Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Another question for archers and bowhunters


Following my inquiry yesterday, a number of you provided useful information about conventional bows and crossbows.  Based on that, I think it would be best for me to learn how to use a crossbow before I try to write about it.  (I already know how to use a conventional bow.)

That being the case, and being on a tight budget, here are a couple more questions for the crossbow users among us.

  1. What's the best entry-level crossbow on which to learn?  (By "best" I mean suitable for purpose, of reasonable quality, not a toy, not likely to break if I look at it funny.  I don't want to buy a cheap Chinesium knock-off.)  Brand and model recommendations, if you can, please.
  2. How much would such a bow cost?  Is it worth looking for a used crossbow at a reduced price?  I've seen some apparent bargains, about half off the new price, but I don't know enough to tell whether they're in good condition and/or worth the money.  (If any of you know of a bargain-priced used crossbow in good condition, of worthwhile quality, please let me know.)
  3. What accessories are necessary, and which are merely handwavium?  I'm sure I don't need a thermal or laser sight as a student!  I'm a total novice, so any and all input is valued.
With your help, I hope to pick up something within the next couple of months, and learn how to use it before writing about it.  That seems to me to be the best, most authentic way to go.

Thanks again.



Anonymous said...

simple, reliable,quality

Anonymous said...

My Brother has a Barnett Wildcat II, manufactured back in the 1980's (I think), having a finished wood stock. Nothing tactical about it, he used to shoot it in the backyard for practice, a box with wadded newspaper for field point bolts. He gained exercise not only setting the cable into place but walking back and forth between target and where he shot to get this ammunition back.

If you have shoulder muscle group damage, this might be a deal breaker if your situation is bad. Others may gain some good exercise, similar to people who cock spring loaded air rifles.

This isn't much - I hope it helps you or others some.

James said...

A good/used Trophy Ridge inspected properly/tested will give you a good deal for the money,have owned one for years and really like it,probably has over 1200 bolts thru it and runs fine,was going to replace strings but was told by knowledgeable person they are still OK,have a spare set just in case.I got whole package new for 400 on sale but found similiar setup for a friend on CL for 200,case/bolts/crossbow ect.,great deal and so far running great.

I will say last year also bought a Raven(full package),do not go there unless you really love crossbows and have monies to play with(4 figures,nuts,I know!).

I say if you have buds with crossbows try em out,you go new most places have a indoor test range for bows and crossbows,best of luck,they are a lot of fun and also a great tool for hunting ect.

Anonymous said...

Barnett Wildcat II https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0869BMFF8
Barnett rope cocking device https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013RBCZG
a dozen cheap 20" aluminum bolts https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D27BDYZ
Broadheads if you need them https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LNOZKVU
Yellow Jacket crossbow rated target (the bolts will zip through most targets you put up, or be damaged if you use something like railroad ties)

Rick in MT said...

I'll second Excalibur as a darned good crossbow, and Barnett is bo slouch either. Like anything else, in the world of crossbows, the devil is in the details.

There are two basic types of crossbows, simple and compound. A simple, like Excalibur, has just the two limbs and a bowstring. A compound crossbow, which Barnett, if they didn't invent it, they certainly were the first to make it popular, has cams, a much longer string, etc, like a compound bow.

Both designs share a common issue, the string rubs on the rails at firing, causing wear. Crossbow strings need replacement over time, no exceptions. A compound crossbow needs a trip to the archery shop and use of a bow press to replace the string. I've replaced the string on an Excalibur with nothing but my bodyweight and a rug.

So all this boils down to something I wish I had known before I owned my first crossbow, how much do you intend to shoot it, and how close is the nearest bow shop? My first one, an old Barnett, broke it's limbs because I didn't understand string wear. To be honest, I was 15 and knew everything back then. My second one got annual trups to the local shop for a new string until I sold it. Nowdays I'd go for an Excalibur because I don't live near a bow shop so I prefer to be able to replace the string myself. But that's what fits me and my lifestyle. Yours will probably be different. Oh, keep the string and rails lubed, it helps with string life. Good manufacturers will tell you how often to replace the string. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have a Centerpoint crossbow (bought at Academy for around $350). Main considerations - cost, weight, usability.

I wouldn't be afraid of a used crossbow, but I would have it restrung. Sporting goods stores will do this for a modest fee. The strings are the main failure point, but properly maintained (waxed) they last for years. Someone mentioned cocking yesterday - many come with a cocking cord, some with built-in cranks. If the crossbow is a 120 lb draw, that's 30 pounds on each end of a cocking cord. If you've got a bum shoulder, I'd look for an Excalibur or similar with a crank built-in.

De-cocking bolts - sometimes you don't want to take the shot. Dry-firing will wear your string faster. If you can't safely decock it with a cord, you'll want some disposable decocking bolts.
Scope - most come with a built-on scope anymore. Usually very low magnification, but my eyes need the assist.
String wax, if you don't already have it for a bow.
I got a carry bag for mine, just for toting around. Soft-sided, as hard-side cases seemed like overkill for a <$500 crossbow.
I pick up quarrels and broadheads at post-season sales at Walmart and Academy.

Anonymous said...


Is there an archery center/dealer nearby that you could visit? I imagine if you explained what you're doing they would be more than happy to help you.

Just a thought....

PM said...

In re the comments above about strings, you may find the attached video on the use of dyneema cordage helpful. My crossbow use is fairly desultory, but I found the use of dyneema very useful in conjunction with whipping twine on the nocking point.


Aesop said...

I have a Barnett model gifted me by my brother courtesy of AAFES in (then West) Germany, in the early 80s. I blame Hardy Krueger in The Wild Geese.

Its nearest modern equivalent in their line would be their BlackCat, running about $150.
It still works as advertised 40+ years later, and is lacking only the scope I should have bought for it at the time it was new.

First bow I ever owned where a 45° angle shot launched an arrow so far in a featureless desert plain it was never seen or heard from again.

Acquire 3-4 spare strings when you buy one. My original is just recently showing some signs of age wear.

Anonymous said...

If you can get a crossbow with a racheting cocking device (rather like a fishing reel), that helped me muchly, being the weak old woman that I am. The Tenpoint I got a few years ago is still working fine. I don't shoot it as well as some because I am used to the recoil of things that go BOOM. The crossbow is different.
Also, invest in a crossbow target and one of those rubber grabby thingies to remove the bolts from said target.
I hope you find my 2cents helpful.

Quentin said...

How about making your own crossbow? Tod Cutler shows you how


The comments about strings should be taken most seriously. Watch this video


The first string safety issue is at 11:10 and the second follows shortly after. See especially 14:33

Anonymous said...

You would do well to pick up a copy of The Book of the Crossbow by Ralph Payne-Galloway. It's a very interesting book.