How To Choose The Best Recurve Crossbow 2018
With the years I spent hunting, I can personally vouch for the use of a recurve crossbow because of the wide array of benefits that I can give (you can find what these benefits are below!).
If you ask me, there's nothing more stylish and confidence-boosting than being able to hunt with a crossbow. However, it can also be intimidating since it's often hard to choose the best crossbow for the job.
This is why I'm writing this article: to help you know which is the best recurve crossbow that's worth your hard-earned bucks. I'll also be sharing my favorite picks, some tips and tricks, and the criteria I use (and you should, too) in choosing them. So, what are you waiting for? Let's get right to it!
Best Recurve Crossbow Review-2018
Listed below are my top-rated recurve crossbows, along with all the information that is worth mentioning about them. Of course, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so I also included those.
That way, you can have a better foundation so you can make a wise decision depending on your specific needs.
If you're looking for a great entry-level crossbow that's not short of premium features, the Empire Terminator from SA Sports could be the one for you!
Stylish and available in a pure black or camouflage exterior, this bow has a speed of 260 feet per second (fps) and features a 175-pound draw. At 4.5 pounds, it is very lightweight and might even be among the lightest crossbows out there.
Because of its weight, you'll have no trouble carrying it around. The fast and easy assembly is also loved by many. With all that it can offer, users even dubbed the Empire Terminator as one of the models offering the best values when it comes to crossbows.
However, it's not all positive. The Empire Terminator, I'm afraid, is not the most powerful crossbow. A user found that it fires with only 60 ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy and only shoot 16" aluminum arrows at a speed of 260fps.
The good news is that what it lacks it power, it makes up for in terms of accuracy. It allows the user to maintain a ½" to 1" groupings from 30 to 40 yards and 50 to 60 yards respectively. With practice, you can easily use it to deliver bull's eye shots.
- A quick detach quiver
- Precision trigger assembly
- Ambidextrous auto safety
- Scope mount
- Full barrel Picatinny rail
- Adjustable rear stock
- Trademark SA Sports Gull Wing™ design.
- The bow comes pre-strung
- Powerful enough for deer hunting
- Great for beginners and small to medium-framed hunters
- Works well for small to large preys
- Not very fast or powerful
- Attachment hardware like bolts and screws tend to work loose and need to be tightened frequently
- Minimal 1-year warranty
- Short power stroke
If the SA Sports Empire Terminator is too expensive for you, The Outdoors BCR Recurve Crossbow from Barnett comes close in terms of features and you can buy it for a much cheaper price!
With a 150-pound draw weight, the BCR promises straight and accurate shots whether it be for hunting or target shooting. For a very affordable price, it also features a lightweight composite stock and a red dot scope for further aiming assistance.
The fully adjustable butt pad also allows you to get in a comfortable position. However, since this crossbow is specifically made for right-handed shooters, a few adjustments may need to be done by left-handed persons.
Equipped with a quick-detaching limb assembly, this crossbow also has an anti-vibration foot stirrup and a fore grip complete with a pass-through and finger reminder. If you're particularly concerned about noise, this crossbow has a mechanism that reduces vibration and noise by up to 30% compared with other models.
Constructed exceptionally, you won't have to worry about anything breaking easily. It is made with metal for durability and strength. Also, the low trigger pull will cause less jerk, which is great for unsteady hands of beginners.
Although this crossbow does not have all the fancy stuff offered by more expensive bows, it is definitely worth it for its price. Users find it to be very easy to use for practice shooting and hunting small game. The trigger is especially notable and the fiberglass limbs ensure the longevity of use so you won't have to be concerned each time you pull back.
Other extras that come with this crossbow is a scope, bolts, quiver, and a string cocker.
- Anti-vibration foot stirrup
- High-quality red dot scope
- Adjustable butt pad
- Fore grip with finger reminder and pass-through
- 150-pound draw weight
- Finger reminders help assist beginners
- Fully adjustable
- Lightweight stock
- Huge open thumb hole allows use even with bulky gloves
- Easy and quick detachment of limb
- Durable fiberglass limbs
- Does not include rope cocking device
- Red dot scope is not very easy to use
- Not too suitable for serious hunting
Another competitive crossbow from Barnett is the Recruit Recurve Crossbow. It works best for hunters with small frames and minimal skills due to its lightness at only 6.5 pounds and compact size. It is easy to maneuver, control, and carry around.
