Best Crossbows 2024 Tested With Reviews

Written By John VanDerLaan 

Updated

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At Deer Hunting Guide, we love crossbow hunting because we can take advantage of the longer bowhunting seasons where we live while simultaneously using powerful weapons that give us longer accurate ranges without requiring as much practice as compound bows. We also love how many companies there are constantly coming out with new crossbow models with new and more powerful technology. However, it does make it hard to choose the best one, so we've gone through and tested the ones currently available to figure out the best crossbows available today. 

Our Top Picks

Best overall

Ravin R500 Crossbow

Ravin R500

Best for hunting

TenPoint Flatline 460 Crossbow

TenPoint flatline

Best Value

Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow

wicked ridge rdx 400

Best Crossbows At A Glance

How We Tested The Crossbows

Speed

Caldwell Chronograph For Measuring Arrow Speed

Speed is one of the most noticeable features of a crossbow and the main way people judge its power and effectiveness. Now, if you're new to crossbows, we really want to emphasize that speed is not everything. What speed is, is a good indicator of the crossbow range and power over that range.

As for range, a faster bolt means it will travel farther before gravity pulls it down. This means you can hunt animals farther away from you, but more importantly, it makes the crossbow more accurate.

As for power, speed is one of the factors in a crossbow kinetic energy along with the weight of the bolt. So for a given bolt, a faster crossbow is going to have more kinetic energy and then better penetration through an animal's thick hide and bone.

However, there are downsides to speed. Namely, high bolt speeds are much less forgiving of errors, making them tough on beginners. Additionally, a heavier bolt will likely have better penetration, even if it's a bit slower.

We used a Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph to measure the speed of the bolts from each crossbow.

We looked at bolt speeds using the crossbow's included bolts, normally with 100-grain field tips. We compared this to the rated speed and considered the implications of bolt speed to determine our recommendations, especially with regards to experience level and overall accuracy.

Weight

Shooting A Killer Instinct Crossbow

Crossbows are heavy compared to compound bows and recurves, usually weighing between five and 10 pounds. However, small differences within this range can actually make a big difference. 

We looked at weight without any attached accessories. We mainly paid attention to how the weight felt while holding the crossbow and aiming it, judging how quickly it tired our arms and made us drop our aim.

We also looked at how easy it was to carry the crossbow around, including up a tree stand ladder.

Accuracy

Crossbow Bolts In a Bullseye

We consider accuracy to be one of the most important aspects of a crossbow. The majority of crossbow hunters opt to use a crossbow because it's a weapon that you can usually use during archery season without having to do a lot of target practice on the range. However, this means the crossbow needs to shoot accurately over a long range with little tweaking.

As a result, we paid close attention to the accuracy of each crossbow on our list and over a wide range of distances. We looked closely at the quality of the scope and how versatile it was in providing accurate shots over numerous distances.

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Ease Of Cocking And Decocking

Cocking A Crossbow With A Crank Device

Crossbows are much more powerful than vertical bows with draw weights usually over 200 pounds. Even the strongest gym rats may have trouble pulling up a bowstring with 200 pounds of tension, much less new archers and those with less upper-body strength. Most people need a rope cocking device at the least, but this takes a bit of know-how and can be awkward and time-consuming for beginners.

With a few exceptions, we tried to find crossbows with integrated cranks or at least compatibility with integrated cranks instead of a cocking rope. For someone entirely new to crossbows, a crank makes it easy to cock and decock the crossbow. It also makes the process much quieter for hunting applications.

All of the best crossbows feature a crank cocking device as opposed to a rope cocker.

Balance And Handling

Shooting A Wicked Ridge Crossbow

Balance and handling are often overlooked by prospective crossbow archers, so we paid close attention to it when testing crossbows and choosing the best for our list. Many crossbows have their weight distributed awkwardly, normally towards the front, and this can make it difficult to aim even if the model is otherwise lightweight.

For instance, some types of crossbows, like reverse draw crossbows, feel completely different in your hands because of the design.

Handling is similar. The shape of the crossbow might seem like a small thing, but if it's comfortable to hold, it's much easier to aim and shoot precisely. We looked for crossbows that are ergonomic with quality triggers and, when possible, adjustable.

Noise

Noise is a very important factor for crossbows, though not always for the reasons many archers think. Even with much slower vertical bows, bolts and arrows travel far too fast for an animal to fully dodge your shot if it hears it. With a crossbow shooting 400 fps, forget about it.

RELATED: Types Of Bows For Hunting

However, noise can make a difference in your overall accuracy and success. If the shot is loud enough for your quarry to hear it, it may startle and jerk enough to throw the shot off slightly. Though you may still kill the animal, you may not hit the killzone as accurately, and you'll have to follow a long blood trail.

Noise is really important, though, if you hunt the same place frequently, such as a permanent tree stand on your property, or if you're going on a multi-day hunting trip. If your crossbow is too loud, a shot will alert all the game in the area. 

At Deer Hunting Guide, we're a little obsessive about noise and always try to find quiet crossbows. To some extent, noise simply depends on the crossbow's design, especially the cams. However, we really liked crossbows we found that had suppressors, dampeners and other devices that absorb vibrations and limit sound.

Best Crossbows: Reviews And Recommendations

Our staff of experts spent countless hours shooting all of the crossbows below and rated them based on the criteria above to come up with a list of the best crossbow for each category.

Here are our findings.

Best Overall: Ravin R500

Ravin is known for being an elite crossbow brand. They have a small line of powerful weapons that push the limits of current technology.

