Choosing the right crossbow for you
With more and more people getting caught up in “Crossbow Mania”, crossbow manufacturers are expanding their product line with new and interesting models. Technology in the field is blossoming the same way it has for the compound bow as new ideas are researched and developed. Manufacturers of vertical archery equipment are investigating the exploding crossbow market and some have already launched their crossbow lines staking out their claim on the fastest growing segment of the hunting industry today. It is obvious to those that have any marketing sense at all that the crossbow is not going away regardless of how loudly the squeaky minority wails. Crossbows are here to stay!
If you are thinking about joining the movement and pursuing wild game with a crossbow, you are probably wondering which would be the best one for you to purchase. Crossbows are no different than choosing any other hunting tool. You must first identify your needs and then choose the best product to meet them.
Cost may be the most obvious factor. Crossbows vary in price from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Now if one is on a bread and butter budget, the top of the line crossbows will probably be a bit out of range. The bright side of the money question is that all of the major companies make excellent, quality products from their “starter-line” all the way to their “Cadillac of crossbows”. The best thing about these companies and perhaps the most important thing is that they provide great customer service. Regardless of what problems you might encounter, the manufacturer will stand behind their product with friendly, timely service.
Once you have decided your price range, you should consider your options of model and style that best fit your needs. Do you want a recurve crossbow or a compound. Do you want peep and pins, a red dot or a multiple reticule scope for your sighting system? Do you need a cocking device to be able to use your crossbow or will you able to cock it by hand? There are decisions to be made about your crossbow’s stock and finish. It can be made of a beautiful wood or a modern synthetic finished in black or a wide variety of camouflage patterns. The varied and almost endless options and combinations enable you to choose the right crossbow for your needs.
Once you have decided what your needs are, it is time to consider a brand name. And this process is like choosing an automobile brand. You got the Chevy guys, the Ford guys, the Toyota guys, etc., etc., etc.. Each claims that their brand is the best and if you drive anything else you are a loser. It is the same thing with a crossbow. But the million-dollar question is how do you find the brand that is best for you?
Picking out a crossbow is just like picking out any weapon you are going to hunt with. If you can, go to a proshop or one of the big sporting goods stores that has a wide variety of crossbows to choose from. Then start picking them up and bringing them to your shoulder. Find one that feels “right”, has the features you are looking for and is in your price range. Next step is to take it to the range and shoot it. When you finally do choose one and buy it, take it home and practice often. This part of the process will help you become “one with your bow” and that is extremely important.
Just about any crossbow that you buy from any of the major manufacturers will be a quality choice. They vary according to price, which is dictated by poundage, components and accessories, but start out with one that feels comfortable to you. The more natural it feels, the more confident you will feel and the better you will shoot with it.
As far as poundage is concerned, ask your self this: “How far do I want to walk to pick up the arrow after it has passed through the animal?” A 150-pound bow will easily pass completely through a whitetail deer, why would you need more than that? Heavier draw weights, as with vertical bows, are less forgiving and lead to higher wear and tear on your equipment. And for those longer practice sessions, cocking 150 pounds will go a lot easier on the shooter than a 175, 200 or 225 pounder.
The bottom line is that you should find the crossbow that feels the most natural in your hands and that has good balance for you. It is an investment that will last for many years so it pays to take the time to choose the right one for YOU! Decide what your budget is and what features you have to have. The go to a major crossbow outlet for some hands on experience and choose a bow that feels comfortable and natural in your hands. And when you have made your choice take it home, read your operating manual and then practice with it regularly. When you are one with your bow, its time to go hunting.
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