What are the Best Crossbow Bolts in 2021?

Garret Jacob | |

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With more people hanging up their longbows and recurve bows to switch to the crossbow; it is important to understand the crossbow and its accessories. The accessory that is the most critical to the crossbow is the crossbow bolt. Crossbow bolts are the arrow of the crossbow

If you search online for crossbow bolts, you will find some sites that sell crossbow arrows and some that sell crossbow bolts. Today, people use crossbow bolt and crossbow arrow as two different terms to describe the same thing. For the sake of this article, we will be talking about crossbow bolts. And not just any crossbow bolts. The absolute best crossbow bolts.

There are many options on the market today for crossbow bolts. They come in different materials, different weights, different lengths, and all different styles of nocks. So, not only will we give you our top six picks of the absolute best crossbow bolts of 2020, but we will do a breakdown of the different terminology and all the options available on the market today. We are sure you all are already experts out there, but just to be safe, let us do a quick review. Also, if you are brand new to the crossbow … then you have come to the right place as well as we break down the best crossbow bolts of 2020.

The Best Crossbow Bolts – Our Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

best crossbow bolts roundup

How are Crossbow Bolts Different from Arrows?

Crossbows shoot both crossbow arrows and crossbow bolts. So, what is the difference between the two? The answer can be a little complicated due to the fact that there is the modern interpretation and then the historical interpretation of what a crossbow bolt is. But let us take a closer look and see if we can make a distinction between the two, both in the historical context and the modern context. 

In the modern context, crossbow bolt and crossbow arrow are two different terms used to describe the same thing. Though in the historical context a crossbow bolt would have no vane, have a metal, often square tip, and be extremely short in length. 

Crossbow Bolts
Crossbow Bolts

The crossbow bolt is going to typically be shorter than the longbow arrow of course. But how much shorter? Crossbow bolts will typically be between 16-22 inches in length. They still have the four distinct parts similar to the longbow arrow. The four parts are the shaft, fletching, broadhead, and nock. Arrows contain the same parts but will typically be longer. Around 27-32 inches in length. 

Now some of these exact numbers when it comes to length is still debated among archers and hunters alike. The main reason for this has to do with three things

First, how the manufacturer labels the bolts and arrows and at what length they are at can be different from one manufacturer to the other. 

Second, and most importantly, most manufacturers and hunters use the term interchangeable as if there is no real difference between the two. It is important to distinguish between crossbow arrow and longbow arrow when you simply say arrow. But the term bolt belongs strictly to the crossbow.

And third, there is the historical distinction between the two because a crossbow bolt would have been made at a blacksmith and a longbow arrow would have been made by fletching. 

Without being too technical and diving deep in the historical context, we will just say that the crossbow bolt is shorter than an arrow and heavier. It is also only shot from a crossbow and not a bow.

The MOST important thing is that if you are shooting a crossbow, you check with the manufacturer to see what length and weights can be safely shot from your crossbow.

How to choose your crossbow bolts

Now that we have broken down the difference between a crossbow bolt and an arrow, how do you choose which type of crossbow bolt is right for you?

What do you want to use them for?

Always, the first thing to determine its intended use. Are you going to use your crossbow bolts for hunting or for shooting targets?

For hunting, you are going to need a crossbow bolt that can cause solid penetration and can accomplish a kill. For this what you will need is something heavier that can strike with great force. 

Also, what type of game are hunting and what is your desired range? You will need to strike the balance exactly right for range and force. If you are shooting targets, what range do you desire? That will affect the weight of your crossbow bolt as well. 

What size/length do you need?

Overall, shorter crossbow bolts will give you more power and acceleration. Longer bolts will give you less power but more distance. Again, it all depends on your intended use. For hunting, it depends on what game you are hunting and what your range might be for where you are hunting. 

Like we stated before, make sure when you are selecting the length of your crossbow bolts do not shoot any bolts outside of the range stated by your crossbow’s manufacturer. 

Nock Type

We all should know by now that the nock is the point of which the bolt meets your crossbow string. There are two main types of crossbow nocks. There is the half-moon nock and the flat nock. 

