My first shot with the Excalibur Micro nailed a Robin Hood, and a year later, at the same Archery Trade Show, using the Micro Lite, I shook hand with Robin again. In fact, I was so impressed that I took the compact, recurve crossbow to South Africa where I bagged five animals with five arrows.
In the world of reverse limbs and super-efficient cams, crossbows launch at speeds nearly 450 fps, a significant challenge for a recurve crossbow. At this writing, I’m unaware of any recurve crossbow that approaches those speeds; yet as I learned on safari, 300-fps is lethal.
On the 2015 safari, I had phenomenal results on large animals the size of North American elk, despite an arrow speed of 305. Using the same 16.5-inch arrows that come standard with the Assassin and 150-grain broadheads, the results were astonishing.
A Compact 350
The new Assassin has received a significant boost in arrow speed from its earlier cousins, yet still retains a short, compact design. New for 2018 is a cocking system that cranks in total silence. You can both cock and uncock the bow using the same device.
Additionally, the bow comes with a 3-inch adjustment in length of pull, which makes the bow ideal for youngsters or those with short arms, and with the push of a button it adjusts to a full-length bow. Additionally, the cheek piece raises up to two inches, allowing a tailored feel and more accurate off-hand shooting.
A quality trigger is critical for hunting action, and the Assassin sports a two-stage trigger that breaks cleanly and precisely without creep. After just a couple of shots you can aim, squeeze, and launch is a single action.
A quality crossbow needs a quality scope, and the Tact Zone scope leaves nothing to be desired. Out of the box with 30 mm rings, the unit mounts in a flash and can be removed and reinstated without losing zero. Also, the bow has a slender profile and the limb assembly attaches with a large, single bolt. It’s easy to assemble and remove so that you can carry the bow in a standard padded rifle case. I’m flying this bow to South Africa next week and it will travel in a standard duffle. The stock and scope will go inside of a padded rifle case, and I’ll wrap the limb assembly in bubble wrap then cushion my hunting clothes around it. I don’t need to pay extra for a specialty bag and to the outside observer, it looks like boring tourist luggage–exactly what I want.
During our African plains game safari, we will be hunting from ground blinds and shooting from primitive tripods called “sticks.” To replicate this process, my friends and I took turns shooting from a tripod through a chronograph in the line of fire. This does double duty, practicing and measuring arrow speed.
The rating for the Assassin is 350, and I found our shots varied between 349 and 354, a speed consistency above 98%. Despite various “whips and whistles,” crossbows don’t shoot the same speed with every arrow; yet this one demonstrated dependable speed.
The Excalibur brand is known for durability, and hunters have gone to incredible lengths to torture its technology. Check out the Excalibur website if you get bored in a tree stand and want some amusement.
My personal experience has demonstrated that this bow is not only incredibly durable but versatile as well. After putting successive arrows on the mark at 22 yards, I asked my buddy to try a standard, flat-nock, arrow from another brand. The shaft was 50 grains heavier, had longer fletch, and was physically 3.5 inches longer. The results? Despite the dramatically different arrow dimensions, the nock of the two arrows nearly touched. The heavier arrow was a half inch lower than the lighter Excalibur shaft–gravity doing its thing.
Ultimate Hunting Tool
I’m excited to hunt with the new Assassin and have every confidence it will perform like a
star. The adjustable stock, quality 30-mm scope, crisp trigger, and the silent cocking (and uncocking) system provides all the elements of a great hunting device. Dealing with the excitement of a big kudu bull or feisty warthog will be a personal problem, yet if I contain mental control, I can count on the Assassin to live up to its name. For more information, check www.excaliburcrossbow.com.