You are a beginning or seasoned hunter and a crossbow is your weapon of choice; one of the things you should have in mind is the kind of bolts that you would like to be using. If you have tried a few brands before and got disappointed, then stick with me. Also, check out the best crossbow scope brands.
Crossbow bolts are the piece of hunting gear that you just cannot leave out—you may have to go back for them. They give you that sense of power because when lying or standing there, cocked and scoped, silently watching and waiting, the only thing standing between you and a meal is your trigger.
The right bolts will not disappoint you. It is a sad story, however, should you purchase low-quality bolts. Imagine staying camouflaged in the trees, having waited and trekked long enough, only to blow your chance with poor quality bolts that either fly slow, waver, or are not right for hunting.
Well, if your intention is target practice, then you should be glad to know that there is something for you too. Choosing quality bolts that have a great combination of speed, power, and accuracy, is critical to a successful hunt or practice.
How then do you choose the best crossbow bolts from what the market has to offer? It can be confusing, and yet, making a good choice is something you cannot compromise. In this article, we are going to look at some of the best products in the market, and how to make the right choice. Learn more about the best crossbow under 500 dollars.
What are you looking for in crossbow bolts? You could get it with the Parker Hunter. You may generally come to find this product to be durable, which is good in ensuring the bolts retain a good shape. They are also lightweight, which may or may not be a preference. Finally, they are fast. So, what is it about the Parker Hunter?
They come measuring an average length of 20”. If you are not sure about your crossbow, then it may be a good idea to confirm with your manufacturer. What stands out most about them? Besides what we have scanned through, you will find these bolts to be quite reliable.
You should expect them to retain some good strength after every shot you make. They feature a fast and straight flight. You should also expect some drop in the bolts’ penetrating power, though little, from the moment they are launched till they get to the target.
Capture nocks come along with every bolt, which you should expect to be durable. If you hope to use them more than once for hunting, then you will have them. Their 15 grains/second shafts are lightweight and unmatc
- Strictly for hunting
- Do not have target practice field points
TenPoint offers performance with its amazing bolts. Why don’t we have a look at them? You may find the bolts to be accurate, which is a plus if you’re hoping to get a hit on your targets. They are also consistent and offer a nice touch and combination of flight speed, which may serve you excellently.
You have probably used fast bolts before or still own a few. You may not have, however, come across bolts as fast as these. They take the downrange flight lightning-fast. It is common, however, for speed to affect range; is the case so with this model?
Well, that would be one of the perks of owning TenPoint bolts. They reserve your accuracy at such a high speed, delivering quick performance. Their consistency in finding and penetrating targets is impressive and satisfactory. You may also be glad that each bolt measures 20”.
The shaft is carbon made and has fletching, slightly offset. The product comes with 25 aluminum inserts, which are fitted to the bolts; included also, are nocks (neon-green). You should finally expect 100-grain field tips.
- High flight speed
- High accuracy
- A few users were unhappy with their straightness
If you are looking for a great blend of performance features, then you may find it in the Horton bolts. Besides their accuracy, which will ensure you get a well-shot target, you may find these bolts to punch some good power. They are also durable and will, therefore, last you some good time.
Get not only precision with these bolts but also toughness. They come measuring the standard 20” and you will be getting some pretty good penetration. What is better along with such penetration is consistency, and Horton delivers on every target hit.
What about durability? You may want a product that will last you through shots, hence withstanding repeated use. While some bolts can disappoint, you should not expect less with Horton. They can withstand pressure and treatment. What is more, is that their carbon shafts are as durable and sturdy.
You should expect an offset fletching of 3 inches. The product also comes with neon nocks, along with aluminum inserts. You may get plenty with other crossbow bolts; with Horton, you get performance and results.
- High penetration
- High accuracy
- Users reported faulty packaging
- Users were disappointed by the quality
#4. PileDriver X
If you are looking for great penetration coupled with accuracy, then this may be the product for you. It delivers power from its weighted bolts. The bolts measure 20 inches and are made of carbon, as its Carbon Express name suggests. Why don’t we find out more about what this product offers?
The high accuracy that the bolts provide comes from the consistency of its spine. This helps counter effects that may be caused by the bolts’ weight. They weigh 440 grains, with as heavy a carbon shaft, which produces the required kinetic energy to take down the desired target.
You should be able, therefore, to hunt large games with more ease and with the confidence of power. That is not all, however. They are compatible with flat or half-moon nocks. The bolts also deliver amazing penetration, thanks to their great power.
