5 Best Crossbow Bolts for Hunting (2021 Reviews)
If you’ve tried cheapo, flimsy Walmart arrows but can’t even get two arrows from the same package to fly the same, then these best crossbow bolts are for you.
They will allow you to shoot out past 30 yards straight and truly on target.
Even more, I’ll show you what factors are important for top-rated crossbow bolts. Let’s dive into it...
Best Bolts for Crossbow:
Best Crossbow Bolts Reviews:
1. Black Eagle Executioner Crossbow Fletched Carbon Arrows/Bolts:
Black Eagle Executioner bolts are the most accurate crossbow bolts.
They work with most crossbows out there - but they are ideal for high-speed crossbows that are over 390 fps.
Highly accurate bolts
As for the accuracy, these bolts are dead nuts straight and consistently, and they tighten up my group by about ¾” at 30 yards.
The stiffness is .001" and .003". It makes the bolts highly accurate and consistent with less deflection for 30-40 yds target shooting.
The Executioner bolts are very tough, though, and can withstand harsh punishment.
There are two sizes - the 20” and the 22” - available.
Most crossbows use the 20-inch ones, even though they’re shorter and easier to get lost in the leaves or grass.
The weight is 326 grains without a field point or broadhead. So, you should probably check the manufacturer’s minimum weight beforehand.
The insert weight:
The total weight is heavy but will create deeper penetration. So extra weight is worth it.
The nock comes with half-moon and flat nocks, easy to remove and replace with lighted nocks.
Here is the diameter:
You have two options:
The colors are bright, which is easier to track in low light.
And the FOC balance is just right.
The downsides are that these bolts are a bit too heavy for target shooting.
The field points are not included, and the price is high.
2. Carbon Express PileDriver Fletched Carbon Crossbolt
Carbon Express PileDriver bolts are one of the heaviest crossbow bolts on the market - great for hard-hitting bows and hunting deer.
With the weight of 442 grains, they will generate maximum kinetic energy and can break both shoulders in under 30 yards.
The straightness is around 0.004”, ensuring maximum consistency.
The bolts fly straight, and they hit hard. Moreover, they are well balanced - but not as stiff as the Black Eagle bolts.
Other than that, the bolts are very accurate, offering great grouping, with a 3” group at 50 yards.
Carbon composite material
Their construction is tough - they’re made out of carbon composite - making these bolts rather durable at impact with excellent reliability and repeat performance.
The shaft diameter is 0.348”, and the nocks included are:
You can easily change them with a simple pair of pliers.
The length of the bolts available are 20” and 22”.
I don’t like that they don’t include field tips, and you need to purchase them separately. With such pricey bolts, it should be integrated into a full package.
The fletching is not too good; they can easily fall off.
Also, the plastic nocks are not strong enough to use with high poundage crossbows.
Besides that, many variations are made in China and Korea.
Even more, the material is composite, not carbon fiber as the name.
3. TenPoint EVO-X CenterPunch Alpha-Brite Carbon Arrows, 20”, 001”
Carbon fiber material
TenPoint EVO-X Alpha-Brite carbon arrows offer an entirely new experience.
Made of carbon fiber, they increase spin consistency by 80% and strength by 40%, which are the best bolts for tenpoint crossbow.
Fly nice and straight
The straightness of the bolts is within 0.001”, with 25% improved accuracy compared to older models.
Included field tips
The field tips are included, and the nocks are TenPoint’s new Alpha-Nock or white Superb rite Omni-Nock.
The receiver is made for quick-lighted nock installation. And the nocks even work with the old TenPoint crossbows with the Omni-Nock receivers.
The universal nock changing system allows you to easily convert over to a moon nock cap or a light stick as needed.
The vane is a fletched 3.5” Bohning vane, which isn’t too long or short.
The vanes on each bolt shaft are as close to being equidistant as possible, helping to ensure consistent arrow flight.
There’s an 84-grain insert, with 17% FOC, near the recommended FOC of 15%.
The finished weight is 450-grain, which is ideal for hunting.
I didn’t like the limited nock; it requires Alpha Nocks to prevent void warranty.
Another con is that the bolts are pretty expensive.
4. BloodSport Hunter 20” Crossbow Bolts
BloodSport Hunter bolts are the best crossbow bolts for the money looking for universal, simple bolts.
They offer fantastic straightness and accuracy - the principal thing for all bolts.
