How many times have you felt a need for authentic information and reviews on something that you were interested to start in your life? But you were unsure where to start from. Only if someone had gone through the path that you were about to take, had knowledge and expertise about the matter. Someone who would be able to guide you through the process with all the information they gathered on their own journey.
Well, we have done that for you.
After countless hours of research and talking to expert archers, we now have a catalog the best and cheap deer hunting crossbows, with their specs, pros and cons, reviews, and expert opinion. You should be able to buy a crossbow that fits into your budget and simultaneously, not has to compromise on quality, speed, or durability.
- List of Top Crossbows of 2021
- 1. Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package – Best Crossbow for beginners
- 2. Cobra Crossbow by Last Punch – Extremely Low Cost
- 3. CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow – Best Seller
- 4. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow – Best under $500 for beginners
- 5. Excalibur Matrix Grizzly SMF Crossbow
- 6. Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow – Best under $500 for the experienced
- 7. Bear Archery Fisix FFL Crossbow
- 8. Excalibur Micro Suppressor Crossbow – Best Recurve Crossbow
- 9. Ravin R20 Crossbow – Best Crossbow For Professionals
- Crossbow Parts
- Classifications of Crossbows
- Shopping Guide – Pointers to keep in mind when shopping for a Crossbow
- Concluding Remarks
Archers and people who have been in the crossbow hunting game for some time will know that they are looking for and find the best one. Beginners and inexperienced people will have a hard time doing that, normally. Here we try to cater to both, so you can choose what’s best for you.
Without further ado, let us begin with the list of some of the top rated crossbows!
List of Top Crossbows of 2021
|Barnett Jackal Package (Best for beginners)||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|CentrePoint Sniper 370 (Best Seller)||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Barnett Whitetail Hunter II||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Excalibur Matrix Grizzly SMF Crossbow||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Barnett Whitetail Pro STR||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Bear Archery Fisix FFL Crossbow Package||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Excalibur Micro Suppressor Crossbow Package||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Ravin R20 Crossbow Package||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
We start the list off with the Jackal Crossbow Package by Barnett. Introduced in 2011, it is at the top of the list for a reason. Considered by many as the best crossbow to start with. Its sleek style military-style stock enhances the overall look and complements the compact and lightest crossbow design. Furthermore, it comes with a package, which can only be seen as an advantage for beginners.
It comes with:
- A quick-detach quiver
- 3 x 20-inch arrows
- Red dot sight
Barnett is a big name in the crossbow industry and they have been producing high-quality crossbows and giving the people what they want for quite some time now. They are known for their premium quality products, mid-range, and cheapest crossbows. They are able to keep the cost low like every other successful business because they are able to get cheap parts in bulk.
Weight: 7.7 pounds
Velocity: 315 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 150 pounds
Power stroke: 12 inches
Energy: 95-foot pounds
Length: 35.5 inches
Width: 26.5 inches
One major point that people overlook while buying a crossbow, is to check the complexity of its assembly. A lot of the beginners face problems while assembling the crossbow, in figuring out the plans and getting it wrong several times before finally, getting it right. You are not going to face that issue with the Jackal, it comes with crystal clear instructions and a manual any would be able to follow easily.
Perhaps one of the most important things to look at when you are in the market for a crossbow is its durability. You are on the hunt for a big buck, maybe backpacking through nature, you cannot afford a crossbow that is not 100% in the time of need. You will never have to worry about that with the Barnett Jackal.
People have been using the Jackal for quite a few years, and in all the reviews and feedback we got, there was never a doubt on the Jackal’s durability.
Usage and Safety:
This crossbow has almost no recoil. It is perfectly accurate with the red dot sight enhancing the experience and accuracy. We recommend getting a target designed for crossbows for practice, so you do not waste your arrows.
It comes with an auto-safety and we all know that safety comes first.
Let’s come to the part I know you are eagerly looking for, the cost of the crossbow. After going through the information above, you might think that the price would be in the greater hundreds, but guess what?
You will be surprised to learn the actual price of this product. If you have a mid-range budget, specifically under 200 dollars, and are looking for the best crossbow, this is a perfect choice.
The second place on the list goes to the Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch. This particular machine is one of the best first options to practice with, for people interested in getting into the hunting game. You’ll be shocked to know the price of this crossbow, after learning about all the things that you get with it.
It comes with:
- Free pack of 15 metal arrows
- Self-cocking feature
- Auto safety
Velocity: 160 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 80 pounds
Power stroke: 6.8 inches
One of the great things about this crossbow is its easy assembly. There is only one part to secure the stock. Getting this out of the mail for instant usage will not be a problem.
