The crossbow is a weapon of skill, focus and persistence. The beauty of using an archery weapon for hunting is in its relative silence compared to rifle hunting, in addition to the meditative practice it takes to reach the level required to hunt at. Crossbows are a great choice for hunters because they rely less on the archer's strength to draw, allowing you to take aim more carefully than you could with a traditional bow. For a day-trip into the woods, your shoulders and arms will thank you for choosing a crossbow. A common misconception we found is that crossbows are less safe than vertical bows, although in our testing this did not appear obvious. Hunters looking for greater accuracy for bow hunting should consider trying out a crossbow. Plus, for people who are older, disabled, or are dealing with other factors that make drawing a vertical bow difficult, a crossbow offers a way to continue hunting safely and comfortably.
Alright, so you've read the crossbow reviews, looking for a fast crossbow that will bring down small to medium size game, or target practice. Top rated crossbows always seem impressive, and for the most part, they can be very powerful. Like, take-down-a-bear powerful. But if you're on a budget, or don't usually hunt bears, you might just be looking for the best crossbow for the money. We at OutSmart Brands took aim at sorting through the details and creating a fantastic crossbow buying guide.
You may have seen the Killer Instinct KI350, a bestselling and top rated crossbow. It has a relatively high price--though not atypical in the world of archery--and we wanted to know if there were low price options that were just as good. We took stock of the KI350 and tested a variety of cheap crossbows against it to find a comparable light crossbow option with a low price. The Barnett Recruit Recurve ended up being our pick for the best cheap crossbow option against the KI350.
The Killer Instinct KI350 is a solid compound crossbow. If you're looking for a more powerful crossbow, you may prefer the KI350 over the Barnett Recruit Recurve, but a good crossbow is more than speed alone. The KI350 is one of the best-rated crossbows for hunting deer and larger game due to its high FPS and foot-pounds rating. It also comes with a high-quality illuminated glass reticle scope with an anti-fog coating that seems to need barely any tweaking to hold zero. If you regularly go bow hunting for elk and other large animals, or want more power at your disposal for deer hunting, the KI350 is a great choice. Since the KI350 is a compound crossbow, it has more odds and ends that can be difficult or cumbersome to deal with. However, if you are new to crossbow hunting or want to focus predominantly on hunting deer and smaller game, you may prefer the simple but reliable setup of the Barnett Recruit Recurve.
The Barnett Recruit Recurve is one of the best recurve crossbow models available at a low price. Recurve crossbows have simpler setups than compound crossbows, and their ease of use may improve your accuracy. At 245 FPS and 65 foot-pounds, this quiet crossbow gives you enough power to shoot deer as well as turkeys, rabbits, ducks, and the woodchuck that's been skulking around the backyard. The Recruit Recurve is a best value crossbow thanks to its range of hunting applications as well as its included starter red dot sight scope and arrows. The recurve design is easy for beginners to use, and can be a nice break for intermediate archers from more complicated bows. Dedicated hunters may prefer to replace the included scope, which is pretty bare-bones. The adjustable buttstock makes it a great option for young archers due for a growth spurt or two, as well as for sharing among people of different heights.
The KI350 crossbow shoots arrows at 350 FPS with an initial foot-pounds kinetic energy measurement of 109. A properly shot arrow will have enough kinetic energy after fifty yards to penetrate big game like buffalo, bears, or elk. This crossbow is a better option for hunting larger animals, but may be a bit much for smaller game.
The Barnett Recruit Recurve is rated at 245 FPS. This still produces an impressive initial burst of 65 FPKE that decreases to around 53 FPKE by the time it travels 50 yards. This is actually more than enough for hunting deer, antelope, and turkey, we wouldn't suggest taking a chance with larger game like elk because you run the risk of seriously wounding, but not killing.
The Makita chainsaw has a 15 amp motor. This amperage offers higher power than the 7-12 amp chainsaws that are more common on the market, meaning a 15 amp electric chainsaw is closer to the power of a gas chainsaw. Plugging into a 20 amp circuit is your best option for good performance and safety.
The Black+Decker chainsaw also has a 15 amp motor. Amperage matters when it comes to choosing an extension cord. If you want to extend the reach of your corded electric chainsaw, choose an outdoor extension cord in at least 12 gauge, which is a heavier-duty wire than your average indoor extension cord.
The KI350 crossbow requires at least 380-grain arrows. Using arrows that are too light for your bow can be a safety concern, as well as making your shots louder.
The Recruit Recurve can take a minimum of 340-grain arrows, which gives you a little bit more of a range to work with depending on how you want to use the bow.
The KI350 crossbow has a 3.5-pound trigger pull with a fully machined CNC aluminum flight rail. This is supposed to be more accurate than molded and pressed rails, but it drives up the price.
The Barnett crossbow also has a 3.5-pound trigger pull. Its trigger is made using the metal injection molding method (MIM), which still allows you to shoot accurately in most situations.
The KI350 crossbow has a power stroke of 14 inches. Generally, a long power stroke improves the speed of the arrow, but manufacturers tend to balance the power stroke with other factors, such as the draw weight or limb design. 14 inches is an average power stroke length for a crossbow.
The Barnett Recruit Recurve crossbow has a 12.5-inch power stroke. Shorter than the KI350's power stroke by 11%, the Barnett crossbow's power stroke is not offset with a heavier draw weight. As a result, although the Recruit Recurve is less powerful than the KI350, it is easy to shoot with.
The Killer Instinct crossbow has a 165-pound draw weight. A heavier draw weight results in a faster shot, but it is also more difficult to draw. Many states in the US set a minimum draw weight ranging from 75 to 125 pounds for hunting.
The Barnett recurve crossbow has a 150-pound draw weight. This falls within the range of draw weights ideal for use in hunting, although this crossbow is also a great choice for target practice and for use by less experienced archers.
The KI350 crossbow comes with an illuminated glass reticle scope. This scope seems to hold zero pretty well and has a fog proof coating. It runs on a CR 2032 3V coin battery.
The Barnett crossbow comes with a red dot sight that we found is less well-made than the KI350's included scope, but it is easy to find an upgrade scope option for a low price.
The KI350 crossbow does not have an adjustable buttstock, making it a better option for use by people who are fully grown, rather than for young people or for sharing between multiple people.
The Barnett crossbow has an adjustable buttstock, so this is a crossbow that can grow with you. The Recruit Recurve may be a good choice for youngsters and young adults interested in archery.
The KI350 crossbow has an anti dry-fire mechanism. Dry firing is an easy way to seriously mess up any bow, and ADF mechanisms make dry firing less likely, although not impossible.
The Barnett crossbow also has an anti dry-fire trigger mechanism. Even experienced archers can forget to grab an arrow before starting to draw, but beginners may find the feature especially useful.
The KI350 crossbow is 35 inches long and 18.5 inches wide. This compact size makes it easy to take with you on long trips.
The Barnett crossbow measures 32.5 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, so it is somewhat broader than the KI350 crossbow.
The KI350 crossbow weighs 6.2 pounds. This is a relatively lightweight crossbow, especially for its power, but the Recruit Recurve is just over 20% lighter.
The Barnett crossbow weighs 4.5 pounds, making it a better option for young archers and for attaching accessories without worrying about the extra weight.