The straightness has a tolerance of 0.003”, making the bolts stiff enough to take down elk while shooting straight as possible.
As for the accuracy, the bolts stay grouped well within 1-2 inches at 50 yards - ensuring success and delivering kill shots.
The bolts fit most crossbows available on the market today, with various length options.
The weight is decent, with a 300-grain shaft and an 80-grain brass insert, allowing the hunter to add broadheads or field tips without any issues.
Installed moon nock
The moon nocks are installed - and work great. And with a 4” vane, you can expect maximum success every hunting weekend.
There are two packs available - a six-pack and a 36-pack.
The larger count is certainly a better option for hunting, while the smaller pack is better suited for target practicing.
What I didn’t like about these bolts is their inconsistent quality - which could improve. Besides that, the insert can pop out when shooting with broadheads.
5. Barnett HeadHunter Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Bolts
Barnett is one of the crossbow bolt brands on the market.
Their crossbows are well-known for their affordable price, and it’s no surprise that Barnett made bolts in the same price range - and with the same fantastic quality.
Included moon nock
The bolts include a moon nock, which is glued to the bolts.
However, you can always replace it by rotating the nock back and forth until it breaks and replacing it with something better suited.
The good thing is that the package includes an insert and 24F field points.
Included lighted nock
The lighted nock is essentially a half-moon nock with multi-colors.
The strobing lights assist in finding the arrow and the game when hunting in the dark - which is great and, not to mention, convenient.
Compatible with most crossbows
The bolts are suited for most standard crossbows like:
Even more so, they’re lightweight - 8.1 ounces, with 13.78 grains per inch (GPI).
I liked that the bolts are very durable and strong, coupled with lightweight carbon shafts with improved wall thickness.
Not ideal stiffness
However, the diameter is 0.297”, with a stiffness of 0.006” - which is relatively weak.
The stiffness could prevent you from delivering a kill shot from an effective range.
How To Choose The Best Crossbow Bolts:
Finding suitable crossbow bolts can be quite a headache, even for the experienced hunter.
That’s why we have compiled a detailed buying guide below - to help you find what you are looking for today.
So, scroll on!
When you’re looking at straightness, you should look for dimensions from 0.001” to 0.003”.
The smaller the size, the stiffer the bolt, flying straight through. And that will give you better accuracy and grouping - within 3 inches.
When it comes to straightness and distance, at a distance of 20 yards, even the cheapest bolt will do the job.
However, if you wish to shoot at a distance of 40 yards or more, the straighter, higher-quality arrows will undoubtedly make a difference.
Speed is another factor that can affect straightness. With extra speed, you can get an erratic flight with fixed heads - which is not great. To fix this issue, go with the 0.001” bolts.
Every manufacturer has a minimum weight for each arrow that you should check.
The total weight of a bolt includes parts:
Depending on which one shoots better in your bow, the field tips/ broadhead weight comes down to personal preference. I prefer the 100-grain broadheads.
I recommend going with the 400 to 425-grain total bolt weight.
Easton recommends an arrow with a 10-15% FOC for hunting setups and optimal accuracy - especially true for hunting long distances.
What is FOC?
FOC is an abbreviation for Forwarding of Center, by the way. An arrow isn’t balanced in the middle; the weight is shifted to the front.
FOC is excellent because the arrow is guided forward by the fletchings, and it increases the penetration, guaranteeing an ethical shot.
Recommendation for hunting:
The heavier the bolts, the higher the kinetic energy - creating a better penetration. Heavier bolts also make the shot quieter while hitting harder.
But at some point, the loss of FPS isn’t worth the increase in energy. Heavier bolts drop quicker, especially at 40 yards.
Moreover, it’s not good to have an excellent grouping crossbow only to have a deer jump the string.
It has to be quiet if you want the bucks to be there when the arrows get to it. The heavier bolts will be your friend when hunting deer or elk, though.
Rule Of Thumb:
When picking out the crossbow bolts, go with the standard rules:
As for the length, it all comes down to your personal preferences.
Most bolts are 20 inches long, but 22” works the best, in my opinion.
The length of the bolt relates to its size - and the bigger the bolt, the larger the power stroke.
Shorter, 16” bolts are stiffer, losing on flexibility but gaining on acceleration - making them better for delivering kill shots.
However, short arrows lose velocity on long distances.
You should aim to have both in your hunting package.
