With more places easing up restrictions and opening up hunting season to crossbows, don’t you think it’s about time that you put down the rifle and took up a more manly weapon like the crossbow? Cause let’s face it, not everyone can handle one of these since they are short-range weapons.
If you think you’re man enough, then check out guide below on what to look for when shopping for a good crossbow for the money. We also share some of our picks for top rated crossbow models that we think you’ll love to use when hunting deer, or any other type of big or small game.
- Top 10 Best Crossbows For The Money 2017 – 2018
- Where To Buy Crossbows
- Crossbow Buyers Guide
- Common Questions
- Crossbow Reviews – Editor Recommendations
- Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow Review
- Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Review
- Killer Instinct KI360 HardCore Edition Crossbow Review
- TenPoint Turbo GT Crossbow Review
- Horton Storm RDX Crossbow Review
Top 10 Best Crossbows For The Money 2017 – 2018
all references to prices below this point reference prices at Cabela’s at time of publication
Where To Buy Crossbows
Not sure where to do your shopping for that new deer killing machine? Check out our recommendations for the best places to get a good crossbow at an affordable cost.
Each of these places has a wide selection of models to meet a variety of price ranges, whether you are looking for the best crossbow under $100, $200, $300, $400, $500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1000, $1500, or $2000!
Crossbow Buyers Guide
If you have never hunted with a crossbow before, then you might not be ready to make the change. Why should you consider using one? Because they are primitive weapons that take us back to the days of our ancestors, who using them for everything from deer to buffalo to wild African game.
Modern crossbows are very accurate, easier to use than older models, effective precise shooting machines, and the perfect choice for the real outdoorsman. Why? Because this is a short-range weapon, which means that you need more skill to get that close kill. Can you handle it?
Crossbow vs Compound Bow
If you’re trying to decide between these two types of bows, then you may already know that crossbows are noisier, typically weigh more and are a bit more awkward to carry. Compound bows get off a faster second shot. So, why go with a crossbow?
- You can kill any game in the world with a crossbow, just like our ancestors did.
- Crossbows are easier to draw.
- Crossbows are high precision hunting weapons.
- They are more fun to shoot (in my opinion).
- Crossbows let you hunt on the ground more easily and effectively than compound bows.
- You don’t have to practice to get good at using a crossbow.
Types of Crossbows
There are two types of crossbows on the market: compound crossbows and recurve crossbows. You can go deer hunting with either type, but each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Recurve crossbows are easier to use because they don’t require any complicated stringing like you see with most compound crossbows.
- Compounds crossbows are easier to shoot in tight places cause they have shorter limbs.
Power and Pull Weights
You’ll notice when you shop that crossbows have pull weights that range between 80 pounds and 200 pounds. What does this mean for you? This much stress on the string can send arrows up to 340 fps.
What’s interesting is that rope cocking aids can reduced the needed pull weight by 50% and you can get these for most models. If you’ve seen crank cocking aids, know that they are slower and cumbersome to use. However, they require only 10-15 pounds of pressure to cock a heavy-pull-weight crossbow.
Crossbow arrows are called bolts.
For a good kill, you definitely need to get properly splinned arrows of the correct length with an effective game-killing point. When you select a crossbow to buy, see what arrows and point weights the manufacturer recommends to get the best results.
Sights and Scopes
When you shop the crossbows on the market, you’ll notice that most come with either iron, optical or red-dot sights. Sights this weapon are great for precisely compensating for the rapid drop of the crossbow arrow between 20 and 40 yards. It might seem unnecessary, but it helps you make a clean kill.
If you’re thinking about moving from a hunting rifle to one of these crossbows, then you might have a few questions about how it will work. Below, we’ve got the most common questions we hear and give you the answers to them.
- How far can you shoot a crossbow? Recommended range for deer hunters is 30 to 40 yards, but you can shoot up to 100 yards.
- How safe is a crossbow? Just like a gun, it has a safety on it to prevent accidents.
- How much does a crossbow cost? Anywhere from under $200 to over $2000 is the range.
- How much should you spend for a good quality crossbow? You get what you pay for and often the crossbows under $400 have cheaper plastic components.
- Are there small crossbows for kids and women? No, anyone can use one with cranking and cocking aids.
- How fast do crossbows shoot? The typical range is between 300fps and 400fps. More expensive models are usually the fastest.
- What’s the difference between crossbow arrows and compound bow arrows? Crossbow arrows (bolts) are shorter and thicker.
- How hard is a crossbow to load? It’s very easy. You can use a rope-cocking system or a hand crank system to load. Hand crank is easier but takes longer.
