It goes without saying that archery and hunting go hand in hand. As a matter of fact, whereas rifle hunting may be restricted in some states, bow and crossbow hunting has little to no limitations.
With lots of people being interested in archery, it goes without saying that getting the very best should be at the top of your list if you’re a serious hunter or archer. Whereas most people think that getting into crossbow hunting may cost you an arm or a leg, it’s actually the opposite if you look at the right places which is where we come in.
We’re all about getting you the best crossbows under 500; we’re talking on choosing the most accurate, user-friendly and durable crossbows you could get from the top brands.
Whether you are a skilled archer or do have some little bit of experience in the field, either of our selections should be a perfect match for any hunting day. To add icing to the cake, there’ll be a detailed expert guide with which you’ll know exactly what to look into.
Let’s get started….
- 1 Best hunting crossbows under 500 in 2019
- 1.1 1. Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR Crossbow
- 1.2 2. Killer Instinct Crossbows Ripper
- 1.3 3. Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Package
- 1.4 4. SA Sports 306119 Empire Beowulf Crossbow Package
- 1.5 5. Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS Crossbow
- 1.6 6. Barnett 78134 Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow Package
- 1.7 7. 150 lb Black/Wood/Camouflage Hunting Crossbow
- 1.8 8. Barnett Recruit Terrain Crossbow, 330 FPS
- 1.9 9. *CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper AXCTW185CK Compound Crossbow
- 1.10 10. PSE Fang Series Compound Crossbow
- 1.11 11. SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow
- 1.12 12. PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow Package
- 2 13. Karnage Apocalypse Crossbow Package
- 3 What to look into when choosing the best crossbows under $500
- 3.1 Recurve vs compound crossbows
- 3.2 Safety- a must-have feature for a beginner crossbow
- 3.3 The build quality- don’t go for anything fragile
- 3.4 The noise factor and vibrations
- 3.5 Speed- faster is always better.
- 3.6 The draw weight
- 3.7 The type of trigger
- 3.8 Additional features
- 3.9 Share this:
- 3.10 Related
Though I’d recommend that you read all the way to the end so as not to miss out on anything, you could take a look at the side by side comparison of our very best.
Top 5 crossbow hunting tips
- Be sure to pick a crossbow with a safety mechanism
- Wax your crossbow after every few shots as recommended by the manufacturer
- Always check for faulty parts before going for a hunt.
- Be sure to indulge in target practice before hunting season.
- Pick a crossbow that’s going to be a perfect size and weight for you.
Best hunting crossbows under 500 in 2019
On to the main agenda, it’s time we take a look at what the best hunting crossbows are all about. Without breaking the bank for either of these, you’re bound to get some really amazing features.
1. Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR Crossbow
Starting off our reviews of the best under 500 is one really compact crossbow from Barnett. In addition to the compact design, you’ll also be enjoying a silent performance, high-speed shots, a functional arrow retainer and plenty more. Take a closer look at what you’ll be looking forward to…
Enjoy guaranteed safety with the included arrow retainer
It goes without saying that safety is always the first priority when it comes to using hunting weapons. In the case of the Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR, this is achieved by the Soft-Lok floating bristle arrow retainer that is self-adjusting.
This basically means that once the arrow the safety mechanism is engaged and unless it is disengaged, you cannot be able to shoot the arrow from the crossbow.
Besides the self-adjusting soft-Lok mechanism, yet another feature that will prove to be quite convenient especially for those who are just starting off with using crossbow is the anti-dry fire technology. With this, the spring-loaded safety bar will remain in place until the arrow is properly seated and upon doing so protects the user from accidental fires.
Utmost accuracy is achieved by a frictionless design
On to the performance, one of the features that make this stand out from the standard hunting crossbows is the frictionless release technology.
This employs a free-floating roller between both the trigger and the sear at which point the accuracy level is greatly boosted since the trigger only requires a 3-pound pull and has no creep whatsoever
Enjoy up to 400FPS shots
Moving our focus to the arrow shots, the Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR should be able to achieve speeds of up to 400FPS which is definitely fast enough to take down a deer.
Alongside the high-speed shots, it features a draw weight of 165 lbs. and the kinetic energy, on the other hand, is 140 Ft.lbs. As for the power stroke, it’s 16.375”.
Utmost longevity is achieved by the high-quality build
It’s not really a good enough crossbow for hunting if the build quality is compromised, is it? Well, besides the Barnett WHITETAIL PRO STR being covered by the TRUBark HD camo throughout its length, it features a CNC Machined Aluminum Flight Track for smooth, quiet and accurate shots.
It also features an axle to axle length of 17.625” and weighs 6.9 lbs. which makes it easy to handle even when on the move.
It’s also worth pointing out that with this crossbow, you’ll also be getting a 4×32 illuminated scope, a rope cocking device and a side mount quiver for any additional accessories.
