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Crossbows 2011: trends continue: increasing opportunity & improving technology.

Anyone who watches the hunting landscape knows the crossbow market has grown exponentially over the past decade, and that trend will certainly continue in 2011. Recent years have brought an explosion in the number of quality crossbows available to hunters and a dramatic rise in opportunities to use them. Whether improving crossbow technology is driving increased opportunity or increased opportunity is driving development of better tackle is a classic chicken or egg question. But no matter the answer, there is no doubt crossbows are here to stay.

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In the past year alone, six states--Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina and Oklahoma--have altered regulations to allow crossbow use during archery seasons. Crossbows are now permitted in some form during general archery seasons in 20 of 50 U.S. states and six of Canada's 13 provinces and territories. When you factor in regulations that allow crossbow use during firearms seasons or during archery seasons by disabled and/or junior and senior hunters, the numbers rise to 49 of 50 U.S. states and 10 of 13 Canadian provinces and territories. (See map of North American Crossbow Regulations on p. 48)

With that as a backdrop, BOWHUNTING presents its second annual look at the year's top crossbows. From new, lightweight materials and quieter performance to innovative features such as adjustable stocks and gas-powered cocking, these 16 exciting models prove crossbow hunters have never had it better.

Armcross LeoPro

The LeoPro was named for Leonardo da Vinci, whose reverse-limb design is the basis for this flat crossbow, and about the only thing not modern about it. This reverse configuration spans a mere 16 inches wide, making it compact and maneuverable, yet the composite limbs are strong enough to hold its 175-pound draw weight. Adding to the handling, comfort and safety is an ergonomic ABS, fiberglass-filled stock. The foregrip is slightly inclined against the barrel, conical in shape and rounded on the ends for a more comfortable hold and balance. In addition to making for a more secure grip, a bulge near the barrel also keeps your fingers away from the string and cables.

The barrel and riser are made of a durable aluminum alloy, and the rail is made of a material that reduces friction and preserves string life. The 3-pound trigger is made of hard-grade steel for durability and longer life. The LeoPro is a perfect mix of ancient design and modern technology.

AP Inferno Firestorm

Headlining six, all-new Arrow Precision crossbows is the Inferno Firestorm. Its skeletonized synthetic stock, dipped in Next G-1 camo, provides strength and comfort with reduced weight. Meanwhile, a Fuze integrated step-through Power Extender machined foot stirrup and machined F.I.R.E. Tech riser allow an extremely narrow width of only 19 inches when cocked, along with an impressive 14-inch power stroke. At the end of the Firestorm's powerful split limbs, radical cam technology provides an added boost. The feathery, 3.5-pound trigger is held by an ambidextrous auto safety and anti-dry fire mechanism. Standard features include an illuminated 4x32 multi-reticle scope, quick-detach quiver, four carbon bolts, rope-cocking device, padded shoulder sling and rail lube.

Barnett Ghost 400

Barnett's new Ghost 400 is essentially a much-improved version of last year's Buck Commander. The company retained many of the Buck Commander's great features, such as Barnsdale/Gordon Glass laminated limbs and over molded AVI technology, which is advertised to reduce noise up to 30 percent compared to standard limb designs while eliminating unwanted vibration and limb tension. Barnett also kept an aluminum flight rail designed to enhance precision shooting and durability, a patented, shoot-through foot stirrup that offers increased power and speed and a 3.5-pound MlM, Anti-Dry Fire trigger. Another carryover feature is the lightweight composite stock, with its thumbhole pistol grip and generous cheek piece for a comfortable, secure fit.

To that, Barnett added its patented Carbon Riser Technology, achieving new heights in strength-to-weight ratio. The Ghost 400 comes standard with an illuminated 3x32 scope that offers the illumination of a red dot sight with the efficiency and accuracy of a multi-reticle scope.

Carbon Express Covert CX2

When they decided to jump into the crossbow market, the folks at Carbon Express didn't mess around. The flagship of the Covert series, the CX2 is filled with high-tech features designed to enhance your shooting experience.

