Today's crossbow hunters want lighter, more compact, better-balanced and smoother-shooting bows. They want faster speeds and more energy, but with crisper triggers. As you'll see from this year's lineup of new bows, manufacturers are addressing those requests.
And with more young hunters and females, who both want quality bows designed for them as well, you'll see more variations and unique features.
Great crossbows for under $1,000 are out there, you just need to find them. Thankfully, we can help. If you're on a budget and in the market for a new crossbow, consider these 15 choices.
Killer Instinct | Machine
Killer Instinct's Machine
offers two industry-first features. One is TriggerTech's World-Class Trigger technology, providing a single-stage 2-pound trigger with almost no creep.
The other is integrated Quik-Fold stock technology for improved portability and storage. The Machine features a CNC riser, CNC flight barrel, front and rear picatinny mounting system, SureSafe ADF system and vibration deadening String Stoppers.
Its 185 pounds of pull are rated to propel arrows at 385 fps.
The kit includes a 4x32 multi-reticle scope, quiver, three arrows, rope cocker and rail lube.
Stryker | Offspring
The appropriately named Offspring
is the product of a collaborative effort between Stryker and Excalibur. They attempted to create the industry's first-ever combination compound and recurve crossbow.
It combines Stryker's innovative compound limb design with Excalibur's compact, ambidextrous Ergo-grip thumbhole stock assembly. Other features include a 3 1/2-pound match-grade trigger and vibration reduction technology.
The Offspring quickly disassembles into two pieces for transport.
The package includes a multi-reticle scope, three arrows, quiver and bracket, and a cocking aid.
Velocity | Justice
The new Justice
features an accuracy-enhancing 4-pound trigger, ambidextrous safety, string recoil noise suppressors, dry-fire inhibitor, and a five-position adjustable black tactical stock.
It's rated at a speedy 370 fps and 122 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. It comes with a 4x32 illuminated reticle scope, quiver, three arrows, field points, padded neoprene quick-detach sling, cocking rope and rail lube. The Justice is finished in Reaper Buck camp.
Wicked Ridge | Ranger
In development for the past five years, the Ranger
was specifically designed and engineered for small-framed hunters, regardless of their age or gender. Its bow assembly was built around a new lightweight, machined aluminum riser fitted with 12.3-inch limbs.
The molded semi-skeletal stock assembly reduces weight while the pass-through grip and glass-reinforced nylon safety wings keep the shooter's foregrip hand safely below the string path. Standard package includes a scope and a quiver.
Premium package includes an ACU-52 cocking mechanism, TenPoint 3X scope, three Ranger Victory Archery arrows and a quiver. Wicked Ridge will also offer a Lady Ranger in Muddy Girl camo Ranger/Lady Ranger standard
MSRP: $399; premium, $499
Mission | MXB Sniper Lite
The MXB Sniper Lite
features a Smart Guide cable slide, which reduces pressure on the cable, and Mission's new SyncCams.
Both of these systems create less torque within the cam system and increase accuracy. It also features a new removable silent draw system (RSD), an interesting silent-drawing cocking device.
The MXB Sniper Lite comes standard with a two-tone stealth concealment package and Zebra Hybrid bowstrings.
Carbon Express | Covert 3.4
Yet another Covert, the 3.4
features a compact design, maximum responsiveness, optimal power and increased precision. A cast metal riser and extruded aluminum barrel provide lightweight, precise limb alignment.
The new cast trigger box housing with precision internal components has been developed for clean, crisp trigger pull while the anti-dry-fire mechanism reduces the chance of mishaps in the field for both left- and right-handed shooters.
Comes with rope cocker, three-arrow quiver, arrows and other items. For the ladies, there's an ultra-lite 3.4 Hot Pursuit version dressed in Muddy Girl camp.
Barnett | Buck Commander Extreme
It is a lightweight, compact, yet speedy bow featuring Barnett's
new CRT Carbon Riser, which purportedly removes nearly 43 percent of the weight from the front end. The Shoot Thru riser lengthens the powerstroke without placing the cocking string beyond arm's length.
Other features include a smooth 3 1/2-pound trigger with a spring-loaded redundant safety bar, CNC aluminum flight track, CNC machined 7/8-inch picatinny rail, custom composite laminated limbs, finger reminders and pass-through foregrip.
Comes with an illuminated scope, rope cocking device, three-arrow quiver and three arrows.
