Is a recurve or compound crossbow better?

Compound crossbows are capable of firing arrows at much higher speeds compared to recurve crossbows. Its mechanism allows greater tension in the limbs, which translates into a faster arrow speed. Combined with a heavier arrow, a higher speed translates into greater kinetic energy (knockdown power). The compound crossbow has a more complex design, but that means that it is often more powerful than the recurve crossbow.

Like the recurve bow, the recurve crossbow uses cams and cables to produce more power and speed to the crossbow's arrows. On the other hand, if you are going to hunt only a couple of times a season, that reliability and low maintenance are not that important. Instead, you probably want to be able to go out and have a successful hunt without having to spend too much time honing your skills. The advanced technology and superior precision of the compound can serve you better in that case.

Now, that doesn't mean you can't use a compound crossbow on long hunts for big game hunting as well. In fact, you can increase your chances of success due to the increased speed and power. Compound crossbows are the most powerful form of the crossbow and fire a crossbow bolt at much higher speeds than recurves. 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, a skilled archer could consistently hit targets up to 80 yards away. For the middle archer, again an effect range would be 30 to 60 yards. While recurve leaf springs rely primarily on limbs and power stroke to generate energy, compound leaf springs use a more complex cam and cable system (in addition to limbs).

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. For a detailed explanation of crossbow safety and how to safely unbuckle the crossbow, check out this TenPoint Crossbows video. Within the usual hunting distance with a crossbow (30-40 yards), it is almost certain that the sound of the shot will startle the animal regardless of the type of crossbow. Basic compound crossbows and other technologically advanced crossbows provide a “flush” that reduces some of the draft weight towards the end of the draw.

The overall width of the composite crossbow is smaller, but it is noisier than the recurve crossbow when fired. They have different needs, tastes and abilities, so it's impossible to say that the recurve crossbow or compound crossbow is absolutely better for hunting. You can have a crossbow removed with the purchase of some additional accessories, such as a leaf spring silencer, for example. Composite leaf springs use compound pulley systems called cams to get more power from the leaf spring with less limb length.

Yes, recurve crossbows come with larger, heavier limbs, but compound crossbows use additional components that increase overall weight. Like many things in life, deciding what type of crossbow is best for you, compound or recurve, is a matter of priorities. Over the years, the crossbow has been refined and new materials have been obtained to increase the effectiveness of the crossbow. The recurve crossbow has a simpler design than the compound crossbow, since it has no cables or cams that make it complex.

Molly Phomsoukha
Molly Phomsoukha

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