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Crossbows have come a long way in a short amount of time. The technology involved with making them faster, quieter and more compact has resulted in a leap in technology of the crossbow bolt as well. Today’s best crossbow bolts are stronger and more accurate than ever. Which bolt is best for you and your crossbow? As with everything, that’s up to you to decide. Here are Six of the best crossbow bolts available now to help get you started.

Victory VAP VooDoo

Micro-diameter shafts are a major thing in compound bows right now, but for crossbows, the technology presents a challenge. The small shafts don’t work with the rail. Victory Archery found the workaround with their Rail Rider, a hump in the center of the shaft that matches the oversized half-moon nock on the end. The result is a bolt that has 95% less contact with the rail. It also allows for helical fletching for added spin. We’ve tested these and can say they are crazy accurate and hit hard – very hard. You can find them in three different lengths – 20, 22 and 24 inches. The shorter 20-inch bolts feature a 110-grain insert, while the two longer bolts rely on a 92-grain insert.

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Gold Tip Nitro

Gold Tip has always had a reputation for amazing quality and accuracy. The Nitro brings a little more muscle to the crossbow bolt lineup, weighing in at 13.9 grains per inch and coming standard with a 60-grain brass insert. Recommended for draw weights over 175 pounds, or bows that require bolts in the 500-grain weight range. These bolts feature Gold Tip's Smart Carbon Technology for unmatched durability and straightness retention. They are available with a flat back, or half-moon nock and are easily one of the best crossbow bolts.

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Easton FMJ

The FMJ, or Full Metal Jacket, is a cool hunting bolt. An aluminum outer shell covers a carbon-fiber core, that gives the FMJ the best of both worlds. They have the straightness of the aluminum shaft (+/-.003”) and the lightweight and durability of the carbon one. Weighing in at 13.7 grains per inch, the resulting bolt hits like a freight train and has amazing penetration. This is one of our favorite hunting shafts and is one of the best Crossbow bolts available. They come in 20- and 22-inch lengths and with half-moon or flat nocks.

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Carbon Express Maxima Hunter

This bolt has Carbon Express’ Dual-Spine Weight-Forward technology that makes for better energy management and faster recovery. According to the manufacturer, the bolts spin 20% sooner, retain more speed, and deliver increased accuracy. All Maxima Hunter crossbow bolts are laser checked for straightness to a remarkable +/- 0.0025" as a maximum measurement, not an average. They come with both flat and moon nocks, and lighted nocks are available. You can also choose between 20- and 22-inch bolts.

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TenPoint Pro Elite Carbon Omni Bright

Usually if you shot a TenPoint bow, you either needed to find and install Omni nocks on your bolts, if they fit, or shoot TenPoint’s bolts. Not a bad thing, but that meant you couldn’t use lighted nocks. Ten Point saw the issue and fixed it with its own lighted nock bolt. Made with a specially-designed Easton carbon fiber shaft outfitted with a 68-grain brass insert and an Omni-Brite 2.0 lighted nock, each 20" bolt comes fletched slightly offset with Q21 vanes. They are individually inspected to a straightness tolerance of ±.003" and weight tolerance of ±2 grains per dozen. Sweet!

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Beman White Out

An alternative to a lighten nock is the Beman White Out. These 100% Made in the USA, multi-laminate carbon-fiber crossbow bolts are covered in bright white with white fletching to help you track the bolt in flight, and to help better ID the quality of your shot by the blood on the shaft. They have a straightness factor of +/- .003” and a weight tolerance of +/- 2gr. They can be had with flat, moon or talon nocks.

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Who Makes the Best Crossbow Bolt?

There are a lot of crossbow bolts available from a lot of different companies. There are quite a few imported ones that you’ll see at bargain prices, and trust us when we say that there is a reason they are so cheap. It’s not that they won’t work, but the quality control isn’t going to be what you’d expect, or what it should be for truly ethical crossbow hunting. Past that, who makes the best crossbow bolt is a matter of personal choice and budget. One of our favorites is the Victory VooDoo. These are seriously nice bolts, but they may not be what you like. That’s fine. And they’re not exactly cheap. And they tend to work better with higher-powered crossbows. That’s why Victory makes the cheaper and more universal X-Bolt. Each company has a less expensive line and different products that work best with different bows.

What is the Best Crossbow Bolt for My Bow?

That depends on a few factors. You need to know the poundage your bow is shooting at, which is readily available on the bow, and if you can’t find it, the manufacturer can easily tell you. You also need to know the length bolt you need. Most standard crossbows shoot a 20-inch bolt. Many of the higher performance bows will require a 22-inch bolt, and some of the new extreme bows require a 24-inch bolt. You never want to shoot a bolt that is too short, unless it is one of the short de-cocking bolts that are disposable after one use. Keep in mind that the faster your crossbow, the higher quality bolt you need.

What are the Different Nocks on Crossbow Bolts?

The nock is the part of the bolt that comes in contact with the string. Certain crossbows take specific nocks in order to function, and unfortunately, it’s not universal. The flat nock is exactly as it sounds and is a blunt end that take the brunt of the string. The half-moon nock is a crescent groove that the string rides in as the bolt is carried down the rail. Talon nocks got the name from looking like an opened eagle’s talon and wrapping around the string that way. There are a few upper-end bows that require these nocks. Omni nocks are standard equipment for anything from TenPoint, and if you don’t have them on your bolts, the bow will not shoot. Capture nocks are exactly like the nocks used for vertical bows. They grip the string up until the point of release. These are commonly used on Parker bows, which if you have one, you already know, and if you want to buy one, you’d better hurry. PSE also has some bows that require these nocks.

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