When it comes to crossbow bolts, if they are to be effective, they need to have the right combination of speed, accuracy and strength. This ensures that they hit your target accurately each time.
Unfortunately, finding the best crossbow bolts hunting models for you is a little more complicated than it seems. This article will discuss the best ways to select the ideal crossbow bolt for your needs.
Bolts should always be sized correctly.
Firstly, your crossbow bolt should always be the correct size. When your bolt is sized properly, it will give you the best momentum, precision, speed and accuracy when making your shot.
In terms of bolt weight, this usually involves the combined weight of the nock, the fletched shaft, broad head (or field point) and the insert. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier your bolt is, the more energy it will exert down the range. This increase in energy means that your target is penetrated better and sharper. It is therefore recommended that you always check the correct weight and length of bolt that your crossbow needs for best results.
The energy created by your bolt is vital and is equally important as its speed. While speed is always important, if the kinetic energy is off, your shot will be off, as well.
This is because there are drag forces that slow the bolt down when released and it is essential to select a bolt that gives you the most penetration power, in addition to speed.
Normally, your crossbow will create the same amount of force on the bolt each time you launch it. What this means is that if you have a lighter bolt, it will shoot faster (however, a heavier bolt will give you more kinetic energy, penetrating power).
Lightweight, standard and heavy bolts.
When you buy your bolts, you will notice that they come in 3 categories: lightweight, standard and heavy.
A lightweight will give you a nice boost to your speed and offer a better and flatter trajectory down the range.
The downside to lightweight bolts is that they give more vibration, noise and stress, putting your crossbow more at risk for damage.
A standard bolt can be considered as a “Jack of all trades” bolt because it is suitable for most hunting conditions.
They give you a great balance between energy and speed and their heavier weight means that energy will be transferred from your crossbow to the actual bolt. This results in less noise and vibration and gives you more precision with your shot.
Heavyweight bolts, as the name suggests, produce more energy than other bolts. This gives you improved target penetration and much better in-flight stability, especially when it is raining or it is foggy. They are also great when you are hunting in dense habitats or you are hunting from a thick hide.
On the flip side, heavyweight bolts can lost trajectory quite quickly so you would need to judge the right distance to your target very carefully.
Generally speaking, crossbow bolts range in length from 16 to 22 inches. However, a normal-sized bolt will measure 20 inches.
It is always a good idea to check with your crossbow’s manufacturer to see which length bolt is most suitable. Be sure not to buy one that is too short as this can mess with the rail when you are shooting the bolt.
Diameter of the bolt.
The diameter of your bolt will determine how well your target is shot. A small diameter bolt decreases the amount of wind drag and has a lot of power to make a good shot, in comparison to regular diameter bolts.
The shaft on your crossbow bolt will be made from either aluminum or carbon. Both of these are great as they are lightweight and durable.
An aluminum shaft is usually cheaper than a carbon one and is also quieter. Unfortunately, they don’t shoot as flat and sometimes don’t have enough strength when the weight increases.
A carbon shaft will shoot flatter but it is more expensive than aluminum and they also shed speed when the shot is released.
Bolts have spines that come in 2 degrees: they are either dynamic or static. Dynamic involves how the bolt bends when it is shot and is influenced by nock weight, static spine and string force. Static spines refer to how stiff the bolt is and the come in various degrees of stiffness. It the bolt doesn’t bend much, it will naturally have a higher static spine.
Nocks are very important because they help to line up the string to the bolt. Your nock will be attached to the rear of the bolt shaft and can be manufactured from either plastic or aluminum.
When selecting nock type, you can choose between a flat nock or a half moon nock. A half moon nock will always have a special groove that you will use to align your crossbow string before you fire your bolt.
Illuminated nocks can be purchased as accessories and will make it easier to follow the bolt trail and point of impact and when the bolt goes through the animal to locate the bolt afterwards.
Broad head and field points.
Finally, the field point of your bolt is another very important factor to consider when selecting the best bolt type for your needs the field point and the shaft should be the same diameter.
As a general rule of thumb, broad heads and field points will weigh anything from 125 to 150 grains be sure to always get the same weight for both.
When it comes to broad heads, these will be attached to the shaft tip in the same weigh as field points but the only difference is that they have a sharper edge that makes a more accurate kill shot. There are 2 kinds of broad heads: ones with a fixed blade or an expandable blade. Just like with field points, they vary in weight and it is therefore always a good idea to check with the manufacturer of your crossbow to find out what is the most suitable before making a final purchase.
Having the right bolt that fit your crossbow will only increase stability and accuracy, shooting with assorted weights and lengths will only give inconsistent accuracy. When you figured out what length and weight works best make all your bolts the same size and be sure to test shoot your broad heads to see if the fly the same as your field points.
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