Even with a low budget, you should never have to compromise on quality and durability. Fortunately, you will not have to with the Cobra. This is a high tech fiberglass product that is just as durable as it is lightweight.
You will not be able to find a better crossbow within the price range of this one. Hint? Less than 100 dollars.
Yes, you read that correctly. With its humble price tag, this is the best crossbow for you if you are on a budget.
Here we have another one of the best compound crossbows in 2020, the AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow by CenterPoint. This one made our list because of two major reasons, quality and cost. It would be very hard to find a crossbow better than this one, in this price range and the features it comprises of. It is one of the top 5 best selling crossbows on Amazon in two categories.
It comes with:
- A parallel quiver
- 3 x 20-inch carbon arrows
- Self-cocking feature
- Integrated string suppressors
CenterPoint is a relatively new player in the crossbow industry, but their line of premium products have them in line to compete with the best in the industry. With an extensive and eloquent arsenal of features that each of their products come with, it is very hard to beat the price these crossbows are placed at.
Weight: 7.9 pounds
Velocity: 370 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 185 pounds
Power stroke: 13.50 inches
Length: 33.6 inches
Width: 11.3 inches
The majority of the people have no issues in assembling this beautiful piece of engineering but we have come across a few problems about the assembly of this crossbow. The manual it comes with has pictures that are not quite clear and some people even put it as “microscopic”. But if you have assembled a crossbow before, you will assemble this one in a heartbeat.
Straight out of the packing, the sniper crossbow just screams quality. Its durability is increased because of the low ratio of plastic parts; most of the high-end metal has to be screwed on top of the metal, not on plastic. There are plastic parts but of premium quality.
Probably the most striking aspect of this crossbow is its price. After going through the features and specifications above, I know you will be pleased with the under $250 price tag and would like to get your hands on one of these ASAP.
Going down the list and Barnett is up again with another fantastic product. We present to you, the Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow by Barnett. A perfect choice for people looking to score a big buck. Archers prefer it because of its compactness, speed, accuracy, power, and what do you know, like our top pick it’s not too heavy on the bank.
It comes with:
- Lightweight quiver
- 2 x 20-inch Headhunter arrows
- 4×32 scope
- Rope cocking device
- Let’s list down some specifications
Weight: 6.4 pounds
Velocity: 350 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 150 pounds
Power stroke: 12.5 inches
Energy: 103-foot pounds
Length: 34.25 inches
Width: 18.25 inches
You will be please to know that this crossbow comes mostly assembled out of the package and is made in the USA. The rest of the parts that do need to be assembled, come with precise instructions and are easy to fit into the crossbow.
If durability is a big factor that you take into consideration when buying a crossbow, as it should be, then the Whitetail Hunter would suit you quite well. It is known for its durability and premium parts and out of all the reviews we compiled, this one came out on top in terms of durability.
A little more costly than the Barnett Jackal, the Whitetail Hunter is still one of the top mid-ranger, premium crossbows. It is considered as one of the best crossbow for the money and a great catch in all of the under $500 crossbows.
No one in the hunting game is unaware of the crossbows that Excalibur puts out. Excalibur is a big name, if not one of the biggest names in the industry. With their flawless engineering that pushes the boundaries of design, they have been pulling out the big guns (sorry, crossbows) since they came into the business.
The Grizzly Crossbow is no exception. Making us drool with its stunning sleek design and a long list of features that you only get with high-end crossbows, this was no doubt, always going to make our list of the best crossbows. We have never seen a higher positive rating for any crossbow, and the number of people recommending it for hunting.
It comes with:
- Lite Stuff Package
- Vari-Zone Scope
- 4 Diablo Arrows
- Rope cocking id
Weight: 7 pounds
Velocity: 305 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 200 pounds
Assembling a crossbow has never been easier than with the Grizzly. These units come in a box with very simple assembly. Two screws to attach the bow to the stock and you’re pretty much done.
Excalibur, if not for anything, is renowned for the quality and durability of its products and this crossbow is no different. This product will last several seasons and there isn’t a buck that you can’t put down with this bad boy.
We recommend carrying extra strings with you while hunting.
As we go down the list, we are getting closer to higher-end products, built to give you the premium feel. That said, the Grizzly crossbow has the best price point one could wish for in such an amazing product. Excalibur upped their game when they brought out this crossbow and priced it below $500.
Number 6 on our list is a Barnett crossbow, again? Well, we have pretty good reasons for putting the Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow in the list of our top choices of crossbows and we are going to present our case.