- Features a step-through riser for silent shots
- Comes with a nock sensor and ADF system to eliminate accidental shots
- Has got a frictionless release technology and a 3-pound trigger
- The side quiver attachment isn’t ideal for people with big hands
2. Killer Instinct Crossbows Ripper
As far as getting the best crossbow for the money is concerned, this is something that’s going to blow your mind. Besides the crossbow itself, there are plenty more accessories in store for you and what’s even more interesting is that it boasts a really premium construction.
Boasts a high-quality aluminum barrel and stock design
Starting off with a feature that should hold on any crossbow for it to be qualified as the best, the barrel, for starters is something you’ll be impressed with. Being aluminum, it is designed with such precision such that you get to have an enhanced accurate downrange accuracy.
In addition to having an aluminum barrel, there is also an adjustable buttstock and Forearm Grip. With the Ripper 415, there is a 1 ½ inch of shooter adjustments on the forearm grip which then results to a comfortable forearm grip. At the end of the day, this crossbow will be a perfect companion for any hunter due to the adjustable grip
Achieve high-speed shots for the best results.
Regarding the performance, it’s mostly about speed when it comes to hunting crossbows. Because of this, there Crossbow Ripper is designed to achieve speeds of up to 415 FPS which should be fast enough to take down large game.
As a matter of fact, this arrow speed should be fast enough to release an arrow within a 1-inch area up to around 80 yards. This basically increases the chances of you delivering the kill shots since the accuracy holds.
It’s also worth mentioning that as far as the kinetic energy is concerned, it should be able to generate as much as 149 foot-pounds which should be enough to take down large and strong game.
Other than the fact that performance is one of the best, you’ll also be getting lots of additional accessories. First off, so as to allow you to be able to achieve optimal accuracy, there is an IR scope included that should be ideal for use even in low light conditions.
It also comes with a rail lube to ensure its performance is optimal and there is also a rope cocker with which you should easily be able to have the arrow in place. To get you started on your hunts, there are also 3 arrows and NAP broadheads.
As far as transportation is concerned, the package includes a Backpack case which makes it easy to take this with you even on a hike.
- Accuracy is achieved with the precisely built aluminum barrel
- Features an adjustable buttstock and forearm grip for comfort
- Get speeds as high as 415FPS and a 149-foot-pound kinetic energy
- Assembling the arrowheads could get a little difficult
3. Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Package
From the friendly 3.5-pound trigger to the relatively high-speed shots you’ll be able to deliver with this; not to forget the user-friendly and high-quality construction, it’s definitely going to be a worthy addition to your hunting gear. Here’s every reason this could be the best beginner crossbow.
Designed to keep your fingers safe and the shots accurate
Above all else, your safety should not be compromised whatsoever irrespective of the hunting weapon of choice.
When it comes to the hunting crossbows, the best of these normally achieve this by keeping your fingers clear of the bowstring and there is no better way to ensure this other than with the inclusion of a foregrip.
Situated below the barrel, the foregrip handle not only keeps your fingers at a safe distance from the bowstring but you will, at the same time hold the crossbow comfortably.
Accident occurrence is prevented by the Dry-fire inhibitor
Being the leading mechanism via which ultimate safety is achieved in a crossbow, the anti-dry fire mechanism basically keeps the crossbow from firing when the arrow is not properly seated. Besides preventing the occurrence of an accident, the ADF tech also protects the crossbow limbs from being damaged.
It’s designed to cut down on half of the draw weight
Yet another feature that you’ll greatly appreciate is the inclusion of the ACU-52 cocking device.
This is a sleek and self-retracting rope cocking system that is integrated into the design of the crossbow and is designed to save you half the effort when cocking the arrow. The cocking unit features mini-magnets which hold the handles quietly and securely in place.
Achieve high-speed shots of up to 330 FPS
On to the performance, the 330FPS ought to be fast enough to take down most game. As for the kinetic energy, it should be able to deliver shots that have got as much as 97FP.
Regarding the draw weight and the trigger, the former has got a 165lb. draw weight whereas the trigger is demanding of only 3.5 pounds. Still, on the trigger, it also does have an auto-engaging safety, it is built with a 0% failure rate and should be able to deliver as much as 6,000 shots
- Has got the dry-fire inhibitor and auto-engaging trigger safety.
- Comes with a safety-engineered fore-grip to keep your hands safe.
- Cuts down on the draw weight by half with the rope cocking device
- The bowstring is a bright fluorescent and stands out in the outdoors
4. SA Sports 306119 Empire Beowulf Crossbow Package
Boasting to give you a professional-grade performance, you’ll be getting a synthetic stock and barrel with this one plus a high-quality build all of which give you the biggest value for your money. How about we dig deeper and see what’s there to look forward to?
