When you are looking to buy a crossbow, it is tempting to go straight for the most expensive model. This may not be the best idea, though. In this round-up review of the best crossbows under 400 dollars, I will look at 4 great models that offer excellent value for money and come in at less than $400. I will also include some tips on how you can make sure your purchase offers good value for money and why thinking these models are worth getting excited about.
But if you are in a pinch and just want to know what the best crossbow under 400 is, I would recommend the BARNETT Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow, Mossy Oak Bottomland. This one is my top pick among the four because it offers an excellent balance between quality and value for money.
And the runner-up under 400 dollar category is the Killer Instinct Burner 415 Crossbow Bow Pro Package. Also, this one comes from a reputable manufacturer with decades of experience designing and producing powerful hunting crossbows for hunters around the globe.
A Quick Comparison Of Our Picks
Last update on 2023-03-31
Besides these two, the other 2 crossbows are all great, and it is hard to pick a clear winner among them. Just remember that your needs and preferences are different from someone else’s, which makes it impossible for me to recommend one over the other.
Why you Trust My Review?
– I have been reviewing crossbows for more than a decade, which means knowing what to look at and compare.
– I always try to provide a fair review based solely on the performance of these products without consideration of price or brand name. My goal is simply to help buyers find the best product possible while staying within their budget constraints.
How I tested crossbows and picked the top 5 recommendations?
– First, I took around 20+ crossbows under the $400 price range
– Then, I looked at the most important crossbow specs such as power stroke, kinetic energy, and draw weight of each of the models.
– Then, get consulted from other buyers to see what they liked or didn’t like about each model.
– And finally did my own hands-on testing of each model in real-life hunting situations.
– This is how I was able to pick the top four crossbows for under 400 dollars currently on the market today.
Types Of crossbow:
– There are mainly two types of crossbows:
- Recurve, and
- compound crossbow.
In compound crossbow, there’s two other technology appears in recent innovation;
- Reverse Draw Technology and
- inverted Cam System
– A recurve crossbow is the most traditional type of bow, and they are generally less expensive than other types. Recurve crossbow comes with one string and is mainly famous for its straightforward design and easy use. This kind of crossbow has two limbs and one riser, which are interconnected, and one string that is fitted and fastened to the front end of both limbs. As the string pulls back, the limb is compressed; and the string is drawn to a position above the riser, and an arrow can be shot.
The compound crossbow also has two limbs that are connected to the riser. There is a pulley wheel or cam, a string, and two cables at the end of each limb. Here, the string is held in place by a pulley system to be drawn back to the rear when released. Generally, The string is pulled back using a mechanical device such as a rope cocker or by hand and then released. Compound crossbows are popular because they have a high firing power and can propel the arrow much faster than other types of crossbows. Compound crossbows also require less physical strength and so can be used by both adults and children.
In recent years, compound crossbow technology has evolved into two new crossbow variants; Reverse draw and Inverted cam technology.
Inverted cam crossbow:
The inverted cam crossbow functions like the traditional compound crossbow; just only the string is located in the front of the cams. When the string is drawn back, cams rotate inward. And the string is pulled through the assembly of the bow instead of coming off outside of the cams. The main advantage of this technology is that you don’t need to extend the overall length of the bow. That way, your bowstring can travel more distance, which can translate into more power and arrow speed.
Reverse Draw Crossbow
Reverse draw crossbows are entirely different from than other two types of crossbow technology. But the mechanism kind of similar such as you can see there are two limbs connected to the riser. And each end of the limb has cams, strings, and two cables.
The major difference is the riser located behind the cables and string either halfway down or at the back of the barrel. So the string draws through the assembly as just like an inverted cam crossbow.
The main advantage of reverse draw crossbow technology is that it provides a quieter release since the riser is located just behind the trigger. Also, hunters find it more stable and comfortable to hold it for a longer time.
Also, the hunter can avoid the forward tipping weight by not having the riser located on the front of the barrel. As a result, less vibration is created on the string and arrow.
Now you know all 4 types of modern crossbows technologies that are currently on the market.
But one thing worth noting within the $400 budget, don’t expect high-end crossbows such as reverse draw technology crossbow system. If you want to buy a reverse draw crossbow then check the best crossbow under $1000 selections.
Reviews Of The Best Crossbow Under 400 Dollars
Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR crossbow
Barnett crossbows are not just famous for their quiet performance but also for the way they look. The Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR crossbow is an excellent example of this. Its Mossy Oak Bottomland camo pattern and sleek compact design make it one of the best crossbows for under $400! But wait, don’t just get fooled by its outlook. It can perform quite phenomenally.
