Crossbow Reviews

Tenpoint Venom

The Tenpoint Venom is in our opinion the best of the best – it was our favorite crossbow among all the models we looked at. The Venom is a compound model that is very versatile and practically flawless. Tenpoint is a brand that consistently puts out top quality crossbows, and the Venom lives up to the reputation of the company in every way. We recommend the Tenpoint to experienced crossbow shooters/hunters who are looking for a real high quality, high performance weapon. The only reason that we don’t recommend the Venom to all of our readers is its price – the Venom doesn’t come cheap, and for this reason it may not be a suitable purchase for those who are new to crossbows. To read more about why we like the Tenpoint Venom so much, check out our full review of it here.

Barnett Jackal

The Barnett Jackal is a good compound crossbow, but when you take into account how affordable it is, it becomes an excellent buy. In terms of performance, the Jackal rivals crossbows that are significantly more expensive, and in its price range we reckon it’s the very best model available. While not perfect, Barnett has done a lot of things right with the Jackal, and we highly recommend it to those of you who’re looking for a really good value crossbow. To learn more about exactly why we think the Barnett Jackal is such great value, read our detailed review of it here.

Stryker Solution

The Stryker Solution is a compound crossbow model that we liked a lot – in fact, were it not for the unsurpassed excellence of the Tenpoint Venom, it may well have been our favorite overall. As it is, we decided that the Solution was our favorite hunting crossbow as many aspects of the model make it especially suitable for hunting. The Solution actually comes in two models, the standard and the LS – the LS model has higher draw weight and higher FPS and is a great choice for those of you out there who prioritize speed. We prefer the standard model – it already shoots very fast, and in our opinion the lower draw weight improves the ease of use significantly. Regardless of whichever Stryker Solution model you like better, we think both options are excellent choices for a crossbow. To read more about why we liked the Stryker Solution so much, check out our comprehensive review of it here.

Excalibur Axiom SMF

The Axiom SMF is a recurve crossbow, and for a variety of reasons it was our favorite recurve crossbow overall. While recurves necessarily shoot slower than their compound counterparts, the Axiom SMF performs strongly in pretty much every other way, and in addition it also has all the benefits that come with being a recurve – namely lower maintenance and lighter weight. To find out more about the Excalibur Axiom SMF, read our in depth review of it here.

Arrow Precision Inferno Fury II

Despite the complicated name, the Fury II is actually one of the simpler crossbow models available. It’s a recurve crossbow, so the mechanisms that drive it are relatively straight forward, and it’s also pretty compact and very lightweight. We liked the Inferno Fury II as a good, affordable option for a beginner/inexperienced shooter – it shoots relatively slow, so it may not satisfy experienced crossbow users, and in particular those of you who hunt with your crossbows should probably opt for a different model as the Fury II does not shoot fast enough to hunt medium-large game. Still, we liked the Fury II for what it was – an affordable, beginner friendly recurve crossbow option. To learn more about the Fury II, you can read our full review of it here.

We also highly recommend you check out our comprehensive Guide to the Best Crossbows.

Arrow Precision Inferno Fury II Review

If you want to learn more about crossbows in general, check out our Best Crossbows Guide.

The Arrow Precision Inferno Fury II is a excellent value for money, beginner appropriate recurve crossbow that is solid all-around with only a couple of minor flaws. It’s not a perfect crossbow by any means, but we feel its good enough, particularly for people who are relatively inexperienced or completely new to shooting crossbows. The thing we like most about the Fury II is it’s pricing – it comes at a very affordable price point that is perfect for anyone who wants to try out crossbow shooting as a hobby but doesn’t want to invest a large amount into buying an expensive crossbow from the get go.