The R500 is one of their most recent and cutting-edge models, and a machine that frankly blew us away. Its specs are nearly unbeatable, with blistering bolt speeds that don't require bulk thanks to the Hexcoil cam system. Ravin also includes plenty of quality features and accessories to round out the hunting experience.

We were very impressed with how well balanced this crossbow is. If you are used to the awkward, front heavy crossbows, you will really like how good this reverse draw crossbow feels in your hands.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 500 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 222 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 300 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 15 in
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs
  • ATA Width: 3.6 in cocked, 7.75 in uncocked
  • Length: 28.5 in

Features:

  • Hexcoil cam system
  • Trac Trigger Firing System
  • VersaDrive silent cocking system
  • Anti-dry fire system
  • Auto safety
  • 6 400-grain bolts
  • Mountable quiver
  • 100-yard illuminated scope
  • Built-in sling mount

What We Like

  • 500 fps bolt speed increases your accuracy over long ranges and allows you to hunt bigger, more challenging game.
  • Because the cocking system is so quiet, you can load and draw your crossbow in the field.
  • The Frictionless Flight System allows the bolt and bowstring to float entirely above the rail, which is part of the reason the bolt speed is so high and the accuracy so on point. It also increases the life of your bowstring.
  • The numerous included accessories work seamlessly with the Ravin design and let you start hunting right away.
  • The insanely narrow ATA width makes the R500 an easy crossbow to maneuver through thick brush for wilderness hunting, especially in the deciduous forests of the southeast.

What We Don’t Like

  • The only real downside of the R500 is that you have to pay top dollar for the cutting-edge, powerful design.

Check out this Ravin R500 Crossbow Review video to see all of the features of this crossbow.

If it's within your budget and you're passionate about bowhunting, we recommend the Ravin R500 for everyone. Its pinpoint accuracy, formidable power and advanced features increase the situations and environments you can successfully hunt in and lend themselves to serious, rugged hunting situations. However, even a stand hunter just looking to fill their freezer with venison will both enjoy and benefit from this innovative weapon.


Best Speed: TenPoint Nitro 505

TenPoint Nitro 505 Crossbow

TenPoint is always a leader in the crossbow industry, so it's no surprise they created the fastest crossbow available. The main selling point of the Nitro 505 is that it achieves a bolt speed of 505 fps, giving it the ability to shoot heavy bolts accurately with tons of kinetic energy. This lets you hunt big game from deer to elk to moose to bear and over extra long distances too.

If the bolt speed isn't enough, TenPoint also includes an advanced design with innovative features. If you're searching for a high-end model, you should definitely give the Nitro 505 a look. 

The Tenpoint Nitro 505 performed flawlessly during our testing, despite being a little more bulky than the Ravin R500. It was still a favorite among our staff members that shot it on the range.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 505 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 227 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 300 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 17 in
  • Weight: 7.9 lbs
  • ATA Width: 6.5 in cocked, 12 in uncocked
  • Length: 30.5 in

Features:

  • 100 Yard EVO-X Marksman Elite Scope
  • ACUslide cocking
  • Micro-Trac barrel
  • 6 carbon bolts
  • 6-bolt quiver
  • Veil Alpine camo finish
Testing The TenPoint Nitro 505 Crossbow

What We Like

  • With 505 fps bolt speed, the Nitro 505 is the fastest production crossbow currently available, giving you unprecedented power over long ranges.
  • The ACUslide crank makes cocking and decocking safe and easy as well as relatively quiet for better stealth in the field.
  • The rangefinding scope takes the guesswork out of aiming and further increases the downrange accuracy of the Nitro 505.
  • The Nitro 505 is especially lightweight, which makes it easy to carry over long distances or maneuver into your tree stand without weighing you down.

What We Don’t Like

  • The Nitro 505 is an industry leader and therefore has a top-shelf price that, while worth it, may not be affordable for everyone.
  • The Nitro 505 is a bit bulkier than similar models like the Ravin R500, which can be difficult if you have a lot of kit and hunt in thick woods.

Here is a great video review of the TenPoint Nitro 505 crossbow that will help you decide if it is right for you.

The Nitro 505 is one of the best crossbows for hunting big game. You often have to hunt animals like elk over long distances, and the high bolt speed really helps with that. At the same time, it's also an ideal way to harvest multiple whitetails a season if you live in an area with a high bag limit. Take advantage of archery season with a crossbow that's nearly as effective as a firearm.


Best Value Crossbow: Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow

Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow

Wicked Ridge is a brand owned and manufactured by TenPoint. Generally, Wicked Ridge models have a lot of the same quality TenPoint technology, but are more affordable.

This is the case with the RDX 400. In fact, we love it because it combines the power of a TenPoint cam system with a much lower price tag. Of course, there are trade-offs for this price, such as lower bolt speed, but 400 fps is still pretty formidable if you are a new or even intermediate hunter. 

The RDX 400 isn't a cheap budget crossbow, either. Though it's a value, it still has a high-quality design and advanced features like the ACUdraw cocking system and included accessories.

During our testing, almost every member of our staff chose this as the best value crossbow. Many of them were referring to it as a working man's crossbow.

It feels great in your hands. It is lightweight and compact, and it is very well balanced, thanks to the reverse draw design.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 400 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 140 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 175 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 15.5 in
  • Weight: 7.1 lbs
  • ATA Width: 9 in cocked, 15 in uncocked
  • Length: 33.25 in

Features:

  • 3x multi-reticle scope
  • ACUdraw cocking
  • Dry-Fire Inhibitor
  • Built-in safety
  • 3.5-pound trigger
  • 3 bolts
  • 3-bolt quiver
  • Camo finish

What We Like

  • The speed and power is great, especially for the price, making this crossbow one of the best values available.
  • Given its size, we were impressed by how lightweight the RDX 400 is, making it easier to lug around.
  • The camo finish on the RDX 400 is appropriate for most environments where you'll encounter whitetail deer, such as southeastern deciduous forests.
  • Wicked Ridge designed the RDX 400 to be especially safe, meaning a dry-fire inhibitor and built-in safety, allowing beginners to hunt with more confidence.

