Top 10 Best Crossbows Under $500 in 2017

The crossbow is a weapon design that was developed around the time of ancient china before black powder weapons were invented. The crossbow was a handheld device that allowed the user to shoot an arrow with more force than any standard bow. In today’s market, the price is not always a tell-tale sign of quality. The archery industry is proven to show that price is a factor in quality.

Loading Your Crossbow

There are three different ways to load your crossbow.

The first method is the manual cocking method. If you are looking at your crossbow, you should see a triangular-like shape toward the front of the bow. This is called a stirrup. Put the bottom of the stirrup on the ground and put your foot inside. Use the weight of your leg (and body) to hold this firmly on the ground. Then, grasp the string on either side of the stock of the crossbow. You want your thumbs to be as close to the stock on either side as you can manage. Use a slow and steady movement to pull the string back and lock it into place. Be careful of pulling the string back unevenly, as this reduces accuracy and will damage the string, arrow track, and even arrows with time. This is considered the most difficult method, as you will need to lift 150+ pounds of dead weight to load your bow.

The second method is the rope cocking method. This is one of the easiest ways to make it easier to cock your bow since you only need a simple rope to assist you. You may not even need to buy this, as some crossbows with higher draw weights come with a rope to assist in the package. With the rope method, you cut the force necessary to cock the rope back in half. Put your foot into the stirrup as you did while manually cocking. Use the cocking rope to pull the string back. Another benefit of this method is that you are less likely to lean to the right or left, thus, less likely to cause damage to your crossbow.

The third and final method is the crank cocking method. This is a little costly, with the equipment for this costing around $100-$150. However, this method is so easy that even a child could crank the bow back. Simply stick your foot through the stirrup and turn the crank to load your bow. Aside from the cost, the disadvantages of this method are the speed since it can take a full minute to load a bow and the weight of the crank mechanisms, which adds to the overall weight of your bow.

Choosing the Best Crossbow

Choosing the best crossbow may be a seemingly difficult task. To find the best one for you, there are a couple factors to keep in mind.

1) Consider the draw weight of the crossbow

The benefit of a higher draw weight is a stronger force when your arrow shoots forward, making it more likely that you will kill your prey. For this reason, it is recommended that you choose a bow that has a minimum draw of 150 pounds if you want to kill anything. If you are just using your bow for target practice, then you can choose a lower weight bow. Remember, however, that you must dead weight the draw of the crossbow unless you use a mechanism to assist.

2) Consider the power stroke of the bow

The power stroke is simply the length that the string must be pulled to be cocked. This typically ranges between 10 inches and 14 inches. A higher power stroke will mean a more powerful shot, though this does not matter much if the crossbow was properly adjusted for its specific draw weight.

3) Consider the velocity of your arrow

The velocity is measure in feet per second or FPS. Velocity describes how quickly your arrow travels the first 20-30 yards after it is shot. After about 20 yards, the velocity of the arrow or bolt will dramatically decrease. For best results for hunting, choose a minimum velocity of 200 FPS. The velocity will be affected by the drawing height of the crossbow. Arrow weight is another major factor on what you FPS will calculate to. Remember that this will be affected by the type of arrows that you use and factor this into your decision.

4) Consider what material the limbs of your crossbow are constructed of

High-quality crossbows demand lightweight but durable materials. Those on the lower end of the spectrum are typically made of wood or aluminum, though these are not strong enough to guarantee the crossbow won’t break with wear and tear. The best materials include fiberglass, carbon, or a combination of the two. These materials are strong enough to handle the physical stress of a powerful shot.

5) Consider the difference between a compound and a recurve crossbow

The difference of a recurve versus a compound bow lies in the mechanism that is used to draw back the strings. The compound crossbow is outfitted with a system of cams, or pullies. The recurve crossbow does not use any cams, but it uses one limb on each side of the shaft. This allows the compound bow to have more potential energy compared to the recurve bow. Compound bows are usually more expensive, as they provide more force per drawback. Recurve bows do not have as many mechanisms on it as the compound bow, make it a lighter and more versatile crossbow.

1. SA Sports Fever

1. SA Sports Fever, Top 10 Best Crossbows Under 500 Dollars in 2017 Buy now from Amazon
The SA Sports Fever has stolen the spot for best lightweight recurve style crossbow. This crossbow only weighs an astonishing four and a half pounds. Its factory draw weight has been set at 175 pounds and the power stoke reaches eleven inches. The SA Sports Fever will send an arrow flying down range up to 260 FPS. This crossbow has the solid feel and is surprisingly accurate.

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight crossbow
  • Great value
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Zero safety precautions around the front grip
  • Force is not strong enough for deer and other large game
  • Low feet per second

2. CenterPoint Sniper 370

2. CenterPoint Sniper 370 Buy now from Amazon
The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a compound crossbow that has been awarded the best mid-price range. This bow has a powerful velocity speed of 365 FPS. With a draw weight of 185 pounds and a power stroke of 13 inches, the bow sends arrows prevailing down the gun range with immersive power. Complete with an anti-dry fire mechanism, this crossbow will never let the string to be released without an arrow being placed on the shaft.

