As an experienced archer, I understand the importance of selecting the best crossbow bolts for hunting and target shooting. In my years of practice, I have tested various bolts and found that quality, weight, and size are key factors in choosing the best crossbow bolt.
To achieve success in the field, it’s important to choose bolts that provide durability, accuracy, and consistency. In my experience, carbon ones offer the best durability and accuracy due to their lightweight design, which provides faster and flatter trajectories.
However, selecting the appropriate weight and size is crucial to ensure consistent flight and accuracy. After extensive testing, I have compiled a list of the best crossbow bolts that meet these criteria and have consistently improved my performance.
With these top options, you can confidently choose the perfect crossbow bolt for your needs and elevate your archery skills to the next level.
But before heading forward to the best crossbow bolts reviews, let’s first discuss the various things to consider.
Understanding Your Bolt Buyer’s Guide
Fletching or vanes are available in different materials, shapes, and sizes. The three most popular materials are plastic, feathers, and carbon fiber. The most commonly used shapes are straight, offset, and helical. The size of the vanes usually ranges from 1 to 4 inches.
The primary function of the fletching is to stabilize the arrow during flight, and the type you choose will depend on your personal preference and the type of hunting you will be doing.
However, a larger vane adds to the drag faced by the arrow; it is still useful if you are hunting over a longer range. Another crucial factor is the Weight Forward of the Center. But what is it?
FOC – Weight Forward Of Center:
FOC stands for the weight forward of the center. It is a crucial factor in determining the arrow’s accuracy, trajectory, and penetration power. The FOC measurement is the percentage of the arrow’s total weight that is ahead of the arrow’s center point. A higher FOC provides a more accurate shot, better penetration, and increased kinetic energy.
The usual and recommended FOC is anywhere between 11-16%.
Crossbow Bolt FOC:
Crossbow bolts have a higher FOC than traditional arrows. It is because they are shorter and heavier, and they need to travel at high speeds to cover the distance accurately. A higher FOC helps to stabilize them during flight and improves their flight precision.
The Significance of a More Forward Weight Of Center.
A high FOC helps the arrow to penetrate through the animal’s hide and bones. When an arrow strikes an animal, it transfers kinetic energy, causing tissue damage and blood loss. The forward weight helps the arrow to maintain momentum and energy as it passes through the animal, leading to deeper penetration.
The diameter of the arrow shaft also plays a crucial role in penetration and accuracy. Thinner shafts have less surface area, leading to less wind resistance and deeper penetration.
Thicker shafts are more durable and can withstand more stress. The standard guidelines tell us to choose an arrow with a shaft diameter less than the ferrule.
Mass of Arrow:
The mass of the arrow is an essential factor in determining its penetration through the game. A heavier arrow penetrates deeper and maintains momentum better, leading to a more lethal shot. A lighter arrow may accelerate more but loses its power when shooting over long ranges, which does not bring desired results.
Inserts are metal components that are installed into the arrow’s tip to add weight and improve its accuracy. They also provide a secure connection between the arrow and the point.
Aluminum inserts are between 30-40 grains, whereas the brass ones are heavier and lie between 100 – 130 grains range, which significantly adds to the FOC.
The length of the arrow is an essential factor to consider while selecting your arrows. The length will depend on the draw length of your bow and the type of hunting you will be doing.
Longer arrows are more accurate but are slower and have less penetration power. Shorter arrows are faster but are less accurate and have shallower penetration.
Short arrows may give a faster acceleration, but they lose their velocity very quickly and are not recommended for long-range shooting.
However, the best crossbow bolts are in the range of 16 to 20 inches.
Field-Tips And Broadheads:
Field tips are used for target practice, while broadheads are used for hunting. Broadheads are designed to penetrate through the animal’s hide and bones, causing tissue damage and blood loss. Different types of broadheads are available, including fixed blade, mechanical, and hybrid.
Basic Nock Styles – Best Crossbow Bolts Nock Types:
The nock is the plastic or metal component that attaches the arrow to the bowstring. There are four basic nocks. The most common types of nocks found are the half-moon nock, capture nock, flat nock, and omni-nock.
The half-moon nock is named after its shape, which resembles a half-moon. This nock has a groove that fits onto the crossbow string and helps to keep the bolt in place. Half-moon nocks are the most commonly used nocks.
The capture nock is designed to hold the bolt firmly on the string, preventing it from slipping out of the crossbow’s rail. This nock has two prongs that snap onto the string, making it easier to load and more secure during the shot.
