The Best Crossbow Target: Our Favorites for 2024 (and How to Choose the Right One for You)

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Choosing the right crossbow target can be a little bit tricky: there are a lot of options out there, but it’s not always clear which is the right choice for your particular needs or which is capable of handling the power of a crossbow bolt.

To help you out, we’ll take a deep dive into crossbow targets and help you figure out what type might be right for you. We’ll discuss our picks for the best crossbow target, the different varieties available, and the features you may want to look for. After that, we’ll provide some tips on how to treat a target so that it lasts a while, because after all, your crossbow’s going to tear it up.

The Best Crossbow Targets: Our Top Picks

Before we get into the detailed reviews, take a glance at our number-one favorite in each category. This will give you a good idea if that’s the right category for you, and then you can go consider the full reviews to find the best one for your situation.

The Best Bag Target: The Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Field Point Bag Target

A great model from a renowned brand, it can withstand powerful crossbow bolts and bad weather.

The Best Foam Target: Rinehart Targets 18-1 Portable Archery Target

Self-healing foam and 18 target faces make it a unique option for bowhunters who want dynamic practice.

The Best Block Target: Block Infinity Crossbow Archery Target

The layered foam is rated for fast-flying bolts but still allows you to remove them quickly so you can spend more time shooting.

The Best 3D Target: GlenDel Crossbow Buck 3D Archery Target

You get realistic practice season after season thanks to a life-sized buck with a four-sided core.

The Best Discharge Bag: The Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Bolt Discharge Bag

It’s compact, highly portable, and gets the job done.

The Best Bag Targets for Crossbows: Our In-Depth Reviews

Bag targets tend to be the most basic and affordable options. They’re also portable and good for casual practice to sight in your crossbow. These are the best crossbow targets in the bag category.

Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Field Point Bag Target

Our Verdict: One of our favorite targets in general, the Morrell Yellow Jacket is great for sighting in your crossbow because it’s tough enough to handle serious power and inclement weather.

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Pros:

  • Rated for 425 fps
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Carrying handle
  • Grommet flaps
  • Weather-resistant
  • Multiple targets

Cons:

  • Hard bolt removal for bag target

Morrell is basically the standard when it comes to crossbow targets. If you want a good bag target, the Yellow Jacket is arguably one of the best crossbow targets around.

The main reason it topped our list is just that it’s super tough. In fact, it can handle field points up to 425 fps. Plus, it has MLDD and IFS technology, both of which improve the life of the target and help maintain its integrity even after numerous shots with high-powered crossbows.

We also like it because it’s so convenient. It’s pretty lightweight at 32 pounds, and you can easily carry it around thanks to the carrying handle. On top of that, it has two grommet flaps, so you can use a hanging mount or rope to elevate it.

Similarly, it’s a highly weather-resistant model. The target surface can handle rain and mud, so it’s a great choice if you want to set up a permanent range on your property.

Finally, we love the target design. The yellow color helps catch your eye while the five different targets allow you to shoot multiple bolts before having to go retrieve them. This makes it good for both sighting in your crossbow and for long practice sessions.

Field Logic Hurricane Bag Archery Target

Our Verdict: If you want realistic hunting practice but aren’t interested in a full 3D target, the Hurricane bag target is a good choice since it has a target face with deer vitals.

Pros:

  • Rated for 425 fps
  • 1,000 PSE Tri-Core technology
  • Deer vitals target face
  • Carrying handle and grommets
  • Three size options

Cons:

  • No grommet flaps
  • Large size is heavy

Also rated for up to 425 fps of bolt speed, the Hurricane Bag Archery Target is another option that’s tough enough to handle powerful crossbow models. It has 1,000 PSI Tri-Core technology that helps prevent pass-throughs and also increases the life of the target to get more value for your money.

Our favorite thing about this target, though, is the target face that includes deer vitals for more realistic practice. Plus, these deer vitals are offset from the traditional targets on the other side so that your bolts are landing in different places and using different parts of the target. This increases its life even more.

