- 1 Top 10 Crossbows Reviews
- 2 Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow
- 3 Barnett Ghost 350 CRT Crossbow
- 4 Excalibur Matrix 380 Xtra Crossbow
- 5 Barnett Jackal Crossbow
- 6 Carbon Express 20261 Intercept Axon
- 7 Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme CRT
- 8 TenPoint C13004-7411 Vapor
- 9 Barnett Wildcat C5
- 10 Arrow Precision Inferno Fury
- 11 SA Sports Fever
- 12 Crossbow Buying Guide
- 13 Crossbow Parts
- 14 Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Crossbow
- 15 The Bottom Line
Hi there! My name is Jason and if you’ve come across my website, I presume that you are looking for a crossbow that will enhance your hunting experience. If you are also just looking for tips and information that will allow you to understand how crossbows work and its features, as well as tips on how to find the right one for yourself, then you have come to the right place.
Crossbows have been used since ancient China. Today, they have become more powerful and more accurate. There is a great variety of crossbows available on the market suitable for different levels of skill. Due to this and also if you are only a beginner, selecting the best crossbow for the money can be not the easiest task. To make it easier for you and to save the many hours of search, I have combined my knowledge of them and research of the models available in 2016, and have narrowed it down to top ten crossbows. To help you understand if one or the other crossbow would be more suitable for you, I have compiled crossbow reviews, which you can check under the comparison chart below.
- Barnett Ghost 350 CRT
- Draw weight: 175
- Velocity: 350
- Power stroke: 12
- Weight: 7.5
- Excalibur Matrix 380
- Draw weight: 260
- Velocity: 380
- Power stroke: 13.1
- Weight: 5.9
- Excalibur Axiom SMF
- Draw weight: 175
- Velocity: 305
- Power stroke: 14.5
- Weight: 5.8
- Barnett Jackal
- Draw weight: 150
- Velocity: 315
- Power stroke: 12
- Weight: 7.7
- Carbon Express Axon
- Draw weight: 175
- Velocity: 360
- Power stroke: 13.5
- Weight: 8.3
Top 10 Crossbows Reviews
Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow
Excalibur Exiom SMF is a middle priced top rated crossbow and it’s one of the top crossbows in its price range. Excalibur Axiom SMF features 305 feet per second bolt velocity. The draw weight on the recurve limbs and it combines that with a 14.5 inch power stroke. This crossbow will suit both hunters that are just starting or practice shooters and more professional ones. Its design was created with the hunter in mind and for that, it comes with ergonomic features, such as the low recoil and a rope cocking aid.
The crossbow weighs only 6 pounds, so it won’t weigh you down considerably if you do a lot of walking during your hunting. It’s also very powerful, so you can take down whatever game you are hunting for, be it moose, bear or elk. You can even kill it if you shoot from a close enough position. For hunting in low lighting conditions, the model features a multiplex crossbow scope that gives you a great view of the target. It comes with four arrows and a quiver.
Barnett Ghost 350 CRT Crossbow
This model is one of the lightest in the Barnett’s line of crossbows, though it still is heavier compared to the Excalibur Axiom model. To provide light weigh of the crossbow Barnett has used Carbon Riser Technology (CRT). It’s ultralight and at the same time super strong. This technology removes the weight from the front end of the crossbow and places it at the end of the stock at the center of gravity. So all this makes it easier to shoulder and carry it.
Ghost 350 CRT also has a shorter power stroke measuring 12 inches. The draw weight for this particular crossbow is 175 pounds, which won’t produce quite as good speed as the Axiom crossbow, but it still gives an impressive 350 FPS speed firing velocity.
For providing an accurate and smooth shot, it features Whiplash cams, Crosswire strings, and Anti-Dry Fire metal injection molding trigger. The package of the Ghost 350 CRT also includes a rope cocking device, 3 arrows and a quiver.
