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3 Best Crossbows for Deer Hunting

With dozens of powerful crossbows exceeding the 400 fps mark available, these should be at the top of your list.

Compound crossbows, recurve crossbows, reverse-draw crossbows. Power stroke, kinetic energy, trigger pull. The terminology and options can get overwhelming when shopping for a new crossbow for your next deer hunting trip.

You don't necessarily need the fastest crossbow or the lightest, but you do want to choose a high-quality, high-performance option that will stand up to tough conditions in the treestand and operate safely.

When it comes to speed, durability and a compact footprint, these are our top picks for hunting whitetails and other big game.

TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO


The Havoc RS440 XERO from TenPoint Crossbows boasts arrow speeds of 440 fps with a 7.5-inch-wide compact design, the silent and safe ACUslide cocking mechanism, smooth trigger pull and an integrated string-stop system for noise dampening.

However, what really sets this camo rig apart is the one-of-a-kind crossbow scope mounted to it. The Garmin XERO A1i is a rangefinding scope that can instantly range game up to 250 yards away and illuminate aim points for incredibly accurate shots, eliminating the guesswork and one more step in the process. The hunting packageat $3,649.99also comes with six carbon arrows and a quiver.

Ravin R500E


With its new HexCoil Cam System, Ravin Crossbows is advertising speeds of 500 feet per second on the R500E. This incredibly compact crossbow measures just 3.6 inches axle to axle when cocked and pairs the VersaDrive Cocking System with the Electric Drive System for cocking with the push of a button.

The R500E also features an anti-dry fire/auto safety. At 9.9 pounds, the R500E has a power stroke of 15 inches and produces 222 foot-pounds of kinetic energy with a 300-pound draw weight. It retails for $3,324.99 and is also available as the R500E Sniper crossbow package, which includes the new single-reticle adjustable turret scope, scope level and crossbow bolts for $400 more.

Mission SUB-1 XR


This updated version of Mission's SUB-1 features a fully synced cam system to eliminate horizontal nock travel and a CNC machined rail that eliminates vertical nock travel, resulting in an incredibly accurate hunting crossbow. At 30.5 inches long and 7.6 pounds, the SUB-1 XR shoots at speeds of 410 fps. The Removable Silent Draw rope cocking device allows for quiet, easy cocking, and Benchmark Fire Control technology makes safely de-cocking as simple as pressing a button. The powerful crossbow also features a match-grade trigger and an easy-load arrow retention arm for additional security at $1,699.99.

Excalibur, Wicked Ridge, Centerpoint and Barnett offer several more affordable entry-level options compared to some of the high-end models, but you may have to sacrifice speed, ergonomics, dampeners and other features in that price range. Check crossbow reviews, test out as many models as you can and invest in an option with a good warranty.

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