Your love for hunting has set you out on a search for the best crossbow on the market. And you probably have a rough figure in mind which you want to spend. You’ll need a crossbow that brings down games with unmatched precision. You do not want to purchase a crossbow that will give you problems while on a hunting trip.
To tell you the truth, you‘ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the best crossbow. There is quite a load of them and the internet is awash with information about them, though very few have been able to write a definitive guide to help you select the best crossbow.
Our team has spent months testing the best crossbows in the market. Whether you are a low-income earner, or a tycoon, a kid, young lady or an elderly man, we can guide you on choosing a crossbow that will fit your stature and budget.
This is exactly what I am going to present below. To make it more precise, I will limit myself to the top 10 best crossbows for the money. You may not see the likes of Inferno Fury Crossbow or TenPoint Carbon Xtra Deluxe crossbow. The choices herein have largely been determined by the factors you should consider when choosing a crossbow.
Allow me to briefly highlight these considerations before moving on to the particular crossbows and their benefits.
How to choose the best crossbow?
One thing you should note is that no crossbow automatically makes you that hero hunter envied by all. You still need excellent hunting skills to make the best of your hunting expedition.
The crossbow you choose will then be a tool to express your shooting skills. Here is an outline of the major qualities you should check before buying that crossbow.
Crossbow draw weight
How difficult or easy is it to draw the string of the crossbow?
I’m assuming you have used a crossbow at some point in your life. But even if you haven’t, it’s no big deal.
The bottom line is that the more effort you exert in drawing the string, the more deadly the arrow will be.
This is partially determined by the rigidity of the limbs of the product. I personally recommend a minimum draw weight of 150 pounds. Anything lighter than this is more suitable for practice, rather than the actual killing of prey. If used for hunting, you may realize that you can only wound prey but not kill them on the spot. Crossbows have varying draw weights to accommodate the wide range of hunting available
Who wants that? You certainly must be ethical enough not to leave tons of wounded deer in the game reserve.
The velocity of a crossbow is normally measured in feet-per-second. 200 fps is the recommended minimum for a great shooting experience.
Only the first 20-30 yards are considered in this velocity calibration. Beyond this distance, a number of factors cause the velocity to slow or greatly diminish.
The weight of the arrows you choose to use will also affect the velocity. A lighter arrow travels much faster than a heavy arrow, even if they are shot from the same crossbow.
This is in no way a compromise to the manufacturer’s specification of velocity. The best crossbows in the market usually come with a set of arrows. These are the ones used to measure the velocity. And so when you experience varying velocities after replacing the arrows, do not be too quick to lodge a complaint.
Crossbow Power Stroke
This ranges between 10” and 14” for most crossbows. By definition, the power stroke is the span the string has to cover from its un-cocked position until it reaches the latch.
The general rule is that a crossbow with a higher power stroke produces more powerful shots. However, I advise you not to bother much on this value. The power of the shot will again depend on how the stroke was adjusted with the draw weight of the crossbow.
This tells you that the draw weight is a more reliable parameter to consider when it comes to choosing the best crossbow.
Crossbow energy output
The aim when hunting is to release the most powerful shot you possibly can. When you release the string, some energy is transferred to the arrow, and this determines how deadly the shot will be.
For the scope of this review, I will not go any deeper into the release mechanism of the crossbow.
Trust me that the above is enough to guide your choice of a crossbow. But this is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the unique features that set apart the different crossbows.
Let us now have a deeper look into the top 10 best crossbows for hunting. I would like to put the record straight and disclose to you that this crossbow review is unbiased. It is not our habit to see only the good in the named brands. I also mention the disadvantages we encountered when testing these crossbows.
10 BEST CROSSBOWS FOR THE MONEY
|Our Top Pick||Wicked Ridge Invader G3||Check on amazon|
|Barnett Jackal Crossbow||Check on amazon|
|SA Sports Empire Terminator Recon||Check on amazon|
|Barnett Ghost 410||Check on amazon|
|Excalibur Grizzly||Check on amazon|
|Barnett Ghost 360||Check on amazon|
|Excalibur Matrix 380||Check on amazon|
|Excalibur Matrix Mega 405||Check on amazon|
|Barnett Recruit Youth 100||Check on amazon|
|Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger||Check on amazon|
1. Wicked Ridge Invader G3 – Best crossbow for the money
I purposefully put this as the first choice on my list. The Wicked Ridge Invader G3 performs quite well for its price range. This ingenious weapon is a good start for many hunters owing to its accurate precision that takes down a deer without a miss.