ADF + auto safety trigger mechanism
Being one of the features that matter most as far as the best crossbow under 500 is concerned, you’ll be getting a combined safety mechanism.
First, there is the auto-safety trigger mechanism. This basically works in such a way that once the arrow rests as it should in the barrel, the release trigger safety is engaged automatically. Once this happens, you cannot be able to shoot the arrow unless the trigger is disengaged.
Alongside the auto safety trigger mechanism, there is also the anti-dry fire trigger mechanism. This basically prevents the bowstring from being released unless the arrow is properly seated in the barrel. By preventing any accidental shots, you’ll have utmost confidence each time you’re using the SA Sports 306119.
Have comfort at its best with the adjustable forearm mount
On to the design and build quality, I’ve got to say that they’ve definitely nailed it on this one. First off, there is an integrated full barrel Picatinny rail. This allows for the attachment of the adjustable Picatinny mount foregrip that also comes with the crossbow.
With this, your fingers will be kept clear of the bowstring at which point the accuracy will not be compromised whatsoever as well since you’ll comfortably be able to take your shots
Enjoy the silent and high-performance design
It’s also worth mentioning that it comes with adjustable string stoppers made of machined aluminum. These have a rubber end which is intended to quiet your bow and increase the performance at the same time.
More on the design…
With the rear of the stock and barrel being made of synthetic, the weight is greatly cut down and at the same time, the performance is increased. The crossbow also comes with a rope cocking design that makes it way easier to get the arrow in position.
Designed to achieve a speed of up to 360FPS
Last but not least, let’s have a look at how good a performance the SA Sports 306119 does have. First, it is able to achieve an arrow speed that is as fast as 360 feet per second which would be fast enough to hunt at a distance. Speaking of accuracy, there’s also a precision scope mount and an included 4×32 multi-range scope to add on to the accuracy. Regarding the draw weight, it has got 175 pounds of this.
- Achieves utmost safety with the ADF and the auto-safety systems
- Features attached machined aluminum stoppers with rubber ends for silent shots
- Has got a Picatinny mount foregrip for safe and comfortable operation
- The scope is hardly usable in low light conditions
5. Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS Crossbow
Yet another amazing Barnett crossbow for hunting is the Barnett 78128. In addition to being backed up by one of the best brands as far as hunting equipment are concerned, there’s plenty more you should look forward to from the compact design to the powerful shots it delivers. Here goes…
Smooth performance is guaranteed with the 3lb trigger
Hunting is all about making every shot count and it all comes down to the pull of your trigger. This being the case, it’s important that you’re able to do this with utmost ease which is why the trigger has got a 3lb zero creep release.
This, adding on to the fact that this is a high-end TriggerTech trigger that’s made of stainless-steel components, you’re guaranteed to optimize on every shot as far as accuracy is concerned.
In addition to having a zero-creep release trigger system, the safety is yet another amazing feature of the Barnett 78128. It includes a combination of the anti-dry fire trigger system and a finger safety reminder.
With the latter, there’ll be no stray shots such that the bowstring is released only if the arrow is resting properly in the barrel. This prevents the occurrence of any stray shots which could otherwise damage the crossbow or result to injury as you use it.
On to the safety reminder, it’s basically meant to ensure that the trigger is pulled only when you’re sure you intend to do so. With the combination of these two features, utmost safety is guaranteed.
Get up to 350FPS and 150lb. of draw weight for perfect shots
Is it really good enough for hunting? let’s have a closer look at how good a performance it does have…
First things first, since speed is of utmost importance as far as delivering kill shots is concerned, this one can be able to deliver shots that are as fast as 380FPS. To add icing to the cake, not only are the arrow shots fast, but they also do have 122 FT-LBS of kinetic energy.
As far as using it outdoor is concerned, it’s one of the most compact compound hunting crossbows you can get since the axle to axle length is 16.125”. Regarding the dimensions, it measures 34.25” L x 18.25” W both of which qualify it as the best crossbow for the money to use in compact areas considering it weighs only 6.4 lbs.
Enjoy utmost stealth with the included string dampeners
With stealth being a priority in crossbow hunting, with the inclusion of string dampeners that work with the custom composite laminated limbs, this crossbow stands out to be both silent and powerful.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is a rope cocking device that’ll make it easy enough for you to load up your arrows.
- Includes a 3lb zero-creep release trigger
- Has got string dampeners for utmost silence
- Has got a 16.125” axle to axle length for easy movement
- The manual is a little unclear on the assembly
6. Barnett 78134 Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow Package
looking for the best cheap crossbow? Well, this one could definitely be what you’ve been missing out on. Despite the simple design, the safety is greatly observed, you’ll have most of the assembly done and has good enough performance for hunting. Here’s a closer look.
