Crossbows are considered a legal hunting tool in one fashion or another in every state but Oregon, and most of those states allow the use of a crossbow during all or part of their whitetail hunting season. A few, however, still restrict the use of a crossbow to hunters of a certain age, or those with a physical limitation.
What all this should make plainly obvious is that interest in crossbow hunting is on a steep incline—and has been for some time. So, with deer seasons everywhere just around the corner, this is the perfect time to show you what we think are the 10 best crossbows for 2016.
Whether you’re a crossbow veteran who needs a new toy, or a whitetail fanatic who just wants to experience a new and exciting way to hunt your favorite game animal, we believe this list contains your perfect new hunting companion for this fall.
This ultra-compact, reverse-draw crossbow measures just 10 inches axle-to-axle at full draw (15.5 inches when uncocked), which makes the Storm RDX easy to maneuver in any ground blind or elevated stand. What’s even more attractive is the price, considering the package includes a TenPoint 3X Pro-View scope, ACUdraw cocking mechanism and three carbon arrows with a quiver. Powered by Horton’s custom RDX Cam System, the Storm RDX sends arrows downrange at 370 fps, which puts flight time to a 40-yard target at about a third of a second.
One of six new crossbows from Barnett this year, the Droptine offers a lot of value for an attractive price. It features a 4X32 scope, an Anti Dry Fire trigger system that prevents firing without a bolt in place, plus three 20-inch bolts—all in a package that’s designed to be fired accurately, shot after shot, year after year. Custom composite laminated limbs resist wear while launching bolts at 350 fps with 109 ft. lbs. of energy—more than enough to anchor whitetail-size and larger game.
TenPoint made generous use of carbon in the Carbon Nitro RDX crossbow, which means the main frame, minus accessories, comes in at just 7.8 pounds. Add to that a sleek reverse-draw design, and this crossbow is easy to wield in any hunting situation. Plus, with a TenPoint RangePro scope, Dedd Sledd 50 cocking aid, quiver, and a half-dozen carbon bolts included, the kit is virtually range-ready.
Stryker bundled power and agility into its Katana crossbow package. Features such as an ultralight frame that weighs just 6.5 pounds, a smooth, yet crisp, 2.5-pound trigger, a 13-inch power stroke, and an ambidextrous cheekpiece lend to the crossbow’s nimbleness, while a scorching 385 fps rating—at just 155 pounds of draw weight—provides heavy-hitting performance. The package includes an adjustable Tact-Zone Illuminated Scope and four Accu-Lite bolts.
At 5.9 pounds and 33.9 inches in length, Cabela’s Brood Crossbow with ACU-52 by TenPoint is a wonderful option for younger or small-framed crossbow hunters. A pass-through fore grip and safety wings help keep the shooter’s fingers out of the bowstring’s path, making it one of the safest crossbows available. It also features an easy-to-manage 150-pound draw weight, the patented ACU-52 cocking system, and a TenPoint 3X multi-line scope. But don’t be fooled by its diminutive size: The Brood fires at 300 fps and generates 70 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy.
The FFL stands for Forward Facing Limbs, which combined with Bear’s specially designed PowerV riser, makes the Bruzer FFL compact, yet highly efficient. Extending the riser to behind the trigger helps distribute stress and allows the crossbow to achieve a speed rating of 335 fps at a mere 125 pounds of draw weight. This package includes a XF425 scope and three Insidious bolts from Trophy Ridge, as well as a cocking sled for reloading ease.
With an overall frame weight of just 6.4 pounds, this TenPoint outfit packs a surprisingly powerful punch. A carbon-injected polymer barrel allowed the designers to eliminate pounds, while wrapping a robust 185-pound draw weight and blistering 350 fps rating into an incredibly well-balanced package. A TenPoint 3X Pro-View 2 illuminated scope, patented ACU-50 cocking aid, Instant-detatch three-bolt quiver, and three carbon bolts are included in this field-ready package.
Powered by quad limbs, a CNC-machined cam system and a 185-pound draw weight; the Sniper 370 Camo Crossbow delivers bolts up to 370 fps while generating 121.5 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy – all for an amazingly low price of $299.99. Integrated string suppressors ensure a quiet, vibration-free release; while the Sniper’s fully adjustable tactical stock and forearm accommodate a wide range of shooters. The combo includes a 4X32 scope with illuminated etched glass reticle, three 20-inch carbon bolts, quiver, rope cocker and shoulder sling.
As a lighter weight version of the company’s Intercept Axon LT model crossbow, the Intercept Supercoil LT is a top-of-the-line unit that features a unique, military-style design. Its Intercept platform uses a modular component system that allows unlimited potential for customization because it can accommodate almost all military and commercial AR parts. A lighted scope, string suppressor, three Blue Streak bolts, quiver and rope cocker are all part of this impressive package.
With its unique Flip-Tech stock, the Bone Collector Machine folds to a mere 28 inches to make the sub-compact rig exceptionally comfortable to carry. On the performance side, its CNC-machined aluminum flight rail, zero-creep 2-pound TriggerTech trigger and a 380 fps rating lend to consistent shooting—which translates to pinpoint accuracy at the range and in the field. The hunt-ready package includes an illuminated scope, three-bolt Solid-Lok quiver, three Killer-Tech 20-inch bolts and a rope cocker.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s
Hunting image courtesy of Bear Archery; Product images courtesy of Cabela’s