Selecting the Right Crossbow

In making any purchase we all look for common denominators to make comparisons, eventually leading to a decision. In the good old days this worked great! Chase down a couple of dinosaurs, bop the slow one, and let the quick one run while you drag your choice back to the cave. Easy!

In today's complicated world making a decision regarding which crossbow to purchase can seem impossible to the uninitiated. I'd like to help you to sort out just what crossbow will suit you best.

Today's "speedo" mentality says that in archery the most important, most easily compared criteria is arrow velocity. Faster is better, right? With rifles, where velocity is provided by chemical propellants instead of good ol' elbow grease, I tend to agree. Quicker shoots flatter and hits harder, and it doesn't take a whole lot more effort to pour a few more grains of powder into a casing. Not so with archery, since crossbows only give you back a percentage of the energy you can give them. Making the mistake of choosing a crossbow based on speed alone can cost you dearly! Because speed comes from a combination of draw weight and string travel, we all have to realize that the limitations of our age, physical condition, and height drastically effect our ability to stack foot/lbs. into a crossbow.

Luckily it only takes about 30 foot lbs to go right through a deer, and after about 240 FPS at normal hunting ranges trajectory is virtually identical as speed increases. Hey, a little more thump sure doesn't hurt, but most of the time it's expended on trees, 'cause you can only go right through! Your hunting success isn't likely to suffer if you don't shoot the meanest bow on the block.

Your enjoyment of your crossbow is going to depend largely on how comfortably you can cock it. If your bow requires more from you than you can comfortably give it, big problem! Lets look at this....

First lets talk safety. If you use a bow that has more draw weight or string travel than you are comfortable with you can hurt your back, shoulders, etc. while straining to load it. Not good, ask any chiropractor.

How about accuracy? Cocking a crossbow off center is the # 1 cause of accuracy problems, and marginal loading ability will exaggerate this problem. Using a rope cocking aid will cut the draw weight in half and guarantee perfect alignment, but not without a price. Rope cockers work by doubling the distance you draw and halving the draw weight. If you're "vertically challenged" they can be more of a problem than a solution, and you should consider using our light limbs if the Vixens string travel proves difficult.

Forward weight can be a big issue if you are wheelchair bound or have major upper limb difficulties. Our crossbows are extremely light weight but choosing a shorter model will noticeably reduce forward weight and make holding and shooting your crossbow more fun.

So which one should I buy?

Really, limitations will work in a manner that will make heavier, longer models less accessible, but if you are built like Arnold Schwartzenegger it doesn't mean you've got to use a Matrix 405! Heck, if you're built like him, I'm not gonna try to tell you what to do; no way!

Unfortunately (or fortunately) we're not all Terminators, so I'll try to give some quick guidelines to help you.

First, what will you hunt?

The fact is any of our crossbow models have more than enough energy to harvest any animal in North America.  As most archery hunters know its not the power of the bow that really counts, it's the shot placement.  However, having more power and speed is never a bad thing so picking a crossbow with more performance is not a bad idea.  The chart below gives you a basic idea what crossbow model will work best for what you are hunting.

LEGEND

  Recommended

 Will work but a more powerful model may be a better choice.

  Still might do the job but we recommend you go for a model with more performance.

Game Matrix 405 Matrix 380 Matrix 355 Matrix 330 Ibex/Axiom SMF

 

Vixen II
Small Game: up to fox  
Medium: deer, javelina, pronghorn, feral hog, black bear  
Large: moose, elk, large bear  

 

You will notice that although a few extra FPS can be helpful, you're choices are definitely not limited!

 

How tall are you?

Choosing a crossbow that fits you best is the most important decision when deciding on what model to buy.  The real determining factor is which crossbow model would be the easiest to cock using a rope cocking aid.  Its true, we do offer the C2 Crank that fits all of our crossbow models but a crank is slow, noisy and heavy and unless you really physically need to use a crank we would recommend a rope cocking aid.  To cock a crossbow with a rope cocking aid is more a component of how tall you are than how strong you are.  The chart below give you an idea which model would be best suited for your hieght.

Legend

 You are tall enough to handle this crossbow model

 You may or may not have a problem cocking this model

 You will find this model difficult to cock with a rope cocking aid due to your hieght

Height Matrix 405 Matrix 380 Matrix 355 Matrix 330 Ibex/Axiom SMF   Vixen II
5'0"  
5'2"  
5'4"  
5'6"  
5'8" Plus  

 Remember, the human body comes in all infinite variety of shapes! These are guidelines only!

 We expect that every bow we produce will last a lifetime with minimal maintenance and care. With this in mind I would suggest that you plan at least 10 years down the road and consider what will suit you as you age. Don't ever give up hunting because of age! If you really want to be out there, we'll get you there!

We have a crank type cocking aid available that will give access to every model with very little effort; like everything else in life however, nothings free. Crank cocking aids are clumsy, noisy, and not real cheap. For those who really need them they open up access to a wonderful sport, but choose your crossbow to suit your own unique physique and needs, don't sacrifice yourself to the Gods of velocity.