What We Don’t Like

  • As a value crossbow, there is considerable assembly required that can sometimes be confusing even with the instructions.
  • The RDX 400 is longer and wider than the Nitro 505 and the Ravin R500. 

If the two previous models were a bit pricey for you, the Wicked Ridge RDX 400 might just be the value you're looking for. It is a great crossbow for the money. It still has the bolt speed and power for serious applications and hunting big game over long distances, but it takes it down just a notch so you aren't paying for a bunch of stuff you don't need. It's ideal for beginners, intermediate bowhunters and even experts who hunt regularly.


Best Crossbow For The Money : CenterPoint Wrath 430 Crossbow with Silent Crank 

Centerpoint Wrath 430 Crossbow

While we settled on the RDX 400 as our overall value pick, we couldn't leave the Wrath 430 off our list. It's a staff favorite, especially for its affordable price range. After all, you're getting well over 400 fps and some serious power.

Plus, aside from the friction on the rail, this is a durable crossbow for the price. In other words, if you hunt regularly season after season, you're getting a crossbow that will last, for the price of a short-term model. CenterPoint backs this up with a five-year warranty. 

Our staff members really like the way this crossbow feels in your hands and the way it shoots. At 430 feet per second, it is a really fast, flat shooting crossbow.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 430 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 164 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 200 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 15 in
  • Weight: 8.3 lbs
  • ATA Width: 9 in cocked, 13 in uncocked
  • Length: 28.25 in

Features:

  • Silent cocking crank
  • Machined aluminum rail
  • Anti-dry-fire system
  • Auto safety
  • 4x32mm illuminated scope
  • 3 bolts
  • Mounted quiver
  • 5-year warranty

What We Like

  • The price on the Wrath 430 is incredible for what you're getting as far as power and accessories. It allows you to hunt on a budget and keep costs low if you're harvesting venison.
  • The silent crank makes cocking a bolt way easier, and lets you do it in the field so you don't have to drive around with a loaded crossbow, which isn't especially safe.
  • Speaking of safety, we love the auto safety and other features on this model that help prevent accidents. That's nice if you're new to bowhunting.
  • We appreciate that CenterPoint includes a five-year warranty since this lets you buy with more confidence considering this is a value model.
  • The illuminated scope makes it easier to hunt at dusk and dawn when whitetail deer are most active.

What We Don’t Like

  • There is more friction against the rail than with the top-shelf models above. Be sure to lube it regularly.
  • The cocking stirrup is on the flimsy side, but hopefully this isn't an issue since you have the crank.

We love the Wrath 430 more than anything because it lets us use our hunting budget for other tools and accessories. Not that you need very many, considering how effective and complete this hunting package is from CenterPoint. It's a great option if you're a regular whitetail hunter who needs consistency over several seasons.


Best Hunting Crossbow: TenPoint Flatline 460

TenPoint Flatline 460 Crossbow

Why do you really want a crossbow? The answer is almost certainly to take advantage of your state's long archery hunting season to finally get your trophy buck or fill your freezer with venison. Frankly, there are few ways better to do that than with the TenPoint Flatline 460.

While not quite as powerful as the Nitro 505, you still get insane power with 460 fps bolt speeds and 188 ft-lbs of kinetic energy, all with typical TenPoint craftsmanship and technology. In fact, the package comes with quite a few accessories that increase its value like an advanced EVO-X scope and integrated bubble level.

Our staff loved everything about this crossbow, except the price. It is incredibly compact, well balanced, shoots incredibly accurately, but it is very expensive. That is the only reason it is this far down the list.

Almost every member of our staff said that this crossbow would be their top pick for hunting if they could afford it.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 460 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 188 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 300 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 13.5 in
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs
  • ATA Width: 7.5 in cocked, 12.3 in uncocked
  • Length: 26.5 in

Features:

  • ACUslide cocking system
  • EVO-X Marksman scope
  • Integrated string stop system
  • 6 carbon bolts
  • 6-bolt mounted quiver
  • Integrated bubble level
  • S1 two-stage trigger
  • Veil alpine camo finish

What We Like

  • The Flatline 460 is one of the most compact crossbows we've found, so it's ideal for cramped climbing tree stands or thicker terrain.
  • The ACUslide system lets you cock and decock the crossbow quietly, a great feature for multi-day hunts. It's also just safer.
  • The included EVO-X scope increases your accurate range considerably, since it's designed to handle speeds up to 505 fps out to 100 yards.
  • We were impressed with the S1 trigger and its zero-creep design that makes it easier to take your shot precisely when your quarry is in the crosshairs for better accuracy.
  • Accuracy is further improved by the integrated bubble level that helps you keep the crossbow steady.

What We Don’t Like

  • The Flatline 460 can be hard on a budget, and you can pay just a little more to get an even more powerful TenPoint model like the Nitro 505.

The Flatline 460 performs outstandingly in several aspects important for bowhunting, namely accuracy, compactness and size, and camouflage. There are slightly more powerful bows out there, but for whitetail deer in particular, this model maximizes a number of features that increase your overall chances of success across multiple hunts. It's our favorite overall for hunting.