Like the Yellow Jacket, the Hurricane bag target is highly portable and includes a carrying handle in addition to two grommets that allow for hanging and easy mounting, though we do wish the grommets came on extended flaps so that the corners didn’t fold in when using a rope. It’s better for hanging from hooks on a mount.

We also like that you have a choice of sizes up to a large 28-inch option, though the weight on this one is pretty high at 44 pounds. We’d suggest going with this one only if you’re looking to set up a permanent range. If you want a portable target, consider the 20-inch option.

The Best Foam Targets for Crossbows: Our In-Depth Reviews

Now we’ve come to foam targets, which are a good option for field points and broadheads. This is important for hunters because broadheads fly differently than field points, so you at least need a little bit of shooting practice with them. These are the two targets we recommend.

Rinehart Targets 18-1 Portable Archery Target

Our Verdict: The Rinehart 18-1 is one of the most innovative and unique targets on the market. Made with self-healing foam and featuring 18 target faces at various angles, it’s one of the best options for practicing from elevated positions or different angles.

Pros:

  • 18 target faces
  • Unique shape
  • Withstands broadheads
  • Self healing
  • Great for elevated practice
  • Portable and lightweight

Cons:

  • Difficult bolt removal
  • Small

The Rinehart 18-1 archery target is one of the most unique on the market. You can tell just by looking at it.

Broadhead makers invest significant resources to develop broadheads that efficiently and humanely take down game. They aim to cause quick, total, and lethal damage, so they make them incredibly sharp. Hunters, in turn, prioritize a quick and humane kill, as evidenced by the widespread use of sharp broadheads.

The problem with that is that these sharp arrows can wreck a target. Given their purpose of effective penetration, what target can withstand them?

Enter the Rinehart 18-1 Broad Target. This 18-sided cube boasts impressive durability, thanks to its “self-healing” foam that returns to its original form after arrow removal. Broadheads and expandables can be used with this target without damaging it, even if removing arrows may prove challenging.

Additionally, its 18 sides make it ideal for practicing from elevated positions like tree stands. This feature adds variety to target practice compared to a traditional cube with fewer shooting surfaces. The targets are also a highly visible yellow color, so they’re easy to find if you’re sighting in a scope.

The only drawback is its small size of 15x15x15 inches, though this actually makes it highly portable. It’s just 11 pounds, so it’s easy for just about anyone to carry from one practice location to another, and it has a convenient carrying handle that also doubles as a hanging loop.

The Morrell Yellow Jacket YJ-380 Dual Threat

Our Verdict: This target is a great, highly versatile option that can be used for both vertical and crossbows shooting both field points and broadheads.

Pros:

  • Take broadheads and field points
  • Numerous aiming points
  • Vibrant colors
  • Carrying handle
  • Made in USA

Cons:

  • Only rated for 380 fps
  • Difficult bolt removal
  • No hanging

The Morrell Yellow Jacket YJ-380 Dual Threat features “Completely Fused Cellular Foam Layers” to stop and absorb the kinetic energy from your arrows and bolts. That means that it’s designed to be tougher than bag targets and to take shots from arrows and bolts with any kind of tip, including field points and both fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads. It may take a little extra oomph to remove your arrows, but that’s common among a lot of foam targets. After all, they need to be strong enough to stop a bolt traveling at incredible speed that’s buried itself in some very dense material.

In other words, it’s not the best option for super-duper powerful crossbows. Instead it’s designed for use on bows and crossbows that shoot up to 380 fps, but we’d be willing to bet that the majority of crossbow users are shooting crossbows of less than that anyway.

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One reason we recommend this target is that it has a lot of aiming points, each spaced far enough so that you can make multiple shots before having to retrieve your bolts. Plus, it has a handle for lugging it around the yard, which is a great feature you don’t always see on foam targets. Just remember that handle is not for stringing it to a branch or pole. That’s a feature of bag targets but not of foam targets like this one. It won’t be able to hold the weight of the foam over time, and you’re likely to rip the handle. It’s just for carrying.

