A hunting bow is an incredibly exciting tool to get to grips with.
It’s difficult to hold a hunting bow and not feel like Rambo or Hawkeye. And once you’ve figured out how to use it, you can kid yourself into thinking your chances of surviving the zombie apocalypse just went up.
While that might not be true though, you certainly will see your skills improve with practice, which is not only immensely satisfying, but also actually very good for your brain, hand-eye coordination, and even posture.
But whether you’re new to the world of archery or whether you’re a pro, choosing the right type of hunting bow can be a difficult task. They all look so awesome, but they’re not all made equal. With such a wide selection to choose form as well, this can be a bit of a headache!
Never fear. If you’re looking for a hunting bow, then you’re in the right place. This post will keep you on target by explaining the different types of bow, looking at how to choose the right one for you, and listing six of the very best on the market today. So, without further ado, read on and let’s examine six of the best hunting bows.
- 1 The Six Best Hunting Bows Reviewed
- 1.1 Leader Accessories Compound Bow
- 1.2 SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30” Compound Bow
- 1.3 Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow
- 1.4 Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package
- 1.5 CenterPoint Sniper 370- Crossbow Package
- 1.6 RAPTOR Compound Hunting Bow Kit
- 2 Hunting Bow Buyer’s Guide
The Six Best Hunting Bows Reviewed
Let’s get straight to it. The following six hunting bows have been chosen for being the very best in the industry. These bows will each provide you with high end quality materials, excellent accuracy, and a comfortable experience. Pick any of these and you can rest assured that you will own a top quality bow.
Or if you want to understand the differences a little better and what all the jargon means, scroll down (or click) for our complete buyer’s guide that will help you to make the right decision.
Leader Accessories Compound Bow
This bow from Leader Accessories is a compound bow that is powerful, nimble, and brilliantly fun to use. This bow is particularly well suited to beginners using it for the first time. However, it will also be more than capable of ‘growing with you’ so that you can use it as a more developed and experienced archer.
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and ultimately aesthetics play second string (no pun intended) to performance, it’s still nice to have a bow that looks the part. With its camo coloring and its detailed body, this bow certainly fits the bill. Large gaps keep it light, while the aluminium riser is light and strong.
Stats and Features
This bow has a right handed orientation and a draw weight of 50-70lbs. That in turn means that it is suitable for beginners and more advanced users with more strength. You can adjust this draw weight by using an included Allen key, and you will find that the speed of course increases in accordance with the weight. The maximum speed is 310fps. There is a large let-off of 70-80%.
The draw length is 25-31”, while the weight is 4.4lbs. The bow is also quite small with an axle-to-axle length of just 31.5”.
Other features include a fiber optic sight, and a drop away arrow rest.
To use, this is a great bow. It is light and nimble, and its small size makes it easy for moving around with. The high let-off and the adjustable draw weight make it very suitable for those that are just starting out, or that perhaps don’t have a lot of raw muscle power.
While all this is true though, the bow is also a little more tailored to the beginner. It has a reasonably fast 310FPS, but there are faster and more powerful options on this list. The high let-off is also more of an advantage for those just starting out.
Don’t get it wrong though. The great thing about this bow is that it can be a good option for those that are more experienced too, meaning that you can buy this early on and then stick with a single weapon even as you develop your skills and ability. For that reason, we do highly rate the Leader bow and recommend it as one of the very best ‘all-rounders’ on this list. And the small size is particularly welcome if you’re going to be using this bow in an active setting.
- Bow Weight: 4.4 lbs. Hand Orientation: Right. Draw Weight: 50 - 70 lbs. Let Off: 75% - 80%. Draw Length: 25" -...
- Max Speed: 310 FPS . Axle to Axle: 31.5". Arrow Tip Weight: 100 grains. Arrow Spine Deflection: 0.405"
- Aluminum Riser. Adjust the draw weight and draw length with enclosed Allen Wrench. No bow press is needed
- This compound bow is with: carbon arrow x 12, paper target x 12, bow bag x 1, quiver x 1, optic sight x 1,...
