Without question, one of the fastest growing items within the bowhunting community has been the crossbow. As more and more states allow the use of crossbows for hunting—helping get people who may not otherwise be interested or able into the sport—that trend looks like it will continue well into the future.
As interest grows, so does the number of manufacturers and the quality of innovations coming down the pike, which is evident this year at the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show in Louisville, Ky. To help keep you up to date on the latest and greatest from the trade show floor, we at Petersen’s Bowhunting have put together 10 of the most exciting new crossbows for 2013.
Arrow Precision Firestorm II
The Inferno Firestorm II from Arrow Precision has a relatively modest crossbow draw weight at 165 pounds, yet it will still shoot a blazing 375 fps thanks to its compression-molded limbs, CNC-machined aluminum cam system and aircraft-grade aluminum risers.
The ultralight trigger requires only 2.4 pounds of pull, while Next Vista soft touch microprint camouflage adds comfort, grip and style. The Firestorm II weighs 8.2 pounds and measures 40 1⁄2 inches long.
Like all Inferno crossbows, the Firestorm II comes packed with standard features such as a 4x32 illuminated (red and green) scope, padded shoulder sling, four 20-inch carbon bolts with 100-grain practice points, rope cocking device, quick-detach quiver and safety goggles.
The new reverse-draw configuration of Barnett’s Vengeance moves the limb pockets closer to the trigger assembly and faces the limbs forward, shifting the center of gravity closer to the shooter’s body to reduce front-end weight.
Meanwhile, a CarbonLite riser assembly reduces overall weight to 7.9 pounds without compromising strength or accuracy.
This compact unit measures 34 1⁄4 inches long and 24 inches wide while boasting an 18-inch power stroke, 140-pound draw weight and speed rating of 365 fps. Decorated in a carbon-fiber finish or high-definition camouflage, the Vengeance is available through retailers as a complete package with quick-detach quiver, three 22-inch bolts and an illuminated 3x32 multi-reticle scope.
Carbon Express X-Force 350
The X-Force 350 from Carbon Express has many new design features, not the least of which is a tactical, lightweight composite stock with a one-piece, ergonomic profile for improved comfort and accuracy.
It also features an adjustable forearm on a Picatinny rail with more than five inches of travel for customized fit, a durable cast riser with rubber-coated foot stirrup, heavy-duty compression-molded limbs, a trigger box safety system for smooth, consistent performance and SilenTech coating for stealth and performance in the field.
The X-Force 350 weighs 7.6 pounds, has a 165-pound draw weight, 12-inch power stroke and 300 fps speed rating. It comes with Carbon Express PileDriver 20-inch crossbolts with moon nocks and a 4x32 multi-reticle scope.
Excalibur Matrix 380 Xtra
Excalibur’s new Matrix 380 Xtra is a shining example of addition by subtraction. Excalibur shaved off six inches of width, four inches of length and a full pound of weight compared to previous models while boosting speed to a whopping 380 fps and 112.3 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.
In addition to being the first compact recurve crossbow, the 5.9-pound Matrix 380 Xtra is loaded with revolutionary performance enhancements. Reduced length (35.63 inches) is due in part to the new, compact Ergo Grip stock, which provides better balance and ergonomic design features such as a thumbhole, pistol grip, finger guards on the fore-end and warm, soft, non-slip rubber grip inserts.
A Quad-Loc riser contains each of the new PowerLoad limbs — touted to be 60 percent stronger than previous versions — on four sides for added consistency and accuracy. Improved geometry means reduced friction and wear on the BCY Dynaflight 97 string for increased speed and efficiency and reduced creep.
Integrated, adjustable R.E.D.S. (Recoil Energy Dissipation System) string suppressors reduce vibration, noise and shock. A self-contained Guardian Anti-Dry Fire System, housed in the scope mount, catches the string, preventing the crossbow from firing if triggered without a bolt in place.
And a built-in release allows you to easily de-cock so you do not have to fire a shot at the end of the day. The Matrix 380 Xtra is dressed in Realtree Xtra camouflage and outfitted with a Tact-Zone scope, a cheek piece, a four-bolt quiver, four Diablo bolts with 150-grain fieldpoints and a rope cocking aid.
Mission Archery MXB-360
Mission Archery, a division of Mathews, is jumping into the fast-growing crossbow market in 2013 with the all-new MXB-360. As the name implies, this sleek, tactically inspired crossbow has a speed rating of 360 fps with a 160-pound draw weight and 14-inch power stroke.
The MXB-360 is relatively light among crossbows at 6.55 pounds and fairly compact at 35 inches long and 19 1⁄2 inches wide. A slotted rail and a riser that doubles as a foot stirrup helps reduce weight and improve balance.
