Whether you want to try hunting for the first time or are a true passionate hunter, having the right crossbow is very important for you. If you are searching for reasonable crossbows, then here we have the 6 best-hunting crossbows for you and that too under $400.
Not many people appreciate the sport of hunting, but those who do understand that it is not an easy game. Unlike other sports, your game is against nature. When you are successful, you are not only a winner, but you hold pride in taking down a creature that is sharper and quicker (stronger and in some cases, dangerous) than you are. The best part about hunting is the reward you get to enjoy in the end.
The two things crucial for hunting are sharp skills and the right equipment. When you have the passion, you surely have the skills and knowledge you need for hunting. Your job is to have all the necessary equipments for a wonderful and successful hunting sport.
Without good quality crossbow, you cannot have a good hunting game. With a crossbow, you can aim at your target with great technique and power from far away so that you remain safe. Nowadays, crossbows have additional features to make your hunting game very convenient.
The crossbows are available in the market under a wide range of prices. If you do not hunt very often, you do not really need to buy an expensive crossbow. Crossbow manufacturers now offer hunting equipment with all the necessary features, quality of speed and power at a reasonable price. After all, hunting should not be an expensive sport.
Want to know the best part? You can great a sturdy, well equipped, and lightweight hunting crosswalk below $400. We tested the top 15 currently selling crossbows and picked the best six so that you do not have to. Here are the best crossbows under $400 that deliver a high performance.
Barnett Jackal Crossbow – Best All Round
|Power stroke||12 inches|
|Kinetic Energy||95 FT|
|Draw Weight||150 lbs|
Barnet is one of the most popular manufacturers of crossbows. They have offered a wide variety of crossbows ranging from the premium to affordable quality. Regardless of the price and quality, all of the Barnet crossbows are durable and reliable.
Barnet Jackal Crossbow is one of the best crossbows under $400 with a durable machine, excellent balance, and an efficient trigger system. It is the most efficient crossbow in this list. The body is lightweight and has an efficient ergonomic design. You would be interested in this crossbow if you care about the looks.
The stock and grip are separate. The stock has a nice military-style design. The design of the grip lets you hold it like a pistol, giving your hand more freedom and ease of use. However, we found that the stock on this crossbow needs to be adjusted a bit more often than on other crossbows.
Another great thing about Barnett Jackal Crossbow is that it is equipped with a complete set of accessories that are hard to find at such an affordable price. It is quick to detach quiver, bolts and a premium red dot sight.
Killer Instincts Brawler 400 – Best FPS on an Entry Level Crossbow
|Power stroke||15.25 inches|
|Kinetic Energy||131 FT|
|Draw Weight||185 lbs|
The Killer Instinct Crossbow Brawler is the second-best crossbow under $400 for several reasons. It has a narrow, lightweight, and balanced body, so a very good choice for both beginners and experienced hunters. With a shooting power of 400 FPS, it is among the fastest and most accurate crossbows in the market. It is the only 400 FPS crossbow in the market that is under $400.
One of the drawbacks is the draw weight of 200 pounds. The draw weight is manageable for experienced shooters, but beginners may have a little trouble in getting adjusted with it. But we found that the rope cocker helps to reduce the weight around 100 pounds. The speed of this crossbow is lower with 400-450 grain arrows but it is still fast enough for hunting.
Killer Instincts Brawler can be a great pick if you need an accurate and powerful hunting crossbow at a very reasonable price. Overall, the performance and speed are very good according to the price. But the crossbow is not very quiet. If you are still interested in buying this crossbow, we suggest getting the Killer Instinct’s Descending limb silencer for an extra $120, to make your hunting experience smooth and easier.
PSE Fang (Latest Version) – Best Bang for Your Buck
|Power stroke||12.75 inches|
|Kinetic Energy||108.7 FT|
|Draw Weight||165 lbs|
The PSE Fang is worth checking out if you want a crossbow with good performance and solid design at an affordable price. With a great price, you get enough power to hunt, an adequate scope, arrows, and cocking device.