For versatility, easy to carry and assemble, Barnett uses a step-thru riser constructed with composite fiberglass. These features make it one of the lightweight crossbows in this price range. Also, the single bolt assembly makes it easy to assemble out of the box.
Weighing just 6.6 lbs, it can propel arrows at 375 feet per second and produce 118.65 kinetic energy! The gap between the left to the right cam axle is 18.125″. You know, a shorter axle-to-axle distance means it can produce great speed and power to penetrate your target. And as result guess what it can generate a 15.4″ bone-crushing power stroke.
When speed and power are your main concern, crossbow safety features should be a top priority. With the anti-dry fire trigger and Barnett’s Trigger Tech mechanism, you can rest assured that it will not go off in mid-air or on the ground.
In this Whitetail Hunter, STR crossbow Barnett uses TriggerTech technology which was introduced by Mats Lipowski. Having this trigger in the crossbow makes your firing experience smoother than ever.
This lightweight crossbow is compatible with the Barnett 17455 crank cocking device, making it easy to cock the crossbow without a lot of effort and time.
In addition, comes with a multi-reticle scope that will help improve your accuracy. But I would advise you to use a better crossbow scope such as red dot optics.
The quiver supports you to carry and keep crossbow arrows organized and ready for action. It can be attached behind the crossbow or on the left side of the frame, depending on your preferences.
The crossbow comes with two 22″ headhunter carbon shaft arrows, which is a bonus from Barnett. Also, you will get rail lube wax for maintenance purposes.
Compared to other crossbows in the price range of under 400 dollars, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR crossbow is a good product that will serve your needs whether you are a novice or experienced hunter. It offers a lot of features at an affordable price without any significant drawbacks.
BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow
There is a lot of choices out there when you are looking for a crossbow under 400 bucks. But BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow should be at the top of your list because it has all the features that will help you get your hunting task done right!
The first thing we want to mention about this crossbow is its speed and accuracy. With blazing speed and power, you can penetrate the vital organ of deer or elk easily.
The most underlook part of any crossbow is how much noise does it make. BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow is a very quiet bow with only the “twang” of the string. And it comes with a noise dampener too.
The real tree extra camo pattern will help you stay hidden in the bush and not give away your position in the game. And the best part is it is easy to assemble with a single bolt.
With 350 FPS and 150 lbs draw weight, it can kill elk/deer with ease at 40 yards away from the point-blank range. Additionally, the Kinetic Energy is 103 feet pounds, which is more than enough for hunting anything from a deer up to an elk!
The axle-to-axle distance is 16.125″, making it one of the best smaller frame crossbows in the market. And again, the lesser the distance of the axle to axle, the more power it can generate.
I could never hunt with this bow without my scope attached, but it does have Picatinny rails, so I can easily attach my illuminated scope.
The trigger tech technology is great for any hunter who’s not interested in getting a sore index finger and joint from the release of this crossbow. In addition, the draw weight on this bow is 150 lbs which will make it much easier to pull back when you are hunting game.
The Nock sensor and Anti-dry fire will ensure that you never lose an arrow due to shooting without an arrow or not having the safety on.
This crossbow does come with a cocking rope device. The lightweight quiver is excellent for attaching to a belt or backpack.
The lube wax will help you maintain your bow without worrying about any rust or problems when hunting.
Killer Instinct Burner 415 Crossbow Bow Pro Package
The Killer Instinct Burner 415 Crossbow Bow Pro Package is a crossbow for those who want to take their hunting and shooting experience to the next level.
This bow can shoot arrows at 415 feet per second, which will make it easy for you to hunt down prey when they are hiding in trees or bushes. The 6-position AR-style buttstock also helps shooters of all shapes and sizes by providing them with a customized fit. So if you are a smaller person or larger or even youth, you can definitely choose this crossbow.
I also love the fact that this crossbow has a 3.5-pound KillerTech™ precision shooting trigger, which will make it easier to get off shots when you only have a split second. In addition, killer instinct redesigned the pistol grip and forearm grip of this version so that you will feel rubberized finger grooves.
Underneath the handlebar, a small rubberized compartment can be handy for you to keep the hunting license and other small parts.
It also features a safety trigger to help you avoid accidents when taking down prey with this crossbow bow.
The draw weight of this crossbow is 220 lb which is enough to take down even the most challenging animal. In addition, it can generate kinetic energy up to 141 Ft. lbs and a 14.5″ power stroke ensures as quick and accurate kill as possible.
