Top 12 Best Crossbow Under $500 (Top Picks 2023)

Best Crossbow Under $500

Whether you are a devoted hunter or crossbow enthusiast, this article can help find the best crossbow within a reasonable budget. Given the mind-boggling number of choices in the under $500 category, choosing the crossbow that best meets your requirements can be daunting. When looking for a crossbow, many factors like Brand, Quality of Manufacture, Overall Weight, Safety Mechanism, Trigger Pull, Draw effort, Power Stroke, and Speed can all be important.

So, to avoid being confused by the maze of choices, this product review has considered all the essential choices for the year and selected the best crossbows under $500 based on our comprehensive research. This review will save you time and money.  

Best Crossbow Under $500

CenterPoint Amped 425 – Best Overall Crossbow- Editors Pick

After reviewing all the models under $500, The CenterPoint Amped 425 was chosen as the editor’s choice for its speed, power, durability, and excellent value for money.

At a price point that is just under $400, this bow competes at the highest level in terms of; speed (clocking 405fps on testing) and power (delivers 160ft/lbs of kinetic energy).

It is compact and made of high-quality, durable materials. One drawback is its significant draw weight at 200lbs, making it challenging to cock without a rope cocker. However, this model does come with a rope cocker, and this challenge can be further alleviated by separately purchasing an external crank (“CenterPoint’s Power Draw“) which can be used with this model.

About the Brand & Model

CenterPoint is an excellent name after Barnett, bringing high-performance bows for crossbow lovers under budget. CenterPoint’s Amped 425 was introduced in September 2021, following the Amped 415 with a significant upgrade in speed that is 425 fps. In addition, the supplied arrows are 400 grains. 

What Makes CenterPoint Amped 425 Different?

Although it is pretty similar in specification to CenterPoint’s Heat 425 and its predecessor Amped 415, the CenterPoint Amped 425 comes with a standard rope cocker and a power draw added feature. The trail is made of aluminum, allowing the bow to withstand any temperature and not get any scratches. The adjustable stock with a small broadhead wrench allows smooth frame adjustment regardless of your size. It also comes with a cheek pad, which provides excellent relief while sighting the aim.  

Compared to CenterPoint’s Heat 425 and Pulse 425, this model comes with a Power Draw that can reduce the draw weight up to 70%. In addition, a complete set of sound dampening systems is integrated at limbs and stirrup and is rubber-coated to reduce as much sound as possible.

Other than the same velocity, the Amped 425 has a much more powerful performance than Pulse 425. The ball-bearing retentions spring and full-bearing cam system maintain the arrow retention consistently up to 60 yards and create a smoother draw cycle. Likewise, the quiver can be mounted on either side, allowing a smooth operation.

CenterPoint Amped 425

Testing of CenterPoint Amped 425

Out of the box and all accessories attached, CenterPoint Amped 425 weighs around 10.4 lbs. when fully mounted. The factory sent accessories such as Scope, Quiver, three arrows, and the rope cocker. It is lighter than Heat 425, which comes in at 11.2 lbs. with all accessories attached. The chronograph states a positive 405 fps with 104.1 decibels noise production.

CenterPoint Amped 425 Product Specifications

CenterPoint Amped 425 Package Includes

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CenterPoint Heat 425

CenterPoint is one of the leading brands committed to providing the best features within a budget. This masterpiece of CenterPoint is an entry-level bow but is more powerful than lets anyone hunt hassle-free with high precision. CenterPoint 425 is comparatively bigger than CP Amped 425 (reviewed later in this article), but it is an excellent choice for countryside hunters with all these adjustments and retractions.

What Makes CenterPoint Heat 425 Different?

The CenterPoint Heat 425 has an entirely adjustable folding stock that shortens the bow length from 15.75 inches to 12 inches for travel. In addition, the web-typed foregrips on this model provide for a comfortable grip while preventing the user from putting their fingertips in the string and cable travel patch. The model is also equipped with the whisper silencing mechanism and rail-mounted string stops, which helps to reduce vibration and noise overall.

