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Compound Crossbows vs. Recurve Crossbows

Updated on May 16, 2014

So it Begins

No matter how long people have been shooting crossbows, there will always be a few questions that remain. What type of crossbow is right for me? Well the answer to that is that is really depends on what you are looking for and how you plan to use it. Would you consider yourself to be more on the handy side? How big of an issue is spending some money to fix your bow going to be? What are you trying to hunt with it and/or how often will you be shooting it? These are just a few of the questions that I commonly get asked, so I have decided to explain their attributes with a few of the crossbows that I have come to own over the years.

Technology at its Finest

Panther Hunting Compound Crossbow

My current hunting crossbow is the 150 pound Panther Crossbow. I decided to purchase this compound crossbow because I was always curious to see the advantages that they claim to offer the shooter. Prior to this I had a recurve crossbow, which we will discuss later that I still dearly love [and use].

One of the biggest upsides to the Panther being a compound crossbow is that they typically give the shooter a mechanical advantage. What this is, depends on the particular crossbow. Some can be speed, others can be maneuverability, etc. For the Panther, the mechanical advantage allows it to produce bone-splitting speeds of 280 feet per second! It does so, by way of a 10-1/2 inch powerstroke. If you are in need of something that will produce kinetic energy, then look no further than the compound bow.

Another reason that compound crossbows are sought after is because they generally require less effort to carry around. I can attest to this because the Panther only weighs in at 5.5 pounds. This makes it a breeze to carry around when I am in the field. Compound crossbows are also typically easier to maneuver because they are able to get a good amount of power into a smaller frame. This bow has a width that is 27-1/2 inches and is only 38-1/3 inches long!

The biggest gripe that people have with compound crossbows is that they cannot typically be repaired at home. The reasoning that this is, is because the only way to service them is by using a bow press and most bow presses are only found at pro shops because they cost a decent amount of money. This means that if there is ever an issue with your bow, you are going to have to pay someone to fix it for you-- or buy a bow press and learn. With that being said, issues [usually]only happen because of user error. So use it wisely and you should be fine. I have had my Panther compound hunting crossbow for some time now and it still shoots beautifully.

Pick Your Poison

Chace Wind Recurve Crossbow

Now on to the recurve crossbows. Even thought I purchased this crossbow over a year ago, I still believe that it is one of the better bows that I have in my lineup. Comparing my Chace Wind Crossbow and my Panther Crossbow would be like comparing apples and oranges, but I still believe that it deserves to be talked about.

I started my hunting/shooting career with a recurve crossbow because they offered some benefits that the compound bows just could not beat. The first thing that crept into my mind was the issue of longevity. Having shot my bow hundreds of times since then, I would have to tip my hat to the Chace Wind Crossbow.

It possesses a substantial amount of power with a speed of 242 FPS, which is enough for me to take down any animal that I hunt for in the wild. The recurve crossbow is a very simple machine to use and operate. This is the main reason that I choose it. All I needed to do to change the string was use the crossbow stringer that was included in the package I might add, and I was good to go. There was no need for me to take the crossbow to a pro shop to have someone else service it for me because I was able to do it myself from the comfort of my own garage.

The main gripe that shooters will have with a recurve crossbow are twofold. They will either say that they are wider than they would like, or that they require a heavier draw weight than they would prefer. The Chace Wind is wider than my Panther, but not by much, coming in at 29.3 inches. Since it is a little bit wider, I typically use this crossbow when I am hunting animals out of a hunting blind. The black color camouflages well with the pitch black darkness of my tent. I cannot defend that they are heavier to draw because of the lack of mechanical advantage, but I have found a way to fix that issue. I purchased a crossbow rope cocking aid for around ten bucks that allows me to cut the weight in half, so there is no hassle for me. I can also use it on my new Panther Crossbow so I win either way!

Prophecy 80 Pound Self Cocking Crossbow

Purchasing a crossbow will cost you at least a few hundred dollars, so it is best to envision how you will be using it. If space is a must then I would recommend the compound crossbow. If functionality is of the utmost importance then I would suggest a recurve crossbow. If you cannot make that commitment and you are just looking for something that you can shoot, then I would recommend that you look the way of the pistol crossbow.

I must warn you that they are in a different category than the full-sized crossbows because they cannot physically produce the same amount of speed as the other two. Since they cannot produce speed necessary to shoot large game, then I must advise against it.

With that being said they are a force that deserved to be reckoned with! The Prophecy is an 80 pound self cocking pistol crossbow that I own can shoot its bolts at 165 feet per second. This is more than enough speed for a person to take down those pesky varmints that sometimes creep into their backyard. I have even shot my Prophecy pistol crossbow at a wooden fence and had the arrow penetrate halfway, so be aware that this is not a toy. The Prophecy 80 pound self cocking pistol has a recurve design, meaning that you can do all of the service work yourself!. For under 50 dollars, with everything I needed to shoot, I had to throw this option out there.

So there you have it. A brief, but to the point article on the different types of crossbows that are on the market. Which will you choose?


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    • Frank Kletzel profile image

      Frank Kletzel 3 years ago from Lansdale, Pennsylvania

      I was looking at buying this particular compound crossbow, the panthor. I assume that yes indeed it can have a quiver mmounted to it.