Archery is a fun activity, especially when the designated equipment is a crossbow. However, you can only take precise shots if you use the best crossbow bolts. The market is flooded with all kinds of bolts, ranging in size, design, materials, and features. This brochure provides you with reliable buying info and a list of the best (pistol) crossbow bolts reviews to simplify and narrow down your search.
Arrow vs. Bolt? What’s The Difference?
An arrow also referred to as an archery arrow is the projectile shot by a regular bow, such as a longbow. Arrows are typically long and they depend exclusive on their flight lift. Contemporary arrows vary considerably in length, but the average length is 30 inches.
The major part of an archery arrow is the shaft, which is usually engineered from carbon fiber, aluminum, or a combination of the two materials. The heaviness of an arrow is conveyed as Grains per inch (GPI). This value is usually multiplied by the length to obtain the shaft’s weight.
A bolt is the projectile shot by a crossbow, and it is normally short in length (average length is 20 inches). The fall of a bolt from its flight doesn’t rely on its flight speed. Characteristically, bolts are heavier, and their best kinetic energy depends on their weight. Unlike arrows, bolts don’t need fletching for effective flight.
Nowadays, crossbows don’t shoot the traditional bolts. As an alternative, they use shorter arrows. Apart from the length, it may be difficult for you to differentiate between a modern arrow and a modern bolt. But modern crossbow bolts or arrows are shorter due to their power stroke.
Anatomy of crossbow bolts
You can best understand and appreciate the importance of a crossbow bolt if you know its anatomy. A basic bolt consists of the point or head, the shaft, the nock, and the fletching or vanes. Each part plays a significant role in the performance of the bolt.
The head’s main purpose is to penetrate the target in the event of a precise shot. The shaft or spine propels the head to hit the target from the crossbow. The nock is the part that is fired by the crossbow string. The fletching helps the flight of the bolt over long distances.
Crossbow bolts/arrows may be straight or the arrowhead may have a number of blades on it. These two types of arrow heads will give you different target penetrations. Bolts with blades on the arrow tip produce a distinctive penetration with respect to the number of blades.
On the other hand, crossbow bolts with a circular head may penetrate the target in a circular manner, mimicking a bullet penetration. Therefore, you have to select bolts with a specific arrow head depending on the application. This is particularly true with hunting crossbow bolts.
Crossbow bolts are matched with specific crossbows. Therefore, you have to know your crossbow better before you can engage the market for a new set of crossbow bolts or pistol crossbow bolts.
How to Choose the Best Pistol Crossbow / Crossbow Bolts (Arrows)
The very first consideration that you have to make when shopping for crossbow bolts is the material. This is so, since different materials have different properties that do greatly impact the performance of the bolt when fired by a crossbow.
The most popular materials are carbon and aluminum. Both materials are capable of bending irrespective of the fact that they are both strong and sturdy. Between the two, aluminum is more susceptible to bending than carbon.
The relative stiffness of the bolt with respect to the material used can lead to rowdy bolt flight. This is usually seen with carbon bolts. Aluminum crossbow bolts are squeezed out and characteristically have a very consistent wall thickness and seam.
Therefore, aluminum crossbow bolts are more consistent in flying compared to the carbon bolts. But, they are vulnerable to bending and crumpling when they come in contact with other bolts in a target, especially during target shooting, which can lead to poor target groups.
The material you select will determine the weight as well as the length of the crossbow bolts you buy. More serious than the weight of the crossbow you use is the excessive projectile load presented by the bolts used.
If the weight of the crossbow bolt is much greater than the desired value, then it will be badly distributed. This will potentially interfere with the bolt’s flight and you may even miss to hit the target, which is quite unfortunate during hunting.
The best bolts range in length from sixteen to twenty two inches long with the average length being twenty inches, as you will observe under the best crossbow bolts reviews. In addition to the length, make sure that the bolt’s weight per inch is properly matched to the field point’s weight for exceptional accuracy and target penetration.
Choose bolts with a nock design that you can work with. The most popular nocks are flat Omni-nock, moon nock, and half-moon nock. The flat Omni-nock bolts are usually hard to find, but the half-moon works with most crossbows.
Another special feature is the fletching on the crossbow bolts. This is represented by the vanes, which can be two or more depending on the brand of the bolt. The vanes help the bow maintain consistent flight over long distances. The durability of the fletching depends on the vane material used.
Reviews of 5 Best Crossbow Bolts on Today’s Market
1. Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Fletched BuffTuff Plus Carbon Crossbolt
The Carbon Express Maxima Hunter crossbow bolts are the best for hunting because they are well-built and reliable. Carbon Express guarantees you better shooting by ensuring that the Maxima Hunter is capable of precision and high performance.
