When you’re shopping around for the best crossbow, regardless of the type you’re looking for, one of your main considerations is likely to be the feet-per-second, or FPS rate. Just like other hunting tools, you can get crossbows that offer very high FPS rates, but is this what you really need? When looking at the FPS number for your crossbow, other things may be just as important.
What Is FPS, and Why Is it So Important?
Your FPS speed is the feet-per-second that your arrows travel to hit their target, and the average FPS for crossbows is 280 to 350. Of course, the number can be as high as 400 depending on the model and the shooter’s capability, but is more speed really the only thing to consider when researching crossbows and arrows? Most experts say “no.”
Other things to consider include how stationary your target is, your own marksmanship abilities, and the equipment itself because after all, with faster FPS speeds usually comes greater vibrations, more noise, and even greater wear and tear on the bow. It isn’t always a necessity to want the absolute fastest speed whenever you’re out shooting your crossbow, simply because there are other ways to meet your hunting goals.
A Few Aspects to Consider
If you ask yourself, should I buy the fastest crossbow, you’ll likely get different answers depending on who you’ve asked. Some hunters like the speed so much that they don’t care too much about anything else, while to others, the speed is just one of the many things they consider when deciding which crossbow to purchase. At 60 yards away from your target, the difference between 330 and 400 FPS is not that noticeable; in fact, the speed difference can be roughly about two seconds. At closer ranges, the difference is even less.
Many experienced hunters recommend that if you use a 400 FPS crossbow, you should be no more than 50 yards away from your target, mostly out of consideration for that target. To a lot of other hunters, the goal is no more than 30 yards.
Other hunters swear by using bows with no more than 350 FPS due to the problems that can occur, including the high-speed bows being harder to get “tuned in” than the bows that offer slower speeds. Problems such as these and others are usually more prevalent when you start using higher-speed bows that go over 350 FPS.
Just remember, while the faster bows can accommodate your need for speed and allow you to shoot at your target faster, faster bows can be loud and cause problems such as more wear and tear. Depending on how close you get to your target, the kinetic energy (KE) used with the bow, and how calm your target is, you can likely get away with using a crossbow of 350 FPS or slower and still be happy with the outcome in most cases.