5 Best Compound Bows For Hunting In 2018 Featured Image

Imagine sitting in your stand on a cool fall morning, when the buck of your dreams walks into your sight.

Slowly you ready your bow, you pull it back and the string snaps. The deer takes off and your hunting trip has just been ruined by the failure of your bow.

If this has happened to you, you know the feeling and it sucks. However, these types of scenarios can be avoided by making sure you buy a quality bow right from the start.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced bow hunter choosing a quality bow is a must. Quality does not mean expensive. Here at Woodland Gear, we’re all about getting the most bang for your buck and that doesn’t always mean choosing the most expensive item.

Below I’m going to cover 5 awesome compound bows for hunting that won’t break the bank. If you’re a novice bow hunter or an experienced bow hunter looking to teach an aspiring bow hunter this article is for you.

As always our articles also come with a handy buyer’s guide to help you make the best decision.

If you’re ready to get started bowhunting with a compound bow all you have to do is read on…

Compound Bow Reviews

Spincast ReelQualityOur Rating
SAS Rage Compound BowB+
Genesis Gen-X Compound BowB+
Diamond Infinite Edge ProA
Leader Accessories Compound BowB
Predator Archery Raptor Compound BowA+

Read: Fundamentals of Bowhunting
Read: Best Recurve Bows In 2018

SAS Rage Compound Bow Review

The SAS Rage is the perfect bow for the hunter who’s looking to get a quality bow at a price that isn’t going to set them back hundreds of dollars.

In fact, the meat from one deer will likely save you money. You won’t be flinging arrows like robin hood, but taking down game in North America won’t be a problem.

The SAS rage isn’t the fanciest bow on the market but it’s practical and allows the novice or weekend hunter to get the job done. SAS has created a bow that is both accurate and quiet. At first glance, you may think this is an entry level bow but it’s anything but.

While the SAS rage is geared for beginners it’s a great bow for anyone. It has an axle to axle length of 35 inches making it a happy middle ground and it features ABS limbs that should be all but indestructible outside of a blow torch. This bow may not have all the bells and whistles of the high-end bows but it will get the job done.

Overall this bow hits all of the high points, a decent length, fairly accurate, and a high quality build all rolled into a price tag that is both affordable and will pay for itself the very first time you take a deer with it.

Features & Specs

  • Draw Length: 25″-31”
  • Draw Weight: 55-70 lbs
  • IBO Speed: 270 FPS
  • Mass Weight: 4.4 lbs
  • Axle to Axle: 35”
  • Brace Height: unknown
  • Let-off: 70%

PROS

  • Extremely affordable
  • Geared towards new bowhunters
  • Nearly indestructible

CONS

  • Fairly heavy
  • Arrows feel sluggish

Genesis Gen-X Compound Bow Review

Genesis is well known in the archery industry as they are one of the main providers of bows for schools, troops, and clubs around the nation. Mainly because their bows are so cost effective.

The Gen-X is the next step for Genesis in introducing new archers and hunters to the great sport of archery. Sure you could go pay thousands of dollars for a bow but who would do that when you’re not even sure if you’re going to like it but why do that when you can pick up a Genesis bow for a low price point.

The Gen-X features a solo cam system for improved accuracy and allows for up to 40 pounds of draw weight. Allowing you to hunt most game in North America with it. This bow features a 35.5-inch axle to axle length which allows the bow to be more forgiving to new archers. It also has a universal draw length which is good for anyone picking up the bow.

Much like the SAS Rage the Genesis Gen-X is a quality bow geared for beginners and has an excellent price point. Making it a great choice if you’re just getting into bowhunting and you’re not sure if you’re going to enjoy the sport.

Features & Specs

  • Draw Length: 21″-30”
  • Draw Weight: 25-40 lbs
  • IBO Speed: unknown
  • Mass Weight: 3.4 lbs
  • Axle to Axle: 35.5”
  • Brace Height: 7 5/8”
  • Let-off: 0%

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Great for beginning bowhunters
  • Fairly accurate

CONS

  • Draw can be rough
  • Slower arrow speeds due to the solo cam system

Diamond Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow Review

The Infinite Edge Pro is made by Diamond Archery, an offshoot of Bowtech, one of the largest archery suppliers.  

The infinite edge is possibly one of the most popular and best selling compound bows off all time. While it is more expensive than other bows on this list, it is well worth the price if you’re serious about bowhunting.

One of the reasons this bow is so great is because of the adjustable features it has to meet the needs of any archer. It has an adjustable draw weight that ranges from 5 - 70 pounds making it perfect for target shooting as well as hunting. It also has an adjustable draw length of 13 - 31 inches that allows it to be used by practically anyone.