For big animals like the elk, you will need the biggest shaft you can get to increase the mass. In general, you want the best presentation and momentum for success.
Some crossbows shoot almost full-length shafts with longer power strokes.
Do note that for target shooting, you can use whatever bolts you have - even plastic ones.
Those will work fine, but you’ll have to pay attention to the shaft diameter for professional purposes.
In general, the materials used to make the shaft are strong and durable.
They have to withstand tension when shooting the arrows and the shock of impact when hitting the target.
Commonly, the crossbow bolts are made out of:
Carbon fiber bolts are quite a bit more expensive, but they offer better performance. In my opinion, this is the best material for crossbow bolts.
Then, aluminum was introduced as a popular material because it’s durable yet lightweight.
Today, many bolts are made out of carbon composite.
Enter your text here...Carbon is great because it’s lightweight while retaining lots of power - making them the ultimate option for hunting big game
Aluminum bolts, however, are the best option for hunting small game or practicing target shooting as it’s pretty easy to discharge from a target.
But it’s certainly not the best idea for the big game.
When talking about the bolt spine, we are talking about its stiffness.
The spine can have various degrees of stiffness, or in other words, how flexible or bendable the bolt is.
Let me explain
If a bolt has more “spine,” it will be more resistant to bending, making it better suited for hunting big game.
Crossbows with a large draw weight will need to be paired with larger spine specs to ensure success.
Usually, when it comes to the spine, you will find specs like 200, 300, or 400. When a crossbow bolt has a stiffness of 200, it’s far stiffer than a bolt with a 400 stiffness.
As for the nocks, there are several different types out there.
Half-moon nocks and flat nocks
They are more of the traditional nock designs.
A flat nock has a wider flat area, and the half-moon nock is shaped around the string. And they’re essentially built to be caught well by the string.
What can happen, though, is that the half-moon nock is not positioned well when firing, which leaves room for various accidents.
Lighted nocks usually feature a half-moon design, but they are often lighted to make tracks in the dark possible.
Today, there are even so-called Omni nocks, which are, in essence, half-moon nocks with alignment grooves to make the alignment of the string better.
A capture nock ultimately has the half-moon nock but a deeper region to encompass more of the string.
All in all, the type of nock you choose comes down to your preference. If you aren’t sure what you are looking for - try a few different designs to see what suits you best!
At some point, you will be looking to replace your old nocks. When the time comes, check the inner and outer diameter to measure the exact dimensions.
Fletching, or vanes, is the feather-like addition located at the back end of the bolt. They aren’t too heavy, weighing around 5-10 grains and 2” - 4” vane length.
Their purpose is to guide the bolt to the desired target.
For the bolt to remain in its position, it will have to rotate to maintain the desired course. For the arrows to rotate ideally around their center, they will need to have offset - or helical - fletchings.
Helical fletchings force the arrow to spin entirely. The bigger the vanes, the larger the drag. So, to counteract it, you will have to move the balance towards the front.
Essentially, there are two types of crossbow heads - and each type has its unique role and purpose.
Field tips and broadheads usually have around 100 to 150-grain weight.
For field practice and shooting targets, you will want the field tip.
They are highly efficient, simple to use, and aren’t affected by the wind when flying through the air, which is yet another plus.
On the other hand, for hunting, you will want the broadhead.
Broadheads have a sharpened point, used to pierce the skin and enable the kill shot.
That being said, there are two types of broadheads:
Mechanical broadheads are a relatively new invention.
They go through the air like field tips, but they open up the mechanical teeth to maximize damage upon impact.
Manufacturer’s Requirements And Warranty
Before all else, keep in mind that all the crossbows out there have a minimum arrow length required. Figure that out first, then check out the warranty.
Can you break their rule?
Do note that you can go with heavier bolts than recommended by the manufacturer.
However, the grain count can affect how fast your bolts will shoot out, and you can miss out on the speed required to deliver a kill shot.
Of course, speed isn’t everything - you can still deliver those kill shots while losing some of the speed.
The key to success is to pick out the best quality bolts and to be very accurate while shooting - a heavier bolt will not stop you!
To conclude, having the best crossbow bolts ensures a successful harvest.
There are many great crossbow bolts, but our absolute winner is the Black Eagle Executioner Crossbow Fletched Carbon Arrows/Bolts.
What are the best crossbow bolts for hunting deer or elk, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments!
Check these out for more best crossbows accessories.