Archery

9 Best Crossbow Bolts of 2020

Best Crossbow Bolt

If you're looking to buy a crossbow bolt, then you should already own a crossbow. ​Crossbows are better than ordinary bows in many ways. They shoot harder, faster, and longer.

There are enough bolts for crossbows, and they range in length, material, weight and other features. Being able to pick the right bolts though, requires that you narrow down your search to a few important features.

This crossbow bolts review provides you with those important features and with the other necessary information that you need to understand, if you want to make the right choice.

You may also like to read other product reviews of arrows for compound bows, hunting arrows, pistol crossbowscrossbows, broadheads, and powerful crossbows.

9 Best Crossbow Bolts – Review

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Carbon Express 52140

1. Carbon Express 52140 (Best Overall)

  • Carbon fiber bolts
  • Features 4-inch vanes
  • Available in 20 & 22-inch lengths
  • Includes two types of nocks
Barnett Outdoors 16075

2. Barnett Outdoors 16075 (Best For The Money)

  • Nicely-priced carbon bolts
  • Comes with field points
  • Five ready-to-shoot bolts
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty
Speed Track 6.25-Inch

3. Speed Track 6.25-Inch (Mini Plastic Bolts)

  • Mini bolts for pistol crossbows
  • The package includes 60 bolts
  • Offered at a very attractive price
  • Designed for up to 80 lbs draw weight
Carbon Express 52113

4. Carbon Express 52113 (Premium Carbon Design)

  • Pack of 6 carbon bolts
  • Features top-quality and design
  • High-precision crossbow bolts
  • Includes flat and moon nocks
Musen 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts

5. Musen 20-Inches (Affordable Carbon Design)

  • Pack of 12 bolts at a nice price
  • Durable carbon fiber construction
  • Designed for powerful crossbows
Dmar 12-Pc Crossbow Arrows Pack

6. Dmar 12-Pc (500-Spine Design)

  • Set of 12 crossbow bolts
  • Made from carbon for durability
  • Available in 17 and 22 inches
  • Includes colorful fletchings
Ace Martial Arts CF-145AF

7. Ace Martial Arts CF-145AF (Aluminum Pistol Design)

  • Lightweight bolts from aluminum
  • Set of 36 at an attractive price
  • Includes field tips
  • Designed for pistol crossbows
Viare 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts

8. Viare 12-Pack (Carbon Bolts With Bright 4-Inch Vanes)

  • Set of 12 crossbow bolts
  • Features colorful 4-inch vanes
  • Comes with removable field points
Antsir 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts

9. Antsir 12-Pack (Carbon Bolts)

  • Strong & durable carbon bolts
  • The set contains 12 bolts
  • Each bolt features 4-inch vanes

PRODUCT

1. Carbon Express 52140

(Best Overall)

Carbon Express 52140
  • Carbon fiber bolts
  • Features 4-inch vanes
  • Available in 20 & 22-inch lengths
  • Includes two types of nocks

2. Barnett Outdoors 16075

(Best For The Money)

Barnett Outdoors 16075
  • Nicely-priced carbon bolts
  • Comes with field points
  • Five ready-to-shoot bolts
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

3. Speed Track 6.25-Inch

(Mini Plastic Bolts)

Speed Track 6.25-Inch
  • Mini bolts for pistol crossbows
  • The package includes 60 bolts
  • Offered at a very attractive price
  • Designed for up to 80 lbs draw weight

4. Carbon Express 52113

(Premium Carbon Design)

Carbon Express 52113
  • Pack of 6 carbon bolts
  • Features top-quality and design
  • High-precision crossbow bolts
  • Includes flat and moon nocks

5. Musen 20-Inches

(Affordable Carbon Design)

Musen 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts
  • Pack of 12 bolts at a nice price
  • Durable carbon fiber construction
  • Designed for powerful crossbows

6. Dmar 12-Pc

(500-Spine Design)

