How far will a 400 fps crossbow shoot?

Well, a modern crossbow that shoots at 400 FPS can fire a beam of almost 5, 000 feet if fired at a 45-degree angle. If the crossbow is perfectly level, it can shoot about 240 feet. To understand why these numbers are so different, you need to understand the factors that affect the crossbow's range and the accompanying mathematics. Crossbows have a stock, a scope, a trigger, a handguard, a barrel (or rail) and may look like a rifle.

An average modern crossbow throws a 400-grain arrow at 350 fps and strikes with approximately 100 ft-pounds of kinetic energy at 20 yards. A 30-06 bullet fired from a modern rifle travels nearly 3000 fps striking with more than a ton of kinetic energy at 100 yards. More importantly, the bullet goes from the rifle to impact in a split second and the bullet hits where it's aiming. A crossbow arrow will require several full seconds to travel 100 yards and the aim will be approximately 10 feet above the target.

Crossbows shoot arrows at speeds very similar to those of a compound crossbow, usually between 300 and 400 feet per second. That's a far cry from the more than 2000 feet per second normally seen with a deer rifle. With slower speeds come more loose arrows. The point of impact of a 30-06 is within one or two inches, 10 to 100 yards.

With a crossbow, the difference is measured in feet, not inches. What is the maximum range of a crossbow? It's a difficult question to answer. Modern crossbows generally generate speeds of 280 to 350 feet per second, with some models exceeding 400 fps. Despite the speed advantage that current crossbows maintain over the average compound bow, I still believe that the maximum effective range for crossbow hunters is about the same as for vertical crossbow hunters.

Most modern leaf spring manufacturers rate the performance of their crossbows by giving them a “top speed” rating. If you use a heavier crossbow hunting arrow, then your crossbow will shoot that arrow slower even than the arrow “up to speed”. Another thing I neglected on this particular excursion was the importance of silencing my crossbow as best I could. The crossbows are noisy and the sound of the crossbow when shooting (the sound travels at approximately 1130 fps in the air) reaches the animal long before the arrow (in its example, it travels 350 fps).

Ultimately, crossbow hunting is a game of probabilities, and the most successful crossbow hunter is the one who chooses to shoot with the highest probability of success. He had been told that crossbows were very precise and that his problems would be easily cured by changing to a crossbow. With a little time at the shooting range with the crossbow, you will discover that long distances are possible on targets, but when it comes to hunting, it is best to approach and give a good ethical death. Yes, it is true that most modern crossbows use visors that magnify your vision, however, most crossbow visors will still not provide you with enough magnification over a long distance to see that thin branch or heather that is perfectly positioned in front of the animal to obstruct the path of your arrow.

Molly Phomsoukha
Molly Phomsoukha

Award-winning coffee evangelist. Bacon advocate. Typical travel fanatic. Evil web fanatic. Evil zombie fan. Subtly charming bacon junkie.