If you shoot both vertical bows and crossbows, this can be a great option, and we should mention it’s made in the USA! This reflects the quality of the Morrell manufacturing process and the durability of the target.

The Best Block Targets for Crossbows: Our In-Depth Reviews

Block targets are an archery favorite because their shape allows you to stack them and shoot at multiple sides of the cube, equating to longer life and more versatility. We like the following ones in particular because they’re designed for crossbows and the power that comes with them.

Block Infinity Crossbow Archery Target

Our Verdict: Thanks to layered foam that can withstand broadheads flying at high speeds but still allows for easy bolt removal, the Block Infinity crossbow target is one of our top choices for any crossbow archer.

Pros:

  • Made specifically for crossbows
  • Rated for 400 fps
  • Easy bolt removal
  • Two size options
  • Can take field points and broadheads

Cons:

  • Deer vitals a little small
  • Dark colors

The Block Infinity Crossbow Archery Target is another of our favorite all-around crossbow targets for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, it’s made specifically for crossbows and has the fortitude to stop crossbow bolts. Many targets are versatile in that they’re designed for a range of projectiles—arrows, bolts, whatever you got—but the Block Black Crossbow Target is designed specifically for crossbows bolts.

Not only that, but it’s designed for high-speed bolts. It can withstand shots from bolts up to 400 fps, and that includes bolts with broadheads attached. We haven’t seen too many other options that can, one, withstand bolts at that speed and, two, withstand bolts at that speed that have razor-sharp broadheads on them. Because it seems like most crossbow archers use rigs that shoot less than 400 fps, we imagine this is a solid choice for most crossbow users.

Our favorite feature of the Block Black, though, is that it’s designed for easy arrow removal. The material of the target features an “open layer” structure designed to make removing bolts easier than typical foam. The layers inside the target are fused to an inner target, and that makes the compression between the layers more uniform. As a result, when you remove your bolt, the inner target is holding the inner layers in place so that you don’t have to tug the bolt so hard.

Finally, this target is manufactured in two sizes so you can tailor it to your needs. A bigger target might be ideal for setting up a permanent range, but a smaller one might be better for casual sighting-in on the fly.

Field Logic Block Classic Archery Target

Our Verdict: Portable but tough, consider the Block Classic target if you want to practice your crossbow aim in multiple locations and situations.

Pros:

  • Layered foam
  • Easy bolt removal
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Weather-resistant cover
  • High-contrast aiming points
  • Two size options

Cons:

  • Only two target faces

The Block Classic was one of the original block targets, and it gained popularity rapidly thanks to its layered-foam construction. What happens is that the layers move aside for the bolt and then slow it down with lateral friction. This provides excellent stopping power while still allowing you to easily remove the bolts. Then the layers just move back into place, so you get more life and value out of the target.

Aside from that, it’s a pretty convenient target. It’s super lightweight, especially compared to bag targets, and it comes with an easy carrying handle. This makes it a good choice for people who like to target practice in different places.

One unique feature of the Block Classic is the cover that wraps around four of the six sides. Unfortunately, this means you can only shoot at two target faces, but it does help resist the elements to an extent and increase the life of the target.

On the two faces you can use, though, you get four aiming points that are highly contrasted against the black background. As a result, you can take multiple shots and then retrieve them easily, spending more time shooting and honing your skills.

The Best 3D Targets for Crossbows: Our In-Depth Reviews

Most 3D targets are designed to take arrows shot from compound bows, though we imagine that may change in the coming years. Crossbow hunters are growing in number, and every year, it seems like a new state allows hunters to use crossbows. We think that’s fantastic, and we hope the trend continues. Whatever gets people in the woods—well, that’s alright by us.

Nevertheless, there aren’t too many 3D targets designed to withstand the power of crossbow bolts. As a result, we highly recommend one of these two that can.

