The Best Crossbows for Hunting and Target Shooting Reviews
Looking to buy a new crossbow? In this article, we will discuss the best crossbows for hunting and target shooting. We will also provide a buyer’s guide to help you choose the right crossbow for your needs. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced shooter, there is a crossbow on this list that is perfect for you!
Crossbows have exploded in popularity over the last decade, and crossbow technology has advanced as well. What else has grown at a breakneck pace? Crossbow pricing has risen dramatically. It’s not unusual to see top-end flagship weapons with all of the bells and whistles priced at $2,000 (or more).
The good news is that it’s never been easier to get a lot of power for your money. Hunters searching for the finest crossbow for their money will be relieved to learn that there are several outstanding alternatives available.
After shooting and testing various models, we’ve come up with a list of the best budget crossbows on the market. We looked at different factors to determine what makes a great budget crossbow before coming to our final decision. When looking for your next purchase, be sure to consider one of these bows!
Every model on this list comes from a manufacturer that either produces or has previously produced high-end bows. This is crucial because their budget models often utilize the same technologies or production processes as their top models. By doing this, they’re able to create a bow that shares some measure of performance and research time but is lower in price. Consequently, you get a better bow without having to spend as much money.
The price of each model also includes accessories, which allows you to save money by not buying any more equipment.
1. Centerpoint Wrath 430 Crossbow
Centerpoint is a sister firm of Ravin, and you’ll notice a lot of Ravin technology in Centerpoints. The Wrath 430 is at the high end of what I’d consider a reasonable budget bow, retailing for $800.
The bullpup-style crossbow is the most compact one that Centerpoint offers. Although the polymer stock gives it a cheap feel, this doesn’t affect performance. Additionally, even though we felt that the trigger pull was heavy, it was still the fourth-most accurate crossbow during our 2022 Outdoor Life Crossbow Test.
Although the manufacturer claims that the Wrath 430 can reach a speed of up to 430 fps, there is no bolt weight given by Centerpoint. We won’t say it can’t hit its spec because a lighter bolt could reach that 430 fps mark, we simply weren’t able to test for those speeds. In our shooting trial, the 3.27-inch group average was produced at 50 yards with a 400-grain bolt–yielding speed of 408 fps.
We appreciate how the forward grip keeps your support hand away from the string and keeps it low. The crank is quiet, but the crank handle fits into a hole in the stock’s rear and gets trapped. We would prefer to use a cocking rope when hunting, but because of the lengthy powerstroke, it was difficult to utilize with a rope cocker.
- Speed: 408 fps
- Bolt weight: 400 grains
- Momentum: .725 slug fps
- Weight: 8.3 pounds
- Uncocked width: 13 inches
- Price: $800
- Balances well for offhand shooting
- Cocking mechanism gets stuck on stock
2. Wicked Ridge Raider 400 De-Cock Crossbow
Wicked Ridge Crossbows are made by TenPoint, and you’ll find some of the more premium features on their crossbows. The Acudraw included in the Raider 400 De-Cock is a great illustration of that technology flowing down. It’s a built-in cocking and de-cocking mechanism that works like silk to crank up and shut. However, it got caught from time to time while retracting it.
Crossbow hunters used to carry a decocking bolt, but more crossbows can be decocked without shooting nowadays. It’s a fantastic feature to make your crossbow completely safe before descending from a treestand. It’s also an unexpected inclusion on a crossbow priced under $1,000.
The Raider is a large, wobbling crossbow. When shooting unsupported, it has some wobble and is less maneuverable. At 50 yards, it shot an average 4.02-inch group with a 400-grain bolt at 367 fps. With a 400-grain bolt, Wicked Ridge claims 390 fps, which indicates a difference of 23 fps from the claimed result of the Crossfire (400 grains).
Although the Raider 400 was the least accurate crossbow we shot, it still has some premium features that you would usually only find on crossbows costing more than $1,000. It is also built in the U.S.A., which is something to consider if you are looking for a good quality crossbow.
- Speed: 367.5 fps
- Bolt weight: 404 grains
- Momentum: .658 slug fps
- Weight: 6.5 pounds
- Uncocked width: 19 inches
- Price: $800
- Easy decocking
- Built-in the U.S.A.
- Built-in Crank
- Wide limbs
- Slower than advertised
3. Barnett Whitetail 400 XTR
The Whitetail 400 XTR has many of the same features as the Hyper XP 405, such as TriggerTech trigger. The most significant difference between these models is that the Whitetail Hunter uses standard-diameter bolts instead of small-diameter ones. For crossbow hunters, this will be a big selling point because standard bolts are significantly cheaper than their smaller counterparts.
The stock is comfortable to shoot from a sitting and scoped position. The balance makes shooting from field locations more steady, and it feels considerably lighter than the 7.2 pounds claim. Rubber over-molding on the cheek rest, grip, and stirrup added nice touches by Barnett. That finish adds comfort while muffling any noise produced when knocking the stirrup into stands or bow hangers.
This crossbow is 36 inches long and includes a stirrup. It’s very powerful, but can be difficult to cock without a crank (which costs an additional $150). However, the investment would be wise given the TriggerTech trigger and .71 slug fps of momentum. This crossbow also performed well in our tests, averaging 3.58-inch groups at 50 yards with a top speed of 400 fps.
- Speed: 401 fps
- Bolt weight: 404 grains
- Momentum: .71 slug fps
- Weight: 7.2 pounds
- Uncocked width: 16 inches
- Price: $600
- Nice features for the price
- Good trigger
- Comfortable stock
- Comes with two bolts
4. Barnett Hyper XP 405
The Barnett Hyper XP 405 crossbow is an excellent value for the money. It has some awesome features, like that it shoots micro-diameter bolts, and it includes a TriggerTech trigger. The collapsible stock is great for adjusting the fit to the shooter and reducing its size for easy transport.