The PSE Fang is not the flashiest crossbow in the market but has everything a new shooter needs to get started. The crossbow does not have extra features, but the features are good enough to serve the main purpose. There is plenty of speed and power to get most of your hunting job. The accuracy of this crossbow is higher than most crossbows in the same price range, but it is not as good as Barnett Jackal’s.
The pistol-like grip makes the crossbow very convenient to shoot the target. We noticed that the grip and trigger are placed forward so that the weight of the crossbow is back against your shoulder. This does not let you tire when you have to hold on to the shooting position for long. The forward grip serves as a thumb guard that keeps the thumb and finger away from the rail.
We appreciated that this crossbow comes with dual string stops, which we did not expect at such a reasonable price. This crossbow previously did not have illuminating reticles in its scope. But now this feature has upgraded too.
Center Point Sniper 370 Crossbow – Most Silent Pick
|Power stroke||13.5 inches|
|Kinetic Energy||112 FT|
|Draw Weight||150 lbs|
The Center Point Sniper is one of the best hunting crossbows under $400. It has smooth operation and is our pick for the most silent hunting crossbows. The efficient noise cancelation mechanism is the highest selling point of this model.
The compact size of the Center Point Sniper ensures that the arrow directly shoots for the target. This makes it a great choice for beginners. With a draw weight of 150 pounds, we expected it to be a bit heavy, but we were surprised to find that the overall design and compact weight doesn’t make it bulky.
The stock of Center Sniper 370 is very adjustable so that the crossbow adapts to your style. Although the crossbow is best for silent shooting, the stock is clunky and can make some sound. We cannot overlook the extras with the Sniper 370 that serve many purposes. The high quality illuminated scope provides you to maximize your chances. There are also three bolts that we found very handy.
Other appreciable features include a nice little quiver for keeping bolts, a shoulder sling to carry the bow with ease, and a rope cocker to eliminate the strain on muscles. We found the safety features satisfactory enough to reduce the risk of random shooting or any accident.
Barnet Whitetail Hunter STR
|Power stroke||15.7 inches|
|Kinetic Energy||118 FT|
|Draw Weight||185 lbs|
This model of Barnet crossbows is a little more updated than the Barnet Jackal Crossbow. It comes with better features and ease of use. We found that there was no need to finish putting the bow together to assemble the bow press. You can use it as soon as you get it. The crossbow also has a rope cocking, which the Barnet lack. On testing, we found that the crossbow requires time and effort to cock.
The Whitetail Hunter is a real step up when looking at its power and accuracy. The accuracy of this crossbow gives above average results. We liked how the crossbow has a compact stock and a narrow limb design, making it great to use in the woods. You can easily camouflage the stock and scope. However, the scope is of lower quality than the Killer Instinct Crossbow.
Barnet Whitetail Hunter Crossbow could be on top of our list if it had a better shooting speed. If you want the same features but with better speed, you can get Barnet Whitetail Hunter Pro STR for extra $120. Otherwise, Barnet Whitetail Hunter is a great choice under $300 for a powerful and accurate crossbow.
Wicked Ridge Warrior Ultralight Crossbow – Best of the Rest
|Power stroke||13.5 inches|
|Kinetic Energy||105 FT|
|Draw Weight||150 lbs|
Wicked Ridge is one of the best selling crossbow company that manufactures a wide variety of crossbows. Wicked Ridge Warrior Ultralight Crossbow is the best in terms of durability and accuracy. You can close to $400.
The setup instructions from the manual are very easy to follow. However, the setup takes about ten to fifteen minutes. First, you need to install the prod with the riser and then attach the stirrup. Then, you have to mount the scope and quiver.
After a few trials, we found the crossbow to accurately hit the target. It is very powerful to take on a deer or elk. Though we would not expect this crossbow to work against a large animal, it seems to deliver great performance for a common hunting game.
The crossbow is fairly light in weight and does not lug you down when you are carrying it on your back. The crossbow includes the manufacturer’s Multi-Line scope with the Warrior HL. We found the scope to be decent, but it lacks illuminated reticles. This scope is perfect for 50-yards shot, but it is not very convenient for the dark.
What we did not appreciate about the crossbow and arrow kit is that the arrows are made out of aluminum. The modern-day crossbows are too powerful for the aluminum arrows. Arrows made with aluminum have high chances of breaking.
