If you are looking for the best crossbow for deer hunting, then you are in the right place. Here you will get unbiased reviews and realistic opinions of the top-rated and best-selling crossbows of today’s market.
Well, hunting with a rifle is nice and all, but is it as fun as hunting with crossbows or compound bows?
I am guessing NO.
After all, there is a reason why crossbows? Which first made appeared in the 15th century, have been around for this long.
Now I am not saying that they are perfect; NO, what I am saying is that when done right, crossbow hunting can be the most exhilarating experience.
The first step towards a thrilling and successful crossbow hunt is choosing the right crossbow. And given the many options available, selecting the quality crossbow is easier said than done.
Fortunately, helping you find the right bow for you is why people like me exist. So, if you are considering buying a crossbow, read on to see my list of the best crossbows for hunting.
Now, let me introduce my top 6 personal favorite picks.
My Top 6 Best Crossbows For Deer Hunting
Last update on 2021-09-18
After 30+ different crossbow tests, I have come up with a list of a total of 13 of the best crossbows for the money to buy for hunting, target shooting or other archery sports.
If you are on a tight budget and want to get a value for money crossbow, I recommend you check the below 13 high-end crossbow reviews. These are categorized for every possible price point.
Also, below are some of the things to consider before splashing the cash on a bow. So it is advisable to read on what to consider before getting a one.
Which Are The Leading Crossbow Brands?
The crossbow market is quite competitive, with plenty of brands offering high-quality products. However, there are some that are more known than others, and below are some of them.
- Wicked Ridge
- Diamond Archery
The Different Types Of Crossbows
Crossbows come in several variations, with each having its pros and cons. So which type is right for you? Here are the most common crossbow types and what they offer.
One-Handed vs. Two-Handed
Two-handed crossbows are undoubtedly more common. This is because they are more popular for hunting. But, more importantly, they deliver more power than one-handed crossbows. Additionally, they tend to be more accurate than their one-handed counterparts and offer a better hunting experience than one-handed onesTwo-handed crossbows are what come to mind when most of us think of a crossbow.
What about one-handed crossbows? Where do they come in?
One-handed crossbows are suited to more specialized applications. They are less powerful and accurate than two-handed ones. However, they are lighter, more compact, and inexpensive. They can be used for small game hunting and even for self-defense.
Compound vs. Recurve vs. Reverse Limb Crossbows
Crossbows are be categorized into the compound, recurve and reverse limb crossbows. Recurve crossbows are the older of the three and feature a more basic and simplistic design. These types of crossbows are characterized by limbs or tips that face away from the shooter.
Let’s start with compound bows. A compound bow uses a set of pulleys to draw the string up. With the pulleys taking over, you get reduced draw weight. As such cocking a compound bow is relatively easy once you reach the break-over point. Additionally, these types of crossbows have cam systems for easy draw.
One significant difference between compound and recurve bows is that compound bows have shorter limbs. This can be advantageous if you have to maneuver the bow through small and tight spots such as inside a ground blind.
Unfortunately, compound crossbows tend to be heavier at the front due to all the mechanisms they have. This can make it hard to lift the bow into a firing position. One major disadvantage of compound bows is that they are louder at the point of release. While there are several ways of reducing the noise level, they are never as quiet as recurve bows.
Recurve crossbows have fewer moving parts than compound crossbows. A recurve crossbow will feature a tip that is curved away from you.
Compared to compound bows, these are lighter and are thus easier to pick up. Also, they are easy to carry for long-distance travel. They are also quieter and cost less than compound bows.
Due to them having fewer moving parts, they are also easier to maintain. However, they are not without their disadvantages. Firstly the limbs on these bows are longer, making them harder to maneuver in tight spots. But the main disadvantage is when it comes to cocking. You have to pull the string manually, which will require considerable strength and effort. Nonetheless, you can use a string cocker to reduce the weight needed to cock the bow.
Reverse limb crossbows
Reverse limb crossbows mark a significant improvement in designs. These types of bow feature reversed limbs of compound crossbows. By reversing the limbs, these types of crossbows shift the weight from the front of the bow. This results in a more balanced crossbow. This translates to a more stable shot.
Reverse limb crossbows have higher shooting speeds per pound of draw weight than other types of crossbows. This is because the string stays in contact with the arrow during the full length of the arrow track.
One major advantage of these crossbows is that they produce less noise and vibrations than compound bows. However, they tend not to be as powerful as compound bows.
