For the modern hunter it’s hard to imagine how difficult hunting was thousands of years ago. For one thing today we hunt for sport not for our very survival and that makes a big difference in choosing the type of tactics that are best for the situation.
Our ancient ancestors did introduce an invention that was to revolutionize hunting and it’s a tool that we still use today. I’m talking about the bow of course and it was a huge upgrade from the spear that had been the staple of the hunt before then. It allowed those ancestors to hunt at greater range and at much greater velocities.
Fast-forward to today and you’ll still find many hunters that love bow hunting. There’s something just a little bit more exciting about the raw natural power of using a bow to bring down a deer.
While the essential essence of bow hunting may not have changed much, the modern bow is a much different piece of equipment than those original bows.
Today’s bow of choice is a compound bow and it’s miles ahead technologically. These bows are extremely accurate and far more powerful.
The compound bow market is a thriving business with tons of different choices and while all of that choice is a good thing, it does make it difficult to figure out which one fits your needs best. We’re going to explore this topic in greater detail to try and identify what constitutes a great compound bow these days.
We’ll review our five top choices in the compound bow market and we’ll also review some of the characteristics you should be looking for in a good compound bow. A compound bow can be a great addition to your hunting experience as long as you know what to look for.
- 1 Bow Noise
- 2 Power and Accuracy
- 3 Draw Length and Weight
- 4 Shock and Vibration
- 5 Balance and Handling
- 6 Materials
- 7 Compound Bow Reviews
- 8 Final Shots
When you’re bow hunting ideally you’ll want a bow that makes as little noise as possible so that you don’t spook your target before you get a chance to take the shot. The best quality bows have built-in noise dampening technology that makes them extremely quite hunting tools.
Power and Accuracy
Other than stealth the most important considerations when looking for a compound bow are power and accuracy.
The best compound bows are capable of exceeding 300 fps and as long as you can find a bow with this kind of power in your price range this is what you should be setting as your guideline.
Of course power is of no use if you don’t have an accurate shot and that’s why it’s important to find a bow with a smooth and straight release as well.
Draw Length and Weight
There is no perfect draw length and weight as that depends on your own physical make up, but the best compound bows allow you to adjust the draw weight and length.
Ideally you should be looking for a bow that allows you to adjust the draw length somewhere between 19 and 32 inches and the draw weight between 30 and 70lbs.
Shock and Vibration
Shock and vibration are two things that can significantly affect the accuracy of your shot.
High quality compound bows virtually eliminate these problems and allow you to take a smooth and accurate shot every time. This is usually achieved by installing shock absorbing materials that soak up the vibrations and allow you to achieve the best shot possible.
Excessive vibration can also be hard on the body so this is another advantage of choosing a compound bow with good shock absorbing qualities.
Balance and Handling
Compound bows are specifically designed to achieve perfect balance while still being easy to handle. They may look like strange contraptions, but that weaving waffle style design allows manufacturers to provide perfectly balanced hunting bows that are ergonomically designed for easy handling as well.
Compound bows can be made from a couple of different materials. Some kind of aluminum alloy is more common, but carbon fibre is sometimes used on more expensive models.
The advantage of carbon fibre is that it’s much lighter and also extremely strong. Aluminum alloy is still used in many top quality bows as it’s also a top quality material that’s fairly light weight as well.
Compound Bow Reviews
SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30” Compound Bow
When you’re starting out on your archery journey you probably won’t’ want to spend upwards of a $1000 on a compound bow – although you could as the best bows are typically in that price range.
A much more affordable option for the newbie bow hunter is the SAS Rage 70lb.
This is an affordable compound bow that still provides the user with a quality hunting device that they’ll get years of use out of.
You should be clear that this is an entry level bow so it doesn’t have a lot of the features and accessories you’ll find on some of the more sophisticated bows on the market – having said that it still provides the novice user with a credible tool to start them out with.
It has an adjustable draw weight of between 55 and 70lbs so it is serviceable as a hunting bow. At 4.4 lbs it is noticeably heavier than some of the better bows though and this can make it a little cumbersome to use. The draw length can also be adjusted between 26 and 28 inches.
This bow will shoot at about 270 fps, which is not bad, but it’s still nowhere near some of the better quality bows which are capable of achieving more than 300 fps on a consistent basis. This is a basic no frills bow that will do the job, but you will probably outgrow it quickly if you decide you’re serious about bow hunting.
SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30” Summary:
- Affordable option
- Quality hunting device
- Adjustable draw weight
- Shoot at about 270 fps
SAS Scorpii 55 Lb 29″ Compound Bow
The SAS Scorpii 55lb is a little bit better than an entry level compound bow. This is a great bow for a smaller man or a woman to get their feet wet on. It has an adjustable draw weight of between 30 and 55 lbs and adjustments can be made based on 5 lb increments.
The bow itself is made from an aluminum magnesium alloy and it’s quite resistant to wear and tear. It shoots at 260 fps which is not bad for an entry level bow, but not ground-breaking either.