- 1-Year Warranty on the bow excluding string & cables
SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30” Compound Bow
With both ‘SAS’ and ‘Rage’ in the name, you might be expecting something incredibly beastly and menacing. That’s probably not a particularly accurate description of this hunting bow that is a little in the shadow of some other beasts on this list… but still, it is a very powerful, fun, and well-made bow nonetheless.
The design of this bow is fairly standard. It has a riser that’s full of cut outs to keep it low and to give it that more detailed look. It also uses strong materials, with the bow being layered to increase its strength.
For those that like a bow that looks the part, the good news is that this one comes in a range of different colors. The default is the stealthy black, which does have the cool, simple appeal of an assassin’s bow. Then you’ve got the camo option if you want to play Rambo. Why not get both and then choose the one that matches your outfit best each day?
It isn’t particularly ‘over designed’ though, which is to say that it looks functional rather than sleek. Whether you like that will depend on why you got into archery in the first place.
Specs and Features
The SAS Rage is a bow that at 35” axle to axle, is a little larger than the Leader, but is still a compact feeling bow. This is helped by the similarly light weight, at 4.4lbs.
That’s very light, but the draw weight isn’t quite as light at 55-70lbs. Again, this is an adjustable option and it will allow you to alter the draw weight as you improve – which is something that we always like to see.
The draw length meanwhile is particularly short at 25”-31”. For those of you with shorter arms (any T-Rex’s out there?) this is going to be a very good option.
With a let off of 70%, the bow is even more beginner friendly.
The performance on this one is unfortunately not quite as impressive as the Leader. With a top speed of 270FPS, it’s not the quickest by any means. It’s not terrible, but this does mean that combined with the high let off, this is probably better suited to the beginner.
And on the whole, the Leader bow is a slightly better option in that class seeing as it has more ‘growth potential’.
- Package includes 5-pin Bow Sight, Arrow Rest, Stabilizer, Braided Bow Sling, Peep Sight
- Net weight: 4.4 lbs
- Draw Length: 26" - 30"
- Draw Weight: 55 - 70 lbs.
- Max Speed: 270 FPS
Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow
The Bear Archery Cruzer is a cool looking bow that has a lot of interesting things going for it. The name itself tells you that this is a bow all about hunting, and it even comes with six trophy ridge accessories.
The Bear Archery Cruzer is an attractive bow. It comes in a range of styles which go far beyond the normal ‘camo’ and ‘black’. You have a toxic green option for instance, and a hot pink ‘muddy girl’ variety. These are contrasted against black, so they are a little more subtle than the name might suggest – more like highlights. The result is something that feels sporty and that lets you express your individual style a little more. Of course, the regular black and camo options are here too.
Otherwise, the bow is very well designed throughout. You get the usual cutouts on the riser, which give it a dynamic appearance and help to keep it light. It’s also nicely curved and compact, and has a sleek feeling a bit like a shuriken.
Specs and Features
The previous two bows we’ve looked at so far are very much designed to be all-rounders that have adjustable draw weights and other features. This one goes a little further though and instead offers a highly adaptable and versatile bow. That is to say that it can be adjusted even more than the others, to suit any scenario.
To illustrate this, consider for a moment the draw weight. This can range anywhere from 5-70lbs. Seeing as 40lbs is often considered the lower end, that should tell you just how easy this can be to pull back (read our buyer’s guide if this is all Greek to you). This is a great choice for kids then, but with a draw weight that goes all the way up to 70lbs, it’s also very suitable for adults. Likewise, the draw length can range from 12” – which is very short, to 30”.
Do keep in mind though that this potentially low draw-back might cause legal issues depending on your state. Again, read below.
All adjustments are easily made using an Allen Wrench. The point of this bow according to the manufacturers is to allow you to ‘adapt to any adventure’.
With such adaptability and such a huge range in terms of settings, you might now be wondering about performance. The good news is that this is a performant bow, even if it does have a couple of caveats.
The draw cycle for one is incredibly smooth thanks to the dual cams. The let-off is quite high at 70%, but the advanced grip design is intended to help improve stability and accuracy. A RockStop offset string suppressor reduces noise and vibration.
In terms of raw power, this is still a decent shooter too. At 315FPS it’s not the fastest on this list, but that’s only if you count the crossbow…
And perhaps most impressive of all, is that it manages to offer all of these features, and all of that versatility, at an incredibly low weight of just 3lbs. That again makes this an ideal choice for a younger user but it also makes this bow just an absolute joy to use. You can easily run with it, hold it in one hand, and generally actually hunt rather than being limited to purely static target practice.