This model equips a single bolt riser attachment providing a quick and easy crossbow setup and a solid riser to rail mount. What makes it better than another version is the cranking device feature which helps in reducing the cocking effort. Likewise, the model comes with a basic 4x32mm scope with the four-line multi-reticle enabling user to sight 50-60 yards with absolute illumination. The heat 425 has two-handed safety and a trigger convenient for both left-handed and right-handed aimers. The front end of this crossbow is compact and tight that is fit for any situation. Aside from having an adjustable stock, the model comes with an adjustable cheekpiece that allows eye relief and comfort while aiming.

CenterPoint Heat 425

Testing of CenterPoint Heat 425

The 400-grain bolts attain a consistent 405 fps velocity on chronograph testing. This is the recorded speed when using 400-grain arrows with the bow. The speed can be increased by using the 350-grain bolt recommended as a minimum weight arrow for this crossbow. In addition, this crossbow registers sound levels of 104 DB on testing, which is average for most crossbows.

CenterPoint Heat 425 Product Specifications

CenterPoint Heat 425 Package Includes

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CenterPoint Pulse 425

CenterPoint is best known for its history in crossbow manufacturing. With generation-to-generation experience in archery, their products stand out due to exceptional gradual improvements in every generation of products. The CenterPoint Pulse 425 is an all-new game-changer model of compound crossbow under $500. With its sleek, compressed, and maneuverable design, this crossbow delivers whisper-quiet shots taking the evolution of performance even further.

What Makes CenterPoint Pulse 425 Different?

CenterPoint’s “Pulse 425” is a new model introduced in 2021 with a slim design, upgraded stock, and trigger features. This by far has been the best model after “CP400”, “Heat 415”, and other older models. It comes with a 4×32 multiple-line lighted scope, reticulating about 50 yards. The bolts are 400 carbon grains and are 20 inches in length with half-moon nocks.

This upgraded version weighs around 8 pounds when delivered with the 3 20 inches long carbon bolts. In addition, the crossbow length can be adjusted and compressed from 36 inches to radically 25 inches long. This feature is the outcome of folding stirrup and stock mechanism. The stirrup can be adjusted in 3 positions – one horizontally straight up, one lever down position with a 45-degree angle, allowing users to achieve the best possible position for firing the shots. Finally, the fold-in position compresses the length of the crossbow.

Aside from its front-facing features with stirrup, the Pulse 425 comes with retractable stock that can be folded around 90-degrees in 5 different positions. Overall, CenterPoint Pulse 425 is an improved version and better than CP400 and Heat 415 mainly due to trigger optimization. The trigger weighs around 3 ½ – 4 pounds, making it slightly heavier, yet there is little creep compared to other models. As per expert user experience, this model can be upgraded by purchasing a speed rating scope and bow up-gradation to achieve the best results.

CenterPoint Pulse 425

Testing of CenterPoint Pulse 425

The CenterPoint Pulse 425 achieved a realistic velocity of 403-404 fps short of the advertised speed when tested. At the same time, the lighted scope with multiple lines gives an average of 50 yards illumination range. The crossbow is integrated with Whisper Silencing System™, allowing users to shoot smoothly and quietly. In addition, the Advanced Full-Bearing Cam system enables great rotation of joints.

CenterPoint Pulse 425 Product Specifications

CenterPoint Pulse 425 Package Includes

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Killer Instinct Ripper 425

Killer Instinct is devoted to making lethal crossbows precise, accurate, and dependable. Their crossbow series is relatively light-weighted, providing excellent speed, accuracy, and mobility balance. Killer Instinct crossbows have no creep triggers and an anti-dry fire mechanism that prevents the crossbow from firing if it is not loaded. The Killer Instinct Ripper 425 is an upgraded version of Killer 415 and an improvised version. The front end and cam mechanism of the Ripper were fully overhauled by Killer Instinct, making the Ripper 425 far more robust than its predecessor.

