January 09, 2020
TenPoint’s all-new Vapor RS470 generates blistering speed that makes it the fastest crossbow on the market. And thanks to a game-changing new cocking and de-coking system, it also may be the safest. Add in a new, two-stage trigger and fluted flight rail, reverse-draw bow assembly and a host of additional high-end features and you have a hunting companion packed with the kind of quality, performance and innovation synonymous with the TenPoint name.
When it comes to crossbows, speed rating is often the first thing consumers want to know. Well, the Vapor RS470 literally takes a back seat to no crossbow, thanks to its ability to send bolts down range at an almost mind-boggling 470 fps.
So, how does TenPoint generate all the power needed to achieve such incredible speeds? The answer lies in a combination of several technologies that work together to maximize performance. For starters, the RS470 features TenPoint’s RX-7 Cams that rotate an industry-leading 404 degrees during the draw cycle. This increases the amount of energy stored in the system and provides a “turbo boost” of speed upon launch that TenPoint calls SLING-SHOT technology.
Speed is also increased via a long, 17-inch power stroke made possible by the bow’s reverse-draw configuration that points the DUAL FLEX limbs away from the shooter rather than toward the shooter in a traditional bow design. This places the cams and string at the far end of the rail, allowing for the string to be drawn a greater distance from its resting position to the trigger housing, thereby increasing the amount of flex in the bow limbs and the amount of energy stored in the process.
The new, 20-inch MICRO-TRAC aluminum flight rail is fluted to reduce its surface area by 50 percent compared to a standard flight rail. This greatly reduced energy-robbing friction during string release and dramatically improves string life.
In addition to providing shooters with tremendous speed, TenPoint incorporates a host of features designed to ensure consistent accuracy. Vector Quad cables eliminate accuracy-robbing cam lean by anchoring one cable to the top of each cam and another the bottom, thereby equalizing the amount of stress exerted during the shot cycle. TenPoint further enhances accuracy via a CNC-machined, 7076-T6 aluminum riser and TRI-LOCK limb pockets that provide an extremely secure, stable interface between the riser and split limbs.
The Vapor RS470 also shines in the area of safety, most notably via the unique new ACUslide cocking and de-cocking mechanism. The ACUslide silently cocks and de-cocks the string via a high-strength ratchet strap attached to the rear of the trigger box.
As with previous TenPoint models, the cocking crank rides in a slot on the bottom of the butt stock and is easily removed and mated into the mounting hole on the side of the stock. Unlike previous systems, however, the crank cocker doesn’t operate a dedicated cocking hook. Instead, the entire trigger box rides down the flight rail to the resting string and audibly clicks into position. Once attached to the string, the cocking crank is used to wind the string to the fully drawn position.
There are several innovations that come into play here that really set the ACUslide apart from competing cocking systems. Chief among them is an internal braking system that prevents the cocking handle and/or bowstring from moving if the handle is released at any point during the cocking. So, even if you have the string halfway or almost fully drawn, you can simply let go of the handle and the string remains in its current position. This eliminates any worry about losing control of the handle and having it freewheel, potentially causing an accidental dry fire that could damage the crossbow or cause personal injury. The ACUslide system is also silent, eliminating the annoying and potentially game-spooking clicking sound made by conventional crank cocking devices.
Another change on the ACUslide involved the crank handle itself. The handle has a telescoping feature that allows you to extend it once removed from its storage slot in the stock. This added length — roughly doubling the length of the cocking handle when stored — increases leverage for the shooter and helps reduce the bow’s 225-pound draw weight to a mere 5 pounds of cranking effort.
A final innovation worth mentioning here is the trigger latch that automatically catches the trigger box and anchors it in place at full draw. This occurs with an audible click to let the shooter know the bow is fully drawn and also ensures the trigger box is in the exact same position shot after shot. TenPoint says this feature results in 48 percent greater accuracy compared to non-locking trigger boxes on competing crossbows. It also has the added benefit of enhancing safety by ensuring the trigger box cannot accidentally disengage and go flying down the flight rail.
The trigger latch also plays an important role in the de-cocking procedure for the ACUslide. Once at full draw, the bow can easily be let down simply by turning the cranking handle a short distance in the cocking direction to relieve pressure on the trigger latch. At that point, the latch can be manually opened, allowing the shooter to simply turn the cocking handle in the opposite direction and return the string to its resting position. As with the cocking process, stopping at any point during the de-cocking process engages the automatic brake and holds the string securely in place.
In addition to the ACUslide, the RS470 offers safety in the form of TenPoint’s patented DFI dry-fire inhibitor that prevents the bow from being fired without a properly loaded bolt, an auto-engaging trigger safety, a pass-through foregrip that allows for safe placement of the front hand below the flight rail and glass-reinforced nylon safety wings that keep fingers safely below the bowstring’s path.
