Would you buy a crossbow built in China? With Parker Bows, you never have to worry because they are made in the company’s Virginia plant and backed by a lifetime guarantee. When Parker announced the new Hurricane XXTreme model with a launch speed of 380 fps, I needed to test one. I’m just weeks out from a crossbow safari, and the speed and reliability of the Hurricane made it a top contender. If you are in the market for a made-in-America bow, here’s what I learned.
Most crossbows are shipped as a single unit or in a rectangular box from which the limb assembly is attached to the barrel of the bow. When the Parker bow arrived in a square box, my curiosity was enticed.
Once opened, I saw that the stock attaches just below the trigger assembly, allowing the working parts of the bow to be shipped intact without the need for a huge container. Three-step directions came in the box, and the stock was quickly attached, the quiver installed, and the bow was ready to shoot.
I purchased the Hurricane kit, which included a four-arrow quiver, Red Hot illuminated scope, cocking rope, and two packs of lube. Although the Hurricane is an eight-pound bow, when you add all the extras, it tipped the scale at 10.4 pounds, about average for a fully loaded hunting model.
Out of the Box Performance
After setting up a foam target, I was anxious to see how well the “laser sighting” worked. Not taking any chances, I fired an off-hand shot from 10 yards and hit point-of-aim. OK, I
guess the bow really is sighted in at the factory, and proceeded with three shots at adjoining targets from a bench rest. All three arrows would touch a dime and each arrow struck two-clicks to the right, the only adjustment necessary.
On my second arrow, I inadvertently tested the anti-dry fire. I do this once or twice a year while testing bows, and always chastise myself for being so preoccupied. One may think that shooters are most likely to forget to load an arrow on a big game hunt or at a time of great excitement. Ironically, it happens mostly on a bench where the shooter is thinking of a myriad of variables and just “forgets.”
Shaking my head, I fully cocked the bow with the Red Hot rope assembly, which attaches easily and pops off the string when fully cocked. I’m always a bit nervous about having to physically remove cocking hooks from the string, but it is not a problem with the Hurricane. Like most bows, you cock it on “fire,” and when fully engaged the safety clicks to “safe.”
As bows get faster, the space between reticle lines decreases, and I worried about “pin confusion” when first using the scope. Instead of a cross-hair reticle, the Red Hot shows circles in the scope from 20 to 40 yards and marks after that. Engaging the illumination feature made the aiming circles very distinctive, and you have the choice of red or green.
Given the speed of the Hurricane XXTreme, I considered installing a single red-dot scope. By sighting in a fast bow at 22 yards, you get kill-zone impact from 15 to 30 yards and create a point-and-shoot situation. We used red dot scopes on a previous safari and ended with 15 animals with 15 arrows. The single focus of a red dot helps greatly with concentration, and I expect the illuminated reticle will have the same effect.
How Fast is It
The Hurricane XXTreme comes with a four-arrow quiver, ideal for carrying three sharp broadheads and a field point for practice or releasing tension at the end of the day. The kit comes with four 20-inch shafts and capture nocks that weigh 307 grains.
My chronograph tests showed the Hurricane at or above the posted 380 fps speed rating. Referencing the Realtree Kinetic Energy Calculator, it shows that this bow and standard arrow produce a staggering 136 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy. As a reference, South Africa requires a minimum of 100 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy to hunt Cape buffalo.
Since most hunters will pursue whitetail deer and not black death, the phenomenal energy readings allow a hunter to ethically use about every expandable broadhead out there with a great probability of getting full penetration. One caution: test at least one broadhead to make sure it doesn’t open on impact. Should that occur, use small retention rings or collars that are sold for high-speed crossbow broadheads.
The Parker Hurricane XXTreme is a mid-priced bow, but nothing about its performance is less than top end. I’m excited to pack this Hurricane off to Africa, and can’t wait to see it perform.
For more information, check the Parker website at www.parkerbows.com.