Crossbow Advantages – Compound Bow VS Crossbow

Ever since the Hunger Games came out, the interest in archery has gone through the roof! All jokes aside, people are showing more enthusiasm towards the growing world of archery.

Dating all the way back to medieval times, the bow and arrow have evolved into something more efficient and accessible for you and the whole family.

The crossbow was the first ever handheld, mechanical firearm. Its Chinese origins led to the creation of the catapult and other long-range warcraft machines. Over time, the crossbow underwent many upgrades and modifications to become what it is today.

Crossbows were traditionally used for warfare and hunting. Today, they are still being used for hunting, but they’re also used for target practice and various sporting activities. These revolutionized bows are gaining more popularity with each passing year.

Similar to a regular bow, crossbows shoot fast-flying arrow-like projectiles and have some of the same mechanisms as a rifle. Crossbows come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, models, configurations, etc.

Due to the excitement surrounding this ever-changing device, there are so many things you should be aware of if you’re going to start using a crossbow. In this article, we’ll explore everything that you, as a crossbowman, should know.

We’ll also take a look at some of the advantages of using crossbows, the pros of using them over other types of bows, and we’ll make sure that you’re well equipped to own a crossbow and wield a crossbow.


In history, crossbows were a vital tool in warfare. The crossbow originated in China and its heavy influence made its way through Rome, Medieval Europe, and Africa.

This weapon even made small appearances in some parts of the Middle East and the Americas. To get a more in-depth understanding of the crossbow’s history, this video will explain terms every crossbowman should know and will further educate you on the roots of the crossbow.

Nowadays, crossbows are mostly used for target practice, sports, and on the side hobbies. Every now a then, you’ll hear about armed forces carrying crossbows but it’s not very common. These modernized devices are also used as a more efficient way to hunt.

That being said, crossbows are becoming a recognized favorite for a lot of hunters. The crossbow proves to be an easy way to get into hunting. They’re used to hunt large game and having a decent crossbow will make you the talk of the town among your other hunting buddies.


Advantages of a Crossbow

  • Crossbows are easy to use 

    • One of the biggest advantages of having a crossbow is that they’re super easy to use. Once the string is drawn to a center point, it locks in place. This means that the crossbow does most of the hard work and you don’t have to exert that much energy.
      Also, this gives hunters more wiggle room to focus on the actual hunt instead of worrying about keeping the bow at full draw. Because of how easy it is to use a crossbow, inexperienced archers can get quickly acquainted with the configurations and mechanisms of the crossbow.
  • Improved accuracy 

    • Unlike regular bows, most crossbows come fitted with a scope or a sight to improve the accuracy of your shot. Having this feature cuts out most of the time and technique it takes to get the perfect shot.
      Hunters who are used to hunting with a rifle or shotgun can easily transition to using a crossbow. Additionally, regular bows limit the positions and amount of space you can take to get a clear shot, whereas crossbows allow you to be more versatile and they give you the freedom to move as you please.
  • Power

    • Crossbows are arguably more powerful than regular bows. The power of the arrow, when fired by a regular bow, depends greatly on the archer’s technique. However, when you fire a crossbow, the arrow will reach its target in a matter of seconds.
      Lots of factors contribute to the power of the crossbow such as the draw weight, the length of the bow, and added on accessories. All of these things give the crossbow the ability to reach targets that are further away.


Disadvantages of a Crossbow

  • Crossbows are pretty heavy

    • Due to the complexities of the crossbow, they are heavier to carry around than regular bows. The materials and the accessories that can be added to your bow both contribute to its weight.
      Because of this, it can be quite annoying to maneuver your crossbow as you hunt. On the plus side, there are manufacturers who are working with light-weight materials to make having a crossbow that much easier.
  • They take more time to reload

    • The size and draw weight of the crossbow can make it difficult for hunters to reload. This means that you have to rush to reload your device for a quick follow-up shot. If you’re not quick enough, your target can get away and no hunter wants that.
  • They are noisy 

    • Crossbows are significantly louder to shoot than regular or compound bows. This can impair your short-range hunts because of the sound of the trigger mechanism and the sound of the arrow leaving the crossbow. You don’t want to scare off your prey.


How do crossbows differ from compound bows?

When you’re deciding if buying a crossbow is the right choice, you’ll hear a lot about compound bows and how they compare. Different from the crossbow, compound bows are held vertically which is similar to the traditional bow and arrow.

Compound bows have certain modifications like cables and idler wheels that make them more powerful than regular bows. Contrary to crossbows, compound bows require more precision to handle. That being said, I’ve listed some of the various components to look for when you’re buying a bow and how these components differ between compound bows and crossbows.

Accuracy of a Crossbow vs Compound Bow

The answer to this question is subjective depending on what type of hunter you are and where your experience lies. It’s also important to keep in mind that perfecting your accuracy no matter what type of bow you choose takes a good amount of practice. Many people believe that learning how to aim is undoubtedly easier with a crossbow than with a compound bow.

