The Best Crossbow Target: Our Favorites (and How to Choose the Right One for You)
Choosing the right crossbow target can be a little bit tricky: there are a lot of options out there, but it’s not always clear which is the right choice for your particular needs. To help you out, we’ll take a “deep dive” into crossbow targets, and help you figure out what type might be right for you. We'll discuss our picks for the best crossbow target, the different varieties available, and the features you may want to look for. After that, we’ll provide some tips on how to treat them so that they last a while, because after all—those things can get pretty beat up.
Crossbow Targets: Quick Picks
Here's a quick run-down of the products we've chosen, and what they're particularly suited for:
Our Top Bag Targets:
- The Field Logic Hurricane H21 Crossbow Archery Bag Target: a bag target you can lie on the ground or string to a branch, good for field points up to 400 FPS;
- The Morrell Double Duty 450FPS Field Point Bag Archery Target: a block-shaped target, good for extensive practice sessions with field points up to 450 FPS;
Our Favorite Foam Targets:
- The Morrell Yellow Jacket YJ-380 Dual Threat: designed for bows and crossbows, and good for field points AND broadheads on crossbows up to 380 FPS;
- The Block Black Crossbow 4-Sided Archery Target: designed *specifically* for crossbows, can handle bolts up to 400 FPS (and that includes field points and broadheads), and is designed for easy bolt removal—our pick for best target overall;
Our Top 3D Crossbow Targets:
- The Carbon Express Shooter Buck 3D Target: a good just-the-basics option with a replaceable core;
- The GlenDel Crossbow Buck 3D Target: a life-sized target with a four-sided replaceable core, for field points and broadheads—our best 3D crossbow target;
A Crossbow Discharge Bag:
- The Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Bolt Discharge Bag: a well-constructed discharge bag for when you need to let loose a bolt and don't have a target near.
The Best Crossbow Targets in the "Bag" Category
Crossbow bag targets are a unique, lightweight option with a lot of benefits. They're a great option for field points (and not for broadheads—we'll talk about options for broadheads in a section below), and they're great for extended practice. There are a few options we like, and they include:
The Field Logic Hurricane H21 Crossbow Archery Bag Target
Summary: A great option for shooting field points on crossbows that shoot up to 400 FPS
- Can withstand bolts from higher-poundage crossbows (up to 400 FPS);
- Multiple aiming points are good for practice, and can lengthen life-span of target; and
- It's got grommets, so you can elevate it and take distance shots
- Deer vitals on back are a little meh, but that's to be expected;
- Not broadhead friendly
There are two things we like about the Field Logic Hurricane H21 Crossbow Archery Bag Target right off the bat: 1) it's a bag target, and 2) it's made specifically for crossbows. For the longest time, you couldn't find a bag target strong enough for crossbow bolts, and if you did, it was probably made for arrows, and people figured out it was also strong enough for bolts.
Not the case here. The Field Logic Hurricane bag has a number of fantastic crossbow-centric features, including multiple aiming points, which is a huge plus, consider the beating that a crossbow target will go through (multiple targets mean you're not beating up the same area again and again); it's designed for easy arrow removal, which is another huge plus—especially if you're going to be practicing a lot, because tugging on stuck bolt time after time can tucker you out; and it's good for crossbows that shoot bolts up to 400 FPS, which is really getting up there in terms of speed. That's in the upper tier of what a target can take—some can take bolts that travel up to 450 FPS, but not everyone needs that.
Other than that, it's bright orange—very good, and less likely to get lost outside—and it's got what is an often-overlooked feature: grommets. Those are the little circular metal dealies at each upper corner of the bag. They let you dangle the target from a branch or horizontal pole, and that's great if you do long-distance hunting, and want to practice on a target that's not lying on the ground (like many crossbow targets do).
All-in-all, a solid choice, and great for extensive target practice sessions with field points.
