Depending on your needs and preferences, there are many different features you can focus on when shopping for your next crossbow. Perhaps you prioritize lightweight, ease of maintenance, or a compact form factor.
However, for many enthusiasts, there is one factor that rises above them all: speed. For certain situations, there is simply no replacement for velocity. Whether you’re taking down some particular resilient game or you simply love the thrill of shooting high-velocity arrows, speed can be a significant advantage.
We’ve compiled five of the fastest crossbows on the market to find out which one outpaces the rest. What is the fastest crossbow? Here’s what we found.
Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 1 The Fastest Crossbows Reviewed
- 2 CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow Package – 370 Feet Per Second
- 3 Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow – 400 Feet Per Second
- 4 Barnett Predator Crossbow – 430 Feet Per Second
- 5 Scorpyd Aculeus ACUdraw Crossbow – MossyOak Camo – 460 Feet Per Second
- 6 TenPoint Vapor RS470 – 470 Feet Per Second
- 7 How to Select the Best High-Speed CrossBow
- 8 Conclusion
The Fastest Crossbows Reviewed
CenterPoint has been a long-standing favorite here, with one of their products ending up on lists almost every time. The CenterPoint Sniper 370 actually has the lowest firing rate among this crowd. However, it still manages an impressive 370 feet/second and represents an extremely compelling package. One of the primary advantages of the Sniper 370 is its compact form factor. The main body of the bow is aluminum, making it extremely light. Further, it’s only 18 inches from axle to axle. This makes it among the most compact non-reverse-draw crossbows around.
Beyond its firing speed, the attention to detail is exceptional. The bearings in the axles are very high-quality stainless steel units. While I was unable to find out the specific manufacturer, the smooth operation of this bow makes it clear that the bearings are very high quality. This pattern of quality continues throughout the unit. The machining of the rail is impeccable, and the overall fit and finish of the bow are top-notch.
Noise is an often forgotten factor when shopping for bows, but a quiet bow can make a huge difference when you’re tracking game. CenterPoint accounted for this. Not only are the pivot surfaces extremely smooth, but the Sniper 370 includes integrated string suppressors for a firing operation that is almost silent.
Although it isn’t the fastest bow here, the Sniper 370 isn’t one to overlook. It’s a great performer, beautifully made, and a great value as well.
- Great value
- Very well made
- Exceptionally smooth operation
- Not the fastest crossbow
Although there are many unique approaches and innovations in the crossbow world, there is one aspect that is generally not addressed: the looks. To the uninitiated, crossbows can quickly start to seem like a sea of the same design, even if there are dramatic technological differences between models. Bucking this trend entirely, there is no mistaking the Barnett Whitetail Pro STR from any other bow. When Barnett set out to design this bow, you can tell they were determined to make an impact from the start. Between its split stock, step-through riser, and aggressive Tru Bark camo coating, this is a bow that stands out.
Beyond its striking looks, The Whitetail ProSTR is a fast crossbow. With a 400 feet per second firing rate, this bow is in the upper rankings of speed. When firing rates rise above 400, a new level of hunting becomes possible. Such a bow allows you to tackle tougher game at longer distances without compromising safety. Our experience showed that this bow is a highly capable performer. The CNC-machines flight track led to extremely smooth and accurate shots. Further, this bow looks heavy, but it is actually a very manageable 6.8 pounds.
Finally, Barnett includes a complete package. This kit includes a very nicem 4×32 illuminated scope, a rope cocker, a side-mount quiver, and two 22″ Headhunter arrows. They even included the lube wax. As an entry into the high-speed crossbows, this is a fantastic option.
- Looks fantastic
- Very complete kit
- Fairly wide profile
To anyone with experience in the crossbow world, it should come as no surprise that Barnett made two appearances on this list. Although the Whitetail and Predator are based on similar architecture, they are very distinct models. The Predator incorporates many of the features we loved about the Whitetail, including the step-through riser and CNC-machined aluminum flight track. However, the Predator’s capabilities are in a league above.
