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Best Recurve Crossbow – Updated for 2020

Last Updated: July 11, 2020
Alexander Herbert
Product Review by Alexander Herbert

If you’re in the market for a new crossbow, you’re in luck. Today, we’re going to provide an informative account of all things crossbow related.

With technological advances, recurve crossbows have been adapted to better fit the needs of the average hunter and improve their experience.

One of the critical factors to consider when you’re in the market for a new recurve crossbow is the price: they are typically more expensive.

The typical high price of a recurve crossbow makes it absolutely essential to get the most bang for your buck.

The best products for hunting will provide the user with many features, durability, safety, and an outstanding experience overall.

We have assessed many products, features, and innovations to help you decide on a product that represents the best value for you.

Take a look at our product reviews and then read our buyers guide, at the end you’ll see we have selected what we believe is the top recurve crossbow.

Our Reviews

1

Barnett Jackal Crossbow

The Jackal features a sleek military design and makes an excellent weapon with its weight and power. It is a comfortable weapon to shoot and comes ready to use from the box.

The arrows can reach speeds of up to 315 fps with a draw weight of 150-pounds. Other features which make this bow stand out from the crowd are a quick detach quiver, bolts, and a red-dot sight.

This bow makes a great entry-level weapon as you learn the ins and outs of hunting with a crossbow.

Pros

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Almost no recoil
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediates
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The scope is not ideal for hunting
  • The quiver can come loose
  • No cocking device included
2

Excalibur 355 Crossbow

The Excalibur Matrix Crossbow is our budget pick for the best recurve crossbow. The price that this product comes at provides the customer with outstanding value.

Excalibur also has a formidable reputation in the archery and hunting communities which shines through in the sleek design of this product.

This recurve crossbow comes with an incredibly ergonomic stock, robust and reliable limbs, outstanding construction and design details, and reliable trigger. Furthermore, tests have proven brilliant scope accuracy, durable arrows, and field points.

Pros

  • One of the best products available at this price point
  • Outstanding ergonomics, and balanced, low-maintenance construction
  • Incredibly accurate at distances of over 70 yards
  • The product performs consistently regardless of environmental conditions
  • Includes an excellent, accurate scope
  • Works optimally for dedicated hunters, but is also suitable for users who want to use the bow for target practice
  • The bow consists of four additional durable arrows

Cons

  • Lacks an anti-dry-fire safety feature
3

Excalibur Matrix SMF Grizzly

The Excalibur brand is known for manufacturing durable crossbows that always perform at a high level.. However, many of their bows come at a higher price than similar products.

This price of Excalibur products can often scare consumers away from making the purchase, but even taking the price into consideration, their crossbow is an outstanding product that actually represents excellent value.

Pros

  • Compact size, which provides for simple use in small spaces
  • Lightweight and balanced construction
  • Comprised of four bolts and an attachable quiver
  • Very simple to put together directly out of the box
  • An adjustable scope is included with each purchase to improve the accuracy of the bow
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • This product’s rails are not composed of aluminum, featuring a composite construction instead
4

Barnett Recurve Crossbow

The Barnett Recurve crossbow is an optimal product for any beginner small game hunter or target shooter. The product comes at an affordable price, which allows beginners to gain valuable experience while not having to part with too much cash.

This bow is capable of firing at a rate of approximately 250fps  with 65 pounds of kinetic energy.

This product is not suitable for hunting any big game animals. Additionally, the effective use of this bow will require plenty of target practicing and scope adjustment.

It’s important to note here that attempting to use the Barnett bow for any big game hunting is unethical because the product isn’t capable of bringing down large animals humanely.

Pros

  • The product allows for small game hunting and target shooting
  • Features an integrated crank and an anti-dry-fire safety component
  • Excellent lightweight design and a red dot scope
  • Features anti-vibration isolation and it is known to be one of the less noisy products on the market
  • Simple to put together and use straight out of the box

Cons

  • The product doesn’t include a rope cocking feature
  • Seasoned, experienced hunters may find the product uncomfortable due to its construction
  • Not suitable for big game hunting

Choosing The Best Recurve Crossbow

There are many things that you should consider when selecting a recurve crossbow. The main things you’ll want to consider are the purpose, speed, and features.

