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.