The stock is also ergonomic and includes rubber over-molding around the grip area for added comfort during extended use. The trigger is amazing for a crossbow in this price range; not to mention, it shoots arrows at 407 feet per second! Plus, groups shot from 50 yards averaged only 3.5 inches wide!
The Hyper XP 405 comes with two bolts, but no crank. However, you may upgrade to a crank for an additional $150. We recommend this upgrade since the Hyper XP 405’s lengthy powerstroke makes using the included rope cocker difficult. The last few inches of cocking the crossbow are especially challenging. It can’t be decocked without first firing it. Another disadvantage is that the bolts are costly, costing around $90 per bag of five.
If you’re searching for a crossbow that costs less than $600, the Hyper XP 405 has features that will challenge any other model.
- Speed: 407 fps
- Bolt Weight: 400 grains
- Momentum: .723 slug fps
- Weight: 7.9 pounds
- Uncocked width: 13.75 inches
- Price: $600
- Good trigger
- Shoots unique, micro-diameter bolts
- Only comes with two arrows
- Can’t be decocked without firing
5. Best Entry-Level : Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Crossbow
The Lethal 405 is one of the most affordable crossbows available, and it definitely doesn’t sacrifice performance for price. It’s incredible that a model this cheap can shoot 400 fps- which is faster than majority of the more expensive models.
This hunting kit comes with an illuminated scope, arrows, quiver, and cocking rope—everything you need to hit the woods. The bow has a 3.5-pound trigger and is only 14.75 inches wide when cocked so it’s easy to handle. It’s not the bulky, unwieldy sort of bow you might expect at this price point either; it weighs just over seven pounds.
Best Under $500: Killer Instinct Ripper 425 Crossbow
Killer Instinct’s Ripper series has proven to be a hit, and it’s easy to see why. The Ripper 425 comes with an illuminated scope, arrows, and quiver and an adjustable buttstock for $450. The bow’s are quick, well-balanced, and feature premium features at a great price.
It has a weight of 7.5 pounds but is well balanced owing to the 32-inch frame. The trigger is set at 3.5 pounds and is a nimble bundle due to its cocked width of just over 14 inches.
Best Recurve for the Money: Excalibur Matrix GRZ2 Crossbow
Excalibur’s Matrix GRZ2 is a amazing budget-friendly, old-school style recurve crossbow. Being only 32 inches in length and weighing 6 pounds, it is perfect for anyone to use regardless of your strength or size.
The 100 pound draw weight means that the arrows will be shot at 305 feet per second; fast enough to take down any large game. Not only does the purchase of $550 include the scope, arrows, and cocking device but you also get a standard kit as well!
Best Compact: Bear X Constrictor CDX Crossbow
Bear Archery, being the pioneer of compound bows, has built a pretty great crossbow for those new to bowhunting without breaking the bank. The Constrictor CDX costs relatively little but still gives speeds over 400 feet per second and is more compact than most other models at 10 inches wide when cocked.
This bow is designed for silence and reducing vibration, with two string suppressors. It comes in two camo options: Veil Stoke and TrueTimber Strata, and includes three arrows, an illuminated scope, cocking rope, and rail lube- making it a “ready-to-hunt” package. The price tag on this bad boy is approximately $550.
Best Trigger: Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow
With a selection of dependable bows at reasonable rates, Barnett has established himself as a leader in the crossbow market. The Whitetail Hunter is one of the most popular bows, and it’s not difficult to see why. The step-through riser (hence the STR designation) model, which delivers speeds of 375 fps and weighs less than seven pounds, does several things well.
The traditional foot stirrup for cocking is featured in this riser design with a reduced overall length. The bow uses a TriggerTech trigger for crisp performance, and it’s also ready-to-hunt package complete with scope, quiver, arrows, and cocking device–all selling at $450.
Best Mid-Priced: Ravin R10 Crossbow
The Ravin R10 is the most expensive bow on this list, but it’s still considered budget-friendly because it’s the lowest-priced model in the Ravin line. It’s also the most affordable entry into the superbow category. Ravin’s R10 features the HeliCoil system, allowing it to measure a mere six inches when cocked.
Ravin’s efficient crank system requires just 12 pounds of effort to cock. It shoots arrows at a rate of 400 fps, and the precision is legendary. This is a real long-range weapon that’s a lot of fun to shoot. The package costs $1325, including the crank handle, scope with a 100-yard aiming system, three arrows, and a quiver.
What is the best crossbow that you can buy for under $400?
The Killer Instinct Fierce 405 is perfect for hunters who can only spend $400. It’s incredibly affordable at $300 and it even shoots 400 fps! Plus, the set comes with an illuminated scope, arrows, quiver, cocking rope–everything you need to start hunting right away.
The bow has a 3.5-pound trigger which makes it easy to handle 14.5 inches wide when cocked–definitely not bulky or inconvenient like some bows in this price range tend to be
How much should I spend on the best crossbow?
A quality crossbow usually costs more than $400. Crossbows that cost around $600 have better features, like a nicer scope, faster speeds, and improved accuracy.
What is the finest crossbow for novices to purchase?
New crossbow users should look for safety features like anti-dry fire and finger guards, as well as cocking and decocking mechanisms. Ravin crossbows have some of the most advanced safety features available.
Crossbows are becoming increasingly advanced and affordable each year. Just a few years ago, it would have been hard to find a bow that shoots 400 fps for under $400. Now you can find bows with similar features as the high-end models for half the price.
If you’re looking to start hunting with a crossbow this fall, any of the above models will serve you well. Choose one that best fits your budget and then spend plenty of time shooting it before the season starts so you’re familiar with how it feels and handles.