Purpose

When shopping for a good crossbow, the first thing that you should have in mind is what your plans are for using it. Do you want to use it for:

  • Target shooting

or,

  • Hunting

Modern recurve crossbows are capable of hunting large animals at long distances. The specific purpose of your bow will be dependent on your skill set as a hunter, as well as the places that you can hunt.

Shooting Speed

A quick arrow is excellent when it comes to hitting a target with power and maintaining a low shot. However, when you increase the speed of the arrow to much, the bow’s ability to compensate for any mistakes is decreased.

A quick arrow will react quickly to inefficient drawbacks, any imperfections or problems with the construction of the arrow will be exacerbated at higher speeds, which is worth bearing in mind.

Crossbow Safety Features

Safety should always be one of the most important considerations that you make when shopping for hunting items. If this is going to be your first time shooting with a recurve crossbow, then safety considerations should definitely be at the forefront of your mind.

These products will always come with at least one safety feature, and the best ones will have several. For example, one of the most common safety features is an auto-engaging safety.

This feature is automatically engaged during the process of drawing back the bowstring, and functions in a similar fashion to the safety on a rifle or other firearms.

An additional safety feature is a forward grip construction, which will allow you to keep your hand stabilized when shooting.

Advantages of a Good Recurve Crossbow

There are several advantages to choosing a recurve crossbow over other products. These hunting tools are generally constructed with a simple design, which makes maintenance easier.

Most users will be able to fix and maintain the product themselves. Because of the simple design, there are fewer moving parts with this type of crossbow which reduces the need to take your crossbow to an archery or hunting shop for repairs.

Furthermore, recurve crossbows are known to produce less noise than other types of crossbow, which can obviously be very useful when hunting.

Things to Look for in the Best Crossbow

If you’re new to recurve crossbows, then there are a lot of features you should be aware of before purchasing one.

Riser

Risers generally comprise of a variety of aluminum, and the limbs of the device are mounted onto these risers. The best crossbow risers are constructed from extrusions or high strength billets.

Low-quality risers are composed of cast material, so keep an eye out.

Arrow Track

The arrow track is known as the barrel or flight track. This is where the arrow lies on the crossbow and moves from when the trigger is pulled.

Precisely constructed arrow tracks lead to better accuracy of the arrow towards the intended target.

Draw Weight

The draw weight of a crossbow is generally listed in pounds (lbs.). This describes the amount of pulling force that is required to position the limbs of the bow into the ready position.

The draw weight of any recurve crossbow will vary significantly. In general, increased draw weight will lead to higher arrow speeds.

Power Stroke

The power stroke refers to the distance that the crossbow’s string must move from the at-rest to cocked positions. Extended power stroke products are typically quicker than similar products with short power strokes, and this is because extended power stroke crossbows provide a longer distance for the arrow to accelerate.

Crossbow Limbs

The limbs of a crossbow retain the kinetic energy that the cams use when the crossbow is being drawn. The limbs can come in a variety of styles.

These crossbow limbs may be split or solid, and each of these variations provides unique advantages.

Cam System

The cams or wheels of a crossbow, which are on the tip of the limbs, are responsible for putting energy into the limbs. Any crossbow’s efficiency is wholly related to the cam system’s effectiveness.

Cocking Feature

A good crossbow’s cocking device provides the owner with a mechanical advantage when loading high draw weight crossbows.

Some crossbows are composed of rope and pulley systems, but more sophisticated systems include integrated hand-cranking features.

What’s the Best Way to Use a Recurve Crossbow?

Determining the best situation to use a recurve crossbow involves comparing crossbows, guns, and compound bows. Crossbows have significantly changed the hunting industry.

Many hunters that previously used firearms for hunting have switched to using a good crossbow or at least added one to their arsenal. Many crossbow users point to the development of the archery industry and the product’s ease of use as reasons for adopting recurves.

Crossbow Legalization

A few years ago, only six states allowed legal crossbow hunting. Additionally, those states required a special hunting permit that was difficult to obtain.

This has changed significantly over the past few years, crossbow hunting is legal in almost every U.S. state.

Additionally, the crossbow industry has grown tremendously over the past few years. As laws and regulations continue to open up for crossbow usage, we expect that the industry will continue to grow.