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Quietest Crossbow: Excalibur Suppressor 400 TD Crossbow with Charger EXT Cocking Device

Excalibur Suppressor 400 TD Crossbow

The main reason to look at the Excalibur Suppressor 400 TD is its quiet design. It's a recurve crossbow, which already makes it particularly quiet, but it also includes an SDS Silencing System with air brakes that absorbs vibration and suppresses the noise of your shot so that it doesn't spook the deer before the arrow arrives to the target.

That's not this model's only great feature, though. It's also plenty fast and powerful. Though on the bulky side, it's an effective hunting crossbow that shoots at 400 fps and is highly accurate. 

Although this crossbow is one of the lightest that we tested, it is not nearly as comfortable and well balanced as the reverse draw crossbows.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 400 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 100 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 325 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 15 in
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • ATA Width: 20.25 in cocked, 25 in uncocked
  • Length: 32 in

Features:

  • Armor-tipped recurve limbs
  • SDS Silencing System with air brakes
  • ACP anti-dry-fire trigger
  • Cocking crank
  • Quick-Loc takedown
  • Tact-100 illuminated scope
  • 4 bolts
  • 4-bolt quiver

What We Like

  • The SDS Silencing System combined with the recurve design makes the Suppressor 400 one of the quietest crossbows available, making it an excellent weapon for extended hunting trips.
  • 400 fps is considerable bolt speed, especially for a recurve model, meaning you get power and accuracy with your quiet shot.
  • The Quick-Loc takedown design lets you easily assemble and disassemble the Suppressor 400. This is great for transporting it, but it also helps preserve the limbs in the off-season so that you get consistent shooting over multiple seasons.
  • Despite its larger size, the Suppressor 400 is very lightweight, which makes it easier to carry and transport in a way that mitigates its bulkiness. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The Suppressor 400 has the usual drawbacks of a recurve crossbow, such as a large size that may be harder to move and shoot agilely and a higher draw weight, even with the crank.

If you want a quiet crossbow, look no further. Usually this is because you hunt the same area regularly, either over an entire season or during a single long hunting trip. The noise of a shot can scare away game like whitetail deer, and they may not return for a while. 

Additionally, a quieter shot means better accuracy, too. At 400 fps, it's unlikely that a deer could jump entirely out of the way, but it could startle just enough to throw off your shot. 


Best Crossbow For Deer Hunting: Ravin R29X Crossbow  

Ravin R29X Crossbow

Honestly, it's hard for us not to include every Ravin model on our list. Aside from speed and power, the brand means durable construction with cutting-edge technology. In the case of the R29X, you get a lot of features like HeliCoil technology and the Frictionless Flight System that improve accuracy while simultaneously extending the life of the crossbow. 

We were all blown away when this crossbow first came out, and you would see many of these R29 Xs in tree stands and blinds everywhere you went. Many of our staff members have spent a few years deer hunting with this crossbow and all agree that it was a game changer for fast, accurate shots.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 450 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 180 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 270 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 12.5 in
  • Weight: 6.75 lbs
  • ATA Width: 6 in cocked, 10.5 in uncocked
  • Length: 29 in

Features:

  • HeliCoil technology
  • Frictionless flight
  • Trac-Trigger firing
  • Silent cocking crank
  • Auto safety and anti-dry-fire mechanism
  • 100-yard illuminated scope
  • 3 bolts
  • Mounted quiver

What We Like

  • The Ravin R29X is powerful and accurate both, so it's great for hunting whitetail deer, especially if you're looking to harvest a mature buck.
  • The cocking crank is highly efficient and reduces draw weight down to just 12 pounds. As a result, just about anyone can take advantage of this model's power.
  • The R29X features a lot of Ravin proprietary technology like HeliCoil that makes cocking and releasing a bolt much smoother and minimizes deviations that can throw off the bolt. Plus, it reduces wear and tear on the crossbow, so it lasts longer. 

What We Don’t Like

  • We love the R29X, but there are already some more advanced Ravin models on the market. They can be a bit pricier, but it might be worth it if you want top of the line.
  • Although it is illuminated, the included scope is fairly basic considering the R29X's speed and power. Consider upgrading it to one of our recommended crossbow scopes.

If you're obsessed with the Ravin brand like we are but are a little too tight on funds to go for their most top-shelf model, the R29X is a good way to get all those amazing Ravin features and technologies in a mid-range package. In fact, the lower draw weight combined with the still-blistering bolt speed of 450 fps might be more manageable for those who don't have extensive crossbow experience.

When it comes to hunting crossbows, the Ravin brand is always in the mix.


Best Rated Crossbow: TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow 

TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow

What's more reliable than getting one of the most highly rated crossbows from one of the most highly rated brands? In fact, the Titan M1 is TenPoint's best-selling model of all time, reflecting its usefulness in a number of situations and combination of affordable price with effective specs like 370 fps bolt speed and 113 ft-lbs of kinetic energy.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 370 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 113 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 180 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 14 in
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs
  • ATA Width: 9 in cocked, 14 in uncocked
  • Length: 32.5 in

Features:

  • VX-5 inverted cams
  • Ambidextrous T5 trigger
  • ACUdraw cocking device
  • Pro View 3 scope
  • 3 bolts
  • 3-bolt mounted quiver
  • Adjustable butt plate

What We Like

  • With an adjustable butt plate and cocking crank, the Titan M1 is accessible for a wide range of bowhunters, both in size and experience level. 
  • The M1 is one of TenPoint's most well-known and best-selling models, so you can easily find accessories and get maintenance done, whether at a shop or by teaching yourself.
  • The price is more manageable for beginners and casual hunters who want an accurate crossbow for taking advantage of the archery season without having to invest too much.