Crossbow Buyers Guide: How To Buy The Best Crossbow For Hunting
Unlike their ancient medieval and Chinese counterparts, modern crossbows are designed primarily for hunting, not for war. Thus, they have more to offer in regards to hunting. But before settling on the best crossbow, there are certain things to consider. If you want to buy a high-performing quality crossbow, then you need to follow those factors.
Crossbow Draw weight
The average draw weight of a good crossbow ranges from 75 pounds to 125 pounds. However, some offer up to 200 pounds.
While more draw is better, it is important to note that some states do not allow bows with draw weights of above 175 pounds. Others, such as Ohio, allow bows with a draw weight of up to 200 pounds. So check the crossbow law by state.
The general misconception is that higher speed is always better. However, this is not always true. For example, a typical crossbow offers speeds between 260 Feet Per Second and 400 Feet Per Second (FPS).
If you want to get the best out of a crossbow, then I recommend going for one with a speed of 250-300 FPS. Bows with high speeds tend to be noisy due to the vibrations emitted by the shot.
Furthermore, faster speeds increase the chances of wear and tear. Proper arrow and broadhead, especially mechanical broadhead tuning, can be challenging with faster crossbows.
That being said, do not be tempted to go for faster arrows simply because manufacturers say that faster arrows are better.
Also called a barrel or flight track, this is the part of the crossbow that is responsible for firing the arrow. Aluminum and polymer are the two materials used to make crossbow barrels. Most high-quality crossbows feature an aluminum arrow track.
Noise and vibrations
One of the main advantages of a crossbow over a firearm is that the former is quieter than the latter. However, noise is still something to consider when shopping for a bow.
There are a number of tools you can use to reduce the noise and vibrations of a crossbow. Some feature string vibration dampening technology. The latter uses rubber dampeners to reduce the vibration of a string when a bow is fired.
The most silent unit is Recurve crossbows with parallel limbs. These types of bows do not have the same shooting range as compound crossbows, though. For compound crossbows used in a shooting range, noise is not a consideration.
Recommended Crossbow Fps For Hunting
Choose your crossbow to shoot your hunting arrow with an initial velocity of a minimum of 250 to 300 FPS (Feet Per Second). By producing that speed, the arrow will get enough kinetic energy to kill any big game animal cleanly also eliminates the long-range arrow trajectory problem.
Choosing a crossbow based on weight is never easy. This is because; heavy crossbows offer more stability, while lighter crossbows offer improved maneuverability.
Thus, if you are strong enough to carry a heavy crossbow and do not move a lot when hunting, a heavier bow will do.
However, if you move a lot or are not strong enough, a lighter bow will be ideal.
If you want the best from your crossbow, consider one whose parts are metallic. There are some crossbows that feature plastic parts. The problem with such parts is that they tend to break easily. Metal is a more durable material.
The best deer hunting crossbow will have some additional features, which form part of your crossbow hunting gear.
- Cocking aids are used to make cocking of crossbows easier. There are two types, a rope cocking device and a crank cocking device. For hunting, I recommend rope cocking devices.
- Apart from cocking effort and aids, a top-class crossbow should come with a good scope.
- Noise dampening devices that reduce a crossbow’s noise levels can also improve a bow’s performance.
Best Crossbow Reviews For Deer Hunting
Compound crossbows are not cheap. However, when you are on a budget, you can still get your hands on a quality crossbow without compromising quality. Having experimented with several budget crossbows, I believe that the CenterPoint Sniper 370 and Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS are the best budget crossbow for hunting.
CenterPoint Sniper 370
This might come as a surprise to some, but Crossman is the brand behind the CenterPoint Sniper 370-Crossbow. This begs the question, is Crossman as good in making crossbows as making BB guns?
This is the question I sought to answer when I bought this one.
This bow is not the lightest out there; it is 7.9 pounds. Furthermore, when uncocked, it measures 21.6 inches wide and 18 inches when cocked. Thus, it is also not the smallest crossbow.
Nevertheless, I was pleased that it comes with a shoulder strap that makes it easy to carry. In addition, I was impressed with the performance of this crossbow with its firing speed of 370 Feet Per Second with a 13.50-inch power stroke.
To put this into perspective, the firing velocity of this bow equates to 128 ft-lbs of kinetic energy, which is more than enough to take down a grizzly.
Being such a powerful bow, I was not surprised at its draw weight of 185 pounds. Moreover, I was not surprised at how difficult it can be to cock this bow.
Fortunately, Crossman throws in a rope cocking device into the package. Apart from the last device, the package also came with three 20 inch bolts, a multi-reticle, and illuminated scope.