We’ve discussed how the trigger box is integrated into the ACUslide system, but we haven’t yet discussed the trigger mechanism itself. The RS470 features TenPoint’s all-new S1, 3.5-pound, two-stage trigger that features a first stage during which the shooter takes up all the slack in the trigger until it reaches the breaking point. The trigger then stops until sufficient pressure is applied to activate the second stage, releasing the string. TenPoint says the S1 trigger provides a crisp, consistent break with zero creep.
Two-stage triggers have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years, and they are found on many of today’s top hunting rifles. TenPoint said development of the S1 crossbow trigger was spurred in direct response to customer demand, adding that the key to its excellent performance is a proprietary roller-sear design that gives shooters greater control over the shot and enhances downrange accuracy.
On the Range
The Vapor RS470 offers a lot of new features, but how do they perform in the real world? Well, based on my limited testing, I would have to say quite well. I was among the very first to get my hands on the new rig, receiving a demo just days before the RS470 was launched Jan. 9 at the 2020 ATA Show.
Although the RS470’s incredible speed will definitely turn heads, to me the ACUslide system is the biggest game-changer this crossbow has to offer. Cocking and de-cocking the bowstring with this system truly is simple, easy and — best of all — worry-free. I don’t know about you, but I find cocking and de-cocking the string to be the most nerve-wracking part of using a crossbow. After all, there is a lot of force being applied to the system during the draw cycle, and any sudden release of that force can result in a less than desirable outcome. With the ACUslide, such concerns are eliminated. In addition, the effort required to cock the string with the ACUslide is so minimal you can easily engage in lengthy shooting sessions without tiring.
As for actually shooting the RS470, I found the rig quite comfortable. I mentioned earlier how the reverse-draw bow configuration allows for a longer power stroke. It also helps distribute weight near the center of the crossbow for greatly enhanced balance. The balance point of the RS470 is just forward of the trigger, making it easy to shoot off-hand without having to fight all the extra weight found in the front end of conventional designs.
TenPoint provides EVO-X CenterPunch Premium bolts with the RS470, featuring a straightness rating of +/-.001-inch and weight consistency of +/-1 grain from bolt to bolt for match-grade precision. I was also surprised to find a helical vane orientation on the bolts, something rarely seen on crossbow ammo. Helical vanes create more drag for faster stabilization and increased rotation in flight. However, the reason helical isn’t typically used with crossbows is because the bottom vane has to travel down the opening in the center of the flight rail, and the twisting of the helical vane could cause unwanted vane-to-rail contact during launch. TenPoint obviously accounted for this feature in its overall design of the RS470, bringing the benefits of helical vanes to the crossbow community.
I’m no competition shooter, but I found the two-stage trigger to be as advertised, with some significant travel during the first stage, followed by a firm back wall and crisp break.
Overall fit and feel was excellent, with the stock comfortable against my cheek and the EVO-X Marksman Precision Scope providing a clear view of the target. The scope is matched to the speed of the bow and features a reticle with dead-on aiming points for 20-80 yards, in 10-yard increments, plus a lower post for even longer shots. The scope comes pre-installed and sighted from the factory and required only a couple small adjustments to dial into the center of the bull’s-eye. Accuracy was excellent, as I was able to achieve half-inch groups while shooting off-hand at 25 yards.
Shot noise was surprisingly minimal for a crossbow this fast. Although I wouldn’t call the RS470 quiet, I didn’t find it significantly louder than other high-performance crossbows I’ve used. This is a testament to TenPoint’s engineering and build quality, as well as the effectiveness of the integrated string stop at the front of the unit.
PHOTO: Shot noise on the RS470 is relatively modest, given the tremendous speed the crossbow produces. One of the reasons for that is the integrated string stop unit that helps to cancel noise and vibration after release.
Overall maneuverability of the RS470 is also good, as the crossbow measures 31 inches long without the foot stirrup and is just 6.5 inches wide between the axles when fully cocked. The bow assembly measures roughly 12 inches wide between the axles at rest. If I have any complaint at all about this crossbow it is its weight. TenPoint advertisers the weight of the RS470 at 8 pounds for the bare crossbow. However, my test unit weighed just less than 10 pounds with all accessories installed except the quiver. That weight isn’t much of an issue on the range, and probably wouldn’t be on short hunts in the Back Forty, but it’s definitely a consideration on longer forays in and out of the backcountry.
What You Get
As is customary with TenPoint, the Vapor RS470 is available only as a complete package that includes everything you need to take this crossbow from the shipping box to the practice range to the treestand or blind. In addition to the crossbow and scope, the package includes: a TenPoint STAG hard case, six EVO-X CenterPunch premium bolts, six EVO-X CenterPunch premium lighted bolts, a three-pack of EVO-X CenterPunch rear-deploying broadheads, a TenPoint bow sling and TenPoint’s new six-bolt Tech quiver.
The Vapor RS470 is available in Veil Alpine Camo at a price of $2,999.99 or Graphite Gray at a price of $2,899.99.