The lighter the better ! If you carry any distance at all ! Even with a sling they seem awkward !Get a high quality scope as well ! For whitetails 175# is a good pull weight ! A cranck option would be very handy !
I had two Parkers and recommend them highly. I bought the first one, 150-pound Terminator, because of the trigger - Parkers have a linkage that increases the trigger's leverage on the string hook. You have to remember that the hook will have 150 or more pounds of string pressure bearing upon it and pulling it down to release the string makes for a high trigger pull weight unless there is some sort of linkage that reduces that effort. The Parker representative with whom I met described the trigger as "rifle-like" and it was good descriptive. Crossbows are very rifle-like bows and as with a firearm, the trigger is important to accuracy. I harvested all three deer at which I shot with it.
I bought the second one, a 165-pound Tornado, because of how much I liked my older one. The newer one offered some new features I liked plus was even lighter than the old one, which was lighter than any other bow I looked at (in fairness, there was one or two I wasn't able to shoot). The Tornado weighs just eight pounds with optics and quiver and the camo finish has a "soft" feel to it. I never took the Tornado hunting as my shoulder problem worsened to the point where I couldn't draw it without pain even with the cocking rope that comes with it.
I went with a three-dot optic instead of a scope because at archery ranges, magnification isn't of value and I found the Parker three-dot optic to be calibrated very closely to my bow's arrow speed at 20, 30 and 40 yards. It also offered a choice of red or green dots, which I found to be a beneficial feature in differing light conditions, and several different brightness levels.
I have had an Excalibur matrix 405 and 400, if I did it again I would get the matrix 380. I would stay away from the matrix micros and all Barnett made bows. My dad just bought a $350 Wicked Ridge that I was very impressed with other than the cheap scope. I would suggest using a crank cocking aid for the consistent repeatability and luminated nocks for hunting.
At the ATA Archery Trade Association Show in 2015 I took the time to shoot all of the crossbows represented there. Some were somewhat impressive in speed but were quite noisy and had a lot of vibration. The quieter ones were heavy with less vibration. The reverse limb compound crossbows were in my opinion the best thing going as far as being compact, far less recoil and much quieter. They would be easier to carry and would require less room to be able to shoot from. I would suggest getting a model that can be cocked using a cranking device as it will take several shot to sight in and to practice with. The rope will get old fast. Just my opinion. Bill Hom -- Retired archery pro shop owner
I have an Excalibur micro 335. Love it and wouldn't get anything but Excalibur as you can replace the string yourself and less moving parts to go bad. Ten point is great too along with a few others just more moving parts. Stay away from Barnet at all costs.