July 28, 2021
It’s one thing to hear about all the components and features that make a given crossbow “perfect” for your archery hunting needs. It’s another thing entirely to put them to the test to see how they actually measure up in real life.
Such was the case on a recent trip to Florida to pursue wild hogs at Osceola Outfitters. With only a day and a half day to hunt, I needed a crossbow that could be set up and sighted in quickly, while at the same time providing me with the confidence that I could seal the deal on some “pork” if a good shot presented itself.
Fortunately, I was heading afield with the new Havoc RS440, one of TenPoint Crossbow Technologies’ signature models for 2021. Hence, I was eager to put the bow to work and see if it was really as good as advertised.
Accuracy and Impact
Originally established in the mid-’90s as Hunter’s Manufacturing, TenPoint has a rich history of innovation when it comes to developing crossbow technologies and related safety features. Last year, for example, the company unveiled the ACUSlide, which it calls “the industry’s first silent cocking, safe crossbow decocking system,” and this year it has partnered with Garmin to roll out select crossbow models featuring the Garmin XERO X1i, a laser range-finding scope that provides accurate aimpoints instantaneously to game up to 80 yards away.
Billed as “the fastest compact hunting crossbow ever,” the Havoc RS440 was designed to be smooth shooting, hard hitting and fast. Its reverse draw assembly, which draws the string back through the riser, coupled with its RX7 Cams, which rotate 360 degrees, work together to create a 13.5-inch power stroke, impressive considering the bow’s more compact size. The end result is that the RS440 is capable of launching the EVO-X CenterPunch 16-inch carbon bolts that come with the bow at a lightning fast 440 fps.
Although we didn’t practice at longer distances during our sighting-in session when we arrived, I can confirm that TenPoint’s claims of superior accuracy are indeed true. During the practice round, I fired several shots at both 20 and 30 yards, with all of the bolts hitting dead on.
Handling and Maneuverability
At only 26.5 inches long and 7.5 inches wide axle to axle when cocked, the Havoc is easy to maneuver in close quarters, making it ideal for a ground blind or a treestand in tight cover. The bow itself weighs 7.5 pounds, which means even with accessories it still checks in well under 10. TenPoint was able to reduce the length and weight on the bow through the development of what it calls its “16-inch MICRO-TRAC Barrel” and a lightweight, hollowed-out, tactical-style stock.
A highlight of the new TenPoint models is the ACUslide cocking and decocking system, which features a movable trigger box that slides forward until it engages with the uncocked bowstring. The bow is then cocked using a handle that engages with the ACUslide unit, which is located in the bow’s stock. Once the string is fully cranked up via the handle and 1,800-pound test strap, the ACUslide system then locks the trigger box in place, ensuring the box and string are seated in the same firing position every time.
The ACUslide system performs two vital functions when it comes to crossbow operations. First, it reduces the force needed to cock the bow by a whopping 95 percent (approximately 5 pounds of force are needed). Second, it ensures that if your hand accidentally comes off the crank handle, or you need to leave go of the handle for some reason during the cocking or decocking process, you won’t injure yourself or damage the bow. No matter how you look at it, those are both invaluable when you’re talking about high-poundage crossbows, especially from the safety perspective.
Other safety features on the bow include a dry-fire inhibitor that prevents the bow from accidentally discharging without a bolt in it, as well as safety wings to help keep your fingers and hands out of the bolt and string flight path.
The Havoc RS440 comes as a ready-to-shoot package, complete with the ACUslide, six Evo-X CenterPunch16 400-grain bolts, six 100-grain practice points, a 6-bolt quiver and a bubble level. The bow is topped by TenPoint’s EVO-X Marksman Elite Scope, a 2-8X scope that features duplex crosshairs calibrated at 20, 40 and 60 yards, illuminated dots at 30 and 50 yards and non-illuminated chevrons at 70, 80, 90 and 100 yards.
There’s little doubt the Havoc is fast and accurate, as the practice session on the range highlighted. Plus, the process of both cocking and uncocking the bow is not only easy once you learn the ropes, it’s also extremely safe thanks to the ACUSlide.
The one concern with some high-performance crossbows is that they can sometimes be on the heavier side, which can ultimately weigh on you when you’re covering long distances or hiking rough terrain. However, during my hunt, my guide and I did a great deal of walking as we embarked on several spot-and-stalk efforts, and I’m happy to report the weight of bow — both when carried in-hand and over my shoulder with a strap — was never an issue.
It’s worth pointing out that TenPoint has also released the new HALO Bowpack, designed to carry its compact models like the Havoc RS440 and Siege RS410. The pack not only makes it easy to transport the bow for longer distances, it’s also sturdy and water-resistant, helping to protect your expensive investment.
Bringing It All Home
As far as the hunting was concerned, we saw dozens of the wild pigs over the course of a day and a half, launching several exciting but ultimately unsuccessful stalks. Then, on the final evening, one unsuspecting hog offered up a good, broadside shot at 22 yards.
Aiming for tight against the shoulder, I turned off the safety and pulled the trigger. The bolt hit exactly where I’d aimed, making for a quick tracking job thanks to the SEVR Titanium 2.0 broadhead on its tip. After a short run through the palmettos and thick undergrowth, the animal had piled up less than 40 yards away.
The Havoc had done its job quickly and efficiently — as promised. Now, it was my turn to do so, and I was already looking forward to some awesome pork barbeque with the family when I returned home!
TenPoint RS440 Specs
- Length: 26.5 inches (without stirrup)
- Width: 7.5 inches (axle-to-axle cocked)
- Weight: 7.5 pounds (without accessories)
- Power Stroke: 13.5 inches
- Kinetic Energy: 172 ft.-lbs.
- Advertised Speed: 440 fps (with included EVO-X CenterPunch16 bolts)
- MSRP: $2,549.99 (Graphite Gray) or $2,649.99 (Veil Alpine Camo)
- Contact: tenpointcrossbows.com