- Do crossbows have scopes? Some do, but you can purchase one if yours does not come with a scope.
- Are any accessories required for a crossbow? Yes, rail lube so you don’t wear out the string.
- What does FPKE stand for? It tells you how much kinetic energy the crossbow has (your crossbow stores potential energy which when released becomes kinetic energy). Here’s a FPKE guide for hunters:
- 25 ft. lbs. for Small Game
- 25-41 ft. lbs. for Medium Game (deer, antelope, etc.)
- 42-65 ft. lbs. for Large Game (elk, black bear, wild boar, etc.)
- 65 ft. lbs. for Toughest Game (Cape Buffalo, Grizzly, etc.)
Hopefully that answers all your questions so that you can buy yourself an affordable crossbow for hunting season. If not, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can help you out.
Crossbow Reviews – Editor Recommendations
Need some help determining which of the best selling crossbows is the right choice for you? Let our editors help you out. Keep reading to see what our editors think about all the top selling crossbows on the market this year.
Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow Review
best crossbow under $300 – $400 price range
This model is made by one of the top crossbow brands in the industry and it performs well for the cost.
With this one, you get a package that includes the following accessories:
- rope cocking device
- premium red dot sight
- three arrow quiver
- three 20″ headhunter arrows
Overall, this is great crossbow for the money if you are on a budget and need something cheap. Sure, Barnett makes much better models, but those models have higher prices. At this price point, we highly recommend the Barnett Recruit. Of course, if you can afford to spend more, then you can get a better bow.
- FPS: 300
- FPKE: 80
- DRAW WEIGHT: 130 LBS
- POWER STROKE: 12.5″
- MASS WEIGHT: 6.5 LBS
- LENGTH X WIDTH: 34.25″ X 18″
WHERE TO BUY
- Finger Reminders and Pass-Through Foregrip
- CNC Machined 7/8″ Picatinny Rail
- Composite Limbs
- Lightweight Composite Stock
Anti-Vibration Foot Stirrup
- CROSSWIRE® String and Cable System
- Adjustable Butt Pad
- 17″ Limb Tip to Limb Tip
Our editors found this model to be easy to assemble and use. In fact, you can pretty much take it out hunting as soon as you get it together. However, out in the field it was noticeable that the scope is a bit on the cheap side. So, our editors only complaint with this one is that it could use a better scope. Other than that though, it offers a good value for the price. It definitely makes a good crossbow for beginners or for hunters who aren’t sure if they want to stay with this weapon type.
Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Review
good option for shoppers look for the best crossbow under $500 – $600 price range
Like the Barnett Recruit listed above, this model is made by another one of the top crossbow brands in the industry – TenPoint. With this one, you get a slightly better weapon to work with, in our opinion. And we think it is definitely worth the cost.
It also comes as part of a package. You get the following accessories with it:
- TenPoint 3x Multi-Line™ Scope
- instant detach 3-arrow quiver
- 3 carbon arrows
You might notice that a rope cocking device isn’t included. That’s because this model has TenPoint’s ACU-52 self-retracting rope cocking system. We think that’s a really nice feature and it works well out on the hunt. But our favorite thing about it is it’s whisper quiet 3.5 lb. trigger, which makes it our top pick for the best quiet crossbow.
- FPS: 330
- FPKE: 97
- DRAW WEIGHT: 165 LBS
- POWER STROKE: 13.5″
- MASS WEIGHT: 6.6 LBS
- LENGTH X WIDTH: 37.8″ X 19″
WHERE TO BUY
- Smooth, quiet 3.5-lb. trigger
- ACU-52 self-retracting rope cocking system
Safer, lighter, and faster than previous Invader models
- DFI™ dry-fire inhibitor prevents it from firing without a bolt
- Integrated swivel studs allow quick attachment of a sling
Overall, our editors select this as the top pick for the year. It delivers high end performance at a mid-range price tag. It is very accurate and easy to sight. The trigger is smooth and the ACU-52 self-retracting rope cocking system that is built-in is really nice to have since it means that you don’t have to keep up with a separate rope cocking device. We highly recommend this model.
Killer Instinct KI360 HardCore Edition Crossbow Review
Another good option for shoppers in the under $500 – $600 retail price range is this model from Killer Instinct. We haven’t seen it for sale at many places, but it is a solid buy for the money.