Has got an anti-dry fire trigger mechanism
Starting off with the most important feature of any hunting crossbow, you won’t have to worry about any stray shots with the Barnett 78134. The ADF system basically prevents the bowstring from being released unless the arrow is properly seated in the barrel.
At the end of the day, not only will you evade any kind of injury but it’s also going to ensure that that the limbs of your crossbow remain in their best possible condition for optimal performance.
For the best trigger operation, it does have the trigger each trigger mechanism which is just as durable as it is functional.
Cock it quickly and with ease with a crank cocking device
Alongside the ADF trigger system is the crank cocking mechanism. With this, the effort used in cocking the arrow is greatly reduced which will be quite an appreciated feature, especially for first-time users.
Regarding the arrow shots, it’s able to deliver up to 330 feet per second while at the same time observing utmost silence. It also does have a 3-dor red dot which will give you a better aim as compared to working without one.
Has got a lightweight and compact design
Whether you’ll be using this in your stand or stalking your prey, the simple yet high functional design shout be a really huge plus.
First off, it is made of a lightweight composite stock which greatly cuts down on the overall weight of this bow while at the same time, comfort is not compromised. It’s also worth pointing out that the crossbow comes mostly assembled, something that you’ll greatly appreciate if this is your first crossbow.
- It permits the integration of a crank cocking device for easy use
- Has got a safe anti-dry fire trigger system
- Features a lightweight yet composite stock
- The red dot scope is difficult to use in low light
7. 150 lb Black/Wood/Camouflage Hunting Crossbow
Well, you don’t necessarily need to break the bank for a compound bow in order to go for a hunting trip. With this recurve bow just a click away, you sure are going to be going on one of the best hunting expeditions and here’s every reason why.
Guaranteed safety with the cocking mechanism
As already mentioned earlier, safety should be a priority when using a hunting crossbow. So as to achieve this on this one, there is an auto safety cocking mechanism.
This basically works in such a way that when you have the arrow rested in place properly, the safety mechanism is engaged automatically rather than you having to do it yourself, a feature that’ll come in handy especially for first-time users.
Enjoy highly precise and accurate shots
As far as the performance of the best crossbow for hunting is concerned, one of the most important things is the speed of your shots. This being the case, you’ll be able to take shots that travel as fast as 220+ FPS and as such, be able to hit your targets with utmost precision. As for the draw weight, it’s 150 lbs. which should be enough to take down most game during your hunts.
High-quality construction for durability and performance
At the end of the day, regardless of how fast and accurate the shots of your crossbows are, it all comes down to the build quality and design- the last thing you want is your crossbow lasting only a few weeks. In order to ensure that this takes you through lots of hunting seasons, it features a fiberglass limb that’s got a nice polish for ideal performance.
Still, on the design, both the crossbow stock and the limbs have got a camouflage stock which blends into the surrounding hence keeping your hidden.
- Features an automatic safety cocking mechanism
- Includes a fiberglass limb for performance and longevity
- Has got a 150 lb. draw weight with an arrow speed of 220+ FPS
- The instructions on the assembly need a little more detail
8. Barnett Recruit Terrain Crossbow, 330 FPS
We’ve already established the fact that Barnett boasts to be one of the best brands as far as crossbows are concerned. Now, is there more to the Recruit terrain than just the brand name? Here’s a closer look at what you’ll be looking forward to on this bad boy.
The 3lb zero-creep trigger guarantees high accuracy
One of the features that most people hardly pay attention to on a crossbow is the trigger mechanism, which, as it turns out, is of utmost importance if you really do want to get the most out of your hunts.
This being the case, Barnett has included a 3lb zero-creep release trigger on this bad boy and to add icing to the cake, it is made of all stainless-steel components. At the end of the day, you’ll be using just the right amount of effort to take your shots. Considering it features all stainless-steel components, you can count on the trigger Tech technology to last for quite a long time.
Enjoy utmost safety with the ADF system
Other than just having a zero-creep trigger, yet another feature you’ll appreciate on this hunting crossbow is the ADF safety mechanism.
The anti-dry fire trigger system prevents the occurrence of any stray shots in the sense that unless the arrow is seated tight to the string and ready to be shot, the ADF system will prevent the occurrence of accidental shots. This, at the end of the day, ensures that the bow limbs retain their high quality and at the same time protects you from any injury.
Speaking of protection and safety, it’s worth pointing out that there is also an included finger safety reminder which does add on to the safety as far as protection from injury is concerned.
Features 330FPS shots and a 91.1 ft lbs. kinetic energy
It’s important to know how much you can be able to do with each shot you take right? Well, let’s have a look at how well the Recruit Terrain Crossbow holds up.
With as much as 330FPS adding on to the 91.1 ft lbs. of kinetic energy, it should be strong enough a crossbow to take down big game. As for the draw weight, it needs 140 lbs. but there is a rope cocking device included right out of the box which should make it easy to have your arrows in position.
