All the Different Types of Crossbows

Historical findings place the origin of the crossbow somewhere in East Asia, possibly China, in the 4th century BC. They have greatly evolved in form over time to become the mean machines we know and love and to suit a variety of functions. While the original models were built for war and modern day crossbows offer numerous functions including target practice, tagging marine life and harvesting blubber from whales, this article will however focus on the various types that are specifically designed for hunting.

The diverse types of bows available in the market today employ totally different construction designs and are meant for different purposes by virtue of their design. Gaining knowledge about these distinct types will help you as you look for a bow so that you can choose what to buy from an informed perspective.

Recurve Crossbows

recruve crossbow

The recurve bow has got to be the oldest ancestor of the modern crossbow. Its name is inspired by the delicate curves that mark the ends of the bow pointing away from its user. These curves carry out the important function of keeping the string in place so that it does not flick out. They do this by straining the string and locking it in and thus ensure the safety of the user as well as the equipment.

The modern day crossbow is either made from Magnesium or Aluminum alloy or carbon fiber and is still very easy to aim. They usually feature a longer draw length than all the other bows, a feature that enables them to offer greater acceleration for the projectile. They are also noisy when fired due to the great pressure exerted on the bow as a result of their length. It is suited for hunting expeditions that require remarkable power and speed, for instance when targeting large game. It is also ideal for taking long range shots and is a favorite for pro hunters.

The biggest disadvantage they have is that the design causes a significant strain on the string and could therefore mean the need to keep buying new strings unless you invest in a very high quality one. Additionally, recurve crossbows are quite big and therefore inconvenient to carry around in the wilderness.

Compound Crossbows

The compound crossbow features a more complex design than a recurve and is therefore harder to set up during the first time. But interestingly, it is much easier to use and therefore a highly popular choice for hunters. Its design is marked by much shorter limbs as compared to the recurve yet they are every sturdy. They are renowned for high energy-efficiency thanks to their stiff build. Compound crossbows also utilize synthetic material to enhance durability. As a result of the design, this bow is renowned for accuracy and is resistant to weather changes.

The compound crossbow features a string connected to a pulley system and linked to the second limb via this same system. When the string is drawn back, the pulleys turn and the cables move to bend the limbs, saving up lots of energy for the shot and this energy makes it a very fast shooter. Another advantage characterizing this bow is the fact that they are easier to use thanks to their short draw length. They are also very compact, narrower than recurves and thus can be used comfortably in limited space. The design minimizes vibration and recoil and thus makes the bow very accurate and not so noisy making it ideal for pro hunters.

However, these bows are much heavier than the recurves and when they break a string a special tool to restring is required. They don’t handle impact so well and lose accuracy rather easily when dropped repeatedly. The numerous parts of these bows mean that its maintenance is rather complicated and wear and tear also happens quite fast.


Repeating Crossbows

repeating crossbow

The repeating crossbow is one of the simplest to use as it takes a single movement to execute a shot. All the other steps are initiated with this single motion making it one of the most convenient crossbow options available. It is said to be capable of shooting three times faster than an ordinary crossbow and is therefore the best choice when speed is of the essence. It makes it possible to repeat shots as many times unlike the others whose single shot is a do-or-die. It therefore provides a convenient shortcut for beginners who do not wish to put in all the work required to become a skilled archer.

However, since the technology behind it is mostly mechanical, it takes all the fun out of hunting since almost everything is beyond the user’s control. There is no way of enhancing its performance and also, it takes no technique to master its use.

Rifle Crossbow

rifle crossbow

This is a modern-day hybrid combining the highlights of ordinary crossbows and the conveniences of the rifle to make the ultimate hunting instrument. Just like the rifle, this crossbow’s greatest strength is accuracy, a quality enhanced by its superior aim capability. These bows incorporate technological advancements like impressive sights, a heavy duty construction based on fiber and a foot-pull. They are designed for long range hunts and could ensure accurate shots from as far off as 250 feet.

They are a lot narrower than the other crossbows in the market and could measure a mere six inches in width. This means they can penetrate even the narrowest of spaces in densely forested areas giving you a great perspective on your unsuspecting prey. The rail design is top-notch which makes it possible for the rifle crossbow to launch bolts with zero friction resulting in unmatched velocity.

The downside to this impressive weapon is that it requires quite a significant amount of power to operate it and launch a bulls-eye shot. This is because it packs up a lot more power than most and also involves a relatively complex cocking process.