One thing to be noted about this bow is the axle to axle length is 31 inches so it is a fairly short bow. Shorter bows tend to be less forgiving when it comes to accuracy than longer bows so some serious practice time is required when using this bow. On the plus side having a shorter bow means easier maneuverability in thick brush or a tree stand.

Features & Specs

  • Draw Length: 21″-31”
  • Draw Weight: 5-70 lbs
  • IBO Speed: 310 FPS
  • Mass Weight: 3.2 lbs
  • Axle to Axle: 31”
  • Brace Height: 7”
  • Let-off: 80%

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • A wide range of adjustment
  • Draws and shoots well

CONS

  • Sights could be a little better
  • Can be a little loud

Leader Accessories Compound Bow Review

Another excellent bow for beginning bowhunters the Leader Accessories Compound Bow is perfect for anyone looking to get into something new when it comes to hunting.

The Leader Accessories Compound Bow boasts impressive quality and fast arrow speeds that are superior to other bows in its price range.

A few downsides to this bow include a cheap plastic arrow rest and a simple 2 pin sight. Both of these can be upgraded for fairly cheap and it’s something I would recommend doing as you’ll still be saving money due to the bows low price point.

The axle to axl length of this bow is 35 inches making it a happy medium between a short and long bow. As far as I can tell the bow is made with high-quality materials and features a smooth machined aluminum riser.

Overall this is a great bow for beginners and can easily be upgraded to make a high quality bow that’s great for the bgeinning bowhunter.

Features & Specs

  • Draw Length: 25″-31”
  • Draw Weight: 50-70 lbs
  • IBO Speed: 310 Fps
  • Mass Weight: 4.4 lbs
  • Axle to Axle: 35”
  • Brace Height: unknown
  • Let-off: 75 – 80%

PROS

  • Easily adjusted and does to require a bow press
  • High arrow speed for the price point
  • Shoots straight

CONS

  • Cheap sights and arrow rest
  • No left handed options available

Predator Archery Raptor Compound Bow Review

The Raptor compound bow from Predator Archery is a solid compound bow that comes equipped with all the extras and accessories you need to shoot like a professional.

This bow features fully machines cams. An upgrade over lower-tier cams that are usually made from plastic.

The bow also features a reflexed, forged aluminum riser with preloaded quad limbs and dual cams that create an arrow speed of 315 fps. The Raptor compound also comes with a whisker biscuit style rest, a 5 pin sight, a peep sight, and a “D loop” already preinstalled.

One great thing about this bow is the construction is made entirely from aluminum with no plastic making it highly durable. Considering the quality of materials and all the extras you get with this bow it has one of the best price to quality ratios on this list. It also happens to be backed by a 30 day money back guarantee.

Features & Specs

  • Draw Length: 24.5″-31”
  • Draw Weight: 50 -60, and 60-70 lbs
  • IBO Speed: 324 Fps
  • Mass Weight: 4.1 lbs
  • Axle to Axle: 34.25”
  • Brace Height: 6”
  • Let-off: 80%

PROS

  • Solid construction with no plastic pieces
  • Lots of accessories included
  • 5 pin sight comes with the bow

CONS

  • Customer service is questionable
  • D loop may need adjusting

Compound Bow Buyer’s Guide

Draw Weight and Let Off

I have chosen to lump these two together as they pretty much go hand in hand. The draw weight of the bow is the force required by the user to fully draw the bow.

When you are hunting you will need a draw weight in the range of 40+ pounds. This often means that it will be harder for some hunters to draw the bow to the appropriate draw length. The higher the draw weight the more power an arrow will have behind. Thus making for better penetration.

Because of how compound bows are designed you often end up dealing with a fraction of the full draw weight. This is known as the let off. For instance, you may have a bow that has a 60-pound draw weight but may only require 10 - 12 pounds of force to pull back or roughly 20%.

This means that the bow would have an 80% let off. When choosing a compound bow you will want to look for a bow that has a high let-off percentage as this means it will be easier to fully draw and hold.

However, you will still need to be able to pull the full draw weight of the bow to the let-off point. This can still be a challenge for some people. Before you go hunting or take someone hunting you will want to be sure they are capable of pulling the bow to the let-off point.

Draw Length

In my post on recurve bows, I talked extensively about draw length. If you want to know more about draw length feel free to check out the article. I am going to discuss briefly what draw length is and why it’s important to get right.

Draw length is how far the string will go before it stops. This is important because it is possible to under or overdraw the bow resulting in lost power and accuracy. Therefore it is important that you know what your draw length is and choose a bow with an appropriate draw length.

If you don’t know how to measure your draw length be sure to read my post on my recurve bows. However, if you want to make sure you measure correctly you can go to any store that sells bows and they should have someone who can measure your draw length for you.