This crossbow has a dry fiber inhibitor as a safety feature. The safety feature is very effective and does not let the crossbow fire until it is safely loaded.
Velocity – The Most Important Features to Look for When Buying a Hunting Crossbow
Velocity is one of the most important features of the crossbow. The velocity of the crossbow is a measure of how long an arrow can shoot in a second. It is measured in feet per second (FPS). The more the velocity, the better is the speed and performance of the crossbow.
However, it does not mean that you should get a crossbow with the highest velocity in the market. The velocity of 400 FPS or anything near that is very good for a crossbow.
FPS and FPKE
All crossbows are given a speed rating or velocity by manufacturers. This measure shows how fast in feet per second (FPS) a particular bolt shot from a particular bow will travel.
TIP: most manufacturers estimate crossbow FPS with their branded default bolts, so FPS may significantly vary depending on bolts you are actually using on the field.
Speed is just one feature to compare when it comes to hunting, you can shoot a grain of dust at 400 fps and it won’t even make a scratch on a buck’s back. The physical power of an arrow shot is measured in Foot Pounds of Kinetic Energy (fpke). Some x-bow manufacturers will specify the fpke that a bolt shot from their device can inflict. The fpke rating is crucial in terms of hunting since it determines at what distance your shot can be deadly when hunting. You can expect that the power will decrease by three to four percent for every 10 yards of additional distance to your target. Thus, if you start with 100 fpke and then decide to shoot at a target that is 30 yards further you can expect closer to 90 fpke.
How to Calculate FPKE?
In order to calculate the value of fpke you need to know arrow mass (bolt grains) and your crossbow fps. Then use the following formula:
KE = mass x velocity in fps on the arrow squared / 450,240
i.e. For a 325 grain arrow shot at 360 fps, (325*(360*360)) / 450240 = 84.45 fpke.
If that causes trouble, you can always try the easiest way google for “kinetic energy calculator”.
Here are two types of weight you should not get confused about. One is the bow weight, which is the entire weight of the crossbow. It is crucial to consider the bow weight before buying the crossbow as it can significantly increase or decrease the maneuverability of the hunting device.
Regardless of the presence of bows, arrows, and other parts, the ideal crossbow should be lighter in weight so that it is portable and easy to use for hunting. It should be light enough to manage the crossbow especially when aiming and shooting the target. Beginners should definitely go for low weight crossbows.
Another type of weight mentioned in the specs of the crossbow is the draw weight. It is not the weight; rather, it is the amount of force you put to draw the crossbow back to its cocked position. The draw weight affects the ease of handling the crossbow and managing its arrow speed. Unlike the bow weight, the draw weight should not be very high as it can cause difficulty in using the bow.
The arrow track determines the launching curve of the arrow. This is important to maintain the correct accuracy and speed of the crossbow.
When you are going to hunt an animal, you want to be as quiet as possible. The hearing sense of animals is much better than ours, and so they can hear the slightest of noise. Make sure you get a crossbow that has some kind of silencing mechanism in it.
If you are getting extra parts with a crossbow at an affordable price, do consider buying it. Foot stirrups, sling, and red dot can help with your performance and can provide convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most entry level-crossbows do not come with a set of complete accessories and equipment like the $1000 models. Other than the arrow, target red dot, bolts and quivers, premium quality crossbows have much more. They have a sling to carry around shoulders, come with high quality and a large number of arrows that are very tough.
The entry-level crossbows have a fair accuracy and power but do not match the power, performance, and accuracy of the premium ones.
There are three ways to make a crossbow quitter.
The first one is to lubricate or add wax to the bowstring. This will prevent friction and will produce very little to no noise.
The second and best method is to use the silencing limb. A good quality silencing limb can go a long way to make your crossbow quitter.
The third method to prevent your crossbow from being noisy is to add stops at the end of the bowstring though not all crossbows come with their own stops, those that do have a great feature in this regard.
Good quality crossbows are more accurate than conventional bows. They provide better speed, power, and accuracy than the regular bows. However, the crossbows of cheaper quality are not accurate and safer than the regular bows as the lack of safety mechanism and other features.