This suits me well because I have a medium built. However, I think hunters with larger frames may need to get a custom stock extension to effectively and comfortably use it.
This model also offers impressive accuracy for a very affordable price. So, if you're just beginning as an archer and are not yet willing to invest in a high-end bow, this is the one for you! Barnett Recruit offers a smooth trigger action and comes with basically everything you need to start firing arrows right away as soon as you get it out of the box.
Barnett Recruit is also very easy to setup, in fact, it is one of the crossbows that I find is easy to set up and use. Simply attach the riser to the stuck and mount the scope and you're all set for shooting. It won't even take up more than ten minutes of your time!
This crossbow has a draw weight of 130 pounds. While a rope cocking device in not really needed, I strongly recommend using one for your safety.
It is also worth noting that this bow is easy and simple enough to be used by kids, but is definitely not a toy to play with. It has a speed of 300 fps which is not very fast but can easily kill a deer with one shot. Understanding its capability is very important if you plan to give this bow to your teenager.
- 6.5 pounds
- Fully adjustable
- Package includes a rope cocking device and Easton bolts
- 130-pound draw weight
- Compact and lightweight
- Great for beginners and small-framed users
- Reasonable price
- Premium features
- Easy to set up and use
- Surprisingly accurate
- Several reports of the string breaking easily
- Not the fastest crossbow
- Comes with a red dot sight only
If you're after great value and reasonable price, try the Fever Crossbow, also from SA Sports. It comes from this trusted and reputable brand so you can rest assured that you will not get a flimsy or inferior product.
Are you left-handed and worried about how this affects your crossbow options? Designed for both right-handed and left-handed users, the Fever Crossbow is enhanced with an automatic ambidextrous safety mechanism which makes it safe for lefties. I, myself, have no problem with this but my hunter friends who are left handed believe that this is a feature to look for.
The large foot stirrups will also allow you to use them even with boots on. The smart design of the quiver includes a quick-detach mechanism for easy use.
Both the barrel and track are made of lightweight and composite material for portability and durability. The crossbow also has an adjustable weaver style scope mount which makes aiming super smooth and easy.
Personally, I also like how this bow operates quietly and is light to carry around. It is a reliable option if you want the most advanced product and are not concerned by the price. For a reasonable price, you get adequate power and performance. Overall, the stylish design, the great composition, and ease of use of this bow qualified it to be on my favorites list.
However, some users noted several issues about this bow. It can be difficult to lay the arrows properly along the guide, which can be a huge problem if you are just a beginner.
Aside from the camouflage pattern bow, the package also includes four 16" aluminum arrows and a 4 by 32 multi-range scope.
- 4x32 illuminated the multi-range scope
- 175lbs Replacement Limb
- Replacement Fever String
- 3 Red Dot Multi Range
- Ambidextrous safety mechanism
- Quick-detach quiver
- Adjustable weaver-type scope mount
- Camouflage pattern
- Four aluminum arrows
- Composite and lightweight material
- Large stirrups
- Smooth and easy aim
- Stylish camouflage finish
- Well-known manufacturer
- Durable and safe
- Unreliable bolts
- Questionable string quality
The Inferno Wildfire II from Arrow Precision offers a high-quality performance and reliability at a reasonable and affordable price. It could be the best bow for you if you're looking for something worth every penny.
It costs less than the average crossbow price and features multiple accessories, some of which you cannot even find in the more expensive models. It even has a reasonable noise level and success rate for its price.
The Inferno Wildfire II is also easy to use, making it a great option for beginners. However, if you consider yourself as a seasoned archer or bowhunter, you might also find this crossbow worthy of consideration. I have been hunting for years, but I still find its features to be useful for me.
