So now you are starting to get ready for deer hunting season. You already have your crossbow, hunting clothes, gear and maybe pop up blinds and treestands ready, but there is only one problem.
You forgot about one of the most essential tools for your bowhunting arsenal, and that is your crossbow bolts.
I’ve been there.
If you are in need of new crossbow bolts, then you need to stop what you are doing and read this article before buying any.
It is imperative that you read this article because I am going to go through critical aspects such as broadhead weight, the length of the arrows, the type of material used to manufacture the shaft and also the type of nock.
Without this information, you stand the chance of choosing the wrong arrows for your crossbow. I am also going to go over the ten best crossbow bolts for deer hunting.
Please remember that I will interchange between the terms arrows and bolts for the sake of simplicity.
Let’s get started with the first product which is also my top recommended.
Best Crossbow Bolts for Hunting & Archery 2019
|Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Crossbolt|
|Hands down the best croosbow bolts||View on Amazon|
|Carbon Express PileDriver Crossbolt||Best crossbow bolts for the money||View on Amazon|
|Barnett Outdoors 20″ Crossbow Arrow||Best for deer hunting||View on Amazon|
|ANTSIR 20″ Crossbow Bolts Arrow||Best 20 inch crossbow bolts||View on Amazon|
|Lumenok Lumen-Arrow 20-Inch Carbon Bolts||lighted crossbow bolts||View on Amazon|
|Bloodsport 20-Inch Crossbow Bolts||Features the Blood Ring which is very useful||View on Amazon|
|Wicked Ridge by TenPoint||Good archery bolts||View on Amazon|
|Viare Carbon Crossbow Bolt||mini crossbow bolts||View on Amazon|
|Parker Crossbow Bolts||cheap 20 crossbow bolts||View on Amazon|
|TENPOINT Series Pro Elite||Best for decocking a crossbow, not for hunting||View on Amazon|
Buying crossbow bolts is fun because you don’t have many chances to buy gear that will touch a game animal while it’s still alive. The bolts you buy make a huge impact on how the hunt plays out and the quality of the practice sessions you get in. There many great options on the market these days so it’s important that you equip yourself with the best crossbow bolts available.
- Carbon Express
This is our first pick for the best crossbow bolts.
Want the Ferrari of crossbow bolts? Need performance in spades with no time to spare? Order a box of the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter crossbow bolts. These are without a doubt some of the absolute best carbon fiber crossbow bolts on the market. They’re an intelligent, technology driven design that add features you never knew you wanted.
For starters, they feature a straightness tolerance of ± 0.0025″. That is roughly half of what most crossbow bolts offer. That straightness and consistency is what powers these bolts from the get go. You can rely on the bolts to fly true out to extended ranges while still being accurate and consistent from shot to shot.
These bolts make for the most consistent arrows because of theirBuffTuff construction. It is a proprietary process that controls how they laminate the carbon fiber that makes for a layered construction stiffer and heavier forward of center to make the bolts balance and fly more effectively.
That forward of center weight construction is paired with R2 vanes, an advanced fletching that has unique geometry that controls the arrow in flight and stabilizes it faster, and controls it better.
These bolts certainly aren’t cheap. They’re priced per the technology they bring to your setup but are a steal compared to pricing the individual components and combining them to make as good a package you can buy here. It even comes wrapped up in Mossy Oak Treestand camouflage.
They are available in 20” and 22” in length with half-moon nock inserted and universal flat nocks to make these sweet bolts work with every crossbow made. Take advantage of these bolts as they’ll take the performance of your crossbow to a new level without being too expensive and out of reach.
It’s a high performing crossbow bolt that boasts adual spine weight forward technology. It’s a patented technology wherein two different carbon spines are fused into one arrow.
The front end and back end has a different spine to produce a straighter trajectory and consistent accuracy. The result is an arrow thatspins sooner and retains more speed. And because it retains more speed, it yields an unmatched accuracy.
Best For: These crossbow bolts are best for intermediate to advanced crossbow hunters.
- Designed for the hunter who wants ultimate penetration
- Heaviest carbon crossbolt in CX lineup that creates maximum kinetic...
- Advanced construction ensures spine consistency for greater accuracy;...
- Bolts come with standard 4" vanes, inserted moon nocks, plus 6...
- Item specifications: Straightness: ± 0.004-Inch, Diameter: 0.348-Inch
The second in our list of the best crossbow bolts is the Pile Driver from the same brand, Carbon Express.