Bow Details

Speed: 235 FPS

Crossbow Length: 34.5

Draw Weight: 175lbs

Width: 26.5 (Recurve Crossbows are wider than compound crossbows)

Power Stroke: 10.5

Crossbow Weight: 5.85lbs

Type: Recurve Crossbow

Cocking Mechanism: Rope Cocker

Our Impressions

First things first – the Inferno Fury II is not really suitable for hunting, and in particular is not appropriate (and in many states is not legal) to use for hunting large game. It is very much an entry level crossbow, and it shoots at pretty slow speeds – and because of this, it lacks the power that’s needed to maximize the chances of a humane kill. The Fury II is not designed as a hunting crossbow, and we strongly urge you not to hunt large game with it.

If we put aside the slow shot speed, the Inferno Fury II is actually a solid bow in most other respects, particularly if you take into account how affordable it is. One thing that we especially appreciate about the Fury II is how lightweight it is – one of the advantages of a recurve crossbow is that it will typically be lighter than a compound model because it’s just a less complicated machine with less parts – but the Fury II is light even for a recurve crossbow. Size-wise, it’s also smaller than the other recurve crossbow that we like a lot, the Excalibur Axiom SMF. Because of it’s size and weight, the Inferno Fury II may be particularly suitable for beginners, females, and young adults.

The ergonomics of the Fury II are pretty good as well – the grip is comfortable to handle and the bow shoulders and aims nicely and doesn’t feel unwieldy in any way. The Fury II also shoots pretty accurate – we got reasonably good groupings at the standard distances. The accuracy level is better than what we would typically expect from such an affordable crossbow. The Fury II feels pretty durable, and while the materials obviously aren’t the most high end available, they are still decent quality and feel pretty sturdy. The Fury II has the standard anti dry-fire mechanism.

The sight is decent – nothing to write home about but definitely usable and serviceable for a budget crossbow model. One thing we weren’t crazy about was the trigger – it didn’t feel firm enough to us, and while it’s not at the point where it would be easy to misfire, we’d prefer a somewhat firmer trigger mechanism. The Fury II has 175lbs draw weight, and comes with a rope cocking device which works as expected. One thing to note is that the power stroke is only 10.5″ on the Fury II – this explains the lack of speed on the shot, but on the other hand makes the draw much more palatable for those who might struggle with a lengthier power stroke.

Pros

  • Recurve crossbows need less looking after
  • Pretty accurate
  • Compact size and lightweight
  • Decent Ergonomics
  • Reasonable durability and construction quality
  • Great value for money
  • Excellent budget crossbow option

Cons

  • Only shoots 235 FPS
  • Not really suitable for hunting
  • Trigger lacks firmness

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a crossbow that you can hunt with, you should probably take a look at some of our other crossbow reviews – there are plenty of excellent crossbows available that are suitable for hunting, and the Fury II is just not one of them. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner or an inexperienced shooter looking for a budget crossbow that will still perform admirably, the Fury II may be the right choice for you. It’s really affordable, and beginners who try out shooting and decide they don’t like it won’t have made a huge investment into a failed hobby. We also recommend the Fury to people who primarily like to target shoot as well as people who are on a really tight budget but want a pretty good crossbow. Other than the lack of power, the Fury II is pretty much solid all-around, and we think it’s a great choice for beginners, for inexperienced shooters, and for those of you on a strict budget.

 

Excalibur Axiom SMF Review

If you want to learn more about crossbows in general, check out our Best Crossbows Guide.

The Excalibur Axiom SMF is a recurve crossbow, and is in our opinion the very best one on the market owing to its perfect blend of price and performance. While recurve crossbows aren’t all that popular – most crossbow shooters are on board with the idea of mechanized help, since crossbows are somewhat mechanical anyways – Excalibur has made a name for itself in the recurve crossbow niche, and the Axiom SMF is another example of this. The Axiom SMF is just a great crossbow all around – lightweight, durable, and highly accurate.