What We Don’t Like

  • 370 fps is more than fast enough to take down whitetail deer and even bigger game, but it's not as fast as other crossbows on this list.
  • The Titan M1 is a bit louder than other models since it doesn't have an integrated silencing system. This might make it less effective if you regularly hunt the same area.

For those who don't know a lot about crossbows but just want something reliable that they can use during the archery season, the Titan M1 has a value-to-performance ratio that's ideal for most bowhunters and the reliability of the TenPoint brand. As one of the most highly rated crossbows of all time, you know you're getting something that has suited a wide range of hunting needs and will likely work for your personal situation. It is easy see why the Titan M1 topped our list for the best crossbow for women.


Best Beginner Crossbow: Wicked Ridge Fury 410 Crossbow with ACUdraw De-Cock

Wicked Ridge Fury 410 Crossbow

If you're a beginner, you should be looking for a crossbow that's safe and manageable with features that help you shoot and aim even when you don't have experience. At the same time, you want something effective. After all, you probably want a crossbow so you can hunt the archery season without having to spend hours on the range practicing. In our opinion, the Wicked Ridge Fury 410 is just that model.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 410 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 142 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 200 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 15.5 in
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs
  • ATA Width: 9 in cocked, 15 in uncocked
  • Length: 29 in

Features:

  • ACUdraw cocking system
  • Two-stage zero-creep trigger
  • RangeMaster Pro scope
  • Pro View 3 scope
  • 3 carbon bolts
  • 3-bolt quiver

What We Like

  • The reverse draw design balances the crossbow so it doesn't have the nose-heavy feel of a lot of models that makes them difficult to aim.
  • The two-stage D1 trigger with zero creep is great for situations where you may have to hold your aim while you wait for your quarry to come into range.
  • Thanks to the ACUdraw cocking device, you can cock and decock the Fury 410 easily and still take advantage of the 200 pounds of draw weight that results in 142 ft-lbs of power.
  • The RangeMaster Pro Scope has a variable speed design, so you can change up your bolts depending on your needs and still shoot accurately.

What We Don’t Like

  • The high draw weight takes the ACUdraw system to its limit, so it may not last as long as other cocking systems.

Altogether the features and mid-range price of the Fury 410 make it our top choice for beginners. It has all the power and speed you need for serious hunting applications, but it gives you a bit of wiggle room in demanding situations. For instance, the reverse draw makes it easier to balance, and the ACUdraw cocking system makes it easier to cock and decock.


Best Budget Crossbow: Killer Instinct Boss 405 Crossbow

Killer Instinct Boss 405 Crossbow

Crossbows are amazing weapons, but it's true that they can get expensive. If you aren't a die-hard crossbow user but still want an effective model to hunt with during the archery season, you can save a ton of money with the Killer Instinct Boss 405. Despite the incredibly low price, it still comes with a lot of nice features and great specs.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 405 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 134 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 220 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 13.25 in
  • Weight: 6.7 lbs
  • ATA Width: 14.75 in cocked, 18.75 in uncocked
  • Length: 33.5 in (adjustable to 36 in)

Features:

  • Adjustable AR-style buttstock
  • Adjustable foregrip
  • String and limb suppressors
  • Lumix 4x2 scope
  • 3 bolts
  • 3-bolt quiver

What We Like

  • The Boss 405's price is pretty much unbeatable, especially considering the specs and features you're getting. You can take advantage of the archery season for less than most compound bows.
  • 405 fps bolt speed is even faster than a lot of more expensive models and gives you range and accuracy for hunting whitetail deer and bigger game.
  • The Boss 405 is highly adjustable at both the buttstock and the foregrip, so bowhunters of all sizes can use it. Plus, if you're a beginner, you can get a comfortable grip that's easier to shoot accurately.
  • Killer Instinct included suppressors for the string and limbs, an advanced feature you usually only find on higher-end models. This makes it more accurate and quieter, which increases your chances of hunting success.

What We Don’t Like

  • Although it's compatible with one if you decide to add it, the Boss 405 doesn't have a cocking crank or other device. Considering the draw weight is on the higher side at 220 pounds, this can make it hard for a lot of bowhunters to cock it.
  • We love the adjustable stock, especially for a budget model that's good for beginners, but for experienced archers, it may lack reliable sturdiness.
  • The Boss 405's ATA width is wide and bulky, making it hard to maneuver through thick brush or in a tight tree stand.

The Boss 405 is definitely our choice for bowhunters on a budget. It's just a fraction of the cost of crossbows with similar features and specs. You may have to get some important accessories yourself, namely a cocking crank, but altogether it's a crossbow under $500 that lets you get started and work your way into bowhunting.


Best Recurve Crossbow: Excalibur Assassin Extreme Crossbow 

Excalibur Assassin Extreme Recurve Crossbow

Crossbows seem to be consistently getting more complex and technologically advanced. That's great if that's what you want, but a lot of bowhunters want a simpler device that can get the job done without necessitating a lot of maintenance and know-how.

