Looking to add a crossbow bolt to your hunting arsenal? We’ve reviewed the top 10 bolts on the market to find our top pick to share with you. Let’s jump right in!
To an amateur, a crossbow bolt might just be ammunition, but it’s a lot more than that. In addition to researching the model and brand of the bolt, you also have to consider the crossbow setup and broadhead, and whether you’re using it for hunting, target shooting, or competitions. Considering the product qualities, before investing in one type, is crucial. Here are the top 10 crossbow bolts for the money that you must consider:
1. CARBON EXPRESS PILE DRIVER
The pile driver hunter is the heaviest and the most powerful in the carbon express line. This bolt comes with half-moon nocks. It might be a little expensive, but its quality doesn’t disappoint. The all-time hunter’s favorite bolt has the following features:
• Due to its heaviness, it has high kinetic power. Thus, it creates a bone-mashing penetration of +/-0.004.
• Its structure gives a spine consistency to ensure a remarkable accuracy.
• It can give good shooting results up to 50 yards.
• It also comes up with 4-inch vanes with nocks.
• Inserts are already installed
- Powerful and accurate especially at short range
- Highly penetrating
- Covers a large field area
- Highly durable
- Due to its heaviness, it has relatively a low speed of 390 fps
- No tips included when buying
- Occasional easy breakage
2. BARNETT OUTDOORS 20 INCH
These crossbow bolts from Barnett are lightweight as compared to carbon express pile drivers. Thus they have ample penetration power, which is suitable for small game hunting only. The wall impermeability gives them high accuracy and durability. This bolt has the following features:
• It has excellent compatibility with Penetrator, Ghost 350, Wild Cat C-5, and Jackal Crossbows.
• After adding a field tip or broadhead, total weight becomes just over 400 grains.
• Lightweight and high power stroke makes it highly efficient
• Its dimensions are 3.2 by 24.5 by 1.2 inches
• The nocks are half-moon shaped
• Accurate adjustment of the bolt in the crossbow will give high efficiency
- Due to longer power stroke and light draw weight, it has a relatively high speed of 430 fps
- Excellent impermeability makes it durable
- Suitable for target practice
- Relatively inexpensive
- In case of any maladjustments, it can get easily damaged.
- Less efficient at longer ranges
- Not compatible with certain crossbow brands
3. CARBON EXPRESS MAXIMA RED
Carbon express makes all kinds of arrows that are best for hunting. They produce high quality and usually low-cost bolts. Maxima red is one of them. It is cheaper than other carbon express arrows but still gets the job done. It has the following features which make it suitable for hunting:
• It is a no-frill high-quality arrow suitable for hunting in the woods
• It is a lightweight arrow with a little design tweak
• It comes with standard inserts and blazer vanes
• The high-tech carbon stiff structure causes it to have deep penetration
• It causes a penetration of +/-0.0025-inches which is not average
• Its restricted arrow release causes a better shaft alignment
- Flies with much power over 70 yards
- Blazer vanes are easily lubricated
- Consistent precision
- Calculable accuracy
- Fitting the right sized illuminated nocks into the collar makes it hard for beginners
4. BLOODSPORT 20-INCH
A bloodsport arrow is a boutique arrow manufacturer. They fall on the expensive side, but they have unique features such as brass inserts, slim diameter, and blood ring. More features are explained below:
• The “blood ring” technology is their main selling point. The blood ring is a ring of wite compound that picks up blood and tissues. Thus you can tell where you shot by examining what the blood ring ha picked up.
• They work best with 150lb crossbows
• They are solid and well-crafted
• The brass inserts help them to weigh forward and to have a stable bolt flight
• The bolt speed is 350 fps
• Their weight ranges from 300-350 grains
• They do not have field points and have half-moon nocks
- High-tech features like blood ring, brass insets, accurate shot
- Returns good value for your money
- Greater speed
- Not recommended for beginners
5. TEN POINT PRO-ELITE
These bolts are the exact definition of “lightning fast.” The fast speed comes along with accuracy, which is the best part. They have omni rocks fitted within. Here are some of their features:
• They have 425-grain carbon bolt along with 68-grain brass inserts to give a long-distance accuracy
• They lose only 18.7 % of their initial kinetic energy after traveling distance of 50 yards
• Tenpoint also has some of the best customer services with satisfactory exchange policies
• This high-end bolt has qualities of power, long-distance, and precision making it ideal for hunters
- Extremely powerful and precise
- They also come with accessories like neon-green rocks or Omni rocks
- Excellent for a high-end hunting game
- Not suitable for beginners especially in target practice
6. BLACK EAGLE EXECUTIONER
This bolt is suitable for any crossbow because of its high kinetic power. Black Engle executioner bolts are crafted for better performance. Although it’s highly expensive, the following features make it worth it:
• The most salient feature is their “brass insert,” which creates a fine ‘forward of center.’
