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How important is FPS for hunting?

speed hunting FPS

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#1 Johny D

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 11:31 PM

Ok, Im trying to decide what type of crossbow to get. Im wondering how much benefit there is to having a 400 plus fps crossbow as compared to say a 330 fps crossbow. I am mainly going to be hunting whitetail deer from a tree stand. will 400 plus fps let me effectivly shoot at longer distances? Or will the deer jump the string past say 60 yards no matter how fast my crossbow is?

#2 Jack Pine

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 05:50 AM

Wow, loaded question JD. The difference between 330 fps and 400 fps at 60 yards is about the time required to blink twice; less substantial than most shooters realize. At closer yardages, the difference is even less, of course. Buy the bow you LIKE, speed is only one factor, many of us old geezers find light weight and compact size to be more important than blazing speed.
Myself, I don't consider things like "string jumping" or the noise the string makes when I hunt, I concentrate on: Is the deer aware of my presence? Can I get a good shot? Making the shot closer than 60 yards increases my odds quite a bit. Keep in mind that no matter how much stuff you hang on your crossbow to quiet it down, the deer is still going to hear it. At 60 yards, even if the deer didn't hear the shot before the arrow arrived, the deer's natural movement could put him out of harm's way altogether or move him into a position to be less than fatally wounded. Close shots are just better for a multitude of reasons.

Jack ><>

#3 georgiaboy

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:19 AM

I shoot an excal vortex...318fps. Anything 35yds & in is dead no matter what as long as i do my part and don't shoot an alert animal.
I think 50yds should be the max on shots even with a 400fps bow, to many variables past that...the animal deserves better, just my opinion.

#4 Tombob

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:26 AM

I shoot an excal vortex...318fps. Anything 35yds & in is dead no matter what as long as i do my part and don't shoot an alert animal.
I think 50yds should be the max on shots even with a 400fps bow, to many variables past that...the animal deserves better, just my opinion.


Agreed! With 40 yards & in even better.

#5 cspot

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:26 AM

My rule of thumb with any crossbow for hunting conditions at least for whitetail is this. Anything 30 yards and in is dead. 40 yards is my max and anything between 30 to 40 yards I have to have the distance known exactly and the animal must not be on high alert. I won't shoot past 40 for whitetail because too much bad can happen past that. This wouldn't change for me even if I was shooting 400 FPS crossbow.

One thing to consider is that it seems to me (not from experience, but from reading) that the high speed bows are harder to get "tuned" in than the slower bows. It seems like they are more picky about arrows and broadheads. It seems like you don't get as many of those problems when you stay under the 350 FPS. Again this is based soley on reading and not from experience. I currently have the Excal Vortex and last year I used a Parker Buckbuster 175. Both of these bows are a little over 300 FPS.

#6 elkstalkr

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:31 AM

Ah the ten million dollar question. First of all I need to LOL at the "past 60 yards" line. At that distance you better just shoot a rifle if you don't want the deer moving before impact!!! I think most guys will agree with me on here that past 30 yds, it doesnt matter what crossbow you are shooting if that deer is not relaxed at the shot there is a chance he will "jump string". Deer have insanely fast reflexes.

Also, for me 50 yds is the max shot with a crossbow and the conditions have to be perfect for that to happen. No wind, animal relaxed, etc...

Speed? Eh a little overrated, IMO I would be most concerned with buying a quality crossbow. Anything over 300fps is more than enough to hunt with. Anything under that? Works great also!! :)

#7 Jerry M

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 10:05 AM

Having read just about everything I can in the last 6 months, the general rule is "speed is only part of the equation." The concept to keep in mind is that it is all relative. My .270 is accurate to 200 yds....I am not. My vertical bow, now being sold due to my 'adjusted ability' (I hate saying disability), would chrono an arrow at 270fps. And I killed a lot of deer with both. But to compare the two is crazy; even for the loonies.

Sound is also important. To us. So is Kinetic energy. I would hate to be the recipient of a spear weighing 6 pounds; even if it was only traveling at 40 fps.