When you consider all these different factors together, this is a bow that has a lot going for it. Oh and it also comes in either left or right handed orientation.
- Maximum-versatility bow is engineered for all ages and skill levels
- Ready to hunt bow comes equipped with six Trophy Ridge accessories
- Adjustable from 12” to 30” draw length range and from 5 to 70 lbs. peak draw weight
- All adjustments are made using an Allen wrench with no need for a bow press
- Weighs only 3 lbs. and shoots up to 315 feet per second. The unique shape of the limb creates a reliable load...
Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package
You have to love the naming conventions of bows. Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro. That’s at least four over-the-top adjectives in the name. Add ‘Elite Ultimate Destroyer’ in there too. Why not?
To be fair though, this is a bow that in many ways lives up to the name. Let’s take a closer look.
The design of this bow right away marks itself out as infinite and edgy and pro. It has a large riser filled with cutouts and details, with limbs that bend back steeply and are held in place by massive looking cams. The bow comes in three different colors, those being mossy oak, black ops, and pink blaze. Our favorite is the black ops, which unlike some other black bows which look a little bland, actually does look like something an elite covert unit would use!
Specs and Features
The name here suggests that you are getting not just a bow, but a ‘package’. What does that mean? It means that you are getting not only the bow itself but also a 3-pin tundra sight, arrow rest, octane quiver, peep sight, wrist sling, and ultra-lite octane stabilizer. Many of these things like the sights are included with other bows on this list, but it’s unusual to get a quiver thrown in and everything here is well made. The bow is also a multi-shooter, meaning that you can fire off a bunch of arrows.
Designed to Have Perfect Balance
Draw length is 31”, which is fairly standard. The bow only weighs just 3.1lbs, which makes it among the lightest despite its strength and resilience. Draw weight is adjustable from 5-70lbs again which makes it an excellent choice for those that are starting out but want something they can keep for a long time (as well as for those that want to give their children a go). That does mean there are potential legal issues depending on your location though, so check our advice on that down below.
This thing feels amazing to use. It is light, it is powerful, and it comes with lots of features. The fact that you get everything you could need to get started is also very welcome.
As for the actual velocity, this goes up to 310FPS. This is a middle-of-the road performance then, but certainly capable of being used for hunting and competing.
- Wide draw length range between 13 and 31 inches
- Accelerates arrows to up to 310 ft/sec
- Redesigned cam system for a flawlessly smooth draw
- Integral stabilizer creates a perfect balance and a steadier shot
- Draw weight adjustable from 5 to 70 lbs of force
CenterPoint Sniper 370- Crossbow Package
Time to get serious. This crossbow might feel like cheating when you bring it out to hunt. It is just that powerful and that impressive. It’s also a ton of fun to use and actually a very practical tool.
Design and Appearance
We can pretend that hunting is a serious matter and that we don’t care about the way we look… but for most of us that would be a lie. This is an exciting and exhilarating hobby that develops awesome skills. Why not look like a warrior doing it?
And this crossbow will make you feel that way for sure. It comes in black or two shades of camo, which mainly decorate the limbs and other features. It is heavy and sleek and generally looks and feels like something you’d use to hunt game in the future.
Specs and Features
This crossbow is very different from the bows on the list. It has an 18” axle to axle width, which are located horizontally and which are 21” when relaxed. You’ll fire using a trigger and an auto safety mechanism ensures you won’t accidentally shoot yourself (or your mate) in the foot.
Also included is a 4x32mm scope. The ‘Sniper’ bit of the name is not just for show – you really can fire this over a long range thanks to its immense power. Integrated string suppressors keep it almost silent too. The entire thing weighs 12.2lbs, making it a bit heavier for running around with.
In terms of performance, this is a different kettle of fish. With a 185lb draw weight, this isn’t going to be something you load quickly. But then again, you can stand on the end to load it, which is something you can’t do with a bow.
For all that you are getting a 370FPS acceleration. That’s the trade-off, and it means that your shots can burst through foliage and travel straight and narrow for a long distance. It’s a ton of fun, and it’s a whole different ball game.
