What is the difference between an arrow and a bolt? A very common question in the archery world. They mean the same thing as ‘bolt’ is used as a term for the crossbow’s projectile. It can only be used for a crossbow, while the arrow can be used for the other types. In linguistics, when a person talks about arrows and bolts for a crossbow, they usually mean the same thing. Technically, however, a bolt does not have stabilizing vanes at the back. Arrows do. Some experts say that it’s called a bolt if it is under 16 inches; and those over that are called arrows. Be it be a bolt or an arrow (but let’s use arrow to avoid confusion), you should partner your crossbow with the best crossbow arrows.
Importance of Crossbow Arrows
Let me ask you a question: how do you fire a gun without a bullet? How do you play basketball without a ball? That’s how important the bolts are to a crossbow. Whether you have the most expensive crossbow out there or just an average one, it will only be as good as its arrow. It is the most important part of your crossbow gear.
What to Consider in Buying The Best Crossbow Arrows
There are many, many crossbow bolts or arrows out in the market today with features that make them unique from each other, while some have features that make them the best. If you have been using your crossbow for a long time now, you probably already know which bolts fit with your gear best. If you are a beginner, then you probably have these questions in your head:
- Should I get an aluminum or a carbon one?
There are arrows made of wood or even graphite. However, aluminum and carbon are considered to be the rulers nowadays and have been the most popular choice for archers and bowhunters everywhere. Every recurve or compound crossbow out there can shoot both of these types well given the compatibility and shooter’s ability.
- Less expensive than carbon
- More accurate
- Flies better with 125-grain points with fixed blades
- Less durable
- Remains true after long use
- Faster off the rail
- Provide better penetration
- Flies better with 100-grain mechanical broadheads
These are not everything about aluminum and crossbow arrows. Whether to use the other or not, it is completely up to what your bow would perform best with.
- Length, Weight and Size
Consider the length, weight and size of your crossbow arrow according to where you are going to use it. If you are hunting big animals like a bear, longer and heavier arrows work better than the short ones. The speed of crossbow arrows decrease quickly, but longer arrows can maintain downrange speed better and could deliver more energy when shooting the target as well as penetration.
For your crossbow’s draw weight, match it with the arrow’s length and weight. If it increases, the arrow’s should too.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on nocks so you could truly have the best crossbow arrow with your gear. The blunt, half-moon and flat nocks are doing pretty well these days. If you a bow with a heavy front end and strong cams, half-moon nocks would be ideal.If you have one that has a draw weight of less than 175 pounds, the flat type would be a great choice.
Top Choices for Crossbow Arrows
- Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow 20-inch arrows with field points – these arrows quickly take up a spot on the best crossbow arrows because of its price and quality. and to summarize its performance in three words: “they fly straight”. Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow 20-inch arrows weigh around 8.1 ounces and are built with a lightweight, yet strong carbon shaft. Its accuracy and target are optimal due to its features.
- Features 13.78 grains per inch as well as a hundred-grain point, providing maximum penetration and accuracy
- Increased durability because of the improved wall thickness
- Includes moon nocks and field points
- Consistency is excellent
- High quality craftsmanship
- 100g heads can give you a difficult time to sight in your crossbow; although this depends how comfortable you are with their weight
- Carbon Express PileDriver Fletched Carbon Crossbolt with 4-inch Vanes – Good, sturdy and accurate, these bolts made it to my top 3 mainly because I loved the old Surge bolts. These Carbon Express Cross have the same length and weight of the old Surge bolts, so if you were a fan of those before, this is the next thing! Built with composite materials to achieve extreme durability, these arrows could stay great even at impact.
- Great penetration, suggested for hunters
- Consistent spine with great accuracy
- Stays durable at impact
- Heaviest carbon crossbolt in the CX lineup at 442 grains, it has great knock-down power as well as maximum kinetic energy
- No field tips included
TenPoint Omni-Bright Lighted 20-Inch Pro Elite Carbon Arrows, Black – arrows great for hunting during dawn or dusk, the TenPoint Omni-Bright Lighted Carbon Arrows will definitely ‘illuminate’ your hunting experience. Along with a Spitfire 100-grain mechanical broadhead, these arrows are tuned for maximum precision and accuracy. Great for target practice, but can also be handy during hunting, especially if you are out a time with not much light.
- Omni-Bright Lighted nock system
- Carbon fiber
- 68-grain brass insert
- Nocks could easily separate
My top three picks might not be everyone else’s picks. Choosing the right bolt for your crossbow always comes down to compatibility. Bow manufacturers have already determined the weight, length and type of arrows that will go along best with their bow. Checking what your bow requires and the specifications provided, your hunt for the best crossbow bolt can’t get any easier!
Regardless what the best crossbow arrows for you are, make sure you do practice with them and practice safely. Carry all the gear deemed necessary before heading off to the field!