Best Crossbow Bolts A Complete Guide to Buy
Hunting industry is getting bigger and bigger with every passing year and one of the biggest segment that covers up this industry is the crossbow market. Here, we will be talking about crossbow bolts and what can be the best crossbow bolt for you.
Before we start with the primary characteristics of a crossbow bolt, let’s first understand the term ‘bolt’ and how it is different from the conventional term arrow.
We have often seen people using the words interchangeably for arrow and bolt when talking about the projectile which we use in a crossbow. Ideally, both the terms are correct, however, we cannot use the word bolt for a regular bow because technically bolts are not supposed to have stabilising vanes at the end of it, while the conventional arrow does have them for a better grip and stabilization.
Therefore we can use the term arrow for the regular bows and crossbows but we can use the word bolts only for crossbows.
Alright now we know what we mean by crossbow bolts, let’s jump right into details like what are the components that the bolts are made up of? What are the factors that you should consider before buying them?
Quich Comparison Best 5 Crossbow Bolts
Carbon Express Carbon Crossbow Bolt
Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Bolt
Excalibur Quill Micro Crossbow Bolt
Carbon Express Carbon Cross Bolt with R2 Vanes
Killertech Carbon Crossbow Arrows
The Top 5 Best Crossbow Bolts Review
Without further due, let’s look at the top-5 pics for the crossbow bolts:
1. Carbon Express Carbon Crossbow Bolt With 4 Inch Vanes
One of the most popular choice for hunting, these crossbows are bang for the buck. Manufactured by one of the leading brands in crossbow market it is a sure shot winner with a 20’ inch length and 0.384 inch diameter. It is on the heavier side of weight spectrum which helps the user to shoot better.
It is designed for people who are aiming for deeper penetration. Also, the 4’inch vanes on the bolt look amazing and provide much better stability as compared to other variants in the same price range.
This crossbow bolt is available in two variants, 20 inch one and another 22 inch one. Another amazing thing is that this crossbow bolt offers 6 pre-installed half-moon nocks and another 6 flat nocks to complete the package
2. Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Bolt 20-Inch Arrows
Probably the most prestigious brand in the entire crossbow market and our list too. A little bit pricey as compared to our first entry in the list but this is one of the most badass crossbows available in the market.
Why badass you ask? Well, this bolts are compatible with almost all the crossbows available in this segment. They can be used with Ghost 350, Penetrator, Wild Cat C-5 and Jackal crossbows.
These crossbow bolts are on the lighter side of the spectrum and weigh around 13.78 grains per inch. They are available in standard 20-inch size and the best part is they come with five-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The package comes with 24 field points and moon nocks. Which make them ideal for target practice as well as hunting. These bolts are also made from the finest quality material available.
3. Excalibur Quill Micro Crossbow Bolt 16.5"
This is the special entry in our list as these bolts are specially made for micro series crossbows and their length is around 16.5’ inches along with a 2-inch vanes. They can be used for crossbows Excalibur 335 and 355. They are made of carbon and thus are quite sturdy.
They do not come with any field points, so make sure that you have them already. They tend to be on the expensive side of the spectrum. The Quality and weight distribution of this product is excellent.
4. Carbon Express Carbon Cross Bolt with R2 Vanes
Another entry in this list from Carbon Express, this product is quite renowned for its precision and accuracy. With dual spine weight forward technology it ensures that the trajectory is perfect.
Other distinct features are BuffTuffs carbon weave which enhances the strength and accuracy of this bolt, Mosey Oak trees stand pattern. Just like Carbon expresses’ other product these bolts come with preinstalled half-moon nocks along with six universal flat nocks.
5. Killertech Carbon Crossbow Arrows 20" PRO Bolts - Major Crossbows Compatible
Last but certainly not the least, these killer tech bolts are again bang for the bucks (pun intended). On a serious note, these amazing bolts are made from Carbon with the GPI of 9.0. Most of the review have testified about how great their accuracy is.
The best part about these bolts are compatibility with almost all major crossbows, which is indeed a great quality. Although not as popular as other brands like Carbon express or Barnett, this product can stand toe to toe with other competitors due to its versatility and attractive price.
Crossbow Bolts Mainly Consist Of Four Components
1. The Bolt Head
As the name suggests this is the ‘head’ or the front most part of the bolt (tip). In this article, we will be talking mainly about two types of bolt heads: Field points and Broad heads.
Field Points: this bolt head is primarily designed for target practice. You cannot really use this head for hunting since the tip is not sharp enough to kill the animal.