- 370-Feet per second firing Velocity, 185-pound draw weight
- Fully Adjustable, tactical stock and forearm
- Lightweight & durable CNC Machined aluminum rail with shoot through riser
- Integrated String suppressors for a quiet, vibration-free shot
- Quad limbs with precision CNC Machined Cam System
RAPTOR Compound Hunting Bow Kit
Finally, the Raptor is another bow with another awesome name. It also looks like an absolute monster with its huge limbs and complex looking riser.
As mentioned, this bow looks like a monster. It has bits and pieces protruding everywhere, but rather than being ugly, this just makes it look more complex and powerful. It doesn’t look like a toy, but like something you would take out when you meant serious business!
The aluminium limbs and riser are light and strong and it feels beautifully made.
Specs and Features
This bow has a 75% let-off, making it welcoming for beginners despite its appearance and its size. A little less welcoming is the 3.6lb weight, though it’s not the heaviest on this list. The draw weight is 30-70lbs, making it easily adjustable to suit your skill level – though we recommend checking the laws in your area before making a purchase.
Other unique features include the split yoke turning system, which allows for precise adjustments and more accurate flight. And as a package, it comes with a rest, stabilizer, 5 pin sight, loop and more. Everything you need to get started (except arrows!)
Performance here is great. At 315FPS it is in tied first place for the fastest bow here that’s not a massive crossbow. It’s also one of the most accurate we’ve used, and that really makes it a fun and reliable bow to fire.
The included sight is a little basic, but if you swap this out, then you’ll have something that’s highly accurate.
- PERFECT PLATFORM – Whether you’re a hunter, bowfishing enthusiast, or into target shooting… this...
- FULLY ADJUSTABLE – With an axle to axle length of 30” and weighing in at only 3.6lbs, the draw length...
- HIGH QUALITY MACHINING – Both the cams and modules are fully machined aluminum with zero plastic. Compound...
- COMPLETE BOW PACKAGE - Includes 5 pin fiber optic sight with light and level, TRUGLO EZ brush rest,...
- LIFETIME WARRANTY – Every Predator Archery bow comes with an industry leading warranty program that covers...
Hunting Bow Buyer’s Guide
Any one of those three bows is going to be a fantastic choice for a beginner or someone who has a little more experience with archery. But rather than take our word for it, read on and learn the differences for yourself. This way, you’ll be able to better understand the differences between any two given bows, and this will help you to understand the specific things that you might be looking for. Not only that, but we think it’s important that you have a working knowledge of the tool you’re going to be using!
The first thing to decide then, is just what type of bow you are going to invest in. The answer for the most part will be the ‘compound bow’.
Types of Bow
When you imagine a bow, you might picture the kind of thing that Legolas might wield. Today though, bows look quite a lot different. Bows these days are made from high quality carbon fibers and other materials that combine incredible resilience with a light weight. The result is something that almost melts into your body and your stance, while at the same time lasting a very long time.
Bows also come in a variety of different types. For the most part, the type of bow you’ll be using for hunting is called a ‘compound bow’. Compound bows are bows that use what is referred to as a ‘levering system’ – a combination of different cables and pulleys that together bend the limbs and store all of that potential energy.
You might notice that your bow has what looks like wheels or cogs at either end, and that there is more than one piece of material connecting either end. Compound boys are particularly popular when it comes to target practice and hunting, because they allow a more powerful (and thus straighter) shot. By utilizing those pulleys and cables, you’re able to bend stiffer limbs than you otherwise could. These are ‘force multipliers’ that effectively make you stronger, allowing you to use sturdier materials as compared with the recurve bow, or longbow for instance.
Because the limbs are more rigid, they are harder to bend, and thus they are much more eager to snap back into place. You thus get greater power efficiency – it’s not as difficult or slow to load the bow, and once you let her rip, the arrow will be charged with even more energy and fly off in a powerful, straight line.
Make sure you find the best anchor point for a consistent shot!
So that’s one easy choice for you: always look for compound bows!
One thing that is crucial to consider when choosing your bow is the draw weight. In other words, just how hard is it to pull back? We’ve already discussed that compound bows are great for hunting because they make it relatively easy to pull back and hold, while still letting you transmit a lot of force into the arrow.
