Top 5 Crossbows For Big Game Hunting in 2020

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Are you looking for the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020? In this post we’ll be reviewing the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 like deer, moose, turkey and elk. At the end of the post we’ll even discuss how you can record your crossbow hunts with an action camera!

A crossbow might look intimidating but it’s actually simple and easy to use. There are different types of crossbows like compound crossbows, reverse draw crossbows and recurve crossbows.

Which type of crossbow is the best for a beginner? What crossbow is the best under $1000? What are the best selling crossbows? What are the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020? These are the questions we’ll be answering in this article.

We’re here to give you an honest review of crossbows and inform you about which crossbow is the best for your needs.

Different types of crossbows

If you’re looking for the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 then you have to know which types of crossbows there are on the market. There isn’t one best crossbow. There is however a perfect crossbow for everyone. Take the time to check out different models and find the correct one for you. Compare features and find the best crossbow for your needs. Crossbows have different shapes, speeds, sizes, weights, draw weights, pulling mechanisms and of course different prices.

Remember that if you want to hunt bigger animals it usually requires a faster traveling arrow and a higher draw weight! Finding the best crossbows for big game hunting can be a little hard nowadays.

Recurve Crossbows

A recurve crossbow is the simplest version of a crossbow. It is also harder to cock and louder when shooting than a compound crossbow.

However, it’s easy to maintain, more durable, has better accuracy, more reliable and pretty much maintenance free. Uncocking a recurve crossbow is also very easy.

Compound Crossbows

A compound crossbow has a lot of moving parts and can look intimidating to beginner crossbow hunters. Because of those moving parts, a compound crossbow requires more maintenance than a recurve crossbow, hard to uncock, is less accurate and not that reliable.

However, those extra moving parts can help you cock a crossbow more easily and generate a lot more power. A lot of compound crossbows use synthetic or plastic parts. The synthetic parts can dampen the sound of the crossbow shooting.

Reverse draw Crossbow

A reverse draw crossbow is the most compact version of a crossbow. The limbs are placed in a different way, adding another string to fire the arrow/bolt. A reverse draw crossbow is very light, has a shorter power stroke, easy to cock, shorter axle to axle length, and smaller but more aggressive cams. All this to make one of the most compact and most powerful crossbows of the three different types.

But every crossbow has its cons. A reverse draw crossbow can be quite expensive and your options are limited as not a lot of companies make them.

Brands

There are tonnes of brands that manufacture crossbows. As explained below in the #costs section, there’s a crossbow for anybody with any budget. There are manufacturers that produce bows that aren’t that consistent. Some manufacturers use molds to create the stock of the crossbow. Because of temperature changes, the eventual product can twist, bend or even have cracks inside the stock. This can lead to inaccuracy, slight differences when you compare the exact same type of bow and even breaking the crossbow while you’re trying to shoot or cock.

We recommend that you stick with certain brands. They have been on the market for a very long time and their customers keep returning to them for a reason.

Here’s a small list of popular crossbow brands that have been around for ages or have proven themselves.

  • TenPoint
  • Excalibur
  • Ravin
  • SA Sports
  • Barnett
  • Parker
  • Carbon Express
  • Horton
  • Wicked Ridge
  • Centerpoint

What do you need to consider when buying a new crossbow?

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re buying your new (or maybe first) crossbow. If you want to know what the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 are, you’ll need to consider multiple things. Not everybody has the cash to spend, some people prefer a certain type of material, others want to buy a crossbow with their preferred scope and I (and probably many others) prefer speed and accuracy.

Costs

A good beginner entry level crossbow costs around $400 to $600. If you’re a beginner it’s best to start out with a crossbow in the range of $400 to $600 and later step up. You can compare the costs of a crossbow to hunting rifles. They’re around the same price depending on your needs. You don’t have to break the bank to get into crossbow hunting but hunting isn’t cheap. There’s a crossbow for anybody with any budget.

Material

Ensure the crossbow is made of high quality materials. Almost everybody prefers to use a more lightweight crossbow. Up to a couple years ago, it was normal to think that lighter crossbows are usually less powerful, but in this day and age that’s not true anymore. Frames are made out of different types of material ranging from metal and aluminum frames to high quality plastic frames or synthetic frames. Find the right balance to find the best crossbow for your needs.

Scope Options

There are loads of options when it comes to crossbow scopes. Usually the crossbows that are in the low to mid range come with a non speed rated scope. There are also differences in the reticles of the scopes. Some reticles are green or red and can be bright or dim.