The Morrell Double Duty 450FPS Field Point Bag Archery Target
Our pick for "best option for practicing"—designed to handle extensive shots with field points using high-powered bows up to 450 FPS
- Good for bolts travelling up to 450 FPS—one of the toughest bags we've seen;
- LOTS of aiming points, which can elongate the life of the target;
- Has handles, which is kind of rare for a "block-style" bag
- If this thing took broadheads, it would be our all-time favorite crossbow target. Alas, it does not
Our next selection—the Morrell Double Duty 450FPS Field Point Bag Archery Target—has some unique features going for it:
For starters, it's designed for crossbow that can spit bolts at 450 fps. That's getting up there, and that's why this gets our recommendation for best crossbow target for high-FPS bolts (provided, of course, those bolts have field points, and not broadheads—we'll talk about our picks for broadheads below).
It's also got a lot—a lot a lot—of target points to aim at. It may look like an odd inclusion to have that dartboard on the backside (after all, who's hanging this thing in their basement and throwing darts at it?), but that's actually a really fantastic feature: when used correctly, a crossbow with a decent scope is capable of incredible accuracy, and even well-made targets will get beat up if you keep aiming at the same spot. The dart board not only provides the bulls and the surrounding areas, but you can also shoot at the numbers on the dartboard in a clockwise fashion (20, 1, 18, 4, etc.). That's 20 aiming spots right there! Pretty clever. Same goes for the pool balls—a very nice idea.
Finally, it's weatherproof, so it probably won't fall apart if you leave it outside overnight—that was a problem with older, "pure foam" models (and, by the way—we're not saying you *should* leave it outside, that's probably a bad idea; we're saying you could, for a short period of time, and it would probably be fine. Weather has a way of being tough on even weather-proof things).
Unfortunately, you can't shoot broadheads into it—not unless you want to tear it up—but that's the only real negative we can see. It's designed for easy arrow removal, and it's got handles, so you can lug it around the yard / throw it in the truck / toss it in the garage between sessions. Not all "block-style" bags have handles, and that makes this a little easier to move around that other block-style targets.
We love this one, and as we mentioned, if this took broadheads, it would be out #1 favorite crossbow target, bar none. Nonetheless, it's a very good option, in our humble opinion, if you're looking to do some extensive practice shooting with field points on a high-FPS crossbow.
Our Top Crossbow Targets in the "Foam" Category
Now we've come to foam targets, which are a good option for field points AND broadheads. If you're a hunter—or if you just like shooting with bolts with broadheads on them—the following targets are designed for that sort of abuse. Our picks include:
The Morrell Yellow Jacket YJ-380 Dual Threat
A great "all-around" option for both bows and crossbows, that can withstand field points and broadheads
- Versatile—designed for bows and crossbows, and any kind of arrow point;
- Lots of aiming points, designed for longevity (and to protect your arrows); and
- Features lots of different colors in the target face
- Only for use with crossbows shooting 380 FPS or less;
- Can sometimes be a little difficult to retrieve bolts, but that's sometimes the norm with foam targets
The Morrell Yellow Jacket YJ-380 Dual Threat features "Completely Fused Cellular Foam Layers" to stop and absorb the kinetic energy from your arrows and bolts—that means that it's designed to be tougher than bag targets (the foam is built to last a while), and to take shots from arrows with any kind of tip (field points, and both fixed-blade broadheads and mechanical broadheads). It may take a little extra to retrieve your arrows, but that's common among a lot of foam targets—after all, they need to be strong enough to stop a bolt traveling at incredible speed, that's buried itself in some very dense material.
It's not a great option for super-duper powerful bows—it's designed for use on bows and crossbows that shoot up to 380 FPS (which, in the grand scheme of things, is still pretty darn fast, and faster than the great majority of compound bows)—but we'd be willing to bet that the majority of crossbow users are shooting crossbows of less than 380 FPS.
This, too, has a lot of aiming points, each spaced far enough so that you can hopefully avoid "Robin Hood"—ing your bolts, and it has a handle for lugging around the yard, which is a great feature you don't always seem on foam targets. Just, remember—that handle is NOT for stringing it to a branch or pole. That's a feature of bag targets, but NOT of foam targets like this one—it won't be able to hold the weight of the foam over time, and you're likely to rip the handle. It's "for luggin' purposes only."