What Makes Killer Instinct Ripper 425 Different?

The Ripper 425 was created by Killer Instinct to be a high-performance crossbow that is easy to use. The crossbow’s structure is thin, slender, and light. Furthermore, the model features a CNC machined aluminum flight rail and a machined riser for improved downrange accuracy.

The Ripper 425 is equipped with Killer’s so-called Dead Silent Kit, which consists of rubber string dampeners and limb suppressors to decrease noise and vibration. The LUMIX 1.5×5-32 speed ring clear glass sight that comes with the Killer Instinct Ripper 425 is superior to the conventional 4 x 32 scope. The scope features five red or blue brightness levels for low-light circumstances, providing 20-100 yards game points.

The trigger assembly has an ambidextrous safety switch and anti-dry fire protection, which prevents the operator from accidentally changing the safety from “safe” to “fire” without an arrow in place. The Ripper 425 is simple to cock and has a 200-pound draw weight that may be reduced in half with the rope cocker that comes with the box. A stunning stirrup is included in the crossbow, which can act as an excellent stand when hunting in a blind/ when wanting to rest the bow without damaging it. A crank, which is available separately, can also cock it.

The variant also comes with a 3.5-pound KillerTech Trigger for a smooth, crisp draw. It offers excellent shot control and consistency with no noticeable creep in the trigger. Moreover, the camo finish in this model is Chaos AE, which makes it look more expensive.

killer Instinct Ripper 425

Testing of Killer Instinct Ripper 425

The Ripper 425 boasts a powerful 15-inch power stroke and a 200-pound draw weight. With speeds up to 425 fps, this extraordinarily fast crossbow smashes 390-grain Hypr bolts into targets with an impressive 156 foot-pounds of kinetic force. When field-tested, the model delivered velocity ranging from 400-402 fps with the bull’s eye illumination from 20-60 yards on beginner’s level and sub-1-inch accuracy up to 80 yards. The trigger pull in this model weighs around 3.5 lbs.

Killer Instinct Ripper 425 Product Specifications

Killer Instinct Ripper 425 Package Includes

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Killer Instinct Burner 415

Killer Instinct Burner 415 is a follow-up model of Ripper 415 released in 2019. The upgraded model has undergone significant improvements in its pistol and forearm grips, lined with a rubberized material to improve grip, and have added finger grooves. The quiver placement has also been redesigned so that it is now aligned parallel to the rail. In addition, they have increased the draw weight from 200 lbs. to 220 lbs. draw weight and slightly shortened the draw stroke. Another new feature is the addition of sound dampeners on the bowstrings. The crossbow delivers the same velocity but more consistent shots due to an enhanced micro-lite aluminum barrel and a 3.5 lbs – killerTech trigger. The Burner 415 crossbow features a slim frame and lightweight materials. It has a nice tree edge camo pattern enchanting for hunters.

What Makes Killer Instinct Burner 415 Different?

The Burner 415 may be modified to accommodate any size of the hunter. The AR-style stock may be adjusted in six places with 1/5 inch spacing between them. The pistol trigger has finger grooves and a rubbery feel to it. On the underside of the handle, a little compartment may be utilized for storage.

The integrated Dead Silent Kit, which includes string shock absorbers and limb silencers, comes equipped with the Killer Instinct Burner 415, decreasing string noise and vibration during the shot. Furthermore, the High-Velocity HYPR Lite 370 grain arrows were created to maximize the speed supplied by today’s high-powered crossbows. The illuminated scope sight offers a multi reticle and numerous brightness settings for shooting different yardages up to roughly 50 yards.

