Carbon Express Intercept Review

Regardless of whether you are a fan of black (tactical) weapons, you have to admit they have certain advantages, not the least of which is versatility. While several compound and crossbow makers have adopted the black, tactical look to acknowledge increased consumer interest, Carbon Express has embraced it largely because of that versatility.

In fact, that's the concept behind what the company is calling its new I-Crossbow line, and its first representative, the Intercept. It provides a precision platform with amazing adjustability designed to help you shoot better. No longer do you have to adapt to your crossbow. Now, you can make it fit you, regardless of your body size, shooting style or hunting situation.


Riding the Rails


The foundation of the Intercept's versatility is a whopping 29 inches of Picatinny rail, allowing you to customize various sections of the bow (top, forearm and stock) to your preference.


Most crossbows provide roughly six inches of rail above the riser on which to mount your optic. That's enough in most, but not all, cases. I encountered two instances in the last year when I was unable to mount my preferred optic on other models. In one case, I couldn't achieve acceptable eye relief. In another, the fixed-distance rings wouldn't line up with the rail slot spacing.


The Intercept has a generous 15 inches of top rail, running nearly the length of the barrel. With that, shooters should be able to find the right position for proper eye relief and field of view with virtually any optic, whether it be AR-style mechanical sights, a conventional scope for daytime hunting or night-vision optics for predators and hogs.

It also allows for a second bolt-retention spring toward the front of the rail. Yes, the friction might cost you a foot or two per second, but I'm willing to trade that for a more secure grip. It doesn't happen often, but occasionally maneuvering into awkward positions can cause the front end of the bolt to flop around. That won't happen on the Intercept.


Under the barrel/riser, you'll find another four-inch, eight-position rail, to which you attach the six-position AR-style butt stock. The combination of rail and stock allows for length-of-pull adjustment from 13-19.5 inches, providing a comfortable, custom fit for anyone from the smallest youth to tallest adult. The butt stock and pistol grip are also collapsible for storage and transport.

Last but not least is a nine-inch foregrip rail, which allows you to find the most comfortable, ergonomic position. The foregrip itself also has multiple positions, including vertical, two 45-degree angles (forward and back) or folded away for storage and carry.

If you're really into tactical stuff, the three rails and other connection points will accommodate most military or mil-spec parts and accessories, as well as the quick-detach three-bolt quiver. You can even replace the butt stock and pistol grip with your favorite, if you have one.

The Intercept has a few other neat features worth mentioning. I particularly liked the angled, low-profile design of the compact foot stirrup.  First, it reduces overall bow length — better for small-framed shooters.  Second, the angle and lower position of the rope cocking slot make the bow lean into the shooter when drawing. This affords a little extra leverage and more importantly, reduces the chances of the draw mechanism slipping up over the arrow retention spring.

The Intercept's stock tube and both grips have internal storage for carrying tools, extra strings, tags or licenses. And accuracy is enhanced by the rifle-like, 3.5-pound trigger.

The Intercept comes with a 4x32 Crossbow Pro 5-Step Lighted Scope. Crosshairs and red and green illuminated circles maximize sight visibility under varying light conditions, and the reticle is graduated for ranges from 20-50 yards. The scope comes with flip-open lens caps and one-inch, quick-detach rings.

In the Field

Despite its tactical form and function, the Intercept is a hunting crossbow. Perhaps more appealing to the hunter is the Intercept's compact design (13.5 inches axle-to-axle when cocked and 30.25-36.75 inches long, depending on stock adjustment), making it ideal for tight spots such as treestands and ground blinds.

The Intercept's carbon-infused, fiberglass limbs and high-performance cams, combined with a 13.5-inch power stroke and 175-pound draw weight, propel lightweight Carbon Express Maxima Blue Streak bolts at speeds in excess of 360 fps, with

kinetic energy of 122 foot-pounds. To explain that in practical terms, my bolt blew through two targets at 15 yards and buried almost completely in the dirt.

There is a cost for all that power. Without fancy, technical noise-measuring equipment, I'd rate the Intercept on the higher side of average in terms of shot noise. And though I wouldn't call it recoil, you will feel a little jump at the shot. However, it is not enough to affect accuracy if you're holding properly.

Conclusion

Black guns, and now black bows, are the latest crossover trend from tactical to practical field use. However, the Intercept is more than just a trend follower. Its convertible design is a trendsetter, allowing any shooter to make it fit in terms of both form and function. It also offers top-of-the-line components and parts for a precise, reliable shooting platform.

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Carbon Express, 800-241-4833

Model: Intercept

Draw Weight: 175 pounds

Power Stroke: 13.5 inches

Speed: 360 fps

Kinetic Energy: 122 foot-pounds

Length: 30.25-35 inches, depending on stock setting

Width: 17 inches at rest, 13.5 inches when cocked

Weight: 8.3 pounds (not including scope, quiver, bolts and foregrip)

Trigger Pull: 3.5 pounds

MSRP: $899

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 'œbang 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 DNA

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: 'œWe 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 'œIntroducing 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 'œRefuse 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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