Per all of my reading, anything over 30 in the KE range gets it done. So, by the charts, anything with a 350 grain arrow traveling over 250fps within 40 yards at a calm deer....means venison in the freezer. IF you shoot straight.

Buy what you want, but from what I have read, anything combined with your practice and talent will do. The rest is just details we love to brag about.

Good luck!

#8 rock74

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:08 PM

Ok, Im trying to decide what type of crossbow to get. Im wondering how much benefit there is to having a 400 plus fps crossbow as compared to say a 330 fps crossbow. I am mainly going to be hunting whitetail deer from a tree stand. will 400 plus fps let me effectivly shoot at longer distances? Or will the deer jump the string past say 60 yards no matter how fast my crossbow is?


I like to get close and personal i want to smell there breath before i let one fly it dont matter if im using a recurve, compound, xbow, or one of my H.P. rifles thats how i feel about hunting its about being close, speed dont mean much to me and as JP said dont let the numbers fool you its not much of a difference in a HUNTING situation 3D yes but not in the woods where shots are 3 feet to 30 yards or so.

#9 Okiecat

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 11:25 PM

Best thread I've read in wks. I'm looking for a xbow also. My first,one thing my old age knows is buy quality once. I tend to go against the grain a little too. Waiting now for shops to get full of newest bows. Going to tryem all...

#10 Johny D

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 12:42 AM

ok ok, I have learned a lot in the past week of research. And I appreciate all of the feedback. At first i figured because i was accurate with my 260 fps bow at 40 yards a 400 fps xbow was going to allow me to plink deer at 100 yards! Boy! Reality check. It seems to me now that the only advantage of a xbow is you dont have to pull the damn thing back in front of the deer! lol, which is a huge advantage. Anyway, I still want one. I think they are bad to the bone. I do feel However that if i can kill deer with my 200 dollar pos pse compound at 40 yards i should be able to blow them away with a badass cross bow at 50 or 60. Just sayin.

#11 rock74

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 01:44 AM

ok ok, I have learned a lot in the past week of research. And I appreciate all of the feedback. At first i figured because i was accurate with my 260 fps bow at 40 yards a 400 fps xbow was going to allow me to plink deer at 100 yards! Boy! Reality check. It seems to me now that the only advantage of a xbow is you dont have to pull the damn thing back in front of the deer! lol, which is a huge advantage. Anyway, I still want one. I think they are bad to the bone. I do feel However that if i can kill deer with my 200 dollar pos pse compound at 40 yards i should be able to blow them away with a badass cross bow at 50 or 60. Just sayin.


i know what your sayin bout the speed if you look up my posts i was looking at the ghost 400 when i got bit by the speed bug for about a day and a half then i thought about how i used to do it, shooting a recurve instinctive, i i ordered a Kodabow less speed easier to work on, and no cables to stretch or cams to come out of time, tonight i ordered a predator recurve bow. 50-60 yards? i cant see a deer that far where i hunt unless i walk out to a field edge thats a far shot for any bow in the woods. What ever you go with PICK YOUR SHOTS wisely if your shooting at a relaxed deer the speed wont make the difference put the arrow in the boiler room and its a done deal. You can shoot any crossbow 50-60 yards but at animals its risky.

#12 Jack Pine

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:41 AM

I'm not much into tech toys, but recently I bought a chronograph, mostly to satisfy my curiosity about HOW SLOW my little Man Kung crossbow is. 210 fps out of the gate. Boy! The 2 deer [20 and 32 yards] and 1 turkey I killed [20 yards] with it must really be embarrassed!

Jack ><>

Edited by Jack Pine, 12 February 2012 - 07:40 AM.


#13 Jerry M

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:09 AM

Johnny D,

Learning a lot is cool! Sounds like you are dialed in, your observations are on track.

Buy the best you can afford that feels right and enjoy!!!

Keep us posted.

#14 Johny D

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:43 AM

Johnny D,

Learning a lot is cool! Sounds like you are dialed in, your observations are on track.

Buy the best you can afford that feels right and enjoy!!!