There's no question comfort arid proper fit are key elements to more accurate shooting. The CX2 has an Advanced Bull-Pup stock that positions the trigger mechanism four inches forward of most other crossbows. One- and two-inch pad inserts allow for custom length adjustment. Underneath is a fully adjustable forearm and a custom tactical fore-grip with five different positions, the latter mounted on a nine-inch, adjustable Picatinny rail system for mounting accessories. The stock also features a rubberlike SilenTech exterior that reduces vibration and dampens sound.

On the front end of an anodized aluminum flight rail, you'll find a CNC machined aluminum riser sporting carbon-infused limbs, precision engineered cams and tunable synthetic bowstrings and cables, as well as a rubber coated, one-piece aluminum stirrup. Atop the back end are an ambidextrous, anti-dry fire trigger box with all-metal trigger and safety and a deluxe, lighted scope with red/green illuminations.

Lightweight, well balanced, maneuverable and adjustable to find the proper balance and fit for any size hunter or shooting style, the Covert CX2 includes a quick-detach, three-bolt quiver and three Carbon Express exclusive Maxima Hunter 20-inch bolts.

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CenterPoint Crown 175

Ready to go right out of the box, Crosman's Center-Point Crown 175 offers an affordable option for hunters of smaller stature or those looking for a compact, lightweight crossbow without sacrificing knock-down power. It features a lightweight stock, Lightning Touch trigger system, custom string and cables, CenterPoint 1x30mm 3-dot illuminated optic, quiver and three metal-tipped carbon bolts. It comes smartly dressed in Next G-1Camouflage. The compression molded, fiberglass composite, single-limb system sends arrows down range at velocities up to 265 fps.

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Darton Serpent

Rather than introduce a brand new model for 2011, Darton took an already great crossbow and made it better. By moving to a parallel-limb configuration, Darton not only made the Serpent sleeker and more compact, they made it much smoother shooting, the parallel limbs canceling each other's excess noise and vibration. Remaining noise and vibration are further abated by Darton's string suppression system.

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For the stock, Darton incorporated a new, trigger-forward design. That allows for a longer power stroke, which translates to more downrange energy and better balance. The one-piece stock features a rubber recoil pad, pistol grip and a wider forearm section with a flare to keep the shooter's hand away from the shooting plane. With all this, Darton also managed to shave half a pound of weight compared to the 2010 model.

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The Serpent's precision-machined, anodized aluminum barrel has a Teflon-impregnated rail for more consistent flight. A Positive Limb Alignment System on the Gordon Glass limbs and precision receiver help produce tighter groups. The Serpent also has an anti-dry fire mechanism and a safety that automatically engages when cocked.

Excalibur Axiom SMF

The Axiom SMF fits very nicely into what is probably the fastest growing segment of the crossbow market--price point bows. The Axiom SMF is perfect for folks who want to get into crossbow hunting but aren't willing to settle for a "beginner's" bow. The Axiom also has about as simple a design as you could ask for.

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Like all Excalibur crossbows, the Axiom has a modular, recurve limb system with exclusive "Magtip" limbs, which are advertised to produce greater velocities without the weight or noise of compound systems. The patented trigger unit is engineered for a mere 3-pound pull, and its overall 6-pound weight is a pleasure to carry in the field. Its 175-pound draw weight and 14.5-inch power stroke make it comfortable to cock, while maintaining ample speed and energy for any North American big game. Sold only as a kit the Axiom SMF comes with a matching multiplex scope, rings and base, four-bolt quiver, four bolts and a rope cocking aid.

Horton Ultra-Lite Express

At a mere 6.5 pounds, Horton's Team Realtree Ultra-Lite Express is among the lightest high-performance crossbows on the market. In addition to being compact, it's also adjustable. The interchangeable butt plate with overmolded recoil pads allows for a customized length of pull from 13-14 inches. The foregrip can be moved to various positions for additional customization, and the CNC machined aluminum sight bridge and Picatinny rail are positioned for proper eye relief. An overmolded rubber grip and cheek piece create a soft, comfortable feel.