The flat nock is the simplest and most basic nock design. This nock is flat and can fit onto any crossbow string. However, it doesn’t have any features that keep the bolt aligned, making it less accurate than other nock types.
The omni-nock is a newer nock design that can fit onto any crossbow string. This nock has a shape that allows it to rotate freely on the string, making it easier to align the bolt and improving accuracy.
Best Crossbow Bolts Reviews
1. Excalibur Firebolt Carbon Arrows Review
The Excalibur Firebolt Carbon Arrows are a great choice for hunters who demand consistent and reliable performance from their gear. These arrows are made from high-quality series-22 carbon, which provides excellent rigidity and ensures superior penetration.
One of the standout features of the Firebolt arrows is their flat-end design, which eliminates the need for nocks and allows you to line up any fletch in the channel for shooting. This feature provides a high degree of flexibility and convenience for hunters who want to use different types of fletching.
In terms of weight, the Firebolt arrows weigh in at 265 grains without a broadhead. However, I recommend using a 125 or 150-grain broadhead to improve the FOC and overall performance of the arrow.
While the Firebolt arrows are generally very sturdy and reliable, some users have reported that the inserts may come loose over time and require re-gluing. This can be a bit frustrating, but it’s a minor issue that can be easily fixed with some adhesive.
2. Carbon Express Maxima Blue Streak Review
These bolts are packed with features designed to improve accuracy, speed, and consistency, and they deliver on all fronts. One of the standout features of these best crossbow bolts is the Dual Spine Weight Forward technology. Essentially, this means that each one has two spines, which work together to manage energy more effectively.
The Diamond Weave back shaft technology provides unparalleled stiffness and spine consistency, further contributing to accuracy and reliability.
Of course, no crossbow bolt is complete without a durable and consistent exterior, and the Maxima Blue Streak delivers on this front. The Bufftuff exterior ensures strength and repeats consistency, while the shafts are laser checked for straightness.
In terms of specifications, these come fletched with 3″ fusion vanes and are 22″ in size with a diameter of 0.340″. They weigh in at 403 grains and come in a convenient 5-pack, complete with two blue-lighted nocks.
3. Victory Archery X Crossbow Bolt
When it comes to finding quality crossbow bolts that won’t break the bank, the Victory Archery X is a top contender. As an archery enthusiast, I can personally attest to their impressive performance and value.
One of the standout features of the Victory Archery X bolts is their weight. At around 325 grains before adding a field tip or broadhead, these have a good mass and FOC weight that makes them ideal for penetration shooting. The carbon fiber construction and brass insert also contribute to their durability and ability to handle heavy broadheads for long-distance shots.
Another advantage of the Victory X is their availability in different lengths, including 20-inch, 22-inch, and 24-inch options. The 24-inch is especially useful for those who struggle to find longer crossbow bolts.
One area where the Victory bolts could be improved is the length of the Bohning X vanes, which measure 3 inches. An extra half-inch would have been a good option.
These are finished off with plastic half-moon nocks. While they get the job done, a sturdier material would be preferable for added reliability.
Overall, they offer excellent value for money and solid performance for hunting and target shooting. I highly recommend giving them a try if you’re in the market for new crossbow bolts.
4. Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Arrows Review
The Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Arrows are high-quality crossbow bolts for enthusiasts looking for an affordable and reliable option. These 20-inch crossbow arrows are made from carbon, which provides excellent durability and accuracy, and have a wall thickness that has been increased from the previous model to improve penetration.
One of the key advantages of these crossbow arrows is their weight. Without the included 100-grain field tip, the arrows weigh only 312 grains. This makes them ideal for use with lighter crossbows with lower FPS and energy, as they can be shot at high speeds and maintain excellent accuracy and stability.
However, for hunters using heavier crossbows or looking to take down larger game, it is recommended to use a 125-grain field tip or broadhead to increase the total weight of the arrow to reach the optimal 10-15% range for hunting. This will provide better penetration and ensure a cleaner kill.
In terms of nocks, the Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Arrows use half-moon nocks, which some hunters may not prefer. However, these nocks are compatible with most crossbows and are easy to install.
5. Carbon Express PileDriver Review
The Carbon Express PileDriver is a high-quality crossbow bolt that lives up to its name. With a weight of 442 grains, it is a heavy bolt that is perfect for hunting big game. When combined with a 100-grain field tip or broadhead, it delivers superior stopping power and excellent penetration.
