The Hottest New Hunting Crossbows for 2020
A first look at the coolest new crossbows of the Archery Trade Association show
For the past five years or so, crossbow popularity has soared as their inclusion in standard bowhunting seasons have spread across the country. The 2020 Archery Trade Association show seemed to adhere to that trend, with plenty of new crossbow introductions, many of which are showing varied and handier limb configurations (with a corresponding jump in price). Here’s a rundown of this year’s new crossbow offerings.
At first glance, this year’s Ravin looks an awful lot like last year’s Ravin. And it should. It has the same HeliCoil cam system that turned the crossbow world on its ear a couple years back. It has the same fore-end grip system (which is really, really good) and the same stock system.
What’s new? The revamped cocking system is silent. It’s still super easy to use, Ravin has just eliminated the tell-tale click-click-click that signaled the bow was being cocked.
The R29X measures 29 inches in length, which means it’s still plenty handy, but a little longer than last year’s ultra-compact 26-inch R26. It has a 12.5-inch powerstroke which launches 400-grain arrows at an impressive 450 fps. It’s priced at $2,650. There’s also an R29 that’s $300 cheaper with a speed rating of 430 fps.
TENPOINT VAPOR RS470
TenPoint entered the ultra-narrow, reverse-draw crossbow world last year with the Nitro XRT. The new Vapor RS470 is another entry that measures just 6.5 inches across when fully cocked. It has a new TEC-X stock that TenPoint touts to be stronger and lighter than previous models and a new riser of 7075-T6 aluminum reduces the overall bow weight to just 8 pounds.
Perhaps the most notable change from TenPoint in 2020, however, is in the cocking system. For years, TenPoint’s ACUdraw system set the standard for ease of use and reliability in the crossbow arena. The new ACUslide system builds on that success. It’s ridiculously easy to use and allows not only for hassle-free cocking, but safer de-cocking as well. The Vapor RS470 is sold as a system that includes the ACUslide system, an Evo-X Marksman scope, STAG hard case, EVO-X Lighted CenterPunch Premium arrows, EVO-X CenterPunch broadheads, sling and quiver for $3,050 in camo or $2,950 in gray.
WICKED RIDGE M-370
Here’s a prediction for 2020: The Wicked Ridge M-370 is going to be an incredibly popular option for crossbow hunters. The M-370 checks a lot of boxes. It’s arguably the lightest crossbow ever made, weighing in at just 5.8 pounds. It’s easy to handle, measuring 9.5 inches wide when cocked. It’s plenty fast, driving arrows at 370 fps. And it has TenPoint’s time-proven ACUdraw system. Best of all, it’s offered at an attractive price of about $700. It’s available as a kit with a TenPoint Multi-Line scope, Alpha-Nock arrows, and a quiver.
BARNETT HYPERFLITE EVO 420
We’ve seen no shortage of innovation in crossbow design over the past few years. This year’s innovation nod goes to Barnett. Their Hyperflite EVO 420 applies an interesting new design in which the cams are mounted directly to the bow’s riser instead of the limbs. It not only makes for a striking profile, but Barnett also claims the system improves accuracy while reducing vibration, noise, cam lean, and torque. I had the chance to shoot this at the range a few times and, while it’s far from a thorough evaluation, it did feel solid and relatively free of vibration. The Hyper-Flite Track minimizes arrow contact along the rail—something that, in theory, should greatly enhance accuracy and consistency. The EVO 420 is named for its speed—Barnett claims it will fire its 22-inch, small-diameter HyperFlite arrows at 420 fps. This is not a dainty crossbow, though, and all that accuracy added some heft to it: The bare bow weighs in at 11 pounds. It’s sold as a package that includes a cocking device and a TriggerTech trigger. The MSRP is about $1,600.
If you’re looking for a more affordable bow, the Constrictor-Stoke is worth a good look. It pushes arrows at 410 fps and measures 10 inches across when cocked. It weights in just under 8 pounds and has an anti-dry fire device and 3 inches of adjustment in the stock. This bow is sold as a complete kit that includes the crossbow, three arrows, illuminated scope, quiver, cocking rope and string wax for an appealing $600.
EXCALIBUR ASSASSIN 400 TD
Look ma, no wheels! Excalibur continues its tradition of crafting crossbows that feature traditional-style recurve limbs and the Assassin 400 TD is the company’s latest addition to its Micro platform. The crossbow measures 20.5 inches when cocked and 25 inches uncocked, making it the narrowest in the Assassin line. Its overall length ranges from 30 to 33 inches (depending on stock adjustment), making this a compact system. As its name implies, the 400 TD is a take-down model that can quickly be disassembled for transport and re-assembled without impacting accuracy. The bow includes a silent Charger crank cocking system and it’s priced at $1,800.
KILLER INSTINCT SWAT XP
Killer Instinct’s 2020 offering is the SWAT XP and, like previous bow from Killer Instinct, it’s a new take on crossbow technology. This time, Killer Instinct focused on the very real issue of problematic broadhead flight. With crossbows delivering greater speeds than in years past, getting perfect broadhead flight from an array of broadheads can be a challenge.
The SWAT XP looks to change that trend with its new Accutac Barrel System. Instead of a standard rail for the arrow to ride along, the barrel completely encircles the arrow. Killer Instinct says this reduces arrow oscillation, which in turn leads to improved accuracy and consistency from a range of broadheads. The SWAT XP has advertised speeds of 415 fps and is listed at $1,000.
The Warhammer is the minimalist’s crossbow: This no-frills model from PSE features a pistol grip, a MagPul recoil pad, and advertised speeds of 400 fps. When fully cocked, it’s a nimble 6.125 inches wide and weighs in at 7.6 pounds. It’s available in black or TrueTimber Strata or Mossy Oak Country camo. The crossbow was designed, and is built, right here in the USA, though the company has not yet released a price for it yet.