On the front end of the aluminum barrel, you'll find a forged 7075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum riser and a forged foot stirrup, plus high-performance Gordon composite asymmetric limbs crafted with Horton's proprietary, three-layer lamination process and an efficient cam design. Stumper Arms with SIMS Navcom Sound Stoppers and a vibration-damping coating on the foot stirrup reduce noise and vibration. Last but not least are high-performance, synthetic string and cables and a MlM Talon ultralight trigger with anti-dry fire mechanism and ambidextrous safety.

Kodabow Big Rhino

Kodabow's rugged, 225-pound Big Rhino features an adjustable AR platform rear stock and proprietary dual-limb Dynamic Flex Energy Storage recurve system that generates an impressive 350 fps and 100 foot-pounds of kinetic energy while also allowing easy, in-the-field string replacement using the the included Destringing Aid.

Other highlights include Solid Rail Technology with hard coated finish, machined riser, Weaver rail for accessory mounting and a high-end trigger assembly with auto safety and anti-dry fire mechanism. Various packages offer your choice of optics.

Parker Concorde

Parker's new Concorde takes the prize for innovation as the first self-cocking crossbow. Simply push a button recessed into the rear of the stock and the C02-powered mechanism safely, quickly (in about two seconds) and quietly cocks (and un-cocks) the cross-bow, automatically engaging the safety and dry-fire suppression system as well.

The foregrip, enlarged to accommodate a nine-ounce CO2 bottle (which will last the average hunter more than a full season), may seem a bit bulky but actually provides a very sturdy and safe grip that keeps your fingers well away from the string. Adding to stock comfort and security are a checkered pistol grip, elevated comb and a Soft Touch finish. The stock is also designed for optimal weight distribution.

Powerful, near parallel Gordon Glass limbs allow the Concorde to achieve speed and energy comparable to most modern hunting crossbows with a compact, 9.6-inch power stroke. Minimal limb deflection and factory-installed string stoppers help make this an exceptionally quiet shooter. The Concorde also features Parker's all-metal G2 Trigger. It's available in four package options that include a four-bolt, quick-detach quiver and your choice of four scopes.

PSE Foxfire

PSE's new Foxfire will serve as a great conversation piece for those who debate whether a crossbow is a bow. To create the Foxfire, PSE took technology from its existing compound bow line and turned it on its side. The front end is essentially a scaled down version of the X-Force limb technology affixed to a machined riser and anodized, machined aluminum barrel.

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The Foxfire includes all the same PSE-made proprietary limbs, limb pockets, cams, string and cables. Then they added a comfortable, pistol-grip, molded synthetic stock, a rubber-coated foot stirrup and Vi-bracheck Backstops. PSE is famous for its crossbow packages, and there are two options for the Foxfire, one with a Viper red dot scope, the other with a Viper 4x32 multi-reticle scope. Both include four 20-inch Charger bolts, detachable quiver and cocking strap.

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Scorpyd Telson

Like the original Scorpyd RDTs, the new Telson series uses parallel, reverse-draw limbs, extra-large CNC engineered cams and FOC (Front of Cam) string technology to produce blistering speed with less vibration, recoil and hand shock, all in a very compact bow. The Telson features a generous, 19.75-inch power stroke that generates an industry-exclusive one pound of kinetic energy for each pound of draw weight--available in 90-, 110- and 130-pound versions.

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The Telson retains many of the great features of its predecessor, such as a patent-pending lock assembly including latch, seer, safety, trigger arm and unique anti-dry fire mechanism. An innovative folding stock reduces stock length by 10 inches when folded for easier cocking, even in a treestand. Maneuverability in a stand or blind is further enhanced by the narrow, 16.75-inch axle-to-axle width. Like all Scorpyd crossbow models, the Telson comes with BowJax String Stoppers, Winners Choice string and cables, a center balance tripod mount, CNC engineered cams with sealed ball bearings and stainless steel axles. It also comes with a machined, anodized Fast Trac barrel.