The crossbolt design features patented BuffTuff+ carbon weave for reliable strength as well as accuracy. With a strong back shaft section, you need not to worry about spine durability and consistency; a feature rarely seen in competing models.
The Maxima Hunter design is based on dual spine weight forward engineering. This simply comprises of two spines created by fusing two separate carbon materials. This patented fusion allows for better energy control and recovery.
As a result, the Express Maxima hunter bolts spins earlier to yield an unmatched accuracy by retaining more speed. The crossbolt is matched set by spine and weight for outstanding consistency. You should definitely get the Maxima Hunter for real straightness and unmatched precision.
Serious crossbow hunters and target shooters deserve high-quality bolts. If you do not want to take any shot for granted, then the Express Maxima hunter bolts should be you first choice. They offer strength in construction, durability in every shot and they are just the perfect choice for consistency.
2. TenPoint Pro Elite Carbon Crossbow Arrows
These crossbow arrows are the best for practice and hunting. They feature a unique design, which is fletched to some extent with 3-7/8-inch vanes. Its 22/64 diameter, Superbrite Omni-Nock, and the 68-grain inserted brass make the arrow so effective during shooting.
Easton ensures that you get the best performance from the Pro Elite bolts by thoroughly inspecting the straightness of the shafts to within 0.003. The shafts are also hand-sorted and matched set for weight lenience to within 2 grains a dozen.
The arrows have been built to last. In actual fact, you will hit more than one target with it and it will still be in good condition. The fletching will not be damaged as you pull the arrow out of a target. Also, the Omni-nock makes it suitable for both TenPoint and Wicked Ridge crossbows.
The pack of 6 Pro Elite arrows is highly inexpensive and convenient for an archer with a tight budget. The neon yellow Omni-nock eliminates the indexing problem associated with the conventional moon nocks.
The Omni-nock also helps prevent shoot-over or shoot-under, which is a common problem with narrow crossbows. In addition, the bolts are made from long-lasting materials for extended reliability and durability, you will pull it out of a target and it will still be in good condition.
3. Barnett Crossbow 20-Inch Carbon Shaft Arrows
Barnett Carbon arrows are the best for the money. They are engineered entirely for precision shooting by one of the world’s best crossbow bolt manufacturers. They are sold as a pack of 5 20-inch arrows.
Barnett improves your shooting experience by ensuring that the arrows weigh less, and are incorporated with durable as well as lightweight carbon shafts. The wall thickness of each arrow is strengthened for improved durability.
The arrows are matched set, comprising of 100-grain point matched to 13.78 grains for every inch. The proper matching offers optimal accuracy when shooting. The target penetration is remarkable and allows for easy pulling of the arrows out of a target without damaging them.
They are integrated with moon nocks, which are quite resourceful and present minimal indexing problems. You will experience less shoot-under and shoot-over when you use the arrows with Jackal, Wildcat C-5, Penetrator, or Ghost 350 crossbows for hunting or target shooting.
Overall, the whole package is very economical, sold as a pack of 5 Barnett arrows along with a pack of 3 game-crusher broadheads. The reinforced wall thickness and integrated lightweight carbon shafts do ingeniously boost the performance. They are not remarkably consistent at longer ranges, though.
4. ANTSIR 20-Inch Hunting Archery Carbon Arrows
Made of pure carbon, the ANTSIR arrows are the best for target practice as well as outdoor shooting. The engineering of these crossbow bolts involves a consistent wall thickness, including composite carbon shafts for extended durability.
The bolts are fitted with half-moon shape nocks that are much better compared to moon nocks. The nocks are not glued like many others. Instead, they are just push caps that are very convenient and easy to use during target and outdoor shooting.
These arrows are fitted with three four-inch vanes (one white and two blue) for effective steering of the bolts during flight. The fletching ensures that the back and front ends of the bolts are properly aligned for precision shooting.
The bolts are sharp, but not overly sharp. They are made of carbon; so, they are flexible. They feel amazing when held, and they have a nice finish. As a complete package, the arrows form a good premium looking set that is worth paying for.
Generally, the ANTSIR 20-inch bolts are the well-made crossbow bolts that are field-proven by numerous archers / hunters as the go-to bolts for most game hunting and target shooting activities. Even though, the factory-installed nocks are quite difficult to remove.
5. 20-Inch Carbon Crossbow Bolt Crossbolt Arrows-Misayar
There is no better way of enjoying your target practice and hunting than using the Misayar bolts. They are well-built featuring half-moon-shaped nocks, carbon arrow shaft, and 4-inch arrow vanes for better performance.
The wrapped carbon shaft construction of the bolts provides you with exceptional strength and steadiness during shooting. They are popular because they are known to withstand heavy use without damage at a very affordable price.
Misayar created these bolts with very strong composite carbon shafts that have a steadier wall thickness for durability. When you compare these arrows to most conventional models on the market, you will appreciate how strong they are.