It has a draw weight of a whopping 225 lbs and a maximum speed of 345fps. The 16.5" power stroke cannot be undermined as well. This recurve crossbow is also easy to reload despite its heavy draw weight. You can also change the string easily during a hunting trip in the field, which is always a plus.
The design and style of this crossbow model make it much easier and cost-effective to maintain in the long run than most other crossbow types.
Thanks to the highly detailed instructions that it comes with, the Inferno Wildfire is unbelievable easy and simple to assemble. The package even comes with all the necessary tools for assembly which takes only about 15 to 20 minutes.
It also comes with a 4x32 multi-reticle illuminated scope which allows you to choose between a red or green reticle adjusted for 20, 30, 40, or 50 yards. This scope also stays zeroed quite well for long periods of time and offers great accuracy for the mentioned ranges.
- Automatic Safety Engagement System
- 4x32 multi-reticle illuminated scope
- 4x20" Arrow Precision Carbon Arrows
- Rope Cocking aid for smooth reloads
- Detachable quiver made with durable composite material
- Padded shoulder Sling
- Rail wax
- Safety Goggles
- Accurate within default ranges
- Great quality and value for the price
- Multiple useful and high quality features
- Accurate and powerful to take down medium to large game
- Clear reticles and adjustable illumination
- Frequent limb failures
- Low-quality string
- Rail wax tends to negatively affect accuracy and speed
If an economical yet functional crossbow is what you're after, this Camo Recurve Crossbow might be a good option for you! The iGlow Camouflage Hunting Crossbow is the proof that a cheap bow can also be high quality.
With a 150-pound draw weight and arrow speed of 220 to 310 fps, it is accurate and precise enough as a basic crossbow. While this speed is just around average for this category of bows, it works well for beginners who are just getting a hang of crossbow shooting.
It has a nicely polished wooden stock and fiberglass limbs for a good performance and longevity. At its price, this bow delivers satisfactory results, although you should not expect it to perform as well as higher-end models.
A bit on the heavier side, this crossbow is 4.4 pounds. Unlike its lightweight counterparts, it can be harder to move around but can be steadier. Despite its hefty weight, I find its shock absorption commendable. It helps improve your comfort while using the bow.
Also, it has an adjustable draw length that can be customized and set from 25 to 31 inches in order to accommodate 30 to 70 pounds of draw weight. It is also equipped with an automatic safety cocking mechanism for further assistance and protection from dry fires.
The package even comes with a rope cocking device, scope, and other additional accessories which may not be the best quality but still add to its amazing value.
- Comes with a string stopper
- Includes 7 aluminum arrows
- 150-pound draw weight
- 220-310 fps arrow speed
- Auto safety cocking system
- Rope rocking device
- 4x20 Scope
- Simple to use and setup
- Affordable Price
- Multiple features and accessories
- Impressive shock absorption for its price
- Performs adequately well
- Decent power
- Upgrades are available
- Included arrows are not of the best quality
- Heavy total weight
- You get what you pay for
- Trigger is stiff
- Hard to string
- Safety issues despite an auto cocking mechanism
The Seeker crossbow is yet another great choice for inexperienced or young hunters or shooters. It can help anyone ease into the art of crossbow hunting for an affordable price.
Additionally, it offers multiple excellent features that cater to the basic needs and give the user an enjoyable experience.
An important feature is the safety mechanism that protects from dry firing which can lead to potential accidents or harm the user and the people in the surrounding area. This mechanism also reduces damage due to a dry-fire, prolonging the life of the bow.
This crossbow also features a front grip for an improved accuracy, proper form, and good shooting habits, which is especially useful for beginners. Unlike other crossbows at this price point and size, The Seeker also has a stock at the rear which offers enhanced balance and stability.
Although both the front grip and stock are made of plastic, they both deliver a surprisingly satisfying performance.
Despite its low draw weight of only 80 pounds, this crossbow comes with a self-cocking mechanism to make loading and cocking a breeze, another feature that beginners will find extremely useful.
You can even improve the accuracy of your shots thanks to a set of adjustable elevation sights. These can cover a considerable distance. The product is also covered by a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.