With a draw length of between 19 and 29 inches it is a relatively versatile bow which you can certainly pass down to a teenager for their first bow once you’ve outgrown it.
It weighs in at about 3.3 pounds so it is light enough to be wielded comfortably by most beginners. It has a brace height of 7 1/2” and a let off of 68%.
This is a bow with a pretty good reputation. Overall it has positive reviews and most of the negative reviews it has received have to do with its lack of advanced features.
This seems somewhat unfair as it is meant to be an entry level bow and if that’s what you’re looking for you won’t be disappointed.
SAS Scorpii 55lb Summary:
- Adjustable draw weight
- Made from aluminium magnesium alloy
- Shoots at 260 fps
- Lightweight design
Bowtech Carbon Knight 70# RH Mossy Oak Infinity Camo R.A.K.
When you’re ready to take your bow hunting to the next level the Bowtech Carbon Knight compound bow is a significant upgrade. This is a top quality bow with a lot of great features that make it ideal for bow hunting in real world conditions.
It provides a smooth comfortable draw that will impress even the most experienced bow hunters. This is a lightweight carbon bow weighing in at just 3.2 pounds making it easy to maneuver and find the best position to acquire your target.
The carbon knight has an adjustable draw weight of between 60 and 70lbs so it’s perfect for men of all sizes and even ambitious women of larger stature. The draw length can also be adjusted up to about 30.5 inches.
It’s a versatile bow with a custom 4-pin sight included out of the box. It also comes with a Deadlock Lite quiver, an Octane Hostage arrow rest, a stabilizer, and a wrist sling.
When you combine that with Bowtech’s noise dampening technology you’ve got a pretty capable bow that can be used in all kinds of situations.
The bow is also equipped with two symmetrical cams that allows for quick and accurate tuning although you won’t need to make many adjustments.
This is one of the best mid-range priced bows around and you won’t be disappointed if you opt to make this your compound bow of choice.
Bowtech Carbon Knight 70# Summary:
- Lightweight carbon bow
- Adjustable draw weight
- Equipped with 4-pin sight
- Bowtech's noise dampening technology
Carbon Express Intercept Axon Crossbow
To mix things up a little we thought it would be a good idea to include a modern crossbow in our reviews and there aren’t too many mid-priced crossbows that can boast the reliability and features that the Carbon Express Intercept Axon possesses.
This is an amazing feat of engineering that makes it the perfect bow for your next bow hunting excursion. It has a compact design at only 13.5 inches axle to axle when cocked.
This bow is packed full of advanced features including a CNC machined trigger finger box housing with precision components.
It has a pull weight of just 3.5 pounds and it’s known for a quick release and accurate shot pretty much every time. The great thing about a crossbow like this is that you can also use a rifle style scope with one and this bow comes equipped with one right out of the box.
Perhaps the big difference between a typical compound bow and a cross bow is the power you can achieve. The higher end compound bows will offer you about 300 fps, this one shoots arrows at more than 360 fps – that means it will take down a much bigger animal and you’ll have more time to react.
If you’re looking for an alternative to your traditional compound bow this crossbow is a great alternative.
Carbon Express Intercept Axon Summary:
- Compact design
- Shoots at 300 fps
- Quick release
- Equipped with rifle style scope
Martin Archery Afflictor 70# Compound Bow
The Martin Archery Afflictor 70lb compound bow is arguably the best mid-priced bow on the market today. This is an impressive bow with a lot of great features.
At its maximum efficiency it’s capable of achieving up to 320 fps which makes it one of the most powerful compound bows around.
It has a fast and accurate single cam design that allows for quick and accurate shots. This is a smooth and quite bow that will provide you with one of the best hunting experiences possible.
It has a brace height of 7 inches and it weighs in at 3. 8 lbs – it may not be the lightest around, but it’s still light enough to make it a versatile and maneuverable bow for the advanced bow hunter.
You can also adjust the draw weight from 30 pounds all the way up to 70 lbs which means that family members could conceivably share this bow although that depends on whether or not you really want to share.
This bow also comes with a whisker biscuit arrow rest, a round-about stabilizer, a built-in sight, and a quiver.
Essentially it has everything you need to be a successful bow hunter all in one package. This is without a doubt one of the best compound bows around.
Martin Archery Afflictor 70lb Summary:
- Shoots at 320 fps
- Accurate single cam design
- Built-in sight
- Equipped with round-about stabilizer
A compound bow is a great hunting weapon. Hunting with a bow is a very different experience from hunting with a rifle and many hunters find it a greater challenge – although with all of the equipment you can add to a modern compound bow they can be fairly straightforward to use.
If you’re serious about bow hunting there are some very affordable entry level bows available, but if you’re confident this is something you plan on turning into a long time love affair you may want to consider bypassing the entry level models.
Whatever your preference you’ll have found some great options in our review section.