9 Killer Budget Bows Under $500

9 Killer Budget Bows Under $500

The major bow manufactures' flagship bows are cool to look at, handle and dream of, but in the bigger picture most of us working stiffs would be headed straight to divorce court if we came home carrying such a model.

Sure, for 1,000 bills you get all the latest bells and whistles, racy new looks, maybe 15 or 20 extra fps — plus undisputed bragging rights with your hunting buddies. But when it comes down to real-world bowhunting they don't really kill deer any deader than if taken with a bow costing half as much.

Budget bows — those setting you back, say, no more than $500 — may include last year's perfectly-acceptable technologies, maybe cast-metal instead of milled parts here and there, perhaps a more conservative cam system providing a bit smoother draw cycle. But they'll get the job done during the toughest assignments conditions.

And all that money saved can be invested in important things, like an extra trail camera or fuel for additional scouting trips!


Bear Archery | Cruzer

Bear Archery's 2015 Cruzer just might prove the most versatile bow on the market today, a compound designed to meet the needs of any bowhunter from tikes to fathers. The 3.6-pound Cruzer includes an incredible 65 pounds of draw-weight adjustment (5 to 70 pounds) and 19 inches of draw-length latitude (12 to 30 inches); all accomplished without a bow press.

The Cruzer is powered by the smooth-drawing, 70-percent let-off MV hybrid cam, producing ATA speeds of up to 310 fps with a 6.5-inch brace. Finally, the Cruzer is completely rigged to hunt with the latest high-quality accessories from Trophy Ridge. These include Whisker Biscuit arrow rest, new Joker 4-pin fiber-optic sight, 5-Spot adjustable quiver, Dart Stabilizer with wrist sling, peep and D-loop. It's offered left- or right-handed and covered in Realtree Xtra Green or various target colors.

MSRP: $399

Bowtech | Fuel

Bowtech's Fuel package offers shooters from the youngest/smallest beginners to he-man adults an affordable option easily adjustable from 18 to 30 inches of draw length and 14 to 70 pounds of draw weight, without changing limbs or using a bow press. Bowtech's revolutionary 80 percent let-off Binary Cam System boosts performance while also providing pleasant shooting experiences, aided by a forgiving 7-inch brace.

The 31.5-inch bow weighs only 3.4 pounds to be both easy to tote and maneuverable. Crank this bow to 70 pounds and it will spit arrows up to 340 fps ATA! The fuel comes fully accessorized with Deadlock Lite quiver, 5-inch Octane stabilizer, Hostage Max arrow rest and TruGlo Tundra Sight (or buy it alone). Finishes include BlackOps and Mossy Oak Infinity.

MSRP: $499 package, $449 bow only.

Darton Archery | DS-600

Darton Archery's DS-600 packs a lot of cutting-edge technology into a package that won't bust your budget. It includes a machined aluminum-alloy riser holding E-Flex limbs, coupled with Darton's game-changing DuelSync Hybrid Cam System. Combined this provides shooting qualities normally found in top-end compound bows.

The DS-600 comes with a complete set of draw-length modules accommodating draw lengths from 25 to 30 inches, the system also including an adjustable, positive draw stop. The 31 3/8-inch axle-to-axle bow is lightweight and highly maneuverable with a forgiving 7.5-inch brace height for easy shooting. The DS-600 produces ATA arrow speeds of up to 310 fps.

MSRP: $499.99

Diamond by Bowtech | Provider

Diamond by Bowtech's new Provider sets the standard for today's ultra-high-adjustable bow designs made to affordably serve beginner to expert shooters. The smooth, 80-percent let-off single-cam system can be easily adjusted for draw lengths between 25.5 to 31 inches. Draw- weight adjustability from 20 to 70 pounds adds to its versatility.

Its 31-inch axle-to-axle dimensions and 3.3-pound mass make it easy to carry, a 7.5-inch brace height lending it accuracy appeal. It can launch arrows to 310 fps ATA at it higher settings and comes R.A.K. equipped with custom sight and Octane capture rest, Deadlock Lite quiver, Ultra-Lite stabilizer, comfort sling, carbon peep and string loop. Standard finish is Mossy Oak's new Break-Up Country.