- 80-pound draw weight
- 200 fps speed
- Elevation sights
- Dry-fire prevention safety mechanism
- Plastic stock and front grip
- Self Cocking Mechanism
- Affordable price
- 1-year manufacturer's warranty
- Easy to cock
- Encourages proper form and shooting habits
- Strong grip
- The quality of the string needs improvement
- Some users report that the stock tends to flex during shooting
- Screws may need frequent replacements
Looking for a fairly priced crossbow that also delivers results? Try this CenterPoint Recurve Crossbow! It is not expensive but works pretty well for its price. I used this back when I was on a low budget, and I can say its features can already suffice for an easy and short hunting trip.
The XR175 is a lightweight crossbow with adequate accuracy. When I was using it at a range of around 35 yards, it worked well with my groupings and it was so comfortable to use I felt I could use it all day long.
Although some users complained that the arrows do not shoot straight, I did not experience this issue at all. They even landed very close to where I was aiming every time.
What I was not a fan of, however, was the noise. Like any other hunter would, I prefer my bow to be super quiet and smooth. Since it makes a bit of a noise during shooting, I recommend using it during a windy day so that the noise is a little covered.
The bow was also not easy to assemble and cock even with the help of a cocking aid. However, once you succeed in doing so, it is pretty easy and simple to work with. It is alright to use in a range, but is not powerful enough and might not be your best bet if you need something that gets cocked immediately while you're out hunting in the field.
Overall, this is a nice bow with a few imperfections. However, that is fully understandable since it is designed for new archers and bowhunters.
- Automatic Safety Cocking mechanism
- 175-pound draw weight
- 245 fps maximum arrow velocity
- Comes with four 16-inch aluminum bolts
- Red dot sight with switch
- Simple entry-level bow
- Shoots straight and true
- Accurate over long distances
- Better for target practice
- Easy to use once assembled and cocked
- Does not come with complete assembly instructions
- Hard to cock quickly while hunting
- Not very powerful
Now that we're close to the last item, you might already have a favorite in your mind, but please spare this next product some attention. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
First of all, the Chace Wind Recurve crossbow packs a powerful impact with its 150-pound draw weight value. However, this does not make it hard to draw and cock so a cocking aid is not really necessary.
With a shooting speed of 245 fps, it is fast enough to land a shot just in time. It also allows for a clean, humane, and swift kill for medium animals.
At only around 5.5 pounds, this lightweight crossbow is easy enough to carry around all day or for hours on end. It is great for long hunting trips and travels.
Aside from all these, the stock of this bow is also uniquely coated with a soft feel gel. This special gel not only protects the stock from damage, but also improves your comfort as the shooter and makes every use much gentler on your hands.
- 245 fps speed
- 5.5 total weight
- 150-pound draw weight
- Soft feel coating
- Stylish design
- Coating not only protects but also gives the bow a nice appearance
- Choice of black of camouflage finish
- Great beginner crossbow
- Sturdy construction
- Durable stock and rail
- Package does not include a cocking aid although there might not be a use for one
- Not very powerful for hunting game animals larger than elk or deer
Last but not the least is the Fever Crossbow, another SA Sports product. Like most other crossbows from this brand, the Fever Crossbow offers great performance for a reasonable price.
This bow has a 175-pound draw weight and an arrow speed of 250 fps. It also features a flexible weaver-style scope for better aiming.
The precision trigger system has a deceptive automatic safety feature that prevents accidental shooting and dry firing.
The whole package even comes with a padded shoulder strap for optimum comfort while carrying the bow. It also includes four free 16-inch aluminum arrows, a rope cocking device, and a quickly detachable quiver.
Whether you are a seasoned or novice bowhunter or target shooter, you won't be disappointed with the value of this affordable crossbow bundle.
- 4x32 illuminated scope
- 175-pound draw weight
- 250 fps speed
- Rope cocking device
- Padded shoulder sling
- Detachable quiver
- Automatic safety feature
- Large foot stirrup
- Machined aluminum track
- Open grip stock
- Excellent for beginners
- Lightweight and portable
- Comes in a complete package
- Suitable for hunting small to medium game
- 1-year limited warranty
- Flimsy bolts
- Incomplete instructions
- Not the best low light functions
What Makes Up The Best Recurve Crossbow?
