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Crossbow Review: Ravin R500

This innovative crossbow offers exceptional accuracy and blistering speed.

Crossbow Review: Ravin R500

Ravin Crossbows’ new R500, released in late 2021, was the first-ever crossbow to launch bolts 500 fps.

Some years ago, Ravin Crossbows burst onto the scene with innovative technologies such as HeliCoil Technology, a floating trigger box, Frictionless Flight System and more.

The company, however, had no intention of being a flash in the pan! Fast forward to 2021, and Ravin was the first crossbow manufacturer to top the once unthinkable 500 fps speed mark when it announced its R500.

Built to handle high-output performance, the R500 sports a stout machined riser, heavy limbs and a rock-solid rail. The new HexCoil Technology takes Ravin’s HeliCoil cam design to the next level, as the cams rotate 360 degrees before launching a bolt through the Frictionless Flight System for increased accuracy. Plus, the VersaDrive cocking system effortlessly cocks and de-cocks the bow, with no buttons to push or hold, and it works in conjunction with the Trac Trigger Firing System that places the trigger into a mobile sled that moves up and down the rail guide.

Coiled for the Strike!

Ravin’s new HexCoil Technology utilizes a coiling cable platform similar to the original HeliCoil did. However, since the R500 uses crossover cables above and below the flight path, it coils them away from the cam centerline equally. This keeps the load on the cables identical top and bottom so they do not pull the cam one way or another (cam lean).


In the original Ravin models, the cams would draw toward the rail but stop short. With the new system, the cams continue inward through a cutout in the rail, coming to less than one inch from each other. This not only makes the R500 that much more compact, it also allows the cams to rotate a full 360 degrees and increase the power stroke to 15 inches. All this combines to deliver a 400-grain bolt downrange at a blistering 500 fps.


The crossover cable positioning above and below the flight path, coupled with HexCoil Technology, creates an ideal environment for Ravin’s Frictionless Flight System (FFS). Rather than the typical system where a bolt rides the rail causing friction, the FFS suspends the bolt between the nock and built-in arrow rest, which greatly reduces friction. The results are increased string life, reduced noise and enhanced downrange accuracy.

Easy Draw & Mobile Trigger

The new VersaDrive system introduced by Ravin is extremely straightforward in its operation — you simply insert the crank handle and turn it clockwise or counterclockwise to cock or de-cock the bow. A dual screw drive rotates on a gear turned by the crank and moves the patented Trac Trigger Firing System up and down the enclosed rail guide. It takes a maximum of 17 pounds of force to fully seat the trigger sled at the docking station, and you can let go of the crank at any point in the process and it will not freewheel. The mobile Trac Trigger Firing System meets the string in the exact middle every time for perfect nock travel. As it is pushed onto the string, an audible double click indicates connection and Anti Dry Fire (ADF) and physical trigger safety are auto-engaged. An R500 specific bolt, which takes some force to seat onto the string with an audible click, is required to disengage the ADF.

Shooter Connection & Control

The shooter is primarily connected to the crossbow at four points: buttstock, cheek piece, grip and foregrip. All four have either a rubber overmold or inlay to enhance comfort, while the pistol grip — complete with contoured finger grooves — and flared foregrip provide control. Both the butt plate and cheek piece feature compression lock adjustments (approximately 5⁄8-inch on the buttstock and ½-inch on the cheek piece) that offer a customized fit.

What’s in the Box?

The Ravin R500 crossbow package comes with the crossbow, a 100-yard illuminated 550 FPS scope, 3-bolt quiver and mounting bracket, six Ravin ±.003-inch R500 bolts, six fieldpoints and removable crank handle.





At the Range

First off, the R500 lived up to its name by shooting exactly 500 fps for us with Ravin’s bolt, which weighed in at 403 grains. So, is it a speed demon? Check!

The trigger pull proved super light — perhaps too light — coming in at less than a pound, according to our measurements.

The silent, dual-screw VersaDrive is as mechanically simple as you can get. Insert the magnetized crank handle and rotate it the way you want the trigger sled to move; there aren’t any buttons to push or hold, and there are no concerns if you let go of the handle. The 17-pound cocking force is the hardest part about it, and you do need to make sure your fingers don’t slip into the space between the docking station and incoming trigger sled or you will feel the pinch when you get to full draw.

Recommended


The trigger safety lever and distinctly positive engagement of the specialized nock leave no doubt about whether the rig is ready to fire. Shot noise was just north of 110 dBA with a 500-grain bolt, which is somewhat high but not unexpected considering the incredible speed this bow generates. The length and width of the R500 make it one of the most compact crossbows on the planet — a feature that will be welcome in almost any hunting situation.

The Specs

  • Manufacturer: Ravin Crossbows, 715-718-3574; ravincrossbows.com
  • Model: R500
  • Safety Features: Anti Dry Fire, auto trigger safety, safety wings
  • Cam System: HexCoil
  • Axle-to-Axle Width: 7.6 inches (at rest); 3.6 inches (cocked)
  • String: 32.25 inches
  • Cables (x4): 9.44 inches
  • Limbs: Split, machined Avient Fiberglass
  • Draw Weight: 17 pounds, via Versa Drive cocking system
  • Power Stroke: 15 inches
  • Grip: RTP Pistol Grip
  • Forearm: RTP Flared Foregrip
  • Finish: Black
  • Advertised Speed: 500 fps with 400-grain bolt*
  • MSRP: Starting at $3,049.99
  • Comments: A unique rig with phenomenal speed and hassle-free cocking/de-cocking.

*Bow must be shot with Ravin-approved bolts only.

Test Measurements

  • Maximum Width: 12.25 inches (at rest); 8.125 inches (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 28.75 inches
  • Mass Weight: 8.69 pounds (crossbow only); 10.29 pounds (with accessories)
  • Average Trigger Pull: .94 pound
  • Length of Pull: 14.75 inches
  • Average Shot Noise: 112.3 dBA with 420-grain bolt; 110.3 dBA with 500-grain bolt
  • Maximum Shot Deviation at 35 Yards: .75 inch

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