October 15, 2013
By Eric R. Poole
The zombie craze refuses to die. So why not have fun with it? If you're a would-be zombie slayer, you're probably aware that a crossbow is a great weapon to terminate these post-apocalyptic threats because it's quiet and renewable. So TenPoint Crossbow Technologies, a leading manufacturer of hunting crossbows, was asked, "What would the perfect zombie-hunting crossbow look like?" The engineers at the Ohio factory obviously enjoyed this project!
For now, the "Stealth Z," as they call it, doesn't exist beyond this page, and you may never see it at your local archery shop. But if TenPoint suddenly had to crank out a weapon capable of subduing a zombie invasion, this crossbow is probably what it would look like.
This Stealth Z is based on the 2012 Carbon Elite XLT model, which has a cutting-edge woven-carbon-fiber barrel. It also has a 185-pound version of TenPoint's radically compact XLT bow assembly. The XLT is one sweet crossbow, and a great foundation for the Z.
TAKE CAREFUL AIM
The zombie can be stalked at close range while avoiding detection. And just because you're close doesn't mean that marksmanship is irrelevant. It takes as long as 15 seconds to reload, so you can't afford to miss and expect to maintain stealth.
Like other TenPoint models, the Stealth Z came equipped with the company's RangeMaster Pro optic mounted on a machined aluminum 7„8-inch fixed dovetail mount. The aluminum scope features a rugged 30mm tube for maximum light-gathering capability and shock resistance. The scope features a variable-speed and arrow-drop-compensator reticle for velocities ranging between 275 and 365 fps. The reticle is etched on glass that spans 1 1/2X to 5X.
It's a crossbow, so it requires no mechanical adjustment for elevation as you consider distance to the target. The configuration offers three duplex crosshairs and four dots that are calibrated for 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards.
The crossbow isn't a crowd-stopper, so don't expect to use it for situations when more than one zombie has to be dispatched. Any group traveling together should have one designated crossbow shooter where that individual assumes the role of noise prevention. A crossbow should be the primary weapon anytime the group comes up on a rogue walker, and excessive noise means a risk of attracting the greater horde, of course.
The Stealth Z's stock is constructed of polymer. With crossbows, balance is important, and with the Stealth Z, you won't feel weight-forward. The balance is neutral, helping lightweight stability and improved accuracy potential in each shooter.
The crossbow's riser is CNC-machined billet 7075 aluminum and attached perpendicular to the carbon fiber barrel. The barrel is unique in that it's a true laminate carbon-woven fiber (not another carbon-dusted polymer mold) — technology that was borrowed from Lamborghini. Thus, there's a bit of the mystique of "unobtanium" to owning a TenPoint crossbow with this level of technology.
In the crossbow industry, few offer more stealth than those made by TenPoint. Against a sound meter, the Stealth Z emits only 90 decibels, a split-instant that sounds a little louder than a conversation. Part of the credit goes to TenPoint's exclusive BowJax noise-dampening kit. These rubber spiders not only progressively reduce decibel levels, they also shorten noise duration by absorbing harmonic vibrations. The Stealth Z arrived with a retention spring dampener and barrel dampeners. When you fire this crossbow, you only hear the string snap forward and the quiet whisper of a bolt piercing the air.
The 352-grain Easton FMJ (a carbon-core arrow with 7075 aluminum-alloy metal jacket) carries a New Archery Products (NAP) two-blade, 170-grain Freakin' Outrageous Cut broadhead. With its sharpened wings forced open on rotting flesh, the broadhead cuts 3 inches wide at more than 300 fps.
It's easy to understand why this arrow has earned its reputation as the quiet killer among the zombie lab technicians.
LOADING AND FIRING
Drawing the string on the Stealth Z starts with the new ACU 50, a leveraged rope-cocking concept that reduces draw weight by 50 percent. Fifty percent means that cocking to ready this crossbow is easier and quicker than other archaic systems. The ACU 50 is integrated into the buttstock and doesn't interfere with stockweld to your face. Inside is a heavy-duty retraction spring that silently and effortlessly draws the ropes securely back into the unit's housing after each use. If you've used crossbows, you'll appreciate the fact that you're not worried about keeping up with a separate rope or untangling it between uses.
The rope is drawn out by a T-handle that self-adheres to the stock. Steel disks imbedded into the T-handle are magnetically attracted to keep the handles stored and out of the way when not in use.
To draw back the string, first place your boot inside the foot stirrup and place the buttstock into your abdomen for resistance when drawing the string. Remove the rope from the ACU 50 with the T-handles, and hook the string's reinforced draw point in the center with both hooks from underneath.
When hooked with both handles, draw the T-handles upward, and a pulley system leverages mechanical advantage to draw the 185 pounds of necessary draw weight. The string engages the receiver's safety mechanism and locks it to the rear when completely drawn. With the string securely locked, unhook and allow the ACU 50 to automatically retract the T-handles.
With the crossbow safety engaged, insert a crossbow arrow completely to the rear with one fletching inserted into the channeled receiver rail. The Stealth Z required about 3 pounds of pressure applied to the trigger to fire a loaded bolt.
Accuracy with these bolts was incredible. A three-shot group can be kept within a 1-inch target out to 40 yards. With practice, a group size just over an inch should be easily achievable at the optic's 50-yard limitation.
At 30 yards, we Robin-Hooded one bolt with another stuck in a hard target.
If TenPoint goes forward with production of the Stealth Z, you'll be sure to recognize the sniper within a group of zombie hunters.
TenPoint Stealth Z Specs
Weight: 6 pounds, 14 ounces
Overall Length: 38.13 inches
Width: 17-1/2 inches uncocked, 13-1/2 inches cocked
Limbs: 11 inch, double laminated
Power Stroke:12.63 inches
The Stealth Z has a scope with an arrow-drop compensating reticle so you can drive tacks at a short or long range.
ACU Draw 50
It's good to know you'll never leave your rope cocker in the truck again. The retractible cocker is always in the ACU Draw 50.
New Archery Products
created these zombie-killing broadheads for this evaluation. They are based on NAP's "Freaking Outrageous Cut" broadhead that results in a monstrous three-inch open cut.
This zombie from the set of The Walking Dead had a little run-in with the Stealth Z. Let's just say he didn't win.
If you're more of a shooter, check out the this Zombie Max Ammo. What's your zombie hunting weapon of choice? Share with us in the comments or on Facebook!
Are you a huge crossbow fan? Buy our 2013 edition of Crossbow Revolution online now!