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Got a question on Bows and crossbows?

robert38-55robert38-55 Senior MemberPosts: 3,621 Senior Member
I don't visit this forum that much but I have a question or two. I ain't sure my post belongs here but never the less here goes. I used to have a couple of compound bows, and a recurve a long time ago. Every now and then I get the Bow bug to get some archery equipment. There is an Archery shop here in Las Cruces on Idahoe St. and I have been in there before and from what I have seen there is some pretty good items in there.

My main question is this: Can a person buy/get a crossbow anymore? And does anyone know if any states will let one use a crossbow for hunting? I am thinking I would like to get one compound, one recurve, one longbow and a crossbow. I know I have seen those crossbow pistol looking thingies at the Big 5 sporting Goods store. Those ain't a real cross bow, but I wouldn't mind having a couple of those either. Can I use the same arrows in a compound,recurve,longbow, as a crossbow uses?
"It is what it is":usa:

Replies

  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    I'm shopping for a crossbow right now and there are so many choices available that I'm having a hard time selecting one. I can't see much difference between the 350.00 ones and the 1500.00 ones but Im sure there's a difference. The two states I hunt in, Alabama and Florida, both allow crossbows during archery season. (and of course gun season) Alabama allows the use of crossbows interchangably with conventional bows whereas Florida has slightly different bag limits for crossbows.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    You can absolutely get an excellent quality hunting crossbow these days very easily in just about any big box outdoor store or specialty archery shop. In fact, the trend and options are groing as states are not only just allowing crossbows, they're starting to allow them during regular archery season. Take Nebraska for instance (which even allows hand-thrown spears during archery season as of last year!).

    Crossbows do have the advantage of being pre-drawn when a shot present itself and the option for a scope, but I will warn you ahead of time that crossbow hunting is not as easy as some angry bowhunting traditionalists make it out to be: they are very loud compared to even a modern compound and still not fast enough to avoid a deer jumping the string at further distances. They are a heavy pain in the $#^ to walk through dense cover with, tend to snag on everything, and you run the risk of something very dangerous happening if something in the woods manages to catch/cut the string when it's cocked (loaded or otherwise). Once cocked, you have to find a way to discharge it safely if you don't get a shot that day. This is usually done by means of a specially designed discharge bolt or a beat-up, old bolt you may have laying around that you also must bring with you. This is because it's not feasible or safe to try and manually decock a bow with a draw weight typically in the 160-185 lb. class, and which requires some kind of two-handed assistance tool or crank device to draw in the first place. Lastly, you'll find that from a treestand, blind or ground position, having a horizontally mounted bow drastically reduces your lateral movement and shooting options. Any nearby tree or limb seems to get in the way, severely restricting your shooting windows. Believe it or not, the disadvantages I mention above are exactly why I decided to stick with my regular compound the entire time in Maryland's dense woods this past week despite lugging the crossbow out on the trip.

    As Wambli already stated, do NOT try to use ANY arrow designed for a regular compound/long/recurve bow with a crossbow! You could end up with a scary wad of sharp, shattering material around you. Crossbow bolts are short, stiff and rated to handle the immense torsion exerted on them at the moment of release.
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    I'm shopping for a crossbow right now and there are so many choices available that I'm having a hard time selecting one. I can't see much difference between the 350.00 ones and the 1500.00 ones but Im sure there's a difference. The two states I hunt in, Alabama and Florida, both allow crossbows during archery season. (and of course gun season) Alabama allows the use of crossbows interchangably with conventional bows whereas Florida has slightly different bag limits for crossbows.

    Fisheadgib -

    Like you, I didn't see a real difference in the $350 crossbows vs. the more expensive crossbows...until this latest hunting trip in Maryland. I brought my Horton Team Realltree Ultra-Lite out there in case I wanted to hunt with something different and checked my zero when I got to my buddy's place. The crossbow was, what I thought, reasonably accurate for hunting, posting groups about 4" in size at 30 yards or so. It ran as a package with a drop-compensated scope for around $550. Then my buddy broke out his $1100 Parker package crossbow. Absolutely no question that his crossbow is superior. The accuracy was drastically better, the Exacliber scope it came with not only had drop compensation, it had a speed-selectable drop compensation, basically meaning you can tune it to any bolt setup you'd like (unlike mine, which is only accurate if you use a particular weight/speed bolt setup). His bow is a little heavier, but I'll take 2" groups at 50 yards over 4" groups at 30 yards with the same velocity any day of the week. I'm strongly considering selling my crossbow and putting the funds toward the same package he bought. As with anything, buy the absolute best you can afford and you'll be seldom disappointed. Go cheap and go weep when you realize you're only going to end up buying the better choice down the road anyway.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Holy crap! I never thought about that. How the heck do you get down from a tree stand after you cock/load the darn thing? I guess you HAVE to fire it :uhm:

    You can take the bolt out and lower it on a rope the same way you do any other gear, but you still have to worry about the string getting caught on something on the way down while it's cocked. You could fire it from the stand with a discharge bolt, but that makes for unecessary noise and possible unseen spooking in a spot you may want to hunt later or the next day. Definitely make sure the safety is on when you lower it. If that trigger catches on a branch on the way down and discharges and the thing dry fires, best case you likely have a shattered limb or string on the crossbow and, worst case, you send a piece of said broken limb flying at yourself with serious force!
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,126 Senior Member
    NC allows crossbows with a min draw weight of 150 lbs.
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Posts: 2,954 Senior Member
    Six-Gun wrote: »
    You can take the bolt out and lower it on a rope the same way you do any other gear, but you still have to worry about the string getting caught on something on the way down while it's cocked. You could fire it from the stand with a discharge bolt, but that makes for unecessary noise and possible unseen spooking in a spot you may want to hunt later or the next day. Definitely make sure the safety is on when you lower it. If that trigger catches on a branch on the way down and discharges and the thing dry fires, best case you likely have a shattered limb or string on the crossbow and, worst case, you send a piece of said broken limb flying at yourself with serious force!

    Just not an issue to me. Put the safety on, and lower it down. No big deal.

    I bought a Barnett Quad 400 complete package with scope, bolts, crossbow (~345 fps) for ~$355 (delivered.... including the cost of the cocking string which I ordered separately) and a buddy bought an Excaliber (forget what model, but rated for ~350 fps) for ~$750. His Excaliber is *definitely* more quiet and *maybe* shoots ~1" smaller groups at 40 yds. (ie. ~2" groups versus ~3" groups.) So far, my groups seem to be more in the 4" range at 50 yds. Still EASILY minute of deer/hog. Fit and finish is obviously better on his Excaliber, but mine has a slightly better trigger IMO.

    Spend the money on quality broadheads and bolts regardless of what route you take on the crossbow. Also be SURE that you use loctite on every bolt/nut on it. The vibration will work anything loose that can be worked loose. I made the mistake of not doing this the first time, and had to totally disassemble/reassemble it later when everything started coming loose.

    Also be very careful to lube the string & rails very often. I've read lots of reports where people complained about massive string wear after only 20-30 shots, but I lube it (or at least touch it up) every couple shots, and it still looks like new after the first few dozen shots.

    The cocking strings make mine very very easy to cock IMO. My buddy's Excaliber somewhat less so since it isn't a compound and the draw weight is something like 225 lbs. My Barnett is ~150 lbs.

    Like mentioned above, bring a practice target to the camp so that you have something to shoot into, to discharge it after hunting.

    Some of the major advantages to the crossbow are:

    1) You do not have to draw the string back as game approaches which is much easier on older folks who lack the upper body flexibility/strength they had in their earlier years.. especially if you need to hold for the approaching animal for a spell.

    2) IMO it's more foolproof (ie requires less practice to become reasonably proficient with it... especially if you already have some rifle skills). I'd be willing to bet that over the course of 40 shots, I'm more accurate, and far more consistent with my crossbow than MOST people are with a bow. Think of it as an 8 lb .22 rifle as far as recoil is concerned. It might be a bit to lug to your stand, but once there, it's STEADY, and you can rest it on a rifle rest just like you would any rifle.

    3) You have the advantage of a scope in lower light conditions without fooling with binoculars or glasses first, then having to draw your bow (this can be huge if your eyesight isn't so keen).

    4) Even relatively inexpensive models (like the one I bought) provide you with the fps performance of a top tier bow costing much more.

    Luis
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
  • robert38-55robert38-55 Senior Member Posts: 3,621 Senior Member
    Thanks a million fellows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    "It is what it is":usa:
  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Holy crap! I never thought about that. How the heck do you get down from a tree stand after you cock/load the darn thing? I guess you HAVE to fire it :uhm:

    This is what I use. It's a "de-cocking arrow". I fire it into the bank before getting down from my deer stand.


    http://www.bowhunterssuperstore.com/horton-decocking-arrow-p-1864214.html
    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • QuinianQuinian Senior Member Posts: 707 Senior Member

    My main question is this: Can a person buy/get a crossbow anymore? Yup, got mine off amazon actually but my local shop has a few
    And does anyone know if any states will let one use a crossbow for hunting?depends on your state. In MT yes, in rifle season.
    Can I use the same arrows in a compound,recurve,longbow, as a crossbow uses? Not only no but HELL NO! Crossbows use bolts which are typically a lot shorter and stouter than a Compund/recurve. They also use a different nock type.

