It's a safe bet that the crossbow has advanced more in the last 20 years than in the past 2,000, and innovation shows no sign of slowing down. New materials throughout, limb designs, strings, sights, bolts, stock construction and cocking mechanisms have made modern crossbows easier to use, more...
I got a crossbow almost 20 years I don’t use it much anymore maybe a shoot bolts every 2-5 years. I have a boat load of bolts and Broadheads, hard and soft cases. At the time it seemed like a good purchase at the time for SHTF times but they are bulky and have to be stored In Climate controlled areas in order to avoid deterioration of the limbs.
I bought a Barnett crossbow that came with a scope, bolts(arrows), and broad heads off Amazon a few years ago, cuz they were the only ones that could deliver it when I needed it. Out of the box I just bolted the bow to the stock, per instructions, everything else was set up and it was dead on from fifteen yards to sixty yards. I knew nothing about modern day crossbows, it is easy to use, extra bolts are readily available, and it appears to be well made. I have taken two deer with it and couldn't be more satisfied with the purchase. I will have to check on which model it is but I think it was within your budget. Good luck!!!!
Looks like the the crossbow laws on NYS are about to change so there will be more options as far as draw weight and limb width. I have an Excalibur Matrix recurve $800. No pulleys or tuning, and it can be decocked without having to shoot a bolt. My son has one he got for around $300 at Sportsman’s Guide and it works fine. There have been a lot of used ones for sale on Craigslist. Many people sell them after they realize it’s not a rifle and it has limitations.
Bought a simple Killer Instinct on line a couple years ago (forget where). Simple, accurate, and their customer service was great. Non adjustable stock is the only drawback. Sends arrows where they need to go. No issues with it so far.
I got one from Midway last year just before deer season, kit consisted of the bow itself and scope, 3 bolts w/quiver and cocking rope. First trip to the range and POI was 2" left and about 2" low right out of the box. Lost one bolt when it blew right thru the bullseye and kept going. I bought some carbon fiber bolts at Sportsmen warehouse ($$$) and then found some at wally world in Olean for $5 a piece! If it ever warms up and I have some time I'd like to shoot it some more.
I got a Barrett with scope, bag and bolts that I don't use. If your interested in buying used shoot me a PM.
I can tell you that it penetrates through targets that my compound bow arrows only go 2" deep.