Crossbow hunting isn’t something new. In fact, the crossbow was perfected all the way back in medieval times and remains more or less the same as it was to this day, bar some modern improvements. While many hunters still prefer shooting a rifle, there are many more who would never use anything else but this historic hunting tool. And with fictional characters like Legolas and Katniss Everdeen dominating mainstream media, archery has never been more popular, leading to more and more people becoming interested in learning everything there is to know about the modern crossbow. Just like it’s more traditional counterpart, the first thing people learn is that there are two types of crossbows and we’re here to tell you everything about our favorite one – the recurve crossbow. Below we detailed everything you need to know about understanding and finding the best recurve crossbow and some of our top picks of bows on the market.
Benefits of Buying a Recurve Crossbow
The first thing you need to understand is that, as already mentioned, there are two types of crossbows; recurve and compound crossbows. While many people are familiar with the traditional recurve bow, recurve crossbows tend to be less common. For the sake of simplicity, you could say that the recurve crossbow is the same crossbow that’s been around since medieval times. It has a more traditional, basic design, without the wheels and cables of a compound crossbow. The compound crossbow certainly has it’s advantages, but we’re here to highlight the benefit of the recurve and why it’s considered a favorite among many.
So, what are some of the main benefits of a recurve crossbow?
When it comes to simplicity, the recurve bow can’t be beaten. This is because it lacks the same complicated string and cable mechanism of round-wheel or asymmetrical-wheel compound crossbows.
Due to the lack of these complicated mechanisms and fewer moving parts, recurve crossbows are much lighter than their compound counterparts, making them easier to take out into the field and easy to sling over your shoulder in the field.
Fewer moving parts also means less maintenance and upkeep required. It is much simpler to replace the string of a recurve crossbow in the field, while a compound bow will often need re-stringing in an archery shop.
A recurve bow has fewer breakable parts and is therefore, unbeatable in terms of durability. Over time, the moving parts of a crossbow can become damaged due to the heavy weight of the draw. Because they have fewer moving parts, recurve bows will have fewer mechanical problems and will last longer.
Another definite advantage that the recurve bow possesses is its quiet operation. The lack of pulleys and cables mean there is less noise on the draw, which could alert game. This is a major reason why they are well loved by hunters.
Recurve crossbows tend to be less expensive than compound crossbows, due to their more simplistic design, so they’re good for someone who doesn’t have the money to spend on a more complicated and exensive compound crossbow.
What To Look For When Buying A Recurve Crossbow
Among the differences between a recurve and compound crossbow, one of the main ones is that a recurve is wider, which can make it harder to manage. This is why it is very important to buy the best recurve crossbow that’s possible for you.
To find the best recurve crossbow, there are some things you should consider before making your purchase.
Why do you want this recurve crossbow? Do you want it for hunting or simply for target practice? Determining this will help narrow down your options. If you only want the crossbow for target practice, then almost any recurve crossbow will do. You won’t need much power or a cocking aid. If, however you want to take your crossbow hunting, you will need one that is very powerful to ensure clean kills.
Draw weight determines the difficulty in pulling back your crossbow string for firing, as well as how much power your bolts will have behind them. If you’re new to archery, you may wish to start with lower draw weights, until you build up enough strength to handle a higher draw crossbow. Cocking aids can make drawing much easier and with higher draw crossbows, may be essential. Some crossbows feature such a device or you may need to buy it separately.
In general, recurve crossbows are usually around 6 pounds. Lighter crossbows are much easier to hold and carry for a long time but can decrease your accuracy. However, practice will make perfect, so a lighter bow is still preferable, even if your accuracy is poor at first.
Recurve crossbows are quieter than compound crossbows in general, but they can still differ in their noise statistics. Noise statistics are unfortunately, not often included in a crossbow’s specs, so you’ll have to rely on reviews to find out how noise the bow is in the field. Silencers do exist though, so you shouldn’t let noise deter you from an otherwise great bow.
Recurve crossbows lose out to compound crossbows when it comes to speed but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get excellent speeds in a recurve model. Bolts often determine the speed as well, so make sure to check the type of bolt required with your chosen bow.
Some recurve crossbows come bundled with accessories, such as silencers, cocking devices, scopes, finger guards or stringing utilities. Many often come included with a certain number of bolts too. Some of the best recurve crossbows come with accessories to prepare you with such useful accessories from the start but if not, you can still easily pick up what you need at a later time.
