What is a Crossbow Bolt?

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Crossbow bolts are an important piece of equipment that is popular among many seasoned hunters. But, what is a crossbow bolt and what makes them different from arrows?

Bolts, otherwise known as quarrels, are the projectiles are shot from crossbows. The word “quarrel” comes from the French word “carré”, which means “square”. This word is a reference to the square-like heads that were used in the past. They are distinguished from arrows because they are typically shorter in length, measuring 16 inches or less.

What Are Crossbow Bolts Used For?

Crossbow bolts are projectiles that are loaded into a crossbow for firing. They can be used for hunting or target practice purposes.

When Were Crossbow Bolts Invented?

Crossbow bolts were an important part of Medieval warfare. It was mainly used for military purposes and came with the widespread use of the crossbow. Crossbow bolts became popular because the crossbow was relatively cheap and wasn’t very physically demanding.

In the past, crossbow bolts were much larger and didn’t have vanes. They were named bolts because they hit like a “lighting bolt from the sky”.

What Are The Parts Of A Crossbow Bolt?

Crossbow bolts have four distinct parts. These include the shaft, fletching, broadhead, and nock. Here is a little bit about what each part does.

1. What is the shaft of a crossbow bolt?

The shaft is the main “body” of the bolt. It is the long part to which everything is attached to.

2. What is the fletching of a crossbow bolt?

The fletchings of a crossbow bolt are the fin-shaped, stabilizing structure that are attached to the end. These are usually light and made from semi-flexible materials.

3. What is a crossbow bolt broadhead?

Broadheads are large cutting mechanisms that are attached to bolts for hunting purposes.

4. What is the nock of a crossbow bolt?

The nock is the point where the arrow makes contact with the string. The purpose of the nock is to help you line up your shot. Unlike with vertical bows, the nock of the bolt usually doesn’t attach.

On crossbows, the most common types of nocks are the flat and half-moon nock. The Omni nock is also quite popular.

What Makes Crossbow Bolts Different From Arrows?

Among crossbow hunters, the terms “bolt” and “arrow” are used interchangeably. However, the word “bolt” is only used in conjunction with crossbows and never with a vertical bow. Whether you’re shooting a bolt or arrow depends on who you ask, but both terms are correct.

Here is what is generally considered a bolt.

  • Usually 16 inches or less
  • Typically heavier than traditional arrows
  • Four distinct parts: shaft, fletching, broadhead, nock

On the other hand, here are the usual characteristics of arrows.

  • About 16 to 22 inches in length
  • Typically lighter than bolts
  • Four distinct parts: shaft, fletching, broadhead, nock

What Are Crossbow Bolts Made Of?

Crossbow bolts are typically made from aluminum, carbon, or some combination of the two. Each material has their own advantages.

Aluminum bolts are usually cheaper and have more options to choose from. They are offering in a variety of weights and tolerances (straightness). Aluminum lightweight material that can produce great accuracy, but is prone to damage. Aluminum bolts bend more easily compared to those made from carbon. However, their economical price tag still makes them a great option.

On the other hand, carbon bolts offer reliable performance at a decent price.A benefit to using these bolts are less prone to breakage. They also offer better penetration. Because of this, you can expect to pay more for quality.

Another good thing about carbon bolts is that it is very easy to tell when they are straight or broken. Broken means that it is cracked or splintered. There is no inbetween, so you won’t have to worry about using damaged equipment, which can be dangerous. Because of this, you can expect to pay more for quality.

Some companies offer combination bolts, which are made of both carbon and aluminum. They bolts offer the best of both worlds. They offer great speed and accuracy with the durability of carbon arrows.

You might also come across bolts made from different materials, such as fiberglass and wood. Stay away from these materials, as they are not safe for modern crossbows.

Can You Use A Crossbow Bolt For A Compound Or Recurve Bow?

Crossbow bolts should not be used with a vertical bow. Bolts are typically much shorter than traditional arrows, which can lead to dangerous misfires.

What Is The Best Weight For Crossbow Bolts?

The best weight for a crossbow bolts depends on the crossbow that you are using. Most manufactures have an owner’s manual that recommends the best designs, length, and weight for your bolts.

It is important to find a bolt that fit within these ranges. One that is to light will not inflict as much damage. One that is too heavy will limit the distance that you can shoot.

Do You Need To Use A Broadhead With A Crossbow Bolt?

You do not need a broadhead unless you’re going hunting with your crossbow. Most hunters use an expandable blade broadhead because they offer you the cleanest hit possible.

How To Pick The Best Crossbow Bolts

As a first-time archer, there’s nothing more important to pick the right bolts. There’s a bunch of brands and varieties to choose from, but not all are created equal. Keep this in mind when making a decision.

Make sure that your field points and broadheads weigh within the specified range noted in your owner’s manual. These ideal measurements are designed for optimal performance. Using lighter bolts may result in a dry-fire that can damage your bow. This can void your warranty and lead your crossbow to malfunction.

Ensure that your bolts are not shorter or longer than the length specified in your owner’s manual. Bolts that are shorter will fall off your rest.