The STR in the Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow stands for Step-Through Riser. A truly advanced and innovative design by Barnett for their cherry-picked high performance and exquisite models. Increases accuracy, balance, and stability immensely, by shifting the weight from the riser to the stock.
Like its comrades in our list above, the design of this crossbow is smooth and made for efficiency. The power and speed this baby gives out, bumps its level up to that of the crossbows worth thousands of dollars.
It comes with:
- Side mount quiver
- 2 x 22-inch Headhunter arrows
- 4×32 illuminated scope
- Rope cocking device
- String dampeners
Weight: 6.9 pounds
Velocity: 400 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 187 pounds
Power stroke: 16.375 inches
Energy: 140 foot-pounds
Length: 36.5 inches
Width: 20 inches
Barnett loves making the lives of its consumers easy. This high-performance hunting machine comes with a single bolt installation. You will be out in the field in no time after you get this in the mail.
Usage and Safety:
After assembling the glorious piece of machinery, you just have to fire a couple of arrows for practice and you’ll feel like this was made especially for you. Lucky for you, it comes with two 22-inch Headhunter arrows, you can practice with them all you want and they will still be in good shape.
The premium TRUBark HD camo covers will ensure that the crossbow is practically invisible in the outdoors and the sound dampeners guarantee the quietest release. Your prey will never see or hear you coming.
The package also includes ADF (Anti-dry fire) mechanism and knock sensors for additional safety.
You will be pleased to know that we are still on that part of the list where we are under the $500 dollar range. The features of this crossbow compared to the price are unbelievable.
Heads up! We are getting closer to the $1000 range premium crossbows. But before we dive into the world of high end and more costly products, let us tell you about one of the finest crossbows under $1000 by a somewhat lesser-known brand. Lesser known, but they show up with top-notch quality and the best designs.
The Fisix FFL crossbow brings together what every hunter, novice or professional, looks for, and that is speed, accuracy, balance, and compactness. Let’s list down some technical information.
It comes with:
- Picatinny Mount quiver
- 3 x Trophy Ridge Insidious Arrows & Points
- Illuminated Reticle XV525IR Scope
- Rope cocking device
- Integrated String Suppressor
Weight: 9.9 pounds
Velocity: 375 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 135 pounds
Power stroke: 17.5 inches
Energy: 125 foot-pounds
Length: 36.75 inches
Width: 20 inches
You will not have a hard time assembling this baby. You will be able to start shooting as soon as this arrives at your doorstep
Whenever you are in the market to buy something, one of the things that you should be most focused on, is the durability of a product. Is it built to last?
The answer to this crossbow is YES. With its innovative sleek design and materials used, this crossbow is as durable as any high-end competitor in the industry.
This might cost you a bit more than some of the products listed above, but with good reason. It is priced below $900, to give you the pleasure of having an exotic experience and still have some cash remaining in the bank.
Another Excalibur masterpiece pops up on the list after the Grizzly. This crossbow is probably one of the best that Excalibur has put out over the years. It truly is a high end, advanced, powerful, and should be in the Crossbow Hall of Fame. The entire package and features justify the above-average price tag
If you are looking for a crossbow that is bursting with raw power, is incredibly quiet and sleek and slim in the right place, then I congratulate you on finding the perfect match. It employs the use of the Recoil Anti-Vibration System (RAVS) to eliminate any vibration while shooting. This makes your grip stronger, your sight precise, and results in a terrifically accurate shot.
It comes with:
- Real Tree Xtra camo
- 3 Arrows
- Illuminated Tack Zone Scope
Weight: 5.4 pounds
Velocity: 355 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 280 pounds
Power stroke: 10.2 inches
Length: 31 inches
Width: 25 inches
One of the best things about the Micro Suppressor is its quick and easy assembling steps. If this was an award show, the “Most Easy to Assemble” Award would go to this beautiful piece of engineering from Excalibur.
Excalibur does not compromise on the quality of its products; some might say that is why they price their products higher than some common brands. Bringing home a durable crossbow which cost more, is better than getting a crossbow for a lower price and it breaking the moment things get heated out in the field. And believe me (or rather the experts who reviewed these crossbows), the Micro suppressor is as durable as it gets.
As we go down the list, it is going to get heavier in your pocket and Excalibur is not known for its cheap products. However, when you look at the package and the pure pleasure that you will experience after you have scored some awesome game in the season with this crossbow, the price tag will not be something that you will have time to ponder on.
Nearing the end of the list, we finally introduce you to another big player in the industry, Ravin. If we could define Ravin’s crossbows in a word, it would be “Class”. The quality standards that Ravin maintains are one of the best in the world. They come out with one premium high priced product after another and people line up to get a hold of the top crossbows in the game.