• This high forward of center gives it a stable shot extremely effective at long distance
• They have the potential to bring down any living thing they hit
• Their high kinetic energy generate great penetrating power
• They have removable half-moon and flat nocks. Hence, other nocks can be purchased for the replacement if needed
- Highly penetrating power and accuracy
- Removable BLACK EAGLE EXECUTIONER: nocks
- Superior to all other bolts in terms of power
- Highly effective
- Exclusion of field points
7. REEGOX BIO
Designed for practicing and fun shooting, they are not considered hunting arrows. Reegox recommends these bolts for the rookie shooters. They are inexpensive, and they come in a pack of 12. They are neither heavy nor light but have a standard weight. Following are some of their features:
• They’re soft. They can be easily bent but also easily adjusted using some heat.
• They are affordable and great for entry-level users
• They have half-moon nocks
- Durable for long term use
- Strong field tips
- Too flexible to be used for hunting
- Great chance of bending
8. CARBON EXPRESS MAXIMA HUNTER
As mentioned before, carbon express always comes in handy for game hunters. This bolt fulfills all the requirements of hunters, including accurate long-range shooting. They are considered to be the best in the market. Due to the following features, it stands out among other bolts:
• They retain more velocity and deliver unequaled precision
• Generally, its weight is 0.8 ounces
• They can be paired with Gold Tip EZ-Pull 100 Grain Field Points
• It also has a camouflage of mossy oak tree stand which is an exciting feature of maxima hunter
- Straight structure giving it a high accuracy
- Standard, efficient weight and size
- Carbon coating for high strength
- Does not give an accurate shot for shorter ranges
9. TEN POINT MAGNUM XX75 ALUMINIUM
This bolt has a warranted reputation of the best aluminum crossbow bolt. Its straight flight helps in precise penetration. It has the following features:
• It has a total weight of 435 grains
• It loses 15.9% of kinetic power after covering a distance of over 50 yards
• Comes with glowing neon-orange omni rocks
- Omni rocks help to track the arrow in the dark
- Aerodynamic, accurate, penetrating
- Not suitable for hunting
10. ANTSIR 20” HUNTING ARCHERY
Antsir carbon crossbow arrows are matched with a 125-grain point with 13.75 grains per inch shaft. It is a budget-friendly arrow that comes with incredible parts.
• The material of the arrows is pure carbon.
• The length of the arrows is 20 inches
• They are balanced 7% in the forward of center
- Highly accurate
- Penetration toughness
- Not compatible with all crossbows
Does The Crossbow Bolt Length Matter?
An arrow shot from a bow must be long enough to avoid the Archer’s Paradox. In the case of a crossbow bolt, the length of the bolt is made shorter. The standard length for a crossbow bolt is 20 inches.
While choosing a crossbow bolt and broadhead the most important thing to be considered is the shooting range and speed of the bow. Both of them are determined by weight. The length of the bolt should be suitable for your crossbow type; however, weight plays the most important role.
Why Do They Call Crossbow Arrows Bolts?
The arrows were historically called “bolts” or “quarrels.” While the terminology is often interchangeable, bolts are used for crossbows, while arrows for bows. Bolts are shorter than arrows. The most modern crossbows fire arrows, but many still call them bolts. So basically, call your crossbow arrows bolts, and don’t let this question disturb your sleep at night.
What Is The Difference Between a Crossbow, an Arrow and a Bow?
Crossbows are horizontally mounted. They have a cocking system which allows the bolt to hold the string. In this way, the archer is only focused on the target, and it is not holding any draw weight. After the shooter has aimed, they squeeze the trigger. It is more similar to a rifle but used for short-distance shooting.
One the other hand, bows are vertically mounted. The archer holds some string weight when the arrow is fired. Therefore, traditional bows are more difficult to shoot than crossbows.