If you shoot both bows and crossbows, this can be a great option, and we should mention—it's made in the USA! Whenever we find that a model is made in the USA, we try to include that in our reviews. It's important, and we want to let people know about that when we can. A good, solid, option if you use bows and crossbows.
The Block Black Crossbow 4-Sided Archery Target
A great option designed specifically for crossbows, and our pick for best target overall
- One of the few foam targets we know of made specifically for crossbows;
- Can handle bolts up to 400 FPS with field heads and/or broadheads; and
- Designed for easy bolt removal—great if you'll be doing extensive shooting
- Deer heart image is actually not quite accurate;
- Could have a few more aiming points on it, but you can mark it up yourself; and
- Could use some color.
The Block Black Crossbow 4-Sided Archery Target gets our vote for best target for crossbows overall. Even though we have a few small complaints about it—and we'll discuss those in a moment—those complaints are minimal. It gets a couple of small things wrong, in our opinion, but it gets the right things right. Here's how it breaks down:
First and foremost, it's made specifically for crossbows, and to stop crossbow bolts. Many targets are versatile, in that they're designed for a range of projectiles—arrows, bolts, whatever you got—but the Block Black Crossbow Target is designed specifically for crossbows. Honestly, that makes us happy—it seems like the archery/bowhunting industry got the idea that people were beginning to use crossbows in larger numbers, but they didn't really take it seriously—it sometimes seems like they were waiting to see if the renewed interest in crossbows was just a fad, and didn't quite "jump in headfirst" when it came to creating new products. This is all to say, it's nice to finally see a target designed specifically for crossbows. You may be able to shoot bows at it, but it's engineered specifically for crossbows.
And, it designed for high-speed bolts: the target can withstand shots from bolts up to 400 FPS, and that includes bolts with broadheads on them. We haven't seen too many other options that can 1) withstand bolts at that speed, and 2) withstand bolts at that speed that have razor-sharp broadheads on them. Because it seems like most crossbow archers use rigs that shoot less than 400 FPS (and it goes without saying, but 400 FPS is pretty darn fast), we imagine this is a solid choice for most crossbow users.
Our favorite feature of the Block Black, though, is that it's designed for easy arrow removal. The material of the target features an "open layer" structure designed to make removing bolts easier than typical foam—and it's kind of a fascinating idea, if we understand it correctly: the layers inside the target are fused to an inner target, and that makes the compression between the layers more uniform, so that when you remove your bolt, the inner target is holding the inner layers in place, so that you don't have to tug the bolt so hard. That's a neat enhancement, and something we hope to see more of in other crossbow targets.
Finally, it's manufactured in two sizes, which is a nice touch—a lot of models are made in one size, and that's that. It's nice to have a sizing option.
We do have some minor complaints, though, and they are:
It's a black and white target. It would be nice to see some color—red, yellow, orange, gold, purple, whatever. Some targets go the black-and-white route—the classic Rinehart comes to mind—but we think they're a little easier to aim at when they have some color to them. Maybe that's a personal preference. Plus, the deer image is not quite accurate—a deer's vitals aren't so large in its torso. And it could have some more aiming points on it—even the toughest targets take a beating, and it would be nice if there were a higher number of spots on which to shoot at (Black Block people, if you're listening, this is an easy fix for your next model!).
In the end, though, those are all minor complaints. The Black Block has a ton going for it, and gets our vote for best target because of its strength: it can withstand bolts that travel up to 400 FPS, is designed for field heads AND broadheads, and is created for easy bolt removal, which a lot of models don't quite get right. That’s a winning trio, in our estimation.
The Best 3D Crossbow Targets
Most 3D targets are designed to take arrows shot from compound bows, and we imagine that may change in the coming years. Crossbow hunters are growing in number, and every year, it seems like a new state allows hunters to use crossbows. We think that's fantastic, and we hope the trend continues. Whatever gets people in the woods—well, that's alright by us.
There aren't too many 3D targets designed to withstand crossbow bolts, but here are two that we like.