GlenDel Crossbow Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Core

Our Verdict: This is our top recommendation for a 3D crossbow target because its four-sided core can handle both field points and broadheads, and you can rotate it to get more life out of it and consistent, realistic hunting practice.

Pros:

  • As big as a real trophy buck
  • Removable and rotatable core
  • Properly outlined vitals
  • Takes field tips and broadheads

Cons:

  • None!

The GlenDel Crossbow Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Core is actually a very hearty-sized 3D target, a good replication of a 200-pound mature buck you might see in the wild. It stands 56 inches tall overall and 34 inches at the shoulder.

The size of the model is a plus, but the real feature, and the one we like the most, is the removable insert that has four sides. When you’re shooting at the vitals on the deer and you’ve landed a bunch of bolts, instead of just immediately getting a new insert, you can remove the insert, rotate it, and then put it back in the deer. That way you can keep shooting at it.

That’s a nice design feature, and it can lengthen the life of the target quite a bit. 3D deer targets that have a single side probably won’t last as long before needing to be replaced. That very decent-sized replaceable insert also correlates very nicely with where you’d want to aim on a deer. It’s 11x11x11 inches, which is about right for a mature buck.

If you do end up needing a new insert after a while, they manufacture the GlenDel Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Insert Core for when the old insert gets beat up. You may need to jimmy it into place, and that may take some elbow grease. However, that just means the insert is stable and secure.

Overall, this earns our spot for best crossbow target in the “3D” category. It can take arrows from compound bows and bolts from crossbows, and it can take field points and broadheads from both. A great option, in our opinion.

Shooter Buck 3-D Target

Our Verdict: Designed for both field points and broadheads with a replaceable core, you can use this 3D target season after season for realistic practice that prepares you for the hunt.

Pros:

  • Realistic appearance
  • Takes field points and broadheads
  • Replaceable core
  • Stakes included
  • Outlined vitals target

Cons:

  • On the small side

The Carbon Express Shooter Buck 3D Deer Archery Target with Replaceable Core is a good straightforward option. It’s 48 inches tall and a rather life-like rendition of a deer. This would represent a young buck, so it may not be as big as some deer you’ll actually run into, but that’s pretty common for a 3D target.

Most importantly, it’s got a replaceable core, and that’s a great feature. Bolts will do a number on a target, so it’s good to be able to replace a core that’s gotten banged up.

The ground stakes are a nice touch—on some older models, 3D targets used to basically hold one bolt, because you’d shoot it, and it would fall over, and you’d have to walk back and forth to your target every time you hit it. That’s a huge pain. The ground stakes are a nice feature that give it stability so you can shoot it multiple times before retrieving your bolts.

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Finally, we were impressed that it’s designed for both field points and broadheads, so you can practice with your field points and switch it up to broadheads when hunting season rolls around. Broadheads often shoot a bit differently, so you at least want to sight in your crossbow once or twice with the broadheads installed.

The Best Crossbow Discharge Bag: Our In-Depth Review

These tend to get overlooked when people discuss crossbow targets, but they’re actually a really important part of crossbow safety. You need a crossbow bag in the unfortunate but likely scenario in which your hunt is unsuccessful and you’re left with your crossbow drawn. Since you can’t dry fire it, the easiest way to discharge it is to shoot a bolt into a tiny, portable target called a discharge bag. In particular, we recommend this one.

The Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Bolt Discharge Bag

Our Verdict: A discharge bag is a must-have for crossbow hunters, so we recommend the Morrell Yellow Jacket discharge bag since it’s so simple and portable.

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Carrying handle
  • Lightweight
  • Good for crossbows and vertical bows

Cons:

  • Can’t take broadheads

If you’ve been hunting but haven’t gotten the opportunity to discharge your crossbow, we think this is a good tool to do so. It’s small, about 15 inches tall, and it has a handy handle, and it’s lightweight, so you can throw it in the truck and forget about it until you need it. In other words, it’s straightforward with no extra frills. It gets the job done.