The Excalibur Assassin Extreme is a quality crossbow with high-performance specs. Just consider the 400 fps bolt speed, rivaling and beating out plenty of compound crossbow models. Excalibur also includes a lot of accessories and features that help you take advantage of this design.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 400 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 125 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 290 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 10.125 in
  • Weight: 7.4 lbs
  • ATA Width: 20.5 in cocked, 25 in uncocked
  • Length: 32 in

Features:

  • Integrated crank
  • Two camo options
  • R.E.D.S. suppressors
  • Tact-100 illuminated scope
  • 4 bolts
  • 4-bolt quiver
  • Pro-Shot trigger

What We Like

  • The Assassin Extreme has incredible power for a recurve crossbow, but the integrated crank lets you cock the 290 lbs of draw weight with just 19 pounds of effort.
  • The Assassin Extreme has suppressors and silencers that cut down on noise, which is already minimal thanks to the recurve design. In other words, this is one of the stealthiest models around.
  • The two camo options let you calibrate your weapon's appearance to your environment. Flat Dark Earth is probably best for plains and desert environments while Realtree works best for forest environments.
  • The Pro-Shot trigger is two-stage, giving the feel of a rifle trigger and allowing you to shoot accurately and consistently. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Like any recurve crossbow, the Assassin Extreme has an extra-wide ATA of 20.5 inches even when cocked. That's going to be hard to move around in the woods, not to mention transport.

The Assassin Extreme is our favorite recurve crossbow. A recurve crossbow is an ideal choice if you want to minimize noise or maintenance. It won't work very well for hunting in tight spaces, but if you hunt from a large 2 man ladder stand, it is ideally quiet and you can use the safety bar on the stand as a rest. We wouldn't recommend it for a small hang on tree stand.


Best Entry Level Crossbow: Barnett TS380 With Crank Device

Barnett TS380 Crossbow

Barnett is well-known for their affordable starter crossbow models. The TS380 is one of their most popular due to its high but manageable power and convenient setup. Plus, it's a ready-to-hunt package with everything you need to get started and even some extra features important for beginners like an integrated crank for easy cocking.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 380 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 122 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 201 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 12.625 in
  • Weight: 6.9 lbs
  • ATA Width: 13.25 in cocked, 16.75 in uncocked
  • Length: 32 in

Features:

  • Integrated crank
  • Digital gray camo
  • Anti-dry-fire mechanism
  • Soft Lok floating bristle bolt retainer
  • 4x32 multi-reticle scope
  • TriggerTech frictionless release
  • 2 bolts
  • Side-mount quiver

What We Like

  • The 380 fps, while lower than many models, is still powerful enough to hunt whitetail deer and big game but a bit more manageable for beginners at the same time.
  • The integrated crank makes it easy to draw a bolt, an important feature if you're new to crossbows and don't know how to cock one with a rope cocking device.
  • The Barnett TS380 has a lot of safety features like an anti-dry-fire mechanism and floating bristle bolt retainer. These are extra important for new bowhunters who are more likely to make mistakes with their crossbows.
  • The trigger's frictionless release allows you to shoot more precisely, and that helps you shoot more accurately if you don't have a lot of experience with aiming crossbows.

What We Don’t Like

  • The TS380 only comes with two bolts, the minimum you should have to go hunting. Since it's common to lose bolts while hunting, you'll have to stock back up soon, if not immediately.
  • As a starter model, the TS380's construction is not as high-quality as other crossbows. 

The Barnett TS380 is our top choice for beginners. It has what you need to pick up and go, so you can start hunting successfully during the archery season. It has enough power for whitetail deer and other big game but not so much that you can't learn on it and practice your accuracy. Plus, accuracy is easier even if you haven't spent a lot of time practicing on the range thanks to special features like the scope and specialized trigger. 


Best Compact Crossbow: Excalibur Micro 340 TD Crossbow

Excalibur Micro 340 TD Compact Crossbow

The Excalibur Micro 340 TD is a compact but powerful crossbow designed for tight spaces. Thanks to skeleton cut-outs and a short power stroke, it's one of the lightest-weight models we've found, yet it still manages bolt speeds of 340 fps.

Excalibur also includes a lot of great features and accessories, especially the R.E.D.S. suppressors that help minimize noise and vibration for better accuracy and stealth. Just keep in mind that there is no cocking crank, just a rope cocking device. It is compatible with the Charger EXT crank, so if you don't have a lot of experience with rope cocking devices, you might want to get this as well.

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 340 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 103 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 270 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 13 in
  • Weight: 5.6 lbs
  • ATA Width: 21.5 in cocked, 25 in uncocked
  • Length: 33 in

Features:

  • Dead-Zone scope
  • Anti-dry-fire system
  • R.E.D.S. suppressors
  • 4 bolts
  • 4-bolt quiver
  • Rope cocking aid

What We Like

  • At just 5.6 pounds, the Micro 340 TD is very lightweight and easy to transport and carry with the rest of your kit.
  • Due to its compact size, recurve design and included suppressors, the Micro 340 TD has an especially quiet shot that improves accuracy and helps keep the game in your area calm.
  • Excalibur included an ambidextrous cheek piece, so it's easy to shoot the Micro 340 TD accurately whether you're right- or left-handed.

What We Don’t Like

  • Excalibur didn't include a crank, just a rope cocking device. Since the Micro 340 TD has a high draw weight of 270 pounds, this can be tough for beginners and smaller bowhunters.
  • The scope is not very accurate at long ranges, so you may consider upgrading it if you need to hunt over wide open spaces. 

The Micro 340 TD is great for tight spaces. Normally this means a climb-up tree stand that doesn't have much room. Plus, the light weight makes it easier to scale the ladder. You can also consider this crossbow for one-man ground blinds and hunting environments with a lot of brush and vegetation.


Best Reverse Draw Crossbow: TenPoint Siege Crossbow With ACUslide

TenPoint Siege RS410 Reverse Draw Crossbow

There are many benefits to a reverse draw crossbow. Most importantly, the weight is oriented farther back towards your shoulder, which makes it easier to hold and aim. It's also usually quieter and puts less wear and tear on the bowstring.

