Due to changes in hunting laws across the country, the crossbow’s popularity has surged since 2013. In the past few years, lots of hunting companies have devoted lots of energy to producing the best crossbows on the market. However, as the selection of weapons grows wider and wider, it has become increasingly difficult to determine which are really worth the money, let alone which one is the best for your needs.
We’ve come to the rescue! We put serious time and effort into researching all the options on the market today. After studying the features, specs, and technical info for countless bows,we undertook a huge analysis of reviews from previous buyers, to find out how these models stack up in the real world.
In the end, we’ve narrowed down our list to the top 3 ultimate shooters, based on features, price, and user reviews. Read on to find out what you should consider before purchasing your own!
First, take a quick look at our current most popular recommendations:
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Overall Top 3 Crossbows Reviewed
With a shooting speed of 410 FPS, the Barnett Ghost 410 is one of the most powerful crossbows you can own. This, combined with its superb accuracy, 180 lb. draw weight, light weight of 7.3 lbs., and short axle-to-axle length of 19-7/8”makes it is perfect for hunting, especially when stuck in a small place looking for large game. It has a flawless string latch and trigger system, which gives you a very fast and smooth release with each shot. includes everything needed for quick assembly, and allows for such a high level of speed that you are certain to hit your target before they ever hear a sound. It retails for around $850 and includes a 3×32 scope, talon sling, quiver, rope cocking device, and 3 arrows.
Reviewers have nothing but good things to say about this bow. Hunters reported that it’s easy to carry, feels rugged and durable, and is super easy to set up and take down for tuneups. Many reviewers wrote that with a bit or regular maintenance, they firmly expected this weapon to last indefinitely.
In the field, it performs far above its price class. This bow can take down rabbits and other small game past 200 yards, and it’s powerful enough to take larger game at close range. Many hunters remarked that one of the most important hunting feature on this bow isn’t actually a specific component, but the overall weight, which makes carrying this through the woods and getting set up for your shot a cinch.
Featuring Excalibur’s Ergo-Grip technology, as well as Compact Recurve Technology, the Matrix 355 is comfortable to hold and doesn’t leave you with aching shoulders after a long day. Recently redesigned for improved performance, it is lightweight (5.4 lbs.), compact, and produces less noise than older versions. It is easy to use, accurate, and deadly at distances well over 70 ft. It has a shooting speed of 355 FPS and a high draw weight of 240 lbs. However, it can be easily and smoothly cocked using the included rope cocking aid. It is priced at slightly less than $900 and includes “Kolorfusion” applied Realtree Xtra Camo, four arrows, a Quad-Loc riser, and the rope cocking aid.
We like it because it’s very smooth and easy to draw, especially given the higher draw weight. It’s also a compact, simple design like the Barnett. That means very little risk of breakages, and a lifetime of low maintenance operation.
Previous buyers had lots of praise for the Matrix 355. Many raved about the accuracy of this weapon, and said it made an ideal target practice choice, as well as a very reliable hunting companion. That accuracy comes from the combination of excellent balance, a high-end scope, and the simple firing mechanism. It’s easy to find and hold your target, and the smooth release makes it easier to fire without disrupting your angle. Like the Barnett, it’s relatively lightweight and small, which made it a popular choice among smaller shooters and women.
Considered to be one of the best crossbows for those new to the sport looking for an affordable option, the Barnett Jackal is comfortable to use and features a cool design reminiscent of the military. We’re impressed by the power factor, more than anything else. Although it has a lower draw weight (150 lbs.) than many other models, it has a FPS of 315. As a result, it can be easily used for target practice, but it is also quite apt at taking out large game from distances of 50 ft. or more! Previous buyers who took the Jackal hunting reported taking 250lb game with ease.
It can be assembled in less than 10 minutes, features an automatic safety to prevent dry firing, and is constructed from high-quality materials. We’re also impressed by the price, which is less than $3o0. The package includes a detachable quiver, quiver attachment platform, a tube of wax, and three arrows. With all its great features, we consider it to be the number one high-value for the money choice from Barnett in our best barnett crossbow reviews article. Plus, since it’s so durable, many reviewers said that after years of use, it still fired like when they first bought it.
The Jackal receives high praise from reviewers for being an affordable option in a high-priced market. Novice reviewers said that while they bought it with modest expectations, they were surprised to find that it was actually quite a good weapon. While it’s marketed for affordability, it’s a light, maneuverable model with good performance and solid construction. Plus, it looks great!
The Top 3 Best Cheap Crossbows Under $500
Finding a high-quality, durable and affordable option for less than $500 can be a challenge. With so many different models to choose from, it’s hard to know exactly which ones are the best and which ones just cheapos.
We’ve done the work for you, and weeded out the ones that are a waste of time and money, resulting in our list of The Top 3 Best Cheap Crossbows Under $500!
3. Jaguar CR-013 Series Crossbow 175 lbs. Spring
Priced under $300, the Jaguar CR-013 Series Crossbow 175 lbs. Spring is our #3 choice for The Top 3 Best Cheap Crossbows Under $500. This one is a great value at this price, and includes a 30 millimeter red dot sight, as well as a shoulder strap for comfort and stability when shooting.
This powerhouse fires at speeds of 245 ft. per second, and has a 34.5 inch length. The Jaguar CR-013 Series includes a total of four 16 inch bolts, seven level brightness adjustment, and is a composite stock rifle style model made from fiberglass. The Jaguar CR-013 Series is available in your choice of black or camo finishes.
This one makes a great bow for beginners or for those on a budget. We highly recommend it.
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2. Barnett Penetrator Crossbow
With a full five-star rating, the Barnett Penetrator Crossbow is highly recommended by its owners, and is available as a package that includes a Quiver, 3-20-Inch Arrows and a 4x32mm Scope. Priced under $500, we feel that this one is a great value.
