I too was forced to go to a Xbow because of shoulder problems. I went with a Excalibur for a couple of years and if your not going to use a mechanical crank the Excalibur can be hard on the draw, even with the rope pulley. I gave the Excalibur to my son and bought a Wicked Ridge Warrior HL its not the fastest about 285 fps. but out to 40yards it will get the job done. Very accurate, easy to draw with the rope pulley,and it does not cost a lot. Bought mine at Gander Mt.
What to buy?? If working on your bow is paramount you will find that a recurve will be easier....Most recurves have higher draw weights to achieve high speed than most compounds as well....BUT with the good cocking aids available makes this somewhat easier.....Recurves are also louder than most compounds but NO crossbow will be as quiet as a vertical bow.....
...Don't get caught up in the speed game....Any bow that will shoot a 400-430 gr arrow at or near 300-325 fps will get the job done at any reasonable hunting distance......There's some great crossbows being made today that fit this....I would find a dealer than has different brands and shoot as many as you can.....Buy what feels the best to you....I'm partial to Tenpoint bows, they have some GREAT shooting bows and their customer service is second to none....Good luck and welcome to the crossbow ranks....
Buy a crossbow that fits you and your wallet, you can spend well over $2000 for a crossbow these days. I bought a Ten point Stealth with Acudraw after having 3 back surgeries. Their customer service is hard to beat.
If you still have not decided on which bow, let me chime in. I began hunting with a crossbow in 98, and have used them extensively since...here and in Africa. I first bought a fairly cheap Horton (now oob) and was very happy and successful with it.
My biggest complaint with most xbows is the trigger. TenPoint has the best, and Excalibur the worst IMO. Despite that, and the terrific noise, Excalibur is the most accurate and simple bow for the field.......by far. The big two Matrix line of Excaliburs require a little upkeep........as much as a compound due to the ferrocious draw weight. Compounds can be very narrow when cocked, recurves very wide.......think about it for stand hunting. Barnett Ghost is a great value, and while QC has been a Barnett problem over the years, the Barnett Vengeance is an awesome bow and a great value.
About the only place to look at lots of bows is Sportsman's Guide...they have quite a selection.
Lastly, a carbon riser adds lots to cost, delivers little to performance. My advice....a non current Tenpoint model at under 1G.........FWB
....or a not Premium 10 point, aka: Wicked Ridge I sure like mine. The release is a bit noisy, I can live quite easily wit that. I'm not to fond of the supplied proprietary scope, I'm used to better and will probably refit a Leupold at some point.
I happened to get m mine on a store closeout/going out of business at 30 off list. Bought the lighted nocks, the turkey broadheads, the big game broadheads and a 12 pack of Easton bolts at the same time. Mine came with a soft case and the dampening fingers already installed.
I'm old (65) and have no issue with cocking it with the rope cockers, I could probably cock it with the bowstring alone and leather gloves on.
I like the 10 Point/Wicked Ridge forestock finger protection. I saw a guy take the last inch of his thumb clean off with an Excalibur. It hurt just looking at it.... Damn things are wicked amputaters.
For close stand shooting, you can't beat an Excalibur because the limbs are narrow but I can adjust my position (in my stands) where the limbs have enough clearance they don't contact anything on release, something to keep in mind, because those pulleys are tender (and costly).
If you want a carbon fiber stocck and all the goodies, lay down the bucks on a 10 Point, but if you can live with a bit less (but still have 10 point quality and after the sale service), buy a Wicked Ridge.
'It's not about me, it's about we'..........
960 fps?? I will assume that is catastrophic typo and they are not bolts. The one thing I will agree with is that you can't go wrong with a Ten Point! I have the Vapor which is rated at 360fps. One major diff between the faster recurve live the Excaliber Matrix and a high end compound like the TP is sound. The recurve is much louder and wider.
I am curious about why they're not bolts? I have always know the projectile of a crossbow being called a bolt. If they no longer are, what are they called and why?