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Barnett Ghost 385 Review

The name Barnett is synonymous with the crossbow world as it has been serving the industry for more than half a century. It sells crossbows around the globe and is recognized as a major player by anyone who knows the market. Barnett's Ghost 385 features a machined aluminum rail, lightweight thumbhole stock, Carbon Riser Technology (CRT), Reverse cams and more.


The "bow" portion of the Barnett Ghost 385 incorporates a special injection-molded carbon fiber riser that helps keep the overall mass weight to a minimum. I removed this piece from the rest of the bow and it tipped the scales at 3.1 pounds. It also features a step-through structure that allows the shooter to place their foot through the large opening in the riser and secure the crossbow to the floor or ground while cocking it.

Rubber trim on the contact surfaces protect the Ghost's carbon riser. A set of rubber string dampeners are positioned to cushion and deaden the string as it returns to rest after the shot. Ghost split limbs measure 12.5 inches in length and are manufactured using industry standard Gordon Composite material.

One of the more unique features on the new Barnett rig is the Reverse Cam system, which actually has the string come off the cam to the forward end of the crossbow (away from the shooter). This adds an additional 1.5 inches of power stroke and in turn makes the Ghost faster.


Barnett uses a lightweight, machined aluminum extrusion to construct its multi-functional rail. A short section of Picatinny rail is machined into the front of the main rail where there is a quiver mount receiver and sling mount. A slot in the end of the rail accepts the cables and is outfitted with a plastic wear plate to increase cable life.

Immediately behind the Picatinny rail is a large cutout section that is designed to fit with the clamshell foregrip, which simply attaches with two screws. The pass-through foregrip offers a solid hold on the crossbow. Above the cutout on either side of the rail are vented plastic "finger reminders" that are intended to provide a small barrier. This reminds you to keep your hand and fingers below the flight deck. The rail is bronze anodized.

Thumbhole Stock

The Ghost's stock reaches from the removable plastic butt plate to the foregrip, which is a separate piece. A lightweight glass-filled polypropylene material is injection-molded into the final form used to make the stock. A wider rear section features cheek plates that can be removed to expose an inner structure that accepts an optional crank cocking mechanism.

A rope cocking aid is included with your purchase of the Ghost 385. A pistol grip with a contoured rubber wrap is designed to offer maximum comfort and control. A trigger guard is also molded directly into the stock. A water transfer process is used to finish the stock in Realtree's Max-1 camo.

Trigger/String Retention Mechanics


The trigger is attached to a linkage that reaches back to the safety and string-retention components. As the crossbow is cocked, the Anti-Dry Fire mechanism and safety are automatically set. The string catch pivots out of the way as the string passes by to the cocked position, however, once it is past the catch, it returns to its upright position and will only pivot in the opposite direction and out of the way when the trigger is pulled.

There is also a trigger safety that prevents the crossbow from being fired unintentionally. Atop the trigger box you will find an illuminated reticle scope attached to a removable Picatinny rail. The four aiming points within the scope light up to either red or green, each with five different levels of light intensity.

At the Range

The lightweight Carbon Riser Technology (CRT) goes a long way toward making the Ghost 385 well-balanced. A short overall length not only results in super maneuverability, ideal for tight shooting quarters, but also makes it easier to cock as you remain in your "strength zone" while cocking. You do not get over extended.

I would like to see a bigger flare on the finger reminders and a stiffer rubber used for the string dampeners, as they both started to split shortly after the testing began. The accuracy test proved to me that I could knock the heart out of an animal easily at the test distance, and probably well beyond.

Hoyt Charger

Hoyt is well-known for producing some of the world's top bows year after year. Recent hits include the innovative Carbon line, Spyder Series, Vector, CRX, Maxxis and the one you still hear bowhunters talk about today, the AlphaMax.

What you may not know is that the same company with this impressive string of top-end stars also offers one of the best 'bang for your buck ' bows on the market — the Charger. Check out the full review.

Elite Hunter

On the equipment side, Elite introduces the 2013 Hunter bow. The Hunter Cam is the centerpiece in Elite's drive for shootability, while the modules guarantee optimal performance at every draw length. Other highlights include Barnsdale limbs, Limbsaver damping accessories, Winner's Choice strings/cables, Kolorfusion camo finishes, Cerakote performance coating and one of the best grips in the industry. Check out the full review.


