Tested: PSE RDX 400
December 13, 2016
PSE continues to forge ahead in the crossbow market with models that cover a wide range of applications and hunter budgets. It brings to bear many years of hunting and manufacturing experience as it focuses on giving loyal customers what they want in a crossbow. New for 2016 is the RDX 400, which spices up the Reverse Draw platform with smoking fast bolt speeds.
The RDX 400 features a skeletonized stock and foregrip, a machined aluminum rail, a set of reverse-draw dual cams, a stout riser, PSE's patented X-Tech split limbs which are made from industry-standard Gordon Composite and much more.
The Business End
The RDX 400's aluminum riser is both compact to fit the overall footprint and stout to provide the strength and rigidity needed to support the intense energy used to generate fast bolt speeds. A set of dual RDX Backstop string stops are attached to the inside of the riser and reach out to stop string oscillation at the shot. The interface between limbs and riser is extremely critical.
PSE's full-control limb pockets serve to align and position the limbs precisely, allowing the overall machine to operate efficiently. Proven and patented X-Tech limbs are built with Gordon Composite material, measure 12.35 inches in length and are split in form. Each of the four limbs is outfitted with two vibration-dampening accessories.
PSE uses a dual-cam system to power its reverse-draw mechanism, which is advertised to hit speeds between 390-400 fps shooting a 400-grain bolt. In a reverse-draw configuration, the string spans the cam's riser side and when drawn rotates the cams inward rather than the typical outward motion. This adds length to the power stroke, and in turn increases speed. A foot stirrup attached to the front end of the riser aids in manually cocking the 400.
PSE's independently machined aluminum RDX Barrel rail bridges the gap between the bow and the stock/foregrip. At the front end it includes an open channel that accepts the cables and cable slide, while at the back end it houses the trigger housing and bullpup-style trigger linkage. All along the black anodized barrel are many cutouts to reduce overall mass weight.
The trigger mechanism employs Metal Injection Molded (MIM) components and is advertised to produce a pull of just 3 pounds. As the bow is cocked, the trigger safety is automatically engaged and works with the anti-dry fire feature, which will not allow the string to advance without a bolt loaded, to prevent accidents.
A spring steel bolt stabilizer and machined Picatinny scope mounting rail are attached to the top of the trigger housing.
The RDX 400's one-piece stock/foregrip unit serves as the interface between shooter and crossbow. With that in mind, PSE equipped it with a ribbed butt plate, a raised comb with soft plastic overlay for comfort and quick target acquisition, molded finger indents on the front of the pistol grip, an oversized trigger guard for gloved fingers and a pass-thru foregrip for added control and safety. Other than where it meets the rail, this integrated unit is notably skeletonized to keep mass weight to a minimum. The stock, riser and limbs are available in either black or Mossy Oak Break-Up Country.
Included accessories are: a PSE 3x32 Illuminated XO Crossbow Scope, PSE Speed Loader, 5-Bolt Quiver, 3 Charger carbon bolts, three 85-grain Bullet points, sling, cocking rope and rail lube.
At the Range
The RDX 400 lived up to expectations, clocking in on our chronograph at 375 fps with a 420-grain bolt. If you're able bodied, the included rope cocker is the quickest option with a fairly easy draw. However, if you're injured or just want an easier cocking experience, the PSE Speed Loader is simple to master.
The test bow required a considerable amount of force to seat the bolt deep enough to move the anti-dry fire mechanism out of the way. Target acquisition was quick with the XO Scope, which was bright and clear.