The Burner 415 trigger also supports an ambidextrous safety mechanism. In addition, it comes with a built-in Anti-Dry Fire, which stops users from mistakenly dry firing the crossbow while it’s not loaded. Overall the crossbow is well-balanced, accurate, and long-lasting, and it comes at a very reasonable price. This model does not include a crank but offers only strings to pull or cock. The 220 pound draw weight is a lot of weight to pull, but all Killer Instinct crossbows come with a rope cocking system.

killer Instinct Burner 415

Testing of Killer Instinct Burner 415

The Burner 415 is simple to put together. When tested with a chronograph and factory-supplied bolts of 386 grains, it attained velocity between 406 fps, which is advertised. However, the noise level is around 86.5 decibels, and there can be some noticeable vibration after shots.

Killer Instinct Burner 415 Product Specifications

Killer Instinct Burner 415 Package Includes

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Barnett Explorer XP400

Barnett is known best for its reliable products and services in Crossbow manufacturing. Established in 1952, this brand produces some of the greatest crossbows on the market, allowing it to shoot swiftly and accurately while being reasonably priced. On a comparative note, they are less expensive than Ravin Crossbows, yet they are still of excellent quality. The Barnett Explorer XP400 is the highest spec model featured in the new Explorer series launched in 2021. Other models include XP 370 and XP 380. It is light in weight, adjustable and comfortable to use, beginner-friendly, and of course, a budget-friendly model coming in at under $500 with all necessary features.

What Makes Barnett Explorer XP400 Different?

The Barnett Explorer XP400 is a single assembly model best for the use of entry-level hunters. With its sleek design, the product only weighs 6.2 lbs. making it easier to hold, aim and carry even on the trails. In addition, the high-energy cams that deliver high power through two rigid laminated limbs make it more unique and exciting. The crossbow may also be used with Barnett’s crank cocking mechanism, decreasing draw weight by 90% and enabling users to cock the crossbow discreetly. In addition to the main features, the model comes with a decent 4x32mm multi-reticle scope that aims accurately on distances up to 60 yards.

The Barnett Explorer XP400 has a metal injection molded trigger with “TriggerTech,”- a revolutionary frictionless release mechanism that ensures a light, crisp draw and gives more control over the shot. The Soft Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer is also an outstanding feature; it secures the arrows to the flight track so they don’t slip off when the crossbow is held upside down.

Barnett Explorer XP 400

Testing of Barnett Explorer XP400

The field test of Barnett Explorer XP400 delivered a top speed of 382.3 fps. In addition, the Explorer XP400 is exceptionally quiet, thanks to track-mounted string dampeners added by Barnett. String dampeners also help the strings last longer. In addition, the explorer XP400 includes a rubberized anti-vibration stirrup that decreases vibrations when shooting at the target. Besides, the trigger system doesn’t produce too much noise, there are no unpleasant vibrations, and the pull is smooth with no discernible creep.

Barnett Explorer XP400 Product Specifications

Barnett Explorer XP400 Package Includes

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Barnett Explorer XP380

The Barnett Explorer XP380 is a successor of XP370 with the exact dimensions and features. The Crank Cocking Device offers enormous power and performance in an economic crossbow package, giving hunters an excellent fit and performance. The XP 380 is part of Barnett’s Explorer line, and it combines exceptionally durable laminated split limbs with high-performance cams to launch arrows up to 380 fps with 122 ft. lbs. Kinetic Energy. The adjustable buttstock and cheek rest enable a bespoke fit that is highly comfortable.

What Makes Barnett Explorer XP380 Different?

This series of Barnett Explorer comes with a Black Strike Camo pattern. It offers comparatively the same features as in XP400 and XP370. The Barnett Explorer XP380 uniqueness comes with a metal pistol trigger and thumb grip, allowing users to rest their hands comfortably while shooting meticulously without any mushy feeling. The adjustable stock provides added length to support the shoulders and arms. Again, this model also supports an automatic, ambidextrous safety feature allowing both left- and right-handed users to maneuver the crossbow as they like. Barnett has integrated a metal tech trigger and a halo 4x32mm sighted scope with 30-50 yards exceptional illumination.

The XP380 has an aluminum rail, like the other models lined in the Explorer series. In addition, it has both an anti-slip footrest and clips to add a sling convenient for hanging the crossbow while traveling and not shooting.

