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Crossbow Revolution: New Bows for 2017Words by Bob Humphrey
Some are incredibly light, like the Gearhead X16. Others are very well-balanced like Barnett’s ReVengeance. And some will blow you away, like Ravin’s new R15. Whichever 2017 new crossbow works for you, each is a deer-hunting machine that shoots arrows into the 300- and 400-foot-per-second range with astounding accuracy. Happy hunting!
Here’s another incredible new innovative crossbow for 2017. It looks like a kid’s Erector set, but it’s deadly and can shoot 340 fps with a draw of only 90 pounds of draw! That means it’s also extremely easy to cock, considering some bows are 250 pounds or more. Their so-called IsoGrid stock and riser are made of aluminum or carbon-fiber, super-strong equilateral triangles. This design provide uniformity and a structure that increases stiffness but weighs much less than most composite-stock and aluminum-rail crossbows on the market.
The stock and riser are both in two piece forms that are mirror images of one another. Each remains as separate components but are tied together through hardware that are stacked next to, or on top of, each other. The way they are put together, they negate buckling and keep the structure rigid. The X16 feels a little awkward when you first pick it up. But benefits become obvious when placed on a scale. The skeletonized structure weighs just over 5 pounds and the carbon fiber version a pound lighter. That makes this the lightest hunting crossbow on the market.
It comes in aluminum, which is 5 1/4 pounds, or carbon fiber, which is 4 1/4 pounds much quieter and more expensive. Weight is also adjustable from 40, 50, 60, 70 and 90 pounds. The X16 avoids bending cables with its own design: the arrow is nocked cock feather up which reduces vane-clearance issues.
Hunters are demanding fast, light crossbows, and this design gives it to them. We also love how the carbon stock option absorbs vibration has low thermal conductivity, that is, it is warm to the touch.
The stirrup is perpendicular to, rather than parallel with, the barrel and that reduces overall length. But if you look closer, you’ll see something real unique: The SWAT bow is designed so that the strings are compressed into a double barrel where they floats free, eliminating friction and improving accuracy. When cocked and loaded, the arrow and broadhead are also completely concealed in the barrel instead of riding on top. That also improves safety.
The BC ReVengeance revitalizes Barnett’s original Vengeance and its reverse limb configuration. You’ll now get better balance because they moved the riser closer to the shooter. There’s also less shock and noise due to parallel limb design, more power and speed because of less power stroke and draw weight, and a considerably narrower configuration for better handling. This latest version offers even more speed and energy along with a new accuracy-enhancing crisp, smooth rifle-like Triggertech trigger.
We review the R9 earlier in this issue, but the R15 is even more powerful. Just about everything is the same in both bows except the draw weight is 235 pounds rather than the R9’s 195. It’s hard to tell the difference because the only way you can cock either is with a crank. Still, this crossbow is a game-changer. The string and cable system is interesting because it does not bend the cables under the rail, like most other bows do. That eliminates some torque, friction and wear. And, get this, the crossbow is 6-inches axle-to axle when cocked!
Once you realize that CenterPoint is a part of Crosman it’s easier to understand the rifle-like tactical look of their 2017 flagship Gladiator Whisper 405. Its features are more than just cosmetic however. The adjustable rear stock lets you customize length to suit your size or preference in any situation – longer in a ladder stand, shorter when crouched on the ground. Though they pack plenty of power, the limbs span a mere 13.5 inches axle-to-axle for improved maneuverability and transport. And the namesake Whisper Silencing System includes dual string stops, two limb dampeners and two spider silencers to address one of the biggest knocks on crossbows – noise.
This year’s entry into the Toxin series is the Toxin 100. It’s different because it now has a compact bull pup tactical stock. You’ll also see that it’s got an off-hand guard, a dry-fire prevention system and a trackless aluminum barrel design.
To build this year’s Aggressor Lite, Empire took last year’s flagship Aggressor 390 and trimmed a few inches off the length to make it more portable to and from, and maneuverable in the field. But they didn’t give up any speed, energy or quality. They also retained the increasingly popular tactical form and function, including an adjustable AR-style rear stock, full rear pistol grip, tactical drop front grip and integrated full-barrel Picatinny rail for accessory attachment.
You’ll find four main innovations in Parker’s new Tornado Xtreme. First, inverted Cams increase power stroke while minimizing overall length. Second, parallel split limbs reduce width and weight. Third, new cams build force quickly and hold stored energy steady throughout the draw cycle for greater efficiency. Fourth, a new riser spreads limbs apart and creates an opening for the foot stirrup, further reducing overall length and weight.
Here’s another innovation from legendary crossbow designer Jim Kempf. This new Scorpyd has a one-piece carbon composite frame, that is, the whole stock, riser, limb pockets and barrel are all one integrated carbon composite unit. The rest is either glass limbs, or titanium, stainless steel or aluminum components. It’s just 6 pounds, 10-inch wide and 380 fps fast.
Yet another upgrade of a previously existing model, the Fang 350 XT’s relatively light 155 pounds of draw weight is capable of producing arrow speeds of 350 fps, accomplished largely on the strength of PSE limb assembly technology. The high-comb cheek rest, pistol-grip and adjustable forestock of a new one-piece synthetic stock all make for better balance and a more comfortable and secure grip. New heavy duty string stops and limb tamers have also been added to dull shock and noise.
TenPoint designed this crossbow for Cabela’s to be a recruitment tool. But don’t be fooled. While it’s designed for smaller-framed shooters, it’s as fast and powerful as many other full-sized bows. The full name — Brood ACU52 Small-Frame Crossbow Package by TenPoint — comes with an ACU-52 cocking aid that makes drawing easier for all recruits.