How Far Can a Crossbow Shoot?


Crossbows have been utilized for hunting for thousands of years. If you want to get better at handling a device of this kind remember that crossbow practice is vital. In this article, we have decided to talk to you about how far a crossbow can shoot. So, if this topic is of interest to you, keep reading!

As you might have expected, the answer to this question is not straightforward. There are a couple of determining factors that can influence the travel distance of the arrow.


The user’s capabilities

Although it is similar to a rifle, a crossbow is nowhere near this type of weapon when it comes to its range. However, modern crossbows can reach speeds of over 400 FPS, and they can shoot over quite long distances and effectively kill the prey.

What is more, it should be noted that there are models that can send a bolt over no less than 500 yards. Yet, aiming accurately when shooting an arrow so far is out of the question and you should not expect to be able to hit your intended target.

Therefore, it should be pointed out that crossbows do not have the same accuracy as rifles do. Because hunting should be about humane ways to kill animals, numerous experts recommend that instead of thinking about the shooting range of a crossbow, you consider its maximum effective range.

By this, they are referring to the maximum distance that allows you to be confident that a clean and humane kill is made.


The effective hunting range and the drop

If you happen to be using a standard 300+ FPS crossbow, experience hunters argue that you will have an effective range of 50 to 60 yards. Although technically your bolt can reach further, you will most likely not be able to deliver a perfect kill.

To avoid situations where animals are wounded but not killed, fellow hunters generally prefer to take a shot at about 35 yards away. They do so because they want to be certain that the arrow lands where they have intended it to go.

Another aspect that you should not ignore when hunting is the fact that, over long distances, the velocity of one’s arrow is prone to slow down. As a result, the trajectory of an arrow will most likely lose power and begin to drop. The longer the distance, the more significant the drop.


Difference in weapons

There are numerous kinds of crossbows that are currently on the market. While some can shoot over 400 FPS, others shoot under 300 FPS. Although it might not seem like a big difference, these numbers can impact the drop rate of the arrow and, consequently, it can affect your maximum effective range.

On top of that, there are some crossbows that are fitted with scopes that have distinct range marks. As a consequence, they can increase the effectiveness of your range and they can help you get consistent results.


The animal that you are hunting matters

As the experts have noted, the kind of animal that you are hunting also matters. While some animals do not see the arrow coming, others are more perceptible and they can move and avoid your shot.

For instance, a moose is likely to remain in place and allow you to take a shot easier than a deer will. Plus, your effectiveness also depends on the weather as some animals tend to be more active in certain months of the year.

Because of this, it is vital that you keep these aspects in mind before you decide to take a perfect kill shot. If you are not confident that you’ve got it, it is better to wait and get closer to the prey.


Apart from your skill level and the equipment that you are using, the environment where you are hunting is also of great importance. For example, hunting in a densely wooded area is more difficult than hunting in an open field.

Plus, in open areas, the impact of wind should also be taken into consideration before a shot is fired. The wind is not an issue when it comes to hunting in wooded environments.


Stationary vs. live targets

Before you get on the hunting field you should remember that hitting a live target is more difficult than hitting a static one. Although you might be great at getting a perfect hit when practicing on a stationary target, the game changes altogether when you are hunting live prey.

This happens because animals do not normally stay in place for a long time. Also, you are prone to feel under pressure and you might not perform as expected. Additional factors such as the weather or the sun getting in your eyes might also influence your ability to take a perfect shot.

Because this is prone to happen, hunters advise in favor of opting for a smaller distance target. For instance, if you like practicing on stationary targets that are 70 yards away when you are actually hunting you should opt for a distance of around 40 yards between you and your target.


Arrows and broadheads

As you might already know, there are some differences between arrows and broadheads that might also influence your accuracy and overall performance. To avoid surprises when hunting a live animal, it is best that you use the same type of crossbow bolts like the ones you have been using for practice.

The same tip applies to the kind of broadhead that you are using. Before you go out to hunt, it is best that you get familiarized to how the broadhead functions. In the case of the newer, faster mechanical units, they might tend to come open earlier than expected.

Practice, practice, practice

If you want to improve your accuracy, the only thing that you have to do constantly is to practice. By doing so, you will be able to improve your technique and you will increase your maximum effective range.

Some hunters also recommend taking the time and practicing shooting from a blind or a stand. This is vital because, in these situations, your perception and perspective of the target changes. Plus, shooting from a blind can help you become more aware of the force of the wind and it will enable you to interpret distances better.

Once you master these aspects, your competency will certainly boost and you will step on the hunting ground with new-found confidence.



While it is technically possible to kill a deer at 200 yards, it is best that you avoid this, as you might end up injuring the animal but not hit a major organ. Instead, you should take the time to practice and to discover the maximum effective range that fits you.

In most cases, this means less than 50 yards. Although this distance might seem short, it is vital that you understand that your main goal should be to kill an animal in a humane way. Moreover, before you take aim, remember to consider the impact of other factors such as the wind, the rain or the sun.

If you follow these recommendations, we are confident that you will be able to deliver perfect shots!




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