Wicked Ridge Invader build
The wicked ridge invader G3 is a strong but lightweight crossbow – one of the top-rated crossbows which you can easily manipulate as you scout for that buck in the forest. It doesn’t matter how rough the conditions are in the field. This crossbow features strong black limbs well suited for vigorous actions.
The energy wheels on the crossbow limbs are a perfect inclusion for a smooth and effortless draw. Talking of the aluminum riser, it is expertly fabricated to maintain an overall lightweight for the crossbow.
I particularly like the cutouts for this crossbow. Their strategic placement adds to the overall strength of the crossbow and ensures a comfortable grip while shooting.
The manufacturer rates the wicked ridge invader G3 at 330 feet per second. With this, you can be sure to take down even the fastest running prey. Read our Wicked Ridge Invader G3 Crossbow Review.
Wicked Ridge Invader Design
In addition to the functional requirements of a crossbow, you certainly need a stylish weapon that makes you feel confident carrying around. You can assemble it in a few seconds without much struggle. You may want to check the comprehensive instruction manual for a detailed walkthrough of the assembly steps.
When it comes to safety, I can assure you wicked ridge invader G3 is up to scratch. This is enhanced by its partially skeletal stock, which in addition makes it look elegant.
The design allows you to maintain your gripping arm below the string so that it always stays out of harm. The fore grip is also long enough to ensure a comfortable and firm grip.
Wicked Ridge Invader Performance
As earlier indicated, the 330 feet per second speed of the wicked ridge invader G3 is something to count on. Coupled with a 165-pound draw weight, rest assured that you will not waste much energy on the functionality of the crossbow, but rather focus on your prey.
Something else that TenPoint captured really well is the quietness of the crossbow. This is almost a rule in hunting expeditions nowadays, due to the basic reason that the slightest noise you make with your arrow is enough to scare away other animals that your hunting partners may be closing in on.
Wicked Ridge Invader Award-winning features
The T2 trigger of this cheap hunting crossbow, as well as its innovative dry fire inhibitor, is actually what earned the crossbow the best value award. The dry-fire inhibitor ensures that you cannot accidentally fire a shot without an arrow in place. It also comes with a useful quiver for safely storing a couple of 20-inch carbon arrows.
Wicked Ridge Invader Pros and Cons
|The Good||The Bad|
2. Barnett Jackal Crossbow – Best crossbow for beginners
My advice to beginners has always been to keep things simple, at least when it comes to the selection of the best hunting crossbow. You can consider other catchy features later on when your skill level allows you to put them to use.
For this one reason, I strongly recommend the Barnett Jackal Crossbow package. At first glance, it is simple, lightweight and relatively cheap.
This does not mean it does not give you value for your money. It offers everything you may need in terms of performance.
Barnett Jackal most evident features
This is a compound crossbow with a split limb design. And by the way, what do we mean by the term compound crossbow?
To answer this, let me first tackle the recurve crossbow. This type of crossbow uses the ageless mechanism where a bowstring causes 2 flexible limbs to bend as you pull back the string.
Contrary to this, the compound crossbow makes use of a series of cams and cables to assist the bowstring in bending the limbs. You will notice that the limbs on a compound crossbow are more rigid than those of a recurve crossbow.
One obvious advantage of the compound crossbow is the ability to fire arrows at a much higher velocity than the recurve bow. The mechanism I have just described above creates a greater tension in the limbs and this leads to a powerful shot.
Back to the Barnett Jackal Crossbow – one cheap crossbow for deer hunting – its limbs are made of a synthetic material to increase the force by which the arrow is propelled. As such, it can attain speeds of slightly over 300 feet per second – making it the best crossbow for deer hunting.
The stock of the Barnett Jackal is also made from synthetic material. This significantly reduces its weight, making it easy to run around in the forest. You are also able to carry it throughout the focus and shooting time frame without noticeable fatigue in your arms.
One downside of this top beginner crossbow is the non-adjustable stock. It is however short and therefore suitable to most average height shooters.
Do I need to mention the red dot sight or the detachable quiver for your arrows that is included in the package? Other contents of the package include the quiver attachment platform, hex keys, bolts and screws required for assembly and the 5-year warranty card.
