What Size Crossbow Bolt To Use In 2020?

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If a crossbow is your favorite hunting tool, you should not end up buying the best one. To make it better and more powerful when you go hunting, you also require crossbow bolts that are best suitable for your hunting type and crossbow. The heavier the bolts are, the more effectively they can hit your target, making a kill.

Crossbow bolts come in different lengths and weights. You will find them from 16 inches to 22 inches. Among the sizes of crossbow bolts, 20 inches should be the ideal size for hunting and is recommended. Do you still have the question- what size crossbow bolt to use? Well, stick to reading the whole article to get all the information.

What Size Crossbow Bolt To Use?

As more states approve you to use a crossbow for hunting, their popularity is on the rise, too. Maybe, you are also excited to buy a crossbow and go hunting with it, right? But What size crossbow bolt to use? Purchasing the best crossbow is not all you can do going to a pro archer shop near you. You need to consider other things, such as the size of the bolts, weights, kinetic energy, bolt fletching, and many more.

What Size Crossbow Bolt To Use

Through this article, I will try to cover you to understand today’s topic. When it comes to finding the actual length of the bolts, you should stick to 20 inches. You can also go for a shorter or longer. You should also consider the direction of the wind that may hinder the flying path of the bolts. The size may differ when you find a crossbow for women.

Bolt length

When you purchase a crossbow from a pro archer shop, they will provide you a manual along with the hunting weapon. In it, you can find which bolt length you should use. Though the standard length of bolts is 20 inches, it can differ from bow to bow.

A shorter bolt may stick on the bow’s rail at the time of making the fire. So, you may mess up things while shooting with a shorter bolt. Besides, you can use longer bolts to make a perfect shot. As your manufacturer recommends you to use a specific bolt length, you should not use other sizes.

Bolt weight

Another important thing you should consider for a right bolt is its weight. Don’t think that you should only find the bolt weight. You also have to include insert, vanes, crossbow nock, and the broadhead for the arrow’s total weight. Does the pressure also determine what size crossbow bolt to use?

The more weight your bolts have, the more accurately they can fly and strike the target. The manufacturer may suggest you use 15 grains per inch. It means that you should multiply 20 with the grain number if you have a 20-inch bolt. You should also keep one thing in your mind that lighter bolts can go far than a more massive bolt. Because more substantial bolts lose their power to fly a long way.

The kinetic energy of bolts

Depending on the size of the animal, you need different pounds of energy to kill the animal. You may need less energy for a deer or antelope while requiring more energy to kill a bigger bear or grizzly bears. You know that kinetic energy does the work for you. When you release the bolt from the rail, it flies with the kinetic energy and hit the animal.

If you don’t know how to calculate the bolts’ kinetic energy, you can do it with the below equation.

Kinetic Energy = (mv2)/450,240, M for the total mass of arrow, and V stands for velocity of the arrow (fps). The equation will help you calculate the kinetic energy of bolts and hunt accordingly.

How To Choose Crossbow Bolts

When it comes to choosing crossbow bolts, you should consider a few essential aspects. This consideration will lead you to find the best bolt for your crossbow. Also, the manual of the crossbow you have with it helps you to find suitable crossbow bolts.


Considering the weight of the bolts should be vital because it determines the penetration of the bolts. The more massive the bolts will be, the more deeply they will pierce the animal. Therefore, it will increase the chance of killing an animal if you have more substantial bolts.


The fletching of bolts determines the bolt’s trajectory after firing. The wings at the back of the bolts help them to fly and stabilize. Plastic material fletching can do better when they fly. Depending on the length of the shaft, you should consider the length of the fletching.


Expandable blade broadhead should be your choice when you use your crossbow for hunting. You know that using an expandable blade broadhead can damage mainly on the animal’s body. So, you can pierce the animal from one side to another and damage the animals’ lungs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the essential questions with their reply to understand the topic of the article better. You may find them useful when you need to realize the material and the size of the crossbow.

Are all crossbow bolts the same?

The manufacturer of your crossbow recommends crossbow bolts. Therefore, you will find the difference when you want to choose. So, seeing the manual, you should select bolts for the crossbow.

How long do crossbow bolts last?

After releasing and making a kill with the crossbow bolt, you can use it again if you find it suitable for use. Make sure that the bolt is not dented, cracked, or has any damage to use over and over again.

Can you make crossbow bolts?

Yes, you can make crossbow bolts at home using hardwood dowels. In this case, you need to use fletching, and feather or vanes can do the work for you to act as the fletching.

Final Thought

Don’t you get the clear answer of the query- what size crossbow bolt to use? It varies from bow to bow. But you should follow the manual of the manufacturer to find suitable bolts for your crossbow. Bolts can be seen from 16 inches to 22 inches.

A 20-inch bolt should be ideal and common bolts that hunters use. Shorter bolts may damage while firing because they can stick in the bow’s rail. Also, you can use longer bolts depending on the types of animals and your crossbow.

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