The Carbon Express Shooter Buck 3D Deer Archery Target with Replaceable Core
A good just-the-basics 3D deer target for crossbows
- Good for field points and broadheads;
- Has a core you can replace when it gets banged up; and
- Has ground stakes to prop it up
- A little on the small side (but not terribly so)
The Carbon Express Shooter Buck 3D Deer Archery Target with Replaceable Core is a good "just the basics" option. It's a decent size—at 48 inches tall, it's a life-like rendition of a deer—and while it may not be as big as some deer you'll actually run into, that's not uncommon for a 3D target. In our experience, 3D targets (especially deer) are often sized after the "average"-sized game you'll see in the wild.
It's got a replaceable core, and that's important—as we've said, probably 80 times in this post, bolts will do a number on a target, so it's good to be able to replace a target/core that's gotten banged up. It's also got 125 inches of P and Y antlers on his head (that's Pope and Young antlers, for the uninitiated), which gives it quite a handsome look.
The ground stakes are a nice touch—on some older models, 3D targets used to basically hold one arrow, because you'd shoot it, and it would fall over, and you'd have to walk back and forth to your target every time you hit it. Very often, that was the case, even if you were using a lower-poundage bow. It was a huge pain. So the ground stakes are a nice feature.
And, most importantly, it's designed for both field points AND broadheads, so you can practice with your field points and switch it up to broadheads when hunting season rolls around.
The GlenDel Crossbow Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Core
Our pick for best 3D target for a crossbow—designed for field points AND broadheads, and the four-side core can elongate the life of the target
- Big—similar to what we'd hope to see on a hunt;
- Has a removable core with four sides that you can rotate over time; and
- Heart and lungs on core are properly placed
- None, really! This is our top pick for a 3D target
The GlenDel Crossbow Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Core is actually a very hearty-sized 3D target, and is a good replication of a 200-pound buck you'd see in the wild. It stands 56 inches tall overall (34 inches at shoulder) height and that's about what we'd actually hope to see on a hunt. It's also got 150 inches of B and C antlers (that's Boone and Crockett Club, for the uninitiated), and the antlers—well, that also looks like something we’d hope to see on a hunt!
The size of the model is a plus, but the real feature, and the one we like the most, is the removable insert that has four sides. When you're shooting at the vitals on the deer and you've landed a bunch of arrows, instead of just immediately getting a new insert, you can remove the insert, rotate it, and then put it back in the deer, so that you can keep shooting at it. That's a nice design feature, and it can lengthen the life of the target for a while. 3D deer targets that has a single side probably won't last as long before needing to be replaced.
That very decent-sized replaceable insert also correlates very nicely with where you'd want to aim on a deer. That core is 11 inches x 11 inches x 11 inches, which is about right for a mature buck. It's tough to get sizes right on 3D targets, but that's a pretty good estimation.
If and/or when you do need a new insert, they manufacture the GlenDel Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Insert Core for when the old insert gets beat up. You may need to jimmy it into place, and that may take some elbow grease, but that's probably a good thing—an insert that falls out too easily would probably drive you nuts.
This gets our vote for best crossbow target in the “3D” category. It can take arrows from compound bows and bolts from crossbows, and it can take field points and broadheads from both. A great option, in our opinion.
Best Crossbow Discharge Bag
These tend to get overlooked when people discuss crossbow targets, but they're actually a really important part of crossbow safety. There's one discharge bag we like, and it is...
The Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Bolt Discharge Bag
Last but not least, our top pick for the best crossbow discharge bag for crossbows: the Morrell Yellow Jacket Crossbow Bolt Discharge Bag. If you've been hunting and you've haven't gotten the opportunity to discharge your crossbow, we think this is a good tool to do so. It's small—15 inches tall, about—and it's got a handy handle, so you can throw it in the truck and forget about it until you need it. A good option, in our opinion, and nothing fancy—just a simple tool designed for a simple (but important!) task.
Crossbow Targets Buying Guide
Selecting a target might seem like a simple thing—after all, it just sits there, while you pile drive it with bolts, so how complicated could it be?—but there's actually a lot to think about when selecting one. The wrong bag could fall apart after a few uses, ruin your arrows, and even worse, fail to stop your bolts. Knowing what to look for is actually really important.
