Crossbow vs Compound bow – Which is Best For Hunting?

Today we’re going to be seeing a showdown everyone! It is the crossbow vs compound bow. Let’s see who takes the crown. If you are a new hunter then this question must have popped up in your mind at least once: should you get a crossbow or a compound bow?

Let’s finally answer this question today and help you decide which one is the perfect weapon for you.

What are crossbows?

A crossbow is basically a bow which is placed on an elongated frame just like a gunstock. Crossbows have a built-in mechanism for holding on to the drawn string in addition to a trigger which releases the string and helps shoot the bolt towards the target. Bolts are basically small arrows.

Crossbows have been developed over time and now we have three different kinds of crossbows: compound, pistol and recurve crossbow. Recurve crossbows are lightweight and quiet making them perfect for hunting.

Compound crossbows are much more powerful than recurve crossbows and also shoot bolts at a much higher speed as compared to recurve crossbows. The smallest of all three are pistol crossbows. They have a range of just 30 yards and are also much less powerful. However, they are lightweight and portable making them perfect for hunting small game such as squirrels.

What are compound bows?

A compound bow uses pulleys and cables in order to bend limbs when you draw the bowstring. This gives the hunter a mechanical advantage allowing the bow’s limbs to be much stiffer as compared to a recurve bow or longbow.

This stiffness makes the compound bow much more efficient as it cuts down on the energy lost due to limb movement while shooting. This also helps increase the draw weight for the hunter. A compound bow is commonly used in target shooting and hunting.

Crossbow vs compound bow range

Let’s start off by comparing the ranges of the crossbow and the compound bow. The range is compared in two different categories i.e., the effective range and the overall range.

The overall range for a crossbow can go up to several hundred yards, however, the accuracy reduces as the range increases. While hunting or target shooting, you should hit targets which are up to 80 yards away for maximum accuracy. This makes the effective range of a crossbow at about 30-60 yards.

The overall range of an average compound bow is about 100 yards. However, if you want accuracy, the effective range lowers down to about 30-60 yards which is the same as a crossbow.

Crossbow vs compound bow accuracy

Most hunters believe that the accuracy of the crossbow and the compound bow depend on the circumstances so there cannot really be a fair comparison.

In the case of a crossbow, it is quite easy to cock a crossbow and drawing while aiming does not take much effort. You also have a scope to help you get a better aim. However, a crossbow is quite bulky which makes aiming difficult unless your crossbow is resting on something flat or you have a prone position.

In case of a compound bow, the drawn strings need to be held in place by the shooter which makes it a little difficult to aim and the accuracy might be affected. However, a compound bow is much lighter than a crossbow so it is much easier to hold. The consistent anchor point on a compound bow makes it more accurate.

However, we cannot say that one is more accurate than the other because it entirely depends on the game and the shooting environment so we will call this one a draw.

Crossbow vs compound bow ark

The compound bow is an advanced bow in ark and it is also the only bow which has the ability to shoot armor-piercing metal arrows. However, if you are firing something other than a metal arrow, the compound bow will deal much less damage as compared to a crossbow. Despite that, arrows shot using a compound bow fly much faster and land further.

Crossbow vs compound bow hunting

Both the compound bow and the crossbow are incredibly effective weapons for hunting. Therefore, choosing either depends on your personal preference as well as the regulations in your area. If you prefer the compound bow, then get one which suits your personal capabilities as well as the game you plan to hunt.

However, most big games such as elks and deer require the use of crossbows for efficient and accurate hunting. However, using one will also require much more power and you will have to get a crossbow which draws enough weight which will allow you to hunt your preferred game.

Crossbow vs compound bow broadheads

There isn’t much difference between the broadheads used for crossbows as compared to those used for compound bows. However, manufacturers tend to market the heavier broadheads which are shorter for crossbows because they are more accurate.

This is because crossbows store more kinetic energy as compared to compound bows, therefore, even while using a heavier broadhead you will not be sacrificing on the speed too much.

However, a heavier broadhead will allow you to get better penetration. If you want even more speed, you can go with a lighter arrow but this will reduce the penetration.

As crossbow broadheads are heavier than compound bow broadheads, they are less aerodynamic which is why we need to move the balance point forward for a more consistent flight.



  • Crossbows store much greater kinetic energy which allows them to fire heavy broadheads with absolute ease.
  • The higher kinetic energy also means greater speed for arrows which will help you hunt your game.
  • Crossbows require much less movement for harvesting quarry which means that animals will not sense your presence very quickly giving you more time to aim and shoot.
  • Crossbows provide good accuracy to hunters.
  • The heavier broadheads and higher speed of arrows makes it easier to hunt big game.
  • It is easier to learn with a crossbow if you are a beginner.


  • A cocked crossbow can cause misfires therefore it is absolutely necessary to unload it every single time which takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Crossbows are much heavier which makes them less portable.

Compound bow 


  • Compound bows do not need cocking devices for loading.
  • They are much quieter because of the longer limbs which allow for a gradual release of stored energy of the bow.
  • When you draw the bowstring to half its length it reduces the draw weight to half making it hold on to the drawn string.
  •  They are easier and faster to reload because they do not need cocking or cranking.
  • They are much lighter in weight.


  •  You need to hold on to the drawn bow while you aim which makes it more difficult.
  • Beginners will find it harder to learn shooting using a compound bow.


Final word
We believe that there is no perfect choice when it comes to crossbows and compound bows. The choice mainly depends on your requirements as well as the game you intend on hunting. At the end of the day, we hope that you have a good time shooting. 


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