Guns or Crossbows?

One of the primary reasons that people are beginning to use crossbows more is that they require very little practice to use efficiently, especially in comparison to guns.

Additionally, crossbows and rifles are held similarly. The majority of crossbows in the current market feature a scope and trigger component. These similarities make the transition from rifle to crossbow easier for seasoned rifle hunters.

Firing a crossbow is very similar to firing a gun. The archer simply needs to steady the target within the crosshairs, disable the safety feature, and pull the trigger.

The primary difference between crossbows and firearms is the firing projectile.

Further, firing a recurve crossbow results in practically no recoil, while a rifle can produce considerable recoil which can be painful for a novice.

Seasonal Benefits

Archery seasons are generally warmer and more comfortable, particularly as it is necessary to remain seated for many hours. Conversely, the majority of firearm hunting seasons occur during colder months, and hunters must deal with harsher hunting conditions.

Additionally, hunting during archery season presents a more level playing field for hunters because they don’t have to compete with firearm hunters. Other than the necessity of cocking a crossbow, there are little to no physical requirements associated with crossbow hunting.

Less Effort

Thanks to the current market’s well-designed cocking features, recurve hunting can be carried out without much physical strength. The majority of crossbow hunters are starting to avoid traditional or vertical compound bow products because they require a considerable amount of power to draw the bow.

Controversy Surrounding Compound & Recurve Crossbows

The bow hunting industry is dealing with a controversy based on the concept that modern crossbows will create highly efficient hunters.

The problem with having a large number of hyper-efficient hunters is that environmentalists feel that this will negatively affect the environment due to the over-hunting of individual animals, including prized endangered species.

The Case Against Crossbows

People who are against the use of crossbows may not be opposed to the equipment itself. Many crossbow opponents don’t want this type of product to be used during archery-only hunting seasons.

Here are the main arguments that critics use against the use of crossbows:

  • Crossbow ranges have been overextended, making it too easy to take down an animal
  • The increased use of crossbows could technically wipe out entire herds of animals while being marked as archery kills
  • Crossbows don’t require as much skill or practice to use: Less skilled, dedicated hunters can use them effectively

The Case For Crossbows

While the opponents of crossbows make some entirely valid arguments against the equipment, the advocates for these hunting items also have their own arguments. Proponents of crossbows say that they should be regarded as archery items in areas that don’t have designated bow-only seasons yet.

Here are some of the primary arguments in favor of recurve & compound crossbows:

  • Crossbows provide for broader participation in archery activities. Thus, crossbows allow for more people to become involved in the sport of hunting
  • Crossbows provide precision bolt targeting. Precise bolt targeting allows for fast, humane kills
  • Crossbows aren’t notably quicker or more efficient than the most popular compound bows
  • These hunting tools are useful products for use in suburban regions

Prerequisites for Using a Recurve Crossbow

Recurve crossbows are usually selected for simplicity and reliability. As opposed to compound crossbow products, recurve bows don’t feature any pulleys or flexible cables, which gives recurves a more natural feel and action.

Additionally, the lack of additional features with a recurve crossbow makes them less noisy.

On the downside, recurve crossbows can be challenging to cock because they require the user to pull the weight of the string through the bow. Beginners are recommended to use a string cocking mechanism, which will decrease the strength that is required to ready the bow.

Recurve crossbows often have reduced firing speeds because of the increased draw weight requirements. The bottom line is this: they’re great for new hunters or target shooters because they require little to no tuning or maintenance.

Recap

Locating the best recurve crossbow for an affordable price can be a challenging task. Shopping for and choosing the best product can be especially tricky if you’re a new hunter or target shooter.

Though we always recommend that you choose a product tailored to your needs, we have identified our favorite from the recurve crossbows we have reviewed.

Our Pick for the Best Recurve Crossbow

We think that the best recurve crossbow is the Excalibur Matrix Crossbow; a fantastic entry-level crossbow that is more than suitable for use by beginners through to seasoned hunters. It is stunningly designed, consistent across different hunting environments and performs well at long range.

There are numerous factors and variables that you should keep in mind when shopping for the optimal recurve crossbow for your specific purposes. As ever, safety should always be a top priority when it comes to using a recurve crossbow.

Happy hunting!

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