MSRP: $499

Hoyt | Charger

The Hoyt Charger has been upgraded for 2015, offering lightweight, high-performance technology advantages without busting your budget. The Charger Cam & ½ system offers a smooth hybrid powertrain providing ATA speeds of up to 325 fps. This 75-percent let-off system is supported by wide-stance, multi-layer lamination split limbs offering exceptional torsional stability and silenced by AlphaShox limb silencers.

Silence is further enhanced by a StealthShot string stop, which also serves to promote consistent nock separation on release and improved accuracy. Round out its features with a rigid and stable Tec Lite Riser and pre-stretched FUSE Custom Strings and you have a hard-hitting bowhunting package for less than $500.

MSRP: $499

Mission | Hype DT

New this spring, Mission Archery introduces the Hype DT. The Hype DT (Dampening Technology) offers shooters big and small the power and accuracy traditionally found in higher-priced bows. Mission's F.I.T. Cam System produces ATA speeds of up to 310 fps, F.I.T. (Focused Inertia Technology) resulting in reduced noise and felt recoil. More remarkably, the ultra-smooth F.I.T. Cam allows draw-length adjustments from 19 to 30 inches without a bow press, and 13- to 70-pound draw-length adjustments.

The ergonomic riser and grip design create a stable shooting platform with a balanced 31-inch axle to axle, including quad limbs terminating in parallel geometry to further accentuating shot silence. DT stands for Dampening Technology, including Dead End String Stop, Mathews Harmonic Stabilizer Lite and factory-installed string silencer. It includes a Lifetime Warranty and comes in LOST Camo and several target colors.

MSRP: $399

Parker | Eagle

Parker's Eagle includes 100-percent machined-aluminum riser, cams and limb pockets normally found on more expensive bows. Its drivetrain is a high-performance 80-percent let-off Eagle One Cam delivering the goods at 310 fps ATA. This system also allows draw-length adjustments from 26 and 31 inches and a tunable draw stop to create a custom-feel back wall.

The 3.65-pound bow is forgiving and incredibly smooth, created through Extreme Parallel Design Limbs, tunable String Suppressor System and Micro-Lite vented limb pockets. The Eagle is offered in draw weights of 50-60 and 60-70. It can also be purchased with an Outfitter Package, with name-brand 3-pin fiber-optic sight, Whisker Biscuit or Hostage arrow rest, 4-arrow quick-detachable quiver, angled peep and nock point — all factory installed and tuned.

MSRP: $299.95 bow only, $349.95 with Outfitter Package

Quest | Storm

If looking to outfit your favorite youth or woman shooter without emptying your wallet, look no further than the Storm by Quest Bowhunting. The Storm redefines the youth/female genera, precisely engineered to boost speed and performance at light draw weights. The Storm was built off the Quest Radical platform, but with slimmer grip and lighter draw weights.

The 31-inch axle-to-axle, 7-inch braced bow is adjustable for draw lengths from 23 to 27 inches and draw weights between 30 and 60 pounds. The 80-percent let-off model pushes arrows up to 290 fps (27 inches, 60 pounds) and weighs only 3.7 pounds. Buy it alone in Realtree AP, AP Purple or Black; or with DTH Package including sights, rest, stabilizer, wrist sling, G5 Head-Loc Quiver, peep and string loop.

MSRP: $399 bow only, $499 with DTH Package

PSE | Bow Madness 30

The Bow Madness 30 from PSE Archery is a 2015 model offering single-cam fans a hot option for those occasions when a lightweight and compact bow shines, such as in tree-stands and pop-up blinds. The M2 single cam with 80 percent let-off helps propel arrows to ATA speeds of up to 330 fps, without burdening the shooter with a challenging draw cycle.

The accurate Bow Madness 30 measures 29.75 inches between the axles, includes a balanced 6.5-inch brace height and weighs only 3.8 out of the box. Look for it in black, Mossy Oak Infinity or Skullworks finishes, right- or left-hand versions, draw lengths from 23.5 to 30 inches and peak draw weights of 50, 60 or 70 pounds.

MSRP: $499.99.

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