Most manufacturers claim if you use their recommended arrow and their recommended crossbow and scope combination that the settings of the scope match perfectly, which is seldom the case. You therefore always have to test your scope and crossbow before you actually start hunting animals. A three or four yards difference can mean the kill of your life or the miss of your life…

Draw Weight

In order to fully cock and lock your bowstring, a certain amount of force is required. When the bowstring is fully cocked and locked that’s when the draw weight is at it’s peak. A higher draw weight is required in order to kill bigger animals. In order to hunt big game animals like turkey, moose or deer a crossbow with a draw weight of 150-200 is required. Some states prohibit the use of crossbows with a draw weight higher than 200.

Kinetic Energy

How fast a arrow or bolt travels is mentioned with FPS (Feet Per Second). A higher draw weight does not always mean a faster traveling arrow. It depends on many factors.

Regulations

Hunting doesn’t come without any laws and regulations. These laws and regulations are there to distinguish poachers from legal hunters. Every state has it’s own rules and regulations. Federal and state park rangers and game wardens have the task to enforce these laws and regulations.

Make sure to check with your state which laws and regulations are in place. Hunting laws and regulations are not the same across the country.

Top 5 Crossbows For Big Game Hunting in 2020

Want to know what the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 like deer, elk, bears or turkey are? We’ve compiled a list of 5 crossbows for big game hunting in 2020. Start your hunting season with the perfect crossbow!

Name

Speed

Draw Weight

Dimensions width (uncocked/cocked) x length

Weight

Tenpoint Nitro XRT

Check price on Amazon

470 FPS

9 lbs

12" / 6.5" x 29.5"

7.4 lbs

Ravin R29X Sniper

Check price on Amazon

450 FPS

12 lbs

10.5" / 6" x 29"

6.75 lbs

Excalibur Bulldog 440

Check price on Amazon

440 FPS

15 lbs

30” / 23” x 35.75”

6.2 lbs

Wicked Ridge RDX 400

Check price on Amazon

400 FPS

8.5 lbs

15" / 9" x 33.25"

7.6 lbs

Barnett Whitetail Hunter II

Check price on Amazon

350 FPS

150 lbs

18.25" / 13" x 34.25"

6.4 lbs

TenPoint Nitro XRT Crossbow

Go hunting for big game in 2020 with the Tenpoint Nitro XRT Crossbow! The TenPoint Nitro XRT can shoot 20 inch CenterPunch arrows with speeds of up to 470 FEET PER SECOND! No other crossbow can compete with the TenPoint Nitro XRT Crossbow. It is the fastest and most accurate crossbow you can currently buy. Weighing only 7.4 lbs, with less fatigue, it’s easy to carry it with you when you’re hunting in the woods. The width of the crossbow is only 7 inches and the length is 29 inches.

No other crossbow can compete with the TenPoint Nitro XRT Crossbow.

Not only does the TenPoint Nitro XRT crossbow has record breaking speeds, it also has the most accurate scope mounted that’s currently on the market. The 1.5-6x variable speed EVO-X Marksman Scope is designed with high quality glass etched reticles and 14x fully multi-coated lenses for precision down-range accuracy. The scope is outfitted with quick-detach scope rings, a bubble level, and high-quality flip-up scope caps.

Cock the crossbow with the Silent ACUdraw Pro Cocking Device that comes standard with the crossbow. It then only takes a draw force of 9 pounds to fully cock the Nitro XRT crossbow.

Note: You have to use the Pro Light Carbon Arrow (370-grains) to fully utilize the power of the Nitro XRT and reach speeds of 470 FPS. People have even reported speeds of 475 FPS.

Click here to read our full review of the TenPoint Nitro XRT.

Ravin R29x Sniper Crossbow

The Ravin R29 Sniper Crossbow is 2nd on the list for a reason. It’s the latest crossbow from Ravin for the 2020 hunting season. This crossbow is lightweight, has high accuracy and shoots arrows at 450 FPS. If you’re a beginner, the Ravin R29x Sniper is the perfect crossbow ! With only a draw weight of 12 lbs the Ravin R29x Sniper is very easy to cock and pretty much dead silent. It’s equipped with a 100-yard illuminated scope so you can fully take advantage of the speed and accuracy the Ravin R29x has to offer.

Ravin introduced a new cocking system with their new R29x crossbows. It's now a fully integrated silent cocking system. No clicks, no sounds, dead silence.

The Ravin R29x Sniper weighs only 6.75 lbs, measures 6 inches axle to axle cocked, 10.5 inches not cocked and has a length of 29 inches. One of the main features the Ravin R29X Sniper boasts is the ‘Helicoil’ technology. With the helicoil technology, the arrows basically float. No rail friction, better speed, increased accuracy and longer string life are the results.

Ravin introduced a new cocking system with their new R29x crossbows. It’s now a fully integrated silent cocking system. No clicks, no sounds, dead silence.

If you’re looking for speed and accuracy then the Ravin R29x Sniper is one of the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020!