But it’s still possible to find bows that have a heavy draw weight, which in turn can make them ill-suited for people who lack a little arm strength (then again, this is a quick way to build up some lats!).
Which is right for you is going to depend on various things. If you are young, then you will need something with a lighter draw weight (45lb-50lbs), and the same often goes for those adults who are less physically strong. However, if you are strong and experienced, then a draw weight of 60-70lbs will be preferable.
The good news? Many bows these days have adjustable draw weights. That means that you can alter just how much resistance you experience when you draw the string back, and it means you can enjoy a single bow as you progress and improve your capabilities.
Cams and Let-Off
There’s more though too. Remember those wheels/cogs we described earlier? Well, they’re actually more accurately referred to as cams, and they aren’t quite perfectly round if you look closely. Rather, they are eccentric, which means their radius will change as they rotate. That allows them to be even more efficient.
This basically means that the bow is harder to draw back at some points and easier at others. A well designed compound bow takes this into account and the ratio of the bowstring pay-out and cable-take up will change relative to limb-weight. That is to say that the cam makes it easier to pull back as the limbs start to give more resistance – making this an even more convenient and enjoyable weapon to load and use.
This also explains some of the variation that you’re likely to experience. A compound bow can either be soft-drawing, which means it has a slow build-up until it reaches a peak weight. This will result in a more gradual let-of too, which will give the bow a long ‘valley’ at the end. In short, this is easier to pull back, but requires you to draw further.
Alternatively, a bow can be hard drawing with a fast build-up to peak draw weight – and this will then give it a quicker let off with a shorter valley. The let-off then ultimately describes the difference between the draw weight and the reduction in draw weight when the bow is fully drawn. The higher the let off, the easier the bow is to hold – but this will ultimately result in a slower arrow velocity.
By getting a bow with a higher let off, you can enjoy greater efficiency and fire a straighter and stronger arrow with less physical strength. That said, you will always lose a little velocity, and a hard draw bow will tend to be more efficiently. Your job is to decide what is best for you and choose a hard cam, soft cam, or medium cam.
Just to make your life a little more complicated, it’s also possible to find bows that have dual cams, solo cams, hybrid cams, and binary cams.
Basically, this tells you about the type and location of the cams. A solo cam is a bow that has just one cam on one limb, whereas a dual cam has a cam on either end. The dual cam is significantly faster because it allows you to use even more lever power. It is also easier to draw. The downside? Dual cams require that both cams be in perfect synchronization (timing). That means they need to turn-over (this is the point where they move through their elliptical shape to alter their orientation) at the exact same time. This can otherwise damage accuracy.
So dual cams are better to fire and more potent, but they are also a little more complicated to get to grips with – something to keep in mind if you’re a complete beginner. They need regular adjustment and you may need to alter the tiller length (this is the distance from the tip of each limb where the string attaches, to the base).
Hybrid cams attempt to solve this issue by providing the best of both world. These will use two cams, but here they are intentionally out of sync but it doesn’t matter because the top cam will act as the ‘controller’ and the bottom will simply add a little power. Hybrid cams are better than solo cams, but not quite up there with dual cams.
Finally, a binary cam slaves the top and bottom cam to one another, instead of to the bow’s limbs. These use cam to cam cables in other words, rather than the cam pulling the opposing limb. The result is that the cams can ‘self maintain’. While these are faster than typical solo cams though, they fall short of the power, speed, and accuracy of the dual cam.
Parallel vs Pre-Loaded
There are also a number of variations in terms of how the limbs operate. Remember, the limbs are the top and bottom of the bow that store the energy in both cases. The ability of the limbs to exert equal force on the arrow is what will ensure it flies at the right speed and trajectory. Make sure your arrows are cut to the right length!
However, there is more than this to a well-designed bow. What’s also important is that the limbs don’t create too much recoil (kick-back). To prevent this, energy should be released at opposite angles, in order that it will neutralize itself.
Parallel limb designs work with a horizontal orientation. They will flex into a slight curve when the bow string is drawn, and they will thus return energy in direct opposition to one another, thereby minimizing recoil.