Bow Details

Speed: 305 FPS

Crossbow Length: 37.5″

Draw Weight: 175lbs

Width: 35.44 (Recurve Crossbows are wider than compound crossbows)

Power Stroke: 14.375″

Crossbow Weight: 5.8

Type: Recurve Crossbow

Cocking Mechanism: Rope Cocker

Our Impressions

The Axiom SMF is in our opinion the best choice for those of you looking exclusively for a recurve crossbow. Buying a recurve has some distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to a compound – recurves are easier to maintain, are more ‘traditional’, and tend to be lighter (because there’s no specialized mechanisms on the bow). On the other hand, recurve crossbows will tend to be wider, will typically have higher draw weights, and most importantly, will almost always shoot significantly slower than compound crossbows.

If you compare the Axiom SMF to some of the compound models that we’ve reviewed, it will seem slow – 305 FPS for a compound crossbow would definitely be considered sluggish. For a recurve however, it’s reasonably fast. In exchange for the slower speeds that come with being a recurve, the Axiom is really lightweight – only 5.8lbs – making it very portable.

Also, because the Axiom is a recurve, it requires much less maintenance and upkeep than a compound. That’s time saved that you can spend target shooting or hunting rather than sitting somewhere adjusting strings or doing the other things that come with owning a compound. A decent amount of people prefer recurve models for this reason.

One thing that really stands out to us about the Axiom is that it is exceptionally accurate – we’re not entirely sure whether this was due to the fact that its a recurve or something else, but we found we could shoot really tight groups when using the Axiom. This might make the Axiom SMF a good choice for beginners who don’t need the high speeds but would benefit from help in the accuracy department. It also doesn’t hurt that the scope that is included with the Axiom SMF is fantastic – we were thrilled to find that such a good quality scope came included with this model. On top of all that, we feel that the Axiom SMF is really excellent value for money given its specs.

Ergonomics of the Axiom SMF are decent – the grip isn’t as natural as some of the other grips we’ve come across, but it isn’t uncomfortable. On the other hand it’s very comfortable to hold and aim due to its light weight. The draw weight of the Axiom SMF may be an issue for some – at 175lbs, most people will need more than the rope cocker (which reduces the draw weight by 50%), and if you decide you want to buy the Axiom you may want to look into purchasing a compatible crank cocker.

The only issues we ahd with the Axiom had more to do with the fact that its a recuve rather than the Axiom itself. As we’ve already mentioned, recurve bows and crossbows tend to be longer/wider respectively than their compound counterparts – this holds true with the Axiom, which has a width of 35.44″ (comparable to the axle-to-axle length in compound models). In this sense, the Axiom is a tad large even though it weighs so little. Also, the Excalibur lacks some of the safety mechanisms that we’ve become accustomed to – for example, there’s no anti dry-fire feature. The other issue with the Axiom is that it’s not that fast – but this is a weakness inherent to all recurve crossbows. All in all, we weren’t too concerned with either of these factors – we know what we’re getting into when we use a recurve crossbow – but buyers, and particularly first time buyers, should take note of these facts.

Pros

  • Recurve crossbows are low maintenance
  • Extremely accurate
  • Very lightweight
  • Includes a really good quality scope
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • Doesn’t shoot that fast
  • No anti dry-fire
  • Wider than most other crossbows due to it being a recurve

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a great recurve crossbow, we highly recommend the Axiom SMF. We also think it would be an excellent choice for those who don’t prioritize speed, because if you take speed out of the equation, the Axiom is outright probably one of the best crossbows we’ve looked at, and it’s easy to maintain and great value for money. Obviously, the Axiom SMF isn’t ideal for those who put an emphasis on speedy crossbows, but for everyone else, the Excalibur Axiom SMF is a superb crossbow that excels in most other aspects and is great value for money.

 

Stryker Solution Review

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If you want to learn more about crossbows in general, check out our Best Crossbows Guide.

