So you are interested in getting into archery, more specifically, crossbow archery, but you don't know where to start... We have all been there and are happy to put this guide into this exciting and interesting sport. Since this guide is geared towards beginners, we will discuss everything from choosing the best crossbow for your bowhunting trip all the way, how to shoot it, and even how to see it in range.
Choosing the Right Crossbow
There are hundreds of crossbows to choose from, so how do you know which is best for you? When you look at a crossbow, it is important to ask yourself first what you plan to use it for. Are you looking for something purely for target shooting? Are you looking for something to hunt? If so, what size animal would you expect to adopt, and in what realistic range? Many modern hunting crossbows can take the deer to a range of more than 60 yards, but this will also require a lot of time and effort. A part of you becomes skilled enough with your crossbow to make shooting within this range. The more realistic range is usually 30 to 40 yards, so keep this in mind when observing your hunting opportunities. So, what are the biggest factors you should look for in a crossbow, and how will they affect your shooting?
Recurve Crossbow VS. Compound Crossbow, Which One is Better?
Many people want to know the difference between recurve crossbow and compound crossbow, and what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of each crossbow. Both have a place in the target and hunting world, and both have a dedicated shooting team. The following is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each type.
The recurve crossbow is the purest of the crossbows, a crossbow type that has existed for hundreds of years. It is often chosen by archers because of its simplicity and reliability. The recurve crossbow basically has a simple bow and string, no cables or pulleys to adjust or worry about failure at critical moments. The trade-off for this simplicity is that a recurve crossbow will usually be quite wide, from axis to axis (ATA), which is a measurement of the widest part of the entire bow. Recurve also usually has a higher drawing weight, and the overall speed is lower than its compound counterpart.
The compound crossbow is the most popular type of crossbow, mainly because of its lower drawing weight and higher arrow speed. The addition of cables and pulleys means that the compound crossbow can enjoy a narrower ATA, which makes it more portable and easier to shoot from narrow areas, such as a deer blind. These cables and pulleys are also converted into additional moving parts and, therefore, additional potential failure points. This is not to say that modern compound crossbows are too prone to such failures, but that this possibility exists, and it may not happen at the most suitable time!
We are often asked about the speed of the best crossbows. We are usually asked, "What is the fastest crossbow? There are some really fast crossbows for hunting where the speed capability far exceeds 400 fps. The most important question to ask yourself is why do you need such a fast speed? If you plan to go hunting for T-Rex in Jurassic Park, we may understand this, but for simple target shooting or most deer hunting, nothing close is necessary.
The fact that many shooters don't understand is that too fast speed can actually damage your shooting. Fast arrows are great for hitting harder and flat shots (a flat shooting projectile means that there is less projection falling in distance, so knowing the exact range is not as critical as with slower projectiles). The disadvantage is that when you increase your speed, you will reduce the tolerance of the crossbow to any small errors. Quick arrows will react more to imperfect draws and are less forgiving of any imperfections in the arrows or leaves.
It is also important to know what weight arrows are recommended and what weight of total projectiles (arrows and points) to use to calculate the claimed speed of the best crossbow. Normally, heavier arrows will slow down your speed, but will actually carry more force to the target, especially at longer ranges. Remember, you want an arrow fast enough to get the job done, but not fast enough so that overkilling will make your shooting more difficult.
Beginner archers should really care about the safety aspects of the crossbow because there are so many things to learn, so the integrated safety equipment will help prevent you from hurting yourself or damaging your new crossbow. The most important safety functions are discussed above.