March 13, 2018
By Bob Humphrey
Folks often associate certain stereotypes with different regions of the country. Texans are sometimes considered to be proud. West coasters are laid back. Southerners are easy going. Up in New England, Yankees have a reputation for being exceedingly pragmatic, particularly when it comes to money. Being one, I can attest it's a fairly accurate representation.
And when folks in my part of the country ask about recommendations for new crossbows, they always qualify it with some mention of trying to keep the cost down. I suspect they're not the only ones who feel that way. Fortunately, there's some real value out there in so-called price point bows. So for their benefit as well as anyone else out there of the same ilk, here are some suggestions on how to scrimp on expenses, but not on quality.
Carbon Express PileDriver 390
If you really want to save money, find a bow that fits multiple family members, like the 185-pound $399.99 PileDriver 390, which features a multi-position adjustable foregrip and adjustable buttstock on its lightweight, compact slim-line stock. Then there's the quick-detach 3-arrow quiver, three PileDriver 20-inch arrows, rail lube and 4x32mm scope included in the ready-to-hunt package that includes a free Quiet Crank Cocker ($100 value).
CenterPoint Mercenary Whisper 390
When you see a number in the name of a bow, it typically describes the speed rating. This one, however, also hints at price. At the top of Crosman's CenterPoint line, yet still a bargain at $399.99, the 185-pound Mercenary Whisper 390 features a lightweight aluminum barrel and a shoot-through riser tricked out with high performance quad limbs and a machined cam system. Its adjustable, tactical stock with cheek pad and comfort grips affords a custom fit and a non-slip grip, while the narrow axle-to-axle width offers compact mobility.
The 175-pound Apocalypse is a real "Bear" of a bow, boasting a blazing 370 fps and 111 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. But at a bargain basement $299.99, its bristling with features like a stock with 3 inches of length adjustability, an adjustable cheek piece and an adjustable fore end grip mounted on a picatanny-style rail system. Also, you'll find a dual mount string recoil suppressor system, as well as three K20 carbon arrows, a quiver, a detachable sling, rail lube/string wax, a cocking rope and a 4x32 scope with a multi-cross reticle and a focusing eye piece.
Killer Instinct SWAT 408
For this year's $599 SWAT 408, Killer Instinct kept its patented Concealed String Technology (CST), which compresses the string into the barrel and doubles as an ultra-comfortable cheek rest. Also back is the Enclosed Double Barrel System (DBS) wherein the string floats free in between the barrels to eliminate friction, improve accuracy and suppress noise and vibration — not to mention providing total in-barrel concealment of the bolt and broadhead for improved safety. But this version's 17.5-inch powerstroke and 165-pound draw weight help it achieve its nominate 408 fps.
Parker ThunderHawk Pro
Parker put proprietary Advanced Split Limb Technology with an integrated Fulcrum Pocket System and aluminum Synergy Cams into a relatively compact 20.25-inch axle-to-axle assembly to accomplish a blistering 330 fps speed rating. Then they added a factory installed and tuned Anti-Vibration and Shock (AVS) System to subtract noise and vibration, and a bull-pup trigger and ergonomic textured pistol grip to improve handling and maneuverability. And you get it all on the ThunderHawk Pro for just $599.95.
PSE Thrive 400
It should come as no surprise to anyone that PSE crossbows have the same proven limb, string and cable technology used in their compounds. Combining that with reverse cam technology allows the Thrive 400 to achieve its nominate 400 FPS speed rating. Meanwhile, a Soft Touch grip and cheek rest enhance comfort and control, and a new rubber-coated folding foot stirrup doubles as a stand and shortens the overall length for storage. That and an upgraded accessory package with a five-arrow quiver, four 22-inch Carbon Thunder arrows with 100-grain bullet points, a 22-inch discharge bolt, string stops, a 4x32 illuminated multi-reticle scope, limb bands, a cocking rope and rail lube are all included for $599.99.
The $849.96 DeathStalker is crossbow wiz Jim Kempf's response to customer requests for an affordable Scorpyd. He made it possible largely through a patented carbon composite frame that combines a riser, limb pockets, a barrel and a finger guard into one sleek, lightweight yet powerful unit. He also added a new glass-smooth, multi-patented Kempf-TEC SEER-LOC 2.5-pound trigger with an adjustable two-position trigger arm that allows precise control of trigger travel.
Wicked Ridge Invader X4
Acknowledging the growing trend toward lighter, shorter bows, this latest generation of Wicked Ridge's best-selling Invader line is a full 1 1/4-inch shorter, a half pound lighter and four inches narrower than its predecessor. But at 360, its a full 30 fps faster than the G3. Much of that is accomplished through an all-new, lighter yet stronger glass-filled polypropylene stock and newly designed riser with 11-inch WRX laminated limbs powered by heavy-duty machined 4S Cams and DynaFLIGHT 97 string and cables. And it comes with your choice of the pre-installed ACUdraw ($659.99) or the ACUdraw 50 ($559.99) cocking mechanism that reduces its draw weight to roughly five pounds.