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MANUFACTURER/MODEL TYPE DRAW SPEED ENERGY LENGTH
 WEIGHT (feet (foot- (inches)
 (pounds) per pounds)
 second)

Armcross LeoPro compound 175 305 Not 33.5
 Available

Arrow Precision compound 200 375 126 38.5
Inferno Firestorm

Barnett Ghost 400 compound 185 350 151 38

Carbon Express compound 200 360 118 36
Covert CX2

Center Point Crown recurve 175 265 Not 30.625
175 Available

Darton Serpent compound 170 325 112 35.5

Excalibur Axiom recurve 175 305 77 37.5

Horton TR compound 175 330 103 37
Ultra-Lite Express

Kodabow Big Rhino recurve 225 350 100 34-38

Parker Concorde compound 175 300 80 34.5

PSE Foxfire compound 150 340 109 38.5

Scorpyd Telson compound 130 385 132 37.5
Stryker StrykeZone compound 160 380 127 34.375
380

TenPoint Carbon compound 185 345 111 38.5
Fusion CLS

Wicked Ridge compound 180 305 86.8 37.875
Invader

Winchester compound 165 340 110 34.5
Stallion

MANUFACTURER/MODEL WIDTH WEIGHT POWER TRIGGER FINISH
 (inches) (pounds) STROKE PULL
 (pounds)

Armcross LeoPro 16.3 8 13 3 RF-1 and
 RF-2

Arrow Precision 19 8.5 14 3.5 Next G-1
Inferno Firestorm

Barnett Ghost 400 24 7.8 15.75 3.5 Black

Carbon Express 22.5 8.95 14.5 3.5 Mossy Oak
Covert CX2 Treestand

Center Point Crown 27 5.875 11 3.5 Next G-1
175

Darton Serpent 20 8 13 4 Realtree APG
 HD

Excalibur Axiom 36 6 14.5 3 Advantage
 Timber

Horton TR 21.4 6.5 12.75 4.5 Realtree APG
Ultra-Lite Express HD

Kodabow Big Rhino 34 8.3 14 4.5 Mossy Oak
 Breakup

Parker Concorde 18.75 10.9 9.6 4 Next Vista

PSE Foxfire 24 8.3 14.25 6 Mossy Oak
 Treestand

Scorpyd Telson 16.75 9 19.75 2.75 Next Vista

Stryker StrykeZone 19.5 6.9 15.5 3 Treestand &
380 Optifade
 Forest

TenPoint Carbon 20.5 7.3 13 3.5 Realtree
Fusion CLS APG

Wicked Ridge 20.5 6.9 12.25 3.5 Mossy Oak
Invader Break-Up
 Infinity

Winchester 17 6.8 12.5 3 Proveil
Stallion Reaper Woods

MANUFACTURER/MODEL MSRP WEB SITE

Armcross LeoPro Not www.armcross.de
 Availabke

Arrow Precision Inferno $649 www.arrow-precision.com
Firestorm

Barnett Ghost 400 $999 www.barnettcrossbows.com

Carbon Express Covert CX2 $599 www.cxcrossbows.com

Center Point Crown 175 $300 www.centerpointhunting.com

Darton Serpent $749 www.dartonarchery.com

Excalibur Axiom $480 www.excaliburcrossbow.com

Horton TR Ultra-Lite $629 www.hortonarchery.com
Express

Kodabow Big Rhino $899 www.kodabow.com

Parker Concorde $1,200 www.parkerbows.com

PSE Foxfire $600 www.pse-archery.com

Scorpyd Telson $1,249 www.scorpyd.com

Stryker StrykeZone 380 $749 www.strykerxbow.com

TenPoint Carbon Fusion CLS $1,899 www.tenpointcrossbows.com

Wicked Ridge Invader $549 www.wickedridgecrossbows.com

Winchester Stallion $900 www.winchesterarchery.com


Stryker StrykeZone 380

The StrykeZone 380 stands out as much for the differences as for the similarities to previous Stryker models. From last year's StrykeForce, Stryker retained the molded rear stock with its generous cheek piece and pistol grip, though they reconfigured the fore stock from an adjustable pistol grip to a fixed, slotted handle. They also retained the machined aluminum barrel and riser, though they completely reconfigured the riser-limb assembly, going from the StrykeForce's Center Pivot design to a more conventional configuration without sacrificing speed or efficiency. Also new are Octane string and cables and a KillSwitch trigger rated at less than 3 pounds of pull with less than .015 inch of travel.