Dmar 12-Pc Crossbow Arrows Pack
  • Set of 12 crossbow bolts
  • Made from carbon for durability
  • Available in 17 and 22 inches
  • Includes colorful fletchings

7. Ace Martial Arts CF-145AF

(Aluminum Pistol Design)

Ace Martial Arts CF-145AF
  • Lightweight bolts from aluminum
  • Set of 36 at an attractive price
  • Includes field tips
  • Designed for pistol crossbows

8. Viare 12-Pack

(Carbon Bolts With Bright 4-Inch Vanes)

Viare 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts
  • Set of 12 crossbow bolts
  • Features colorful 4-inch vanes
  • Comes with removable field points

9. Antsir 12-Pack

(Carbon Bolts)

Antsir 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts
  • Strong & durable carbon bolts
  • The set contains 12 bolts
  • Each bolt features 4-inch vanes

1. Carbon Express 52140 – ​Best Overall Crossbow Bolts

Carbon Express PileDriver Crossbolts

Photo: Carbon Express

  • Length: 20/22 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon
  • Diameter: 0.348 inch
  • Shaft weight: 350 grains

If you are the type that demands high-quality cross-bolts that can fly straight and penetrate deep into your target, then this package offers you exactly that.

Made from carbon fiber, the shaft weighs 350 grains, producing enough kinetic energy for deep penetrations. With the right broadhead tip, this bolt will easily crush every bone in its path as well.

No arrowheads are included though, so, you'll need to buy them at an extra cost. Two types of nocks are included, however, allowing you to shoot these bolts with as many crossbows as possible.

You can get the package in the 20-inch or 22-inch versions, each containing six bolts with a 0.348-inch diameter and 4-inch long vanes.

Pros:

  • Top-quality carbon fiber bolts
  • Features a heavy carbon shaft for deep penetration
  • Includes 4-inch vanes for improved accuracy
  • The package comes with both moon nocks and flat nocks
  • Available in 20 and 22-inch lengths

Cons:

  • Price is a bit high but quality has its price
  • No bolt head included

2. Barnett Outdoors 16075 – ​Best Crossbow Bolts For The Money

Barnett Outdoors 20-Inch Carbon Arrows

Photo: Barnett

  • Length: 20 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon fiber
  • Shaft weight: 400 grains

If you need high-quality bolts that you can just unpack and immediately start shooting, then Barnett Outdoors offers you something interesting here. It's the best crossbow bolts package for the money.

Although this package only includes 5 bolts, each one is 20 inches long and features a half-moon nock. You also get 100-grain field points, which add to the 400-grain carbon arrows for the most penetrating power.

The major consideration ​here is that you could have issues if your crossbow does not support moon nocks. Else, it's a great pack of bolts. And they are additionally backed by a five-year warranty from Barnett Outdoors.

Pros:

  • Quality carbon bolts at a great price
  • Includes field points
  • Heavy 400-grain bolts for deep penetration
  • Set includes 5 ready-to-shoot arrows
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Features only half-moon nocks

3. Speed Track 6.25-Inch – Mini Crossbow Plastic Bolts

Speed Track Pistol Crossbow Plastic Bolts

Photo: Speed Track

  • Length: 6.25 inches
  • Shaft Material: Plastic

This would have been the overall best budget crossbow bolts ​here, but they are made for smaller pistol crossbows. If you've got such a pistol crossbow, however, then you are in luck.

You get 60 pieces of black or colorful plastic bolts, and this includes vanes and a tip for each. The bolts are lightweight, straight, and very accurate.

Speed Track makes them for pistols with a draw weight between 50 and 80 lbs. This means you can hunt with these bolts if you like, but that also means going after smaller game, such as rabbits.

Their pointy tips also present a problem for those who'd like to hunt with these bolts, because you can't switch them to broadheads. They're great for everything else though. The shafts are 0.37 inch wide and the fletchings are 2 inches long.