Barnett Explorer XP 380

Testing of Barnett Explorer XP 380

The Barnett Explorer XP380 is a budget-friendly crossbow delivering a high performance of up to 380 fps velocity shots when fired with the recommended bolts. The carbon arrows come with little brass heads providing resiliency and firmness. In addition, the AR-styled adjustable stock is super comfortable for the shoulders due to its composite material and rubberized feature, providing shock-free retention. The sighting of the scope is good with 50 yards of illumination and is a real game-changer compared to other brands in this range.

Barnett Explorer XP380 Product Specifications

Barnett Explorer XP380 Package Includes

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CenterPoint Mercenary 390

The Mercenary 390 from CenterPoint is a strong, accurate, and well-made crossbow that costs less than $500. Overall, the CenterPoint Mercenary 390 is an excellent crossbow for hunting. This crossbow has incredible firepower and can take out small to medium targets in the wild.

What Makes CenterPoint Mercenary 390 Different?

To keep the Mercenary 390 as lightweight and reliable as possible, CenterPoint made the rails out of aluminum and fitted a CNC-machined aluminum cam system. In addition, CenterPoint placed ergonomic grips and half-moon nocks on the arrows for a more comfortable grip. The scope’s multi-coated lenses allow for selecting red or green light. A rapid parallel quiver detachment comes with this crossbow. The quiver is basic and compact and securely stores four arrows. Comfort grips and large finger protectors are also included with the CenterPoint Mercenary 390.

This crossbow is also crank-cocking compatible. Users can minimize the effort required to cock the Mercenary 390 by up to 70% with the “Power Draw Rope Cranking Device.” The Mercenary 390’s trigger features an anti-dry fire and auto-engage safety switch. It also features a 0.5 to 0.75-inch lengthy trigger creep. The CenterPoint Mercenary 390 is a highly silent crossbow with the “Whisper Silencing Mechanism™” pre-installed.

Likewise, the whisper silencing system™ comprises limb dampeners and string silencers. When combined with the rail-mounted string stops, they help to minimize vibrations and noise to an absolute minimum.

CenterPoint Mercenary Whisper 390

Testing of CenterPoint Mercenary 390

When tested, the Mercenary 390 attained a whopping speed of 380 to 384 fps. It’s a well-balanced crossbow, not at all nose-heavy. Even at 70 yards, this crossbow produces a decent 114 ft-lbs.

CenterPoint Mercenary 390 Product Specifications

CenterPoint Mercenary 390 Package Includes

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CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385

The CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385 is smaller than its predecessor Elite 370. This model from CenterPoint has a shoot-through riser style with sleek black camouflage. In addition, the brand outfitted it with a machined aluminum rail for strength, dependability, and predictable shot placement while offering smooth trigger and crisp pull creep.

What Makes CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385 Different?

The new MIL-SPEC AR-style front stock for the Sniper Elite 385 is adjustable for a specific fit. The forearm can also be adjusted to set position. An adjustable cheekpiece on the buttstock aids in eye alignment with the sight. The CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385 comes standard with a 4 x 32 mm scope with a range of up to 50 yards and has red and green crosshair and circular reticles. A ball-bearing holding spring ensures constant arrow retention and consistent shooting performance. It also includes the Pistol grip, Whisper Silencing system™, safety mechanism, and thumb and finger guards.

CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385

Testing of CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385

The Sniper Elite 385 is best known for its power – it delivers what it says. 

CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385 Product Specifications

CenterPoint Sniper Elite 385 Package Includes

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Killer Instinct Boss 405

Killer Instinct Boss 405 is an updated version after KI Brawler 400, offering a solid and elegant mechanism that aids in the capture of tiny, swift prey and more prominent, harder creatures. It is a low-cost crossbow that is entirely adjustable for a personalized fit. Thanks to its upgraded micro-lite aluminum barrel and 3.5-pound TriggerTech trigger, the crossbow shoots 405 fps with lethal precision.

