Head to Head Review: Top Crossbows of 2013

Head to Head Review: Top Crossbows of 2013

Our annual crossbow shootout is undoubtedly the project that takes the most time. We do all the testing in-house so we have complete oversight. We don't regurgitate press releases or cater to the best advertiser — this is a true competition in which we judge the bows based on several criteria.

To the best of our knowledge, we are the only magazine that actually tests such a wide range of crossbows this extensively. We start by physically taking measurements and weights, using a certified postage scale to ensure accuracy.

After the tale of the tape is recorded, we start testing. The first is the trigger pull measurement. More difficult than dry-firing a firearm, this involves cocking the crossbow, loading a bolt, and actually firing it with a trigger pull gauge multiple times to establish an average.

The next test is to chronograph velocity. This test often shows a discrepancy between our results and the promoted velocity. Just like the vertical bow industry, there is a difference between how much velocity you can achieve using as light as possible of an arrow versus the typical velocity with a hunting-weight arrow.

So we test velocity in two ways: First, we test with the manufacturer's supplied arrow, then we chronograph every bow with a standard arrow. This year, we used Easton FMJs with a total weight of 485 grains. To best test for accuracy, we used the supplied manufacturer's arrow, as it should be optimized to perform with the particular crossbow.

We fired multiple three shot groups at 25 yards off a bench with several experienced shooters. We list the best group as well as the average. We strive to provide the most accurate crossbow test in the business at Petersen's Hunting, and if you ask us, we have succeeded. So without further delay, we bring you the top crossbows of 2013.

Recommended for You


Booth Babes from the 2012 SHOT Show

PH Online Editors - January 18, 2012

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap,...


5 Bucket List DIY Hunts

Craig Boddington

Craig Boddington picks his top five over-the-counter hunts to add to your bucket list.


Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Remington Timeline: 1963 - Remington Model 1100 Autoloading Shotguns

Hunting Online Staff - August 09, 2016

It was the fall of 1962, and a meeting was underway at the Remington firearms plant in Ilion,...


Do Coyotes Really Affect the Whitetail Herd?

Jeff Johnston

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you.


The Ultimate Hunting Trailers

WA Staff - May 11, 2015

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the "house on wheels" variety that most...

See More Stories

More Bowhunting


Bolts of Fury: Reviewing the Top Crossbows of 2012

David Faubion - June 18, 2012

Sure, politics and religion will always be earthquakes of argument, but unless you've been...


Head-to-Head Review: Top Crossbows of 2014

PH Online Editors - July 10, 2014

As we began our annual x-bow test, it was clear that there would be a certain level of...


New Crossbow Shoots Like A Rifle

Keith Wood - November 01, 2017

The Ravin R15 crossbow offers amazing speed and accuracy in a compact design that shoots like...

See More Bowhunting

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.