The TenPoint Siege is one of the best ways to take advantage of this design. It's incredibly accurate, which is only improved upon by the included scope. It also has a great power-to-draw-weight ratio, though it's easy to cock regardless thanks to the ACUslide cocking system. 

Specs:

  • Bolt Speed: 410 fps
  • Kinetic Energy: 149 ft-lbs
  • Draw Weight: 220 lbs
  • Power Stroke: 13.5 in
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs
  • ATA Width: 6.5 in cocked, 12.3 in uncocked
  • Length: 26.5 in

Features:

  • ACUslide cocking system
  • RangeMaster Pro scope
  • Adjustable butt plate
  • S1 trigger
  • 6 bolts
  • 6-bolt quiver

What We Like

  • The Siege's reverse draw gives it a balanced shot that gives you excellent accuracy. This is especially the case when you're in situations where you have to hold the crossbow steady for extended periods of time, like when hunting cautious mature bucks and elk bulls.
  • The ACUslide system means you can handle the 220 pounds of draw weight and corresponding 410 fps bolt speed even if you don't have much experience with crossbows.
  • The S1 trigger has zero creep as well as a roller system that helps keep you from firing too early or jerking to apply too much pressure to the trigger. This further improves accuracy.

What We Don’t Like

  • The Siege doesn't have as many advanced safety features as other models, so it's better for experienced bowhunters who know their way around a crossbow.

We recommend the TenPoint Siege for intermediate or expert bowhunters who hunt regularly in demanding situations. It can take your accuracy to the next level and give you an extra edge while providing consistent speed and power. Plus, its advanced reverse draw design helps it last longer and maintain that consistency.

Its super compact design is ideal for tight spaces and climbing up your favorite ladder stand.

RELATED: Crossbow Maintenance


Best Crossbow Comparison Chart


Model

Weight

Speed

PRICE

Ravin R500 Crossbow

Best Overall - Ravin R500 Crossbow

8.4lbs

500 FPS

TenPoint Nitro 505 Crossbow

Fastest  - Tenpoint Nitro 505

7.9lbs

505 FPS

Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow

Best Value - Wicked Ridge RDX 400

7.1lbs

400 FPS

Centerpoint Wrath 430 Crossbow

Staff Favorite - Centerpoint Wrath 430

8.3lbs

430 FPS

TenPoint Flatline 460 Crossbow

Best For Hunting - Tenpoint Flatline 460

7.5lbs

460 FPS

Excalibur Suppressor 400 TD Crossbow

Quietest

Excalibur Suppressor 400 TD

5.9lbs

400 FPS

Ravin R29X Crossbow

Best For Deer Hunting 

Ravin R29X

6.7lbs

450 FPS

TenPoint Titan M1 Crossbow

Best Rated 

Tenpoint Titan M1

6.4lbs

370 FPS

Wicked Ridge Fury 410 Crossbow

Best Beginner 

Wicked Ridge Fury 410

7.5lbs

410 FPS

Killer Instinct Boss 405 Crossbow

Best Budget 

Killer Instinct Boss 405

6.7lbs

405 FPS

Excalibur Assassin Extreme Recurve Crossbow

Best Recurve 

Excalibur Assassin Extreme

7.4lbs

400 FPS

Barnett TS380 Crossbow

Best Entry Level 

Barnett TS380

6.9lbs

380 FPS

Excalibur Micro 340 TD Compact Crossbow

Best Compact 

Excalibur Micro 340 TD

5.6lbs

340 FPS

TenPoint Siege RS410 Reverse Draw Crossbow

Best Reverse Draw 

Tenpoint Siege

7.5lbs

410FPS

Best Crossbow Brands: Who Makes The Best Crossbow

Who makes the best crossbow? Below we give you a brief overview of the best crossbow brands available today.

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Ravin

Ravin Crossbows Logo

Ravin is considered one of the industry leaders in the archery world. They make advanced, cutting-edge crossbows. Ravin is renowned for pioneering revolutionary crossbow technology that increases accuracy, speed and power. 

Ravin's most famous innovation is HeliCoil technology, which coils cables away from both the top and bottom of the cams in helical grooves. This creates a perfectly balanced draw for better downrage accuracy. They also developed the Trac-Trigger firing system, Versa-Draw cocking system and Frictionless Flight system.

For experienced bowhunters who want the highest performance and are willing to pay corresponding prices, Ravin is a favorite brand.

RELATED: Best Crossbow Bolts

TenPoint

Shooting A TenPoint Crossbow

TenPoint is another top-shelf brand, but they have a lot more models than Ravin with a larger range of designs and purposes. One reason a lot of bowhunters opt for TenPoint models is that they're manufactured in the USA, in TenPoint's hometown of Mogadore, Ohio. Similarly, the company has highly rated customer service, and a lot of bowhunters feel they can easily get ahold of TenPoint when they have a problem with their crossbow or need parts or maintenance.

Like Ravin, TenPoint has also been responsible for a lot of innovations in the archery industry. They've created systems like the ACUslide cocking system as well as improved cam systems on the margins for better speed, power and accuracy. At the same time, they have models that suit everyone from beginners learning how to shoot a crossbow to experts that have years of experience under their belt..

Wicked Ridge

Shooting A Wicked Ridge Crossbow

Wicked Ridge is actually owned by TenPoint. As a result, their crossbows come with much of the same innovation as TenPoint models, not to mention customer service.

That said, Wicked Ridge crossbows are generally less expensive and designed for beginners or casual bowhunters. They're value models that have become go-to's for those looking to learn bowhunting.

