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Field Tested: Excalibur TwinStrike

The industry's first two-shot crossbow is definitely a head turner.

Field Tested: Excalibur TwinStrike

$2,222.22 | Excalibur Crossbow, 888-689-1289;

There are several game-changing new technologies in the crossbow world this year, and Excalibur’s one-of-a-kind TwinStrike — the first crossbow designed to fire two shots only seconds apart — is certainly among them. Yes, you read that right — “seconds,” not “minutes.”

The secret to the TwinStrike lies in its DualFire Technology — essentially two rails and two strings, powered by different sets of limbs. Naturally, I was curious to see how the bow handles and shoots. In fact, I couldn’t wait to test one and see whether it is capable of producing the advertised 1½-inch shot groups. Long story short, I wasn’t disappointed!

The first thing that stands out about the TwinStrike, which in many ways is a crossbow version of an over/under shotgun, is that even though it has four limbs, two rails and two triggers, it’s still comfortable to hold and easy to shoot. The bow weighs 7¾ pounds, but the bulk of that weight is situated in the center of the unit, making it well-balanced and highly maneuverable. The skeletonized, bullpup stock also helps compensate for some of the extra weight that the limbs and rails may add to the bow’s overall mass.

The Charger EXT cocking device that comes with the TwinStrike makes it easy to cock the bow, reducing the 358-pound draw weight to only 14 pounds. It also includes a fail-safe strap to help prevent serious injury if your hand accidentally comes off the handle while unloading the bow.

As for preparing to shoot the TwinStrike, there are several steps to follow to cock and load it properly. For example, the top string needs to be cocked before the bottom string, but the lower bolt must be inserted into its rail prior to the upper one. The TwinStrike itself has CeaseFire Technology — Excalibur’s version of anti-dry fire — to ensure the string can’t be released without a bolt in place.

Sighting-in the TwinStrike is a relatively simple process, thanks to the speed dial ring on the bow’s Overwatch Scope that allows you to dial-in based on the velocity of your bolts. Since the over/under rail configuration means bolts fired from the upper and lower rails will hit the target approximately 1½ inches apart, there are a few options for sighting-in. One is to set up the TwinStrike so the top bolt hits three-quarters of an inch above the bull’s-eye, knowing the bottom one will then land three-quarters of an inches below it. Another is to set the top bolt dead-on, which means bolts from the bottom rail will land 1½ inches lower (or vice versa). True to Excalibur’s word, however, the TwinStrike produces 1½ inch groups, making it more than accurate enough for taking down deer, turkey and other game, no matter which bolt you fire.

After sighting in the TwinStrike, I was eager to test Excalibur’s claim that it could fire two bolts consecutively, in mere seconds, since that’s something I’d never done before. Amazingly, I was able to launch both shots in less than five seconds, and that included time to refocus on the bull’s-eye. I can see this dual-shot feature coming in handy if you happen to hit a branch or other obstruction with your first shot and your quarry doesn’t run off. It could also come into play when you need a quick finishing shot after hitting an animal, or if you hunt in an area that has a high whitetail population and more liberal harvest limits, allowing you to take two deer in one sitting or even only a few moments apart.

If there is a drawback to the TwinStrike, it’s that the string is a bit too loud at the shot. That being said, the bolts fly 360 fps, more than fast enough to compensate for any potential of a deer or other game jumping the string at close range. The bow measures 333⁄8 inches long and 211⁄8 inches wide axle-to-axle when cocked. It comes with the Overwatch illuminated adjustable scope, scope rings and mounts; cocking device; DualFire decocking aid; Rebolt 4-bolt quiver; four Quill bolts and four 100-grain fieldpoints.

It’s also important to note that, since this crossbow is essentially a new type of hunting device, you’ll need to check with your state wildlife agency to ensure it can be used as a legal hunting weapon in archery season, and that both rails can be cocked and loaded at the same time while in the woods.

If you’re looking for an insurance policy while afield, or simply like the concept of having two shots ready to go at all times, the TwinStrike is absolutely among this year’s “must-haves.” — Associate Editor Mark Demko

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