The Stryker Solution was one of our favorite crossbows overall, and if it weren’t for the spectacular performance of the Tenpoint Venom, the Solution would have been in the running as our top rated crossbow. The Solution is also particularly suitable for hunting – we found it to have all the necessary qualities of a great crossbow for hunting, which is why it got the nod as the best hunting crossbow in our crossbow guide. The Solution is also significantly less expensive than the Tenpoint Venom – this makes it an excellent choice if you’re looking for a top notch crossbow but the Venom is outside your budget. There is also the Stryker Solution LS, which has similar specs to the Regular Solution, but comes with higher draw weight and even faster FPS.

Bow Details

Speed: 350 FPS (LS 390 FPS)

Crossbow Length: 35″

Draw Weight: 125lbs (LS 155lbs)

Axle-to-Axle: 29.19

Power Stroke: 15.5″

Crossbow Weight: 6.9lbs

Type: Compound Crossbow

Cocking Mechanism: Rope Cocker

Our Impressions

The Stryker Solution is a crossbow that we like a great deal – in particular we’re shocked by the speed that the Solution can fire at given the 125lbs draw weight which is lower than some other crossbows. The Solution LS comes with a higher draw weight – 155 lbs – and shoots at a blazing 390 FPS, which frankly we feel is unnecessarily speedy. In any case, the standard Solution model is plenty fast at 350FPS, and with just 125 lbs draw weight, the Solution makes for a great hunting crossbow as its easier to cock than many crossbows out there, but fires fast enough to hunt with. In fact, it’s faster than many of the models on the market.

We got pretty good accuracy out of the Stryker Solution – we didn’t find it difficult to get pretty decent groupings on the target and overall we were pleased with the results we got.

The Solution is also reasonably compact and is lighter than average for a crossbow – these are both excellent qualities for a hunting crossbow than you may have to carry around with you for extended periods. The ergonomics on the Solution are great – the bow shoulders comfortably and is well balanced and easy to aim.

One thing we particularly like about the Solution (and one of the things it does better than the Venom) is that the Solution fires really quietly. In fact, of the many crossbows we’ve come across that are hunting appropriate, the Solution probably shot the quietest of all of them. Hunters will know that this is an added advantage – a quiet weapon means less chance of startling the surrounding animals, which means more potential target later on.

The solution comes with a serviceable rope cocker and a reasonable scope. Neither of these are great, but they get the job done. We would have preferred a scope that has the option of illumniating (red dot style), but it’s definitely not a deal breaker. Serious hunters may want to replace the sight that comes with the Solution somewhere down the line. Naturally, the Solution, like most other crossbows nowadays, has a dry fire prevention mechanism. If you get the regular solution with 125lbs draw weight, depending on how burly you are, you may not need a cocking aid at all. Still, we recommend you use a rope cocker, and the majority of people will need one of they get the Solution LS. The trigger is less firm than we prefer, although this is purely personal preference.

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Check the Best Price for the Stryker Solution on Amazon

Final Thoughts

The Solution is a really good crossbow all around, and it’s not as expensive as some of the top models available. The combination of quiet shooting, excellent power, lower draw weight, and below average size makes it an ideal hunting crossbow. We highly recommend the Solution, particularly if you’re looking for a top quality crossbow but the Tenpoint Venom is outside of your budget. For those of you who value speed very highly, the Solution LS model shoots a blazing 390FPS with 155 draw weight – while we haven’t tested it, we imagine it functions similarly to the Solution as it has identical specs outside of FPS and draw weight. Either way, we’re pretty sure that if you end up with one of the models of Stryker Solution, you’ll be happy with your purchase – especially if you’re a hunter. It’s just an excellent crossbow all around.

Barnett Jackal Review

If you want to learn more about crossbows in general, check out our Best Crossbows Guide.

If you’re looking for a bow that has excellent performance for a very reasonable price, the Barnett Jackal is the crossbow for you. This bow is really excellent value for money – in fact, we don’t think there is a better value crossbow out there – which is why we chose the Jackal as our best value crossbow. It shoots reasonably fast and is quite accurate, has very few noticeable flaws, and is really affordable. There’s not a single crossbow that performs better than the Jackal does in its price range, and the Jackal is probably even comparable with some models that are significantly more expensive.