Cam Design

If you have ever seen a compound bow before, Cams are the ovoid shaped pulleys on the tips of bow limbs and are responsible for the let off. Bow designers use cams to cause the bow’s force-draw curve ( a graph of a compounds draw weight compared to its length) to rise rapidly to the bow’s peak draw weight at some point during the draw before sharply falling, resulting in a reduction in draw weight. This is known as the let-off point.

Cams typically come in one of three styles. Hard, medium, or soft. This is a reference to the speed at which the let-off point occurs.

Soft cams provide a smooth and easy draw. However, the drawback is your arrow tends to have less velocity. While Hard cams are the hardest to draw but provide your arrow with greater velocity. Medium cams tend to be a happy middle ground for most archers.

Dual, Solo, Hybrid, and Binary Cams

Along with different cam styles, manufacturers often have different cam systems. Typically these cam systems come in 1 of 4 configurations. Either Dual, solo, hybrid, or binary cam systems.

Dual Cam Systems - Probably the most popular style of cam system. The dual cam system consists of two cams. One at the top of the limb and one of the bottom of the limb. Dual cam systems are the most popular mainly because they are the fastest cam system and provide the fastest arrow speeds.

However, this system doesn’t come without its drawbacks. The main issue with a dual cam system is the timing. The time is the synchronization of the cams. In order to work properly, the cams must be synchronized so they turn over at the exact same time.

If the timing is off it can cause the nock of your arrow to move erratically resulting in poor accuracy. Therefore it is important that the timing of your bow be inspected every so often to ensure you are not losing accuracy or power.

Solo Cam Systems - Solo cam systems have one cam at the top of the bow limb and a circular pulley on the bottom limb. When the bow is drawn the single cam acts to control the time of the limbs to keep them synchronized.

Because solo cam systems do not have the timing issues associated with dual cam systems, they tend to be more reliable and accurate. However, due to the loss of a cam, solo cam systems tend to be slower and less powerful than their dual system cousins.

Hybrid Cam Systems - A hybrid cam systems is a mix of a dual and solo cam system setup. The cams are hybrid cam systems to be placed asymmetrically and are elliptical. The top cam serves as the control arm and the bottom cam serves as the power cam.

The idea behind the hybrid system is that it allows you to have a straight and level nock travel just like in the solo system without the timing issues associated with the dual cam system. The hybrid system also results in a faster system than the solo cam but is still slower than a dual cam setup.

Binary Cam Systems - Binary cam systems are meant to be self-correcting cam systems. Unlike solo and hybrid cam systems, Binary cam systems employ two cam-to-cam cables that pull on each cam rather than having each cam pull on each limb.

This results in a free-floating cam system that enables the cams to equalize any differences in timing thus allowing the system to be self-correcting and maintenance free.

Axle To Axle Length

The axle to axle length is the distance between the cam axles measured in inches. This is important because shorter bows tend to be lighter and easier to maneuver in tight spaces such as thick brush or a tree stand. However, the downside is shorter bows tend to be less forgiving and require a greater degree of skill to shoot accurately.

An axle length of 30 inches is considered to be a fairly short bow while a length of 39 inches would be a considerably long compound bow.

Longer compound bows tend to be more forgiving when shooting but are harder to use in tight spaces and also tend to weigh a lot more. Most archers tend to try and find a happy middle ground. Unless you’re a master archer I would shy away from shorter bows.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to successfully hunting with a bow you need a bow that works for you. However, bows can get expensive quickly. Thankfully there are a few decent quality bows that can be had for a pretty low price point.

If you’re just getting into bowhunting you don’t want to drop thousands of dollars before you even know if you’ll enjoy it or not.

Thankfully price doesn’t always mean quality. As you can see from the above list there are quite a few options for those that are on a tight budget. In fact, many of the bows above will pay for themselves when you take your first deer.

When it comes to choosing a quality bow that will work for you, you’ll need to pay attention to features such as draw length, draw weight, and the axle to axle length. You will also need to decide what kind of cam system you want. Dual cam setups tend to be the most popular but also require additional maintenance to be sure the timing is correct.

Choosing a compound bow that works for you can take a lot of research and I recommend going to your local sporting goods store and trying a few out to get a feel for what you want.

The bows I listed above are all of great quality and will work for any beginner but practice will be required for any bow you choose to go with.

If you found this article helpful be sure to share it on social media and with anyone looking to buy their first compound bow for hunting.

As always thanks for reading and remember...adventure is waiting.

All of my life has been focused on the outdoors. From the days of fishing with my father when I was young, to learning more advanced outdoor skills through the Boy Scouts of America; you could say the outdoors is pretty much my life blood. I enjoy a wide range of activities including camping, survival, fishing, hunting, and bushcraft. I have spent most of my life learning these skills and now I want to pass on my knowledge and hopefully learn even more in return.

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