The first thing you need to decide before you purchase your crossbow is the type of crossbow that you want. There are two main types: recurve and compound. Recurve crossbows possess simpler designs due to the fact that their string setup is not as complex as compound crossbows. Compound crossbows have elaborate stringing setups that utilize a round-wheel or asymmetric-wheel design. However, compound crossbows are better suited for tight spaces due to their shorter limbs, so if your hunting grounds are tight and low on room to move, a compound crossbow is the best choice for you. Additionally, compound crossbows can generally shoot arrows faster than recurve crossbows, although this is not always the case.
- Type (recurve or compound)
- Pull weight (80 – 200 pounds)
- Type of points (fixed or mechanical)
- Type of arrows (aluminum or carbon)
- Type of sight (iron, optical or red-dot)
The next thing to keep an eye out for when purchasing a crossbow is the power requirements. Most crossbows possess pull weights that can range from 80 to 200 pounds, and the amount of this weight will determine how fast your crossbow can propel your arrows through the air. In order to determine what kind of weight is best for you, you need to keep in mind what kind of animals you will be hunting. Anything around the size of a deer will likely require around 150 pounds of pull weight, so if you plan on hunting smaller game than go with a crossbow with a lower weight range.
Another factor to consider in your crossbow purchasing process is the type of arrows and points you are going to use. Most crossbow manufacturers will list the recommended arrows and point weights for your specific crossbow, so choosing the best fit should not be too complicated. However, learning the different types of crossbow arrows on your own can prove invaluable. There are two main types of points: fixed and mechanical. In general, mechanical points will work better with faster arrows in comparison to fixed points. In terms of the arrow material, aluminum arrows are best paired with 125-grain fixed points whereas carbon arrows are best paired with points that are 100-grain or lighter.
A final thing to keep in mind when purchasing your crossbow is the type of sight to use. Most crossbows come packaged with a sight, for example Barnett Quad 400 and Barnett Jackal crossbows are already equipped with a sight, so when you make your crossbow purchase you will want to understand the benefits of the sight you are getting. There are three types of sights: iron, optical and red-dot. Optical and iron sights are best for close-range hunting, whereas red-dot sights are ideal for long-range hunting. Choose the one best suited to your hunting style and the environment that you plan on hunting in.
Ultimately, keeping these above characteristics in mind will ensure that the crossbow you purchase is tailored to your hunting style. One of the biggest determinants of a successful crossbow hunter is utilizing a weapon that is suitable for your hunting environment. Take a look at our Crossbow Hunting Tips and Crossbow Hunting Safety Tips articles for more information on how to make sure you are using the features mentioned in this article to their full potential.