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The Case for Sticking with 150-175 Pound Crossbows

Updated on July 31, 2015

Crossbow Poundages

Only a few years back, it seemed like the only crossbows that you could find were in the 150 pound range. Now, there are contenders on the market that are well over 200 pounds. The Excalibur Matrix Mega almost hits 300, with a draw weight of 290 pounds! Since this is a high number, you might ask yourself, “Do I even need this much weight?” The answer to this is, it depends -- It depends on what you plan on hunting and you physical capabilities.

The reason that this question came up was because someone had asked me if they needed to use a rope cocking device on their 150 pound crossbow. When I told them that I always suggest that crossbow shooters use these to cock their crossbow, the customer replied “aren't those only for the heavier crossbows?”

Let me put it to you this way, if you are using a 150 pound crossbow, I will always suggest it, but once you move into the 175 pound range, I am goin to HIGHLY recommend it. Once you pass the 150 pound mark, it becomes difficult to get the string consistently cocked on the crossbow. This is because of the heavier draw weight.


Required Draw Weight for My Crossbow

So then the next logical question is, how much weight do you need? Well, again, it depends, but I will tell you that there is a reason there are so many 150 pound crossbows out there. 150 pounds will allow most hunters to harvest most any game that they wish to pursue. So this means you usually won't need more than that weight. I would suggest that you start looking into crossbows that are 175 pound and up if you are going to hunt something that has a thicker hide. The 225 pounders are for shooters that are looking to take hogs, bears, or the occasional hippo. Other than that, I think that most hunters would be okay with a 150-175 pound draw weight.

Determining feet per second is just one of many specs that you have to factor in when purchasing a crossbow.
Determining feet per second is just one of many specs that you have to factor in when purchasing a crossbow.

What About Speed

The next question usually is,“What about speed?” You have to understand that hunting a rabbit is going to be different that hunting and antelope. The reason that speed plays a factor in this scenario, is that rabbits a known to dart away the moment that they hear the shot from the crossbow, meaning that you would need a crossbow that has more speed. This would increase your chances of the arrow getting to its intended target before the animal got away.

If you were hunting a larger animal, such as an elk or an antelope, then you would need one of the heavier crossbows to penetrate the hide. The heavier crossbows will give you the brute force power that you would need to hit the kill zone.

Is A Bigger Crossbow, Better

Some of you might be thinking, “bigger, must not always be better.” For those of you that were thinking that, you are correct. I always love to have the most powerful, tough, speedy bow in my arsenal, but there is always a give and take when it comes to crossbows. A 225 pound crossbow is going to be louder and less efficient than a 150 pound crossbow.

So, the key takeaways are this:

  • Bigger isn’t always better
  • 150-175 pound crossbows provide enough power for most shooters
  • 175-290 pound crossbows are for animals with thicker hides
  • Take into account the animal that you are hunting (speed, size, etc.)
  • Speed and kinetic energy are most important numbers
  • The heavier the bow, the louder it will be.


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