Adequate experience and knowledge are two essential things when it comes to choosing a recurve crossbow. Of course, there are tons of factors and features to consider as well. However, with the amount of manufacturers, models, and products flooding the market nowadays, it can easily get overwhelming and confusing.
A word of advice: taking time to study, compare, and choose a purchase carefully really pays off. You won't have to worry about problems in the future and you will have less regrets and disappointments.
So, in this guide, let's focus on the simplest and most important considerations you should make based on your skills, the intended purpose, budget, and other preferences.
Reliability is all the more important when hunting because it does not only determine the accuracy and precision of shots but your own safety as well. Light and flimsy plastic or inferior materials may be cheap, but have poor quality and construction. These can cause disappointments and increase your risk of hurting yourself or coming home empty-handed.
● Power and Velocity
These two factors go hand in hand and can make the difference between a successful hunting trip and an unsuccessful one. When it comes to crossbows, power often determines the impact and range of the shots. However, a higher velocity does not necessarily mean a longer range of 20 to 30 yards.
A bow's power is often indicated in terms of kinetic energy (KE), which is dependent on the velocity and arrow weight. However, KE decreases as the arrow travels, so this is just an estimation of the impact a shot will cause.
Cocking a high-powered crossbow can require a lot of energy but it's worth noting that 20 foot-pounds of energy is already enough to kill a deer. You should also match the power and velocity of your crossbow with your own strength and body size.
Safety is another aspect that you should pay close attention to. Always look for safety mechanisms and follow safety precautions or instructional manuals carefully. Usually, models from reputable brands and manufacturers include helpful instructions based on expert advice. Watching videos and reading articles like this one may also help.
Fast shots are often also powerful shots. These will help you achieve a clean, quick kill and prevent your injured target from wandering too far. For the speed, note the strength and size of the bolts.
● Arrow track
The arrow track, sometimes referred to as the barrel or flight track, is the physical structure that allows you to launch an arrow. A more precise arrow track will ensure a more accurate downrange delivery of the arrow.
● Operational Noise
When hunting, it is important to stay concealed and hidden or risk scaring your prey away. Recurve crossbows with parallel limbs are already some of the most quiet crossbows you will ever find. Experts recommend using this for minimal noise although they do not shoot as fast as other types of recurve crossbows.
Light crossbows are easy to carry around, transport, or travel with. However, these are also harder to control and keep steady while shooting. Heavier crossbows tend to be easier to handle, which can positively affect your aim.
● Draw Weight
Draw weight refers to the amount of force needed to pull the limbs of a bow into a firing position. Higher draw weight values usually mean faster arrow speed.
To give you a better idea, a draw weight of at least 150 pounds for a 300-fps velocity crossbow is generally recommended for a humane kill. The rule of thumb among hunters is that the larger your target animal is, the higher the draw weight and total arrow weight should be.
The material used for a specific crossbow will also determine its durability, strength, and performance. To make sure that you end up buying a good crossbow, always check the material with which all of its individual parts are made.
Metal parts often define a high-quality weapon since anything plastic tends to break easily.
● Extra Features
Because of the number of available choices in the market today, many crossbows have different special features. Although the basic design and function are almost the same, some crossbows have add-on features that add to their safety, accuracy, dependability, and ease of use.
● Brand and manufacturer
Many different companies are now producing crossbows. Choosing the best recurve crossbow will also involve knowing which brands and manufacturers offer the best products. Visiting a certified dealer and testing and reviewing the products from various manufacturers may seem to be a lot of work, but will be very helpful.
There you have it! Now you see why the clear winner of this roundup review for me is the SA Sports Empire Terminator Recon Recurve Crossbow.
It comes from a trusted brand and made with the highest quality materials like compression fiberglass limbs. It also has a 185-pound draw weight and is on the heavier side at 6.5 pounds for maximum performance and stability. Although it is quite expensive, it is totally worth every buck for quality and durability.
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