August 02, 2018
By Jon E. Silks
Ravin set the crossbow world on fire as a new company last year, and that momentum carried right into 2018. Ravin's shooting platform is something special, and the company is working hard to further enhance its products and push the limits of design.
Coiled and Ready
Ravin's HeliCoil Technology is at the heart of what sets its crossbows apart from all others on the market. The result is improved efficiency, a more compact bow and tremendous downrange accuracy.
The cable anchor bracket is built into the riser and positioned four inches up the rail. Cables, two on each side, come straight off the cam and directly attach to the bracket without any pressure on the cables, cams or limbs. In contrast to a typical configuration that feeds cables through a slot in the rail, the Ravin system aligns every component for reduced friction and higher efficiency. The HeliCoil name comes from two helical grooves on each cam that coil the cables away from the top and bottom of the cams to keep them level and balanced — zero canting. Another plus that springs from the spiral action is the ability to rotate the cams 340 degrees, as there is no overlapping of the cables.
The HeliCoil design impacts all major systems, including the rail, which is non-traditional in that it does not support the bolt. Rather, it provides a structural connection between the riser and stock while serving as the track for the Trac Trigger Firing System (TTFS). The lack of cables crossing over or through the rail allows Ravin to position the bolt and string above the rail rather than on it. A rest at the end of the riser employs two rollers on independent suspensions that support the front of the bolt throughout the draw and shot cycles, while the nock end of the bolt is supported by the string and TTFS. The Frictionless Flight System enhances downrange accuracy and eliminates string friction.
The Trac Trigger Firing System features a mobile trigger sled that is home to the trigger safety and anti-dry fire mechanisms, as well as a portion of the trigger system. When engaged through the draw system, this sled detaches from its docking station at the rear of the rail and slides along a track in the rail until it meets the string. A clasp automatically grabs the string at its exact center and emits an audible click to indicate positive engagement when pushed into the string. At the same time, the trigger and anti-dry fire features are engaged. Ravin upgraded the trigger safety switch to a user-friendly lever. The TTFS is designed to boost downrange accuracy as it produces a perfectly centered and balanced draw.
Built directly into the stock, the Versa Draw Cocking System connects to the TTFS through the cocking strap and employs a dual spool ratchet and ambidextrous crank handle that is held in place with a strong magnet. This feature allows for cocking and de-cocking using the spool thumb release. The system cannot be overdrawn, as a built-in clutch slips and lets the shooter know the draw is complete. Only 12 pounds of force is needed to work the ratcheted system and fully cock the R20. Only a manufacturer's bolt with a specially designed nock is to be used with the Ravin lineup.
All That Remains
Ravin builds the integrated stock/forearm through an injection-molding process using a carbon-fiber polymer material. The stock features a textured pistol grip, raised cheek piece, butt plate, improved foregrip with easy handling contour and sizeable safety wings to help shooters keep hands below the flight deck. A scope mount is attached to the rail through a slot in the stock and rubber overmold that covers the raised comb.
Two packages are available. The standard R20 comes with six Ravin 400 .003-inch tolerance bolts, six fieldpoints, quiver with mounting bracket, cocking handle and scope. The upgraded R20 Sniper package includes the following upgrades/additions: adjustable Jack Plate, Vortex Strike Eagle scope, .001-inch tolerance bolts and riser level.
At the Range
Shooting the Ravin R20 is a pleasure. It is a high-quality, well-balanced, easy-to-operate product full of innovative technologies. Performance was right on the money with advertised speeds, and accuracy was excellent. The advertised 3-pound trigger actually performed better, at a crisp 2 pounds, 9.2 ounces. The safety features are solid, and the new trigger safety lever is a definite upgrade over the original. One suggestion I was going to make was to have an on-board mount for the cocking crank handle, but Ravin already did that on the quiver!