Pre-loaded limbs meanwhile are oriented in a more vertical position with the limbs bent to a distinct arc when loaded that is more pronounced than the curve seen in the parallel limbs.
Ultimately, the pre-loaded limb design uses a more radically reflexed riser, which in turn does result in more recoil.
Or more accurately, ‘Axle-to-axle’ length. This is the length from one cam axle to other, usually measured in inches.
So, what’s normal? Well, a very short axle-to-axle length would be around 30 inches, whereas 38 inches would be considered a very long axle. As you can see then, there isn’t a huge range of difference between these two.
What difference does this make? Well, one of the things to consider of course is maneuverability. A gigantic bow is obviously not terribly practical if you plan on running with it, or moving around in tight spaces. If you’re going to be using this for hunting then you might want to remain nimble and agile, in which case something smaller is a good idea.
Then again, a long axle-to-axle length is typically more forgiving and is better at correcting its own trajectory should you make a slight mistake. That makes a larger bow better for beginners, but only if they will be stationary.
Another thing to consider is that the size will also impact on the weight. Not the draw weight, but the actual weight of the bow. This will also be dictated by the material used to make the bow too, which also plays a role in the power, and in the draw weight.
So really, it is useless to consider these factors in isolation. Each plays off the other to create its own unique beast. The right bow for you, will be the one that offers the best compromise and combination of factors.
When looking at hunting bows, perhaps the most important factor of all to consider is the law! In other words, is the bow you’re looking at ordering online going to be legal for you to use in the state in which you live?
For instance, most states have a minimum draw weight of around 40lbs.
There are other factors to consider as well. In other states, only certain lengths or specific types of bow are allowed. Likewise, certain areas will only permit bows that propel a single arrow at a time (no multi arrow bows). Some don’t allow the use of hydraulic or pneumatic technology.
To make sure that the bow you’re considering is legal, this is a great resource.
Here is another great resource for hunting shot placement with a bow.
There are several more factors that you should likewise consider when comparing bows. These include:
Hand Orientation: Is this for a right handed or left handed archer? This is something that a lot of people won’t even consider unless a) they are left handed, or b) they are right handed and they accidentally purchased a left handed bow. Always make sure to check this before cash exchanges hands!
FPS: No, we haven’t become confused with computer game archery! FPS in this case stands for ‘Feet Per Second’ and this can range depending on things such as the draw strength and the let-off. This is also related to the distance that the arrow can travel of course, though the speed will decrease the further the arrow moves.
On average, you can expect the FPS to range between 200 and 400 FPS, though it will more often be around 300 – with the higher numbers being more common on things like crossbows, which have much heavier draw weights.
Draw Length: As well as the axle-to-axle length, consider the draw length. This refers to how far back you need to draw the string – which in turn will make the bow more or less comfortable in relation to your height and your arm span!
So, What Should You Get?
If all this is sounding completely overwhelming… don’t worry!
While it’s good to know all the basics, you don’t need to concern yourself with all these issues when choosing. Rather, just look for a bow that is aimed at your experience level and that has good reviews.
As a quick guide though, use the information below to help make your choice.
Everyone: Choose a bow that is legal in your region (consider the draw weight) and that is a compound hunting bow.
Beginners: Look for a lighter drawing weight (45lbs-50lbs) and a soft cam. A solo cam system will work well, or if you have a little more money, consider a binary cam system, or a hybrid cam.
Intermediate: Look for a mid-range drawing weight with a medium cam. A hybrid cam system will work well.
Here we are assuming that the experienced archer is going to have more physical strength than the inexperienced archer. If that seems like a surprising conclusion, keep in mind that strength is built as you practice pulling back the bow. Eventually it can become second nature!
There are a few more things to consider too though. For one, you will obviously need to think about price. Hunting bows can range greatly in terms of their materials and their features, with some being made from entirely different compounds than others. While you’re obviously going to want the lightest, strongest bow around, the truth is that you’re also going to be limited to some extent by your budget. Unless you’re Bruce Wayne. Or I suppose Oliver Queen would be more appropriate in this case.
Whatever you decide though, any of the six we’ve recommended will be accurate, powerful, effective, and fun. And as you grow in skill, you’ll be able to make the most of whatever weapon you wield.