Furthermore, crossbows have better accuracy than compound bows because you can hold your aim longer than you could if you were hunting with a compound. This gives you more time to accurately hit your target.

Power of a Crossbow vs Compound Bow

There are a lot of myths surrounding the question: are crossbows more powerful than compound bows? A researcher for American Hunter chronographed (timed) four highly rated crossbows to determine the average kinetic energy that they produced. He then compared his findings to the FPS (feet per second) of four compound bows.

The results concluded that compound bows are a bit more powerful than compound bows. The average compound shoots arrows at about 285 FPS, while crossbows shoot arrows at an average of 327 FPS.

In this video, the archer demonstrates and explains in detail the various differences of the crossbow and compound bow so you can see them for yourself.


The Anatomy of a Crossbow

  • Trigger  

    • All crossbows have a trigger mechanism which keeps the bowstring in place. Most modern crossbows are equipped with a trigger system that’s designed to keep you and your bow safe.

  • Limbs 

    • Limbs vary depending on what type of crossbow you have. The limbs on a recurve crossbow are curved. Compound crossbows have a pulley system on the end of their limbs that are also known as cams. The limbs on a crossbow store energy and give the bow its power.

  • Riser 

    • The riser is where the limbs attach and are typically made out of aluminum.

  • Stock 

    • The stock is usually made out of wood and comes in many different styles. This is what is considered the body of the crossbow. All the other parts of the crossbow are attached to the stock. The front of the stock is known as the foregrip, and the rear of the stock is known as the buttstock.

  • Stirrup 

    • This is located at the front of your crossbow and is used to help you cock your crossbow. To do this, you place your foot in the stirrup to keep it from slipping or moving around while you cock it.

  • Latch 

    • The latch keeps the bowstring in place until you press the trigger.

  • Bowstring 

    • The bowstring connects to the limbs and sends energy to your arrow (bolt).


Are crossbows legal?

Before you buy a crossbow, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations for owning one. Each state and country has their own laws regarding the use of a crossbow. Because of these loose regulations, many people speculate whether or not a crossbow is considered a firearm.

There is so much debate surrounding this topic because crossbows are not considered firearms in the United States, according to Wikipedia. However, crossbows do harness the power of a firearm. At the end of the day, where you live will determine if crossbows are legally deemed as one or not.


How to Safely Shoot Your Crossbow

  • First of all, it’s important that you wear safety goggles when prepping and shooting your crossbow.
  • Make sure your foot is placed securely in the stirrup
  • Cock your device. Crossbows can be cranked either by hand or a cranking system. If you’re cocking your bow by hand, pull the string upwards with equal amounts of force on both hands. If you pull more on one side, your string will be off and you’ll screw up the accuracy of your shot. You’ll know when your crossbow is cocked when you hear a loud click.
  • Load your arrow on the groove until it’s rested securely against the string. Most crossbows come with a safety mechanism that engages to keep your crossbow from accidentally firing. You’ll know your arrow is secure when it can’t be moved anymore.
  • Remember that crossbows are a weapon and should not be pointed in any other direction other than your target. Do NOT move the safety into the fire position until you are actually ready to fire your crossbow.Make sure your fingers are below the crossbow rail.


Crossbow Maintenance

There is a vast misconception that because it doesn’t take a whole lot to maintain your crossbow, that you don’t have to pay too much attention to it. This is so NOT the case. Crossbow maintenance is very important.

Over time, the cables and the bowstring can stretch and wear out which will affect the overall performance and accuracy of your crossbow. Because of this, they should be replaced about every three years, sooner if needed.

Lubricating the rails on your crossbow will ensure that they last a long time. Also, occasionally waxing your strings and cables plays a vital role in making sure that you get the most of these features. Most crossbow packages contain a special lubricant for this but if yours doesn’t, finding some is very easy.

Smart Archery offers a helpful checklist of things to pay attention to when you’re cleaning your crossbow. I’ve also included this helpful video by Crossbow Experts to give you a visual step-by-step aid on how to properly lubricate and clean your crossbow.


Choose the Right Bolts (Arrows) for Your Crossbow

People tend to make this harder than it has to be. It’s best that you go with the bolts that your manufacturer recommends for your crossbow. I found a helpful guide that lays out the different types of bolts and what you should keep in mind you’re shopping for arrows.

To summarize, bolts are made of three parts:

  • Shaft 

    • The shaft makes up the body of the bolt and it’s what the nock and fletchings are attached to. The design of the shaft is intended to be lightweight so that they’re not easily bent.

      According to the guide, the weight of the shaft is expressed in “grains”, and the various degrees of stiffness is referred to as the spine of the shaft.
  • Nock 

    • The nock is found at the back of the shaft. There are two types of nocks: the half-moon and the flat nock. What type of nock you’ll need will vary depending on your manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Fletchings 

    • The fletchings are found at the tail end of the bolt near the nock. They are designed to “…stabilize the trajectory of the bolt mid-flight…”, as stated in the guide. Fletchings vary in size depending on the size of the bolt.