Pros

  • Packed with immense power
  • – High quality, illuminated optic to allow hunting in poorly lit areas
  • – made from plastic, this bow is lighter than most competitors

Cons

  • The plastic pieces may break. Do not use the crossbow if anything has broken
  • Additional assembly is required to get the proper strength

3. 80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow

3. 80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow Buy now from Amazon
The80lbs Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow has a speed of 160FPS and an 80-pound draw. This makes it a good choice for hunting small game or archery target practice. It is not as powerful as some of the other options on this list, but the fact that it is self-cocking allows you to rapidly shoot. It is made of a strong aluminum alloy construction that is stronger than regular aluminum but still resistant to rust.

Pros

  • Red dot scope makes it easy to align with target
  • Free pack of 15 metal arrows included

Cons

  • Not powerful enough for big game hunting
  • Lower velocity than some other bows

4. Barnett Jackal

4. Barnett Jackal Buy now from Amazon
The Barnett Jackal has been awarded the best crossbow for beginners. With a draw weight of 150 pounds and a power stroke of twelve inches, this bow will fire an arrow at 315 FPS. The Jackal has a trigger pull strength of three and a half pounds to ensure the prevention of a misfire. It is recommended that the rope is waxed after every ten shots.

Pros

  • Can take down any legal game
  • Automated safety precaution to prevent dry-fire

Cons

  • Temperamental cams may break
  • Manual cocking method only

5. Barnett Recruit

5. Barnett Recruit Buy now from Amazon
The Barnett Recruit has been awarded for the best crossbows for youth archers. With a draw strength of only 130 pounds, the Recruit will send an arrow flying at 300 FPS. This will make the user able to cock and load the crossbow without assistance. Specifically crafted for the youth, the Barnett Recruit only weighs in at six and a half pounds to make carrying less of a hassle. Complete with a red dot sight and safety precautions will make this the safest bow for minors. The fore grip has a pass-through design that will limit the placement of fingers to prevent injury.

Pros

  • Adjustable stock
  • Simple and easy to cock
  • Ideal for the youth

Cons

  • Quiver only hold three arrows
  • Red dot makes it difficult for leaning shooters to estimate their shot

6. TenPoint Wicked Ridge Invader G3

6. TenPoint Wicked Ridge Invader G3 Buy now from Amazon
The Invader G3 was awarded lowest price for a compound crossbow. With a draw strength of 165 pounds and a power stroke of 13.5 inches, this bow will launch an arrow at the speed of 330 FPS. This crossbow is less than 7 pounds and features a quick release quiver to prevent your game from running away. Cocking is extremely simple with a self-retracting rope system.

Pros

  • Amazing accuracy
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely powerful

Cons

  • Short warranty
  • Non-illuminated scope
  • Excess safety precautions

7. Manticore 150lbs Crossbow with Scope, Extra Arrows, and Rope Cocking Device

7. Manticore 150lbs Crossbow with Scope, Extra Arrows, and Rope Cocking Device Buy now from Amazon
This bow features a 150-pound draw, allowing it to give you all the power you need to hunt big game. It also comes packed with extra, including a rope cocking device that lessens your draw weight to 75 pounds, a scope that will improve your accuracy, and extra arrows. Arrows fly out at a rate of 210 FPS, surpassing the recommended velocity of at least 200FPS.

Pros

  • Included accessories so you don’t have to spend extra money
  • Great velocity
  • Incredibly powerful to kill big game on impact

Cons

  • Included scope is cheap to design, may want to replace it for better accuracy
  • Aluminum barrel may not withstand the wear and tear you would like it to

8. 150 lb. Hunting Crossbow Archery Bow

8. 150 lb. Hunting Crossbow Archery Bow Buy now from Amazon
This crossbow comes packed with extra features, including 7 extra arrows, a rope cocking device, and a 4×20 scope. This model has nothing but power, with over 220FPS velocity when you release the arrow. It also features an automatic safety cocking mechanism and a 150-pound draw. The design is a bonus feature, as this comes in camouflage, black, or wood colors.

Pros

  • Unique color designs
  • Power to pierce your target every time
  • Great accuracy

Cons

  • String may not be as sturdy as you like, buy a backup in case it breaks
  • Included scope is very cheap

9. Barnett Whitetail Hunter Crossbow

9. Barnett Whitetail Hunter Crossbow Buy now from Amazon
This crossbow is designed to be lightweight for your trek through the woods. It includes carbon fiber bolts, a quick release quiver, a scope, and a cocking rope to make it easier to pull back this bow. The stock is constructed of composite materials to maintain a lightweight build. These are laminated to ensure the longevity of your crossbow. Additionally, it features finger reminders to keep your fingers safe when you fire.

Pros

  • Lightweight enough that you could easily add a crank
  • Thick, sturdy appearance
  • Plenty of included extras

Cons

  • Needs assembly, though all the parts and tools are included
  • Hard to find a case because of the compact size

10. Bear X Crossbows Archery Bruzer FFL

10. Bear X Crossbows Archery Bruzer FFL Buy now from Amazon
If you want power, this crossbow delivers it. Its velocity is an incredible 335 FPS and it has a surprisingly light draw weight of 125 pounds. It is 18 inches long, meaning that you get more power. This comes with an included scope, cocking rope, and arrow quiver, as well as a few bonus arrows.

Pros

  • Comes fully assembled (aside from the scope)
  • Incredible power
  • Lighter draw weight

Cons

  • Bulky because of 18” design

Choosing a crossbow is a big decision since it can affect accuracy during target practice and if you can bring the big game down. Be sure to make the above considerations and check out these best crossbow reviews to choose the crossbow to fit your needs.

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