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Bow Reviews

Crossbow Review: Barnett Ghost 420

by Jon E. Silks   |  December 7th, 2017 0

Barnett has been a top crossbow manufacturer for 55 years, and with the new Ghost 420, the company continues to push the envelope in high-end performance.


Barnett Ghost 420

The Power
The power to produce the Ghost’s advertised 420 fps bolt speed comes from the “bow” component of the assembly. It is based on Barnett’s Carbonlite Riser, crafted from a super lightweight carbon material. Barnett says this removes approximately 43 percent of the weight from the front of the rig and adjusts the balance point farther toward the shooter. The step-through design also shortens overall length, improving the balance point by foregoing an add-on foot stirrup.

This keeps the power stroke in the shooter’s core strength range when cocking the 185-pound draw weight (reduced to 92.5 pounds with included cocking rope). Rubber bumpers on this section protect the riser when placed on the ground while cocking. A section of the riser is dished out just ahead of the rail receiver to allow broadheads to be safely drawn farther back.

The Ghost’s custom laminated Gordon Composite limbs are split and measure approximately 12.5 inches in length. They are anchored, controlled and aligned to the riser by the limb pocket system that employs a machined aluminum limb bolt cap and structural features built into the carbon riser. Limbs are matched into sets based on deflection values. A set of dual cams, which ride on steel axles and sealed bearings, powers this rig to speeds reaching 420 fps with a 380-grain bolt. Rubber string dampeners attached to the rail contact the string at the shot and quickly reduce string oscillation, which cuts down noise and vibration.

The Connector
Bridging the gap between the bow and the stock is Barnett’s extruded and machined aluminum rail, which is shaped, drilled and positioned to anchor the overall rig. A slot in the front of the rail accepts the bow’s cables and cable slide, while a single bolt locks the bow and rail together. Under the cable slot is a short section of Picatinny-style rail machined directly into the rail material. A large, pass-through foregrip and flight-path finger guards are attached to the rail approximately halfway along its length. The foregrip is intended to provide comfort and control as well as work with the finger guards to keep the shooter’s fingers below the flight deck. A cutout on the top of the stock accepts the rail where it is anchored in place.

The Interface
Barnett outfits the Ghost 420 with a plastic butt plate that can be replaced with an included rubber butt plate. They also gave their flagship rig dual cheek pieces and a pistol grip that is partially covered with a non-slip rubber wrap. The rubber wrap is contoured for finger placement to enhance control. An optional crank cocking mechanism can be mounted to the Ghost. Cocking weight is reduced from 185 pounds to 92.5 pounds with the included rope cocking device.

The Shot
The trigger, safety mechanisms, bolt retention brush and scope-mounting rail are found in or on the trigger housing, which is attached to the stock behind the rail. Barnett’s TriggerTech precision control system uses Frictionless Release Technology. A free-floating roller that sits between the trigger and sear gives the shooter a smoother pull and less creep compared to typical, weight-loaded triggers. The Ghost will only cock when the safety is in the “fire” position but automatically sets the safety and anti-dry fire
features when cocked.

Package Deal
The Ghost 420 comes with a 1.5-5×32 mm premium illuminated scope, rope cocking device, side-mount quiver, two 22-inch Headhunter bolts, Talon crossbow sling, rubber butt pad and lubrication wax.

Test Notes
The Ghost 420 was built for speed, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. It produces impressive amounts of kinetic energy capable of taking down just about any beast you want to pursue. Cocking the 185 pounds was not difficult, as the rope cocker reduces that effort by half, and the step-through riser keeps the hardest part of the draw well within your power range. The finger guards are curved downward, which actually makes them a little too comfortable to prop your thumb on — I would prefer bigger finger guards that curve up. Balance was good, and the rubber wrap on the pistol grip was comfortable. I had no issues sighting the scope on target, and the accuracy will absolutely get the job done.

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