There is a wide range of bolts available for use with a crossbow, and as with any form of projectile weapon, the difference in materials used to produce them will affect their handling and performance. In general, lighter bolts have many advantages over heavier ones as they allow the crossbow to be more maneuverable for longer periods, they can be shot at a more incredible velocity leading to greater kinetic energy being transferred on impact, and they generally offer more consistency in performance due to less drag during the flight which improves accuracy. This is the main reason why crossbow bolts are almost always made from high-strength aluminum or carbon fiber.

Some people prefer lightweight aluminum crossbow bolts, and some are after the improved performance of carbon fiber crossbow bolts. Some say that they are better looking. Others prefer the weight of carbon due to its added strength. Aluminum bolts have a tighter group around the bull’s eye area for those after a more accurate bolt.

Aluminum and Carbon Crossbow Bolts

The most common types of crossbows used by hunters today are still either aluminum or carbon crossbows. This is because of their relatively low cost, speed, and weight. Despite these advantages, many people find that they cannot always accurately gauge the power of the crossbow bolts according to their weight. The drop in performance makes it difficult for hunters to know what weapon will consistently hold on target at long ranges.

This is highly beneficial for hunters on the go who cannot practice with their bows regularly. One solution is to use the best aluminum bolts or carbon bolts by manufacturers like Barnett or Carbon Express. Both have lead crossbow bolts that are designed for maximum accuracy, speed, power, and strength. Well-balanced bolts in both categories allow for less strain on the arms and shoulders of the hunter when in use.

Crossbow Hunting Bolts for the Hunter

There is a growing recognition that the best crossbow hunting bolts may be made of aluminum or carbon – and they can be quite long. The main advantage of the length of these bolts is that they create a better shot pattern and give a greater balance between accuracy and velocity. Not surprisingly, those who opt for a longer hunting bolt may have to sacrifice some kinetic energy as it will have less weight. For those interested in experimenting with different weights, however, it is worth noting that there are light hunting bolts available with extra-long ranges as high as 338 feet per second.


The most popular aluminum bolts weigh between 230-270 grains with an aluminum airframe, and these are known as ‘aluminum bolts.’ Carbon bolts weigh 180-210 grains. These bolts are largely the same exterior materials, with carbon bolts having a carbon airframe and aluminum bolts having an aluminum airframe. As far as weight is concerned, carbon bolts are indeed lighter than aluminum bolts. This allows for more kinetic energy to be transferred into the target when the bolt hits it. There is a definite downside to the lighter bolts. They can sometimes be more prone to bending and flying off in flight. While they’re not impossible to shoot, it’s best to be careful when using them and ensure that their hatcheries are fully confident in quality and performance. The consensus among experienced crossbow hunters is that heavier is not always better if you are using a hunting bolt 8 inches or longer.

There are many other factors to be considered, including distance, speed, trajectory, kinetic energy transfer. If you need extra kinetic energy, it will be best with a heavier bolt. For close-range shooting, you will want to use a lighter bolt such as aluminum or carbon.


As you can see, there are many options out there when it comes to crossbows. It is best to understand the specific task you are carrying out and make the most informed choice. The fact that these bolts are light is advantageous compared to aluminum crossbow bolts with wooden arrow shafts. The advantage of steel arrows is that they offer more weight and greater kinetic energy, which is transferred onto the target.


Q: Why does energy transfer onto the target vary with different Crossbow Bolts?
A: Crossbow bolts are made of different materials and designed to be used for different applications. The material is as important as the shape and how it’s put together, and the manufacturing process. 

Q: Why do we use Bolt Shafts?
A: The shafts serve several purposes. They keep weight at a minimum so that you can benefit from increased kinetic energy and speed. They also help reduce the vibration. They allow you to use smaller crossbows with higher accuracy and improved pinpoint aiming without disturbing your aim line.

Q: Why doesn’t a crossbow bolt have a point?
A: An arrow has a point, but a crossbow bolt has an airfoil. The metal is pushed away from the center of the arrow so that by the time you launch it, it is traveling at a high velocity and with enough kinetic energy to penetrate most types of hard objects. The shaft serves to push the airfoil away from the center, keeping it stable in flight and preventing large amounts of energy from being wasted when it hits the target.

Q: Are there any good arrows for target shooting?
A: There are plenty of good arrows out there if you know where to look. If you are starting, start with one designed to be used in both target shooting and hunting. If that is not possible, try one of the thick hunting arrows that can be used for all your target shooting needs. 

Q: What is the difference between Target Arrows and Hunting Arrows?
A: While they both serve the same purpose, their materials and design will be different. A target arrow will have a hollow shaft to reduce weight, and it will be made using carbon technology which allows for more kinetic energy transfer onto the target when it hits them.