Barnett | Brotherhood
A compact powerhouse, the 160-pound Barnett Brotherhood
advertises that it can deliver an arrow at 350 feet per second with 109 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. Yet it weighs just 7 pounds and has a short, 13 1/2-inch power stroke.
It has a lightweight composite stock with pass-through foregrips for safety. The 7/8-inch picatinny rail is CNC-machined. The riser is made from magnesium to shed weight.
The package includes a scope, quiver and three Headhunter arrows.
Carbon Express | Intercept Axon LT
The new and improved Intercept Axon LT
is a lighter and more balanced version of its predecessor. Built on the Intercept Chassis — a crossbow platform that uses the same modular component system as AR's — the Axon LT features a thinner extruded barrel and machined riser for a more responsive front end, improved balance and better shooting performance.
Its 29 inches of pic rail provide for unlimited modularization options. The trigger breaks at about 3 1/2 pounds. A new SilenTech
coating reduces vibration and dampens sound.
The Intercept Axon LT comes with a rope cocker, quick-detach three-arrow quiver with side bracket, three arrows, a scope and other accessories.
Empire | Beowulf 2
The 175-pound Beowulf 2's
quad-limb assembly with Radical CNC-machined cams is rated for 360 FPS with a 14-inch power stroke.
It's loaded with features like a precision scope mount and 3 1/2-pound trigger assembly, ADF, ambidextrous auto-safety, integrated full barrel picatinny rail, adjustable picatinny mount foregrip and lightweight synthetic stock and barrel.
The Beowulf has a side-mounted claw lever latch QD quiver with picatinny mount and comes with three carbon arrows and a 4x32 multi-range scope, rope cocker and hex keys.
Horton | Legend Ultra Lite
The foundation of the Legend Ultra Lite's
stock assembly is its lightweight, three-piece adjustable bull-pup crossbow butt stock and barrel receiver, which also has the seven-position cheekpiece, like the Storm.
The Legend's carbon-injected polymer barrel has the aluminum trigger box with a T3 trigger. The crossbow comes with either the patented ACUdraw, which has a crank system, or ACUdraw 50, which uses ropes. ($699 with no cocking mechanism, $799 with ACUdraw 50 and $899 with ACUdraw.)
Like the Storm RDX, this crossbow comes with many accessories.
Carbon Express | Covert CX-3
Carbon Express has made great crossbows for years. This year, they made a good crossbow in the CX-3. It seems like they're falling behind in the specialization that is occurring with other bows: it was not particularly fast, nor light, and the trigger is nothing to write home about.
Still, it is fast enough, easy to use in the field and has a great general feel and balance when shouldered. And we're big fans of the ultra-cool Krypteck camo.
Carbon Express | Intercept Supercoil
The Supercoil is another compact bow at 13 1/2 inches and it delivers speeds up to 360 feet per second.
It features carbon-in-fused limbs, a machined barrel, and alloy cams for maximum strength and precision — which, in turn, create stellar speed and accuracy.
An AR-15 rifle-style pistol grip, picatinny rail and incredible 3 1/2-pound trigger give a tactical rifle-like feel.
And after you spine a buck with it at 50 yards or better, you'll feel a little more like a Navy SEAL than normal.
Darton | Rebel 135 SS
As part of their 65th anniversary celebration, Darton Archery is introducing the Rebel 135 SS
. Designed by Darton's head engineer and president, Rex Darlington, the Rebel's modest 32-inch overall length was accomplished through an innovative forward trigger design and bullpup-style stock that also result in improved weight distribution.
Combine that with 7 1/2 pounds of overall weight, a 13 1/2-inch power stroke and a narrow 17-inch axle-to-axle length, and you get a smooth-handling, compact powerhouse rated at 350 fps.
It's equipped with enhanced thumb and finger guards, ambidextrous safety and integrated string suppressors, along with Darton's patented Barrel Dampener.
PSE|Dream Season RDX 365
Like a rifle, the Dream Season RDX 365
is built on an independent machined aluminum barrel and composite stock that are mounted together to create a balanced, accurate shot.
The RDX also features a reverse-draw cam system and a crisp 3-pound trigger with a limb assembly that fires arrows at 365 fps.
The RDX package includes: string stops, 3x32 scope with illuminated reticles, five-arrow quiver with three 20-inch Charger carbon bolts with 85-grain bullet points, sling, cocking rope and rail lube.