Barnett Jackal design
The sleek stock will probably be the first design feature to please you. In addition to giving the crossbow a slaying look, it feels very comfortable to handle.
Coming to the fore grip, it is expertly engineered for extra comfort and safety to your arms. Your arms are constrained out of the path of the string and arrow.
Imagine a 7.7 pound weight! You will not experience any difficulty when ferrying this crossbow to your favorite hunting spot. The Picatinny rail on the flight groove is a sure innovation to guide your shot to the target prey.
One more interesting Barnett Jackal crossbow spec is the 3.5 pound trigger that you can pull with quite some ease, but again made crisp to prevent unintentional misfires.
I cannot end this Barnett Jackal Review without talking of its fast assembly time. Our team took about 10 minutes to put everything in place. If you are not too familiar with crossbows, make use of its comprehensive installation manual.
Barnett Jackal pros and cons
|The Good||The Bad|
3. SA Sports Empire Terminator Recon – Best Lightweight crossbow
Think of a weight of 4.5 pounds for a crossbow, whereas most others are in the range of 7.0 – 7.5 pounds. Such a light weight eliminates your transportation worries no matter the distance you have to cover to get to the hunting spot.
SA Sports Empire Terminator Design
The first thing you will notice about the SA Sports Empire Terminator is the adjustable rear stock. This is a feature you do not normally find on every crossbow in the market. The adjustable stock makes the crossbow appropriate for all body heights and arm lengths.
On top of that, it features a sturdy build that will withstand the rigors of hunting. Navigating through the woods becomes quite easy with this crossbow. Its compact design also allows you to focus on the prey, rather than on the bulkiness and weight of your weapon.
Like the Wicked Ridge Invader G3, this crossbow is designed with a Picatinny rail that helps direct the arrow to the target, and to which you can mount other accessories. With this, you can be sure that the bolts will take off with high accuracy from the crossbow.
Another safety feature of this crossbow is the anti-dry fire mechanism. The crossbow only engages when you want it to. In addition, the ADF device precludes the use of the most common bolt nocks, including flat, half moon, capture nock and Omni-nock. FYI, the nock is the critical connection between your arrow and the bowstring. The ADF device reduces the risk that a non-approved arrow will be used in the crossbow.
We found it to be a bit louder than other crossbows, but not by so big a difference. This can easily be rectified by incorporating a noise suppression system.
It is a recurve crossbow in design, which is still okay for bringing down quite a variety of game. When properly designed and built, recurve crossbows can attain the performance capabilities of compound crossbows.
For an expert like me, it takes about 20 minutes to assemble this crossbow, together with all accessories.
SA Sports Empire Terminator Performance
The SA sports empire terminator comes with two 16” aluminum arrows. You can easily attain speeds of up to 260 fps. I particularly liked its accuracy in shooting targets. You can practically hit the bull’s eye with every shot. No more running to and fro the target chasing arrows that missed the target.
The aluminum arrows offered by the manufacturer weigh about 425 grain. These can attain speeds of up to 260 feet per second. This may be below the maximum velocities reached by many other crossbows, but still powerful enough for small, medium and large game, including elk, wild boar, and black bears, but not the tougher ones like Cape buffalo and grizzly bear. The crossbow will, therefore, serve you well if your focus is small and medium sized game.
You may, however, want to add a couple more crossbow arrows to make your hunting trip more exciting. It is often tedious to keep going to the target to retrieve your arrows so you can shoot again.
Remember it is not a must you add arrows of exactly the same kind for use with your SA Sports Empire Terminator. Consider purchasing 20” Firebolt arrows and see how much you will achieve with them. You’ll definitely not regret it. Choosing arrows is a whole new topic on its own. I may not go into the details of choosing the right arrows for your crossbow. I hope you find this guide as useful as I found it. The author, Gord Nuttall, mentions criteria such as type of nocks, tips, spine, length, and weight, and also goes ahead to list the ones he uses with his own crossbow.
SA Sports Empire Terminator rope cocking device
The rope cocking device of the SA Sports Empire Terminator Recon is able to pull down its draw weight of 175 pounds by nearly a half. We are looking at a resultant draw weight of about 90 pounds. This offers you quite a smooth and nice draw.
SA Sports Empire Terminator Crossbow scope
The 4 x 32 multi-range scope sights in very quickly. You may at times need a couple of adjustments before it gets fully sighted but after that, there are no more worries.
The scope, being fog-proof, allows you to hunt even in the worst weather conditions.
