The CrossbowThe crossbow is like a hybrid between a compound bow and a rifle. It is like using a horizontal bow mounted on a frame similar to a rifle. It shoots arrow like projectiles known as arrows, bolts, or quarrels. Archery hunting with a compound bow is a highly specialized skill that requires a lot of practice and expertise. A crossbow is easier to learn, easier to shoot a faster, more accurate shot. Still requiring practice, and expertise, but quicker to pick up and learn. In a lot of states, you have to use a compound or the old style recurve bow for archery season, and you can usually use a compound or recurve bow in rifle or general season. But, in most states, you cannot use a rifle or a crossbow in archery season, as a crossbow is typically treated as a rifle due to it’s much higher speed and accuracy more similar to a rifle. Check your state’s fish and game regulations to know what’s allowed in your one or hunting area. Types of CrossbowsJust like with a standard bow and arrow, there are recurve and compound crossbows. There are differences between the two, but both have their place as a favorite for bowhunting enthusiasts, as it’s all about personal preference.Crossbow Types•Recurve Crossbow•Compound CrossbowRecurve CrossbowA recurve crossbow, just like a standard recurve bow, has tips that curve away from you. It is a simple design that consists of a simple bow and string. It doesn’t have any cables or pulleys. With such a basic design, it is very reliable with little maintenance needed to keep it maintained. The recurve crossbow’s shape makes it so that it does require a steady hand to operate it. It also has a higher draw weight with a much slower shot speed than the compound crossbows have.Compound CrossbowA compound crossbow, like the standard crossbow counterpart, is more modern and more high tech. It has mechanized cams and pulleys that allow the latch to hold the bowstring in a cocked position. A few key advantages that set the compound crossbow apart from the recurve crossbow are that the compound crossbow has a let-off feature that takes off much of the draw weight and and allows for the crossbow to shoot it’s arrow at a higher speed. The crossbow release is much quicker and a lot more powerful than recurve models. This provides for a much more accurate and more precise shot. The only drawback to the compound crossbow is in it’s maintenance. Once the string is damaged, you will have to have it replaced at an archery shop or buy and use a bow press to make the repair yourself.What to Look For When Buying A CrossbowWhen looking for a crossbow, it’s important to buy a crossbow that is strong, reliable, and super quiet, so you don’t spook the game animals that you are targeting when you hunt. Additional features to consider in a great crossbow:•Bolt Speed and Velocity•Accuracy•Noise Level•Flight Groove•WeightBolt Speed and VelocityBolt speed and velocity are crucial to ensuring that you will have a high performance crossbow, which will improve your success rate when hunting. The faster performing crossbows can shoot 450 feet per second (FSP) or more. The faster your arrow or crossbow bolt is, the flatter the flight trajectory, and the harder the impact of the target. The faster speed can also decrease the tolerance for even the slightest of mistakes during aiming or shooting the crossbow bolt. Though good practice, as you build your sharpshooting skill, will lessen the risk of making mistakes.AccuracyYou can use a scope with most crossbows that you can get dialed in for added accuracy. Some higher end crossbows can be used for up to 200 yards, depending on the equipment scope, quality, and brand. The most popular types of scopes are multi-dot and multi-crosshair. Both of which offer different levels of illumination. Most crossbow hunters prefer the multi-crosshair scopes to pinpoint their shots. Quality bolts and broadheads will also help with the accuracy of your shots. Noise LevelFor a successful hunt, it’s important to be silent, and your crossbow is no exception. The crossbow should be silent, though it’s impossible to eliminate all noise. The release of the arrow will always have some noise from the pulley mechanism, but the higher end crossbows lessen the noise with higher quality parts and design. A recurve crossbow is a little quieter in this regard, however the extra physical work required to draw the shot makes it a wash. Flight GrooveThe flight groove, also known as the barrel or the track, refers to the grooved portion of the crossbow where the bolt rides. The more precise the flight groove is, the more accurate your shooting will be. Tracks can be made of carbon, aluminum, or composite material. The least expensive is the composite, but they are also the least accurate and durable. Aluminum tracks are more expensive than composite, and they are stronger than composite, and provides for better accuracy. Carbon provides for a lightweight durable track. WeightWhen you are looking for a new crossbow, it’s important to consider the weight of the crossbow, as well as the draw weight. When you are looking at the weight of the crossbow, a heavier crossbow typically means increased stability and speed. If you are going to be doing long hikes into the woods or the wilderness, a lighter weight for the crossbow would probably be the best way to go. Especially if you will be traveling into difficult and rugged terrain. Extra weight could also make it more difficult to aim and hold steady. For the draw weight, state regulations vary with what draw weights are allowed for hunting, with ranges between 75 and 125 pounds. With the latest advancements in crossbow technology, the typical compound crossbow will have weights between 150 to 175 pounds and higher. The larger draw weights are recommended to give you a stable shot with enough force to kill your game animals at the right distances.High End CrossbowsThese high end crossbows come with a hefty price tag, but with high end you get a hefty crossbow full of features that provide you with incredible crossbow performance and speed. High End Crossbows•Ravin Crossbows R29X Sniper Crossbow Package•Ravin Crossbows R29 Sniper Crossbow Package•Ravin Crossbows R29X Crossbow Package•TenPoint Nitro XRT Crossbow Package with ACUdraw ProHigh Quality Crossbows•Barnett HyperGhost 405 Crossbow Package•Cabela’s Finality 390 Crossbow Package•TenPoint Eclipse RCX Crossbow Package with ACUdraw•Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow Package with ACUdrawMid Grade Crossbows •Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow Package•CenterPoint Amped 415 Crossbow Package•Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow Package•Barnett XP 380 Crossbow Package with Crank Cocking DeviceDisclosure: This post is brought to you by the Mendenhall Outdoors team. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. 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