Tips On Choosing The Best Recurve Crossbow For Your Needs
- Choose a recurve crossbow with the right weight. Lighter crossbows can be difficult to keep steady and you will lack accuracy at first, so a little bit of weight can be a good thing. On the other hand, too heavy crossbows can be physically draining, so an average weight crossbow can be ideal.
- Refrain from buying lower quality parts. It can be tempting to buy cheap, plastic parts for your recurve crossbow but these are often incredibly low in quality. Metal parts are sturdier and will last much longer. When it comes to buying a recurve crossbow, it is better to invest in a good quality model.
- If possible, pick a model that comes with a built-in cocking aid. While attachable cocking devices work fine, those that are built in contribute to ease of use.
- Buy the best recurve crossbow you can afford. Price should not be the only thing you consider when buying a crossbow. Often, it can be tempting to purchase a cheaper model but these often lack quality and will be bad value for money, as they will need to be replaced much sooner than a better quality crossbow.
- Keep it simple in the beginning. If you are a beginner, it is highly recommended to stick with a simplistic design. This is where a recurve crossbow is advantageous. The more basic the design and less gimmicks included, the easier it will be for you to learn the ropes.
- Know your crossbow. Look at all the specifications listed for the crossbow your considering. Read reviews and details. If you’re buying a crossbow online, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you make the purchase.
Best Recurve Crossbows
SAS Desert Hawk 225lbs Next G1 Camo Recurve Crossbow 4×32 Scope Package
225lb Draw Weight
With an incredible 225lb draw weight, you get incredible speed, power and momentum behind every shot, while the cocking mechanism makes it accessible for everyone.
330fps is unbelievably fast for a recurve crossbow, made possible by the heavy draw weight.
Anti Dry Fire
The fitted Anti Dry Fire mechanism will protect your crossbow from accidental damage caused by dry fire, for extra peace of mind.
Included with this bow are come great accessories, such as a detachable quiver, 4 bolts, a 4×32 scope and a cocking mechanism.
- This recurve crossbow fires bolts at unbelievable fast speeds. 330 feet per second is not too common in a recurve crossbow and is ideal for hunting.
- The Anti Dry Fire mechanism is a great feature for preventing you from accidentally firing without an arrow, which can cause damage to your crossbow.
- You get some great accessories included with this crossbow, making it a good starter option.
- The draw weight of 225lbs makes cocking without a mechanical aid incredibly difficult. This crossbow does feature a cocking mechanism to alleviate this problem.
- This crossbow may be too expensive for some, as it is the second most expensive option on our list. This can be attributed to the fast firing speeds, however, that are unusual on a recurve crossbow.
Barnett Recruit Recurve
150lb Draw Weight
An 150lb draw weight means that you won’t need a cocking device to shoot this bow, though you can purchase one separately if you find it necessary.
This crossbows shoots it bolts at 245 feet per second, a nice speed that is great for hunting small to medium-sized game.
4.9lb Crossbow Weight
With a crossbow weight of just 4.9 pounds, this recurve crossbow is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to carry around for long periods without causing physical drain.
A metal injection molded trigger delivers an incredibly smooth pull on the trigger, making this crossbow a joy to shoot.
- This is a fantastic recurve crossbow for hunting small to medium-sized game like deer. It’s lightweight enough to carry around with you for hours and the smooth trigger gives great accuracy to your shots.
- The large open thumb hole on the trigger is great for bulky gloves out in the field. This is something that is often overlooked but you definitely appreciate it when you have it.
- This crossbow is ideal for beginners or those who’ve never used a recurve bow before. Because it is so light, it is easy for young novices to carry around and the relatively low draw weight doesn’t provide too difficult a challenge for those starting out.
- There is no cocking device included, so you will need to use your own power to cock this crossbow. However, the draw weight means that this is entirely possible without an aid.
- This crossbow isn’t really suitable for hunting larger game but this is more a problem with standard recurve crossbows than this one in particular. It is designed for smaller game and is perfect for that purpose.
SAS Jaguar 175lbs Recurve Hunting Crossbow Deluxe Red Dot Scope Package
175lb Draw Weight
An 175lb draw weight ensures that this crossbow packs quite a punch out in the field.