The flat nock is, of course, flat, but it has a wide surface area for the crossbow string to rest against and it allows the bolt to sit on your crossbow in different alignments. The half-moon nock is different because it has a slit that creates a nice groove for the string to enter into, however, it must sit in your crossbow in the horizontal position

Either one you choose there is some safety issues, but it tends to be that the flat nock is the safest. If you do not position your bolt correctly with the half-moon nock, it may cause the bolt to be fired in a way that could cause an accident. 

Lighted Nocks

Once you decide what nock type is right for your situation, you have one more decision to make. To light, or not to light?

Lighted nocks make arrows easy to find when hunting or if you miss the target

Lighted nocks would typically be used for hunting. Seems like it would be unnecessary to always use a lighted nock for target practice. Lighted nocks allow you to see the flight path of your crossbow bolt and to find your bolt once you are ready to retrieve it.

If you are hunting in low light situations, for instance, dawn or dusk, it can be necessary to be able to find your bolt after a shot. Lighted nocks also allow you to see where your shot is going to hit on an animal since possibly a bolt might go straight through.

Tip Type / Insert

The tip is going to be what strikes the game you are hunting or the target you are shooting. There are many types. If you are target shooting the best choice is the bullet point tip. Bullet points are shaped like a bullet and will hit your target without causing unnecessary added damage that you would get from other tip types. 

For hunting, the best choice is the broadhead tip. The broadhead tip is designed for hunting because it intends to kill the game. It is wide, sharp, and has a tip on it designed to pierce your target and then the tip grows wider to cause more damage to kill the intended target. If you are hunting, you have other options as well. There are also blunt points and field points. 

Field points can be used for hunting as well as target shooting. So, if you are a hunter who does not want to buy separate arrows for target practice and being in the field, this will save you some money and be effective for both intended uses. 

Blunt points are a flat point intended not to penetrate your intended target but instead to kill it with blunt force. Good for small game like rabbits, squirrels, game birds, and even coyotes with a well-aimed shot. 

Aluminium Bolts vs Carbon Bolts

For crossbow bolt types, the two most common are carbon and aluminum. Aluminum crossbow bolts are heavier than carbon and less expensive. They produce high levels of accuracy and power. The main issue with aluminum bolts is that they tend to bend over time and will begin to shoot inaccurately. You will need to take them into a Proshop and pay for proper repair otherwise replace them more frequently. 

Carbon crossbow bolts are more expensive but do not lose accuracy over time. Carbon bolts are lighter and stronger. The lightness of the carbon will give you faster shooting speeds. Though the carbon bolts are more expensive, they will last longer and produce accurate results longer, however, they are expensive to repair. 

There are pros and cons to both aluminum and carbon and the material you choose is really up to you and your intended use. 

Bolt Weight

The weight of a crossbow bolt is weighed in grains. Below is a standard chart defining each bolt type from lightweight to heavyweight. 

  • 350-399 Lightweight Bolts.
  • 400-459 Standard Bolts.
  • 460+ Heavyweight Bolts.

The weight class that you need depends on your intended use. The lighter the weight, the faster it will travel and the more forgiveness it will give for accuracy if you misjudge the distance of your target. Lighter bolts will drop less and travel further. This makes for an excellent target shooting bolt. 

If you are hunting, however, the lighter weight might not give you the penetrating power you need. For hunting, you should use a standard or heavyweight to ensure a proper kill. It is an unwanted outcome if you wound an animal with not enough force to kill leaving it wounded in the woods to only die several days later. Not a humane way to leave an animal. 

Customization of Crossbow Bolts

One extremely convenient thing is that you can custom design your own bolts and build them yourself to get the exact shot you are looking for. Play with the grain and add you own inserts, vanes, nock, and tips. Also, for example, if after the fact you purchase a set and you do not like the nocks you can change them. Add lighted ones aftermarket or switch it to a flat nock from a half-moon. There are endless possibilities so enjoy.

Crossbow Bolt Reviews

Burt Coyote Lumenok Crossbow Bolts

Burt Coyote Lumenok Bolts – Quality design with bright nocks

Burt Coyote Lumenok Crossbow Bolts are offered on the longer side in terms of length. They come in at 20-22 inches long. Longer arrows will give you more distance but a little less penetrating power. Good for longer range target shooting and medium to smaller game.

