Skyrim : The Best Bow VS Crossbows

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Bailey Plays: Bow is my favorite weapon to use in Skyrim!!!!

Ahkmid the Emoji Turban Guy: wrong, the highest base damage bow is the unobtainable Karliah's Bow. but its unobtainable.

Bernardo Colon: Just keep auriels bow AND enhanced dwarf crossbow in ur inventory. Done

James Does Stuff: Real crap i just use the conjuring bow

LegendsOfAlexis: I love using the bow, makes me feel badass, especially when sneaking and hitting someone in the head in one shot and sending them flying. I laugh every time..

Otaku SUPREME: bow cross bows r weird aiming, u don't get that same accuracy with the crossbow

Jesse Randolph: I'm confused you said that the damage was only 24 the bow but as you look at the picture it says 130 and then you said the damage was only 40 all together when the Arrow does 24 and the bow is 130 so together wouldn't that be 154 damage

Joshyjay Suan: I personally like the crossbow. It’s like the gun of Skyrim especially when enchanted and improved with high smithing. The material is also MUCH more easier to obtain.

Cristian Alber: I literally name my crossbow close combat and name my bow sneak attack I play as a hardcore Nord

Lore knight: Technically, the bound(and mystic) bow has the highest dps, but smithing and enchantments will let other bows surpass it

JohnnieKID: What about dragons I can never hit them with crossbows unless there on the but there dragons

Call me Zelda ONE moar time: Crossbows u don’t have to draw them but are a little slow to load


jay land: I prefer the dwarven Cross, Bow.

patrick smith: Smithing is one of the easiest skills in the game, what are you talking about? I get 100 smithing every run before I get to the Blades lol

Tim vanLoon: Wat about the Fire, Frost or void salts needed for the bolts i dont see atronaughs that often?

KagenNoTsuki: Bow wins. Why? Bows are cooler then crossbows and you feel like more of a badass when loosing the arrow rather then just pulling a trigger.

OpiatesAndTits: The elemental damage doesn't benefit from marksman perks, skill level, marksman potions, marksman enchants, or smithing improvements. Since the damage formulas now apply perks and skill level to arrow damage the dragonbone bow is going to come out on top but not by much with 5x fortify marksman (48%, circlet + hood, not 6 is possible with a mask), 100 Archery, 5/5 overdraw, and a 40% marksman potion:

Dragon Bone Bow/Dragon Arrows = 1233 Damage a hit (2x/3x for sneak)
Dwarven Xbow/Dwarven Arrows = 1156 Damage a hit (2x/3x for sneak, add +15*Resistance for elemental)

That is only a difference of 77 damage and the elemental damage reduces it further. Now at these levels you'll be two shotting elder dragons either way. So which do you chose? Well it comes down to how they play throughtout the game:

1. Mechanics, trajectory, reloading etc. I've never used a crossbow, but I understand that they are easier to aim and have a straighter trajectory and maybe even a faster projectile speed? This comes down to preference really. You don't want to miss that sneak opening shot so pick the bow that feels right 100% of the time. The xbow also cannot fire anything BUT a full damage attack. This is both an advantage in that you cannot fire early by accident causing a weaker attack and bad because you can always fire a shot early with the bow whereas you need to wait to fully reload the xbow. Finally the xbow is always loaded like the video said, this has signifcant advantages but is countered by the forced reload, meaning you can switch weapons mid reload (apparently).

2. Armor penetration. No monsters, including dragons have armor. Armor piercing therefore does nothing against these creatures. As other people have pointed out the average NPC armor is less than 100 making the 50% armor penetration laughable. Now an armor debuff...that would be useful. Don't make your choice based on this.

3. Weapon Speed. Bows are faster. And theres an artificat bow the zephyr which is even faster. You will get off 3 bow shots for every 4 you make with a cross bow. At the end of the day looking at the damage i calculated above:

Bow = 4932
Xbow = 3468

The bow does 42% more damage in the same time frame as the xbow. This is significant at all points in the game

4. Stagger. The Xbow has a base .75 stagger rating while the bow has zero. Powershot should increase it further to about 1.0 which is the same stagger rating as a one handed mace. This is more significant than you might think. The stagger rating while I do not fully understand appears to impact both the frequency and instensity of the stagger. A warhammer with a 1.25 chance causes your opponent to buckle to their knees while powershot's base .25 stagger causes what I would call a shrug. This can help kite mini-boss bandits, interrupt deadly spells, and generally increase survivability as a ranged character.

5. Opportunity. The basic crossbow does 14 damage as much as a glass bow! I am assuming this can be bought or looted in dawnguard (again never done the dawnguard DLC, on it now).

Conclusion: The ascetetics(SP) of the crossbow are great and really suited to a ranged assasin. It has some advantages in terms of stagger/always reloaded and disadvantages in the vunerable reload time (maybe ranger perk?). The shot for shot damage difference isn't really that large between bows and xbows meaning sneak archers are unlikely to notice a damage difference. However the longer the fight goes the more difference you will notice. The faster base speed makes the Bow 42% stronger in a fight lasting at least 3 xbow shots. It is also far more flexible: sacrafice damage for speed, cancel or fire early to move, easier weapon switching, and a plethora of ammunition to find scattered about Skyrim. With shouts I believe its unlikely the stagger from the xbows would make that much difference.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and how you want to RP your character, but for straight min/maxers and power players the bow is the obvious choice.
(I need to test crowsbows, if you can fire them immediately after switching to it, that could be really beneficial sneak, bowshot, switch to xbow, xbow shot)

RamazansCreed23: Leveling smithing is easy all you Gotta do is craft arrows I highly recommend dwarven arrows because the ingots are cheaper and you can sell them for a tiny profit or more if you have perks or enchanted items
Skyrim : The Best Bow VS Crossbows 5 out of 5

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Skyrim : The Best Bow VS Crossbows