Skip navigation


5 of the Most Powerful Crossbows Available Today

How do you cock a crossbow with a 290-pound draw weight? With your hands.

Whoa there buddy, you’re either going to need some cocking aids or a membership at a gym, cause these crossbows are not for the faint of heart.

Crossbows are accurate, flexible tools and they’re a whole lot of fun. They’re also a great way to introduce young hunters to the sport and to keep physically impaired hunters in the game. That said, don’t make the mistake of thinking that crossbows aren’t serious business. Plenty of hunters use crossbows to take the largest game imaginable, including moose, caribou, and Kodiak brown bears. At that level, you’re going to need something bigger.

Now crossbow draw weights can vary greatly, from those “tactical” 50-pound pistol crossbows to a mammoth 200-plus pound monster. As a rule of thumb, almost anything that isn’t a toy is good enough for small game. At 150 pounds, you can harvest coyotes, turkeys, and even whitetails. With a 175-pound crossbow, you might want to set your sights on animals like elk and small bears.

Then you get into the big leagues. Below we have selected five mammoth crossbows that are pretty much the closest modern equivalent to an arbalest. To keep it fair, we’ve limited each manufacturer to just one slot on the list (otherwise it would pretty much be all Excaliburs). Stats are from

1. Excalibur Matrix Mega 405

  • Draw weight: 290 pounds
  • Velocity: 405 FPS
  • Kinetic energy: 127.51 foot-pounds