If it’s your first foray in the archery sport, choosing the right crossbow might seem like a daunting task. There’s a ton of options and without knowing the criteria by which to choose, you can end up with a crossbow you’ll be disappointed in. So here are some recommendations what to look for before making a purchasing decision.
Weight of the Crossbow
That’s essential for how easy and comfortable will it be for you to hold the crossbow. If you will be using it for hunting and will be doing a lot of long distance walking, you might want to look for a more lightweight crossbow. However, keep in mind that the benefit of heavier weight is a more steady aim. But with good practice, you can become just as accurate with a lighter one.
Most crossbows have the draw weight range between 75 and 200 pounds. The draw weight refers to the amount of force that is required to cock the crossbow. Higher draw weight means a more deadly shot. For hunting it’s recommended to not go below 150 pounds. Depending on what you will be hunting, you might need it higher. For target shooting lower weight will be fine.
Keep in mind though how much you can physically draw back. To make this process easier and to be able to draw heavier weight you can use an aid such as a rope cocking device.
Velocity is the speed that the arrow can travel and which measures feet per second. The speed is usually determined by the combination of the crossbow’s draw weight and the weight of the used arrows. A lighter arrow will travel faster compared to a heavier one. The package of the crossbows usually includes arrows of certain weight. In the specifications of the crossbow you will find the velocity, which is calculated using the arrows of the same weight as the included ones in the package.
Power stroke refers to the distance between the loose position of the string and its cocked position. Usually the stroke ranges between 10 and 14 inches. A higher stroke will make the shot more powerful. However, it’s not such an important feature to consider. More important is the draw weight, and the stroke should just have proper adjustment to it.
If you want a deadlier shot, look for a higher energy output. It depends on the draw weight and the power stroke of the crossbow. So for the higher energy output, the crossbow should have a longer power stroke and a higher draw weight. So there will be more energy transferred from the string to the arrow when you release it.
These are the main features to look for. Depending on your physical ability and what you will be using the crossbow for, one or the other model will be more suitable for you. So if you will be hunting with the crossbow, you would want a more powerful one. And for target shooting and beginner archers, on the other hand, a lighter and lower draw weight crossbow would do just fine.
If you’ll want more tips or still not sure which crossbow to choose, you can check out the Archer’s Café. They have the best crossbow models listed and reviewed there. They also give advice which crossbows are best for hunting, which are better for just target shooting, as well as other useful advice.