The Predator can fire at a blistering 430 feet/second. While this isn’t the fastest crossbow on the market, it is certainly in the upper echelons of fastest crossbows. When crossbows reach this power level, frame stability is often an issue. Ultimately, having a powerful bow is of little use if the frame twists and destroys consistency or accuracy. When shooting the Predator, it becomes apparent that this was designed from the ground up as a high-powered machine, rather than adapted from a lesser model. The structure stays rigid and consistent targeting is simple. This rigidity is a by-product of the highly reinforced frame. The majority of the structure is Carbonlite and there are braces throughout. It isn’t the cheapest way to make a crossbow, but you can’t question the effectiveness.
One of the main issues that often arises when crossbows reach this power level is that they become difficult to cock and fire. That isn’t the case here. Despite the 187-pound draw weight, the Predator was consistently simple to cock using the included rope cocking device. With the optional crank, it would be even simpler.
The Predator is a testament to the impact of experience. Many manufacturers can design a high-speed crossbow, but few can make one function as smoothly as Barnett.
- Impeccable rigidity
- Very easy to cock
- Trigger-weight is fairly heavy
Although I had heard of Scorpyd, I will admit that I had limited experience with the brand before this review. Whenever I am reviewing a brand that I am less familiar with, I always approach testing with an added level of scrutiny. Having spent a great deal of time with the Aculeus both at target practice and in the field, I was left with a mixed bag. In some respects, this is a hugely entertaining crossbow packed with innovation. However, the shooting dynamics are unique enough that I cannot necessarily recommend it for everyone.
The looks of the Aculeus will undoubtedly be the first thing you notice. Like many of the Horton models we have reviewed on this site, this crossbow uses a reverse-draw arrangement. Typically, this is done with the intent of making a narrower crossbow. However, the Aculeus is still fairly wide, measuring almost 13 inches axle to axle when cocked. It’s not wide enough to pose a problem, but it does make you wonder why Scorpyd opted for this design.
In practice, this crossbow is akin to a Shelby Cobra. It is incredibly fun, undeniably fast at 460 feet per second, but it is not the most stable thing in the world. The 180-pound draw weight combined with the reverse-draw design make this a very unique crossbow to fire. The direction of the momentum means that this bow has a strangely high amount of recoil. The first few shots I took ended up significantly higher than intended simply because I wasn’t properly braced for this particular bow. It is an easy enough pattern to adjust to, but not entirely intuitive. Further, the dimensions of the bow pose another unique challenge. It is much shorter than I am used to, which again makes it somewhat challenged to hone in.
Reading this analysis, you may be tempted to assume I didn’t enjoy the Scorpyd Aculeus. Far from it. In fact, this bow provided an incredibly refreshing experience. Ultimately, the strengths of this machine are interchangeable with its weaknesses. If you are looking for a thrilling crossbow that provides a wholly new experience and challenge furing target practice, this is a fantastic addition to your arsenal. However, as a hunting tool you may be left wanting more consistency.
- Extremely unique
- Very fun to shoot
- Not very stable
- Width can be awkward
Superlatives are always a challenging thing when writing reviews. Whenever something is declared the “best” or “lightest” or any other title, it immediately opens the door to exceptions and corrections. Thus, I hesitate to deliver this superlative without a healthy dose of context. That said, to the best of my knowledge, the TenPoint Vapor RS470 is the fastest crossbow on the market. With a stunning 470 feet per second firing rate, if there is a faster bow available, I certainly have not found it.
Whenever a product sets out to tackle such an achievement, there is always a concern that the engineers designed the product with blinders on. Were they so focused on speed that they forgot to engineer the rest? In the case of TenPoint, absolutely not. The main takeaway form the Vapor RS470 is not just the speed. Rather, it’s how great the rest of it is. The form factor of this bow is especially impressive. Historically, high-speed crossbows were bulky or awkward. In contrast, this is one of the sleekest crossbows I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. It uses a very neatly packaged reverse-draw design to shrink the width down to a miniscule 6.5 inches when cocked. And at only 8-pounds, it won’t weigh you down either.