Did I mention its price? Many dealers offer it for less than $200. I bet this is a great deal for the many features I have highlighted above. You can take advantage of this exceptional price tag and start off your hunting hobby with a style.
SA Sports Empire Terminator Pros and Cons
|The Good||The Bad|
4. Barnett Ghost 410 review – The fastest crossbow
You are that advanced game hunter with impressive shooting skills. You are no longer in the formative stages of learning how to shoot. Or maybe you are on a mission to upgrade your crossbow to a more efficient one that will make you outstanding in your speed and precision. Then look no further – The Barnett Ghost 410 is the model of choice.
We are looking at a speed of 410 feet per second. It sincerely sounds miles ahead of the SA Sports Empire Terminator I just reviewed. Couple this with a draw weight of 185 pounds and visualize the power you’ve got in your hand.
While the SA Sports Empire Terminator generates a maximum power of about 60 pounds of energy, the Barnett Ghost 410 generates up to 150 pounds of energy. This is enough power to fully penetrate a buck, never mind simply sticking the arrow into the prey. Read our Barnett Ghost 410 Crossbow review.
Barnett Ghost 410 build
You may think that with all the power hyped above the crossbow is heavier than usual. Not so – it weighs about 7.3 pounds.
Such weight will not cause you unnecessary arm fatigue when aiming at the prey.
With an axle-to-axle length of 20 inches, even kids will find it comfortable to use.
The riser of this crossbow is made of lightweight carbon material. Much of the weight is concentrated on the shoulder. This gives the crossbow unmatched stability and balance that ensures you do not miss your aim when drawing.
Barnett Ghost 410 Design
In my eyes, no crossbow is as sleek and stylish as the Barnett Ghost 410. This appearance surprisingly keeps me motivated when hunting game. The confidence that comes with it is enough to win me prize game.
It is all black in color, unlike the other brands which try to include a camouflaged look. I find this impressive all the same.
Let’s step away from the looks now, and on to functionality.
The Barnett Ghost 410 is designed with your safety in mind. It has a safety switch which engages on its own and will not release before an arrow is correctly secured. There is a possibility of misfiring the crossbow. The anti-dry-firing feature also helps in this.
Its contoured grip offers a most comfortable and firm grasp. You do not have to worry about your hand getting into the path of the arrow.
Barnett Ghost 410 Accuracy
The Barnett Ghost 410 is one of the most accurate crossbows. I attribute this to its high-quality scope. It offers quite a wide field of view with no blurriness around the edges.
The lifetime warranty tied to the scope confirms its quality. No fog, water or shock can make it malfunction.
The crossbow can also be used in very dark conditions, thanks to the bright illumination of its reticles.
As for the arrows, the best choice would be 22” aluminum carbon arrows weighing 400 – 450 grain. I do not mean that you should not try heavier arrows. They perform great as well. I am just emphasizing the fact that the Barnett Ghost 410 is a really powerful crossbow.
Barnett Ghost 410 Pros and Cons
|The Good||The Bad|
5. Excalibur Grizzly – Most affordable crossbow
Affordable is certainly different from cheap. A quick search on the internet will reveal the negative connotations attached to something cheap. So when I talk of the Excalibur grizzly as the best budget crossbow, I’m simply pointing to the high value for money it carries.
It is true that most Excalibur crossbows are highly-priced, something which I cannot complain about because I’ve tasted their high-quality models. There is one, however, that is averagely priced, but still with all the performance and strength features, you would desire from a crossbow manufactured from Excalibur. This is the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly.
Herein is a detailed review of this powerful crossbow.
Excalibur Grizzly build
The first thing I personally consider when selecting which crossbow to use is the build of the crossbow. By speaking of the build, I’m looking at the parts of the crossbow such as the limbs and the frame.
If the limbs are not strong enough, they cannot support the draw weight of the crossbow. On the other hand, it would be unwise to craft a very heavy crossbow just to make sure it is sturdy enough.
The general aim is to make it as lightweight as possible but still maintain its strength. The best crossbows in the market are those that have a perfect balance of these 2 parameters.
The Excalibur Matrix Grizzly is in this category. At only 5.5 pounds, you can run around with it as you close in on the game. The high draw weight of 200 pounds ensures your shot is powerful enough to bring down your target within a spur of the moment.