Click here to read our full review of the Ravin R29X Sniper.

Excalibur Bulldog 440 Crossbow

You can’t go wrong with an Excalibur crossbow! The Excalibur Bulldog 440 is a very silent recurve crossbow that has a draw weight of 300 lbs and can shoot arrows at 440 FPS. One of the main features besides shooting at ridiculous high speeds is the fact that you can uncock without discharging the crossbow. The crossbow only weight 6.2 lbs. The width of the crossbow is 30 inches and has a length of 35.75 inches. While the Excalibur Bulldog 440 has a draw weight of 300 pounds, it comes standard with an Excalibur Charger EXT Silent Crank, reducing the cocking effort on this bow to just 15 pounds!

Excalibur Bulldog 440

The Excalibur Bulldog 440 features a Bullpup Hawke XB30 PRO Illuminated Crossbow Scope. This scope gives repeatable accuracy shot after shot. The Hawke XB30 allows for calibration on bows up to 450 fps, making it perfect for the Excalibur Bulldog 440 crossbow. Once sighted in at 20 yards, the variable power magnification system, functioning as a speed ring, can be used to calibrate the scope to the speed of the bow to provide even 10 yard aim points out to 100 yards. The SR crossbow scope features a red/green illuminated glass etched reticle. The rheostat to adjust brightness has 5 levels on each color. The reticle features illuminated hollow circles with a 2″ ‘Kill Zone’ at the corresponding distance.

Do not try to cock the Excalibur Bulldog 440 with a RCD because you’ll be likely to throw your back out. Use the supplied crank and after about 16-18 rotations you’ll be fully cocked.

Click here to read our full review on the Excalibur Bulldog 440.

Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow

This Wicked Ridge WR19060-5532 RDX 400 Crossbow is a perfectly balanced reverse draw crossbow featuring a 3x Lighted Pro-View Scope. The crossbow only weighs 7.6 lbs making it easy to carry it around with you in the woods or fields. The RDX 400 can shoot arrows with high accuracy and lighting speeds up to 400 FPS. It also features an integrated String Stop System that fits into the end of the barrel to reduce noise and vibration. The Wicked Ridge RDX 400 crossbow, measured from axle to axle, is only 9 inches wide and 33.25 inches long.

Wicked Ridge RDX 400

Update: Wicked Ridge now says that they deliver the crossbow with “13-grain aluminum insert 2.0″ Easton Bully Boattail Vane and TenPoint’s white Alpha-Nock arrows.” This should fix the problem with the Omni-Nock arrows.

The Wicked Ridge WR19060-5532 RDX 400 Crossbow is one of the cheaper reverse draw crossbows. The crossbow itself is very good but are sometimes delivered with Omni Nock arrows. Using Omni Nocks with the Wicked Ridge crossbow is a very bad idea. Lots of customers tried to fire Omni nock arrows with this crossbow and the string snapped. When ordering a Wicked Ridge WR19060-5532 RDX 400 crossbow, make sure to order separate Alpha Nocks.

Click here to read our full review on the Wicked Ridge RDX 400.

Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow

The best bang for your buck: The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow. The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II crossbow is a compound crossbow and features a 4x32mm Multi-Reticle Scope. It only has a draw weight of 150 lbs to shoot arrows at 350 FPS but this should be plenty for hunting whitetail deer, just as the name of the crossbow suggests… It’s surprisingly quiet, compared to other crossbows in the same price-range. Axle to axle only measures 16.125 inches, a total width of 18.25 inches and a length of 34.25 inches. Because the crossbow only weighs 6.4 lbs, it’s easy to carry it around when you’re hunting in the woods or fields.

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II crossbow is a compound crossbow and features a  4x32mm Multi-Reticle Scope.

Barnett installed nock sensors and an anti-dry fire trigger system and should give you peace of mind for double the safety, and a 3-pound, zero-creep release gives you confidence to make the shot.

If you’re looking for a crossbow under the $400 price-range, this is the best crossbow for big game hunting in 2020 to choose for a beginner hunter or a hunter on a budget.

Click here to read our full review of the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II.

Making your Crossbow last longer

Once the hunting season is coming, it’s time to inspect your crossbows again! Tighten and lube the bolts, wax your string and lube the mechanical parts. Always take care of your property. This is also the same with a crossbow. Taking proper care of your crossbow can make your crossbow last years longer! If you don’t take good care of your crossbow, the accuracy of the crossbow might drop or your crossbow can even damage or break!

You don’t have to put much time into maintaining your crossbow. Almost every crossbow requires the same maintenance. The only thing that’s sometimes different is the trigger mechanism.

