November 23, 2012, 11:45 AM
Any recommendations on modern production crossbows?

They're legal to hunt with in IL starting in December, thought I'd pick one up. :)

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November 23, 2012, 11:52 AM
Barnett ( seems to be the one most archers I know use. I'd be leery of any of the bottom o' the barrel cheap ones out there.

November 23, 2012, 12:05 PM
I bought my dad an Excaliber Exocet last Christmas, 1st time for either of us. Suffice to say we were impressed by the power.

November 23, 2012, 05:02 PM
Got it. Barnett Ghost 400 CarbonLite.

Shot 25 yards 1" group offhand just now. (Haven't adjusted scope yet - was aiming for center of heart, in black)

The only problem is, I CANNOT GET THE DAMN BOLTS OUT. Was just using field points, not broadheads. They're buried in there 16" or so.

Odd Job
November 23, 2012, 05:18 PM
Ah the arrow retraction issue, many a crossbow owner will know it!

Some tips:

1) Do not fire multiple arrows at the same spot, it is better to get a target with multiple small spots and fire one arrow at each. Several good reasons for this: firstly you have less chance of damaging one arrow with another (either because you hit the nock or because you scrape off a fletching). The second reason is you can then get better purchase on the arrow when pulling it out. It's no good to grab multiple, you'll squeeze them and make a right balls-up of it. Lastly you will prolong the life of the target, especially if you move it around from time to time (the spots I mean).

2) A laminated foam target is nice, especially if you have the denser foam a few inches in. It will retard those arrows to the point where you can at least get a palm width around the shaft and pull it.

3) An arrow-puller can be very useful. You'll have to make sure before you use it that any track or string lube from the crossbow is wiped off the shafts otherwise it could just slip off. You need good grip strength when using it also. I have one similar to this:

4) Always try to grab the arrow as close to the target as possible. When pulling it out, draw it out evenly in the direction it came. Do not waggle it and wrestle it. I find it useful to lay the target flat, kneel on the foam and draw the arrows out like that.

If you get a chance can you please post a photo of the scope mount assembly (where it meets the track).

You can get good info on Crossbow Nation forums also:

November 23, 2012, 11:58 PM
Went to Big R and bought an arrow puller. Was the rubber wrap around kind. Useless. Couldn't get a grip since there wasn't enough room between the target and the fletching. I also bought a brand new layered foam cube hedging that I'd have to cut the other apart.

Which was fortuitous.

I had to cut the original cube apart and dismantle it to extract the arrows. It's a layered foam deal, but I pretty much destroyed the enclosure to do it. Guess I'll need to find a new cardboard box to pack them back in to.

The deepest of those damn arrows were only 1/4" from penetrating the BACK of the 18" cube. The foam looks like it was MELTED to the thing. Even pulling individual sheets off was difficult to get started. Let alone 18" worth of them. (Arrows hit at a slight angle since I was elevated from the target, so they didn't slip in between sheets - they went through at about a 15 degree angle and penetrated a dozen sheets).

You're dead on about the damaging arrows - One arrow was damaged by another striking it when it hit, and was bent. Didn't realize it at the time but I almost robin hooded the damn thing. So after my first 3 shots I'm down one arrow. Have 9 left. :)

New pictures. I took the handguard off and borrowed a handguard from my SCAR, a rail bipod mount from my AR-15, and a harris ultralight swivel bipod from my FN-AR.

Now I have SniperBow. :)

(Hey, what can I say, it's Saturday night and I'm bored as hell)

November 24, 2012, 12:00 AM
(The puller I bought is visible on the second pic on the right)

November 24, 2012, 12:07 AM
Also, thanks for the tips guys!!! I'm really excited to get out in the woods.

I took my son back in the hills behind the house Monday with a 22 handgun, subsonic loads, to take some squirrel.

Not 5 minutes after him and I picked a spot in the timber to sit and watch, this 8 point fellow walked out 30 yards in front of us.

Crossbows are legal in IL for the first time starting Dec 3rd... so I'm excited. :)

Also, that buck stopped right there where he is in the picture for a good 5 minutes watching us. Puffing his chest out. Stomping. Grunting. Then "strutted" off after awhile. I've never seen a deer STRUT before. It was kind of amazing. :)

November 24, 2012, 12:25 AM
Nice bow.

I got a Ten Point Wicked Ridge Invader just before our archery season. I shot one bolt at a time and also hit extremely close groups out to 40 yds (3 line scope).
Mine has the integral cocking device.
I sighted it in on Sun and shot a 4X2 small buck on Mon. The deer was quartering away at 25 yds on a pretty fair angle but the bolt hit dead on where I aimed. The deer fell to the ground, got up and ran 40 yds crashing into stuff.
Three weeks later, I got a doe at about the same distance quartering to me. Once again, dead nuts. The deer also hit the ground, got up and trotted off 50 yds and went belly up. Each bolt went through the deer. The Spitfire 100's opened up just as they were supposed to. The bolts and heads were reusable after doing their job although I want to either sharpen them or replace the cutting blades.
The layered foam targets leave a residue on the shaft so I would suggest one of the small bag style targets to unload into when done for the day. I replace the bolt with a practice tipped one back at the truck.
Tomorrow is the last day of archery antlerless only before our firearms season comes in on Mon.

