Welcome to our best recurve crossbows guide. So you are thinking of purchasing a recurve crossbow? Great! We are here to help answer a few questions of why (or why not) and take a look at some of the better ones on the market.
We have had the opportunity to shoot a lot (and we mean a LOT) of different crossbows, both compound and recurve. What we have found is that one class is simply not more accurate than the other in terms of recurve versus compound. We know that might be contrary to what you have heard, but the best selection for you, as an individual, really depends on your situation, and what you like better. It’s a matter of choice, what’s better, Ford or Chevy (yes, we know there are Dodges, Toyota’s and Nissan full size trucks also)? You will get as many different opinions as the number of people you ask, and all are likely to be correct from their own perspective. First though, here are our top recommendations for those who are in a hurry.
Top 3 Recurve Crossbows
|Excalibur Matrix Mega 405
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|Excalibur Micro 335
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|Excalibur Matrix 355
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|Suggested Arrow Length
Ballistic Data For The Recurve Crossbows Above
So what are some of the advantages of the best recurve crossbow?
If you have read many of our reviews, you will already know the first advantage of a recurve over a compound, but keep reading and you might just pick up a few new ideas.
In only very few situations in the outdoors does simpler not translate to better. When you are tromping through the outdoors, especially during hunting season, you are likely to experience some of the harshest and poorest environmental conditions to ever subject a piece of equipment to. As such, the more simple your tool (as in lacking cables and pulleys), the more likely you are to have increased reliability.
No need for a pro-shop in most cases.
Many outdoors enthusiasts choose to live out in the country, rather than in a big city. As such many are a long drive to their nearest archery pro shop. Going with a quality recurve crossbow means you are likely to be able to change your own bowstrings without the need for a press. You are also likely to be able to accurately tune your crossbow as well.
Less forward weight.
Because a recurve crossbow does not have the extra cables and pulleys out front, you are going to notice that typically there is less weight overall, and more importantly, less weight forward. By shifting the center of gravity back towards the shooter, the crossbow becomes easier to shoulder and easier to keep shouldered. This can both improve accuracy as well as allow you to be a bit more patient in waiting for that monster to offer a perfect broadside.
So what are some disadvantages?
Like everything in life, if you give, you have to take, and vice versa. Just as there can be some distinct advantages of having a recurve over a compound crossbow, you will also find that you have to give up a few things. These include:
Higher draw weights.
Because the recurve crossbow uses only the limbs to create all of the force, you are going to find that speed to speed, a recurve will have a higher draw weight than a comparable compound crossbow. This may not be a deal killer for everyone out there, but many folks have made the switch to a crossbow from a vertical bow due to injury or declining strength. Getting a crossbow that requires Herculean strength to cock might not be the best idea in those situations.
Usually wider than a compound crossbow.
Just as higher draw weights are usually required for a recurve, so also are a wider set of limbs to generate the necessary force. For many hunters who hunt in more open terrain, this may not present a problem, especially since wider limbs are also more forgiving. For those hunters that stalk or hunt in thicker terrain, that extra width can spell disaster if they come in contact with limbs, brush, etc.
Speeds are often calculated with lighter arrows.
Because the limbs do not have the assistance of cables, pulleys and/or cams to help generate force, often times a lighter arrow is used in order to claim a higher speed crossbow. Keep in mind that an arrow that weighs 400 grains traveling at 350 fps is going to hit WAY harder than an arrow that weighs 350 grains going the same speed. Just be sure when making your selection you are comparing apples to apples in terms of arrow weights.
Need to change/repair serving more often.
One seemingly minor detail that is often overlooked is that you are going to have to change the serving on a recurve bowstring much more often than on a compound. Why? When a compound crossbow is at full draw, the cams break over and allow for a significant let off on the force being held back. On a recurve, the maximum draw weight is achieved when fully cocked, so every time the string is released, it is done so under the maximum load. This results in much more wear and tear on the serving…a small detail, but worth being mentioned.
So now that you have learned some of the advantages as well as disadvantages of a recurve crossbow, you are still interested in one. But which one? This is a question we hear constantly and as such, we have listed out a few recurve crossbows that get our nod. They are in alphabetical order by manufacturer and also include a link to the full review should you wish to learn more.
Excalibur Matrix Mega 405
Excalibur has an absolute powerhouse in the Matrix Mega 405. Slinging a 350-grain arrow downrange at 405 fps, means you are going to be impacting with a shopping 127 FPKE (see Amazon.com price). This sounds great, but you should really consider whether you need this much energy. This virtually guarantees a pass through every time, but also means you are going to have to have some serious strength to cock this bad boy, each and every shot. Just something to consider whether massive impact or a more manageable draw weight is important to you. Read our full review of the Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 here.
Excalibur Micro 335
The Micro 335 was designed to be a much more compact hunting platform than other recurves on the market. Weighing in at just a hair over 5 lbs., the Micro 335 is by far the lightest of our recommendations (see Amazon.com price). It is actually designed with a much narrower width as well, to allow a hunter to get into places where normally a recurve might not fit. Pushing a 350 grain arrow at 335 fps, there is plenty of energy (87 lbs. of it) to tackle most game animals in North America. Keep in mind, due to the punch it has combined with its tiny size, you are still going to have to be drawing 270 lb. limbs. Read our full review of the Excalibur Matrix Micro 335 here.
Kodabow Big Rhino
The Kodabow Big Rhino was designed as a serious hunting crossbow for big game. It can hurl a 360 grain arrow at 350 fps which means it hits with 98 FPKE at the muzzle. It is certainly not the smallest crossbow on the list, but its size and power stroke means that the draw weight comes down to a much more manageable 225 lbs. Kodabow has included a number of cool features in the Big Rhino and it is certainly worth a click to learn a bit more. Read our full review of the Kodabow Big Rhino here.
Deciding on a recurve versus a compound crossbow is like deciding on whether you want to drive an automatic or a stick shift. It really depends on what is going to serve you best. Do you like the feel of the clutch and the control when shifting? Do you like having less moving parts and easier repairs? If so, then the rawness of the recurve is likely to suit you better.
The above pros and cons should help you to better make your selection, and the above list of recurve crossbows gives a good place to start your search. If you want to see an even larger selection of recurves, go to our search bar and type ‘recurve’ in…you will have more reviews to read than time likely, but you can go forward to purchase being as well informed as anyone out there!
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us!