Draw weight can be reduced to as little as 100 pounds simply by adjusting the limb bolts. You can also change the string and cables without a bow press.
The MXB-360 is finished in Lost AT camo and comes with a customized Mission soft case with added storage for accessories. Mission also offers optional accessory packages that include an MX-3 Quiver, three customized Mission crossbow bolts and a Hawke scope of your choice.
Parker’s StingRay crossbow is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater bowfishing. Compact and lightweight (7.5 pounds), it’s easy to maneuver, aim and shoot on the water.
The StingRay features an adjustable draw-weight range from 100-125 pounds, so it can be customized to your particular quarry; and draw-weight adjustment can be made without tools, a bow press or additional parts.
The StingRay package includes your choice of an open sight or a non-magnified, illuminated multi-reticle scope, AMS Retriever Pro bowfishing reel, bowfishing arrow with Muzzy Gator Getter Point and mounting hardware, 25 yards of 200-pound, high-visibility braided Dacron line and an integrated arrow quiver. The StingRay is appropriately decorated in Fishouflage Camo.
PSE TAC Elite
PSE completely redesigned its TAC series of AR-platform crossbows for 2013 to be more accurate, more efficient and more durable.
The all-new TAC Elite comes complete with a fully adjustable stock and crisp trigger assembly. The TAC Elite features PSE’s incredibly strong X-Tech limbs in an extremely compact platform that measures 41 1⁄2 inches long and 22 inches wide.
The 9-pound crossbow offers a high-performance, twin-cam design that generates bolt speeds up to 405 fps with a 150-pound draw weight and 17 1⁄4-inch power stroke.
The TAC Elite is available only in black and comes standard as a package that includes a case, scope, bipod and three bolts.
Scorpyd’s new, 80-pound draw weight Ventilator crossbow is a scaled down version of the original designed with the increasing number of women, youth and senior hunters in mind.
At just 80 pounds, this crossbow is extremely easy for almost any hunter to cock, but with 75 foot-pounds of kinetic energy and speeds up to 310 fps, it still has plenty of knock-down power.
The compact size (35 3⁄4 inches long, 19 1⁄2 inches wide) makes it easy to maneuver in a treestand or the tight quarters of a ground blind. The Ventilator 80 comes with a folding stock for easier cocking in the seated position and weighs just 7.8 pounds thanks to a vented barrel and forged riser.
Like all Scorpyd crossbows, the Ventilator 80 comes with reverse-draw Barnsdale limbs, which have a generous power stroke of 18 3⁄4 inches to produce more kinetic energy with less draw weight.
It comes with a 3-pound trigger and your choice of Hawke optic.
Stryker Strykezone 380
New for 2013, Stryker’s popular StrykeZone 380 is available in the tactically inspired Black Ops finish. The StrykeZone 380 has a 160-pound draw weight, 15 1⁄2-inch power stroke and a speed rating of 380 fps.
It features a molded rear stock with generous cheek piece and fixed, slotted handle pistol grip, a machined aluminum barrel and riser, Octane string and cables and a KillSwitch trigger rated at less than 3 pounds of pull with less than .015-inch of travel.
The StrykeZone also features an Auto-Flip magnetic safety that clicks on every time the receiver is lifted or the bow is cocked, and is engineered to click back into safe mode if the crossbow is dropped or the bolt is removed.
There’s also a double barred Cease-Fire safety plug insert that slides into place, locking the jaws and immobilizing the trigger until you remove it and are ready to shoot. The StrykeZone 380 comes with the GameOver package that includes five bolts, quiver, multi-reticle scope, shoulder sling, cocking aid and string stops.
TenPoint's lightweight (6.8 pounds) and remarkably quiet Vapor employs a novel design platform for TenPoint, focused on speed and maneuverability.
The ultra-compact Vapor features TenPoint’s new 165-pound, 360 fps PLT (Parallel Limb Technology) bow assembly, fitted with 11-inch IsoTaper Limbs, new HE (Hybrid Eccentric) cams and custom fabricated Viper X 8190G string and cables for dramatically reduced recoil and noise.
It measures just12.6-inches wide axle-to-axle when cocked, and an intricately webbed and lightweight, machined aluminum riser is optimized for weight reduction and strength. A new bullpup stock features strategically placed cutouts for reduced weight and improved balance, along with optimal comb height and length of pull.
The Vapor also features TenPoint’s wrapped carbon fiber barrel and PowerTouch trigger. The integrated SDS String Dampening System, along with rubber inserts between the barrel and stock and dual-purpose rubber safety wings, keep noise and vibration to a minimum.
The Vapor comes complete as a package that includes bolts, quiver, soft case and ACUdraw or ACUdraw 50 cocking system.