- This is one of the most powerful bows I have ever used.
- Comes with a fully adjustable stock and forearm
- There is an illuminated scope attached to it.
- It is relatively heavier compared to others.
- 185 draw weight
- 4X32 illuminated scope
- 370 Feet Per Second velocity
- Four arrow quiver
- Three 20 inch carbon bolts
- Aluminum rail
- CNC machined cam system
- Quad limbs
From this CenterPoint sniper 370 crossbow reviews, it is apparent that the bow is powerful enough to take down some of the largest game that inhabits the North American forests. Pricing under 300, this crossbow is one of the top-notch crossbows.
Best Deer Hunting Crossbow For The Money: Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II
If you are looking for the best deer hunting crossbow for the money, then grab it without a second thought. Affordability and efficiency are the two things that Barnett considers most when making crossbows.
And it is for this reason, most of the company’s crossbows offer the perfect balance between quality and price. Speaking of the perfect balance between quality and price, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is one bow that exemplifies this.
This lightweight bow can shoot arrows at speeds of up to 350 Feet Per Second with a 12.5-inch power stroke. And while its 103 ft-lb of kinetic energy is not as impressive as that of the Ravin, it is still something. What I loved about this bow is its compact design.
Weighing 6.4 pounds and measuring 34.25 inches long, it is one of the most compact bows out there.
- It is a lightweight crossbow
- It is offered at an affordable price tag
- Comes with a wax lube included for waxing the bow after every ten shots to prevent damage
- Comes with a 4×32 scope mounted
- Comes with finger guards
- Does not come with a cocking tools included
- It is a bit noisy due to the lack of a dampening system
- Soft-lok bristle arrow retainer
- 150-pound draw weight
- 6.4-pound weight
- Metal injected molded trigger
- TriggerTech frictionless release technology
- 4×32 scope included
Its affordable price tag and impressive performance make it the ideal choice for hunters looking for an inexpensive crossbow for everyday hunting. Besides, its compact and lightweight design will appeal to hunters who are always on the move. In essence, it is a quality piece of hardware that will be a great addition to your hunting arsenal.
Indeed this is one of the top-rated crossbows for the money category!
If accuracy is what you are looking for in an affordable price tag, don’t miss this recommendation. One of the most accurate yet powerful and fastest crossbow 2021 is the Barnett TS390 crossbow.
Barnett HyperGhost 405 Crossbow
The Barnett HyperGhost 405 is one of Barnett’s accurate and powerful crossbows, and for good reasons. Similar to all the other bows on this list, this Barnett is pretty solid on its performance.
It can dish out up to 138 ft of pounds of kinetic energy thanks to its 405 FPS of firing velocity. And comes with a blazing power stroke of 16.3 inches. Also, the draw weight is 185 pounds. This bow requires a rope cocking tool to cock.
Also added to this package is a Premium 1.5 x 5 x 32 mm Illuminated Scope that greatly improves the accuracy of this bow. For safety reasons, when you cock the Barnett ghost, it goes straight into the safe mode, and then you have to put it to fire. Another thing is it’s ambidextrous, and anyone can use it with both hands, left or right.
- Comes with an insert where you can install a hand-crack cocking tool
- The bow comes with Premium 1.5 x 5 x 32 mm Illuminated Scope
- It comes with a side-mount quiver.
- Quick detach quiver
- 405 Feet Per Second firing velocity
- 7.7-pound weight
- 185 draw weight
This Barnett ghost crossbow has all that a hunter needs. In this regard, this crossbow is best for hunting deer. Also, it makes a good bow for target practice. If you are looking for accuracy with power, then get this recommended crossbow under thousand bucks.
Best Cheap Crossbow For Hunting Deer
If you are new to hunting, an inexpensive and easy-to-use crossbow will be the best option for you.
Many cheap crossbows will serve your needs as beginners; however, none will offer a better price and power combo than the Barnett Jackal.
For that good reason, this Barnett jackal gets the trophy of our best beginner crossbow for hunting deer.
Best Budget Crossbow: Barnett Jackal Crossbow
One of my hunting buddies is what you would call a crossbow fanatic. He owns quite a big selection of crossbows, and I recently got to try out his Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package, which is my Barnett Jackal review.
I found the Barnett to be easier to cock than my CenterPoint. It did not require a rope device to cock this crossbow as my hands were sufficient.
