The Modern Crossbow: A Not So Primitive Weapon

Consequently, there are now more reasons than ever to consider making the switch to this so called “primitive weapon” Absolute Survivalist.

Of course, one question that nearly all hunters ask at one time or another is “why would I want to use a crossbow?” and, while the answers to this question are many and varied, one answer is that a crossbow is perfect for people who are avid gun hunters that would also like to extend their season but, don’t wish to spend the time necessary to become skilled with a compound or recurve bow. Thus, because a crossbow is essentially an extra-short bow mounted on the end of a gun stock, the same skills that are used to shoot a firearm can be employed to shoot a crossbow; thus making it a familiar weapon. Plus, because a crossbow can be pre-drawn and cocked prior to encountering game, it only requires the strength to draw the bow, not hold it in the drawn position while trying to aim; thus making it much easier to achieve an accurate shot. Also, a handful of the fastest crossbows on the market today can achieve arrow speeds exceeding 400 fps (a threshold that compound bow shooters can only dream about) which translates to exceptionally flat trajectories over long ranges. Furthermore, a crossbow can be outfitted with modern, illuminated, multi-reticule, scopes that are specifically calibrated for use with a crossbow and thus, they provide the archer sophisticated optics for pinpoint accuracy. Last, most people can master the basic skills of shooting a crossbow in no more than an hour or so of informal shooting in their backyard and after that, a little practice is all that is needed to hone the skill and keep it sharp.

But, regardless of your reasons for deciding to make the switch to shooting a crossbow, it’s a wise idea to spend some time learning about them and learning what features set one crossbow apart from another so that you can make the best possible choice when it comes time to purchase your first crossbow. So, what features should you look for when choosing a crossbow? Well, the four criteria that most people consider most important are that it be fast, lightweight, compact, and accurate. Now, obviously, the faster the arrow travels, the flatter its trajectory will be but, the reason that a flat trajectory is so important is that even though archers commonly engage targets at much closer ranges than gun hunters, shot placement is still critical and thus, so is range estimation. But, the flatter the arrow’s trajectory is, the less drop it will experience and thus, the less critical precise range estimation becomes. Also, when choosing a crossbow, you should pay close attention to its overall weight because, just like a compound bow, you are going to have to carry it into and out of the woods with you. Therefore, while a crossbow that is a little on the heavy side is not a problem if you are hunting on reasonably flat terrain and/or reasonably close to your vehicle, a few ounces can make a huge difference and, when traversing rough terrain and/or long distances, a difference of a couple of pounds can feel like the difference between carrying a recurve and carrying a compound bow. In addition, most hunters want a bow that is well balanced and easy to maneuver in a tree stand or a ground blind and thus, crossbows with short stocks and short axle-to-axle lengths are often sought after. Then, there is the question of limb design because you will need to choose between recurve and compound limbs.

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