What’s the difference? Well, Carbon Express PileDriveroffers extreme penetrationout of a single bolt. You’ll definitely knock down your target without a doubt thanks to its heavy carbon material that provides maximum kinetic energy. They are actually the heaviest crossbow bolts that Carbon Express makes.
Because of this, PileDriver bolts are also called “bonecrushers”.
Aside from penetration, the heavy weight also contributes to the arrow’sextreme durability. PileDriver bolts remain tough even after multiple highly penetrating shots.
The Carbon Express Pile Driver is a great value option for crossbow bolts. They’re the heaviest crossbow bolts that Carbon Express makes and weigh in at 440gr. Their weight, before adding abroadhead, will allow them to penetrate deeply and be tough enough to stay together after dozens of shots through practice sessions.
They offer respectable straightness tolerance of +/- 0.004 max. With their combined weight and straightness they make great short range thumpers for bows that shoot around 300fps. If they were straighter then they’d be more consistent, but easily double the cost. With that in mind, keep the shots short until you’ve proven your setup to ranges beyond 45 yards.
Their 4-fletching design comes with traditional 4” vanes to stabilize the bolts in flight and with standard arrow inserts upfront. They need the big vanes because their weight to length ratio is high and hard to stabilize in flight and be accurate.
The Pile Drivers are available in 22” and 20” bolts sized for crossbows of all sizes. They come in a six pack of arrows with half-moon nocks installed, as well as flat nocks to be compatible with all brands and crossbow designs.
These crossbow bolts are a great value option for general hunting of deer sized medium game. They’ve long been a favorite of serious crossbow hunters because they can be called upon for countless range sessions and when it counts still have enough muscle and be ready to take game.
- Five-pack of 20-inch, 8.1-ounce arrows with strong, lightweight carbon...
- 13.78 grains per inch, matched with 100-grain point; optimal accuracy...
- Compatible with Ghost 350, Penetrator, Wildcat C-5, and Jackal...
- Includes limited five-year manufacturer's warranty
- Not for sale in some zip codes
The third pick in our list of the best crossbow bolts is the 20-inch crossbow arrow by Barnett Outdoors.
Also known as “Headhunter™ Arrow”, this high quality bolt offers excellent performance. They are sold in 5 packs which includes the field points, nocks, and inserts.
These Barnett Outdoors crossbow arrows arestrong but light, thanks to its carbon material. Weighing 13.78 grains per inch, it weighs 400 grains overall (8.1 ounces).
They areconsistent and accurate, making them very reliable. They are designed to maximize precision which is what we can expect from one of the best crossbow and crossbow bolt manufacturer in the industry.
Barnett bolts ensure an improved shooting performance thanks to its light weight and durable carbon shafts. Add that to itsimproved wall thicknessand you got a bolt with enhanced straightness and durability.
- One Dozen Hight Quality Crossbow/Xbow Bolt with Carbon arrow shaft
- 20" Carbon bolt shaft with 4" Feather fit for Targeting Backyard and...
- Black Half moon Nocks with Two Blue One White Feather Make it's a Easy...
- Standard Point, Insert and Nock allow you to Obtain Accessories for...
- We Can Provide Best Service when you own our Bolts,Enjoy the Arts of...
For those crossbow hunters that want to save money on arrows while hunting will like this 12-pack from Antsir. The arrows are made out of Carbon, and the shaft is 20 inches long.
These arrows are the least expensive option when you consider the cost per bolt. The nock is a half-moon shape that makes it a perfect fit for the string of your crossbow. The vanes are 4 inches long and are triple bladed with two blue blades and one white blade.
You can easily match these arrows with a 125-grain broadhead that you can attach before the hunt. Their total weight is about 28g, and the shaft is 13.75 grains per inch.
Best for the hunter that does want a good quality bolt and who also wants to save money.
- 20" all carbon bolt with ICE coating for easy target removal
- 325 grains without tip
- Replaceable Battery
- Shot placement recognition and arrow retrieval
- Easily replaceable battery
For the hunters that love to hunt at night and would also like to see their arrows fly at night will love these Lumenok arrows. These arrows make the use of brand lighted arrow nocks that come in the color red. This feature is especially useful for when you want to follow the path of your arrows.
You can also replace the battery of the nocks for when the light goes dim which means that you can use these nocks over and over again. These arrows are also 20-inches long and weigh 325 grains without the tip.
The vanes are triple bladed with two yellow and one white blade. Regarding the price, this product is also the most expensive per arrow. These arrows also come in pairs of three. These bolts are also made out of carbon.
Best for hunters that want to follow the path of the arrow shot.
