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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Somerset Co./Elk Co.
What's new for 2016? Just a few of my picks
ATA 2016 Review
Let me start off by saying a few things about myself. Iím a crossbow dealer and I own and operate Arrowhead Outdoors. Iíve been an avid archer for the last 45 years. Iíve shot literally tens of thousands of shots each; over a crossbow, compound and recurve. I have a design patent for crossbow accessories. I wrote a column for Crossbow Magazine for a short while and helped to write the book ď A beginners guide to crossbowsĒ. I do not partner with any crossbow company. I donít accept free stuff in exchange for anything. I am beholding to no one. The reviews I write are based on my opinions, and they are just thatÖ. my opinion. I try to shoot every crossbow out there and take the whole group and compare each individual crossbow to the group of similar priced crossbows. Apples to apples, so to speak. I work a day job and work hard for my money, as Iím sure most of you do. I understand you may be on a budget and I try to recommend what I would buy for myself. I want you to get the most crossbow you can in any given price range.
A few bows in this range. Taking into account, as with anything; you get what you pay for. I like the Barnett Recruit Package. Tough little bow to beat for the price. As you would expect there is plastic all over and they usually come with a red dot scope. At 130 lbs. pull and 300 f.p.s., it will kill plenty of deer. It has a decent trigger, itís narrow, lightweight and compact and is easy to carry. The quiver is located below the limbs and gets in the way when carrying on a sling. Itís easy to relocate with a Top mount. Great starter crossbow.
The PSE Fang Package is one of the best values out there for the money spent. Keep in mind itís still a starter bow and would work great as a backup bow. The scope is horrible so factor that in your price. You will be buying a scope unless you have amazing vision. (if you use this scope your vision likely wonít be great for long) LOL! At 155 lbs. and 350 f.p.s. itís on par with crossbows costing a lot more. A few years ago this speed would have cost $799. Fairly quiet and easy on itself. String stoppers are included. There is also a crank available for this bow for 2016. It has a decent trigger, itís narrow and compact and is easy to carry. The quiver is located below the limbs and gets in the way when carrying on a sling. Itís easy to relocate with a Ten Point bracket or a Top mount. I also like the Barnett Raptor. Itís basically a Recruit with 150 lb. limbs and 330 f.p.s. (see review above)
Wicked Ridge Warrior G3 would be my choice at this price range. Solid bows with great customer service.
At $599 the Ten Point Titan SS gets my vote here. One of the most durable crossbows on the market. Itís easy to upgrade to a built in cocking system as well. 175 lb. pull and 340 f.p.s. Customer service to back it up and reliable. All quality throughout and fit and finish like you would expect. At 6.7 lbs. itís going to carry easy, the trigger is same as all the Ten Points and I feel they are some of the best stock triggers out there.
The Excalibur Matrix Grizzly is also a good buy in this price range. Dead solid reliable, great customer service if you ever need it and most of the maintenance is done by the user. At 200 lbs. pull it can be a chore for long sessions at the range, but the short power stroke makes it fairly easy to get the job done. 5.5 lbs and 30.62 inches wide. Great trigger.
The Ten Point Turbo GT is new for 2016. This was probably one of the most impressive crossbows at the show this year. Iím sure this is going to be a very popular crossbow this season. Light, narrow and fast. 175 lb. pull, 360 f.p.s and 6.5 lbs. Great trigger.
The Killer Instinct Machine is another option in this price range. It comes with a Trigger Tech trigger and itís a wonderful trigger. 380 f.p.s. and 185 lbs pull. Flip Tech folding stock makes for an easy carry into and out of the woods. Only 28 inches long when folded.
The Horton Legend is probably one of the most over looked bows in this price range. Worthy of a look if you are spending in this range.
The Ten Point Shadow Ultra-Lite and Lady Shadow are great bows in this range. I hunted with one the first year they were available. I had no complaints at all. It carried well, was light, narrow and compact. They shoot amazingly accurate with about any arrow and are dead solid reliable. Add string stoppers and you have a wonderful addition to your arsenal.
The Excalibur Matrix 355 is another good choice in this price range. Excalibur quality and customer service is top notch and this bow is lightweight. At 240 lbs. pull itís not for everyone but the short power stroke makes it easier than one might imagine.
So many good bows here!
The Horton Storm RDX is a great crossbow at the very bottom of this price range. Lightweight, very narrow and compact. Great trigger and quiet as crossbows go. I hunted with one last season and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I really enjoyed carrying this bow. At 370 f.p.s. and 165 lb pull itís fast while still being gentle on itself.
The Ten Point Stealth FX4 is in my thoughts one of the very best crossbows in this price range. I spent quite a bit of time with one last summer and found it to be a very solid bow. It shot great, was narrow and compact. Iíd expect a long life of use from this bow without a problem. Great customer service from Ten Point and Horton, should you ever need it.
The Excalibur Micro 355 is another good choice in this price range. At 280 lbs of pull it certainly isnít for everyone, but if you can handle it, this bow will give you many years of service. This is the narrow crossbow in the Excalibur lineup.
Excalibur Bulldog and Matrix 380 are both good choices. Again, only if you can handle the weight it takes to pull them or you can buy a crank. Excalibur triggers are good, the bows are not as wide as the older models and they are light to carry. Dead solid reliable and customer service is awesome.
Now for my all time favorite, The Ten Point Venom. I canít say enough good things about this crossbow. It totally rocks. I like everything about it and the carbon barrel sure is easy on the eyes. Lightweight, narrow, quiet and compact. One of the most accurate crossbows I have ever held in my hands. I like it so much Iíll most likely be using it again this year. If I had to find a fault with it Iíd be hard pressed to find anything to nit-pick about.
$1600 and up-
Any crossbow you buy in this price range will have you smiling for days. There are many fine choices here.
Ten Point Vapor and Venom Extra. The Vapor is the most accurate crossbow I have ever shot. I was amazed at what this bow could do with the right arrow. I had no idea what was possible in a crossbow until I shot it. Itís the bow I judge all others against when measuring accuracy. The Venom Extra is such a good looking bow, as well as being built on my favorite platform.
Scorpyd has many good bows in this price range. Super fast and easy on themselves. Great triggers.
These are my picks for the 2016 season. There are quite a few crossbows that didnít make the cut. I pick the bows that I feel are the best value for your hard earned money. I wouldnít ask you to spend your money on a bow I didnít feel was worth what you are paying. That is where the other bows fall. I feel they just arenít worth the money spent. If I wouldnít pay the price, how can I ask a customer to do the same? I service around 50 crossbows each year, I know what fails and what to look for. Iíve seen broken triggers, limbs, risers, bolts, scopes and so much more. There is often a pattern among brands and models that you see over and over. These are the ones I stay away from and I sure wonít recommend them to you.
Honorable mention: Bows I donít have pricing forÖ
Stryker Katana - Nice bow and Iíll be doing a review shortly. I still need pricing.
Killer Instinct Furious 370 Ė At $599 this is a bow I want to spend some time with. Iíll be reviewing this one soon as well. Pretty cool cranking system for these bows as well.
Worst of the worst: I wonít go there in a public forum. I will in a private message. If there is a bow you are thinking about but you are not sure, give me a call. Iíll be happy to discuss it with you. I shot almost all of them and have some pretty good insight on them.