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.

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