- .003 Straightness
- 20" in Length
- 9.0 GPI, Glued-in Insert
When it comes to industry-leading crossbow bolts, then you do not need to look further than these bolts fromBloodSport. They come in packs of six and are also 20 inches in length.
These arrows are made out of carbon and are also sturdy and lightweight. Each arrow has a brass insert which can be used to insert broadheads. The nocks are also half-moon shaped which makes it ideal for crossbows.
The shaft of the arrow has a .003″ straightness. The shaft weights 325 grains. The vanes are 4″ long which include one two white and one red. The 150-pound crossbows are the best candidate for this arrow.
Bloodsport arrows have made a name for themselves by incorporating features that make them heads and tails above others. Instead of slightly tweaking their arrows to make them better, they’ve included entirely new features while putting out high quality arrows and keeping the cost reasonable
Their biggest feature they called the“Blood Ring”is a strip of white material that soaks up blood, stomach contents or other bodily fluids and displays them against the white background. The benefit of this is to tell you if you made a good hit. If you make a liver shot and dark blood and bile shows up on the blood ring, you know that you should wait before trailing, a possible hunt saving decision.
These bolts are sorted at the factory for straightness, weight and consistency and come with traditional vanes, glued in inserts and half-moon nocks. They’re a decent price and are a good choice for people wanting a great all around bolt with the special blood ring features found only on Bloodsport arrows.
The bolts are 100 carbon fiber and weigh 355gr without a broadhead or field point. You can depend on these for performance in just about every crossbow on the market. All you must do is choose between the 20” model and the 22” model.
- SPECIFICATIONS: 20-inches long, 445-grain (with included 100-grain...
- Equipped with orange SuperBrite Omni-nocks which feature multi-channel...
- Shafts include CPC inserts and are fletched with a slight offset...
- PROUDLY MADE IN THE U.S.A.
- Omni-Nock design features SIX MICRO GROOVES that form three...
For hunters that are serious about hunting deer, I would advise theWicked Ridgecrossbow bolt. This bolt comes in size 20 inches which are the standard size for most hunting crossbows.
You can either get the three or the six-pack size which are the only two sizing options available. The arrow weighs approximately 445-grain, and the tip is 100-grain (the shaft will weigh 345 without the tip).
This product makes the use of a six-groove nock which is different than the half-moon nock. This feature will give the arrow three bowstring channels which might improve the indexing. The nocks are also super bright which enhances the visibility of nock.
Near the nock, there is also three Norway Duravanes which also has noise canceling properties.
- 13.78 grains per inch, matched with 125-grain Broadhead;Excellent...
- Pack of 12, 20 inch Carbon Crossbow Bolt with strong, lightweight...
- Removable Tips to attach broadheads
- Bolts come with standard 4" vanes, inserted moon nocks
- Archery crossbow hunting or practice
I would highly recommend theseViarearrows for crossbow hunters that want an edge while hunting. These arrows come in the length of 20 inches and also comes in a pack of 12.
The shaft of these arrows is made out of carbon which is an excellent material for bolts. These arrows also come with already attached field points which weigh 125 grains.
You can also remove these field points and then attach broadhead arrows for when you want to hunt deer. Each arrow will also have three 4-inch vanes attached near the nock which come in colors of two orange and one red.
These arrows also make use of moon nocks.
[wpmfc_cab_si]This product is best for hunters that want to hunt deer.[/wpmfc_cab_si]
- Capture nocks installed
- Inserts installed
- Fletched with 3" vanes
- Suitable for use on any crossbow up to 175 lbs
- Length: 20"
The arrows from Parker is one of my favorite in this listing because of their superior accuracy. These arrows are 20 inches in length and weigh about 300 grains without the point. The shaft also weights 7.4 grain per inch.
Within this pack from Amazon, you will get six arrows. These arrows are best suited for 175-pound crossbows. The veins are also 3 inches long with two green and one orange vein. The nock is also very different.
This arrow makes the use of a red-hot capture nock where the string of the bow slides more deeper into the arrow.
These arrows are the best for hunters that are after the accuracy.
- SPECIFICATIONS: 20-inches long, 22/64-inch diameter, 425 grain...
- Shot-after-shot ACCURACY and premium CONSISTENCY from bolt to bolt
- Fitted with a 68-GRAIN ALUMINUM INSERT and TenPoint's NEON YELLOW...
- HAND SORTED FOR CONSISTENCY: Balance at 10.5% FOC (Front of Center);...
- Fletched with Fusion Shield Cut Q21 3-INCH VANES; fletchings are...
TheTenpoint Pro Eliteis one of the best crossbow bolts in the market today. They come in 20-inch lengths and also in packs of three or six. They made bolts out of Carbon fiber for added strength and flexibility.
