Gearhead Archery X16.
The X16 Aluminum (the subject of this test) is built on a unique unibody made with two machined aluminum plates sandwiched with a boss and pocket connecting structure in between. An adjustable butt plate, integrated trigger housing, pistol grip, trigger guard, foldable foregrip, rail, cable slide and rest are all either built in or attached to the body. The "bow" portion of the X16 is made with Gearhead's side-plate design and utilizes Gordon Composites split limbs with LimbShield and a set of two-track dual cams.
You will not mistake Gearhead's crossbows with any other brands on the market thanks to their unique, "see-through" design. There is more air than material in these radically skeletonized bodies. Other than the pistol grip, which is home to two wood side plates, there isn't a place from one end of the unibody to the other where Gearhead didn't machine cutouts. The unibody and riser side plates are CNC machined from 6061 aluminum and sandwiched with a boss and pocket internal structure. This creates a gap of approximately .85-inch over most of the unit's length until it gradually flares to a gap slightly more than 4 inches where it meets the bow riser. Vibration dampeners, trigger, linkage and a part of the trigger housing fit into, and are completely visible in, the narrow gap while the arrow rest mounting fixture and cable slide are found in the wider gap. An optional, adjustable butt plate adds approximately a half inch in thickness to the rear of the bow and adjusts another 2.5 inches on two rods.
The trigger housing is outfitted with an anti-dry fire mechanism, which is a physical stop that is pushed out of the way when an arrow is loaded. There is also a block safety on the internal latch trigger, which is automatically engaged when the XI6 is cocked. Trigger pull weight is advertised at 2.9 pounds. A Picatinny-style rail is mounted on top of the trigger housing and serves as a scope mount.
A tactical-style foregrip is mounted under the unibody about halfway between the pistol grip and bow. Gearhead's Model 15 ambidextrous grip features a push button adjustment that offers five positions for customization. A generously sized finger guard, intended to keep the shooter's thumb and fingers below the path of the string, is mounted between the foregrip and unibody.
Gearhead says the new XI6 crossbow matches the company's T18 compound "pound for pound of pull and power stroke." This rig is advertised to generate arrow (uses typical arrows with regular nocks, although Gearhead recommends short nocks) speeds of 350 feet per second shooting a 325-grain arrow while setup with 125-pound draw-weight limbs. X16 cams are built with a dual-track system, with one track handling the string and the other track managing both cables. This narrow profile helps keep the cams straight and aligned for better efficiency and performance. The 13-inch split limbs are made from Gordon Composites material and protected with LimbShield. The riser, like the unibody, is built with two plates and a boss and pocket internal structure, which is advertised to remain stiff, handle high loads and demonstrates notable strength. A compact foot stirrup is attached to the end of the riser and adds less than an inch to overall length. A Whisker Biscuit arrow rest and cable-slide system are mounted inside the unibody.
What's in the Box?
The X16 is available in two packages. Package 1 includes a Hawke scope, rope cocker, quiver and six arrows. Package 2 adds the adjustable butt plate. All XI6 crossbows come sighted in and ready to go.
The X16 is unique in appearance and operation, with its wide-open side plates and use of standard arrows and nocks rather than shorter crossbow bolts. The test unit's performance fell right in line with advertised speeds and proved quiet, as promised. I agree with Gearhead's recommendation to use shorter nocks on your standard arrows, as we experienced some variation in speed with longer nocks and also found the trigger safety would not disengage easily when a longer nock was used.
If I could change one thing about the XI6, it would be the pistol grip; I found it too wide and squared-off for my hand. The foregrip and finger guards, along with the depth of the unibody, do a good job of keeping the shooter's fingers and thumb safe from the flight deck. The X16 also has impressive fit and finish--a testament to Gearhead's focus on quality.
Manufacturer: Gearhead Archery, 608-370-8016; www.gearheadarchery.com
Safety Features: Anti-dry fire mechanism, foregrip safety wings
Riser: Two-sided aluminum plate, boss and pocket super structure
Cam System: Two-track dual cam
String: BCY, 42 inches
Cables (x2): BCY, 22.5 inches
Limbs: Split, Gordon Composite
Draw Weights: 75,90 and 125 pounds
Power Stroke: 16 inches
Stock/Forearm: Model 15 ambidextrous foldable grip
Grip: Pistol grip
Overall Advertised Length: 35 inches
Weight (crossbow only): 5.5 pounds (advertised); 5.8 pounds (as tested)
Finish: Desert Tan, Carbon Fiber or Predator Camo
Advertised Speed: 350 fps with 325-grain arrow
Suggested Retail Price: $1,499 (aluminum) or $1,999 (carbon)
Comments: A high-quality rig with unique design and a tactical feel.
Caption: Gearhead's X16 crossbow is a unique rig in both looks and configuration. Its see-through, side-plate design not only reduces mass weight but contributes to the bow's visual deception (camouflage). A pistol grip with wood side plates and tactical-style, five-position foregrip offer enhanced control and comfort while assisting the finger guard in keeping thumb and fingers below the flight deck. Gordon Composites split limbs and a set of two-track dual cams are advertised to generate speeds reaching 350 feet per second with a 325-grain arrow. A pre-mounted Whisker Biscuit arrow rest and Hawke scope are also included.
SPEED & ENERGY BOLT KINETIC SPEED ENERGY 325-GRAIN BOLT 348 fps 87.4 (GEARHEAD) foot-pounds 420-GRAIN BOLT 308 fps 88.5 foot-pounds 500-GRAIN BOLT 284 fps 89.5 foot-pounds BOWHUNTING Test Measurements: Maximum Width: 22 % inches (at rest); 18 5/8 inches (cocked) Maximum Length: 34% inches Mass Weight: 5.8 pounds (hare); 8.05 pounds (with all accessories) Average Trigger Pull: 3.8 pounds Length of Pull: 14% inches bare; optional butt plate adds 1/2 inch, plus 2 1/2 inches of of adjustability Maximum Shot Deviation at 35 Yards: 75-inch
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|Title Annotation:||TECHNICAL CROSSBOW TEST|
|Author:||Silks, Jon E.|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2017|
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