Why are crossbows not as popular as longbows in recreational archery?

April 19, 2010 by Bowhunter  
Filed under Blog

sciguy asked:

I just noticed this browsing archery club sites...longbows, longbows, longbows, front and center, and if crossbows are mentioned it's as a footnote.

Am I missing some huge stigma associated with accurately shooting a bow with a stick in the middle?
I meant in target shooting specifically; there are riflery competitions and there are archery competitions, but crossbows are completely ignored...

Nintendo DS

What kind of tips should I use for archery practice?

  • Winsor Pilates


8 Responses to “Why are crossbows not as popular as longbows in recreational archery?”
  1. Archery Hunting Equipment

    Crossbows take forever to load.
    Longbows take about three seconds.

  2. Classic Cars says:

    Vintage Jewelry

    In many states, crossbows are limited to people with a physical disability so far as shooting game goes. (i.e. People who can legitimately not pull a longbow.) Not that many people want to own something they can’t use for its intended purpose.

    (In many states, it’s legal to own a switchblade, but you can’t carry them legally so its kind of pointless to have.. same with a crossbow)

  3. Cure Yeast Infections

    Crossbows don’t take as much skill. It’s like shooting a rifle. It doesn’t take as much strength either, because you don’t have to hold the string back while you aim.

    Years ago, when I was into archery, our local range banned crossbows. I asked why and I was told they’re more dangerous because they’re more powerful, and that people who use them tend not to be as careful.

  4. Mens Rings says:

    Sterling Silver Boxes

    competition limitations. there are certain competitions in archery, similar to the palma competitions in riflery, which allow only very specific gear. there are other competitions, similar to F-class competitions, where you can use pretty much whatever you want. longbows are just more traditional.

  5. Classic Cars

    Many people own long bows for target and hunting. Crossbows are illegal for hunting in many States unless you are handicapped. Its takes more skill to use a longbow since a crossbow is set up close to a rifle.

  6. Home Theater

    Shooting a crossbow is just like shooting a rifle, so most archers don’t even view it as an archery sport. Another reason why the crossbow is somewhat “looked down” upon, is that they shoot very small bolts, shorter than regular arrows, these bolts combined with the crossbow’s power will often times get embedded in the backstop with no way to remove them other than tearing apart the backstop. This is why most ranges have no crossbow rules.


    Yes I’ve shot a crossbow, I own one actually. There is virtually no difference between shooting a crossbow and a rifle, shooting a compound on the other hand, you still need to pull back on the string and hold it. Granted you’re holding almost nothing, but here’s the one major difference between a crossbow and a compound bow, your bow arm. While in both cases you release with a trigger, the compound bow is still held with your arm, your wrist can twitch at the last instant, your arm can drop, it can lose tension, a lot can happen to the bow arm to make the arrow miss the mark.

  7. Cure Yeast Naturally

    Actually crossbow shooting is a competitive sport. However the crossbows you will see look more like the competition small bore rifles than a crossbow. Peep sights, match grade bolts, shooting jackets, etc. So, crossbows are not completely ignored look on youtube.com for crossbow competition videos.

    Edit: To those who say shooting a crossbow is just like shooting a rifle, have you ever shot one? I have shot crossbows, compound bows, recurve, and longbows. I would almost put compound and crossbows in the same class because with the releases and sights on compound bows it is more like shooting a gun than a bow you just have to have a much better follow through. Crossbow is the same way. Crossbows are a little easier than a compound because you don’t have to hold back but they are much harder to shoot accurately than a rifle. Follow through is a lot more important. If you want to shoot a bow and feel like you are shooting a bow, go with a recurve or longbow.

    Edit: Okay thumbs down? I think I clearly stated that a crossbow was easier than a compound because you don’t have to hold the string back. If you are shooting a crossbow from the standing position than you still have a good chance at dropping your front arm like compound. Yes, it is easier to drop your arm with a compound but I honestly think that shooting a compound with a peep sight and a trigger release is more like shooting a rifle. You have basically the same fundamentals. Shoot a recurve and longbow long enough and I think you will agree with me.

    Also the newer compound bows are nealy as fast as most crossbows.

  8. Car History says:

    Car History

    crossbow’s benifit over a longbow was it’s greater power which meant longer range

    but remember, when crossbows and longbows were used for war, you weren’t really shooting at one guy…you were shooting at a big mass of guys so accuracy was really considered getting your arrow or bolt somewhere in that mass. A longbow guy who could 9 out of 10 hit a 4 foot square target at 100 yards, but whose max range was 200 yards was less useful than a crossbowman who could only 5 out of 10 hit a 4 foot square target at 100 yards, but whose max range was 500 yards.

    Hence, crossbow technique morphed into and was replaced by firearm technique.

    So it never really ever developed as a sport of precision shooting….because that part was eventually picked up by firearms.

    If anything, a crossbow competition would look more at who could shoot the furthest, not accuracy at close range, because crossbows were all outclassed by longbows at the 20 pace distance when you tak about accuracy.

    Today’s crossbows are of course much more accurate…but then they are really designed to work like rifles, so if you are interested in that kind of shooting, again, you are going to end up it the rifle world.

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