These bolts are fitted with the Lumenok Nocks. These lighted nocks are excellent quality and are dependable for staying lit through your target. If you plan on early morning or dusk shooting, then these Lumenok nocks will help you find your arrow if you shoot through your target. The Lumenok nocks come in half-moon for the 20 and 22 inches but only the 20 inch contains the option of the flat nock.

Burt Coyote Bolts are highly rated and the most popular of our picks.

What we liked:

  • Quality design.
  • Bright Lumenok nocks.

What we didn’t:

  • Only available in 20″ and 22″ lengths

Check the price on Cabelas »

Carbon Express Mayhem

The Carbon Express Mayhem crossbow bolt is manufactured from the highest quality carbon and designed to keep spine integrity. These bolts can be shot multiple times while keeping its true form keeping accuracy overtime for longer. These Carbon Express Mayhem arrows are compatible with almost any crossbow and come with 3-inch low profile vanes. Total weight measured at 9.8 grains per inch.

We recommend these arrows because of the extremely high user rating and the affordability. Excellent prices for packs of six. 

Available in 20 and 22 inches and sold in packs of six. 

What we liked:

  • Affordable.
  • Spinal integrity.
  • Manufactured with the highest quality carbon.

What we didn’t:

  • Hard to repair if needed.

Check the price on Cabelas »

Wicked Ridge Magnum XX75

The Wicked Ridge Magnum XX75’s is manufactured with Easton high-quality aluminum and also come with Alpha-Brite lighted nocks. These crossbow bolts are extremely durable, and precision engineered to a straightness degree of plus or minus .003 inches. Ultra-heavy design with 435 grains.

The Alpha-Brite lighted nocks are sure to make the bolts easy to see in dawn and dusk situations. Or in rain and fog. 

We recommend these Wicked Ridge Magnum bolts due to their heavy Easton aluminum construction should make these a long lasting aluminum bolt.

What we liked:

  • Extremely durable aluminum construction.
  • Precision engineering.
  • Alpha-Brites included.

What we didn’t:

  • Only sold in 435 grains.

Check the price on Cabelas »

Carbon Express Piledriver

The Carbon Express Piledriver crossbow bolt is constructed with ultra-heavy carbon and provide excellent penetration and kinetic energy. Come with 4-inch ultra-durable vanes. Provides consistent shooting and great reliability due to its carbon material. Also, compatible with most crossbows. Extremely affordable and comes with installed half-moon nocks with a bonus of six Omni nocks included. 

Sold in packs of six 20-inch bolts. 

What we liked:

  • Reliable.
  • Affordable.
  • Durable and consistent due to its carbon construction.

What we didn’t:

  • Possibility of weak vanes.

Check the price on Cabelas »

TenPoint Pro Lite

TenPoint Pro Lite Carbon Crossbow Arrows, 20', 6 Pack (HEA-460.6)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The TenPoint Pro Lite crossbow bolts are constructed from a dependable brand and all parts are made in the United States. Can be shot over and over with consistent accuracy due to its quality carbon material. Comes with a 25-grain aluminum insert with an Omni nock. Balance at ten percent FOC. 

370-grain 20 and 22-inch TenPoint Pro Lite’s sold in packs of 6.

What we liked:

  • 10% FOC.
  • Smooth carbon design and construction.
  • Consistent accuracy.
  • Made in the USA.

What we didn’t:

  • Affected by extremely cold weather.

Check the price on Amazon »

REEGOX Bolts

REEGOX Crossbow Bolts 16/18 inch Bio Crossbow Arrows Moon Nocks Removable Tips (Pack of 12)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The REEGBOX bolts are extremely durable and one of highest sold crossbow bolts since they came out. Remarkably effective and excellent for beginner and youth hunters. Come in multiple sizes and colors. These bolts can take a beating and be shot time and again. Excellent bolts at an affordable price. They come with an after-sales guarantee.

What we liked:

  • Affordable.
  • Great for youths and beginners because of how extremely durable they are.

What we didn’t:

  • Not for expert hunters.

Check the price on Amazon »

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