How Far Can Crossbows Shoot?

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Modern crossbows and bolts can shoot farther than ever before. The types of shots that were impossible before are now a common reality for the everyday bowhunter.

Many crossbows on the market can easily shoot as far as 500 yards. Accuracy, at these distances, however, is hard to maintain. Because of this, the average effective hunting range is 60 yards, with most bowhunters preferring to shoot from about 35 yards.

What Is Effective Hunting Range?

The effective hunting range of a crossbow is the distance that you can reliably shoot your crossbow accurately and efficiently. This may change depending on the type of animal that you are hunting. Some species of game require a more precise shot.

Your individual skill as a bowhunter will also influence your effective range. Beginner hunters may find it easier to shoot from closer distances, while more experienced hunters might feel comfortable shooting from farther.

The quality of weather conditions also impacts the trajectory and accuracy of a shot. Inclement weather, such as wind or snow, can veer a bolt off course.

How Far Can A Broadhead Travel?

Irrespective of accuracy, many crossbows on the market today can easily send a broadhead 500 yards into the distance. The problem comes when you have to make an accurate shot. Few people can shoot well from 100+ yards, let alone another 400 yards more.

Shooting at these distances is terrible for hunting. At 500 yards, an arrow or bolt won’t have enough power to successfully achieve a clean hit.


What Is The Best Hunting Range?

A bowhunter’s ideal ideal hunting range depends on two factors: their skill level and the type of equipment they are using.

If you’re using a 300+ FPS crossbow, the average effective hunting range is 60 yards. Beyond that, an 80 yards shot would be powerful enough to successfully kill larger game. Your success in hunting lies within your own abilities and less on how powerful your crossbow is.

After 80 yards, many bowhunters experience less consistency in their shots. Not many people can land bolts with enough accuracy to successful penetrate game with optimal precision.

Most hunters actually prefer to take shots from 35 yards or less. It’s not that their arrows can’t successfully kill the animal from further distances. Rather, it is a way of safeguarding that the arrow hits in the proper spot.

Any ethical hunter wants a clean pass.

What Is The Best Target Practice Range?

There’s hundreds of different types of targets to choose from and more options means more flexibility.

When it comes to target practice, you don’t have to worry about making ethical hunting decisions. This means that you can shoot from as far or as close as you want. The power of the bolt or crossbow is also less of an issue.

In general, a 300+ FPS crossbow arrow with a field point can easily penetrate most modern archery targets from well over 80 yards away. While hitting 2 inch groups may be a stretch from this distance, it is possible with practice.

However, you must remember that the power of the arrow deteriorates the farther it travels. The trajectory of arrows, even fired from the most powerful bows, can begin to drop in as little as 30 yards.

What Causes A Crossbow To Shoot Farther?

The configuration of your crossbow, as well as its FPS, will affect the velocity at which your bolt travels. The structure of your bolt, such as the weight of its shaft, will affect how far it goes. Heavier bolts tend to travel shorter distances. An archer’s individual skills also influence the trajectory of the projectiles.


How To Improve The Range Of Your Crossbow

There are a few things that you can do to improve the range of your crossbow, but the effectiveness of your shots will also depend on your own personal skill. Here’s what will help you perfect your shots.

  1. Practice
  2. Tune your bow
  3. Proper maintenance
  4. Proper fit
  5. Use quality bolts & broadheads

1. Practice

You can buy the most expensive or highest quality crossbow, but still be a terrible shot. Getting good in archery isn’t about how much you can spend, but rather how much time you’re willing to spend.

The key to shooting farther is to get comfortable with your equipment. Any arrow or bolt you can imagine – they all travel differently. Therefore, the more you use your crossbow and bolts, the more you will understand how they work in the field.

Switch out your bolts, broadheads, and arrows. Use them, then, in different combinations. Over time, you’ll get better at shooting over farther distances.

2. Tune your bow

Shooting with a bow that isn’t tuned or balance can be a detriment for your accuracy. Many bows have recommended settings that are listed in their owner’s manual, which can be useful for optimizing your shooting ability. 

In addition, make sure to tune your bow at least once every few weeks. This is because your adjustments may change when your bow is exposed to cold or wet weather.

3. Proper maintenance

In order to properly maintain your bow, make sure that you’re familiar with the practices outlined in your bow’s manual.

The most common things that are crucial for keeping your bow up to date are: lubrication of the light rail and waxing of the string. Doing these actions on a regular basis, not only helps increase the life of your bow, but also makes it shoot more smoothly.

You’ll also want to do routine maintenance to ensure that your crossbow’s accessories are well-attached. Broadheads are also prone to become detached, so make sure that they are properly tightened and in good condition. Bent or damage broadheads can decrease the distance that your bolt travels.

4. Proper fit

Crossbows are like a good pair of jeans. What may work for someone else, may not work you. The key to shooting farther is to use a bow that works well for you.

Ideally, you want a bow that is perfect for your strength and body size. If its draw is too heavy, you won’t be able to hold it stable when shooting. If it is too big, using it will make you uncomfortable.
If you need some help, ask a professional. Most people would be more than happy to offer a few tips.

Also, make sure to test a few different crossbow models before setting on one. You may like the mechanics of one or find that another is more accurate.

5. Use quality bolts & broadheads

Bolts travel through air differently, depending on their construction and weight. This affects the distance and power with which it lands.

Unfortunately, using a bolt that hasn’t been tested with your crossbow can result in poor performance.

Luckily, selecting quality bolts is one of the quickest ways to increase the maximum effective range of your crossbow. A great place to find good recommendations is your bow’s manufactured. They usually have bolts that they recommend for best performance.

What Broadheads Are Best For Maximum Range?

Ultimately, broadhead selection is very personal. Every skilled bowhunter has their own preferences based on what they feel comfortable shooting with.

Many hunters prefer mechanical broadheads as a way to improve distance. However, they are not without their problems. Mechanical broadheads are heavier which makes them slower. As a result, they travel shorter distances.

On the other hand, fixed broadheads provide more consistent results when it comes to distance. For best results, find a broadhead that works for the species you’re hunting.

Slender arrows reduce friction and drag, so they travel farther. Lighter broadheads will travel farther, as well, especially if you’re using a crossbow with higher FPS.