Nevertheless, much to my surprise, the Barnett Jackal is a powerful crossbow. It is capable of firing 20-inch bolts at a velocity of 315 Feet Per Second. With its firing velocity, Barnett has a draw weight of 150 pounds. I fired at tin can targets from about 60 yards, and I was more than impressed with the trigger pull.
Of worth noting is that this is not the quietest bow; in fact, it is rather loud. However, this is to be expected from a bow of its caliber.
- It is affordable considering how powerful it is
- Offers enough stroke to take down almost every legal game in the country
- Features automated safety that prevents misfiring
- The military-like stock looks cool and is very comfortable
- The package is without a cocking tool
- Three 20 inch arrows
- Detachable Quiver
- 3.5-pound trigger pull
- 150-pound draw weight
- 315 FPS firing velocity
Based on my analysis and some of the Barnett crossbow reviews I read online before using this bow, I feel that it is the perfect bow for a beginner.
It is powerful enough to be used for target practice as well as hunting. Although you can cock it with your hands, I recommend getting a cocking system.
Best Professional Crossbow For Hunting: For Big Game
Hunting big games requires you to equip yourself with a powerful crossbow that can take them down. If you want a crossbow that is good enough for hunting big game, there is only one you need, the Ravin R10.
Ravin R10 Crossbow
Ok, the Ravin R10 might not be the cheapest crossbow out there, but boy does it look good. An improved version of the R9, this stunningly beautiful crossbow is also the lightest and most compact I have ever used. It measures 33 inches long and weighs 6.8 pounds.
And it gets better; this crossbow packs quite the punch and will have you sending arrows at speeds of up to 400 FPS with an 11-inch power stroke. Pair that with 142 ft-lb of energy at the point of impact, and you have a mighty bow in your hands.
What I loved about this bow was how the cables coil away from the top and bottom of the R10’s cams, which kept the latter well balanced.
- Has a compact design for close quarter firing
- Offers accuracy and consistency thanks to its frictionless flight system
- Comes with an illuminated scope attached
- It is a lightweight crossbow
- Comes with an automatic safety with anti-dry fire
- It is a pricey crossbow but worth every penny.
- 12 pounds draw force
- Built-in Vers-draw cocking system
- Trac-trigger firing system
- 6.8-pound weight
- 400 Feet Per Second
Due to its compact and lightweight design, this Ravin crossbow is best suited for on-the-go hunting. Additionally, it will appeal to hunters who hunt in tight quarters, for example, in areas with thick brush and vegetation. And while it is quite expensive, it is more than worth its hefty price tag, thanks to all its features.
Most Powerful Crossbow
There exists a class of crossbows whose power puts them out of the reach of most hunters. Nevertheless, if you are serious about your hunting, then you will need a bow with the power to match your needs. Though it is one of the priciest on the market, the Ravin R29 Predator 29-Inch is worth the purchase if you are looking for the most powerful crossbow on this date.
Ravin R29 Predator Crossbow
The Ravin R29 Predator 29-inch is one of the most powerful crossbows for hunting and shooting I have ever used. This bow has everything a hunter would need.
For starters, it has a firing speed of 430 Feet Per Second, which is pretty impressive, And it has the most FPS on this review list. In addition, it delivers 164-foot pounds of kinetic energy, which will blow your hunting scenario.
Additionally, this crossbow is compact and measures 29 inches in length and 6.75 weights.
Speaking of cocking effort, with a Built-In Versa-Draw Cocking Mechanism working with the tracked trigger firing system. This cocking system allows you to easily cock and uncock the R29.
This crossbow features a Predator Dusk Camo pattern that means it is not conspicuous in the forest.
- Weighing 6.75 pounds, it is lightweight and compact
- It has a 100 yds Illuminated Scope; Built-in Sling Mounts
- It is a powerful bow capable of firing arrows at 430 FPS
- Has a camo color
- It is pretty pricey for a bow with its features.
It might not be the cheapest crossbow on the market, but it is one of the best crossbows for hunting and shooting. Due to its power, I recommend this bow to anyone looking to make a switch from rifles. In essence, this bow is probably the closest a crossbow has come to be a rifle.
Best Crossbows For Women
Compound crossbows are heavy and are difficult to cock, which can be problematic for small-framed persons and women. Fortunately, there exist some bows designed explicitly for women and small-framed persons. One such is the Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow.
Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow Package
Another Barnett crossbow that is worth reviewing is the Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow. Specially Designed for small-framed shooters, this can deliver 85 pounds of kinetic energy, which equals to a draw weight of 130 pounds. Needless to say, it is not as powerful as other Barnett crossbows.
