Many ultra-accurate crossbows have hit the bowhunting market over the last few years, and these often come in narrow, nimble packages (the R26 from Ravin, for instance). The latest flagship crossbow from Barnett was also designed with accuracy in mind. That’s not a surprising goal given their track record—Barnett bows have historically turned in some of the tightest groups in our annual test. The HyperFlight EVO is narrow with a 9-inch axle-to-axle when cocked, but it isn’t exactly nimble. The crossbow weighs a hefty 11 pounds by design. Jason Fogg, Barnett’s director of new product development in archery, compared the EVO to a heavy competition rifle with low recoil and excellent groups—instead of a light-weight field gun that simply gets the job done.
Though a version of this bow was on display at the ATA Show in 2019, it was a non-functioning prototype. Since then, Barnett refined the patent-pending cam and riser setup, which is the most interesting aspect of the new design. The cams are mounted on a very stiff riser rather than at the end of the limbs. Barnett was focused on eliminating string lift, which can cause cam lean and reduce accuracy. So while the limbs still flex plenty when cocked, the cams remain level. The EVO reportedly reaches speeds of 420 fps with a 380-grain arrow. It shot well at the range, though we couldn’t test the accuracy at any real distance.
There are plenty of thoughtful touches on the EVO, including a micro-adjustable comb and butt pad, and an adjustable stock for the correct length of pull. It also features a 3-position fold-down handle that’s hollow to accommodate a proprietary shooting stick. The 90-degree angle is suitable for shooting off-hand, the 45-degree bend allows a hunter to anchor the shooting stick on a hip, and the horizontal position folds the grip out of the way entirely. There’s also a two-gear system which makes for faster cocking with the stock-integrated, quick-detach crank cocking device. Though there’s a groove on the stock for a cocking rope, there’s currently no way to draw the crossbow if the in-stock cocking device fails. This is due to the 285-pound draw weight, which is plenty for anyone to pull with a rope, but there’s also no room on the string to place hooks on either side of the wide rail.
The crossbow also incorporates a Trigger Tech trigger and the usual anti-dry fire technology. The finish is a Mossy Oak Break Up Country, and the MSRP is $1,600, which includes the bow, three 22-inch HyperFlite arrows, a 1.5-5×32 illuminated scope, the integrated cocking device, and a quiver.