Pros:

  • Package includes 60 bolts with metal tips
  • 6.2-inch length is perfect for pistol crossbows
  • Ideal for 50 or 80-lb designs
  • Best crossbow bolts for small pistol crossbows
  • The package offer has an amazingly low price

Cons:

  • The plastic material is not very durable
  • Its pointy tips are not removable, so you can't fix hunting broadheads

4. Carbon Express 52113 – Premium Carbon Crossbow Bolts

Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Crossbolt

Photo: Carbon Express

  • Length: 20/22 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon fiber
  • Shaft weight: 397 grains

If you're looking for carbon crossbow bolts, then Carbon Express offers you a lot with this package. It's a pack of 6 premium crossbow arrows in either a 20-inch or in a 22-inch length.

Both versions have a 0.343-inch diameter and the 20-inch version weighs 390 grains, while the 22-inch version weighs 416 grains.

These bolts feature Carbon Express' dual spine technology for higher accuracy and better speed retention. It also uses laser checking for extreme straightness, and an accuracy of up to +/-0.0024 inch.

​Keep in mind that this package isn't cheap, but it seems really worth it.

You also get the bolts with inserted moon nocks, plus extra flat nocks to make the bolts usable on other crossbow types. With its added Mossy Oak pattern, you get the bolts in a nice camouflage, which is a big plus for camo-loving bow hunters.

Pros:

  • Premium carbon crossbow bolts
  • Precision design for highly accurate shots
  • Includes flat and moon nocks for your convenience
  • Available in both 20 and 22-inch lengths
  • Package includes 6 bolts

Cons:

  • The package is not cheap but it's worth it

5. Musen 20-Inches – Affordable​ Carbon Crossbow Bolts

Musen 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts

Photo: Musen

  • Length: 20 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon
  • Shaft weight: 300 grains

Designed to offer both quality and quantity, you'll definitely get both from these top-rated crossbow bolts. This ​package offers you 12 high-quality crossbow bolts at a great price.

The arrow shafts ​are from carbon fiber for maximum strength and durability, while the vanes feature 2 yellow and one black vane, each measuring 4 inches in length.

These bolts come with field points, which you can easily exchange for broadheads whenever you wish. You get a 300-grain weight, plus 125 grains for the field point, perfect for practicing with crossbows up to 175 lbs draw weight and over.

For downsides, these bolts only feature half-moon nocks.

However, at such a low price, one would have expected a low-quality set of bolts, but Musen delivers quality carbon bolts that can fly accurately at over 350 fps, making this a truly great deal.

Pros:

  • Package includes 12 crossbow bolts at a nice price
  • High-quality bolts for better penetration
  • 300-grain shaft with 125-bolt field points
  • Great for crossbows over 150-lb draw weights

Cons:

  • They feature only half-moon nocks

6. Dmar 12-Pc – 500-Spine Crossbow Bolts

Dmar 12-Pc Crossbow Arrows Pack

Photo: Dmar

  • Length: 17/20/22 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon

Dmar offers its crossbow bolts in 2 sizes: including 17 inches and 22 inches. Each of the arrows features a carbon shaft with a 500 spine. It also comes with a field point, plus blue and white plastic fletchings.

The shafts are from carbon and they vary in weight. The 17-inch shafts weigh 416 grains, ​while the 22-inch bolts weigh 462 grains.

They are ideal for target practice and competition shooting, but if you want, you can easily unscrew the steel field points and arm it with a broadhead​ for hunting all kinds of game.

​For cons, they only feature half-moon nocks. Also, your choice of size will depend on your crossbow. 

These bolt may not be the best quality bolts ​in the market, but they are one of the best budget crossbow bolts out there.