Whether you are hunting or target practicing, these bolts will offer consistent performance, thanks to the weighted spines. The 4-inch fletching excellently propels the arrows over long distances, despite the fact that they end up bending.
As far as durability is concerned, the inserted half-moon nocks are very reliable compared to other arrow nock designs. They are also perfectly weighted and matched for exceptional accuracy as well as target penetration.
If you are a beginner or hobbyist archer with a tight budget, then the Misayar 20-inch crossbow bolts are the best for you. The most significant concern is with the vanes, because they are susceptible to bending.
Reviews of 3 Best Pistol Crossbow Bolts on Today’s Market
1. Aluminum Pistol crossbow Arrows 50-80 Pounds
These aluminum pistol bolts are the best for practice and hunting. They are unbelievably inexpensive for a count of 36 in a single pack. These are the arrows to buy if you want to do a lot of target practice and simple hunting adventures. Thirty six bolts will allow you to hit as many targets as possible.
They are exceptional arrows for novice archers or hobbyists. However, if you are a demanding or very accurate and experienced crossbow archer who needs bolts that are high performing, then these aluminum pieces will not make you happy.
They are not as effective as most high-end crossbow arrows, but they do perfectly fine for the price. You should never engage these bolts with a negative opinion about them because of the fact that they are cheap.
They are accurate as far as precision shooting is concerned. Expect some hitches with the design materials and durability. They tend to hit each other as you aim on the target. As a result, the fletchings can easily get damaged.
On the positive side, the arrows are budget friendly, because you get a pack of 36 at an incredibly low price. They are convenient for 50 or 80 pound crossbows. They can also be conveniently straightened when bent.
2. Speed Track 60PCS for 50-80 Pounds Pistol Crossbow Cobra Small Bolts
These cobra small bolts are the perfect gift to buy your dad or husband. First of all they are very economical. You get a pack of 60 plastic sharp bolts; 30 of which are yellow and the other 30 black in color.
The total length of a single arrow is 6.25 inches or 16 cm. They look more like darts than the usually heavy-duty crossbow arrows, but they are very effective. Surprisingly, they are highly rated by users, which simply signify how reliable they are.
These masterpieces are engineered for 50-pound or 80-pound style crossbows, meaning that they are lightweight and accurate. They are definitely reusable, but they deteriorate in quality because they wear out, and the tips warp after a few rounds of use.
The fact that the arrows are plastic does not mean that they do not stick into a wooden target. The arrow tip of each bolt is made of a sharp metal tip. You can use tree limbs as targets at short-range, and they will stick perfectly.
You can always use glue to reinforce the tips whenever they come off. Generally, the plastic material is not as durable as aluminum and carbon. They wear out easily if subjected to continuous use. But you should not complain given the generous price tag.
3. SAS Prophesy Pistol Crossbow Bolts
These are the bolts to buy once you are fed up with the plastic pistol crossbow bolts. They measure 6.5 inches in length each. They are very convenient for target shooting, and the best choice of bolts for novice or hobbyist archers.
They are made of quality aluminum material, and they are remarkably lightweight compared to most pistol bolts. The unique design of these arrows offers the precision you require when shooting. They are the original replacements for cobra or SAS prophecy pistol bolts.
They have well-designed vanes that are 1/4-inch tall and 1-13/16-inch long with a thickness of 1/8-inch. The vanes are unique in design and performance. Unlike most conventional bolts, the fletchings on these bolts do a great job of propelling them further to hit the intended target.
The great look of high-quality durable aluminum paired with a simple but effective design gives this reduced length hunting bolts strength and extra kinetic storage for hitting the toughest targets with precision at the desired speed.
Despite the fact the fletching on each bolt may get damaged easily, the SAS Prophesy pistol bolts can be your favorite darts. You cannot possibly compare the performance of this pistol crossbow bolts to the plastic models.
How Many Bolts Should I Buy?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your expertise and what you are planning to use the crossbow bolts for. A novice archer will definitely need more arrows compared to a professional, especially during target shooting.
In light of this, you should buy a package that has many bolts if you are a beginner. This way, you will be able to shoot on the target multiple of times without necessarily going back and from the target to obtain the bolts.
A single pack can contain a minimum of three arrows; while another single pack may consists of up to 60 bolts. The pack with three bolts will not do a novice archer any good when target shooting, but the 60 pack will be very convenient.
Quality is a significant factor when shopping for bolts. You will be better off buying a pack with fewer high-quality bolts than buying a pack with many low-quality bolts.
We have reached the end of our list of the best crossbow bolts reviews. The provided information should simplify your search for the best product. Each model was carefully selected after taking into consideration the construction and features of the bolt. You can use the product reviews to compare crossbow bolts features and prices before you decide on what to buy.