So, here's what you need to know. There are three main considerations, and a couple of smaller considerations after that. Look at these next sections like a clinic in crossbow targets—by the end, you'll know a great deal about targets, and hopefully know all you need to select the right one for you and your rig.
Types of Crossbow Targets
There are two main types of crossbow targets: bag targets and foam targets. Each has specific strengths and uses, and depending on the strength of the crossbow you're using, and the type of arrowheads on your bolts, you want to choose one over the other.
These are usually a little smaller and a little lighter than foam targets, and they're a great option for field points. They're built for extensive use, and while their inner material is a lot less dense than foam targets, they're designed to provide enough resistance so that when you shoot bolts into them, the vanes on the bolts don't come near the target. That's important, because if they're not strong enough, the bolt will enter the target so deeply that the vanes enter the target, ruining the vanes (and probably the entire bolt). They're usually shaped like a sack—that is, tall and thin—but some are shaped like cubes. Pulling your arrows and bolts out of a bag target is usually not very difficult, because the inner material isn't so dense.
They are NOT for use with broadheads, because broadheads will tear them open in short order. If you want to shoot broadheads, you would want to look at...
These are usually larger than bag targets, and they're made from a dense material designed to provide a LOT of resistance to bolts. Because of that dense material, they're often on the heavy side, and can be tough (but not impossible) to move around. These, too, are built for extensive use, but pulling arrows and bolts out of them can sometimes be challenging, because the material of the target is so thick. Some companies that make foam targets have developed materials that make arrow retrieval easier than it used to be.
Foam targets can be used for both field points and broadheads (although you always want to check the labelling to make sure).
To Sum All That Up...
Bag targets are good for crossbow shooters using field points, and foam targets are good for crossbow shooters using field points and/or broadheads.
Feet Per Second: What It is, and Why It Matters
If you read any description of a crossbow target, you're bound to come across the following letters: FPS. That stands for "feet per second," and it's a measurement of how fast a crossbow can propel bolts. Crossbows are uniquely powerful in the world of archery, and it's VERY important that you choose a target that can withstand the FPS power of your crossbow.
Most crossbows shoot arrows somewhere in the range of 350 FPS or more. Speeds of 370 and 380 are common, as are speeds of 400 FPS, with some more powerful crossbows capable of shooting bolts at 450 FPS.
That's a lot. To get an idea of how uniquely powerful crossbows are, we can compare them to compound bows: compound bows that can shoot 310 FPS are commonly seen as above average, and anything over 330 FPS is incredibly fast—and a compound bow that shoots arrows at a speed of 370 FPS is considered blistering fast.
Now consider the crossbow: a crossbow with a speed of 370 FPS is somewhere in the "average" range for crossbows. So—crossbows are very powerful!
Now consider all the force of that bolt entering a target. Targets need to be designed specifically to withstand speed and force like that, otherwise the target will fall apart after repeated use, and your bolts will likely enter the target past the vanes—and most likely they'll eventually shoot through the target, after the structural integrity of the target diminishes. No good.
So, be sure to select a crossbow target that's built for your crossbow's FPS. If your crossbow shoots bolts at 400 FPS, don't get a target that can only withstand bolts at 380 FPS. It'll get destroyed in short order, and it'll be dangerous to use.
Arrow / Bolt Retrieval
This may sound like it's not a big deal, but it's actually pretty important: how easy is it to retrieve your bolt after you've shot it into your target? If you've ever shot a bolt deep into a target and spent 20 minutes—and a lot of sweat and frustration—trying to wrestle the bolt back out, you understand how important easy retrieval is.
As a general rule of thumb, it's easier to remove bolts from bag targets than it is to remove them from foam targets. The foam is so dense, that it can take some work to get bolts out of it. Higher-end targets may be made from materials—or be designed in such a way—that removing bolts is easy, and that's definitely something to look for, especially if you plan on taking a lot of shots into your target. If you shoot four or five rounds a session, bolt removal may not be such a big deal, but if you want to spend hours honing your skills, you may experience a lot of fatigue if you're wrestling with your bolts upon removal.
Other Target Features to Consider
The following are secondary considerations, but they can also be important.