The first Ravin crossbow we want you to take a look at is the R20, which is the fastest crossbow on our list. Built to give you a hunting experience that you could not have been prepared for, this award-winning, tactical, fully assembled and the exquisite machine is so compact and lightweight, it looks like a rifle.
A closer look at Ravin’s crossbows reveals the genius behind their innovative designs, namely the HeliCoil Technology. HeliCoil allows the cams to rotate an incredible 340 degrees, while both cams remain perfectly level and balanced when drawing and shooting the crossbow. Crowned by many, as the most accurate and compact crossbow in the world, this is indeed the best crossbow on the market!
It comes with:
- 1 x Quiver/Mounting Bracket
- Built-In Versa-Draw Cocking Mechanism
- 6 x Ravin Branded Arrows and Ravin Nocks
- 100 Yard Illuminated Scope
- 1 x Removable Cocking Handle
- Anti-Dry Fire/Auto Safety mechanism
Weight: 7.1 pounds
Velocity: 430 FPS (feet per second)
Draw Weight: 12 pounds
Power stroke: 12.5 inches
Energy: 164-foot pounds
Length: 34.5 inches
Width: 10.5 inches
None of the crossbows on our list above come fully assembled. Partially assembled, yes. But Ravin likes to make your life easier and wants you to keep in mind that the R20 comes fully assembled. You could have the package delivered in the woods, take this out of the box and go on straight to hunting.
Ravin has not made its name in the hunting world by putting out third-grade products. Is it durable or not? This is not a question you have in mind when you are looking at a Ravin crossbow and especially not the R20, which gives you the best value and is as durable as they come.
The cost of the R20 is higher than what you would have gotten used to while going through our list. The list is arranged with products going from low to high prices, so you might have expected this. Still, with Ravin pricing it a bit shy of $1700, the R20 is the most expensive crossbow on our list, but which product worth having is not?
Now that you are aware of some of the best crossbows out there, we would like to educate our readers (beginners mostly) on the anatomy of a crossbow, the definitions, and working of the parts that make up a hunting machine.
Crossbows come in all shape and sizes and have different parts, but the most common and generic parts of a crossbow essential to its identity are listed below:
- Stock: Stock is the lower part that goes against your shoulder when you aim for a shot.
- Scope/Sight: As the name suggests, sight or scope is the part on top of the crossbow that helps you see your target better, and in turn aim better.
- Sight Bridge: The part on which the sight/scope is placed.
- Serving: The intersection point of the string and the arrow, when you load for a shot is called Serving.
- Retention Spring: This spring is on the side of the crossbow. When the crossbow is cocked, the spring is in a stretched position, and it comes back to its original form when the archer pulls the trigger.
- Trigger: We all know what a trigger is. The archer pulls the trigger to fire the arrow in the target’s direction
- Foregrip: The secondary holding place on the bow, where you grip the crossbow with your non-trigger pulling hand.
- Riser: The point where the limbs are attached
- Flight Groove: The arrow lies on the flight groove, it makes sure that the arrow follows the straight line forward when fired.
- Barrel: It is underneath the flight groove but above the stock and foregrip.
- Limb: The string is attached to the limbs, which are made to be in an outward direction from the bow. There are two limbs on every crossbow
- Stirrup: The stirrup is used to help one cock a crossbow. It allows you to keep the crossbow in place, with your foot while you cock it.
- Quiver: Located on the lower side, the quiver is the part that holds extra arrows.
Classifications of Crossbows
Crossbows are mainly classified into two types, Compound and Recurve crossbows. There is a third type of crossbow, known as the Rifle crossbows. We will discuss the types of crossbows below, to give you a better understanding of the features of each one and to equip you with the information required for crossbow shopping, which is the entire reason for this article.
Compound crossbows have traditional roots, with a modern touch in design and technology.
These crossbows have a string attached to the pulleys, one or more, which in turn are linked with the opposite limb through cables. The pulleys turn when the string is drawn back and the cables attached to the opposite limbs are pulled, bringing in the limbs with them. This stores energy which is released when the trigger is pulled.
Modern – preferred by hunters
Compact – smaller in size
Powerful – higher FPS than recurve crossbows
Quiet – almost soundless when the arrow is released
Easy to cock – requires less power from the archer, than recurve crossbows
Recurve crossbows are also derived from traditional bows, but they resemble the bows of old more than the compound crossbows.
Similar to traditional bows, the limbs on recurve are longer than compound crossbows and they curve away from the archer at the ends, to give out more power. Longer limbs mean longer draw length and result in more acceleration.