What Makes Killer Instinct Boss 405 Different?

The Killer Instinct Boss 405 is lightweight and has a small compact frame. It offers a 6-position AR-style buttstock that reduces the overall length of the crossbow for smaller frame hunters while comfortably extending to accommodate a variety of medium to taller shooters. A redesigned Micro-Lite aluminum barrel minimizes excessive weight while maintaining dead-on precision. Besides, this model provides the reliability and tack-driving accuracy for which Killer Instinct is known. The innovative X-Lok retractable foregrip and the easy-to-handle slim frame create a balanced and sleek shooting machine. Overall, the Boss 405 is likely to deliver lethal results from an incorporated noise-reducing Dead Silent Kit.

Killer Instinct Boss 405

Testing of Killer Instinct Boss 405

The practical shooting range of Killer Instinct Boss 405 is 60 yards. It delivers a speed of around 350-390 fps consistently.

Killer Instinct Boss 405 Product Specifications

Killer Instinct Boss 405 Package Includes

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CenterPoint Dagger 390

The CenterPoint Dagger 390 is another entry-level crossbow delivering a whopping 390 fps shots. It has a kinetic energy output of up to 135 ft-lbs. Any type of hunting and target shooting may be done with that much devastating force.

What Makes CenterPoint Dagger 390 Different?

The crossbow’s Cam mechanism is comprised of CNC machined aluminum. The crossbow also has a fully adjustable AR-style stock, which is a plus. However, the Dagger 390 has a strong draw, which might be difficult for novices to manage. Stirrup, limb, and stop string silencers have built-in silent systems. In addition, it includes a rubberized pass-through foregrip that is ideal for outfitting and aiming. Finally, an anti-dry fire safety device in the CenterPoint Dagger 390 prevents your crossbow from shooting automatically.

When combined with the crossbow’s dead-on precision and immense force, this crossbow may be lethal in the right hands. The draw weight can be reduced by 50% using a rope cocker. The cam system is super silent, and there is almost no vibration at all.

CenterPoint Dagger 390

Testing of CenterPoint Dagger 390

The Dagger 390 is a really budget-friendly crossbow within this range. When field-tested, it gives incredible shots within 20 yards and grouped ½ inches lower when shot with a range of 40 yards.

CenterPoint Dagger 390 Product Specifications

CenterPoint Dagger 390 Package Includes

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Killer Instinct Lethal 405

The Lethal 405 crossbow from Killer Instinct has a compact frame, retractable X-Lok foregrip, a dead quiet kit, and compatibility with the “Dead Silent Crank.” Even though it comes with practically every attachment a crossbow could ever need or want, it’s still a relatively lightweight crossbow.

What Makes Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Different?

This crossbow is incredibly precise and robust, with a power stroke of 14.5 inches, 134 foot-pounds of kinetic energy, and the usage of HYPR Lite Arrows. With the accompanying 20-inch HYPR Lite arrows, the Lethal 405 can shoot arrows at 405 feet per second. The Dead Silent Kit’s custom rubber shock absorbers decrease noise and vibration for improved stealth and performance. Likewise, multiple gripping postures are possible thanks to the ergonomic grip and X-Lok FOREGRIP. Aside from that, the fundamental scope is glass etched and has various aiming locations. The trigger on this crossbow is a typical 3.5-pound pull trigger. It contains built-in safety measures such as an anti-dry fire and an automated safety switch that engages when the power is turned on.

Moreover, for the Lethal 405 crossbow, Killer Instinct provides a rope-cocking system. This is a common rope-cocker that, when used correctly, may lower the draw weight by up to 50%.

Killer Instinct Lethal 405

Testing of Killer Instinct Lethal 405

Over a chronograph, shooting the Lethal 405 with the HYPR bolts produced some impressive results. The speed of all three shots was above 400 fps and around 401-404. After sighting in the scope, the user may quickly shoot targets exceptionally at 50 yards.

Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Product Specifications

Killer Instinct Lethal 405 Package Includes

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