Taking Aim at the Best Crossbow for the Money
What is crossbow and how to choose the best crossbow for the money? A Crossbow is a weapon that can shoot a considerable distance and with deadly force. Unlike its predecessor, the bow – of bow and arrow fame – the crossbow requires a lesser degree of skill to operate effectively. Aside from his do-gooder lore, Robin Hood was able to transfer wealth from the rich to the poor, in part, because he was an excellent bowman. A more recent fictional example of someone who was very skilled with a bow and arrow is Katniss Everdeen, of the Hunger Games. Her ability with the bow and arrow was developed after years of practice – hunting to survive.
Because they could cause harm at a distance and required far less training and practice, crossbows – as with the introduction of any new and effective weapon – revolutionized warfare. Crossbows themselves became obsolete as a weapon of war with the introduction of the firearm.
Today, crossbows are used for target training and hunting. Their demise as a weapon of war did not diminish their lethal capacity or the enjoyment that sportsmen and sportswomen get from using them. They can kill effectively. We’re going to try to help you find the best crossbow for the money.
What is a Modern Crossbow?
Well, for starters, the shorter projectiles that some crossbows eject are called bolts, not arrows. They are usually made of aluminum and are steel-tipped. The length of the bolts varies by the size of the crossbow.
The basic components of a crossbow are a stock, a trigger, limbs or prods, and string. Generally, prices for crossbows can range from $300 to $2,000. Crossbows at each price point will all work, but those further along the price range will include features that can improve the crossbow shooting experience. Some of those features are: adjustable stocks, scopes, red-dot scopes, cocking aids or cranks, and dampeners.
There are two basic types of crossbow prods (the curved section at the front of the bow that bends to generate the tension that propels the arrow or bolt). The recursive prod has a larger profile – so it’s bulkier to tote around – but it has the advantage of allowing for the replacement of a damaged string in the field. Compound limbs have a smaller profile, but a pro shop will need to repair it if the string breaks.
Crossbow Comparison Guide and Key
Feet Per Second (FPS)
|Barnett Jackal||150 lbs.||315||7 lbs.||32.5" x 26.5"||$300 - $400|
|Arrow Precision Inferno Fury||175 lbs.||235||9.8 lbs.||34.5" x 26.5"||$200|
|Excalibur Axiom SMF||175 lbs.||305||5.8 lbs.||37.5" long||$550 - $600|
|Barnett Wildcat C5||150 lbs.||320||8.5 lbs.||26.75" x 35.5"||$300|
|Cobra Self Cocking Tactical||80 lbs.||160||2 lbs.||18" x 6"||$50-$60|
Reviews and Features of Top 5 Crossbows
The listed crossbows enjoy popularity because they are well-made and most offer many advanced features. This is not an exhaustive list, of course, because there are many other crossbows that do well in the marketplace. We’ve tried to give you a representative cross-section of the types of crossbows that are available.
Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)
The Barnett Jackal crossbow has a military-style stock with a divided fore grip. There’s no set-up require, as this crossbow is ready to use when unpacked. Included in the package are:
• quick-detach quiver
• a premium red dot sight
• picatinny rail
• ADF MIM trigger
The Barnett Jackal crossbow is made in the USA and has a lightweight stock and features a quad limb assembly, high energy wheels, and a synthetic string and cable system. The Jackal is powerful, despite its light weight, so it offers a great value for the price.
Barnett Jackal Crossbow Specifications: Draw Weight: 150 lbs. Lbs. of Energy: 105 ft. Power Stroke: 12″ FPS: 315 Physical Weight: 7 lbs. Length: 32.5 ” Width: 26.5 ” Recommended Bolt: 18 or 20 ” Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package Includes: Jackal Crossbow Quiver Four (4) 20″ arrows 28mm Single Red Dot Scope
Arrow Precision Inferno Fury Crossbow Kit (175-Pounds)
The Arrow Precision Inferno Fury 175 Lb. Crossbow Kit is another lightweight model that’s made of compression-fiberglass limbs and an aluminum rail. It has a camouflaged look and comes equipped with four 16″ bolts, quick-detach quiver, padded sling and rope cocker, anti-dry fire trigger mechanism and a 3-dot, multi-range red dot sight.