Regarding the dimensions, it’s got a 16.125” axle to axle length which renders it eligible for use both in open fields and in tight spots.
There’s more to it…
Adding on to the above features, it’s worth pointing out that there is a 4×32 scope, a lightweight quiver, 2 Headhunter arrows, and a lube wax included.
- It can shoot up to 330FPS and has got a 91.9 ft lbs. of kinetic energy
- Has got a compact 16.125” axle to axle length for versatility
- Features the ADF system for safety and durability
- You’ll have to wax the string often to prevent fraying
9. *CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper AXCTW185CK Compound Crossbow
Moving on to yet another amazing crossbow that boasts to be one of the most compact crossbows in its class while at the same time upholding a really amazing performance, let’s have a look at the Tormentor Whisper AXCTW185CK from CenterPoint and see how much you’ll be looking forward to.
Enjoy utmost stealth with the silencing system
Looking for the best crossbow under 500 for hunting? well, here’s yet another one that you’ll definitely appreciate.
Other than being light, yet another reason as to why most hunting enthusiasts choose to settle with crossbows is due to the fact that they’re better suited for stealth as compared to rifles. Now, in the case of this one, unlike other compound hunting crossbow which could get a little noisy, it does have a whisper silencing system that dampens the noise.
Pother than the whisper silencing system, it does have a camo stock which, besides adding on to the comfort, does blend into the surrounding hence keeping you hidden.
Delivers high speed and accurate shots
As far as taking down your prey is concerned, you can definitely count on this hunting crossbow. First off, each shot will be as fast as 380FPS which is fast enough to travel a long distance ahead. Now, as far as taking down the big game is concerned, it has amazing kinetic energy of as much as 120 ft.-lbs which is more than enough to take down deer.
On to the accuracy, it comes with an aluminum riser. Taking into account the level of precision offered by an aluminum riser which guarantees utmost accuracy.
Features a compact and functional configuration
Moving on to the construction, let’s have a look at how well this bad boy holds up, shall we? First off, in order for it to be equally as good in a hunting tree stand or blind just as it would be in the open fields, it’s got a 14-inch axle to axle length.
Other than being compact and easy to carry around, you’ll also appreciate the fact that it’s got compression fiberglass quad limbs. These, as it turns out, can bend without threatening to break and at the same time, they also cut down on the overall weight of the Tormentor Whisper AXCTW185CK.
- Features a 14-inch axle to axle length for versatile applications
- It’s got a speed of 380FPS and 120 ft.-lbs. for the kinetic energy
- Includes a whisper silencing system for utmost stealth
- The scope fogs up easily.
10. PSE Fang Series Compound Crossbow
We’re way past halfway on our reviews and were doing great so far. With the PSE 01304CY, you’ll be getting more than just a crossbow that’s got one of the best aesthetics. It boasts to have both high speed and intensity shots, has a durable construction and a compact design. Here’s a look at what it packs under the hood.
Guaranteed safety with the ADF system + auto trigger
It goes without saying that safety is a priority as far as hunting equipment are concerned. In the case of the PSE 01304CY, there is not one but two safety mechanisms included.
First off, there is the anti-dry fire (ADF) system which keeps bowstring in position unless the arrow is properly rested in place. Upon doing so, any stray shots are prevented which in turn protects you from any imminent injury. To add icing to the cake, the ADF system also protects the limbs of the bow from being damaged which would happen if the bowstring would be released if without an arrow in place.
As for the auto safety trigger, you’re definitely going to like this one especially if this is your very first hunting crossbow. The auto trigger safety mechanism automatically engages the safety when the crossbow is cocked. With the safety set off automatically when there’s an arrow in the crossbow, you’ll only fire it when you intend to and just like the ADF, you won’t have to worry about accidental shots with this feature as well.
Achieves utmost stealth with the includes dampeners
Stealth is one of the most important things you need to be really keen on as far as hunting is concerned. Whereas other compound crossbows tend to compromise on stealth by being noisy, it’s quite the opposite when it comes to this one.
With the included dampeners on the limbs, you won’t have to worry about giving up your position. Adding on to the dampeners, it also does have the Fang XT Mossy Oak camouflage and you can choose from either of 3 other camo designs.
That’s not all…
As for the overall design of the PSE 01304CY, it has got an axle to axle length of 19-1/8” which renders it eligible for use in your hunting tree stand or blind. For the weight, the 6.25 lbs. make it easy to carry it around and hold up as you hunt.
The high speed and intensity shots make it perfect for hunting
With a speed of up to 350 fps, it should be able to travel for a fairly long distance. Adding on to the speed, it’s got kinetic energy of 109-foot-pounds that should be more than you need to take down deer. When it comes to the draw weight and the power stroke, it’s got 165 pounds and 14.125 inches respectively
One more thing you’ll appreciate on this hunting crossbow is the fact that it does have a rope cocking device included and as such, it should be easy enough for you to use it.
