It depends. Crossbows are quiet and you can conceivably make your own bolts. I haven't used one in a long time but the draw on the cable isn't fast. If you're in a bind I believe I'd go with a compoud bow before I'd go with a crossbow.
The only time a suppressed rifle isn't the way to go is when it turns in to a club. A regular rifle is going to get you out of the shit but it is noisy. And, when it is empty it is a club.
I can reload and do. I've got stores saved up. I don't expect to "need" to use my stores unless there would be a total Apocalypse. I've got plenty of ammo stored and I replace it as I use it. I've also got access to over 100K rounds of .223 rem and 45 acp.
I think it kinda depends on where you live. If you are out in the country with less population and less chance of someone hearing shots and drawing zed and looters, I say rifle.
If you are in a highly populated area where you must be quieter and steathier, then cross bow. The only thing with a cross bow is the torque it takes to load it. I think it would slow you down on the reloads So, I think Prime is right about a compound bow.
Me? I'd have every possible weapon that I could get my hands on including a stick with nails. Why limit yourself ? (grin)
Why not both. there is conversion kit for the AR-15 rifle so you can convert it to a crossbow in about a minute then convert back to a rifle in the same amount of time!
Yeah I've seen those advertised. Good idea...
The more I think about it the more I'd go with a compound bow over a crossbow. The torque of the draw on a crossbow kind of settles it. In fact I'd likely go with a child size compound bow. Shorter draw and they have sufficient power. GOOGLE PSE MINI BURNER. a beginners hunter built for kids but with a 40 lbs. draw. You can penetrate with that. it can be used by kids and adults. its lightweight.
Why throw away a weapon?
Depends on whether your a silent assassin or want everyone in 10 clicks to know your position. But, if I was to use a gun it would have to use a large clip for horde removal and defense.