A notable setback is the lost arrow speed. How does this happen? Weighted arrows tend to lose arrow speed upon launching, and the same is true with PileDriver X, which can lose well up to 30 fps. If penetration means more to you, however, then you may not mind this speed loss.
- High accuracy
- High penetration
- Loses arrow speed
#5. Easton XX75
While this product comes fifth on our list, you may love it for its aerodynamics. You will find that the bolts offer high accuracy, and they may last you for long enough to reuse them on many hunts. The brand also offers among the best features in aluminum crossbow bolts. Let us find out more about this product.
Are you looking for bolts that can deliver some hard hits? Then you may have them with Easton XX75. Besides that, they can also withstand harsh treatment, so you should be able to use and reuse them in your hunts. Well, none of all that would be important if the bolts were not as accurate as they are. Their results are amazing.
They measure to a standard 20”. They also feature aluminum shafts that are aerodynamic. What is more is that the bolts come with fletching of 4”, Omni nocks, and carbon inserts. You should also expect included field points. Is that all?
You may find these bolts’ build to be focused on delivering results; their straight flight turns to precise penetration. However long or much you use them, these bolts are able to retain their lethal accuracy. Enjoy great performance for as long as you use them.
- High accuracy
- Not best for game hunting
We hunt with crossbows for different reasons. To some, it could be the preference over traditional bows or other hunting equipment. To others, it could be what crossbows offer that traditional bows or other alternatives would not. But there are more factors that come into play when choosing to use a crossbow.
Depending on your crossbow type, you may have many components to think about. Bolts, however, are the backbone of performance. In some ways, they may be similar to traditional compound bow hunting arrows but also share some differences.
Because of the length and width of a crossbow, you should expect bolts to fall shorter in length and to deliver a power punch. Their nocks are special and help with launching down the rail. Many factors determine how good a crossbow bolt is or will perform.
We have discussed some of the best brands available and what they have to offer. How do you not miss what is important? Better else, how do you ensure that you walk away with a product which serves your needs best? In this section, I would like us to first look at some of the factors that make a good bolt.
What should you be looking for in one, and how do you ensure you are on the right track with your options? The weight would be a good first consideration. An insert, nock, shaft, and field point form together with the weight of a bolt, which is measured in grains. So, should you be thinking about heavy or light models?
It depends on what you are looking for, which in this case, could be power or speed. Weighted bolts take flight from the great force, and thus which much energy and power. Great power delivers higher or better penetration. The case could be different with lighter bolts.
If you are looking for more speed than power and penetration, then lighter models may be what you need. Because of their less weight, they take flight from the equally great force, and thus at high speeds.
More than the power and speed is kinetic energy, which distinguishes weight further. Let us find out how.
While speed may seem to be all that matters when choosing an ideal crossbow bolt, you may come to find maximum penetration to be just as important. This is because speed cannot always be relied on independently—drag force works against its motion from the point of release.
To get a clear distinction between light and heavy in this case, the standard ranges are between 400 and 435 grains. A light bolt, therefore, could weigh around 350 to 400 grains, and a heavy one could weigh anything over 435 grains
When releasing a bolt, a crossbow will always punch the same force to heavy and light models alike. The results are different; light bolts, as we have seen, will move with speed, while heavy bolts will move with power. How do the two differ in terms of their delivery, and what is important to walk away with here?
While light bolts may seem faster, they leave or cause vibrations, noise, and increased stress. These may have damaging effects on your crossbow. Nevertheless, deflections that happen due to lightness may be affected by rain, wind, or even airborne debris, lowering your chances of hitting the target.
So, what do you do? If you are going to have to use lightweight bolts, then you could consider doing so in more open areas.
Standard weight bolts, due to their general nature, serve a general-purpose. You will find that these are among the best arrows for use in varied situations. The weight is just right, delivering a great balance of energy, penetration, and accuracy. What is more is that they vibrate less and produce lesser noise, compared to light models.
You may come to find standard bolts to be ideal for different weather conditions in different surroundings.
Weighted bolts have more kinetic energy than the others, thus, deliver excellent penetration. While standard bolts perform well in varied weather conditions, you may come to find heavy bolts to be perfect for bad weather. A notable setback is that you may need to be more careful with gauging your distance since they easily lose trajectory.
You may come to find weighted bolts to be great for use in dense surroundings, bad weather, and for taking down thick-hide games.