Now, we do want to point out that you can’t use this with broadheads. As a result, if you finish the hunt and still have a hunting bolt loaded, you’ll need to replace it with a practice bolt sporting a field tip. This is a bit dangerous, so definitely make sure your safety and anti-dry-fire mechanism are on. It can definitely handle crossbow power, though, so don’t worry about that.

Our Detailed Buyer’s Guide for Crossbow Targets

Selecting a target might seem like a simple thing—after all, it just sits there while you pile drive it with bolts, so how complicated could it be?. There’s actually a lot to think about when selecting one, though. The wrong bag could fall apart after a few uses, fail to stop your bolts or even ruin them. Knowing what to look for is essential.

Don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know. There are three main considerations, and a couple of smaller considerations as well. Look at these next sections like a quick clinic in crossbow targets—by the end, you’ll know a great deal about targets, and hopefully know all you need to select the right one for you and your rig.

Types of Crossbow Targets

There are a few types of crossbow targets: bag targets, foam targets and 3D targets. Each has specific strengths and uses, and depending on the strength of the crossbow you’re using and the type of arrowheads on your bolts in addition to your crossbow goals, you want to choose one over the others.

Bag Targets

These are usually a little smaller and a little lighter than foam targets, and they’re a great option for field points. They’re built for extensive use, and while their inner material is a lot less dense than foam targets, they’re designed to provide enough resistance so that when you shoot bolts into them, the vanes on the bolts don’t come near the target. That’s important, because if they’re not strong enough, the bolt will enter the target so deeply that the vanes enter the target, ruining the vanes (and probably the entire bolt).

A bag target is usually shaped like a sack—that is, tall and thin—but some are shaped like cubes. Pulling your arrows and bolts out of a bag target is usually not very difficult, because the inner material isn’t so dense.

Keep in mind that bag targets are not designed for use with broadheads because broadheads will tear them open in short order. If you want to shoot broadheads, consider a foam target. Let’s learn about those now.

Foam Targets

These are usually larger than bag targets, and they’re made from a dense material designed to provide a lot of resistance to bolts. Because of that dense material, they’re often on the heavy side and can be tough to move around. These, too, are built for extensive use, but pulling arrows and bolts out of them can sometimes be challenging because the material of the target is so thick. That said, some companies that make foam targets have developed materials that make arrow retrieval easier than it used to be.

Foam targets can be used for both field points and broadheads, though you should always check the target’s specifications to be sure

Block Targets

Block targets aren’t really named for their material but rather their shape. They’re cubes. This is convenient for a couple of reasons. First, it allows for stacking. Second, you can usually shoot four or even all six sides, which provides for versatility and different practice situations.

Additionally, many targets marketed as “block targets” are made of layered foam. Unlike normal foam targets, this construction involves numerous tiny layers placed on top of each other. The idea is that then when the bolt hits the target, it doesn’t destroy the foam. Instead, it pushes the layers apart and slides in between them.

As a result, the bolt is slowed by lateral friction instead of direct force. This is better for both the bolts and the target and increases their lives. It also allows the target to “self heal” since the layers usually move back into place afterwards.

Perhaps best of all, the layered-foam design makes bolt removal way easier than on traditional foam targets. Instead of having to cut its way back out, the bolt just slides out from between the layers. You get the stopping power of foam but the easy removal of a bag target.

3D Targets

It might seem like a silly name. Isn’t a foam block target three dimensional as well? Maybe, but “3D target” actually refers to a target designed to look like a game animal that you’re hunting like a deer, turkey or bear. This target may then have a foam block in the kill zone of that animal that you shoot at.

3D targets have a pretty obvious benefit. It gets you closer to the real-life hunting situation you’re going to be using your crossbow in. You can set up the target to appear like a real animal approaching your tree stand and practice the different angled shots that can be difficult when it’s the real thing.

