What is the Range of Crossbows?

Understanding the range of your crossbow is vital to getting the most from its accuracy. Crossbow range refers to the maximum distance a bolt can travel effectively and accurately. Range varies depending on various factors like bolt weight, draw weight, bolt speed and trajectory. Modern crossbows usually have effective ranges extending out to 80 yards. 

There are some key factors that will affect crossbow range, which include the bow's power, bolt aerodynamics, shooter's skill, and environmental conditions like wind. Optics Force offers one of the best selections of crossbows and our team of experts have decades of experience in crossbow hunting and shooting. 

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know when it comes to crossbow range and how to produce accurate shots at maximum distance in the field. 

Factors Affecting Crossbow Range

Crossbow Power and Speed

A crossbow’s range will mainly depend on a number of factors related to its power and the speed at which the bolt is able to travel. The draw weight refers to the amount of force required to pull the string back into the locked ‘draw’ position. This draw weight will directly influence the speed at which the bolt is traveling, which is measured in “feet per second,” or FPS. 

The kinetic energy output is determined by draw weight and bolt speed, and plays a major role in its overall range capability. More kinetic energy means the bolt will maintain much of its velocity over a longer distance, propelling the bolt further with less dropping. Essentially, higher draw weight boosts FPS and kinetic energy, significantly extending the effective range of the crossbow.

Arrow Weight

The weight of a bolt influences a crossbow's effective range. The bolt weight tolerance is measured in grains. Heavier bolts will retain momentum to a better degree, offering better stability and more target penetration, but reduced speed. Lighter bolts will travel faster initially, delivering a noticeable flatness of trajectory, but are more affected by wind and not recommended for big game animals in hunting. 

Arrow types require specific point weights for optimal performance. Light bolts are great for target shooting and will offer extended range, but may not provide enough kinetic energy to result in an ethical shot on a big game animal at more than 40 years. Heavier bolts will not travel at the same speed at their lighter counterparts, but are much more preferable when penetration is key in hunting scenarios. 

Scope Quality

Scope quality enhances a crossbow's range by improving sighting accuracy. Most crossbow experts recommend scope magnification ranging from 1-5x for crossbows. Lens coatings reduce glare and enhance light transmission, which is crucial for clarity and long-range accuracy. The reticle design may offer holdover points or range compensation marks, which is extremely helpful in accurate shooting. These reticle markings help shooters by guiding elevation and windage adjustments, resulting in more accurate shot placement.

Typical Crossbow Ranges

Hunting Crossbows

The average effective range for hunting crossbows is typically 30 to 50 yards. At this distance, hunters can usually achieve accurate, ethical shots on most game animals. Most modern hunting crossbows offer maximum range capabilities of about 100 yards or more, but there are serious ethical considerations related to taking shots at this distance. 

There is greater likelihood of missing or wounding the animal at ranges above 60 or 70 yards for most crossbow shooters. Even with significant practice and expertise, taking a shot at more than 80 yards is not typically recommended unless the shooter is fully confident in their abilities. Beyond a distance of 50 yards, certain factors like wind, bolt drop, and target movement increase the chances of missing the mark and failing to make an ethical shot. 

Target Crossbows

Most target crossbows are capable of greater accuracy at significant distances compared to hunting crossbow models. Some target crossbows are capable of hitting the mark at 200 yards or more in the hands of a skilled shooter. Their design prioritizes accuracy and consistency, rather than stealth and ergonomics. 

Target crossbow brands incorporate advanced engineering and high-performance components that facilitate accurate distance shooting. Some of these components include finely tuned trigger systems, longer power strokes and more sophisticated scopes that feature zoom and multiple reticles. These additions enable shooters to make precise shots at longer ranges, making target crossbows ideal for competitive shooting and practice sessions where accuracy is the main consideration. 

Recreational Crossbows

Most recreational crossbows are less effective in long range shooting. These are crossbows that are generally less expensive than hunting or target crossbow models and can be purchased at most major retail and outdoor stores. Recreational crossbows are recommended for beginners as their functionality is geared toward safety and ease of use, rather than achieving serious accuracy at extreme distances. 

Improving Your Crossbow's Range

Use Lighter Arrows

Using lighter bolts is a good way to increase a crossbow's shooting range. Lighter arrows retain kinetic energy better, which enables them to maintain bolt speeds and flatter trajectories which improves accuracy over longer distances. 