- It comes with limb dampeners for silent shots
- Has got a 19.125 axle to axle length for use in compact spaces.
- Features the ADF system and auto safety trigger for utmost safety
- The assembly instructions are a little unclear
11. SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow
Despite the simple design it’s got, it stands out to be one of the most user-friendly riflescopes you can get your hands on. There’s a scope included right out of the box, a rope cocker, arrows and plenty of other amazing equipment; that being said, let’s delve into it and see how much it’s got in store…
Get the most silent shots with the included stoppers
With silence being one of the things that make most hunters refrain from using compound crossbows, you don’t have to worry about this with this one.
With the string stoppers included in the design, you’re bound to get quieter shots and as such, stealth will be at its best. Other than just making each shot silent, the string dampeners also function to reduce the vibrations which could otherwise compromise on the accuracy of the crossbow.
Speaking of accuracy, let’s take a look at how well the SAS Troy 370 holds up.
The included aluminum rail improves the accuracy
Since the rail plays a huge role in determining how accurate your shots are going to be, this one features a CNC machined aluminum rail which also features a lightweight configuration hence making it easy to handle the crossbow. With its highly precise construction, you sure are going to be getting pin-point accuracy.
It’s also worth pointing out that there is a 4×32 scope coming along with the crossbow. this, however, is unlike any other you’ll get on a budget crossbow since it’s got a rangefinder reticle that makes it possibly the most accurate crossbow you can get.
Designed to offer the utmost comfort and safety
Starting off with the safety, the auto-safety mechanism works in such a way that once you cock the crossbow, the safety is engaged automatically. This should be ideal especially for first-time users since you’ll only take your shot when you want to after turning off the safety.
On to the comfort, it features an adjustable stock which makes it eligible for use by most people. In addition to the stock, there is also a forearm grip that is fully adjustable; this way, not only will it be easy to hold up the crossbow but you’ll also prevent accidental injury as you take a shot.
- Features a CNC machined cam system for powerful and silent shots
- Includes an auto-safety trigger mechanism
- Has got both an adjustable stock and forearm design
- Be sure to check for any loose parts after using it
12. PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow Package
Recurve crossbows are simply the best when it comes to noise suppression. With this one, however, you’ll be enjoying more than just this, it does deliver some of the most high-speed shots, boasts a high-quality construction and plenty more. let’s check it out and see what makes it one of the best crossbows.
Boasts a high-quality construction for longevity
The last thing you want is a hunting crossbow that’s going to give in after only a few weeks, right? Well, you don’t have to worry about this with this recurve crossbow. here’s why
First off, it comes with a CNC precision-machined barrel. This basically ensures that you get to work with a crossbow that’s constructed with such precision hence the level of accuracy will not be compromised whatsoever. In addition to having an amazing barrel, the fact that it does feature a recurve style limb means that you have fewer moving parts to worry about hence higher stability, accuracy, and power in the long run.
It’s also worth mentioning that it does come with a rubber string groove pre-installed which greatly cuts down on the limb vibrations and audible sound.
With all the above-mentioned features, you can definitely count on this to serve as the best beginner crossbow for hunting.
Enjoy a high level of comfort with the retractable shoulder stock
As far as using this bad boy is concerned, one feature you definitely should be looking forward to is the retractable shoulder stock. In order to accommodate all shooters, it can retract back to 1.25 inches hence making it usable by virtually anyone.
Observes the ADF system for guaranteed safety
With safety being a must-have feature on any crossbow, this one observes the ADF system. With this, safety is ensured such that you’ll be firing your arrows only when you intend to. The ADF system also comes in handy when it comes to protecting the crossbow limbs from any imminent damage.
- Features a pre-installed rubber grove to reduce noise and vibrations
- Delivers arrows at a speed of 250 fps for powerful shots
- Includes a retractable shoulder stock for versatile usage
- The instructions are difficult to understand
13. Karnage Apocalypse Crossbow Package
Designed to deliver speed, accuracy, and quality all of which you get at an affordable price, the Karnage Apocalypse boasts to be one of the best you could get in its class. Well, let’s check it out and see how much you have to look forward to.
Features a narrow axle to axle design for versatile usage
Something that you will definitely appreciate especially if you are using this in your hunting blind or tree stand, the axle to axle length is only 14 inches wide. This being so, you can comfortably use this crossbow for hunting both in open fields equally as good as you would use it in your hunting blinds and tree stands.
Delivers high-speed shots at 111 ft/lbs. of kinetic energy
As far as the performance of the Karnage apocalypse is concerned, it’s able to deliver shots at an amazing 370FPS that should have the arrow travel far enough. To add icing to the cake, it’s got kinetic energy of 111 ft/lbs. Which should be more than enough to take down large game such as deer or bears.
