Credit: Excalibur

Looking for a crossbow? Check out these 4 high-performing budget bows

It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing hype about new crossbows offering blazing speeds, but that speed comes at a price. It takes years to engineer a new bow and all of its components, which is why the fastest bows with the latest technologies cost upwards of $4,000. Since crossbow hunting is the fastest growing segment of the archery world in North America, however, many companies are now making lower-priced bows for newbies or bowhunters on a budget.

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Affordable bows typically use tried-and-true designs that have stood the test of time. And within a few years, the new technologies originally introduced in high-end bows will often filter down into these less expensive models. In fact, there are now bows selling for less than $1,000 that would have been top performers just five or six years ago.

When looking at budget crossbows, you’ll notice that none of them shoot faster than 400 fps. It’s important to remember, however, that consistency and accuracy make a hunter successful, not the raw power of a bow. Value bows can’t match the speeds of premium models, but none of them are slow—crossbows shooting between 300 and 400 fps have been harvesting game for decades.

One more thing to consider: high-speed bows place a lot of stress on their components, and can require significant maintenance. By contrast, slower bows are the workhorses of the archery world. They’re reliable and easy to maintain, offering consistent and repeatable accuracy. Here are four affordable crossbows from prominent manufacturers that deserve a look.