The bow and arrow are fascinating. The bow is the weapon of choice of heroes in movies, be them historical pieces or fantasy movies placed in a dystopian future. Archery competitions are some of the most popular features of international games, and television shows are full of bow wielding superheroes.
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We can find some iteration of the bow in all major society’s history. It’s the first mechanical device that could launch a projectile faster than a person could throw by their hand. It is a phenomenal tool for use on horseback in mounted combat. The bow could not be beat for speed and accuracy until the revolving pistol.
Even though the modern hunter and target shooter have access to a limitless array of firearms, thousands of people prefer to use a bow. The question is, should you purchase a compound bow? Or is a crossbow better suited for your needs? To answer these questions, we have put together information highlighting the differences of each weapon with the goal of letting you decide which one will be perfect for you.
Simple Questions to Help You Decide
There are some simple questions you can ask that may make it easier for you decide what style of bow is right for you. For example:
· Do you want to be a hunter? Or are you looking to target practice?
· How much time do you have to dedicate to practicing your bow?
· What is your budget?
· Are crossbows legal to use for target practice or hunting in your state?
· Do you have injuries or handicaps that could limit your ability to use a compound bow?
Differences Between a Compound Bow and a Crossbow
The differences between these weapons can be divided into the following categories:
· Drawing the bow
· Power stroke
· Draw weight
The speed/energy of the bow is determined by the draw weight and power stroke. The power stroke defines the distance the bowstring travels from when it’s fully drawn to the rest position. For example, if you have a compound bow that has a 30 in the draw length with a 7 inch brace height, you get a 23 inch power stroke. The longer the power stroke, the faster an arrow will fly from a bow with the same poundage. A 28 inch draw will not shoot as far as a 30 inch draw because the 30 inch draw has the longer power stroke.
To increase the power stroke of a crossbow, you have to increase its length, which makes the crossbow heavier. However, you can increase the power stroke of a compound bow by changing a module to make the draw length longer.
Crossbows have a higher draw weight, with 150 pounds being the average. Your average compound bow will have a draw weight of between 35 and 70 pounds. This allows them to generate more speed and energy, although they have a shorter power stroke. Check out this video to get a good idea of how a crossbow fares versus a compound bow.
Since crossbows have a high poundage, it’s troublesome to draw the bow. It takes a ton of muscle power. Talking about the ease of use of a crossbow, Field & Stream commented, “Crossbows are deadlier. Period.” The average crossbow can shoot a 400 grain bolt at up to 400 FPS. By comparison, a 60 pound compound bow can shoot a 364 grain arrow at around 289 FPS.
Conversely, you can use a crank, which is cumbersome and can take up to half a minute to draw and lock the bow between shots. You do not have the same problems with compound bows. Compound bows are quiet and are easier to draw.
However, crossbows can be used by disabled individuals who may not shoot a bow and arrow while standing. If you have problems with your joints, you may not be able to use a compound bow.
Which Bow Allows for More Accurate Shooting?
The answer to this question is subjective. If you have more experience with a compound bow, then, obviously, you will shoot more accurately with a compound bow. However, the consensus is that crossbows are easier to shoot because they help users aim better. Crossbows are thought to have an easier learning curve because they offer a design that’s easy to grasp and handle.
Which Bow Is Easier for Hunting?
As any experienced hunter knows, carrying a bow through the woods while looking for prey can get heavy after a while. Compound bows are easier to carry while hunting. However, you cannot manage them as effectively as you can a crossbow. It’s important to practice with the bow you will use and understand how to carry it while walking through the woods.
Does a Crossbow Produce Better Results While Hunting?
This is a question that is hotly contested. Any honest hunter must agree that there are pros and cons to using compound bows and crossbows. It comes down to your preference. According to bowhunter-ed, when it comes to range and power, crossbows are equivalent to a long bow or compound bow that has around half the crossbow’s draw weight.
A crossbow may be better for you if:
· An injury prevents you from using a compound bow
· You want to use a bow whether you are standing, kneeling, or sitting
· You want to teach kids how to use a crossbow because it’s easy to learn
· You need a telescopic scope on your crossbow because you have poor eyesight
A compound bow may be right for you if:
· You want to participate in archery tournaments using a bow that requires skill
· You have grown up using a recurve or compound bow
· You appreciate the challenge of hunting with a bow and want to learn how to shoot a compound bow
One factor to consider before purchasing a crossbow or a compound bow is that some states put limitations on when and how you can use your crossbow. You may spend a lot of money on a nice crossbow and realize that you can only use it for a few weeks out of the year.
Conversely, compound bows require more maintenance, are more difficult to restring, and require more commitment to learn than a crossbow. Compound bows require maintenance and a commitment to the sport.
Regardless of if you purchase a crossbow a compound bow, the quality of the bow matters. Cheaper bows will break. This can ruin your hunt. In the worst case scenario, it can lead to personal injury. No matter which option you choose, get something of quality.
So which one is better? It depends on your preference and your physical ability. A crossbow will work well if you have an injury that limits mobility. Crossbows are easier to learn. However, you will be limited on when and how you can use a crossbow. Compound bows require more commitment to learn, but they are the option that offers a higher return for the money you have invested.