Something else that you should consider is the bolt length. You will come to find the average length to be at 20 inches, but it could fall at 16 or jump to 22. Since crossbows have different makes and specifications, you may want to be sure to get a good measure of length.
If your bolts fall a lot shorter than your crossbow, then you may have a problem. Upon release, there is a risk of interference by the tip on the rail. Average length may deliver desired results, but it is good to confirm with your manufacturer and if possible, get a length recommendation.
You may also want to consider the bolt diameter, which can affect a few other things. One is penetration. Bolts with a small diameter have a higher penetration than standard or regular ones; they also have less wind drag and are more durable.
Crossbow bolt shafts are another factor to consider. They are made of lightweight materials, which can either be carbon or aluminum. Both materials are good for their durability, bend-resistance, and not splinter. They, however, differ in a few areas.
You may find the shafts made of aluminum to have plenty of spine choice, be quiet, and also cheap. Notable setbacks, however, are that their shooting is not as regularly flat, and they register a strength decrease with increased weight. Carbon shafts are stronger where the aluminum ones are weak.
They have a flatter shooting and lesser wind drift. Their notable setback, however, is that upon launching them, they lose velocity pretty fast. They are also costlier than aluminum shafts.
As the name suggests, the spine could mean how stiff a bolt is, or how much it can bend upon launching. It can either be dynamic or static, depending on how stiff or its bending. Bolts that have a high static spine do not bend easily—they are stiff. The spine is determined by how stiff the shaft materials will be.
Some bolts, on the other hand, can be affected by fletching, string force, nock weight, and even the above, static spine. How much such a bolt bends is the dynamic spine. A controlled spine is better, since upon launching, bends may affect consistency and accuracy.
Made of either plastic or aluminum, nocks help ensure that bolts are in place and line. They are attached to the shaft. Nocks used by crossbows can either be flat or half-moon; the latter need good string alignment before launching a shot.
Close to the nocks are fetching. You have perhaps noticed the fins towards the back of a bolt. They help keep the bolt trajectory stable, to prevent left/right sways. You will come across three plastic fetching with crossbows. You may come to find that longer ones fit well to long shafts than shorter ones.
Upon launching a bolt, you will realize that a light one can easily sway to either side and thus fail to hit your targets. Trajectory issues are also common with heavy bolts beyond certain yardage. Fletching helps ensure a bolt’s flight is controlled.
Broadheads are some of the crossbow heads that you should expect to come across, besides field points. You will need to determine what you want to use your crossbow for, to make good crossbow head selections.
So, are you looking for something that you can use in target practice or are you interested in taking down the game? Target practice will have different requirements from game hunting because, with the former, you can use pointed tips. You may come to find sharp edges necessary in hunting.
So, field points or broadheads? You decide. The former will serve you best for small games and target practice. You perhaps already know why, and yes, it is because of its pointed edges—were they sharp enough, they would serve great hunting purposes; the beat they can do is wound. They also weigh between 120 grains and 150.
What about broadheads? As the name suggests, these heads are somewhat “broad.” Just like field points, they go into the shaft. They are, however, built to kill, thanks to their sharp edges. If you are going big game hunting, therefore, then you may want to consider broadheads over field points.
There are many broadheads in the market, but only three types, which are the expandable blade, the removable blade, and the fixed blade. They weigh just as much as field points, ranging between 125 grains to 150. Your preference depending on desired activity will take the day.
Something else that you would not want to miss is shaft tolerance. This is one of the parts that will ensure a boost in performance. How? Shaft tolerance allows consistency. That will cut across straightness, to spine, and even weight. This way, your arrow can retain its maximum speed, and deliver accurate shots.
What makes good crossbow bolts? Besides other important factors, a good combination of speed, power, and accuracy, is what you will mostly need for success in target practice or hunting. So, why are you looking for bolts?
There are crossbow bolts for the common activities that you may want to indulge in. Choosing the best is critical, and yet, not an easy thing to do. We have looked at some of the best crossbow bolts in the market and discussed some of the things to watch out for.
I would like to recommend that you get the Parker Hunter. You may generally come to find this product to be durable. The bolts are also lightweight and fast. They come measuring average length, 20”. If you are not sure about your crossbow, then it may be a good idea to confirm with your manufacturer.
You should also expect some drop in the bolts’ penetrating power, though little, from the moment they are launched till they get to the target. Capture nocks come along with every bolt, which you should expect to be durable. Their 15 grains/second shafts are lightweight and flight speed is unmatched.