Pros:

  • Tough 500-spine bolts at an attractive price
  • Comes in a 12-pack set for high value
  • Shafts ​are from carbon for high strength and durability
  • Includes nicely colored blue and white plastic fletchings

Cons:

  • Only features half-moon nocks

7. Ace Martial Arts CF-145AF – Aluminum Pistol Crossbow Bolts

Ace Martial Arts Supply Pistol Crossbow Bolts

Photo: Ace Martial Arts Supply

  • Length: 6.25 inches
  • Shaft Material: Aluminum
  • Diameter: 0.19 inch

Here's another interesting package for those with 50-lb and 80lb pistol crossbows. These bolts ​are from hollow aluminum, with a 0.19-inch inner width and 0.6635-inch wide fletchings.

You can use th​em for lots of things, including target practice and hunting, although for hunting, you'll have to stick to small game like rabbits.

​Another disadvantage of these pistol crossbow bolts is that you can't change the tips to install a broadhead tip, but then the bolts are great for the price, so one can't really complain.

The vanes are also made of PVC and not plastic, which makes them easier to crack. Still, these 36 bolts are great for their price.​

Pros:

  • Ideal for pistol crossbows at 6.25 inches length
  • Extremely lightweight aluminum bolts
  • Includes field tips made from stainless steel
  • Package has 36 bolts at an attractive price

Cons:

  • Vanes get produced from PVC which can snap easily
  • The metal tip is not exchangeable with a broadhead

8. Viare 12-Pack – Carbon Crossbow Bolts With Bright 4-Inch Vanes

Viare 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts

Photo: Viare

  • Length: 20 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon
  • Shaft weight: 400 grains

With their super-bright and 4 inches long orange vanes, you can hardly miss these bolts after shooting. They come ​12 in a pack, and with a 400-grain weight each.

The tips are removable to add a broadhead for hunting, and if you're not ready though, you can use the field tips for practice or for competition shooting. These crossbow bolts are made from lightweight carbon shafts, so they're both very fast and very accurate.

A 125-grain broadhead is the best recommendation for deep penetration and quicker kills, while hunting with these bolts. The arrow shaft is 20 inches long and made from carbon, making these crossbow bolts strong, reliable, and long-lasting.

The only drawback here is that you can't change the half-moon nocks easily, but you get an aluminum insert for screwing-in the tips to the shafts. This still makes it a good crossbow-bolt buy.

Pros:

  • 12-pack crossbow bolts at a great price
  • The bolts feature half-moon nocks and colorful plastic vanes
  • Each arrow comes with a field point for practice
  • Matched with 125-grain broadheads for hunting

Cons:

  • The nocks are permanently glued in and they're the half-moon type

9. Antsir 12-Pack – Carbon Crossbow Bolts

Antsir 12-Pack Carbon Crossbow Bolts

Photo: Antsir

  • Length: 20 inches
  • Shaft Material: Carbon
  • Shaft weight: 280 grains

The main feature of Antsir arrows is the consistency in their wall thickness. Here, it's 0.346 inch, with each shaft made from composite carbon for high strength and a long service life.

With 13.7 GPI, the shaft has a 280-grain rating, and a 125-grain point. You get 3 vanes on the arrow, each 4 inches long. Plus a half-moon nock and an aluminum insert for arrow tip installations.

These bolts are perfect for conventional crossbows with draw-weight ratings up to 150 lbs and above. You can practice with the field tips for as long as you like, then whenever you feel like hunting, simply unscrew and install your favorite broadhead.

Pros:

  • Carbon bolts for strength and durability
  • Includes replaceable half-moon nocks
  • ​Each arrow features 4-inch long vanes for high accuracy
  • Package offers 12 crossbow bolts at an attractive price

Cons:

  • It's only available in a 20-inch length

The Difference Between an Arrow and a Bolt

As you might have noticed, bolts and arrows are often used interchangeably, with some folks getting a little confused over the two terms. The short answer is that they both mean the same thing, while the longer answer is as follows.

1. The Crossbow Bolt

A crossbow bolt is a traditional projectile that has been shot from crossbows for hundreds of years. It was usually shorter than 16 inches and had no vanes.

The oldest recorded use of crossbow bolts was by the Chinese who had developed them by the fifth century AD. Bolts were traditionally made from very hard materials which made them very rigid, accurate, and very deadly.