Excalibur Matrix 380 Xtra Crossbow
One more of the top rated crossbows are also presented by the Excalibur brand. This model gives you the equal functionality and reliability that you would get in a recurve bow. But Matrix 380 offers in a compact package and provides significantly faster speed of the arrows.
This reliable crossbow is the most quiet, compact and the most powerful crossbow among the ones that are offered by Excalibur. It’s also the fastest crossbow on this list and provides impressive speed of up to 380 FPS. Since this model is lighter, it’s also shorter and narrower. Weighing 5.9 pounds, it still delivers 112.3 pounds of kinetic energy.
The draw weight of the Excalibur Matrix 380 is 260 pounds with the power stroke measuring 13.1 inches. It can’t be dry-fired. It provides good balance, quiet shooting and easy cocking. And, according to many archers this is the most accurate crossbow they have used.
Barnett Jackal Crossbow
The Barnett Jackal model is also relatively lightweight. Weighing 7.7 pounds it gives you more balance and a more accurate shot. The power of the unit also makes it a great weapon for any hunter. As for speed, it gives 315 FPS, provided by the 150-pound draw weight, 3.5-pound trigger pull and 12 inches power stroke. To provide such fast speed, Barnett Jackal features a combination of synthetic cable system, high energy wheels and quad limbs.
Barnett Jackal offers an ergonomic design with a military-style stock and a divided grip that provides comfortable hand placement. Other great features of the crossbow include 95 foot pounds of energy, AVI bolt retainer and AVI foot stirrup. The package of the Barnett Jackal includes a quiver, three arrows and a single red dot scope.
Carbon Express 20261 Intercept Axon
The Carbon Express 20261 Axon was designed to fit different shooting style and for use in different situations. It’s a customizable crossbow that comes with the top of the line accessories that provide you with ultimate shooting experience.
One of its standout features is the Picatinny design platform. This is a patent-pending system that accommodates most commercial and military spec AR parts. The Picatinny rail measures 29 inches, which gives you unlimited customization for your specific hunting situation and shooting style.
The trigger pull weight is 3.5 pounds, which also features an Anti Fry Fire mechanism. The power stroke’s length is 13.5 inches and 175 pounds of draw weight. The combination of these Axon crossbow specifications provides an immense speed of the shot of 360 FPS and 122 foot pound of kinetic energy. The high power makes it one of the best hunting crossbow models for the money.
- Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme
- Draw weight: 185
- Velocity: 365
- Power stroke: 13.375
- Weight: 7.1
- TenPoint Vapor
- Draw weight: 165
- Velocity: 360
- Power stroke: 15.5
- Weight: 7
- Barnett Wildcat C5
- Draw weight: 150
- Velocity: 320
- Power stroke: 13
- Weight: 8.5
- Arrow Precision Inferno Fury
- Draw weight: 175
- Velocity: 235
- Power stroke: 10.5
- Weight: 4.84
- SA Sports Fever
- Draw weight: 175
- Velocity: 240
- Power stroke: 11.5
- Weight: 4.84
Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme CRT
Barnett BCX Buck Commander is also one of the relatively lightweight units, weighing 7.1 pounds. Its compact and lightweight design makes it also suitable for hunters that do a lot of walking. Its weight allows you to balance well the crossbow for a more accurate and precise shot. It provides blazing speed of 365 FPS, which in combination with an accurate shot can take down almost any game. This model was introduced by the Barnett brand in 2013 and has gained good popularity since appearing on the market.
The power and force of the shot is provided by the 185 pounds of draw weight and 13.375 inches of power stroke. What you get is 118 foot pounds of kinetic energy.
TenPoint C13004-7411 Vapor
TenPoint brand is known for designing reliable crossbows that incorporate technologies with best standards for safety, durability, power, precision engineering and performance. The design of TenPoint Vapor is made with focus on speed, reduction of weight and maneuverability. It features parallel limbs, which allowed reducing the axle-to-axle dimensions, so it’s a perfect unit for carrying in the field while hunting the game. With its 360 FPS and 121 foot pounds of kinetic energy and if you get a precise shot, will allow you taking down almost any game you are hunting. The power of the shot is also provided by the 165 pounds of draw weight.