    My crossbow is a Barnett ghost 350 uses 18" bolts weighing at least 375grns bare shaft. I love this thing. It's crazy accurate upto 120 yards though I'd try to keep my hunting with it down to 60-70 max
    http://www.amazon.com/Barnett-Ghost-Crossbow-Package-Quiver/dp/B004P4HH8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348165596&sr=8-1&keywords=barnett+ghost+350

    ETA: Yes the bow comes with 20" I'm quoting the MFG MINIMUM requirements from their page
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    My Barnett quad 400 came in yesterday and it looked good. I had researched a good bit before I decided on that model and it seemed to be one of the better crossbows in the price range that I wanted to spend. Of course even with the bow in hand, I spent another 140.00 bucks at BPS for more bolts, field tips, broadheads, a decocking arrow, and a rope cocking device. I had it put together last night but didn't get to play with it until this morning. The extra bolts that I got were the same Barnett/Easton 22" "headhunter" bolts that came with the kit. It took about five or six shots to get the scope dialed in at 20yds and then I stepped back to 30 expecting to have to use a lower reticle but it hit to the same point of aim. There was no noticable drop from 20 to 30 yards. The bolt move so fast compared to a compound bow that you couldn't see the bolt in flight. I don't think "string jump" will be as much of an issue with a crossbow. At 30yds using the 22" Barnett bolts and 100gr field tips, the thing grouped 2" pretty consistently. I'm completely happy with it. This afternoon when I get done working I plan to take it out to 40 and 50yds. I'm getting excited about archery season comming up on the 15th.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    My Barnett quad 400 came in yesterday and it looked good. I had researched a good bit before I decided on that model and it seemed to be one of the better crossbows in the price range that I wanted to spend. Of course even with the bow in hand, I spent another 140.00 bucks at BPS for more bolts, field tips, broadheads, a decocking arrow, and a rope cocking device. I had it put together last night but didn't get to play with it until this morning. The extra bolts that I got were the same Barnett/Easton 22" "headhunter" bolts that came with the kit. It took about five or six shots to get the scope dialed in at 20yds and then I stepped back to 30 expecting to have to use a lower reticle but it hit to the same point of aim. There was no noticable drop from 20 to 30 yards. The bolt move so fast compared to a compound bow that you couldn't see the bolt in flight. I don't think "string jump" will be as much of an issue with a crossbow. At 30yds using the 22" Barnett bolts and 100gr field tips, the thing grouped 2" pretty consistently. I'm completely happy with it. This afternoon when I get done working I plan to take it out to 40 and 50yds. I'm getting excited about archery season comming up on the 15th.

    I'm not much into crossbows, but I'm curious to know a couple stats on that beast.
    What does the bolt/tip combo weigh, and what FPS are you getting?
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    It spec's a 150lb draw weight, it weighs 9lbs which is kinda heavy, and they claim 345fps. The bolts with a 100gr tip weigh a total of 432gr. I got home late and didn't get to try it further out but I'll get a chance tomorrow. My chrono is up at the camp but I might borrow my neighbors to see what it's really running. I fought off looking at crossbows for years but my arthritis has gotten so bad that drawing a bow has gotten very painfull. With a crossbow I get another month of deer season.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    It spec's a 150lb draw weight, it weighs 9lbs which is kinda heavy, and they claim 345fps. The bolts with a 100gr tip weigh a total of 432gr. I got home late and didn't get to try it further out but I'll get a chance tomorrow. My chrono is up at the camp but I might borrow my neighbors to see what it's really running. I fought off looking at crossbows for years but my arthritis has gotten so bad that drawing a bow has gotten very painfull. With a crossbow I get another month of deer season.

    Interesting. My bow IBO's at 343, and I'm running ~320 (can't remember exactly) with a 405gr arrow, at 65lb, 29" draw.
    I gotta say, I'm all for crossbows. Especially if they can keep someone hunting that has trouble with a regular bow, or get people in the woods that wouldn't be if they had to spend all the time and money involved in a regular bow. Bow season is a great time to be in the woods, anything that helps get or keep people out there is good.
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    Over the weekend I took it out to 40 yards and still got a consistent 2" group out of it resting on a garbage bin. 50yds was the middle of the street and I didn't want the neighbors getting freaked out and calling the police. My buddy brought out his high dollar Browning bow and we noticed that the crossbow is much louder than the compound bow was but the arrow seems so much faster that string jump shouldn't be as much of an issue. I'll have to wait until I head up to the camp to chrono it to see what it's really doing.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
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