2018 Crossbows: Four Great Picks

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A crossbow shooting 300 fps can easily kill a deer at 30 yards, yet consumers seem to want more speed and manufacturers are building it.  Here’s a look at bows I personally tested at the ATA show and ones to consider if you are considering high-speed gear.

Scorpyd Aculeus

Rated at 460 fps. this bow was the fastest production bow at the Show.  Using reverse draw technology, this powerhouse holds 180 pounds of draw weight, has a power stroke of 18.5 inches and delivers a 400-grain arrow with incredible speed.  It can be cocked with a rope-and-sled or an optional ACUdraw system.

Initially, I though shooting this bow would be like shooting a large caliber rifle.  Due to its tremendous speed it would have recoil and a loud sound.  Absolutely not.  Despite a weight of just over seven pounds and a width of 20 inches, the bow shot smoothly and easily.  With a Hawke scope and excellent trigger, is was a pleasure to shoot.  www. scorpyd.com 

TenPoint Nitro X

Although TenPoint bows are among the most popular crossbows in America, they weren’t the fastest and a totally new design has moved them to the head of the class.  Measuring just seven inches wide, the reverse-draw Nitro shoots at 440 fps and generates a jaw-dropping 166 pounds of kinetic energy.  That’s enough power to shoot through an elk.

TenPoint President Rick Bednar introduced the bow at the ATA Show and described its benefits in glowing terms, yet reminded the press about the ethical responsibilities of hunting.  Some bows are hyping 100 and even 200-yard performance and Bednar raised a target showing the need of “hold-over” the average crossbow will need to shoot 100 yards- nearly 10 feet.  www.tenpointcrossbows.com

Mission Sub-1

I’ve long been a fan of Mission Crossbows due to their simplistic design.  The new Sub-1 is the latest development in their line and maintains the semi-tactical look.  For starters, Mission bows do not have a cocking stirrup which makes them easier to cock.  The Sub-1 launches at 350 fps, not as fast the two bows mentioned above, but in keeping with the Mathews fans who love the brand.  The Sub-1 is just 14 inches wide and reduces to under 11 inches when cocked.  This provides a compact hunting package that’s ideal for tree stand or ground blind.  It features a match-grade trigger and a de-cocking feature that will save lots of arrows from burying in the dirt.  Made in the USA, the bow is ultra-user friendly with an adjustable stock for comb height and length-of-pull.  www.missioncrossbows.com 

CAMX A-4

I first met the CAMX folks while watching them throw their crossbow across a concrete floor and slam into a brick wall with no impact on arrow placement or bow performance.  After watching this demonstration repeatedly, I had to try one and was quickly hooked.  The CAMX 330 was indestructible and I have no doubt that the new A-4 is equally well built.  In fact, the limb cams and cables are now mounted inside of the limbs allowing for a much more narrow silhouette.  Launching at 370 fps, the bow cocks easily with a roped sled and weighs 7.5 pounds.  The ARC scope is illuminated this year and provides one of the brightest pictures I’ve seen in any optic, rifle or crossbow.  Sight the bow in at 20 yards and the arrow drops just 10 inches at 40.  www.camxcrossbows.com 

 

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.

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