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The StrykeZone also features an Auto-Flip magnetic safety that clicks on every time the receiver is lifted or the crossbow is cocked. It's also engineered to click back into safe mode if the crossbow is dropped or the bolt is removed. There's also a double barred Cease-Fire safety plug insert that slides into place, locking the jaws and immobilizing the trigger.

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The GameOver package includes five 385-grain matched Stryker bolts, a five-bolt quick detach quiver, multireticle scope, detachable shoulder sling, cocking aid and string stops.

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TenPoint Carbon Fusion CLS

TenPoint uses an industry first woven carbon fiber barrel to make its new Carbon Fusion CLS lighter and quieter, eliminating a remarkable 20 ounces from the company's original Phantom CLS design. Threaded aluminum rivet nuts "float" the barrel inside the stock to reduce noise and vibration transmission between barrel, stock and shooter. An extruded aluminum trigger mount and the highly regarded 3.5-pound, patented PowerTouch trigger are fitted securely inside the rear of the barrel cavity. The barrel's flight deck has extremely low friction for extended string life. The 12-inch IsoTaper Limbs are fitted with MR Cams and D-75 string and cables that create a 185-pound, technology-driven power plant that shoots 345 fps and generates 111 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.

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The Carbon Fusion CLS also features TenPoint's patented DFI (dry-fire inhibitor) and patented GripSafety. It comes equipped with the ACUdraw or AGUdraw 50 cocking units and the new RangeMaster Pro variable speed and power scope. Finished in Realtree APG camo, the Carbon Fusion CLS is sold only as a complete package, including case, carbon bolts, silencer kit, Sted-dyEddy monopod system and other accessories.

Wicked Ridge Invader

Wicked Ridge (a value-oriented line introduced last year by TenPoint) didn't release any new models for 2011, but it did respond to customer demands by offering new, upgraded package options for both the 180-pound Invader and 165-pound Warrior. Packages include a TenPoint 3x Multi-Line Scope, Wicked Ridge six-bolt quiver, three Wicked Ridge aluminum bolts and a Wicked Ridge embroidered sling.

The Wicked Ridge Invader borrows generously from both the TenPoint and BPoint family lines. From TenPoint they took a one-piece, molded stock and barrel combination made of Verton, a durable, lightweight polymer that provides a structurally sound stock and dimensionally precise flight deck with minimal friction. The Alpha-A Quad Limbs are firmly fixed in a CNC-machined aluminum riser. The terminal CNC-machined aluminum wheels are fitted with the same 32-strand Fast Flite string, cables and tunable yolk as the TenPoint and 6Point crossbows, though they sport a distinctive orange and black braid. Safety features include DFI technology, an auto-lock ambidextrous thumb safety and flared foregrip.

Winchester Stallion

Winchester Archery has jumped into the crossbow world with three new models. Leading the herd is the Stallion, which is loaded with innovative technology and design features. In addition to a retracted cocking platform and compact bull-pup configuration, the ergonomic stock features noise-deadening and comfort-enhancing Quiet Touch pads everywhere the shooter contacts the stock (cheek, pistol grip and bottom of forearm). Atop this is a fully machined barrel and riser joined together to guarantee match-grade accuracy. All hardware is made of durable, corrosion resistant stainless steel, including the patent-pending AST-X (Accu Speed Technology-Crossbow) Two-Track cams and a patent-pending Ultra Match trigger that's unaffected by bow draw weight. Safety is enhanced with an anti-dry fire mechanism and an arrow retention plunger instead of a noisy and fragile "finger" extending awkwardly in front of the trigger. Silencing the power plant are sophisticated dual 3K carbon rod string stops, speedsters and Sims LimbSavers.
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Author:Humphrey, Bob
Publication:Petersen's Bowhunting
Date:May 17, 2011
Words:3314
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