These days, bolts and arrows continue being used interchangeably for crossbow projectiles, although most modern projectiles have no vanes and are longer than 16 inches.

2. The Crossbow Arrow

While most other types of bows use arrows of varying lengths around 30 inches, crossbows have evolved to use arrows which are much shorter and average 20 inches in length.

These 20-inch long arrows have vanes and are usually heavier than conventional bow arrows. Although they are technically still arrows, they are often called bolts.

These crossbow arrows have shorter shafts and fletching that is less pronounced than those of conventional arrows because they don't need the vanes much for accuracy.

What all this means, therefore, is that you'll be correct if you call the 20-inch vaned arrows bolts and you'll also be correct if you called then arrows.

How to Buy the Best Crossbow Bolts

How to buy Crossbow Arrows

When deciding on which bolts to buy for your bow, you'll need to focus on a few important aspects, so you can make the right choice. These aspects are as follows.

1. Manufacturer Recommendations

As is also the case with conventional bows, crossbows have a draw length and a draw weight, both of which must be taken into account if you want to get the best gear for your crossbow.

To save the situation, most manufacturers offer recommendations on the right lengths and weights of arrows to use. These recommendations help you to shoot as accurately as possible, as well as to prevent possible mishaps that may result from using the wrong arrows.

The first thing to do is to read the manufacturer's recommendations and to follow them.

2. The Shaft

An arrow's shaft is the middle part between the arrow's head and the fletching. Bolts or crossbow arrows have shorter shafts than conventional arrows.

The most popular materials for making crossbow arrow shafts are aluminum and carbon fiber. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, with aluminum offering a better flight and carbon fiber offering better durability.

3. The Nock

Different manufacturers also have different recommendations for the arrow's nock. Most crossbow arrow nocks get produced from either aluminum or plastic, which gets fixed behind the shaft.

You have the half-moon nock, which has a groove to alight your string with. Then there's the flat nock, which is simply flat, as its name suggests.

4. Bolt Head

The bolt head is the front part of the arrow that pierces either your target board or the game during a hunt. There are two types of heads: The field point for practice, and broadheads for hunting.

Most bolts will come with field points for practice, leaving you to get broadheads when you want to go hunting. There are additionally 3 types of broadheads and they are the fixed blade, the removable blade, and the expandable blade broadheads.

Each of these three types of broadheads has its advantages and disadvantages, with expandable blades creating the widest wounds and the fixed blades being the strongest and most effective bone-crushing heads. Also, make sure to get a broadhead that matches your bolt's weight.

5. Bolt Weight

Bolts are usually classified according to their weights and these weights are given in grains or grains per inch (GPI). The material it's made from determines the shaft's weight to a great extent and with crossbows, a heavier bolt is better than a lighter one.

Your crossbow manufacturer will recommend an arrow weight that fits the crossbow. You should always buy bolts that either meet the manufacturer's minimum weight specification, or that are even heavier.

6. Draw Length

The manufacturer will also recommend a bolt length, which you should follow. It's best to buy crossbow arrows that are either exactly as long as recommended, or that are a little longer.

7. The Spine

This rating combines many factors and refers to how stiff or how flexible the bolt is. The factors include weight, length, and the type of material.

Spine determines how much the arrow wobbles in flight. A higher spine rating means more wobbling, while a lower spine rating means a stiffer arrow.

Conclusion

We have come to the end of this crossbow bolts review and you have seen the many offers out there for crossbow bolts.

If you just want the best overall offer, then the recommendation is the Carbon Express 52140, with its carbon-fiber construction, two available lengths, and two types of nocks.

For those on a budget, the Barnett Outdoors 16075 offers you the best offer for the money. It's nicely priced, ready to shoot, and comes with a 5-year warranty.

​And if you've got a mini pistol crossbow, then it's the Speed Track 6.25-Inch. Designed for up to 80-lb draw weights, there are 60 bolts in this package.

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