In the world of crossbows, there is a wide range of specialized terminology. The actual projectile being fired, for instance, is known as both an arrow and a bolt, yet the two terms can in fact be used interchangeably. But many new crossbow users quickly find that there is so much more to even a simple, low tech projectile that it appeared at first. There are a number of types of crossbow arrows, each of which has its own uses and all of which a shooter is advised to experiment with at some point just to see how the different arrows work for their particular style of archery.
The major distinction between different crossbow arrows is the type of tip it has on its head, also know as the arrow’s bolt head. There are a number of these bolt heads out there, each of which has its own use.
Field Points: These are the most common bolt head, simply because they are the arrows shooters tend to use the most. These arrows are also known as target points because they are used solely for target practice with a crossbow. These arrows have little chance of felling an animal quickly enough to be used in good conscience or safety, but they are perfect for flying straight and burying themselves deep enough into nearly any kind of crossbow target set up. This enables shooters to practice with their crossbow.
Fixed Blade Broadheads: These are the simplest of the bolts intended to actually be used in hunting and as their name would imply, are simple fixed blades that are one single element of the bolt head. These bolt heads are typically razor sharp with the intent of killing animals so caution is called for when using these arrows. Additionally, these bolt heads are all one piece and can’t be removed.
Removable Blade Broadheads: These bolt heads are much like fixed blade broadheads in both construction and intent. However, these arrows are constructed with the assumption that the shafts of the arrows are going to be reused. Thus, these bolt heads are removal from the shaft, allowing one arrow to be reused multiple times.
Expendable Blade Broadheads: This advanced form of crossbow arrow features a spring system that allows the blades to stay folded up towards the center of the arrow, but to expand into two, three or four separate blades intended to cause a great deal of damage. One advantage of these arrows that they are highly aerodynamic, flying through the air in a straighter line than the fixed and removable blade bolt heads, yet doing even more damage to a target.
Ideally would be hunters will practice with their crossbows and thus require field points to practice both their aim and get them used to using a crossbow safely. However, for an actual hunt, a sharper, more dangerous arrow is called for. The nuances between these different arrows is worth a further look for those who are truly dedicated to the sport of crossbow hunting.