Unless you have a little more experience, stick to the bolt recommendations provided by the manufacturer.


Draw Weight of a Crossbow

The draw weight is the energy needed to draw the bow to a fully cocked position. This is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re buying a crossbow. Crossbows come with a variety of draw weights that range from 50 pounds all the way to 200 pounds.

You’ll want to pay attention to the draw weight of your crossbow because this will tell you if it’s suitable for hunting. The draw weight combined with the draw length will determine the arrow’s energy.

Many people have asked if a crossbow is strong enough to take down a deer, and if so, how much draw weight is required. The simple answer is yes. Average Jack Archery does a great job at explaining how the draw weight combined with other factors such as the arrow’s grain can help with your deer hunt.

To take down a deer, your draw weight doesn’t need to be much more than 150 pounds. This draw weight will propel your arrows at about 220-250 FPS. But again, there are other elements that can play into the effectiveness of your draw.


Practice Makes Perfect - Target Shooting with a Crossbow

With anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. The same can absolutely be said about the crossbow. Enrolling yourself in a beginner’s course will help you feel more confident about handling your bow and will provide you with helpful safety tips so that you have a fun and enjoyable experience.

There are several types of crossbows that are built specifically for target practice. Rifle, pistol, and repeating crossbows are all ideal choices if you’re looking for something to help you with your aim and accuracy.

Rifle crossbows can hit targets up to 250 ft away but require a good amount of strength and energy to cock. These crossbows combine both the ideas of the rifle and the crossbow and are considered one of the more advanced models of the crossbow.

Pistol crossbows are perfect if you’re just starting out. They’re very small and compact and can be used with one hand. They only have a draw weight of 80 pounds.

Repeating crossbows are one of the easiest crossbows to use. They were named because of their ability to shoot repeatedly on an automatic system. They’re not designed for hunting and they don’t require much skill to use.


Buy the best crossbow that you can afford

A high-quality crossbow can be really expensive if you’re not careful. Most crossbows can range anywhere between $300-$1,500. First, you want to create a budget. This way you won’t break the bank buying a crossbow.

Now, just because a crossbow is super expensive, it does not mean that it’s any good and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s the right bow for you. Be that as it may, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your crossbow purchase. It’ll cost you so much more down the line if you buy a crossbow that’s cheap and defective rather than one made out of good quality materials.


Crossbow Accessories

One of the best parts about a crossbow is that most of them allow you to add a variety of accessories that will enhance your overall experience. Here’s a list of accessories that you absolutely can’t live without (you’ll live without them, don’t worry).

Crossbow Case

Having a crossbow case will protect your crossbow while you’re traveling and from harsh weather conditions. You’ll want to find a case that’s made out of quality materials and has a zipper so you easily access your crossbow. Your crossbow case should also come with shoulder straps to make carrying them so much easier.


Crossbow Scope

A scope will enhance the precision of your crossbow. The scope sits on the crossbow’s stock and almost all of them come with an optical or red dot scope. Most crossbow packages will include a scope. If not, a scope can be bought separately on the manufacturer’s website.


Cocking Device

Having a cocking device will make cocking your crossbow much easier. If you have the physical strength for it, most cocking devices can be operated by hand. Otherwise, there are rope cocking devices and cocking devices that can be cranked so you don’t have to work that hard.


Conclusion

I hope that this article has provided you with enough information on crossbows to last you a lifetime. There are so many things to consider and know about before you buy one. Here are some key notes I hope you take away from this piece if you don’t take away anything else.

  • Crossbows are meant to be a tool for hunting, sporting activities, and various forms of target practice. Although they were once used for combat, you won’t really see them in the hands of the armed forces.
  • These weapons are easy to use, they’re more efficient than traditional bows, and most of them don’t take a whole lot of strength to cock.
  • Get yourself acquainted with the many components of the crossbow. This will keep you from blindly buying a crossbow that isn’t necessarily compatible with your needs.
  • Knowing your draw weight will let you know if your crossbow was designed for hunting, target practice, or can be used for both.
  • BEGINNER COURSES ARE NOT A BAD IDEA.
  • Keep it simple. Stick to the bolts that are recommended by your manufacturer. The recommendations are there for a reason
  • You wouldn’t go a long time without taking a shower or doing some self-care, so don’t subject your crossbow to that. Routine maintenance will guarantee that your crossbow has a long, happy life.
  • Accessorize your crossbow so that you have the best hunting experience. Make sure you do your research so that you don’t buy faulty equipment. Remember, we don’t want to break the bank unnecessarily.

You pretty much have everything you need to become a proud owner of the legendary crossbow. What are you waiting for? The world of archery awaits!


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