Traditional design – preferred by pros
Wide – longer limbs curving at the ends
Acceleration – more acceleration because of longer draw length
Easy maintenance – less moving parts, simple, easy to maintain
Best described as a union of a bow and a rifle, these are modern and advanced crossbows. These are a bit complicated to use as there are more parts in place to make them closer to a rifle than ever before.
Their best feature is the accuracy, they come with high-level stabilization and aiming capabilities. They are also very narrow and compact and can be used in tighter spaces much like a rifle, as the name suggests.
Shopping Guide – Pointers to keep in mind when shopping for a Crossbow
Coming to the end of this article, we want you to leave here with everything you need to know about buying a crossbow. Here we will list down some things you should keep in mind when you are in the market for a crossbow. It is important to note that the priority of the below-listed points varies according to the usage of the crossbows, whether you need the bow for hunting or for practice and archery games, etc. These points will help you determine the best crossbow suited to your needs.
If you are going hunting on foot for long distances or on uneven terrain, you would need to get a lightweight crossbow so you are able to carry the crossbow even when you are not using it. The weight will not matter if you plan to use the bow for practice or backyard games.
Every hunter knows that sound is an important factor to consider in hunting. The thing is to take your prey by surprise and not startle it. Even an irregular heartbeat can destroy your aim at that moment, a loud firing sound will definitely make your prey run away before the arrow even reaches it.
Perhaps the most common and second most influential thing to consider while making a decision on which crossbow to buy. You need greater velocity (measured in FPS – feet per second) to hunt your prey. The arrow has to follow a straight trajectory and penetrate the target.
Safety is a compromise that you should not make when shopping for a crossbow. It is a weapon after all and your safety and the safety of the ones close to you should be the number one priority.
Every model has different safety features. Some have ADF (Anti-dry fire) systems, it prevents dry firing the crossbow which could cause mechanical failure and could be costly to fix.
Others have reinforced parts for durability, come with textured grips for a firm grip and better balance and stabilization.
You’ll have to keep this in mind depending again, on your usage. Draw weight will determine how easy to use the crossbow is and the kinds of the game the crossbow can effectively work on.
Some crossbows will have a simple design, compact, and easy to use. You will have to make a decision, what you are going to use the crossbow for? What kind of environment are you going to use it?
The cost of the crossbow is the top priority of a major portion of the consumers. The price range should depend on the level of your expertise. If you are a beginner, look for something under the $300 mark, it will not have some features, but it will be perfect to use as practice.
If you have been in the game long enough, you can try out the $500 and above range crossbows. These will give you the best of almost everything while staying within your financial capacity.
An expert with years of experience could go for the premium models around and above $1000, where you are looking for that extra something and the best that money can buy.
Top Crossbow Brands
Below listed brands are some of the best crossbow manufacturers in the world!
- Horton (Bought by Tenpoint)
How far can I shoot with a crossbow?
The most powerful of the modern crossbows can shoot out up to 500 yards (457.2 meters). An expert hunter could shoot up to 80 yards (73.15 meters) during a hunt, it is recommended that you shoot at a maximum of 60 yards (54.86 meters).
How often should you wax a crossbow string?
There is no set standard depicting when it is the best time to wax the string, however, most of the authorities recommend waxing after every 6-10 shots. We would suggest checking the string after every few shots and determining whether it needs lube or not.
How many shots does a crossbow string last?
Again, there is no standard on the exact amount of shots a string will last up to, but on average a string should last at least 100 shots if maintained properly.
Where do you aim at a target, with a crossbow?
It depends on where you are shooting. If you are hunting from ground level, you should aim for the midline of the body or lower, closer to the heart. If you are at a high level, like a tree, aim below the midline of the body.
Can a deer live after being shot with an arrow?
Deer do survive flesh wounds. The best way to make sure if your shot was successful is to wait it out. If your arrow penetrated the body enough, the buck will die.
We have tried our best to bring you as many details as efficiently as possible. If you are reading this, you have gone through the list we put together and the points that you have to keep in mind when you are shopping for a crossbow. We will keep updating the list as time passes and the trends in the market change.
Do check out some of our other posts about the fastest crossbows in the world and the best crossbows for women. We have also categorized some pistol crossbow for people looking to have fun. And if you own a few crossbows, you know how important it is to upgrade to better scope, we have some the best crossbow scope recommendations as well.
It is with great pleasure that we inform you of this:
You are hereby ready to begin shopping for your first or your next crossbow.
Keep us updated with your opinion and recommendations for the list in the comment section below and remember, the ultimate goal is to enjoy the hunt!
May the odds be ever in your favor!