Still, on the performance, it also comes with a 4 x 32 scope with a multi cross reticle. To add icing to the cake, there is also a focusing eyepiece which makes it one of the most accurate crossbows.
Considering it features a dual mount string recoil suppressor system, there will be reduced noise and friction hence you can enjoy stealth at its best.
Safety is guaranteed with the dry fire inhibitor
On to the safety mechanism, the dry fire inhibitor prevents the occurrence of any accidental shots and more so, it does keep the limbs from being damaged, still, on the safety, the included fore end grip keeps your fingers clear of the bowstring and in addition to this provides better accuracy and comfort.
Includes an adjustable stock for utmost comfort
Last but not least, the feel of this crossbow is definitely going to be something you’ll appreciate. The stock has got 3 inches of adjustability and in addition to this, the cheek pad is also adjustable. At the end of the day, it’s usable by people of different heights comfortably.
- The stock provides 3-inch adjustability for maximum comfort
- Includes an anti-dry fire inhibitor for safety
- Has got an adjustable fore end grip that adds on to the accuracy
- The instructions are a little blurry hence difficult to assemble.
14. CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo
With comfort, accuracy, speed, and power all in one, the CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 is bound to take your hunting experience to a whole new level. Let’s go ahead and see how much you’ll be getting with this one.
The rail and riser are designed for performance and longevity
Starting off with the build quality, it features both an aluminum rail and shoot through riser both of which are lightweight and CNC machined hence giving you a performance unlike any other. To add icing to the cake, it works with quad limbs that work with precision CNC machined cam system for the best shots.
Still, on the performance, there is also the ADF system which works hand in hand with the auto-safety trigger mechanism hence keeping safety at its best.
The stock and foregrip are adjustable for high comfort
Considering its features an AR-Style but stock, it should be quite comfortable to work with adding on to the fact that it’s also got an adjustable cheek piece. Considering it also features an adjustable foregrip, you’ll find it quite friendly while out on a hunt
Provides high speed and high-intensity shots
By shooting arrows at a speed of up to 370FPS while at the same time observing kinetic energy of 110 pounds, you sure are going to find this quite handy when it comes to taking down large game. for the draw weight, it’s rated at 185 lbs.
- Has got an adjustable buttstock and foregrip design
- Features an auto trigger and ADF system for utmost safety
- Includes oversized stirrups for the larger hunting boots
- The trigger pull is a little long
What to look into when choosing the best crossbows under $500
As promised, here are some things you ought to have at your fingertips prior to spending your hard-earned cash on a hunting crossbow.
Recurve vs compound crossbows
Being two types of crossbows, you’ll most probably have to choose between, they’re quite different from each other and have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a quick look into what you should be expecting from either of them.
You can be able to get the best of these below this price range. Recurve bows have got fewer moving parts and as such are more silent as compared to the compound models. As silent as they are, however, they’re a little too wide for hunting anywhere else than in open fields due to their wide design.
Another added advantage to getting these is that they feature a lightweight and minimalistic design which means less maintenance. The downside to the simple design, unfortunately, is that they’re demanding more power when it comes to the draw.
As compared to the recurve models, compound crossbows were constructed in order to eliminate all the weaknesses that you get from a recurve model.
These kinds of bows feature a more sophisticated system with the incorporation of pulleys which result in less draw power while at the same time ensure the arrow is shot with a higher speed. They are also reliable for hunting in small spaces but on the downside, some of these could be really heavy and they could also get a little bit noisy as the arrow is shot.
Safety- a must-have feature for a beginner crossbow
Just as much as a hunting weapon is intended to take down your prey, it obviously could be just as harmful to you. It, therefore, goes without saying that you need to have the safest crossbow you can afford.
For something that will cost you less than $500, I’d highly recommend that you pick one that has got an anti-dry fire mechanism. This basically prevents the occurrence of accidental shots so that unless you really intend to pull the trigger, the arrow will not be released.
Still, on the safety, it’s important that you get the auto safety mechanism. Whereas the anti-dry fire mechanism prevents the accidental release of the arrow, the auto safety mechanism, on the other hand, works in such a way that once the arrow rests in place, the safety is engaged automatically, this should come in handy quite well considering that as a beginner, you may easily forget to engage the safety.
Getting either of the above-mentioned features is amazing and it would be even better if you were able to get both of these features altogether.
The build quality- don’t go for anything fragile
Just because you’ll be getting a crossbow under 500 doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re restricted to getting poor quality construction. Here’s what you ought to look into as far as the build quality is concerned.
First things first, you should pay attention to the limbs of your crossbow. The general rule of thumb is quite simple- the higher the quality, the more you’ll have to pay for it and as such, it’s important that you go for one that’s strong enough when under stress.