Waxing Strings and Cables

Keeping your crossbow string waxed properly is key. It’s one of, if not the most, important part of your crossbow. Failing to keep your crossbow strings and cables waxed properly can result in serious damages, especially if you have a compound crossbow. You don’t want to damage one of the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020.

A crossbow can generate a lot of power with a sudden stop. In order for the crossbow string to keep its elasticity, it needs to be a bit moist. Use wax to keep the strings moist.

Wax your crossbow string every 5 shots. It only takes a minute or two and will save you a few bucks in the long run, potentially even a trip to the hospital.

How to wax a crossbow string?

  1. Apply a drop or two of wax on the string with your preferred wax applicator. Make sure to not wax the middle of the string. This can potentially cause a buildup of wax in the trigger mechanism.
  2. Rub the waxed areas to create a bit of heat. The heat will make sure the wax will completely get into the string.
  3. Make sure to clean any excess wax.

Notes: Wax your crossbow string once it starts to look ‘fuzzy’. If you use your crossbow a lot, make sure to replace your string once in a while.

Always make sure to check the instruction manual from your manufacturer’s crossbow. 

We recommend ‘Barnett Outdoors Crossbow Lube Wax’ for waxing your crossbow string. Click here to order 3 cans of ‘Barnett Outdoors Crossbow Lube Wax’.

Lubricating the Rail, Arrow Track and Trigger

All parts of the crossbow need to be protected from weathering and usage. Apply lubricants to any mechanical part of the crossbow. To maintain high-accuracy shots, it’s important to lube the rail or barrel of your crossbow once in a while. Some strings barely hit the rail of the crossbow and it only takes a couple of drops of oil every 1000 shots. Other strings have a lot of power and rub against the rail a lot. It’s recommended to at least lube them once in a while. Make sure to check with your manufacturer before you lube the trigger. If you have a compound bow, make sure to put some drops of oil on the wheels as well!

Arrows or Bolts

Using the correct arrow or bolt with your crossbow is a must. If you want to use the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 then you should not save money on arrows. Using the wrong arrow can result in damage to your crossbow or even the possibility of hurting yourself. Each crossbow requires its own unique arrow or bolt. There are loads of differences between the arrows that are for sale. Differences like weight, length, thickness, material and nock designs.

For the Tenpoint Nitro XRT Crossbow, TenPoint recommends to use the EVO-X Lighted CenterPunch Premium Carbon Crossbow Arrows. These arrows are constructed from modulus carbon fiber and wrapped in an exclusive LAZER-TECH carbon weave that increases straightness spine consistency by 80 percent and increases strength by 40 percent.

Read more on buying the correct arrow or bolt for your crossbow here.

Once again, make sure to check with the manual that came with the crossbow. The manufacturer will tell you the correct arrow or bolt size, weight, material and nock design.

Storing your Crossbow

When the hunting season comes to an end, it’s time to store your crossbow. It’s best to store the crossbow in a case. Make sure the room you store your crossbow in, is dry and cool. Heat and moisture can cause a lot of damage to your crossbow. If you’ve got one of the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 then you should properly store your crossbow!

Follow the crossbow maintenance tips we listed out above and you’ll be sure to enjoy your crossbow for years to come!

Record your kills!

Besides discussing the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 we also promised to discuss possibilities to record your crossbow kills. With today’s technology, nothing is impossible anymore. Recording your kills has never been more easy!

There are multiple ways to record your hunting trips with different types of action cameras. Use a stabilizer on your compound bow or buy a clamp mount that sits directly above your crossbow’s scope so your viewers can see exactly what you saw.

It’s also possible to use your own smartphone for recording your kills with a smartphone hunting mount for crossbows. Why pay hundreds of dollars for poor quality action cams when you can use your own high quality smart phone! Video your own hunt! See where you hit or even miss the game! While your phone is mounted, you can see the time, text or play on the Internet all while being ready if that big buck steps out!

GameStickLLC Smart Cell Phone Hunting Mount for Crossbows, Bows and Guns!

Conclusion

You should now have a general idea on what the best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020 are. If you’re looking for a crossbow that doesn’t require much maintenance then a recurve crossbow is the perfect crossbow to hunt with. A reverse draw and a compound crossbow doesn’t require a lot of strength to cock, but requires a lot more maintenance.

We rank the TenPoint Nitro XRT at number 1 and the Ravin R29x Sniper at number 2 on our list for best crossbows for big game hunting in 2020. These crossbows are rather expensive but their speed and accuracy are unmatched by any other crossbow on the market. If you’re looking for the best crossbows for big game hunting at a relative cheap price, you should definitely consider the Excalibur Bulldog 440.

If you really don’t have much money to spend on a crossbow, then the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II might be for you. The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is enough to kill deer, but might just not have enough power to kill that big-game animal you’re after.

Once again, take care of your crossbow and good hunting!

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