However, it still packs a punch thanks to its 300 FPS firing velocity. Furthermore, thanks to its draw weight, this Barnett bow can easily be cocked without the aid of a rope cocking device.
Attached to this bow is a red dot sight that has a premium feel to it.
The pistol grip of this bow feels ergonomic, while the adjustable buttstock makes it easy to use regardless of your height. Included in this package are three 20 inch carbon arrows.
- It is well-sized for women and persons of a small stature
- Comes with a rope cocking device
- Delivers enough velocity to take down most big game
- Some users have complained about the quality of the bow’s strings.
- Three 20 inch arrows
- Adjustable buttstock
- Red dot sight attached
- 130-pound draw weight
The Barnet Recruit compound crossbow weighs 6 pounds. That being said, this is a bow I would recommend to women. The Barnett Recruit review reveals that this bow is designed for people with a small stature.
Best Go-To Crossbow For Hunting
Sometimes, power is all you need to take down a whitetail deer. In this regard, a powerful yet maneuverable crossbow will come in handy. One of the easy-to-use yet powerful crossbows is the Barnett Whitetail Hunter.
Barnett Whitetail Hunter Crossbow
This bow features limbs made from a composite laminate that protect it from harsh weather during winter. Also, similar to all other Barnett crossbows, this bow comes with a 7/8 inch Picatinny rail.
Being one of the top crossbows for hunting, the bow weighs only 6.2 pounds, meaning it is easy to carry. Additionally, with a width of 18.2 inches, it is compact enough for use in the wild outdoors.
The firing velocity stands at 340 FPS while the draw weight is 160 pounds. Needless to say, this is not the kind of bow you will want to cock with your hands.
The 340 FPS firing velocity produces a ferocious 103 pounds of kinetic energy. A 4X32 scope is attached to the bow, while three 20 inches arrows come inside the bow’s quiver.
- It is extremely light to use and hauling through the woods
- It is highly maneuverable thanks to its short width and length
- Comes with a premium 4X32 scope attached
- Easy to assemble
- comes with an anti-dry fire feature to prevent injury.
- Some people have complained of the anti-dry fire safety feature malfunctioning
- 7/8 inch Picatinny rail
- Composite laminated limbs
- 340 FPS firing velocity
- 160-pound draw weight
- Pass-through foregrip
- Finger reminders
- Composite stock
If you are looking for a crossbow for the big game, then the Barnett Whitetail Hunter is the bow for you. This crossbow has everything that would need to take down whitetail deer easily.
Top Crossbow For Small Game & Target Practice
When all you want is to hunt small game or practice, you will want a crossbow that is light and not overly powerful. There are several bows that you can choose from, one of which is the Barnett Outdoors Brotherhood.
Barnett Outdoors Brotherhood Crossbow Package
I got to try out the Barnett Outdoors Brotherhood crossbow, and I have to say I was genuinely impressed, as my Barnett Brotherhood crossbow review will reveal.
At the heart of this bow, brilliance is its firing velocity. This Barnett fires arrows at 350 FPS, which is enough to penetrate through an engine block if not pierce a deer’s skin.
I cannot say that I was pleased with its 21-inch width, but it uses a CROSSWIRE string and cable system, it is quite easy to assemble and cock by hand.
Also, it is compatible with crank cocking devices. The trigger has a pull weight of 3.5 pounds, meaning it is smooth. Attached to the crossbow is a 4X32 multi-reticle scope.
- It can be cocked by hand thanks to its string and cable system
- It is lightweight and easy to assemble
- This bow is powerful enough to take down most legal game
- Comes with a good quality 3X42 scope
- This bow is loud, and you will have to invest in sound suppressors.
- 160-pound draw weight
- 350 FPS velocity
- High-energy cam system
- ADF trigger
- Three 20 inch Headhunter arrows
- 4X32 multi-reticle scope
Given that it is a loud shooter, be careful when taking it out to hunt. If you lack suppressors, I recommend using them for target practice. On the other hand, if you do get sound suppressors, this bow can be the best for hunting deer.
Here barnet whitetail hunter crossbow is Ideal for target practice, and you can use the best archery target for perfecting your archery skill and hunting from a fixed position.
There are many bows that you can use on your next crossbow deer hunt. However, not all will give you the desired results. In essence, you will have to get the best crossbow to satisfy your needs. Fortunately for you, all the crossbows reviewed above make great crossbows. I hope that these best crossbow reviews and the hunting tips above have been of great help to you.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in OUTDOOR EVER.