It features high quality cables that should last a long time before needing a replacement. The 7-pound weight is also perfect for allowing good balancing of the unit before a shot and also not too heavy if you will need to carry it a lot. For cocking the crossbow, TenPoint Vapor features an ACUdraw mechanism. On machined aluminum mount it features a RangeMaster Pro Schope. The crossbow comes with 3 arrows included and a quiver.
Wildcat C5 is one of the bestselling Barnett crossbows. It is built with both performance and comfort in mind. For comfort it’s made lightweight. It features a GAM stock composite, which makes the unit only 8.5 pounds of weight. This model is lower on our list since compared to other models we mention above, it’s a bit heavier and it’s less powerful. The draw weight of Wildcat C5 is 150 pounds and the power stroke measures 13 inches. The firing velocity of the unit is 320 FPS, which gives 91 foot pounds of kinetic energy.
Its features include vented quad limbs, thumbhole grip and high energy Veloci-Speed wheels. The Crosswire string and cable system is made to last a long time. The device does not come with a cocking device, but you can purchase it separately and easily install it into the built into the innovative crank attachment.
Arrow Precision Inferno Fury
Arrow Precision Inferno Fury is a perfect option for a budget minded buyer. It’s also a good alternative to larger and heavier units. The price and the light weight make it a great choice for first time crossbow hunters. The package comes at an affordable price, but fully equipped. For its price, it also provides good power and accuracy of the shot. With 175-pound draw weight and 10.5 inches power stroke, the arrow speed it makes is 225 FPS. Compared to pricier crossbows, this might not seem that impressive. However, for a beginner it’s quite powerful and accurate.
The trigger comes with an anti-dry fire mechanism and a thumb guard as a safety feature. For cocking the device, you can simply put the foot into the stirrup. The package comes fully equipped with red dot scope, 4 arrow, a quickly detachable quiver, bolts and rope cocker for making the cocking procedure easier.
SA Sports Fever
SA Sports Fever is also the better option for you if what you are looking for in a crossbow is light weight. It weighs only 4.85. So this and the previous model are the most lightweight crossbows on our list. Its draw weight is 175 pounds. It doesn’t produce tremendous speed and the shot speed will be only up to 240 FPS. Not the best speed for serious hunters, but good for a beginner. It’s lightweight and compact. One of its benefits is also the inclusion of ambidextrous auto safety feature. For conveniently cocking the device, you can use the stirrup that can accommodate even a large boot style foot.
I’m not a professional crossbow hunter, but I have been using them for many years. So I have become somewhat of an expert. During that vast experience I have gained quite a lot of knowledge of their different features and understanding of different types of bows. From the start of using crossbows I was always looking for the best products in this industry. There’s such a big variety available, that for an inexperienced archer it might not be such an easy task finding the right one. Creating this website, I wanted to share my knowledge and experience in the hope that you will be able to benefit from it.
Before purchasing, however, check your state’s regulations and laws regarding the use of crossbows and make sure that it is allowed.
Crossbow Buying Guide
Crossbows are becoming increasingly popular among hunters. They are great for both beginners and serious hunters. Choosing the right crossbow, you should take into account not just its speed, but its other features as well. If you are having a difficult time finding the best crossbow with reliable performance, checking crossbow reviews can be very helpful. Also, in my buying guide I’m sharing tips and advice on what to consider and what to look for. Below I have made a list of features and factors to consider before you making your final choice of the crossbow.
Before I go into what to look for, I will first mention the basic crossbow components and parts. If you are a beginning user of crossbows, this will help you to understand their features. If you are an experienced, you can just scroll down to the buying guide that follows it below.
- Cams: round or oval parts that are located on each end of the bow limbs. They are used to store the energy, which then propels the bow string and arrow.
- Cables: tied to both ends of the bowstring. Cables allow the drawing back of the bow.
- Bow string: the string that is attached to the bow’s cables. It’s part of the bow that is drawn back.