Install a High Quality Scope

Having a better quality scope is highly recommended for shooters who seek to improve their crossbow’s range and accuracy. A quality scope will allow for a more crisp, clear field of view and premium models include features like zoom which significantly increases range. Finding a quality crossbow scope that features multiple reticle markings makes it easier for shooters to adjust windage and elevation. 

Practice Proper Shooting Technique

Practice is the main determining factor in most instances of accurate distance shooting. Proper shooting technique is key to achieving accuracy at any distance, but especially at long range. Train yourself in maintaining a consistent anchor point to experience better distance shooting. 

Breath control is also a commonly overlooked aspect of crossbow accuracy. Much like rifle shooting, controlled breathing is highly important for improved results. Finally, follow through is another overlooked factor that will greatly affect the accuracy of a long range shot. Maintain the same shooting posture until your arrow reaches the target and resist the urge to drop the bow’s position or look up to view the bolt’s trajectory. 

Shop Crossbows at Optics Force

Wide Selection of Top Brands

It’s difficult to find an online retailer that offers a wide selection of crossbow brands at competitive prices, but Optics Force stands out among the competition in this respect. We proudly offer some of the best crossbows in the industry at prices that typically surprise most customers. 

If you’re looking for a solid crossbow that will perform at the range or in the field hunting big game, Xpedition Archery is a brand to consider. The Xpedition Archery Viking X430 Crossbow Package offers a rifle-like feel and incredibly smooth operation. Optics Force offers the Viking X430 in Black and Realtree Edge camo options. 

For serious crossbow enthusiasts seeking a higher quality crossbow, Ravin is one that we recommend with confidence. This brand is one of the more well-known companies in the crossbow industry and they have established a reputation of out-performing the competition when it comes to accuracy, feel and cost. The Ravin R10 Crossbow is arguably the best crossbow when it comes to balancing affordability without sacrificing performance. 

If you’re interested in the best of the best in crossbows, TenPoint is unmatched in the industry. These crossbows have a reputation for rifle-like accuracy, easy operation and some of the most innovative technology and features you’ll find in a crossbow. The TenPoint Turbo S1 Crossbow with ACUslide delivers a blistering 390 FPS rating and can take down the largest big game animals in North America. If cost isn’t stopping you from acquiring the best crossbow model in the industry, then the TenPoint Nitro 505 Xero is what you’re looking for. This model delivers jaw-dropping speed and stealth in a lightweight, compact design that’s extremely easy to handle and irresistibly fun to shoot. 

Expert Guidance

Our dedicated and experienced professionals at Optics Force are ready to assist you in your search for the best crossbow in the industry. We are happy to discuss your specific needs and provide professional product recommendations that will fit perfectly with your budget and specifications. 

We are also capable of providing information related to the proper type and size bolts, as well as tips that should be used in both target and hunting scenarios. If you’re planning your next big game hunting expedition, or just looking to have some fun at the shooting range, our qualified experts are eager to help you with your selections. 

Satisfaction Guarantee

Optics Force stands by our 30-day “Love it or return it” policy which allows you to return your crossbow within 30 days of purchase for a full refund in the event that you’re unhappy with it. Optics Force offers Free Ground Shipping, on all orders and returns, within the contiguous 48 States. We also offer accessorizing services to provide you with a crossbow that’s complete with everything you need to get started right out of the box. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average crossbow range?

The average crossbow range for hunting is typically 30-50 yards, whereas target crossbows can reach over 200 yards. Hunting crossbows prioritize stopping power over distance. 

How far can a crossbow shoot accurately?

A hunting crossbow can shoot accurately up to 30-50 yards while a target model is capable of accurate shots at more than 200 yards. Effective accuracy ranges depend on factors like bolt weight, speed, and the skill level of the shooter. While crossbows may have longer maximum ranges than compound bows, accuracy significantly diminishes beyond their effective ranges due to factors like bolt drop and strong winds. 

What factors increase crossbow range?

Factors such as heavier draw weight, faster bolt speed (FPS), lighter bolt weight, and better bolt stabilization contribute to increased crossbow range, enhancing both maximum distance and accuracy.

How can I get the maximum range from my crossbow?

To maximize crossbow range, use premium bolts, which maintain velocity and stability. Opt for scopes with higher magnification to aid in long-distance accuracy. Additionally, practice refining your shooting technique, including consistent form and follow-through to enhance your overall crossbow performance and extend its effective range.

Shop the Industry’s Top Crossbows

Visit Optics Force’s website and browse our selection of crossbows to find some of the top brands in the industry. Our experts are ready and willing to answer any questions and discuss our products to assist you in your search. 

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