Excalibur Grizzly design
The Excalibur Grizzly SMF is not to be left out when it comes to attractive looks. I’m not intending to dwell on the looks again, but it is worth mentioning its mossy oak finish which makes you blend into the wilderness around you. I’m sure you know the importance of camouflage in hunting. If you have not yet, consider purchasing a camouflage hunting gear, from boots to jackets, pants, etc.
I particularly like its thumbhole design where you can firmly grip the crossbow. The stock is also conveniently short to fit comfortably on the shoulder.
Excalibur Grizzly Performance
I will again praise the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly for its high-performance capability, unexpected of it at such a relatively affordable price. When you think of a speed of up to 305 feet per second and a draw weight of 200 pounds, it is certainly more than a deal.
You can use it for small as well as the big game. It is also reliably accurate and easy to operate.
One disadvantage with the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly is the short power stroke of 11.5 inches. Skilled hunters may find this quite limiting. Young hunters, however, find this perfect since they do not have that much strength to draw the crossbow – on a light note.
Excalibur Grizzly Crossbow Pros and Cons
|The Good||The Bad|
6. Barnett Ghost 360 review – Best crossbow under $600
The Barnett Ghost 360 is yet another well-designed crossbow from the renowned manufacturer Barnett.
What impresses me most about this crossbow is the lightweight patented carbon riser. This makes the crossbow quite light, taking into account how sturdy it is. It weighs only 7 pounds. This is manageable even for the young hunters.
The carbon riser further adds to the stability of the weapon while using it.
The crossbow is also very durable. It will last you a lifetime if you take good care of it.
The limbs of the Barnett Ghost 360 are sturdy enough. Coupled with the connecting wheels at the tip of the limbs, your draw with the cable will be hassle-free.
Barnett Ghost 360 performance
This crossbow does not disappoint when it comes to power. It is rated at 360 feet per second, a speed high enough to terminate any small, medium or large sized game. With a draw weight of 165 pounds, we are looking at a kinetic energy of 115 pounds. This is quite powerful. If you aim properly, your prey will not just be wound – it will die on the spot, in a humane way of course.
This is provided you have a good set of arrows. In case you do not have these, you may want to check this site for further insight before making the purchase decision.
My only complaint about the Barnett Ghost 360 is the lack of a dampening system. This leads to some amount of release noise which, if caught by the prey, can cause you to miss your aim. All the same, this does not affect the performance of the crossbow.
In case you want to reduce the noise level, I would advise you to invest in a dampener. Simply attach this to crossbow according to manufacturer’s instructions. I do not see it adding significant weight to your crossbow.
Barnett Ghost 360 Assembly
It is always good to know what to expect when you order the crossbow. The Barnett Ghost 360 package contains the following:
- The Barnett Ghost 360 crossbow
- 3 x 32 illuminated scope
- Assembly hardware and tools
- 3-arrow quiver
- 3 20” Headhunter arrows
- Rope cocking device
- User manual
- Warranty card
Putting together these bits and pieces should take you no more than 15 minutes. Again, I will insist on the importance of using the user manual. I know those of us who have owned crossbows before to have this know-it-all tendency. Try sparing a minute or 2 to learn the details of this specific model. Variations are always there from model to model and brand to brand, though not very significant.
Barnett Ghost 360 Pros and Cons
|The Good||The Bad|
7. Excalibur Matrix 380 – Lightest crossbow
I have always championed lightweight construction when it comes to crossbows. The Excalibur Matrix 380 is my favorite considering weight against performance. With a total weight of 5.9 pounds, it is one of the lightest but most high performing crossbows in the market.
It fires arrows at 380 fps. This hits the target with a power of 112 pounds. Most game will succumb to such force, small and the big alike.
This crossbow by Excalibur is largely accurate up to 70 yards. This is the longest distance you can achieve while still on the 4” groupings.
Excalibur Matrix 380 User Comfort
The camouflage finish renders this crossbow almost invisible when out in the woods.
It is good to note that this is a recurve crossbow. It uses the old technology of bending the limbs of the crossbow to set the string in tension. Old is gold, so do not shy from using this crossbow. It is, in fact, more powerful than many other compound crossbows.
What’s more, it comes pre-strung, and therefore you are saved the hassle of the complex stringing process. The assembly process may not take you more than 10 minutes.
I find this model of Excalibur more compact and narrow compared to the others. This has the added advantage of its ability to fit in not so big spaces. Carrying it from one hunting spot to another is also not difficult.