I’ve found that adding a heavier broadhead (125 or 150 grains) helps to maximize the FOC and further improve the performance.
The Carbon Express PileDriver is also incredibly durable thanks to its composite material build and 0.348-inch diameter. Despite its heavier weight, it provides excellent consistency at long distances once you’ve made the necessary adjustments to your scope.
I particularly appreciate the 4-inch vane that comes with it, which provides added stability and control during flight.
The only downside is that the advertising can be slightly misleading, as the bolt doesn’t actually come with a field tip. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s worth noting if you plan to use the tip for practice.
6. TenPoint Pro Lite Review
This bolt is the epitome of accuracy and consistency, which is essential for any archer looking to improve their skills.
What really stood out to me was the attention to detail that TenPoint puts into the manufacturing process. Each bolt is hand sorted to ensure maximum consistency in terms of straightness and weight tolerance. This attention to detail translated into a smoother shooting experience, which was extremely satisfying.
One of the features that I particularly liked was the plastifletch fletching at the back of the arrow, measuring out at 3.5 inches and slightly offset. It helped to stabilize them during flight, making it easier to hit the target accurately.
It also features TenPoint’s neon green omni-nock technology, which is a game-changer. It helps to avoid dry firing associated with half-moon nocks, thus making the shooting experience safer and more enjoyable.
I used the TenPoint Pro Lite for hunting, and it proved to be highly effective. It is perfectly balanced at 10.5% FOC, close to the standard 11%. The weight of 370 grains, a 100-grain field tip or broadhead, and the lightweight aluminum insert made it easy to shoot precisely.
7. Easton XX75 Magnum Bolt Review
If you’re in the market for a reliable and accurate crossbow bolt, the Easton XX75 Magnum is definitely worth checking out. The bolt comes in a 2219 size and is 20 inches long, making it a great choice for hunters and target shooters alike. One of the standout features of this bolt is its alloy construction, which provides exceptional durability and strength.
The Easton XX75 Magnum also features a hard anodized finish, which not only looks great but also helps to protect it from the weather. The 4″ vanes provide added stability during flight, which is crucial when maintaining accuracy at longer distances.
Another thing that I appreciated about this is that it comes with inserts already installed. This makes it much easier to set up and get started with shooting right away. Additionally, the bolt comes with Half Moon nocks installed, which I found to be very secure and reliable.
How To Properly Maintain Your Crossbow Bolts?
Crossbow bolts are an essential component of any crossbow setup. Even the best crossbow bolts require proper maintenance and care are crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
Check the Bolts Before Each Use
Before using your crossbow, it is essential to inspect your bolts thoroughly. Ensure there are no cracks, chips, or dents on the shaft or nocks. Check the fletching to make sure it is intact and not frayed. Any damaged or worn components should be replaced immediately to prevent accidents.
Store Crossbow Bolts Properly
When storing your crossbow arrows, make sure they are kept in a dry and cool place. Avoid storing them in damp areas or exposing them to direct sunlight, which can damage the material. Store them in a quiver or case to protect them from impacts or scratches.
Using lubricants can help prolong the life of your bolts. Apply a small amount of lubricant on the shaft and nocks to reduce friction when firing. This helps prevent wear and tear on the components, ensuring they last longer.
Clean Bolts After Use
After using your crossbow bolts, it is essential to clean them thoroughly. Use a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt or debris from the shaft, nocks, and fletching. Clean them carefully to avoid damaging the fletching. If necessary, you can use soap and water to remove stubborn dirt, but dry them thoroughly before storing them.
Don’t Over-Tighten the Nocks
Ensure that the nock is securely attached to the bowstring when loading your crossbow. However, avoid over-tightening the nock, as this can cause damage to the shaft or nock. A loose nock can also affect the accuracy and trajectory of the bolt, so ensure it is secure but not too tight.
Replace Bolts Regularly
Even with proper maintenance and care, crossbow bolts will eventually wear out and need replacing. The replacement frequency depends on how often you use your crossbow, the type of bolts you use, and the conditions you use them. Check them regularly for signs of wear and tear, and replace them if necessary.
Final Words on Best Crossbow Bolts
Crossbow bolts are essential to any crossbow setup, and finding the right one is key to a successful hunt. I have tried my best to provide a comprehensive guide to purchasing the best crossbow bolts, but in the end, it’s up to you to decide which one is right for your needs.
Make sure to read all reviews and do your own research before making a purchase; this will help you make an informed decision and ensure that you get the most out of your investment.