With the help of Enhanced Micro-Lite aluminum, killer instinct manages to create an incredibly light crossbow that is easy to carry around. In addition, the weight of this crossbow is just near 6.7 lbs which makes it perfect for long hunting trips.
Also, it comes with a Lumix scope, which is included in this PRO package. Finally, the extra rope cocker and string suppressors are great additions that help me get set up faster to start hunting right away.
One of the downsides worth noting is the few users found the limb getting cracked after a few months of use. Though in my field test, I didn’t have any issue at all, I believe it’s a problem that needs to be addressed by the manufacturer.
After knowing this problem, I couldn’t rank it to the top of the list for crossbow under $400; otherwise, it would be my top pick.
Aside from this, the Killer Instinct Burner 415 Crossbow Bow Pro Package is an excellent crossbow at an affordable price.
So, if you’re not really looking for something as high-end and expensive crossbows which costs around 500 but want to get your hand on some serious firepower. In that case, this is the crossbow for you.
PSE ARCHERY Fang HD Crossbow Package
If you are looking for a fast and powerful crossbow without sacrificing $1000, the PSE ARCHERY Fang HD is for you. PSE has been making some great quality crossbows for a while now. One of their latest releases is the PSE ARCHERY Fang HD Crossbow Package.
I have been using this PSE crossbow for the past few months. It has many features that make it powerful and convenient to use, such as reverse cam technology and an AR-style adjustable stock.
I was really impressed by its reverse cam technology. It increases power and speed while still maintaining a slim profile for shooting. Using a 370 grain bolt, It can generate 134 ft. lbs kinetic energy and an impressive speed up to 405 FPS which is a lot faster and powerful than most crossbows in this price range. And more importantly, It can penetrate your target into pieces with its massive 14.5″ Powerstroke.
It also includes a five-bolt quiver and three 22″ carbon bolts with a limb dampener.
The Right to left axle distance is 18″, which is manageable for most hunters. But it’s the lengthier axle to axle among the other crossbows that we reviewed here.
The draw weight is 205 LBS which may be a little heavy for some but not too much of an issue, and it has auto safety triggers that prevent accidental firing.
And another thing I experienced during my usages is it feel front-heavy when using it as a freehand. I think this problem for being its long 35.5″ length. So I advise you to use it with a stand.
And the twang is also relatively noticeable in this one for being one of the heavy draw crossbows. The noise dampener that comes with the pack is not the best.
Though I found few problems with this crossbow, I would still recommend it for its speed and power comparing the price.
How to buy a value for money crossbow under $400?
If you are not sure what to look out for when buying the best deer hunting crossbow or need general advice on buying the best crossbow under 400 dollars, then here is some advice.
Speed (FPS) of the crossbow:
Crossbow speed is mainly calculated by FPS and is an essential consideration when purchasing one. The faster the arrow, the more kinetic energy it will have to penetrate deep into your target. You should look for something that shoots between 350 to 400 fps. But you may need to spend over $400 on some models which have speeds of up 450fps or above. We recently reviewed the best crossbows under $600 where most of the crossbows fps are more than 400.
Draw weight tells you how much pull strength or power stroke is in each arrow shot from your crossbow. Higher draw weights translate better performance on bigger game animals with deeper penetration than lower draws weights. Plus, a higher draw weight means you will get higher kinetic energy for larger game animals like bears.
The power stroke is the distance that a crossbow bolt can be shot before its cord or string has to re-coil for it to shoot again. In price under $400 range try to find the model that can generate power stroke at least 14 to 15 inches. But, If you need more than 15″ power stroke, you will have to spend at least $500 on some crossbow models.
Kinetic energy is the power that your crossbow bolt has when it hits an animal. Higher kinetic energies mean more penetration and also a faster kill on game animals.
Like most things in life, Limb material comes with tradeoffs depending upon what you want to do with your bow. For instance, aluminum limbs are lighter weight and will last longer, but they are also more expensive.
Scopes are essential for crossbow hunters and shooters if they need to shoot at further than 20 yards. But not all crossbows come with scopes by default, so you may want to make sure the one you get does before you buy it!
Bolts are what you use with a crossbow; think of them as arrows. Bolts come in different shapes and sizes depending on the type of game animal that you hunt. Some crossbow comes with bolts, but if not, you will need to buy them separately.
Crossbows’ weight can vary widely depending on the type of crossbow and what it’s made out of. For instance, an aluminum limb crossbow will weigh less than a steel one. So, make sure you know what type of crossbow you want and how much weight is okay for your needs.
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.