It comes with a rope cocking aid which drastically reduces the draw time. With a draw weight of 260 pounds, it would be quite difficult to do this by hand.
About accuracy, 80 yards is a very good rating. This crossbow comes with four 18” Diablo arrows. Coupled with the easy-to-pull trigger, you literally have a killer weapon in your hands. The accuracy is also enhanced by the cheek-piece, which reduces undue shaking of the weapon.
Would I fail to talk about the sturdy limbs? The high-quality material they are made from make the Excalibur crossbows very durable.
Excalibur Matrix 380 Noise Suppression
To ensure you do not scare off your prey, Excalibur Matrix 380 included REDS noise suppressors in this crossbow. Without a noise suppressor, powerful crossbows like this normally make quite some noise because of the great energy released from the strings once the bolt is released. The noise suppressors basically reduce the noise and vibration by absorbing the shock waves.
I would advise you to shift the position of the suppressors time after time so as to make them more durable.
Excalibur Matrix 380 Safety
Your safety while on the field is guaranteed by the Guardian anti-dry fire component. This engages every time you cock the bow and disengages the moment you want to fire.
With a 5 year warranty on this crossbow, you can be sure you are purchasing a proven weapon. This is not the kind to break down or malfunction unnecessarily during hunting expeditions.
Excalibur Matrix 380 pros and cons
|The Good||The Bad|
8. Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 – Best recurve crossbow
Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 Power
Just so you are aware, the Excalibur matrix mega 405 was the first crossbow to make use of the compact recurve design. Using a recurve crossbow for hunting had never been heard before, so let us see what this invention has in store for us.
Similar to the model number of this crossbow, the Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 has an incredible shooting speed of 405 feet per second. This produces kinetic energy of roughly 127 pounds. Given that the draw weight of this beast is 290 pounds, you can imagine what power you’ve got in your hands. A single shot and you go home with your prey – no half measures here!
Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 Design
I like the fact that this crossbow comes prestrung. Its four Diablo arrows together with the attached quiver is a relatively good starting point. And with the rope cocking device, twilight DLX scope, and assembly hardware and tools, it should take you roughly 30 minutes to put this lethal weapon in good shape.
Like the rest of the crossbows I have reviewed above, you will not fail to notice its mossy camouflage finish. No average prey will sight you without there being some noise on your side. Of course, I am talking of those with camouflage hunting gear as well.
Are you left-handed? Have you ever wondered whether there is a crossbow designed particularly for you? Well, the Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 suits both left-handed and right-handed people.
How? You may ask.
The cheek piece is adjustable to enable you to place the crossbow whichever side of the face you wish.
You may find the draw weight of 290 pounds quite tasking, especially if you are pulling the string by hand. Do make use of the rope cocking device. If possible, invest in a crank-cocking device to save your stamina.
This recurve crossbow is also fitted with the REDS dampeners for minimizing noise when shooting. The importance of maintaining zero noise levels while hunting cannot be overemphasized.
Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 Quality of optics
The Twilight DLX scope is among the best in the industry. It takes just a moment to get it operating well.
I am particularly in awe of its ability to clearly sight game even in very poor lighting environments. Need I mention its anti-fog properties? It is just so versatile you do not have to worry about the prevailing weather conditions.
Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 Safety
I cannot complete this review before I touch on the safety features of the Excalibur Matrix mega 405 crossbows. Rest assured that you will be in no danger of a stray arrow.
I’m sure you have read or heard of accidents involving crossbows. Some hunters have lost fingers; others have suffered injury, while others have deeply wounded their fellow hunters.
Remember that the crossbow is not a toy. It is a weapon – and a lethal one for that matter. Any wrong move and you can potentially murder someone. Obviously, that which can bring down a grizzly bear can also kill a man.
Never point the crossbow towards your friend, even in jest. To avoid the damage that such scenarios can cause, the crossbow is equipped with an automatic anti-dry fire that kicks in whenever you cock the device. This works by catching the string whenever it tries to fire without an arrow in place.
It also comes with an inbuilt release system to help you un-cock easily, instead of firing an already cocked arrow just for the sake of it.
Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 pros and cons
|The Good||The Bad|
9. Barnett Recruit Youth 100 Crossbow – Best youth crossbow
For our young hunters, I recommend the Barnett Recruit Youth 100 crossbow. Its small size makes it easy to use, even for young children. Not to say that it is not powerful. Experienced hunters may also consider it if they are in need of a smaller crossbow than what they have.
