Skip to main content

Field Test: Traditions Crackshot XBR .22 Rifle, Arrow Launcher

The Crackshot XBR offers an alternative for both archery and firearm enthusiasts.

Field Test: Traditions Crackshot XBR .22 Rifle, Arrow Launcher

Traditions Crackshot XBR

Can one platform fire both bullets and arrows? That’s the design premise behind the Traditions Crackshot XBR, a single-shot .22 LR rifle that converts to an arrow-launcher. The Crackshot fires .22 rimfire ammunition in its standard rifle barrel, but swap that barrel with the package’s dedicated XBR upper, and the unit transforms into a gun that propels arrows with enough speed and accuracy to take big game. The XBR is a unique platform for recreational shooting, as well as a capable hunting arm in states that permit its use.

The Build

The Crackshot is configured as a break-action single-shot with a 16.5-inch barrel. As a rimfire, the Crackshot is a handy small-game rifle, plinker or general-purpose camp gun.

The XBR upper replaces the Crackshot’s .22-caliber barrel and fore-end, allowing users to shoot proprietary arrows propelled by a breechloaded .27-caliber cartridge that contains only powder. Instead of a barrel, the XBR upper has a 20-inch shroud that accepts the arrow.

The shroud consists of an outer tube and an inner post. A nockless arrow slides onto and along the post, and together the post and tube serve as an arrow guide. The shroud encapsulates the arrow shaft, but the business end of the arrow remains exposed to accept a field point or broadhead.


The XBR launches a 16-inch Traditions 2216 Firebolt aluminum arrow. Much like the powder charges used by nailers and fasteners in the construction industry, the .27 Caliber Long XBR Powerload propels the arrow when fired. The XBR Powerload is similar to a blank, and it pushes the arrow to speeds of up to 385 fps with a relatively quiet report.


Thanks to its well-designed synthetic stock, the Crackshot XBR is ergonomically pleasing when shouldered. The rifle is surprisingly light, weighing about 4 pounds. Two swivel studs are provided for a standard rifle sling.

A 4x32mm scope comes factory-installed on the XBR upper’s Picatinny rail. Three arrows are included with the package; a side-mount quiver is an optional accessory. The Crackshot XBR is available with a Realtree Edge, Kryptek Highlander or black finish. The black Crackshot XBR I tested has an MSRP of $499.

Setting It Up

Installing the XBR upper onto the Crackshot frame is a straightforward process. Unscrew the front sling-swivel stud, and remove the fore-end. Depress the barrel-catch lever on the trigger guard, pivot the .22-caliber barrel downward, and lift it from the frame. Rotate the XBR upper around the hinge pin and onto the frame until it locks in place. Finish by installing the XBR fore-end and tightening the screw located at its midway point.

Preparing the XBR for a shot is also simple. Slide the Firebolt arrow shaft onto the inner post and into the shroud until it stops. The arrow is hollow along most of its length, but it has a solid section toward the front that meets the front edge of the post and prevents it from going farther into the shroud. With the muzzle pointed safely downrange, open the action, insert an XBR Powerload into the chamber and close the action. Disengaging the cross-bolt safety and cocking the hammer readies the XBR for firing.


Performance

The XBR I tested was very close to being sighted-in when I received it. After a few minor adjustments to the scope, I was punching bullseyes with field points. The trigger had a bit of travel before breaking, but I didn’t notice any negative effect on accuracy.

To further test the XBR, I equipped the arrows with 100-grain SEVR broadheads. These are rear-deploying mechanicals, and the XBR produced nicely clustered groups with them out to 50 yards. The test XBR propelled arrows to a chronographed 383 fps with little recoil.

Considering the speed at which the XBR launches arrows, it delivers adequate arrow lethality (kinetic energy) to cleanly take many game animals. Before hunting with the XBR, however, check regulations for applicable seasons and restrictions. Traditions is actively working with states regarding the legality of hunting with the XBR, and reports some states currently permit its use for predators and game that can be taken by any means.


I was admittedly skeptical about the XBR prior to using it, but I found it an absolute treat to shoot. I appreciated the simplicity of its operation, and the fact that there are no compressed air tanks to fill (as found on pneumatic arrow-launchers) or strings to cock (think crossbows). Those searching for a new way to enjoy their time in the field—whether it’s spent firing .22 LR ammo or shooting arrows—will enjoy this unique platform.

More on the Traditions Crackshot XBR

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish Catfish

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 21, 2020

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters...

With the Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system, anglers have ultimate kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and the ability to move their boat in any direction desiredAmazing Kayak Power and Control: Hobie's MirageDrive 360 Propulsion System Other Fishing

Amazing Kayak Power and Control: Hobie's MirageDrive 360 Propulsion System

OSG Editorial Staff - November 01, 2020

With the Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system, anglers have ultimate kayak control...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

See More Trending Articles

More Guns

SHOT Show highlights include new Renegauge semi-auto shotgun.Sneak Peek: Savage Arms Introduces 2020 Lineup SHOT Show

Sneak Peek: Savage Arms Introduces 2020 Lineup

Game & Fish Digital Staff - January 16, 2020

SHOT Show highlights include new Renegauge semi-auto shotgun.

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021 Waterfowl

Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021

Game and Fish Staff - January 12, 2021

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.

Check out these three lightweight over-under shotguns.Lighter Over-Unders for Upland Bird Hunting Upland

Lighter Over-Unders for Upland Bird Hunting

M.D. Johnson - August 27, 2019

Check out these three lightweight over-under shotguns.

The semi-auto was debuted this week at SHOW Show 2020.CZ-USA's New Bren 2 Ms. Carbine SHOT Show

CZ-USA's New Bren 2 Ms. Carbine

Game & Fish Digital Staff - January 21, 2020

The semi-auto was debuted this week at SHOW Show 2020.

See More Guns

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now