You can distinguish a good quality field point bolt by looking at the attachment of the field point to the shaft. If it is screwed in front of the bolt shaft, it will be of a much better quality and will last longer as compared to glued ones.
Broad Heads: This is the type of head which you can use for hunting. Primarily three types of broad heads are available in market namely Fixed-blade, Removable-blade and Expandable-blade broad heads.
First and the foremost the fixed-blade heads are razor sharped broad heads which are fixed to the entire body of the bolts and they cannot be detached.
The second type is removable-blade which as the name suggests can be removed from the head as and when required.
The final type is Expandable blade broad heads, which are the costliest of all the types and induces much more damage as compared to other due to their capabilities to open up or expand when they are inside any animal.
This is the main frame or body of the bolts and all other components are attached to it. The shafts are usually made up of sturdy materials like carbon and aluminium which can resist to higher level of bending pressure. In the market, you can easily find tons of shafts with a variety of stiffness or ‘spine’ (common terminology, used for stiffness of the shaft).
The weight is measured in a special unit called ‘grains’ and the bolt manufacturer will provide with the weight in this unit. 1 Grain is approximately around 0.065 grams. It is always recommended to use the bolt of the recommended grains by the crossbow manufacturer.
3. The Nock
This component is attached to the back end of the shaft of the bolt and is usually made of plastic or aluminium. It serves the purpose of lining up the bolt when you are ready to shoot.
There are two types of nocks available in the market: half-moon nock which has a cavity embodied into itself which can be used to align the bolt on the crossbow string and flat surface nock, which are flat from the bottom.
Different crossbow manufacturers suggest different types of nocks and it is always advisable to follow their advice to ensure the safety and long life of your crossbow and your bolts.
4. The Fletching
The triangular wing-shaped structure which you will be able to locate at the end of your shaft is called fletching. It is quite a powerhouse considering the functionality standpoint.
It helps the bolt to stabilize the trajectory in mid-air and prevent it from swaying in other directions, it also increases the stability of the bolt by spinning around its axis during the flight time. They are usually composed of plastic material and are glued to the bolt.
The length and style of fletching can vary from different bolts to bolts and there are no standards associated with this component.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Crossbow Bolt:
We have covered all the parts in a typical crossbow bolt and now it’s time to look at the things that you should take care while getting the best crossbow bolt.
1. The Measurements
When we talk about measurements, we are taking all the parameters into consideration be it the diameter of the shaft, length of the bolts, length of the fletching, the shape of the nocks and most importantly the spine of the bolt.
The diameters of the shaft of the crossbow bolts is usually greater than that of a conventional arrows for the compound bow. This is a must for a bolt as this factor ensures the bolt will be able to handle the high velocity during its flight time. Length of the bolts are usually shorter than the normal arrow, average crossbow bolts are around 20 inches long.
As mentioned in the passage above the nocks of the bolts are quite important and you should follow the recommended option for this. One thing which is quite critical when we are selecting the best crossbow bolt is the spine of stiffness of the bolt, the better the material used the better the ‘spine’ is.
It is always advisable to follow the exact recommendation of the crossbow manufacturers while selecting the crossbow bolts. This will ensure the hassle-free maintenance of your crossbow and your bolts.
2. Weight Consistency
This is the second most important thing to look for when you are planning to buy the best crossbow bolt. When we are talking about the weight consistency of a bolt, we can classify any bolt into one of the three categories depending on their weights: Light weights bolts (350 – 400 grains), Standard weight bolts (400 – 435 grains) and Heavy weight bolts (435 + grains).
Lighter bolts give you more speed, less penetration power while the heavier weight bolts travel with relatively slow speed and much higher penetration power. Although you can opt for the safer option like standard weight bolts which will give you best of both the worlds it is advised to use a different set of bolts for different purpose.
For example, light weights are perfectly fine for target shooting activities while it better to user the heavier ones for hunting.
This is the defining factor which you should always consider not only for buying crossbow bolts but while purchasing anything. Since we are talking about crossbow bolts, all I would like to say it never compromise on the build quality of the bolt.
When I say build quality I mean the material from which the bolt is created, the structure of the bolt, the finishing and sturdiness of the bolts.
Always, look for the best possible crossbow bolt that you can afford. The worst thing is if you are trying to save few bucks by going cheap on the quality, you will end up damaging the beautiful piece of machinery and even worse harming yourself.
You definitely don’t want to do that. So before buying the crossbow bolt, always make sure it of top-notch quality.
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