Aside from what’s often a higher price tag, 3D targets also have a primary disadvantage, which is setup. While you can easily set up foam or bag targets by hanging or mounting them, this would ruin the realism of a 3D target. However, if you just set your 3D target on the ground, your powerful crossbow is going to knock it right over if the wind doesn’t first.

As a result, you have to stake most 3D targets into the ground. Some come with stable stands, and this is a good feature to look for. Either way, make sure you’ll have some way to stabilize it if you get a 3D target.

Discharge Bags

Discharge bags are not really targets per se, though they’re essentially built the same, if in a smaller package. Instead, discharge bags are ways to discharge your crossbow if it’s still cocked after a hunting trip.

It happens to the best of us. You sit in the tree stand all day and don’t even see a squirrel, much less that trophy buck you’ve been after. But now you have a problem. Your crossbow is drawn, and you can’t dry fire it without damaging it and possibly even hurting yourself. You can’t very well just shoot your bolt into the air, though. You’ll probably lose it or get it stuck in a tree or the ground.

A better option is to have a discharge bag on hand. Just load a practice bolt into the crossbow and fire it into the bag. Problem solved.

Bottom Line: Bag targets are simple targets best for field points while foam targets work better with broadheads. Block targets feature layered foam for easier bolt removal, and 3D targets are good for realistic crossbow hunting practice. Discharge bags aren’t targets at all but ways to discharge a crossbow that’s still cocked.

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Feet Per Second: What It Is and Why It Matters

If you read any description of a crossbow target, you’re bound to come across the following letters: FPS. That stands for “feet per second,” and it’s a measurement of how fast a crossbow can propel bolts. Crossbows are uniquely powerful in the world of archery, and it’s very important that you choose a target that can withstand the FPS power of your crossbow.

Most crossbows shoot arrows somewhere in the range of 350 fps or more. Speeds of 370 and 380 are common, as are speeds of 400 fps, with some more powerful crossbows capable of shooting bolts at 450 fps.

That’s fast. To get an idea of how uniquely powerful crossbows are, we can compare them to compound bows: compound bows that can shoot 310 fps are commonly seen as above average, and anything over 330 fps is incredibly fast—and a compound bow that shoots arrows at a speed of 370 fps is considered blistering fast.

Now consider the crossbow: a crossbow with a speed of 370 fps is somewhere in the “average” range for crossbows. In other words, crossbows are very powerful!

Now consider all the force of that bolt entering a target. Targets need to be designed specifically to withstand speed and force like that, otherwise the target will fall apart after repeated use, and your bolts will likely enter the target past the vanes. In fact, they’ll most likely eventually shoot through the target after the structural integrity of the target diminishes. No good.

Be sure to select a crossbow target that’s built for your crossbow’s bolt speed. If your crossbow shoots bolts at 400 fps, don’t get a target that can only withstand bolts at 380 fps. It’ll get destroyed in short order, and it’ll be dangerous to use.

Bolt Retrieval

This may sound like it’s not a big deal, but it’s actually pretty important: how easy is it to retrieve your bolt after you’ve shot it into your target? If you’ve ever shot a bolt deep into a target and spent 20 minutes—and a lot of sweat and frustration—trying to wrestle the bolt back out, you understand how important easy retrieval is.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s easier to remove bolts from bag targets than it is to remove them from foam targets. The foam is so dense that it can take some work to get bolts out of it. Higher-end targets may be made from materials—or be designed in such a way—that removing bolts is easy, and that’s definitely something to look for, especially if you plan on taking a lot of shots into your target.

If you shoot four or five rounds a session, bolt removal may not be such a big deal, but if you want to spend hours honing your skills, you may experience a lot of fatigue if you’re wrestling with your bolts upon removal. Plus, it simply cuts down on the time you can spend shooting.

Other Target Features to Consider

The following are secondary considerations, but they can also be important.

Aiming Points. Crossbows do a number on even the best-made targets, and shooting at the same spot on the target session after session, day after day, week after week can degrade the strength of the target. Having multiple spots to aim at can elongate the life of your target and help it maintain structural integrity. Some targets have dozens of different aiming spots, others have just a few.