It has a lot to offer hunters, especially with the high quality scope that comes with it. Here’s the accessories that you get:
- KI LUMIX Multi-Reticle Scope
- Three KillerTech by Black Eagle Bolts
- DEADENING Quiver by G5
- DEADENING Limb Silencers
- String Suppressors
- Rope cocking device
- Rail lube
As you can see, this Killer Instinct crossbow comes with a lot more accessories for the money. That’s one of the reasons that our editors think that it is such a great buy this year.
- FPS: 360
- FPKE: 109.2
- DRAW WEIGHT: 185 LBS
- POWER STROKE: 14″
- MASS WEIGHT: 6.2 LBS
- LENGTH X WIDTH: 34.5″ X 18.5″
WHERE TO BUY
- Fully machined aluminum flight rail provides smooth, accurate arrow flight
- Folding foot stirrup with Silent-GripTM rubber coating
RTT Reliable Trigger Technology with smooth, 3.5-lb trigger pull
- Durable composite, all-weather stock is built to last
- Ambidextrous anti-dry fire trigger safety
- Realtree XTRA camo finish
- Scope: 4x32mm Illuminated glass reticle (waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof)
Honestly, this is a really awesome crossbow. It has a compact, lightweight design that makes it easy to carry and easy to handle. And the scope is very high quality that works well in all sorts of rugged conditions. With it, you get off really precise shots.
TenPoint Turbo GT Crossbow Review
good option for shoppers look for the best crossbow under $1000 – $1200 price range
This is another model from TenPoint that our editors give top ratings to in our comparisons. Like the TenPoint bow above, this is an awesome crossbow for the money.
If you’re considering this model, then note that is has some great accessories included with the bow. When you buy this package, you get:
- TenPoint 3x Pro-View 2™ illuminated scope
- ACUdraw 50 cocking aid
- Three Pro Elite carbon-fiber bolts with field points
- Instant-detach three-arrow quiver
When it comes to precision, our editors give this crossbow from TenPoint top ratings. It performs well with every shot, and it feels comfortable in your hand. It has an ultra compact design and offers a powerful performance when hunting.
- FPS: 360
- FPKE: 107
- DRAW WEIGHT: 175 LBS
- POWER STROKE: 12.6″
- MASS WEIGHT: 6.5 LBS
- LENGTH X WIDTH: 35″ X 17.5″
WHERE TO BUY
- XLT bow assembly – big performance, just 13.5″ wide when cocked
- ACUdraw self-retracting rope cocking system
- 3.5 lb. T3 trigger – smooth, crisp pull with minimal creep
- Adjustable Fusion S stock – stable shooting, packed with safety features
- Auto-engaging safety and Dry-fire inhibitor
This year’s model is smaller, faster and lighter than its previous version, which makes it a great buy for hunters. You can easily use it in tight situations, the trigger is smooth and easy, and ti is lightweight for those times when you are tracking through the woods. The lighted reticle works very well. If our editors have to pick something to complain about, it is that the safety is louder than expected. Fortunately, you can overcome this by slowly moving into the fire position.
Horton Storm RDX Crossbow Review
good option for shoppers look for the best crossbow under $1200 – $1500 price range
If you’ve got a bit more money to spend, then you can get yourself a better weapon for taking out hunting. Horton Innovations is another one of the top crossbow brands in the industry and this Storm RDX model does not disappoint.
Before we tell you why we love it, let’s look at what it comes with as part of the package. Here are the accessories included:
- 4×32 Multi-Line Scope
- Dedd Sled rope cocking aid
- Three 400-gr. 20″ Victory® Archery Carbon Arrows
- Three-arrow quiver
Know that the quiver is side mounted, which our editors weren’t crazy about. But, this thing performs well, so it’s not a deal breaker. What can you expect from the Storm RDX crossbow? It is a very quiet and precise crossbow for hunters.
- FPS: 370
- FPKE: 122
- DRAW WEIGHT: 165 LBS
- POWER STROKE: 16.5″
- MASS WEIGHT: 7.7 LBS
- LENGTH X WIDTH: 35.25″ X 10″
WHERE TO BUY
- Lightweight, machined aluminum riser with self-locking limb pocket and cap system
- RDX reverse draw technology – great maneuverability, big performance
- ABX adjustable BullPup stock – perfect eye-level alignment and length of pull
- Slotted 20″ tactical barrel reduces weight
- Lightweight, short and extremely narrow for optimum maneuverability
Overall, the Storm RDX is incredibly accurate, has an easy trigger pull, and lightweight. It is one of the most accurate crossbow models that our editors tested. Plus, it is one of the quietest crossbows for the money this year. If it fits your budget, then we think it is a good choice for hunters like you.