The Barnett Penetrator is powerful, and provides an easy to use, accurate shot. Its innovative design delivers a shoot-through foot stirrup, in addition to a 12-inch power stroke that’s capable of firing at speeds as high as 350 ft. per second.
The Penetrator delivers a 175 lb. draw weight, and uses 20-inch arrows. It provides 116 foot pounds of energy, and measures 37 inches long by 24 inches wide. You’ll also receive a manufacturer’s limited five-year warranty with your purchase.
1. Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow
Our #1 pick for The Best Cheap Crossbow Under $500 is the Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow. This one comes as a package that includes a Quiver, 3 – 22-Inch Arrows and your choice of a 4x32mm Scope or a premium 3 Dot Red Dot Scope, all for under $400.
The Quad 400 was redesigned to include new features in order to maintain its reputation as one of shooters’ favorite bows. The Barnett Quad 400 shoots at a speed of 345 ft. per second, has a 150 lbs. draw weight, and 112 ft. pounds of energy with a 15.5 inch power stroke. The Quad 400 features a 9 lb. weight, 37 inch length, and a 26.75 inch width.
The Best Beginner CrossbowCarbon Express 20254 Black, CX-3 SL+Crossbow Kit
This Carbon Express package was rated best for beginners by Field and Stream in 2015, and we’re still loving it in 2016. It combines elements of a crossbow and a rifle, for a simple, easy-to-learn design.
We love the compact spread which is only 13.5″ wide when cocked. It’s also a lighter weapon, at 7 pounds. Both the size and the weight make it an ideal choice for people who aren’t used to hauling around crossbows or aiming with something this wide.
We love the hybrid barrel, which uses a picatinny trail like you’d find on a modular rifle. It allows for a custom grip, and the trigger assembly provides the strength of a bow assembly with the feel of a handgun.
It also comes with a rope-pull tool for getting things cocked and ready to go. That’s super helpful for new shooters, who won’t be used to a 175 pound pull weight.
We especially like that although it’s designed to be used by new shooters, it doesn’t skimp on the power. This is a weapon you can actually take hunting. It’s powerful enough to achieve a 355 feet per second flight speed, which is enough to bring down serious game. Unlike lots of other entry-level options, this one will grow with you from the practice yard to the field.
Best of all, it’s covered by a 5-year warranty. That’s more than enough to protect your investment through the learning curve.
The Ultimate Buying Guide: How to Choose
Now that you have narrowed down your options, it is time to decide which option is the best one for you.
According to expert archers, there are several things to consider prior to making your final decision. The most important factors are cost, draw weight, arrow speed, and the power of the scope. Let’s explore these features more closely to see how they impact your final decision.
*Remember that if you are purchasing one of these for the first time, you will need more than just the weapon. Arrows, a cocking device, a quiver, and a target are essential. The products we’ve listed above include all these things with the exception of a target.
•Draw weight is the amount of pull that is required to get ready to fire. Most states have established regulations regarding which draw weights are acceptable for hunting. While this amount varies, it is typically between 75 and 200 lbs. This is an adequate range for hunting small deer to larger bucks. In addition, several states have considered enforcing a maximum draw weight. (Ohio already has a 200 lb. limit in place.) Most high-quality choices used for hunting have a draw weight range of 150 to 175 lbs. As the draw weight increases, the bow’s power and speed improves. Most manufacturers incorporate cocking devices to assist hunters in drawing the bow. They can halve the effort required to cock the weapon.
•Measured in FPS, flight or arrow speed affects the size of the game you can take down and improves your accuracy. For hunting with a bow, it is recommended that you have at least 300 FPS. This is adequate for taking out large game and makes it much easier to get off an accurate shot. For a more detailed explanation of choosing the right speed for your needs, check out this video:
•A good scope is imperative if you want to have an accurate shot and position yourself far enough away that you cannot be detected by your prey. When looking at scopes, determine the range you will need. Smaller game are best tracked when a short- or mid-range distance scope is used. Make certain that the scope fits properly and does not get in your way. For a detailed account of how to choose the best scope, check this out:
The Ultimate Crossbow
As we did our research, we kept searching for the model we could dub “The Ultimate Crossbow.” After looking at dozens of models from different brands, offshoots, and special makers, we think we’ve found the ultimate choice!TenPoint Venom Crossbow with ACU50
The Ten Point Venom has made the top of the Editor’s Choice list in Petersen’s Hunting, Fish and Game, and other periodicals for the past few years. It’s a smart, technical crossbow with some truly fantastic features. It has a carbon-fiber barrel, for the ideal balance of strength and light weight. It has a modified cable system that produces over 370 fps arrow speed, which is one of the best on the market. And even with all that power, it’s incredibly compact and maneuverable. The whole thing is less than 36″ long, and has a very manageable 13.3″ width when it’s cocked. It also comes with a deluxe scope, carbon fiber arrows, adn an onboard crank-cock system. Overall, previous buyers and professional reviewers simply raved about what a pleasure this one is to shoot. We don’t think you can do any better!
While this is a premium-priced bow, it’s loaded with premium features and premium performance. It’s also backed up by a lifetime warranty, from a company that has an excellent reputation for customer service. Our take: If you can make it happen, go for it! You’d be hard pressed to find a better investment!
See more of our favorite Ten Point models, and learn more about why the brand is consistently rated best on the market in our special guide of TenPoint crossbow reviews !
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Also check out our brand reviews, TenPoint crossbow reviews and Parker crossbow reviews, where we discuss what each brand is known for, and we compare the highest-value crossbows that each brand manufactures.