I’d recommend that you focus on the higher quality materials such as carbon or fiberglass; if you are lucky, you may also end up getting a combination of both of these. Whereas these two materials will give you the biggest bang for your buck as far as the best crossbow under 500 but be a little bit expensive at the same time, you could go for either aluminum or wood for the same.
At the end of the day, it’s important that you go for a hunting crossbow whose weight and measurements are manageable based on your physical tolerance.
Regarding the measurement, it’s important that you focus on the width depending on where you are doing your hunting. for open field hunting, a wide crossbow would do you no harm. On the other hand, if you have to go through narrow spaces, it would be quite the opposite since your maneuverability may be compromised. Taking this into consideration, it’s important that you do your research so as to know what to go for.
What about the arrow track?
Besides the limbs, it’s also important you do focus on the arrow track which is otherwise known as the barrel. This is basically which allows the arrow to be launched out of the crossbow by the string and the more precise it is, the higher the accuracy of your shots and vice versa.
The noise factor and vibrations
Getting a crossbow that will compromise your position defeats the whole point of opting to hunt using a crossbow in the first place, right?
Well, there are lots of different types of crossbows but among all these, the recurve model stands out to be the most silent especially if it’s got parallel limbs. Whereas it may be a little compromised on speed as compared to the compound bows, it’s much more silent.
As much as compound crossbows are noisy as compared to recurve variants, there are features that are aimed to reduce the noise that’s emitted.
Besides the noise, the last thing you want to have is a crossbow with lots of vibrations. First off, they may give up your position by being a little noisy and secondly, they may affect the level of accuracy you get from your crossbow.
Speed- faster is always better.
As much as crossbow hunting limits you to hunting at a closer range as compared to rifles, you might be forced to use them in some cases.
When it comes to hunting crossbows, speed is determined by how fast the bow will go within the first 20-30 yards it covers after leaving the barrel. Beyond this, the speed will decrease since most of the kinetic energy is lost.
At this price range, I’d recommend that you settle for nothing less than 200FPS. As much as the draw weight will play a huge role in determining the speed of the crossbow, the weight of the arrow is yet another factor that dictates how fast the arrow moves. This then calls for you to factor in the kind of arrow you’ll be using for the prey you’re hunting.
The draw weight
I’ve partially explained the importance of the draw weight in a crossbow. It’s basically the force which pushes the arrow out of your crossbow and the higher this is, the better off you are since you’ll have higher chances of killing your prey.
The lowest amount of draw weight you should go for should be around 120 pounds. If the prey you’re after is larger in size, I’d recommend that you go for even higher draw weight. If, on the other hand, you’ll not be using your crossbow for hunting, it’s not really that important of a factor and you could go for one with the lower draw weight.
The type of trigger
It’s also of utmost importance that you pay attention to the type of trigger you have on your crossbow. You can get either of two variants- the light or the heavy trigger.
As their names suggest, the lighter ones require you to input less pressure before the arrow can be launched. The heavier ones, on the other hand, are demanding more pressure. At this price, you may easily end up with a heavy trigger which I strongly advise against since such would compromise the accuracy as the crossbow may move out of position.
Besides the above-mentioned areas of concern, there are other things you’ll want to look into all of which could greatly improve the performance of your hunting scope
- The scope: from my own personal experience as a crossbow hunter, I’d say that a crossbow is one of the most essential accessories you could add on to your hunting gear. As much as there are a lot of variants of the same, getting a red dot scope is one of the best decisions you could ever make as a hunter. With this, you’ll be able to get an accuracy on up to 40 yards
- Rope cocking aids: cocking your crossbow can be at times quite cumbersome especially if it’s your first time using one which is why you’ll be needing a rope cocking aid. With this, setting the arrow in position should be easy enough.
- Noise dampening devices: designed to reduce excessive vibrations and noise, the noise dampening devices should not only reduce the chances of you getting detected but they should also ensure you get more accurate shots.
- A case: at the end of the day, you want your crossbow to be in the best possible shape and there’s no sure way to ensure this than by getting a case. This could be a soft, hard or a hybrid case. The soft ones, though might give you a minimum amount of protection; the hard ones, on the other hand, are heavier and give you more protection. As for the hybrid cases, they are made of EVA materials which allows them to be both lightweight and not compromise protection at the same time
Coming to the end of our reviews, it’s clear that there is more to a crossbow than just the accuracy. As much as it is important to check out any of our recommended crossbows, it all comes down to whether or not it’s good enough for you which is why the buying guide is just as important.
Whether you need the best crossbow for deer hunting or the best cheap crossbow, it’s important that you narrow down your options to what will work best for you based on your physical tolerance.
All in all, do take your time and happy hunting- you deserve the very best.