Keep us posted.

Thanks Jerry, will do.

#15 webfarmer

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:43 PM

You know, I went to my archery dealer last year figuring to pay close to $2,000 for a particular bow which I'd done considerable research on. My dealer had me shot 4 or 5 including the one I thought I'd be buying. Man, the shooting of the bows is how I decided which one was for me. So that is my suggestion. Shoot and look for quality of trigger, safety, speed and quality. My bow is a tad controversial but it "fits" me perfectly and as a result, shot my biggest rack with a bow on my own property. I plan to take it to Ohio next fall. Good luck on whatever your choice is!

#16 H&S Archer

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:57 PM

I might add that the slightly higher FPS system with throw a slightly heaver bolt a bit better and retain more KE/ velocity down range.

#17 FuzzyFultz

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:38 PM

Having read just about everything I can in the last 6 months, the general rule is "speed is only part of the equation." The concept to keep in mind is that it is all relative. My .270 is accurate to 200 yds....I am not. My vertical bow, now being sold due to my 'adjusted ability' (I hate saying disability), would chrono an arrow at 270fps. And I killed a lot of deer with both. But to compare the two is crazy; even for the loonies.

Sound is also important. To us. So is Kinetic energy. I would hate to be the recipient of a spear weighing 6 pounds; even if it was only traveling at 40 fps.

Per all of my reading, anything over 30 in the KE range gets it done. So, by the charts, anything with a 350 grain arrow traveling over 250fps within 40 yards at a calm deer....means venison in the freezer. IF you shoot straight.

Buy what you want, but from what I have read, anything combined with your practice and talent will do. The rest is just details we love to brag about.

Good luck!

That pretty well sums it up for me to Jerry. I agree and I like the way you put it. No I would not want to be the recipient of that 6 lb spear coming at 40 feet per second. Sound and kinetic energy are very important. Thank for your outlook on that. Just think of that. The spear is coming silently, you may not see or hear anything. Then a 6 lb spear at 40 feet per second, Ouchhhhhhhhh.

#18 jag

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:13 PM

Crossbow are no longer only shot horizontally. Something that might fit you if you have a desire to stay vertical is the "Vertical Crossbow" It is an extremly balanced bow with lots of maneuverabilty in hunting situations. You can take them a part and they are very light weight. Oh, and they are fast at light draw weights.

Edited by jag, 13 February 2012 - 07:03 AM.


#19 Highlander

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:14 AM

Ok, Im trying to decide what type of crossbow to get. Im wondering how much benefit there is to having a 400 plus fps crossbow as compared to say a 330 fps crossbow. I am mainly going to be hunting whitetail deer from a tree stand. will 400 plus fps let me effectivly shoot at longer distances? Or will the deer jump the string past say 60 yards no matter how fast my crossbow is?



Speed can make a difference:
----------------------------------------

For example a crossbow that shoots a bolt at 300 fps can reach 30 yards in 0.3 seconds. (No bolt drag is calculated into these measurements)

A crossbow that shoots a bolt at 400 fps can reach 40 yards in 0.3 seconds.

A crossbow that shoots a bolt at 200 fps can only reach 20 yards in 0.3 seconds.

A crossbow that shoots a bolt at 330 fps can reach 33 yards in 0.3 seconds.

So, to answer your question, you can gain around 7 yards of what many xbow hobbyists consider maximum shooting distance by using a 400 fps xbow vs a 330 fps xbow. The question is whether 7 yards is worth the extra cost to you. :)

FWIW, I remember compound hunters shooting 200 fps bows and considered 30 yards maximum distance. If you use this figure, than your maximum shooting distance using modern high speed xbows may range out to 50 yards provided you can make a heart shot every time. ;)

Edited by HighlandHunter, 13 February 2012 - 08:51 AM.


#20 Jerry M

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:57 AM

Remember way back when we were dating, and we tried to figure out which girl we would like to marry.......

Just bring home the one you fall in love with. You can justify it later......

Hey, just havin' fun..... I really do like the discussion. I am still doing my research also.





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