Bow Details

Speed: 315 FPS

Crossbow Length: 35.5″

Draw Weight: 150lbs

Axle-to-Axle: 26.25″

Power Stroke: 12″

Crossbow Weight: 7.7lbs

Type: Compound Crossbow

Cocking Mechanism: Sold Separately

Our Impressions

The main selling point of the Barnett Jackal is the price – we don’t believe that there is a better value crossbow to be had. It doesn’t perform exceptionally in any particular criteria – however, it is solid all-around, doesn’t have any gaping flaws, and has a very accessible price point. It’s also very versatile – suitable for target shooting as well as for hunting any kind of game.

The Jackal isn’t the fastest crossbow out there, but it does pack quite a punch – 315 fps is nothing to scoff at. It’s definitely fast enough for any kind of hunting that you might want to use it for. It’s also reasonably accurate – we didn’t have any issues shooting nice groups at the typical distances. The sight that comes with the Jackal is pretty good too – it’s a red dot sight with a number of useful settings that allow for more versatility.

The Jackal is spot on in terms of ergonomics – it’s both comfortable to hold and shoot, and the way it feels when you grip it is very similar to the way a similarly sized firearm would feel. The Jackal is about average weight and size for a compound crossbow – it’s definitely not big, but it’s also not particularly portable compared to the other models on the market – its just pretty typical portability as far as crossbows go. Barnett didn’t skimp on materials for the Jackal despite its affordability – the Jackal feels very durable and is clearly made of good quality materials.

The Barnett Jackal also has the typical anti dry-fire mechanism which we’re always big fans of, as dry-firing is very damaging to crossbows and can also be dangerous for the user. We like the trigger of this crossbow a lot – it strikes the perfect balance between being firm and easy to press. We’re told that the trigger mechanism of the Jackal requires about 3.5lbs to pull – this is probably the sweet spot for triggers and we’ll be on the lookout for bows with similar trigger weight.

The one flaw that we noticed in the Jackal is that it’s loud. There’s no getting away from it – when you fire it, there is a very audible sound, which may be an issue for really serious hunters. Also, the Jackal doesn’t come with any kind of cocker – so unless you’re someone who’s comfortable lifitng 150lbs pretty regularly, you’ll probably want to buy either a rope cocker or a compatible crank. This isn’t a huge deal – a reasonable rope cocker only costs about $20, but it is a minor inconvenience and we’d prefer if the Jackal was $20 more expensive and included the rope cocker. Other than that, we feel like the Jackal is solid all around without any major weaknesses.

Pros

  • Stellar Value for Money
  • Fast and Accurate for the price
  • Accompanying sight is surprisingly good
  • Reasonably good ergonomics
  • Trigger mechanism is perfectly balanced

Cons

  • Quite Loud on the shot
  • Doesn’t come with any cocking device

Final Thoughts

The Barnett Jackal is just unbeatable value for money – at this price point, you definitely won’t find a better bow, and even at higher price points the Jackal measures up really well against the competition. In particular, we like to recommend the Jackal to beginners – it’s easy to shoot, accurate and accessible, and as a beginner, if you develop your shooting abilities, it’s also perfectly appropriate as a hunting bow, so the crossbow leaves room for development. On the other hand, if it turns out you don’t like shooting a crossbow, you haven’t invested a huge amount. Overall, we think the Jackal is just solid all-around, fantastic value, and a good buy for anyone on a budget looking for a good, versatile crossbow.

 

Tenpoint Venom Review

If you want to learn more about crossbows in general, check out our Best Crossbows Guide.

If we were to describe the Tenpoint Venom using a sports analogy, we’d say it was a home run, a half court shot at the buzzer, a game winning touchdown. It’s that good. We liked it so very much that it was our choice for best overall crossbow, and managed to win that designation pretty handily. The combination of portability, speed, and accuracy makes the Venom just an outstanding crossbow that we feel is unmatched right now.