PSE's 2013 X-Force Dream Season DNA is loaded with features, including the all-new Flex Cable Slide, Core Hybrid Cam, 4th Generation X-Technology limbs, Centerlock 2 limb pockets, forged reflex riser, B.E.S.T. Raptor grip, new BackStop string silencer, America's Best string/cables and Detachable Limb Bands. Check out the full review.

Bear Motive 6

Bear Archery enters 2013 with a laser-like focus on the success of your hunt. A statement on the Bear says it best: 'We have a saying at Bear Archery: It's not about the hype or high cost — it's about the hunt. This defines the essence of our company, which grew out of the life and work of legendary sportsman Fred Bear. '

The company's new Motive 6 bow is all about the hunt. The Motive 6 is loaded with many features, including the powerful H13 Synchronized Hybrid cams, Max Pre-Load Quad limbs, Dual Offset String Suppressors, 4×4 Roller Guard and Bear Logo Overmold grip. Check out the full review.

Mathews Chill

The Mathews McPherson Series line of bows is Matt McPherson's playground in the two-cam market. He loves to create and improve current designs and brings his considerable engineering expertise to the table as his company pulls it all together for an impressive package in the Monster Chill. Check out the full review.

Hoyt Spyder

Hoyt Archery, one of the industry's finest bow manufacturers, continues to push forward with new technologies and higher levels of performance. The new Spyder line was created by diehard bowhunters and designed with a clear purpose — getting the job done in the field. There are three bows in the line — Spyder 30, Spyder 34 and Spyder Turbo. Check out the full review.

Hoyt Vector

Hoyt has been in the bow making game for a very long time, and the company remains focused on its customers, technology and integrity. Hoyt makes top-notch bows that meet advertised performance specifications, and the company's people are some of the best in the industry. Hoyt came on strong again in 2012 with an impressive lineup, and the all-new Vector 32 is one of the shining stars.

The Hoyt Vector 32 features the popular TEC LITE riser design with the new Perfect Balance Stabilization System, RKT Cam & 1„2, XTS PRO ARC limbs, Pro-Lock X-Lite limb pockets, 180 Pro Fit grip, In-Line Roller Guard and more. Check out the full review.

Mathews Creed

If you have never had the privilege of touring the Mathews manufacturing facility in Sparta, Wisc., you can catch a glimpse of their world-class machinery and capabilities by watching the 'Introducing the Mathews Creed ' video found on the company website. Among other things, you will witness state-of-the-art CNC machining and futuristic robotics.

Mathews is focused on the enjoyment and overall experience an archer is afforded when shooting one of its bows. The flagship Creed was created with a synergistic approach, meaning they brought together all of the top technologies from previous models into mechanical and aesthetic harmony. The Creed is outfitted with the SimPlex Solocam, split parallel limbs, super lightweight GeoGrid Lock riser, and much more. Check out the full review.

BowTech Experience

Few bow manufacturers have wielded as much influence on the archery industry in recent years as BowTech. Driven by its 'Refuse to Follow ' motto, BowTech has built a strong following by taking bold design risks and developing a host of leading bow technologies.

For 2013, BowTech introduces the aptly named Experience, a bow designed to maximize the archer's overall shooting experience, with a strong focus on accuracy. This rig features the new CarbonCore Limbs and Extinguish Dampening System, along with a host of proven technologies such as the OverDrive Binary Cam System, Center Pivot Extreme Riser, Two-Piece Wood Grip, FLX Guard Cable-Containment System and Octane factory string and cables. Check out the full review.

Mathews Heli-M

For 20 years, Mathews Inc. has been wowing the archery community with fantastic technologies, features and performance. The company has long been considered one of the world's top bow makers and has served the entire bowhunting community by pushing the envelope. There is no denying that founder Matt McPherson and his hard-working team are a special bunch. The proof can be found at the end of the manufacturing line year after year.

The 2012 Heli-m, like all Mathews bows, is home to an array of technologies and features. It all starts with a super lightweight GeoGrid Lock riser, which is home to the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, Harmonic Stabilizer Lite, Dead End String Stop Lite and the Rich Walnut SlimFit Inline grip. Also featured on the new rig are the company's SphereLock Pivoting Limb Cup System with Limb Turret, SE5 Composite Limb System and the Heli-m Cam. Check out the full review.

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