As a matter of fact, the inspiration behind this crossbow was to enable younger kids to learn how to use crossbows in hunting for food and protecting themselves if attacked in the wilderness.
Consider a shooting velocity of 256 feet per second and 400-grain arrows. This is the best crossbow for kids. You can thus use it for hunting both small and large game, including deer, bear, moose, and Cape buffalo among others.
Its adjustable butt stock also goes down well with the youth. You can adjust it whichever way you want to fit your frame.
Barnett Recruit Youth 100 design
I like Barnett for such ingenious innovations. This crossbow has composite limbs and a composite stock. The quad limbs guarantee you the much-needed energy in shooting down prey for instantaneous kill. Add the ergonomically designed pistol grip and you are more than set.
Next comes the fore grip with finger reminders. You have no reason at all to keep your fingers in the way of the string. You know how disastrous this can turn out.
To add on that, the crossbow is compact enough to fit in a medium sized case. Do you own one? Do not fret – you can get one for as little as $30. Check these out.
The Barnett recruit crossbow comes in black and pink colors – quite trendy. I would definitely love to see my daughter carrying such. She can sure manage the light draw weight of 100 pounds.
They managed to keep the design as simple as could be. After all, no beginner would be interested in too many bells and whistles.
Barnett Recruit Youth 100 Assembly time
As expected, this youthful crossbow takes only about 10 minutes to put every piece together. When you order it, expect the following in the package:
- Barnett recruit crossbow
- Premium red dot sight
- Three 20” arrows
- Rope cocking device
- Assembly hardware and tools
- User manual
- Warranty card
The arrows included in the package are carbon made, making them most suitable for target practice. In case you want some serious hunting experience, you may want to replace the carbon arrows with some lethal Firebolt arrows. Just make sure to stick around the recommended 400-grain arrows.
Barnett Recruit Youth 100 Warranty
The Barnett recruit crossbow comes with a 3-year warranty, just like the rest of the Barnett Crossbows.
This is pretty good for a low budget crossbow like this.
Barnett Recruit Youth 100 pros and Cons
|The Good||The Bad|
10. Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger – Best crossbow for women
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of women hunting with crossbows rose from 500,000 to 800,000 between the years 2004 and 2009.
During the same period, the number of female target shooters rose from 4.3 million to 4.7 million.
On the contrary, the number of men hunting with crossbows remained almost constant. And so we get to ask ourselves, “Why are more and more women pulling the trigger now?”
Some say it started with a change in the setup of the traditional family. In those days, women used to remain at home while the men went out to the field to source for food.
Times have changed and now more women follow men into the field.
Hunting is also one sure source of organic food, something which women champion. So why not get out there and get the food? Speaking to the women here!
For this very reason, hunting companies have taken to producing more crossbows and other hunting gear for women. It is sad how women in the past had to survive with men’s clothing and weapons in the field.
Hats off to Ten Point for the woman-focused Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger. As you would expect of a female crossbow, it is very beautiful to look at as it is covered in a pink camo pattern.
Continue reading this wicked ridge crossbow review to get to know its other features:
Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger Package Contents
TenPoint stocks the Premium and the Standard version of the crossbow. When you order the standard package, expect the following:
- Black stock
- TenPoint 3X Multi-Line scope
- Wicked Ridge instant release quiver
On the other hand, your premium package includes the following:
- Camo stock
- TenPoint 3X Multi-Line scope
- Wicked Ridge instant release quiver
- Three Wicked Ridge 18” Ranger carbon crossbow arrows
- Three 100-grain field points
- An ACU-52 cocking device
Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger design
The wicked ridge lady ranger features a semi-skeletonized stock that reduces the weight of the crossbow significantly. Its riser is anodized to decrease the forward weight.
To ensure the safety of the fore-grip fingers, the crossbow has a pass-through grip coupled with oversized reinforced nylon safety wings. The chances of you getting your fingers in the string path are therefore very minimal.
To further protect our lady hunters, Ten Point included the dry fire inhibitor, to ensure the crossbow does not fire without an arrow in place. Whenever you cock the crossbow, the safety lock automatically turns on. You then have to manually disengage the safety before you fire.
The compact design is simply admirable. With the uncocked axle-to-axle width being 22.6”, you can fit the crossbow in most medium-sized cases and carry around with ease. I understand some hunters travel quite some distance to the game reserves, so it is good to go for a crossbow that is not very bulky.
Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger Performance
There is absolutely no compromise when it comes to performance. The wicked ridge lady ranger can shoot a 350-grain arrow at 300 feet per second. The energy produced stands at about 70 pounds. This may not be as brute force as the other most powerful crossbows, but it works just as fine.
I concur with TenPoint for this reduced power. As you know, this ladies’ crossbow is also popular with teens, kids and beginners generally. It would not be appropriate to put excess power in the hands of relative novices. We should at least give them time to master their skills before advancing to more powerful crossbows.
The draw weight of 150 pounds is very appropriate. You can cock the crossbow by hand or with the aid of a rope cocking device. Ladies particularly enjoy the 10.8” power stroke.
The crossbow weighs 5.9 pounds, which is light enough for the target user. Handling it while in the field feels easy enough. I assure you your hands will not shake under the weight of the crossbow.
Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger Noise levels
While testing, I found the Wicked ridge ladies Ranger reliably quiet. I guess this is due to the lower draw weight of the limbs – 10.8”. This “guess” tells you this crossbow has no noise suppression component. But if you want to up your game, consider investing in a set of string stops. Using suppressors on the limbs and frame is also a valid option.
Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger optics
I have no issue with the 3x scope that comes included with the premium package. It serves the needs of beginner hunter very well as well as more skilled hunters. It has multiple aim points of 20, 30 and 40 yards. One downside with it, however, is that it is not illuminated. More information on the functionality of different types of scopes can be accessed here. It is worth understanding the differences between different types of scopes before making a purchase decision.
Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger bolts
I already mentioned that the wicked ridge lady ranger comes with three 18” carbon arrows, weighing 350 grain. This suffices for a start, though time will come when you want to consider aftermarket arrows. I would advise you to go for nothing longer than 18”. This is the optimum length that the crossbow can accommodate. An 18” arrow also perfectly matches the 150 pounds draw weight and 300 fps shooting speed.
I have just shared quite a load of information on selecting the best crossbow to fit your needs. Just to recap, ask yourself the following questions. I’ll start with questions concerning you and other factors apart from the crossbow:
1. What prey am I after? – Think of the Impala, wildebeest, greater kudu, zebra, gemsbok, Cape buffalo, Springbok, Warthog, Eland, caribou, wild boar, rocky mountain elk, cougars, wild turkey, grizzly bear, gray wolf, Canada moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, Bison, whitetail deer, etc.
2. Am I target shooting? It could be that you only want to try hunting as a sport, where you shoot targets without ever going into the woods for live animals
3. What size is my body? Different crossbows are designed for different body sizes. You may go for the adjustable ones in case you prefer something flexible
4. What are the rules and regulations in my state regarding hunting with crossbows? It’s always good to be caught on the good side of the law. Comply – by all means.
5. How strong am I? This will help you decide on what draw weight and crossbow weight to go for.
And now to the crossbow:
1. How sturdy is the best crossbow?
2. Is the best crossbow a compound design or a recurve design?
3. What is the shooting velocity of the best crossbow?
4. What is the draw weight of the best crossbow?
5. What is the weight of the best crossbow?
6. What is the axle-to-axle length of the best crossbow?
7. What is the height of the best crossbow?
8. Of what material is the riser of the best crossbow made?
9. Is the stock of the best crossbow adjustable or fixed?
10. What is the power stroke of the best crossbow?
11. What is the quality of the scope included in the package?
12. Is the scope anti-fog? Can the scope operate in low light conditions?
13. What is the length and weight of the arrows? Of what material are they made?
14. What kinetic energy does the best crossbow produce?
15. Does the best crossbow have a cocking aid device?
16. How quiet is the best crossbow?
17. Does the best crossbow have an attached quiver?
18. Does the best crossbow include bells and whistles?
19. Is the trigger easy to pull yet safe?
20. Does the best crossbow include anti-dry fire mechanism?
I guess a 20-point checklist is exhaustive enough, but again not 100% so. We have written more comprehensive reviews on most of the best crossbow brands and models. Here are 5 of the best:
1. Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review – Best Crossbow for Beginners
2. Excalibur Matrix 405 Crossbow Review – A Weapon Fit for Royalty
3. Barnett Ghost 410 Crossbow – The king of all crossbows
4. Wicked Ridge Invader G3 Crossbow Review – Best crossbow for the money