- Limbs: long flexible planks that are made of fiberglass and are attached to the riser. They are used for supporting the bow’s cam system. It helps to store energy that is needed before the bow is shot.
- Let-off: the amount of force needed for holding the bow string back. For example, if the crossbow advertises an 80% let-off, this means that you will be holding back 20% of the draw weight when you fully draw it back. If the crossbow weighs 60 pounds, with such let-off you will be holding back 12 pounds.
- Riser: central section of the bow that attaches to limbs.
- Stirrup: the part that is attached to the bow’s front at the riser. Its shape is similar to that of a stirrup that is used for horse saddles. It’s used for inserting a foot into it when cocking the bow.
- Stock: the part of the bow that you hold on to when aiming the crossbow.
- Trigger: the part attached under the stock. It’s similar to a rifle and when you pull it when you are ready to shoot.
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Crossbow
For which purpose do you want to buy a crossbow? Do you want it for target practice or you do deer hunting? If it’s for fun and target practice, then the crossbow will be stationary and some features, like the size and weight, are not that important. For serious hunting it’s the opposite and you will need a higher quality unit.
This is one of the most essential factors when choosing a crossbow. A lighter unit has the benefit of convenience. However, a heavier one is better for keeping the crossbow steady when you are shooting. If you hunt elk or other animals that require from you long distance walking loaded with plenty other equipment, a better option for you would be a lightweight crossbow. On the other hand, if you don’t need to walk long distances or if you are a beginner, a heavier one would be more advisable for you.
It depends on your physical ability and what you plan to hunt. Usually, draw weight ranges from 75 to 200 pounds. For deer hunting you will need about 150 pounds of draw weight. If you can’t cock the crossbow of this draw weight, then you can get a rope cocking aid that will decrease the pull weight by half.
The speed of the arrow depends on the draw weight and power stroke. A longer power stroke makes the arrow travel faster. If you get a crossbow with lower draw weight, you can compensate the speed with a power stroke.
If you want a faster shot, choose the compound type of crossbow. It stores energy, so it propels faster the arrow.
If you want the crossbow to be as silent as possible, choose one that is equipped with parallel limbs. Cam mechanisms, on the other hand, make it noisier.
Correct cocking of the crossbow is important for the accuracy of the shot. They are available as elastic straps, rope or cranks. Most common are rope and straps. The easiest for cocking the crossbow is the crank option. On some of the crossbows you will find attachable cocking devices. It’s better, however, to choose an already built-in one.
For more accuracy of shots, crossbows also feature scopes. They can be of four variations, namely optical, multi-reticle, single and multi red dot.
As crossbows are becoming increasingly popular in recreational activities and among serious hunters, these products are expanding their variety on the market. There are many different manufacturers that are constantly trying to come up with something new, such as new features and accessories, which would enhance your hunting experience.
Before choosing a crossbow, first determine your needs, learn your options, narrow down the choices and then choose the unit that would suit your needs and style. One more thing to consider is your skills level. If you are a beginner, you should choose an appropriate crossbow. A more advanced one will be difficult for you handle. As you master the crossbow hunting skills, you can upgrade your crossbow to a more advanced model.
On my website I have reviews of best products of different types of crossbows, so reading them you can learn the options. In my overviews you can learn their features, so you will know if the model suits your needs. Reading my comparisons you can narrow down the choices and then find the best one for yourself.
The Bottom Line
The devices that we have mentioned in our top 10 crossbows list above have been the bestsellers and best rated models in the year 2016. If you are looking for the best crossbow, you can compare the models and the features in our table. If you are just a beginner crossbow hunter, we would recommend starting with reading our buying guide. In it we explain the crossbow main features and what to look for to make sure that you choose right device. The best place to buy a crossbow is on Amazon. It offers the best price and there you can read more user crossbow reviews. Here you can compare crossbow ratings, features and if you see a particular model on this page that you like, you can follow the link to a fuller crossbow’s review.