Portability. Some folks like to set up their own range, installing a target firmly in one space and keeping it there for a long time. Others like to mix things up. If you belong in the second camp, a lighter target may make sense. Larger targets tend to be heavier, and some can exceed 50 or 60 pounds, so that’s something to keep in mind if you want to move it around. Moreover, some targets have handles which can be very helpful when it comes to lugging a target around.

Grommets. Yes, grommets! Those little circular rings. You know, grommets. Some bag targets have grommets at the top of the target, and these allow you to slide string or rope through the grommets and hang the target from a branch or bar. Most targets lie on the ground, and that’s great, but it can be very helpful to practice on a target that’s a couple of feet in the air, especially if you’re practicing for a hunt.

Weatherproofing. It can be a pain to lug a target in and out of the shed every session, especially if you shoot every day. Luckily, some are weatherproof to give them a little protection from the elements if you leave them outside. In our experience, nothing is ever 100 percent weatherproof. Mother Nature is pretty powerful and can wear away at just about anything—but it may be something to consider if you’re going to leave your crossbow target outside.

Some Quick Target Usage and Maintenance Tips

We’ll try to keep these brief, but following these tips and maintaining your crossbow target can help improve its life and save you a lot of money and inconvenience in the long run.

Your target is going to get beat up. It just is. Crossbows are incredibly powerful, and that’s true for even mid-range crossbows. Shooting bolts into a target is going to damage the target no matter how great the target is. It’ll look beat up after a while. As long as it’s structurally sound and stopping your bolts, it’s doing its job. This is especially true if you’re using a crossbow of 400 fps or higher. They’re built to shoot incredibly powerful bolts.

Rotate your target. Try to shoot at new spots on the target and switch things up as often as possible. Not only will it help maintain your target, it may help preserve your bolts. A crossbow with a good scope can be very accurate, and “Robin Hood” shots—where you shoot the back of a bolt that’s already in the target—can happen more than you’d think. It’s a good idea to mix it up.

Create a backstop. Crossbow targets are designed to stop bolts before the vanes on the bolts touch the target, but it’s still a good idea to have a backstop behind the target just in case. A bale of hay is a great backstop as is a number of foam mats held together. Whatever you decide, make sure to keep it behind your target, and check it every once in a while to make sure it’s sturdy.

Remove your bolts wisely. If possible, try to pull your arrows out without twisting the shaft, especially if you’re using broadheads. If you remove your bolt by pulling straight back, the blades of the broadhead will hopefully travel through the crevices they made traveling into the target and experience less friction than if they had to cut their way out against new material.

You may see the inside of the target when you remove arrows. Your broadheads—your expandable broadheads, in particular—may remove some of the material as you extract them from the target. That doesn’t necessarily mean the target is compromised—broadheads are just harder on a target. With that said, you may want to…

Use broadheads sparingly. Broadheads can beat up a target, even one that’s designed for broadheads, but the target can beat up on the broadheads too. It’s common to bend a broadhead as you pull it out of the target, which is something no one wants considering the price of broadheads.

Our strategy is to shoot field tips as often as possible, and then when hunting season rolls around, put the broadheads on the bolts and take a few shots with the broadheads at the end of each session. That way,we get a good amount of practice in and we get a “feel” for the broadheads, all while doing minimal damage to the target.

Use arrow lube and arrow removers. If you find that your bolts are getting stuck inside your target, consider using arrow lube or an arrow remover. They’re simple tools, and they can also lengthen the life of your target and your bolts.

Time to Take Aim

Crossbows are powerful weapons, and using them effectively requires confidence. The best way to build that confidence is with the appropriate target, the best crossbow target for your needs. Make sure you’ve really considered your personal situation, not to mention the specs of your crossbow, and matched all that to one of our reviews. Then you’re ready to set it up and take aim.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>