Aiming Points. Crossbows do a number on even the best-made targets, and shooting at the same spot on the target, session after session, day after day, week after week, can degrade the strength of the target. Having multiple spots to aim can elongate the life of your target, and help it maintain structural integrity. Some targets have dozens of different aiming spots; others have just a few.
Portability. Some folks like to keep a target in one space, and keep it there for a long time; others like to mix things up. If you belong in the second camp, a lighter target may make sense. Larger targets tend to be heavier, and some can exceed 50 or 60 pounds, so that's something to keep in mind if you want to move it around. Also—some targets have handles, and they can be very helpful when it comes to lugging a target around.
Grommets. Yes, grommets! Those little circular rings. You know, grommets. Some bag targets have grommets at the top of the target, and you can slide string or rope through the grommet and hang the target from a branch or bar. Most targets lie on the ground, and that's great, but it can be very helpful to practice on a target that's a couple of feet in the air (and that's particularly true if you're practicing for a hunt).
Weatherproof. It can be a pain to lug a target in and out of the shed every session, especially if you shoot every day, and some are weatherproof in order to give them a little protection in the elements if you leave them outside. If our experience, nothing is every 100% weatherproof—Mother Nature is pretty powerful, and can wear away at just about anything—but it may be something to consider if you're going to leave your crossbow target outside.
...and there you go! Now you know a good deal about crossbow targets, what features are important, and what you need to know to select one.
Once you have selected one, there are a few tips you may want to keep in mind as you use it.
Some Quick Target Usage and Maintenance Tips
We'll try to keep these brief, but these can be very helpful when it comes to elongating the life of your target:
Your Target is Going to Get Beat Up. It just is. Crossbows are incredibly powerful, and that's true for even mid-range crossbows. Shooting bolts into a target is going to damage the target—no matter how great the target is. It'll look beat up after a while. As long as it's structurally sound, and stopping your bolts, it's doing its job. This is especially true if you're using a crossbow of 400 FPS or higher—they're built to shoot incredibly powerful bolts.
Rotate Your Target. Try to shoot at new spots on the target, and switch things up as often as possible. Not only will it help maintain your target, it may help you preserve your bolts—a crossbow with a good scope can be very accurate, and "Robin Hood" shots—where you shoot the back of a bolt that's already in the target—can happen more than you'd think. It can be a good idea to mix it up.
Create a Backstop. Crossbow targets are designed to stop the bolt before the vanes on the bolt touch the target, but it's still a good idea to have a backstop behind the target, just in case. A bale of hay is a great backstop, as is number of foam mats held together. Whatever you decide, make sure to keep it behind your target, and check it every once in a while, to make sure it's sturdy.
Remove Your Bolts Wisely. If possible, try to pull your arrows out without twisting the shaft—especially if you're using broadheads. If you remove your bolt by pulling straight back, the blades of the broadhead will (hopefully) travel through the cervices they've made traveling into the target, and experience less friction, than if they had to cut their way out.
You May See the Inside of the Target When You Remove Arrows. Your broadheads—particularly, your expandable broadheads—may remove some of the material as you extract them from the target. That doesn't necessarily mean the target is compromised—broadheads are just harder on a target. They just are. With that said, you may want to...
Use Broadheads Sparingly. Broadheads can beat up a target—even one that's designed for broadheads—but the target can beat up on the broadheads, too. It's not uncommon to bend a broadhead as you pull it out of the target. Our strategy is to shoot field tips as often as possible, and then when hunting season rolls around, to put the broadheads on the bolts and take a few shots with the broadheads at the end of each session. That way, we get a good amount of practice in, and we get a "feel" for the broadheads, all while doing minimal damage to the target.
Use Arrow Lube and Arrow Removers. If you find that your bolts are getting stuck inside your target, consider using arrow lube or an arrow remover. They're simple tools, and they, too, can elongate the life of your target (and your bolts).
Enjoy Some Straight Shooting, There, Pardner!
That about wraps it up for our discussion on crossbow targets. Hopefully you feel well-acquainted with them, and know what you need to look for. Good luck, have fun, and happy shooting!