If you know crossbows, you know Barnett. It has been at this game a long time — over 50 years, in fact. However, while Barnett brings extensive experience and expertise of an "older" company to the market, it still has a spring in its step and a great passion for the work it does. Combined, those qualities make Barnett one of the top crossbow manufacturers in the world.
The 2014 Barnett Razr is a unique crossbow with an integrated skinning knife, storage compartments and underarm support. It also features composite carbon construction with titanium inlays, pass-through forearm, Picatinny rails, carbon riser, compact split limbs and dual cams.
MacGyver, Meet Rambo
It all starts with a stock that actually spans from the butt plate all the way up to the connecting interface with the crossbow riser. It is made with a proprietary process and a material Barnett calls composite carbon fiber. There are also titanium inlays around the pass-through stock and forearm, which add to the look of the rig.
The stock is skeletonized, which basically means it has an outer frame surrounding a large cutout to reduce weight and create access to the pistol grip. And then there is an integrated skinning knife that Barnett calls the Razr Blade — complete with a gut hook! Just rotate the lock on the stock's bottom side and pop the knife out, which is held in place with a strong magnet and protected by a sheath.
Some of the other features located on the stock include an adjustable butt plate, pistol grip, sling post, Retractable Underarm Support, interchangeable cheek piece and a receiver for an optional crank-style cocking device. The Retractable Underarm Support is designed to offer counterbalance stability by eliminating pivot potential. A soft semi-wrap is anchored to the front of the pistol grip and is contoured with three textured finger grooves.
Another MacGyver-esque feature is located in the forearm/foregrip — a hidden compartment that opens where the shooter's palm would normally rest when preparing to fire the crossbow. Of course you can put anything in there that will fit, but it seems just about right for an extra string and cables.
Above the foregrip is a set of small flares that are there to act as a reminder to keep your fingers and thumb below the flight deck. Ahead of the foregrip is a short section of Picatinny rail that serves as the quiver-mounting platform and is drilled and tapped for another sling post. Deck it all out in a tactical matte black finish and you have a rig Rambo would be proud to carry.
Rail and Trigger
The Razr's aluminum rail is anchored on top of the stock/forearm and features an interchangeable flight track to allow shooting of standard and smaller-diameter shafts. Also attached to the rail assembly is the firing mechanism, which is connected to the metal injection-molded trigger through a linkage.
Trigger pull is advertised at 3.5 pounds. When the crossbow is cocked, the Anti-Dry Fire system kicks into place and will not allow the string to be released until a bolt is correctly loaded. A trigger safety is also engaged and will not allow a shot to be fired until moved to the red "off" position. Attached to the trigger assembly cover is a Picatinny rail and an included Premium Illuminated scope. The six aiming points can be illuminated red to varying intensities.
The Rest of the Story
Barnett employs proprietary process to create its CarbonLite riser. This process and the carbon fiber material remove an advertised 43 percent of the weight on the front end. This, of course, repositions the Razr's balance point further back the unit and is intended to increase the shooter's control.
A large opening near the riser's front end allows the shooter to anchor the crossbow to the ground or floor with their foot while cocking. Another Barnett feature is its Reverse Cam System. When cocked, the string comes off the inside of the dual cams — opposite of the norm — and increases the power stroke, and in turn the speed, without making the bow longer.
A set of composite split limbs, Barnett custom cables and string and integrated string suppressors round out the bow.
At the Range
Barnett's scope was clear, the accuracy test was tight and the speeds were very close to as advertised. The adjustable butt plate made it easy to find a good fit and the pistol grip was comfortable. I would decrease the distance between the pistol grip and trigger, increase the size of the flares intended to prevent fingers from getting into the flight path and smooth out the butt plate adjustment.
The start of serving separation was noted. Cocking the bow was not difficult with the standard rope device, which included a spacer that was a nice addition.
Manufacturer: Barnett Crossbows, 727-234-4999
Safety Features: Anti-Dry Fire trigger mechanism, Trigger safety
Weight (crossbow only): 6.5 pounds (advertised); 7.5 pounds (as tested)
Draw Weight: 185 pounds
Power Stroke: 16 inches
Cam System: Extended Power Stroke Reverse Cam
Riser: Step-through, injection-molded carbon fiber
Limbs: Split, Gordon Composite Glass
String: DF97, 41 inches
Cables: DF97, 20 inches
Grip: Pistol, semi-wrap soft touch
Finish: Black Matte
Forearm: Injection-molded carbon fiber, pass-through
Overall Length: 35€‰1„16 inches, with minimum butt plate extension
Advertised Speed: 400 fps, with 400-grain bolt
Suggested Retail Price: $1,600
Comments: Easy to cock, easy to maneuver and accurate.