The number of hunters using crossbows has absolutely exploded over the last few years. It's easy to see why, as technology of crossbow platforms increases so does efficiency and lethality.
However, with so many new hunters moving into crossbows there are some little things are taken for granted, such as what targets to practice with. Shooting broadheads out of crossbows into the wrong type of target is a costly oversight. Let's take a look at how to choose the best broadhead targets for your crossbow.
One of the biggest issues with shoot broadheads out of your crossbow into a target is the overwhelming penetration. To start, the bolt velocity compared to arrow velocity out of a compound is much higher. Secondly, your broadhead is on the end of a 18"-22" bolt vs a longer arrow. You probably get where I'm going....buried bolts, damaged fletchings, or worse yet bolts passing through the target and contacting the ground.
Having a target that is rated and capable of stopping your crossbow bolt with a broadhead is crucial if you plan to practice with any frequency. Be sure you purchase a target that is both rated for the speeds coming out of your crossbow and also rated for broadheads.
Regardless of bow platform, having a durable target saves you money in the long run...even if the upfront cost is a little more. I write that statement assuming you plan to follow a consistent shooting schedule. Not all targets are created equal. Better materials will command a higher price.
When shooting broadheads you will want to focus on sometype of "self healing" type of target. Multi-sided cube style targets seem to be a great choice over typical 2 sided square layouts, the simple fact of not repetitiously shooting at the same dot will extend the life of the target. Plus, these style of broadhead targets prevent material/foam loss over stacked layer foamed targets.
Traditionally, bag style targets do well with field points but when shooting broadheads bag targets do not hold up well. These style of targets are usually filled with some type of cloth material but the issue is the outer material. Most of the time the outer portion of the bag target will shred after a handful of broadhead shots.
If you prefer to go the 3d route, buying something with a replaceable core is your best bet. Replacing just the core vs the entire target obviously saves you cash.
While mobility of your target doesn't influence its performance, it does influence the amount of money you spend. Travel hunting is becoming more and more popular. It's a good idea to always have a target with you while you're away from home for the just in case scenarios. Anything can happen in the field, a slight bump of your scope, drop of the bow, or purchase of new bolts will leave you with a need to shoot your crossbow. Not a big deal if you have a target in your truck. Purchasing a mobile target that is durable and has the required stopping power could be the difference in making a great shot or a regrettable memory.
At the end of the day, every target application is a bit different. However, if you're the guy looking for the one do it all crossbow target, keeping these 3 points in mind will save you some money.