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CROSSBOW REVIEW 2015
By Michael Wisseman
It’s that time of year where I give some of my thoughts and picks for the upcoming year. I’ll start by saying that these crossbows are picked to be reliable first and foremost. I work hard for my money the same as most of you reading this. I can’t afford to pick crossbows I don’t believe in, as I wouldn’t be able to sell them. This makes my job really tough because I have to buy many crossbows…you only have to choose one. Those who know me, know that I prefer a crossbow to be lightweight, small and very compact. There shouldn’t be things hanging off of it in places that hinder you in the woods. A good crossbow should be accurate and reliable. What good will it be if it fails the first day of November? I see between 40 and 60 broken crossbows every year. I’ve learned what to look for in a reliable crossbow and what to stay away from. If I try to steer you away from a particular design there is a good reason why.
After shooting most of the new offerings for 2015 my choices run like this:

In the $300 range the PSE Fang is going to be tough to beat for value and features. The scope is horrible, but the bow is a solid value even if it came without a scope. Add a quality scope like Hawke Optics 3x32 MAP and life will be good. The Fang compares to other crossbows in the $500 range for a lot less money. Barnett’s Raptor is a good value for the money as well. It’s a solid performer and the only complaint I have is that it comes without a cable slide.

In the $400-$600 range the Wicked Ridge crossbows offer quite a lot for the price. Excalibur also has the Axiom SMF, Grizzly and Ibex SMF. Both Wicked Ridge and Excalibur offer good quality and solid, reliable crossbows. Ten Point has the Titan Extreme and it's a better bow than many even though it's the bottom of the Ten Point line.

In the $700-$1000 range my favorite is the Horton Storm RDX. Don't confuse this crossbow with the imports from the original Horton Mfg. These bows are built by Ten Point and they are quality throughout. Very small and compact, lightweight and quiet as any crossbow can be. This will be the bow to beat in this price range. The Horton Legend is also an excellent choice in the lower end of this price range. Excalibur is offering a Micro this year that has a much smaller limb system that is worth checking out if you prefer a recuve style crossbow, and as always they are dead solid reliable. I really like the Micro and almost considered getting one for myself. It handles better than any Excalibur I have had in my hands.

In the $1100-$1500 range the Ten Point Stealth FX4 and Shadow Ultra Lite are my personal favorites. I hunted with a Shadow UL for most of the season last fall and dearly love this crossbow. I shot a Venom for most of the summer and it is also a very nice bow that is truly a work of art.
The Ten Point Venom and Vapor are two of the most accurate crossbows I have ever handled hands down. The quality of the fit and finish is second to none and they handle sweet in the woods...but all this does come at a price. If you would like to chat about crossbows feel free to send me a message or give me a call. I'm here to help in any way I can. Enjoy your hunt this fall and may all your arrows fly true!
 

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wow that fang has alot of features for the $. Not a xbow deer hunter but I'm going to pick one up to play around with.
 

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Not everything made in the USA is quality.

good ole boy said:
Are all of these bows you mention made in USA?
I've been wanting the Excalibur Micro, but I haven't been able to actually handle one. The Horton Storm RDX looks nice as well.

I'll probably end up with another Excalibur since I prefer recurves since they do not require a bow press to restring.

Are the Micros so much better compared to the Matrix. I do see the Micro is a little shorter and not as wide, but I keep on reading how the Micro can be more difficult to cock.
 

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I too favor the simplicity and ruggedness of a recurve design but I will not own anything with a thumbhole stock.I know they have at least one model without it but that,s the one with the widest limbs.
 

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aubie515 said:
Not everything made in the USA is quality.

good ole boy said:
Are all of these bows you mention made in USA?
I've been wanting the Excalibur Micro, but I haven't been able to actually handle one. The Horton Storm RDX looks nice as well.

I'll probably end up with another Excalibur since I prefer recurves since they do not require a bow press to restring.

Are the Micros so much better compared to the Matrix. I do see the Micro is a little shorter and not as wide, but I keep on reading how the Micro can be more difficult to cock.
In my opinion the Micro 335 is just a little easier to cock than the Matrix 380, but it is harder than the Matrix 330. I like the Micro more than I do the Matrix models. Nothing wrong with the Matrix but the Micro is just so nice and compact. Less vibration and noise too.
 

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Can you compare to me the sound of the Micro to say the older Excaliburs. I owned the Phoenix, Axiom and forgot the third crossbow, but thought they were a little louder.
 

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Truthfully it has been a few years since I shot one of the older ones. If I had to guess I would say the noise is similar. There is definitely less vibration and recoil with the Micro though. I would recommend getting your hands on one if you can and letting a couple of shots go down range.
 

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The actual decibel reading is about the same on my meter. The signature of the sound is much less. The sound of the old models looks like an upside down -U- and the Micro looks like an upside down -V-. The -U- has a long, drawn out hump at the top. The -V- is sharp and drops off quickly. I hope this makes sense.
 

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I never heard a XBOW shoot.But on Babe Wilkilmans outdoor show when he was in a blind huntin Turkeys when he shot the Excalibur it sounded like a little toy with a dink sound.
 

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Nice to get some good info.
I always go back to ten point though. Just sold a scorpyd Orion and it was very fast but I don't think it's as good some other for carrying and timber hunting applications. The Venom with accu50 will be next hunting rig. Love the accu50. Hate carrying cockers. Thanks for the review. It's important to have as much info as possible.
 

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Got to handle the Micro today and it's nice...also looked at the Matrix and the Mission crossbow.

I was told you don't need a press to change out strings on the mission xbow.

Decisions decisions.
 
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