CenterPoint

Centerpoint Wrath 430 Crossbow On The Archery Range

CenterPoint produces a lot of mid-range crossbows that are suitable for beginners and experts both. With an efficient manufacturing process, they have large stocks of crossbows and numerous lines that focus on different aspects of bowhunting, from size to noise to bolt speed. They also have plenty of accessories and aftermarket parts, so you can get a value crossbow and improve it to fit your personal needs.

Excalibur

Shooting The Excalibur Assassin Crossbow

Excalibur exclusively produces recurve crossbows, which operate on the same principle as a recurve bow. Nevertheless, they have a surprisingly large range of models with 10 in their latest lineup alone. 

The brand is especially famous because these recurve models perform as well if not better than many compound crossbows. They have high bolt speeds, often over 400 fps, and plenty of high-quality accessories.

Barnett

Shooting A Barnett Crossbow

Barnett is a popular brand for budget crossbows. You can usually save hundreds over brands like Ravin and TenPoint. Of course, as budget models, Barnett crossbows usually have lower specs like bolt speed and kinetic energy. They're also a bit less durable.

Nonetheless, Barnett crossbows are effective and good choices for beginners and intermediate archers. They're also great for casual hunters who don't want to invest too much but are looking to get a few more hunts in during the extended archery season.

Killer Instinct

Shooting A Killer Instinct Crossbow

Killer Instinct is another budget brand that can help you get started with crossbows without draining your bank account. Their products are highly rated, especially by beginners, who find that the range of accessories they usually include with their models help start you off on the right foot and learn bowhunting faster.

FAQs

What is the best crossbow speed for hunting?

The best crossbow speed for hunting varies widely by purpose and personal preference, but 300-400 fps should work well for most game over standard ranges and give you a nice balance between power and control. Higher speeds over 400 fps will give you a longer range and more penetration for big game like deer, elk and bear, but it may be harder to manage if you don't have a lot of experience. Plus, it will be too much power for smaller game.

What is the best crossbow speed for deer?

We usually recommend at least 250 fps to hunt whitetail deer with a crossbow. However, 250 fps will considerably limit your range, so if you're not a very experienced hunter, we suggest getting between 300 and 400 fps. On the other end, much higher than 400 fps, you may have trouble managing the shot.

How far can you shoot a deer with a 400 fps crossbow?

The recommended ethical range for bowhunting, including with a crossbow, is 40 yards, but since crossbows tend to shoot faster than vertical bows, you can extend this to 50 or even 60 yards if you have experience with your crossbow and know how to shoot it accurately.

In fact, 400 fps is starting to get into high-performance territory, and with a crossbow this powerful, you can theoretically reach a range of 70-80 yards. However, before hunting at this distance, you should definitely hit the range and make sure you can consistently hit the mark that far away.

RELATED: Best Place To Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow

How accurate is a crossbow at 100 yards?

Few production crossbows are accurate at 100 yards, at least without considerable practice. If you want to just buy a crossbow, sight in the scope, and start hunting, you should not plan on hitting quarries 100 yards away. 80 yards is already considered an upper limit for high-speed crossbows, even if you have experience, so for your average bowhunter and crossbow, expect accuracy to drop off after 50 yards. 

What is the most accurate crossbow at 50 yards?

How accurate a given crossbow is at exactly 50 yards depends on a lot of factors, but we consider the most consistently accurate to be the Ravin R500 and TenPoint Nitro 505. Their bolt speeds over 500 fps give them especially flat trajectories, so they're easy to aim. That said, many other models included on our list are similarly accurate.

What is the advantage of hunting with a crossbow?

The main advantage of hunting with a crossbow is that you get the easy accuracy of a firearm while being able to hunt the longer archery season that exists in most states. Vertical bows like recurve bows and even compound bows usually require a lot of practice on the range to hunt with successfully, but you can often hunt successfully with a crossbow after a single session sighting in the scope. 

Crossbows are also much quieter than firearms. This is part of the reason many states allow their use over longer seasons than firearms, since they disturb local wildlife and residents a lot less. Plus, they don't scare away game as easily, allowing you to hunt the same area more frequently.

How many lbs is the most powerful crossbow?

The highest draw weight we've found on a crossbow is the Excalibur Suppressor 400 TD, which has a whopping 325 pounds of draw weight. As recurve crossbows that still produce blistering bolt speeds, many Excalibur crossbows have high draw weights that sometimes break 300 pounds. 

Otherwise, it's rare to find draw weights over 300 pounds except on especially powerful models like the Ravin R500 and TenPoint Nitro 505. In fact, the Nitro 505 is currently the most powerful crossbow in terms of bolt speed.

Final Thoughts

A crossbow is a great way to hunt effectively over a long season without needing too much practice or expertise.

We credit the use of crossbows with the increase in the number of hunters participating in the archery season. 

There are a lot of quality manufacturers continuously upgrading and innovating their products, so we make it a point to keep an eye on the market and test the newest models. Here at DeerHuntingGuide.net, our favorite crossbow this year is the Ravin R500, but we found that all the models on our list stood out in some way. From beginners to experts, from big game hunters to casual stand hunters, there's a crossbow for everyone to add to their gear.

Photo of author

John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the managing editor here at DeerHuntingGuide.net. He oversees a team of editors, writers and pro staff that are subject matter experts in hunting and hunting gear. John's expertise includes thoroughly testing all types of hunting gear, as well as hunting all over the U.S. and Canada. While his hunting expertise includes game birds, small game and large game, his favorite game animal is the whitetail deer and he loves to share the knowledge that he has gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail with both archery gear and firearms. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

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