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All About Crossbow Designs

Crossbow enthusiast Todd Bromley details the three available crossbow designs and how to pick the best one for you.

Todd Bromley March 07, 2023
All About Crossbow Designs

Ready to pull the trigger on a crossbow? Here are some things to consider before selecting one to purchase.


Recurve Design

The recurve crossbow is the oldest of the three crossbow designs currently available on the market. In the case of the recurve design, the string is attached directly to the ends of the limb tips. No cams or cables are present so all of the power comes directly from the crossbow's limbs when the trigger is activated.


Recurve crossbows are known for their durability. With fewer moving parts, recurve crossbows generally have fewer mechanical problems on average than other crossbow designs. Routine maintenance is also easily done without the need of a bow press. Strings can be changed in the field with a simple de-stringing aid that is available from the manufacturer.


Compound Design

Compound crossbows are, by far, the most popular design with a large selection of models to choose from. Compound crossbows utilize cams or wheels attached to the limb tips, which provide a mechanical advantage during the cocking and shooting process. The oblong cams, or round wheels, are connected to each other by two cables and a string.


Compound bows have the ability to generate tremendous speed using lower draw weights with the mechanical advantage of the cams. With more moving parts, maintenance becomes much more important on compound-designed crossbows, and a bow press is needed to change the strings and cables.


Reverse Draw Design

Reverse draw technology places the limb pockets just in front of or behind the trigger assembly with the limbs projecting forward, away from the shooter. Reversing the riser and limb arrangement drastically increases the power stroke which equates to additional speed.


The reverse draw design also radically changes the balance point of the compound crossbow, effectively making this design very well balanced and vibration free. Like its compound counterpart, preventative maintenance is very important and a bow press is required to change the strings and cables.


In Conclusion

There are advantages and disadvantages to each design. The perfect crossbow design will vary for each individual. It's important to familiarize yourself with each design and choose the one that best fits your hunting and shooting style.





Article courtesy of Crossbow Magazine.


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