If you don't need light-speed from your crossbow, hands down the Barnett Raptor is the most compact, fun-to-shoot crossbow we tested. It's reverse-draw, so it's narrow, light and solid. However, it is slower than many crossbow (an average of about 320 fps), and, like most reverse-limb crossbows, louder (109.5 dB).
But, truly, it's a great bow for tree stands, ground blinds or stalking. Our kids really liked this bow, and even picked it out for hunting over some youth models. This is one of the bows that make 2015 such a great year for new crossbows.
Speed: 322 fps
Sound: 109.5 dB
Trigger-Pull Weight: 3.3 pounds
8 pounds, 5 ounces
What We Like:
design, compact and light.
What We'd Change: Dampen limbs to reduce sound. If
it could be faster but stay little, that'd be nice.
About our 2015 Crossbow Tests
This is probably the best part of our job here at Crossbow Revolution. We assemble a pile of the latest crossbows from the best companies and shoot each one — a lot — recording the results all the while. There are always surprises — some good, some bad.
Like how awesome it was to shoot a 440-fps crossbow! But who knew that it would be that hard to cock, and I'm no cocking sissy! And then there was the bow that had so much going for it, but the trigger felt gritty and hesitated, like someone had dragged it along a beach.
At the end of the day, it's tough to go wrong with any of these 2015 models. Really, it's all about what you want in your hunting tool — speed, low price, a small package, a quiet bow, smooth trigger?
We hope our play...I mean, work...helps you when you're in the market for a new crossbow.
How We Tested
Because of the large number of variables involved, some of which are extremely difficult to control, we will not be purporting this to be a scientific test, but, instead, a general hands-on report so you'll have information if you are looking at buying a new crossbow.
We test right out of the box, as any consumer would receive it. While crossbow companies send them to us to use free-of-charge, we also send them back to the crossbow companies after any hunting and testing.
Three trigger releases, with the arrows and field points that came with the crossbow, measured by an RCBS Trigger Pull Meter, and averaged to give one number in pounds.
Three shots fired, measured in decibels by a Vernier sound level meter 6 feet from the crossbow, averaged for one final dB number.
With arrows and points that came with the crossbow, we released three arrows through a Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph and averaged the three to get one number in feet per second (FPS).