossbow. Still, its size doesn’t mean it lacks cutting-edge features.
  • Quick cocking: The Rapid Draw Crank (RDC) allows you to cock your crossbow quickly and silently. If you suddenly catch a glimpse of a deer in the distance, you can have your crossbow ready within seconds.
  • Easy assembly: If you want to learn how to build a crossbow, this weapon will show you the ropes. Although the weapon arrives in parts, everything fits together logically.
  • Good price: It’s currently available for $679.99, making it another solid budget option.
  • Slim build: At just 31.50″ at full length, this is one of the most compact crossbows in terms of total length.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t feature decocking: You’ll have to decock this weapon yourself as there is no decocking feature in place.
  • Limb fails frequently: This crossbow seems to have a problem with limb failure.

Full review:

This is a great option for the whitetail hunter looking for a crossbow that fires with power and accuracy. When deer hunting, you never know when deer may appear. They’re also one of the fastest animals around. So, you need a fast-acting arrow that’s easy to use.

Whenever you catch a glimpse of a deer, you can activate the Rapid Draw Crank (RDC). This sets up the crossbow within seconds, ready to fire at your target. Once set up, you can use the LUMIX 4×32 IR-E optics to zoom in on your target. Once locked in, you can use this crossbow to shoot arrows at a speed of 405 fps.

The LUMIX 4×32 IR-E scope may appear narrow, but it still offers fantastic optics. The rheostat brightness illumination can be set to red or blue and can help you catch deer in dim and dark conditions.

The fast-focus eyepiece and 1-inch monotube make for unparalleled clarity. Even on foggy and rainy days, the optics remain clear. This makes it one of the most accurate crossbow designs on the market today.

It’s not only the scope that’s narrow. The whole build doesn’t measure up to much. With a max overall length of 31.50″, this means it’s shorter than the Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow and the Excalibur Bulldog 440. In terms of axle-to-axle size, it only measures 9.75″ undocked. Overall, this makes it a compact and lightweight build that’s easy to carry.

The main drawbacks of this product are that it doesn’t feature a decocking mechanism and that the limb fails often. The former isn’t much of a major issue, but the latter is. It’s a good idea to have replacement parts handy should your crossbow suffer from a broken string. You also need to learn how to replace the limb should it snap.

 

Best Long Distance Crossbow – Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR

Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR in black and realtree edge camo

What I like about it:

The Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR is capable of hitting targets positioned 100 yards away.

Specs:

  • Velocity/max speed: 410 fps
  • Power Stroke: 16.625″
  • Draw Weight: 250 lbs
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs
  • Overall Length: 30.5″

Pros:

  • Close-range shooting: Not only does this crossbow offer superb long-distance shooting, but it also does a good job of close-range shooting. I’d say it’s as good at 30-yard shooting as it is at 100-yard shooting.
  • De-cocking made easy: This crossbow features the Benchmark Fire Control safety feature. This makes decocking as simple as a push of a button.
  • Less cocking weight: While the overall draw weight is 200 lbs, the cocking effort only requires 40 lbs. This is mainly thanks to the cocking rope.
  • Attachable cocking crank: This rope cocking device can be attached to make cocking and drawing this crossbow even easier. This mechanism is known as the Removable Silent Draw (RSD).
  • Available in two colors: If you’re fussy about how your crossbow looks, this weapon is available in both Black and Realtree Edge.

Cons:

  • More distance, less velocity: At a velocity of 410 fps, this crossbow doesn’t exactly fire the fastest arrows on this list. It can be assumed that Mission Crossbows wanted to focus more on distance rather than speed.
  • Bad quiver placement: If you’re not careful, the quiver could poke your eye when in the standard position.
  • The rope cocking device: While this device is handy for some, it doesn’t help everyone out. Those with bad shoulders may struggle to use it.

Full review:

Being able to send a crossbow 100 yards in front of you at a speed of 410 fps is very impressive. This is exactly what the Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR does. This means that you can send arrows flying through the air at a super fast speed right into your target.

Not only that, but it makes this 410 fps speed flexible. No matter if the deer you’re stalking is 50 yards or 100 yards away, you can penetrate the shoulder of the deer using this weapon. A lot of the power comes down to the Syn X.

With this kind of distance, it has to be the best long-range crossbow around. We’d say the only competition to the Sub-1 XR would be our favorite crossbow overall, Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040. While the Ravin R29X is capable of reaching 100 yards in front, its accuracy isn’t guaranteed like the Sub-1 XR.

Locating your target is also made simple thanks to the Hawke Pro Scope that comes with this crossbow. It offers a good magnification of 3-9, allowing you to examine movements in the distance easily.

The weight of this crossbow is OK. At 7.6 lbs, it isn’t the heaviest, nor is it the lightest. It’s lighter to hold than the CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow and the BearX Constrictor CDX. However, it’s heavier than the likes of the Wicked Ridge Invader 400 and the Excalibur Bulldog 440.