-245fps Speed: A speed of 245fps ensures you can easily take down deer and other small to medium-sized game efficiently and safely.
Left handed? No problem. This crossbow has an ambidextrous safety design that allows it to be safely used in either hand.
Auto Engage Safety
Because safety is of the utmost importance, this crossbow features an auto engage safety cocking mechanism design that automatically engages the safety features when cocking to avoid any accidents.
- This is a great youth or beginner crossbow. The relatively easy draw weight is accessible to beginners while delivering enough power to take hunting, so it’s a great bow for novices to hone their skills.
- This is a good package crossbow, delivering everything you need to get started. It comes with 4 aluminum bolts, 6-bolt quiver and a red-dot scope.
- This is a great budget crossbow, at a reasonable starting price point to suit beginners and those not willing to spend the big bucks.
- With a 175lb draw weight, some may find this a little difficult to draw. As it doesn’t come with a cocking mechanism, you may need to purchase one separately or practice until you can cock the crossbow without one.
- This isn’t suitable for hunting large game but is perfect for smaller ones.
Chace Wind 150# 242 FPS Recurve Crossbow Red Dot Scope Package
150lb Draw Weight
An 150lb draw weight makes this a crossbow that packs a powerful punch but is still able to be drawn without the need for a cocking aid.
You’ll feel the speed of 245 feet per second when you shoot your bolts, fast enough to ensure a clean kill.
5.5lb Crossbow Weight
At just 5.5lbs, this crossbow is lightweight enough to carry around with you for hours on end.
Soft Feel Coating
The stock is coated with a soft feel gel that reduces wear and tear to your hands and improves comfort.
- This crossbow looks lovely. The design and coating gives it a nice appearance and the choice of black or camouflage color options mean you don’t choose between style and blending in to your surroundings out in the field.
- This is another great beginner crossbow, with a draw weight that is accessible to beginners without the need for a cocking aid and lightweight enough that its easy for beginners to carry around.
- This is a sturdily built crossbow with composite stock and rail that is durable but comfortable to use thanks to the nice soft feel coating.
- Depending on your own strength, you may need to purchase a cocking aid as one is not included with this crossbow. However, this is just standard with recurve crossbows so it is not a fault of the bow itself.
- Not suitable for hunting larger game but ideal for smaller game like deer.
Excalibur Crossbow Matrix SMF Grizzly Crossbow with Lite Stuff Package/Vari-Zone Scope, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, Recurve
260lb Draw Weight
With a 260lb draw weight, this crossbow has all the power necessary for hunting and thankfully comes with a built-in rope cocking aid to make shot preparation accessible to everyone, regardless of the heavy weight.
Thanks to the heavy draw weight, bolts fire at an impressive 380 feet per second, rivalling even compound crossbows with it’s blazing fast speed.
5.9lbs Crossbow Weight
Despite the incredibly power behind this crossbow, it only weighs a mere 5.9 pounds, making it easy to carry around with you for long periods of time.
You get some nice accessories with this crossbow, such as a cocking aid, 4 bolts, 4 field points, a 4-bolt quiver, noise suppressors, a cheek piece and a Tact-Zone scope.
- You really do get incredible speeds with this crossbow, thanks to the heavy draw weight. 380fps is incredibly fast for a recurve crossbow and is surely it’s greatest feature.
- The many accessories included with this crossbow make it a great option to give you everything you need in one package.
- The rope cocking aid means that anyone can fire this crossbow, despite the very heavy draw weight.
- With a draw weight of 260 pounds, it’s incredibly unlikely that anyone would be able to cock this without a cocking device. Thankfully, one is included to ensure this isn’t a problem.
- This is by far the most expensive recurve crossbow on our list, meaning it may be out-of-budget for some. However, this can be attributed to the many extras and the incredible speeds of this crossbow that make it a rival for many compound crossbows.
If you want to buy your first recurve crossbow or simply update the one you already own, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on our list. Each have great features that will serve you well in target practice or while hunting. Our top pick however, goes to the Barnett Recruit recurve crossbow. We believe it is the best recurve crossbow because it delivers on power and speed, even without a cocking device necessary, is incredibly lightweight and the smooth trigger provides fantastic accuracy. Barnett always provide quality crossbows and the Barnett Recruit is no different, which is why it’s our choice for best recurve crossbow.