Bow Details

Speed: 372 FPS

Crossbow Length: 34.6″

Draw Weight: 185lbs

Axle-to-Axle: 17.6″

Power Stroke: 13.5″

Crossbow Weight: 6.5lbs

Type: Compound Crossbow

Cocking Mechanism: AcuDraw 50 (Rope) or AcuDraw (Crank)

Our Impressions

The first thing that stands out to us about the Venom is it’s incredibly lightweight and compact. We can’t think of another crossbow model out there that is this portability while also being fast and accurate enough to please experienced crossbow hunters/shooters. The lightness and compactness of the Venom makes it a real breeze to go hunting with – it’s light enough that it doesn’t feel like a burden at all.

We also found that the Venom shoots really accurate – we had no issues putting bolts into pretty tight groups at reasonable distances. In fact, we’ve heard some people who bought the Venom managed pretty tight groups without even adjusting the sight – it came out of the box zeroed in properly. Obviously, not ever buyer will have this experience, but it does show a level of dedication to pleasing the customer that we’re used to seeing from Tenpoint. The sight that comes with the Venom is just fantastic – it’s a top of the line scope in its own right, and comes with a lot of flexibility in terms of distances, and you can even choose to use it as a red (or green) dotted sight or just use the non electronic mode.

Obviously the Venom also shoots at pretty blazing speeds – because crossbows lack an official speed measurement methodology (there’s no equivalent of the IBO speeds that you find with compound bows that applies to crowssbows), companies that produce crossbows often promote their crossbows with unrealistic speeds. We find it unlikely that you’ll consistently be shooting at 372 FPS, but 350+ speeds are definitely doable on a pretty consistent basis, and that’s plenty of speed for any kind of shooting or hunting.

The Venom was a pleasure to hold and shoot – ergonomically, it’s excellent. Because of how light it is, it’s not difficult at all to carry and aim, and the weight is evenly distributed along the crossbow rather than heavy at the front or back. Shouldering the Venom also feels easy and natural. The Venom also has an anti dry-fire mechanism which is a nice feature considering how dangerous dry firing can be. The 185lbs draw weight may seem heavy, but the Venom comes with either the AcuDraw 50 (Rope cocker) or AcuDraw (crank mechanism). A fully grown, reasonably fit man should be able to handle the AcuDraw 50, but for most people we’d recommend the crank style mechanism because pretty much anybody can load the Venom with the AcuDraw.

There are only two real issues that a buyer might have with the Venom. The first is the trigger – it’s not bad per se, but in general we’ve found that the Tenpoint triggers are just average, and the Venom trigger is similarly just average – on another crossbow, we may not even have noticed, but because the Venom does pretty much everything else near perfectly, we singled out the trigger as not being up to the same quality as the rest of the crossbow. The other ‘issue’ is the price – the Venom is in our opinion basically the best crossbow out there, and to get the best you have to be willing to pay for it. The Venom sells for about $1700 with the AcuDraw, and is $100 cheaper if you choose the model with the AcuDraw 50.

Pros

  • Really Compact
  • Very Lightweight
  • Highly accurate
  • Shoots with tremendous speed
  • Ergonomics are great
  • Really High Quality Sight

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • Trigger is just average

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best possible crossbow for hunting or target shooting and you have the budget to be able to afford it, go out and get the Tenpoint Venom and don’t look back. It’s an incredibly good bow, and we were actually pretty surprised that something as compact and lightweight as the Venom could be produced with no compromises on speed or accuracy. It’s a real delight to shoot, and we think it would prove an excellent purchase for someone who’s experienced with a crossbow and is looking for the very best. We’d say that beginners should stay away from the Venom purely because it’s definitely on the high-end in terms of pricing – but for someone who has the budget for it and is looking for a top notch crossbow model, the Tenpoint Venom is exactly what you’re looking for.