Those new to crossbow hunting will appreciate its compact size and many advanced features. For the left-handed crossbow hunter, the kit includes an ambidextrous auto safety and offers the ability to convert to an ambidextrous rear stock.
Other features included with The Arrow Precision Inferno Fury 175 Lb. Crossbow Kit are:
• 175 lb. draw
• speeds up to 235 FPS
• 4-16″ bolts
• Quick detach quiver
• 3-red-dot sight
• Arm guard
• Arrow rest
• Padded sling and rope cocker
• Anti-dry fire trigger mechanism
• Extremely lightweight and compact with fully dipped camo pattern
• Aluminum rail and barrel with compression fiberglass limbs
Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit
With the second fastest arrow speed of this group of crossbows, at 305 FPS, the Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit packs a punch. It’s an accurate and reliable choice for crossbow hunters. It’s lightweight, so it’s comfortable to hold and easy to cock and its composite stock is durable. The frame is computer-machined, so its accuracy comes from its precise alignment.
The Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit features a patented trigger unit, a manual safety, and a multiplex crossbow scope.
Other Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow Kit Specifications: Draw weight: 175 lbs. Stock length: 37.5″. Weight: 6.0 lbs. Color: Advantage Timber. The package also includes: 4-arrow quiver, and four arrows.
Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3-20-Inch Arrows and 4x32mm Scope)
As their best-selling crossbow, Barett’s Wildcat C5 Crossbow Package tops the feet per second list (320) of our featured crossbow review. Another lightweight crossbow, this one comes with an innovative crank attachment that is built right into the stock. This allows for the easy installation of an optional crank cocking device that, when installed, does not diminish the sleek look of this crossbow.
The Wildcat C5 features: a lightweight composite GAM stock, thumbhole grip, vented quad limbs with high energy Veloci-Speed wheels, and a powerful Crosswire string and cable system, a quick-detach quiver, three 20-inch arrows, and a 4×32-millimeter scope.
Other Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow Package Specifications: 150-pound draw weight, 91-foot-pounds of energy, 13-inch power stroke, 20-inch arrow length, 37-inch string length, and weighs-in at 8.5 pounds.
Cobra Self Cocking Tactical Crossbow Pistol 80-lb
The Cobra Self Cocking Tactical Crossbow Pistol is the smallest crossbow on our list. As a pistol, it’s much lighter than traditional crossbows; it’s more easily portable; and easier to use. It’s a durable crossbow with a one-handed pistol grip. With dimensions of only 18 x 6 inches, and weighing less than two pounds, the Cobra is the perfect survivalist defensive weapon. The Cobra fires bolts at a speed of 160 feet per second, which is a lot of power for such a compact crossbow.
It’s not really fair to compare this ultra-portable, easy-to-arm and fire crossbow against its full-blown cousins, as it’s a different kind of weapon altogether, but we couldn’t leave it off the list because it so darn cool.
Choosing the Right Crossbow
Those who are just beginning to have an interest in crossbows and are looking to purchase their first one will do well to select an inexpensive crossbow package that will enable them to start using their crossbows as they learn. Given the many features and options that are available, having some experience before trying to put together your own package is advisable. Until you have some experience under your belt, it doesn’t make sense to try to try to select the options that that you may think that you want. It’s a better idea to practice for a while, until you know what you want, before considering the higher priced options.
Now I’m not advising that you buy the cheapest crossbow you can find. On the contrary, choose a moderately priced package from a well-known manufacturer. You want to have fun while being safe, and an important part of safety is the quality of the crossbow. So go for good, but not great, until you feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough to make a major investment. Hopefully, our reviews will help you to find the best crossbow for the money.
Speaking of Crossbow Safety
“Safety first” should be every crossbow users credo. Aside from the obvious prime safety directive – never point your crossbow at anyone, there are other things to keep in mind, so that you can enjoy your recreational time safely.
• Don’t wrap your rope cocker across the back of your neck. If you bend down it can get caught up in your string and cause injury.
• Keep your fingers and thumb below the barrel (below the safety flange).
• Inspect your arrows before shooting – every time.
Above are some points regarding how to choose the best crossbow for the money. I hope you enjoy this article and find the one suit you. If you have time, just check out the other crossbow reviews we have listed in this blog.