Starter Crossbow for Target Practice... & Legality


October 4, 2012, 10:30 AM
So the wife has been getting into archery. We usually go to this park near our apartment that has 6 haybale targets set up and I watch her shoot and give her tips. (I am no archer myself, I like guns, but it is usually pretty obvious from the outside perspective if she does something different...I just preach consistency, and she is hoping to get some real lessons soon).

Anyway, she has been asking me what I want for Christmas and I think asking for a gun is out of the question (She is not a fan of them, I mostly just want handguns right now anyway, and in MN you need a permit to purchase, so she'd have to come with me to the store and watch me buy it and she takes all the fun out of gift-giving). So I am thinking a crossbow might be a fun thing she could get me on her own, and then I could shoot at the archery range with her, and still get some "trigger time." My questions:

1. Throw me some decent, basic crossbow makes & models, they definitely don't need to be top of the line, hopefully under $400. It will solely be for recreational use.

2. Are there any restrictions on crossbows I should know about? I.e. do some parks prohibit crossbows, or is it at all common for municipalities to ban them? I just don't want to be enjoying an afternoon of archery with my wife, only to have several squad cars roll up on us. Since a crossbow is much more "scary-looking" to the average person, there may be a phone call or two. (I paid attention to the signs last time we were there and they made no mention of crossbows...just said no broad-heads).

I can't really find anything about the law in my rudimentary google search. Everything I am finding is related to hunting. Do people not even use crossbows for target? I have heard that most of them have pretty awful triggers (as compared to most guns) but still, I think it could be a fun side-hobby.

Thanks in advance, everyone!

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October 4, 2012, 01:52 PM
I can only answer #2 since I use some more unusual models that are not widely available.

No state has any restriction set down in law on ownership or target shooting. Only hunting tends to be regulated, and not all states do (for example in my state of MD, crossbows can be used for any hunting that a vertical bow can).

It is possible for a large city to pass laws banning them, but it is so rare that no examples come to mind. I would think that the only possible issue is if the range has explicit restrictions posted. Of course an easy way to put yourself at ease is to contact the authority in charge of the range, such as the Parks department.

October 5, 2012, 09:41 AM
Thanks for the response glistam! Good to know that for the most part they are legal to use. And it's not a bad idea to check with the Parks Dept. for the particular city. Or even the Police I guess, since if some panicky mom sees a "gun-looking thing" it will be them they call.

Any other response on a good basic package for under $400 would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all!

October 5, 2012, 10:55 AM
Since no one else has answered, here's my slightly greenhorn take.

For target shooting, especially the short range you find at most recreational archery ranges, you don't necessarily need or want a ton of kinetic energy (i.e. Foot-pounds). It's good for big game, bad for haybale targets, as you can over-penetrate, which is both a safety and a retrieval problem. This is a good thing for you because lower energy ones also tend to be less expensive. The Barnett Panzer V is a popular recurve model sold at retail sporting goods stores like Dick's as a starter package for under $200. I'm partial to recurves in general just for the classical look and feel, but they also are easier to maintain and make less noise. YMMV of course. The Barnett RC-150 is a little more and is a compound if you're into that type.

October 5, 2012, 12:58 PM
Thanks again for the response, glistam. Gosh, are there no other High Roaders out there that shoot crossbow? :)

I definitely will take a look at that Panzer V. It looks pretty cool and a great price point! I agree the recurves look more classic and if I don't want too much energy anyway, why spend more? For something that will only see the light of day a handful of times each year, I don't want to spend too much (errr, make my wife spend too much). We'll see what happens. There are a few other things on the wish list but this would sure be a lot of fun.

Thanks again!

XD 45acp
October 6, 2012, 09:10 PM
Parker has served me well

October 9, 2012, 06:31 AM
PSE has been building quality archery products for many years. About 4 years ago, they entered the crossbow market with models named for poisoness snakes. Viper and Copperhead are good products.

Parker is another archery company that began building crossbows about 4 years ago. Spartan and BuckBuster are discont'd models but still available through eBay and other sites. Parker has a lifetime warranty and one of the best triggers within this industy.

Low end Horton models such as Summit and Yukon don't have the quality or speed for precision shooting. But Horton's higher end crossbows are TOPS!

In my opinion, Barnett uses too much cheap plastic in their products.

Ten Point and Excaliber are most excellent crossbows with higher pricing to match.

I suggest avoid carbon bolts (arrows). They're prone to fracture and don't hold up as well as aluminum bolts.

Good shooting to you.

October 9, 2012, 10:47 AM

Cheap as they get, but it works fine. I can shoot 1.5 inch groups at 40 yards with mine, and that's more than I could ever hope for to hunt.

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