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Top 4 Crossbows of 2017 Reviewed

These are the $1000+ crossbows you’d actually want to take hunting.

I recently read a great, but lengthy, crossbow review article. It featured four new 2017 crossbow models by comparing them over a slew of categories. Crossbow hunting is exploding right now with some states adding crossbow specific hunting seasons, plus, some hunters are opting to use these bows in rifle seasons.

This inspired me to write the quick-and-dirty checklist you absolutely need to consider when choosing a crossbow that hunts hard and performs when you need it. Forget the hangtag specs, I’m going to tell you what really matters when shopping for your new toy. Based on this extensive article, I summarize how the Ten Point Turbo GT Accudraw, Ravin R9, Excalibur Micro Suppressor and Stryker Katana 385 stack up for practical hunting scenarios. The results are compelling.

DESIGN

This is #1 on my list. A great fit and feel is an absolute must. If it doesn’t feel good to carry, aim and shoot, it’s worthless. Consider the length, balance (is it nose-heavy?) and, equally important, the scope alignment.  You must be able to get on target quick.

Ravin R9

Score: C

A sweet-looking bow, but long and front-end heavy. Has that dreaded “nose dive” effect.  That means tough to carry and get on target quickly, as noted by the tester.

Excalibur Micro Suppressor

Score: A-

Short yet stable, great scope alignment, but a touch heavy for its size. Slightly heavy trigger. Maybe that’s your thing, though?

Ten Point Turbo GT

Score: B+

Decent balance, good scope alignment and overall good grip. Solid, light trigger.

Stryker Katana 385

Score: A

Fairly light and well-balanced with no nose dive make for easy scope alignment. Good trigger, on the heavy side.

PERFORMANCE

Nobody wants an underperformer. A few things a crossbow must do well, no matter what: be accurate and be quiet. First of all, you want to hit your target… every time. Second, you don’t want to spook every animal across the county because your bow is loud. On top of the review I read, I also saw some videos where owners talked about some of this on each model. I boiled it down for you:

Ravin R9

Score: C

The Ravin is a radically new design on the market and has some blistering speed… but it doesn’t seem to have that energy harnessed yet.  Loose arrow groupings at 50 yards. With more speed comes more recoil. Not something you want.  Ravin advertises this bow as “Your Next Rifle”… and it sounds like one when shot (See cocking notes below too!). Overall a cool looking bow, but it has to perform in this major category.

Excalibur Micro Suppressor

Score: A

This bow is accurate, time and time again. It also has little recoil and goes above and beyond in sound suppression, hence the name. Plenty of sound dampening extras were well thought out.

Ten Point Turbo GT

Score: B+

Puts arrows in a decent group at 50 yards. Recoil is manageable. Slightly louder than Excalibur and Katana.  Decent results and fair showing in this category.

Stryker Katana 385

Score: A-

As accurate as the Ten Point, which is good. Acceptable recoil and the quietest of these four bows. The Micro Suppressor got it only because it’s a little lighter and a touch more accurate in testing.

EASE OF USE

Life can be challenging. Your crossbow shouldn’t be. More than design or performance, you want a crossbow that is easy to cock, is durable in any scenario thrown your way and is also easy to maintain.  These might be some of the most important things you should look for in a long term weapon purchase.  Here’s the rundown:

Ravin R9

Score: C+

Can only be cocked with internal crank system.  That system is compact and seems pretty cool but it’s loud as heck.  Not having the option to use a rope cocking aid scares me.  If your cocking device jams or breaks you aren’t hunting anytime soon.  This bow is a compound, and the company is less than a year old, so no telling what long term durability and maintenance looks like.

Excalibur Micro Suppressor

Score: A+

This bow can be cocked and decocked with a rope cocking aid.  Also, this is a recurve bow.  That means two limbs and a string.  No cams, no cables.  It only has what you need and nothing you don’t. Don’t let medieval movies fool you, recurve is powerful, efficient and easy to fix in the field.  Their website claims you can change a string in less than a minute!  That means you have less to worry about in the field and more time hunting.  Excalibur pretty much owned the durability category when they released this crazy website last year.  You have to check it out. Crazy stuff.

Ten Point Turbo GT

Score: B-

Can use a rope cocking aid or a crank, which is nice.  The crank is bulky and needs to be bolted on.  It’s also loud.  Have to shoot an arrow to decock.  Seems well constructed and it is a compound crossbow, so maintenance is mostly done at a dealer with proper tools.

Stryker Katana 385

Score: B+

The easiest to cock with a rope cocking aid, PLUS it can be decocked super easily and silently.  That’s a huge plus, trust me.  You do not want to be burning arrows to decock your bow.  It is a compound, so maintenance is most likely happening at your dealership.

SO WHO WINS?

Well, if you looked at the scores, they all passed, as they should have, being the top crossbows in 2017. However, it came down to two crossbows that really stood out. The Excalibur Micro and the Stryker Katana. When boiling it down to the four things I think make the difference in the field and what matters most while you’re hunting, I’d chose the Excalibur Micro Suppressor. The Excalibur scored the highest in the class when all the scores were added up. Recurve may not be your thing, but I strongly suggest you consider the durability, reliability and simplicity of less moving parts. For the dollar, the Micro Suppressor is a safe bet with less risk of leaving you high and dry if the you-know-what hits the fan. And that, my friends, is a boost of confidence that keeps you focused on the hunt itself. Excalibur received the best report card… now it’s time for you to go get your trophy.

Top 4 Crossbows of 2017 Reviewed