ATA 2017: Best New Crossbows
January 10, 2017
The new year brings with it a new crop of crossbows, ranging from all new companies and bows to modest technological advancements on time-tested platforms. What follows is a brief overview of the cream of this year's crop.
There are plenty more that space, time and circumstance prevented us from telling you about...this time. Rest assured we'll be filling you in on those at a later date. For now, the best new crossbows of class of 2017.
Ravin's R9 ($1,549.99) is already getting a lot of attention at this year's show, and not just because they're the new kid in town. Patented HeliCoil Technology coils cables away from both the top and bottom of the cams in helical grooves to keep them perfectly balanced, allowing for a near full 340-degree rotation while keeping cams perfectly level for increased speed and downrange accuracy. It also allows both string and arrow to free-float above the rail eliminating string friction and reducing shot noise while improving fletch clearance, and achieving an astonishingly small 6-inch axle-to-axle width. And if that's not enough, The Trac Trigger Firing System creates a perfectly balanced draw, and works in conjunction with the Versa Draw Cocking System for easy cocking and un-cocking. The R9's 195-pound draw weight and 13-inch power-stroke are rated at 390 fps. It's available in Predator camo and comes with six arrows, nocks and field points; removable cocking handle, quiver and mounting bracket, 100-yard illuminated scope and built-in cocking mechanism.
Horton Crossbow Innovations
Horton trimmed down last year's debut Storm RDX to create this year's Vortec RDX ($999 w/ACUdraw; $799 w/Dedd Sled 50), featuring a lighter, narrower (9.375 inches when cocked) reverse-draw bow assembly, a new stock designed for improved handling and comfort and a new machined, lightweight aluminum riser fitted with proprietary Over-the-Top limb pocket and Zytel Limb Suspension System that reduce sound and vibration. Pockets hold 12-inch, 135-pound limbs powered by a new Reaper Cam System and new Brownell Rhino string and cables to produce a speed rating of 340 fps. Package includes cocking device, scope, three carbon arrows, string stop system and a quiver.
Last year's new kid, Browning, is adding another model to their ZeroSeven crossbows line. Like its forbears the OneSevenOne features a smooth, no-creep three-pound Triggertech trigger system with FRT (Frictionless Release Technology), a patented flight track hook groove that keeps cams aligned when cocking for repeatable accuracy and a soft touch rubber textured Comfort Ledge Palm rest with proprietary rubber finger reminders to help suppress vibration and sound while also enhancing safety. The Integrated CCD (Crank Cocking Device) system reduces draw weight to a fraction of the 170 pounds that ultimately propels arrows at 390 fps with 135 foot pounds of kinetic energy.
I was delighted to see Barnett re-designed one of my not so old favorites into the BC ReVengeance ($999). Like the original it still features reverse draw technology for better balance, less shock and noise and more power with less power stroke. But this 155-pound version offers more speed — 400 fps — and energy at 129 f00t pounds. It also a new crisp, smooth "rifle-like" Triggertech Trigger. The package includes side mount quiver, two 20-inch arrows, rope cocking device and illuminated 4x32 scope.
Built on their popular Micro 355 platform, the Excalibur Micro Suppressor ($1,299) features an over-molded, rubberized stirrup and hold-down spring, Ex Shox, String Stars, and R.A.V.S. (Recoil Anti Vibration System) silencers, all of which work in sync to reduce vibration and noise. Meanwhile, a comfortable and lightweight Bullpup Ready Rest stock reduces overall length of this 5.4-pound bow by 2.5 inches — compared to the 335. The X Hanger quiver features a quick detach, lightweight carbon design and attaches to a three-sided tactical Picatinny rail that allows for additional accessory attachments, and the 280-pound draw weight is rated for 355 fps.
The Carbon Phantom RCX ($1,799 w/ACUdraw; $1,699 w/ACUdraw 50) from TenPoint features a newly engineered ACX (Adjustable Comfort Crossbow) stock molded from PolyOne OnForce polypropylene and featuring a one-piece adjustable cheek and butt plate that slides along a rail and can be secured in any position within a 1-inch range to match the shooter's length-of-pull. Its reverse cam bow assembly includes 10.5-inch RCX limbs and Brownell Rhino string and cables. Combine that with a 19.9-inch wrapped carbon fiber barrel and you get blistering speed (385fps), and maximum efficiency and adjustability with minimal (160-lb) draw weight. Meanwhile, its newly designed, machined aluminum riser features Over-the-Top limb pocket and Zytel Limb Suspension System that both separate and isolate the limbs from direct contact with the riser to reduce sound and vibration, as well as pre-installed String Dampening Rods (SDR) that further reduce noise and vibration. Package includes cocking mechanism, scope, six Pro Elite carbon arrows, String Dampening Rods (SDR) and a quiver.
Safety and performance were the key elements CAMX considered when designing the CAMX X330 ($999.99). Patented Thumbsaver technology prevents the operator's fingers from enter the string path. A multiple-point trigger safety and the fully-enclosed PAR (Pivoting Arrow Retention) system make it impossible for the bow to be fired unless the arrow is entirely engaged within the system. Meanwhile, the single-piece aluminum Monobloc system and all-steel Weaver-style scope rings eliminate the risk of the ARC Scope shifting, and with a meager 12.5-inch power stroke it's rated at 330 fps and guaranteed shoot 1-inch groups at 20 yards, and sub-2-inch groups at 100 yards with the included AccuSpine™ arrows and field points.
Once again, Killer Instinct has taken tactical form and function to the extreme, this time with the SWAT ($1,100). Its patented Concealed String Technology (CST) compresses the string into an Enclosed Double Barrel System (DBS) wherein the string floats free between the barrels to eliminate friction and improve accuracy. The arrow and broadhead are completely concealed in the barrel (instead of riding on top) for improved safety and the DBS also acts as a noise and vibration suppressor. The barrel also doubles as an ultra-comfortable cheek rest providing a "super-bullpup," forward grip design. A 17.5-inch power stroke, 29-inch total length, 160-pound draw weight and rated speed of 390+ fps make this one of the fastest and shortest crossbows available.
The Tornado XXtreme ($849.95) features Parker's new XXT (Xbow Xtreme Technology), combining four revolutionary innovations into a single high performance unit. Inverted Cam technology reverses cams to maximize power stroke while minimizing overall length for greater levels of stored energy and higher speed. Split Limb Array Array technology arranges limbs in a parallel configuration to keep the crossbow narrow and lightweight. High Performance (HP) Synergy Cam technology builds force quickly and holds stored energy steady at the peak throughout the draw cycle until let-off, providing greater efficiency, better performance and a smoother release off the trigger latch. And Parker's Cavity-Back Riser technology spreads the limbs apart creating an opening in the riser for the foot stirrup, dramatically reducing overall length and weight. The result is extreme (365 fps) speed, supreme accuracy and quiet operation in a compact, narrow and light-weight platform. Package includes a RED HOT premium scope, RED HOT sling, RED HOT split limb dampeners, a Quick Detach 4-arrow quiver, four RED HOT High Velocity carbon arrows with field points and a lifetime warranty.
CenterPoint's Gladiator Whisper ($749.95) features a tactical and compact design with adjustable stock and finger grips on the trigger handle and fore grip for increased stability and a Whisper Silencing System that includes dual string stops, two limb dampeners and two spider silencers. At just 13.5 inches from axle-to-axle it's compact and maneuverable yet is rated for 405 fps. And its Field-Ready package has three 390-grain carbon arrows, a rope cocker, sling, rail lube and illuminated 4x32mm scope.