This arrow weighs 425 gains, and the practice tip weights 100 grains. You can also remove the tip and replace it with a broadhead with the help of a 68-grain aluminum insert.
This arrow makes the use of a neon yellow, bright Omni-nock that has six small grooves and three string indexing channels. This feature will allow for faster indexing times. There are also three vanes that are three-inches long that help with accuracy.
Carbon Express 22-Inch Crossbow Release Bolt,
- STRONG, SAFE AND DURABLE - Woven-wrap, layered glass offers...
- WITHSTAND GROUND IMPACT - Easy recovery ultra-dense steel front-end...
- EASY TO FIND - Highly visible vanes make it easy to locate after...
- MOON NOCKS INCLUDED - Multifunctional release bolts are inserted with...
- ITEM SPECIFICATIONS: 22" size, 1,100 grain, 0.348" diameter, one per...
Sooner or later you’ll have a hunt where you don’t fire a shot. This means you’ll have a crossbow that needs to be let off, but you can’t dry fire it, and you don’t want to lose an arrow and broadhead in the woods. The answer is to either lug around a heavy, bulky archery target or to carry a decking arrow in yourquiver, or kept in your truck.
These bolts are made to be fired into the ground a few feet in front of you. They’re made for extra heavy duty construction and have a stopped where the broadhead or field point would go to stop the bolt from driving into the ground. When buying one of these durability is a major concern because it literally takes the brunt of all the energy the crossbow can dish out.
This model from Carbon Express is 22” long, has an extra heavy fiberglass body and hardened steel tip with rubber stopper. The vanes of the bolt are brightly colored to make sure you can find it and comes with a half-moon nock.
Only a few dollars will get you one of these to make sure you’re taking care of your equipment and being safe. These decocking bolts are still lethal and will kill a person but should never be used for hunting. They’re strictly made for decocking a crossbow in the field when no target is available and are a great resource to take advantage of.
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.
Arrows vs Bolts
The differences betweenarrowsand bolts may not seem like a big deal because when you first look at them, they look exactly the same. They are in fact very different. Confusing the two is very dangerous and could be a lethal mistake. Here are the biggest differences:
Diameter:The diameter of crossbow bolts is much larger than on arrows. They need extra strength to handle the velocity and power put out by modern crossbows.
Length:Crossbow bolts are much shorter, usually along the lines of 10-14” shorter than arrows.
Inserts:The inserts on crossbows are made larger to fit the larger diameter of the crossbow bolts.
Nocks:Nocks on crossbow bolts are either half-moon, or flat nocks. Neither clip onto the bow string like on a vertical bow arrow.
Spine:Bolt spine isn’t as critical as arrow spine, but you cannot use arrows in a crossbow. The spine is critical for accuracy and safety to get right.
Arrow spine represents the resistance to vibration an arrow has when it’s launched from a bow. The vibrations make the arrow shake violently and these vibrations can damage the arrow or bolts. Getting this spine wrong at best can lead to inconsistencies, damaged equipment and poor accuracy. At worst, it can lead to a catastrophic malfunction and an exploded carbon fiber arrow buried in your neck.
How Many Bolts Should You Buy?
Buying crossbow bolts is a fun time because you’re selecting the most important part of your archery set up. It’s tempting to buy extremely cheap bolts because you can buy a whole bunch to practice with. Getting up and down every 5 or 10 seconds is annoying and will prevent you from having decent practice.
The answer is to buy enough bolts. Buying at least 12 bolts will leave you with enough to practice with, and plenty to keep in reserve for hunting. Practicing enough to be competent with your crossbow will be hard on your bolts and you want to make sure the ones you use in the field will be up to the task of performing on game.
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.
There are two main types of bolt heads which are used for different purposes. They are the target or field points and the broadheads.
If you want to use a crossbow for practice, choose the field points. They do not have sharp tips and they are only meant to hit soft targets with ease.
However, if you are using a crossbow for animal hunting, broadheads fit that purpose. These are razor-sharp blades that can penetrate enough through animal flesh.
It is of course better to use removable broadheads which can be replaced when they are already damaged.
If you desire to have broadheads which can shoot with stronger impact and penetration, then the expandable broadheads will work best for those. Their arrowheads only open when reaching the target. However, they are more expensive.
Crossbow bolts are the only parts of your gear that will actually touch the animal before it’s dead. That is an extremely important job. You need use the best crossbow bolts you can get your hands on. This will make hunting much easier because you’ll have much more confidence in your gear leaving you to just relax, and enjoy your hunt.