School me on bolts and broadheads.

Mar 1, 2009
Deep in the woods of SC
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Back in March I headed back up to MA for my 40th B-day. When I got to my friend's house her husband couldn't wait to give me a little something... The 150lb. crossbow her ex left in the garage! [smile]

The bow seems to have some decent power. I picked up a few 20in 10.3 GPI bolts and a pack of 100Gr. field points. At 50 yds the CB will bury the bolts about 2-3 in into a pressure treated 4x4. So it shouldn't have any trouble knocking down deer.

So now I'm looking for some info/recommendations on bolts and broadheads. SC has no requirement or restriction on the length of bolts. What would be the benefits/drawbacks of different length bolts? What is the min. length/weight you would use for deer? What broadheads preform well? I'm probably leaning toward mechanical broadheads since, from what I have read, they tend to fly more like the field points I'll be practicing with.

I probably wouldn't take a shot with it out past 40-50 yds. when hunting. That being said, what distance should I consider "max range"? Any other tips/info you guys think I may find useful are also welcome.

SC allows CBs during ALL deer seasons so I plan on being out with it a LOT. Between the CB and rifle that is about 5 months of deer hunting! [party]

Thanks in advance.


Oh, one other question. Is it wrong that deer season is all I think about? I mean all day, every day. I was out scouting the woods today at 5am. [laugh]
What a great gift. I have been hunting with a crossbow for 9 or 10 years now.

What kind of crossbow is it?

Generally speaking crossbows need a much higher FOC than regular arrows due to their short Length. That is why you see 150g and 170g broadheads. I build my own arrows and use a much heavier insert so I can still shoot 100g or 125g broadheads as you have a much wider selection of broadheads to choose from.

Most factory arrows come with straight fletching. I use Bhoning Blazers fletched with 4 degree right offset. Depending on the crossbow the Blazers might rub the bottom of the channel of the rail.

Different crossbows use different nocks and you need to make sure that you are using the proper one for the crossbow. The most common are flat and 1/2 moon nocks.
Thanks for the input. It is a Barnett Panzer II or Wildcat II. I don't know if they released essentially the same bow under two names. I looked up the numbers on the limb and it links back to those 2 bows. It looks like this...


I didn't get the whole kit, just the strung bow. It uses flat nocks and seems to be damn accurate. At ~30yds. I can get the 4 bolts I picked up within half an inch of each other. I still haven't decided if I want to get an optic for it or just stick with the iron sights. An optic may be overkill considering how close I'll be shooting it from.
I can't help you on bolts as I am not a cross bow guy. It is entirely possible cross bow guys have different issues requiring different BH choices so my opinion on BHs is based on 25+ years bow hunting.

You should have plenty of power for a mechanical head. Some people refuse to use them and some only use them. Whether fixed or mechanical by a decent brand name and they all work well when placed in the right spot. Much like anything you will have fan boys for all the popular brands. Muzzy always has a quality product but there are lots of other like Slick Tricks, G5 products (I shoot Montec for fixed blade), NAP etc.

My thought process for heads is basically like this.
1. Quality head from a reputable company. I won't buy crappy heads for cheap.
2. Avoid gimmicky heads like the new "apple core" head.
3. No serrated blades
4. must be easy to sharpen or replace blades
5. pick something that works and stick with it. Heads are expensive, I have no need to have 7 brands in my tackle box because I keep trying new ones.

For fixed I shoot 125gr G5 Montecs. I shoot 125gr NAP Spitfire for mechanicals. I have used these same 2 choices for more than 10 years and have no intention of changing anytime soon.
I am glad that you posted a picture. My brother gave me the same crossbow when he moved out of state. The only difference is mine has the solid wood stock.

He was shooting 20" aluminum 2219's with a 125g Broadhead and moon nock. They weigh in at 458g.

For comparison I hunt with a 200lb Excalibur Exocet and my arrows weigh in at 425g. That combination gives me about 310fps. When hunting I usually use the 125g NAP Spitfire and when I shoot a deer I get a pass through and the arrow is usually buried in the dirt at least mid arrow and usually up to the fletchings.

IMO I would go with a max of 18" and I would probably build some 16" arrows to play with. Keep in mind that I build my own arrows. You also need to stay about the minimum arrow weight which I believe is 376g.

Any decent archery shop should be able to make what you want for an arrow if you give them the specs of what you want.

This link says about the same:

I would call Barnett just to verify the nock type and minimum weight. If you shoot arrows that are below the minimum weight the crossbow arrow you can/will damage the limb.

I ran across a CP Tactical red dot I forgot I had yesterday and decided to throw it on the CB to see if I liked it. As it turns out, I do. [smile]

I sighted it in today on my poor man's archery target I made when I got the bow. It works amazingly well. I was shooting from a sitting position at about 25-30 yds.


This was the last group I shot after dialing it in. The flier was the last shot. I saw the dot drift a little as the shot broke so I'll take the blame on that one.

CB02.jpg CB03.jpg

The target is made from two standard floating marine cushions on either side of some memory foam blocks I kept from a mattress we replaced a few months ago. Not the part you sleep on but the really stiff foam they use for the structural components of the bed. This is the furthest any of the bolts went in. Even shooting it from half the distance the bolts have never made it more than 2/3-3/4 of the way through.

CB04.jpg CB05.jpg
Nice shooting. That will getter done for sure.

When it comes to fixed broadheads on short crossbow arrows you want to go with a low profile Broadhead like a Slick Trick. When it comes to arrows in general the shorter they get the more unstable they are.

I would consider getting the arrows trimmed down a bit. The 20" arrows are quite a bit longer than they need to be. Shorter is better when it comes to the hunting woods.

You should also pick up a spare string and stringing aid to have them on hand.

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