Speed is all about converting every scrap of available energy into forward momentum. Thus, any method of reducing drag will have a positive impact on firing speed. To achieve this, TenPoint uses a unique “Micro-Trac Barrel.” They effectively shrunk the moving surfaces and they claim this reduced string-to-rail contact by 50%. The effect of this is two-fold. It not only allows this bow to achieve its incredible speed, but it also makes it one of the smoothest bows I’ve ever used. From cocking to firing, the entire process is almost eerily smooth and silent.
It seems almost impossible to find fault with the Vapor RS470. It’s not just the fastest shooting crossbow. In terms of all around performance, design, and usability, it is quite simply one of the best crossbows I have ever experienced.
- Fastest crossbow
- Incredibly compact
- Very easy to fire
How to Select the Best High-Speed CrossBow
There are a lot of companies out there that make a lot of big claims about the speed of their bows, with many boldly saying they have the “fastest shooting crossbow.” When you’re ready to graduate to the next level of crossbows, it is important to know how to get the right one. Here’s what you need to consider.
Be Wary of Claims When Looking for The Fastest Crossbow
It is easy to make speed claims about the “world’s fastest crossbow” when selling a product. However, it is important to make sure these claims have merit. Whenever you see an unknown brand claiming that their entry-level crossbow can fire at 500 feet per second, be suspicious.
Whenever we test crossbows, we always independently verify the specifications and claims made by the manufacturer. Always do your research so you know what you are getting.
Don’t Just Focus on Speed
When looking for a high-speed crossbow, it is easy to become fixated on a single number. However, the faster crossbow is not always the best option.
Speed is merely one factor in a long list of considerations when shopping for your next crossbow. Is it from a reliable brand? Is the operation of the bow smooth and predictable? Are the parts high quality?
Look at the entire weapon, not just the speed. This is why reading reviews is so crucial.
Account for Draw Weight
A crossbow is a closed system from an energy standpoint. Any kinetic energy put into the arrow has to have come from the potential energy stored when cocking. As crossbows achieve higher speeds, the draw weights generally become much higher.
There is a stark contrast between a 160-pound entry level draw weight and the 220+ pounds of a higher speed model. Because of this, it is important to make sure you can cock the crossbow safely and comfortably. Ergonomics makes a big difference here. If you are concerned, consider getting a crank cocking device. These are typically optional equipment, but can make using a higher-speed bow much easier.
The Scope Becomes More Important
Higher speeds often equate to longer distances. One of the primary reasons that hunters opt for the fastest crossbow is that it allows shots to be taken safely from farther distances.
However, as distance increases, any optical distortion from a low-end scope can become greatly amplified. If you’re looking for a high-speed bow for long-range shooting, make sure you get a scope that can keep up.
High-speed crossbows are always a particular thrill to review. The raw feeling of power being held back only by a simple pull of the trigger is an incredible experience. Yet, as we have covered, speed is not the only factor.
To be an effective tool, a crossbow cannot simply be a fast crossbow. Rather, it must be accurate, reliable, and usable. To this end, the fastest crossbow that stood out the most was the TenPoint Vapor RS470.
Not only was this the fastest crossbow we have ever tested, it was simply one of the best. Its smooth operation, compact form factor, and breathtaking power make it a winner in any foreseeable situation.
- MICRO-TRAC BARREL: Reduces string-to-rail contact by an incredible 50% - leading to increased accuracy and the longest string life for hunting crossbows
- 225 Pound Draw Weight for Powerful Action up to 470 FPS
- The optional ACUdraw PRO silent cocking device makes cocking this crossbow effortless
- Silent Cocking; Safe De-Cocking structure
- Dimensions: 6. 5" Width; 31" Length; 8 lbs for lightweight carry
Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API