Overall, if you’re looking for a far-shooting crossbow for the money, this is a good option. It’s currently sold for $1,879 in Realtree Edge and $1,739 in Black. So, we’d consider this a mid-range crossbow.

 

Considerations When Buying a Crossbow for Hunting

So, now I’ve provided you with my top 8 choices for crossbows, all you’ve got to do is pick one. However, how do you know which one is right for you? In this section, I’ll highlight the main considerations you should make before purchasing a crossbow for hunting.

The cocking mechanism

As highlighted in this article, there are two main cocking mechanisms. A crank cocking device makes the whole thing easier. It does most of the draw pulling for you, meaning you don’t have to strain over the draw weight. With a crank, a high draw weight won’t really matter, as you’ll never have to lift it all.

Alternatively, the old-fashioned rope cocking mechanism is still widely used. They don’t take as much draw weight off as a crank cocking device, but they still remove about 50% of it.

So, pick your mechanism based on how easy you want the cocking to be.

Speed

Ideally, you want a crossbow that can fire arrows at a speed of at least 260 feet per second (fps). Obviously, a higher speed of 300+ would be ideal if your target is far away. So, if you often hunt for deer or moose, choose a crossbow with a high velocity. If you prefer hunting at close range, a speed of 260 fps will suffice.

Weight

Weight should be one of your primary concerns, as it could benefit or hinder your bowhunting trip. If you go on long stalking trips and cover great distances on foot, you’ll need a lighter crossbow. I’d recommend a recurve bow that weighs around 7 lbs. However, if you spend a lot of your hunting trips in a stationary position, a heavier compound crossbow would be fine.

Accessories and compatibility

I’d say that a crossbow isn’t worth it if it doesn’t come with a decent-quality scope. By decent quality, I mean one that can illuminate your hunting range, even in dingy conditions. Additionally, it’s worth making sure that the scope can be swapped out for a better one should you need it.

 

How I Choose the Best Crossbow for Hunting

If you’re wondering how I personally judge the quality of a hunting crossbow, I weigh each product up against the following three categories:

Noise cancellation

While some of the models I’ve featured in this do make some noise, I strive to only pick the quietest crossbows on the market. In a hunting situation, you’re not doing yourself any favors by using a crossbow that makes a sound that’ll alert animals.

Before I buy a crossbow, I make sure that the manufacturer has made some effort to make it silent. For example, if they’ve included a Recoil Energy Dissipation System, then I’d consider buying the crossbow.

Materials used

Although most crossbows feature plastic parts, I tend to avoid crossbows that rely heavily on plastic. Obviously, metal parts are more durable and don’t break as easily. With plastic crossbows, you’ll probably have to replace parts frequently. Or, in worst cases, hand them in for repairs.

However, plastic is lighter, which makes it easier to carry. So, it’s important to get the balance right. If you’re looking for a long-term crossbow, make sure it features a sturdy metal build. I’d specifically make sure that the arrow track is made of aluminum.

Price

As always, the price should reflect what you intend to use the crossbow for. It should also depend on how much you’re willing to spend. Of course, you can get a great quality crossbow for a high price. However, you can also get great crossbows at mid-range and even budget prices.

On the whole, I wouldn’t recommend going below $500 if you want a good quality discount crossbow. At the same time, I wouldn’t recommend going over the $2,500 mark for a high-end crossbow.

 

FAQs

Which company makes the best quality crossbows?

Ravin normally tops the list of the best manufacturers of hunting crossbows. However, other major players in the hunting crossbow game include Barnett, TenPoint, Excalibur, Wicked Ridge, and Killer Instinct.

Are crossbows still accurate at 100 yards?

Not all crossbows are designed to reach distances of 100 yards. However, the Ravin R29X and the Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR are designed for long-range shooting. These crossbows are more than capable of hitting a shot on target at a 100-yard distance. Still, this doesn’t mean that anyone can pick up a Ravin crossbow and shoot at a 100-yard target. Practice is necessary!

 

Last Tips on Crossbows for Hunting

No two crossbows are the same. Skill may be the most important factor in crossbow hunting. However, the build and features of the crossbow itself play a major part in the success of your hunt. My favorite crossbow overall is the Ravin R29X Tactical Crossbow R040. It’s my favorite because it combines high speed with high power. It’s also one of the lightest models available.

However, before buying a Ravin, you should consider the other models I’ve included in this list. The Mission Crossbows Sub-1 XR is the best for distance, while TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow is the best crossbow for hog hunting. Consider what you really need the crossbow for first before you buy one. Each of the 8 I’ve included in this list serves a unique purpose.

 

 

 

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Jack Simons

Jack is a retired policeman who loves spending his free time around weapons and hunting across the state of Colorado with friends. His goal is to help newcomers find their way into the world of guns & hunting as well as review all the current best products and accessories for bow and rifle hunting.

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