Throwing in my $.02. I’m not very good with a compound bow and have been shopping for a crossbow for a while (money’s been more of an issue than finding what I want), and I’ve learned a few things. Anything over 300 feet per second is more than adequate to put a bolt through a deer. Faster will shoot flatter, but with adequate target practice you should be able to estimate the range of the area around your stand and hit anything within 40 yards. There just isn’t any reason to spend a few hundred more dollars to get the latest and greatest because it’s 20 feet per second faster.
Balance is important and a lot of crossbows are very front heavy. I love the Parker Tornado. That sucker is just sweet to hold. The only thing I don’t like about the Tornado is it’s a compound, which means I’ll be dependent on someone else to do the maintenance on my bow. A friend of mine strongly recommends the Excalibur. It’s light, shoots fast, and he can change the strings in the field, something you can’t do with a compound.