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Myths about Crossbows Answered


Since the invention of the crossbow, there have been lot’s of things said about the weapon, both positive and negative. A lot of archers are not big fans of it and the recent killing of a certain Lion called Cecil with this weapon have not helped its cause.

However, there are a lot of positive things about this weapon that we at Bow Advice wanted to share here. If you find it helpful share it via your favorite social media tool.

Myth #1: “If you want to cause more damage to a target, use a Crossbow!”

False: these tools don’t cause more damage than typical bows. The ballistics and target damage related to momentum has been measured and these facts have been found.

A carbon arrow delivered from an Olympic bow at a 40-pound re-curve is the same as a 95pound target crossbow bolt. The targets are often penetrated much further with vertical compound bows. Tight gripping and accurate shooting actually causes more damage.

Myth #2: “When it comes to hunting, crossbows suck!”

Un-educated bow hunters will most commonly state this. Properly constructed modern bows are excellent for hunting. Old crossbows were not ideal. When paired with well-designed bolts, appropriate weight, and construction, these are just as effective as any bow. Crossbows are by nature, much more accurate than traditional bows.

Myth #3: “ Bows are much weaker than Crossbows”

The crossbow is not typically as efficient in storing power or energy as traditional vertical bows. The power stroke is much shorter than a long bow do to the compact size of the crossbow. In order to maintain the draw weight of a long bow, the crossbow needs to draw almost twice the weight, which makes it more difficult to draw. Crossbows in turn also fire much shorter arrows than a vertical bow.

Sport bows however, fire a 20-inch bolt and have a power stroke of about 14.5 inches. Common target crossbows only shoot a 13-inch bolt and have a smaller power stroke of 12 inches. Typical vertical bows shoot around a 30-inch arrow and have a much large power stroke of about 20 inches.


Myth 4: “If you can shoot a rifle, you can shoot a crossbow”

While this is slightly correct, crossbows take an incredible amount of practice. They are extremely unforgiving tools. A proficient archer can become safe and able to shoot accurately within about a 1.5 hours. This is much quicker than typical archery equipment, however, becoming a master takes longer.

Since the bolt trajectory is not flat, it cannot be compared to a rifle. The bolt speed is less than 400 feet per second. Its only 1/6th the speed of a high power rifle and about 2/3rds of the speed of a common air rifle pellets.

Crossbow Myths Explained Video

Back in 2011 the World Crossbow Shooting Association, created a documentary to answer some frequently asked questions about this bow and responds to some myths. The video is just over 9 minutes long and is worth watching.