Is a crossbow faster than a bow?

The average power stroke on a crossbow is 14 inches compared to 25 inches on a composite. With the string pushing the arrow for an additional 10-11 inches, the vertical bow provides the maximum kinetic energy far greater than that of a crossbow. When the bow is fired, the string of a conventional compound bow pushes the arrow more than twice as far as when shooting a crossbow. Therefore, to produce the same arrow speeds, a crossbow must have more than twice the shooting weight of a compound bow.

Both crossbows and compound bows are very effective tools for hunting. Crossbows have the advantage of producing higher arrow speeds and kinetic energy than compound bows. Modern crossbows today are capable of producing arrow speeds from 300 to 470 f, p, s. And more than 100 ft-lbf of kinetic energy.

Modern compound bows regularly produce arrow velocities from 270 to 310 f, p, s. And about 60 to 90 ft-lbf of kinetic energy. Clearly, either option has plenty of energy when it comes to producing a clean and ethical crop of an animal within the common ranges of 0 to 40 yard archery. For compound bows, the fastest speeds consistently measured seem to range around a maximum of 350 FPS.

For compound crossbows, we see some crossbows that measure well above 400 FPS. Even some of the cheaper models still shoot between 350 and 370 FPS. That said, for overall speed, we have to go with the crossbow as the clear winner. The average compound bow has a total range of up to 100 yards and an effective range of between 30 and 60 yards, according to the archer.

For crossbows, some crossbows can shoot up to several hundred meters, but less accurately, of course. If you're hunting or shooting at target, an expert archer could consistently hit targets up to 80 yards away. For the average archer, again an effect range would be 30 to 60 yards. The trajectory of crossbows and compound bows was similar to about 25 yards, and then they diverged dramatically.

The crossbow bolt was only about four inches low at 50 yards, while the compound's arrow had dropped to 40 inches. At 70 yards, the crossbow bolt was 20 inches low, compared to 120 inches on the composite arrow. And at 100 yards, the crossbow bolt had dropped only 60 inches compared to 240 inches on the compound arrow. The differences in kinetic energy were even more dramatic.

The crossbow started at 190 ft-pounds, compared to 70 for the compound. At 100 yards, the crossbow bolt was still carrying 140 pound-feet of energy, while the compound arrow dropped to just 40 ft-pounds, a staggering difference. The modern crossbow used for this comparison was a PSE TAC 15 with 170 pounds and fired a bolt of 425 gain at 425 feet per second. The modern compound bow was a Mathews Drenalin with 60 pounds and fired a 540 grain arrow at 241 fps.

Of particular interest was the evaluators' choice to use the AMO (Archery Manufacturing Organization) standards for the compound, which requires a maximum draft weight of 60 pounds and an arrow of 540 grains (18 grains per inch) instead of the most widely used IBO (International Organization of Archery) standard of 70 pounds of weight and an arrow of 350 grains. Ten extra pounds of shot weight and 190 grains less of arrow weight make a significant difference in both trajectory and energy. Under IBOs specifications, that same Drenalin will shoot a 350-grain arrow at 320 fps (a 75 percent increase), with nearly 80 ft-pounds of energy. But, as I said, that was several years ago, and as we all know, shooting technology is still advancing.

So, just to make sure I didn't miss anything, I also looked at several more recent comparisons, as well as the manufacturer's specifications collected for our annual crossbow summary. Not surprisingly, the ranges and averages were similar and overlapped. Generally speaking, crossbows maintain an advantage over compound bows of approximately 30 fps of speed and 30 pound-feet of kinetic energy. However, this disparity seems less important when one observes that there is almost the same difference between the different models in each category.

In other words, the fastest compound bow on the market has roughly the same speed and energy advantages over its slower compound competitors as a top-of-the-line crossbow over a compound of equal quality. Bows are generally treated as much less powerful than crossbows and are therefore more likely to receive the Annoying Arrows treatment. In contrast, leaf springs tend to show up as having adequate stopping power when they hit and are generally shown to be more lethal. One of the reasons for this disparity probably has to do with movie props.

Prop crossbows can be made with high-stretch weights closer to historical crossbows, as their extension devices allow virtually anyone to draw them. Prop bows, on the other hand, tend to have little shooting weight, like most target and beginner shooting bows, since they have to be usable by actors who lack specific muscle development and form training to draw heavy bows. As such, the bows seen in movies tend to be much less powerful than most historical hunting and war bows. Also note that medieval European crossbows were less mechanically efficient than the long crossbows of the time due to factors such as their short power stroke (~6 in.

for a long bow) and the energy wasted by moving their heavy limbs and strings instead of just the bolt; in particular, crossbow prods made of steel made it easier to manufacture heavy crossbows compared to those using a horn-tendon compound, but the high density of steel caused a loss of efficiency, and steel tips cannot flex as much as wood or composite without risk of breakage. Therefore, to achieve as much projectile energy as a longbow of a given draft weight, a crossbow needed to have a draft weight many times greater. Note: These energy comparisons do not necessarily apply to all non-European crossbows. For example, Chinese crossbows were more like a normal bow mounted on a frame and had a long force stroke.

Modern crossbows are much more efficient than their medieval ancestors thanks to improved materials and design, note such as a long power race, compound or reverse traction mechanisms, and lightweight bolts, ropes and limbs, so they achieve higher projectile energy than old crossbows despite having a lower draft weights. Unlike a compound bow, a crossbow is preloaded before the potential shot occurs. It is placed in the hunting position; the crossbow rope is pulled back, sometimes with the use of a cocking device; and it is locked in ready position with a safety lock. For more advanced medical situations, crossbow manufacturers have designed special devices for cocking crossbows with winch to help draw.

You may have heard that crossbows are better than a compound bow, but you may have also heard that a compound crossbow is not as good as a compound bow. The biggest advantage the crossbow has over the compound bow is the ability to maintain a loaded and ready to fire condition, while the compound bow, although faster when loading, can lose the shot at the crossbow. Crossbows were the first of the two to disappear from the European war, since in the 16th century the arquebus had stolen its place as a massive point-and-shoot weapon from the battlefield; crossbows continued to roam as recreational and hunting weapons. For a detailed explanation on crossbow safety and how to safely unbuckle the crossbow, check out this TenPoint Crossbows video.

You can make a crossbow remover with the purchase of some additional accessories, such as a leaf spring silencer, for example. Over the years, the crossbow has been refined and new materials have been obtained to increase the effectiveness of the crossbow. Another aspect that is often seen in fiction treats crossbows as sneaky weapons because they are marginally more concealable than bows, and because of persistent cultural ideas that the possibility that large numbers of serfs armed with crossbows could pierce aristocratic knights who own land is of some unjust and contrary to the natural order of things. Based on the fact that men are stronger than women on average, fictional stories sometimes depict men wearing crossbows and women wearing bows, the idea is that crossbows are utilitarian and brutal, while bows are elegant and based on finesse rather than brute force.

The disadvantages are that the total weight and volume of a crossbow make it difficult to aim, unless you are in a prone position or have the crossbow resting on a flat surface. To make things more confusing, just as there are compound bows and recurve bows, there are compound crossbows and recurve crossbows. Let's compare the crossbow with the compound bow in the following 10 categories: speed, range, rate of fire, accuracy, safety, portability, maintenance, noise, cost and the best for hunting. .


Molly Phomsoukha
Molly Phomsoukha

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