November 24, 2012, 12:50 AM
Reticle on this one; it has 5 brightness settings for either red or green (turn one way, red, turn the other, green.)

Green worked better tonight practicing with the sun at my rear.

I picked up a set of Spitfire 125's for hunting. Wicked looking things.

Also got a set of thunderhead 125's for practice (figure the same weight would help), the field tips that came with my arrows weighed 100 gr. It's dead on at 20 yards - bought it at Bass Pro, assembled, scope mounted, and zeroed. Those guys know their business!

Tomorrow I plan on figuring out how it does at longer ranges. Even got that bipod mounted so I can be "real sure" of my zero. :)

November 24, 2012, 12:52 AM
Oh, one other thing.

I haven't been THIS excited about something since I got my first BB gun as a kid. :)

It's weird. All these guns I've collected... and I find that it's a damn crossbow that gets me all giddy again.

Odd Job
November 24, 2012, 07:58 AM
That puller is similar to mine. Works fine if you can get it around the shaft. If you can't, you need to change your target or maybe your distance.
You can experiment with different arrow weights also...

November 24, 2012, 12:39 PM
Little easier to pull on the new target I bought. It's not as deep so the points stick out the back. If I'm real careful I can put the arrow straight down, push the block down around it for a couple inches to get a grip on the shaft with the tool. Shot 30 shots today without bending anything. (Also, confirmed that one arrow is FUBAR.) :)

After 12 shots to confirm my zero, I worked my way back from 20 yards in 10 yard increments to get a feel for drop.

50 yards offhand;

Then backed across the road in to the neighbors yard for a 60 yard shot, also offhand.

November 30, 2012, 06:01 PM
Kept practicing.

I'm getting consistently within 1" of point of aim at 50 yards kneeling, 2.5" of point of aim offhand.


I have RIFLES that don't shoot this straight.

November 30, 2012, 06:04 PM

I have a set of Archery tags in my possession now. Illinois' first-ever crossbow season starts Monday!

The only neighbor within 100 yards of me has given their permission to hunt (anyone within 100 yards has to provide consent).

I have a BIG buck regularly drinking out of the lake out back every morning around dawn, and between 8-12 deer walking through my back yard around dusk.

I'm practiced, ready, and legal.

Oh, did I mention I also bought a new deep freeze yesterday? :) :) :)

This will be my first deer harvested, ever, so "here's to not screwing up too bad"!

November 30, 2012, 06:50 PM
You know, I sympathize with the "giddiness" when we were playing, er practicing with the Exocet it was a lot of fun that we were not expecting. And those scopes make you wonder why we never put them on our shotguns for deer season.

Good luck with your hunt!

Owen Sparks
November 30, 2012, 09:13 PM
The longbow beat the crossbow at the battle of Agincourt. The simple reason is that the crossbow is too slow to reload. The same is true in the hunting field.

December 1, 2012, 09:50 AM

If it's got a trigger, I don't miss. :)

Within 50 yards I know I'll get a heart shot. Beyond that distance I won't take a shot (actually, don't HAVE a shot that's further than that distance due to the lay of the land.)

Reloading this thing takes about 10 seconds, assuming I don't fumble.

Seven High
December 1, 2012, 05:35 PM
I would recomment the Excalibur Axiom. It has a recurve prod, which when it is time to change the string, can be done by the owner. The compound crossbows have to be taken to a dealer that has a corssbow press to have the string changed. Usually the string lasts for about 100 shots.

December 2, 2012, 02:06 PM
100 shots? Jeez.. I've already got 60 on this one. (I keep the rails and string lubed every 2-3 shots)

How do you know when it's time to change the string?

Odd Job
December 2, 2012, 02:51 PM
You'll get much more than 100 shots out of it. Just keep the string waxed and replace the serving when it gets frayed (you don't need a bow press to redo the serving).

Seven High
December 2, 2012, 07:45 PM
You can tell by looking at the string for fraying to determine when it is necessary to replace it. I was told the 100 shot number by a crossbow dealer. He also stated that it was necessary to use a press to change out the string. I do not have any first hand knowledge about that information.

December 3, 2012, 08:45 AM
Thanks for the input guys!

Barnett's website FAQ says that they'll get 100 shots minimum if they're properly lubed, usually much more. I guess white fraying is what I need to look for. Also says a bow press is required. Strings cost about $25 or less.

Deer season starts again today, crossbows are legal as of dawn :), hope my work schedule is light enough to get away for a day or two.

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