HOW WE TEST: CROSSBOWS
The crossbow test panel included hunting editor Will Brantley, senior editor Natalie Krebs, executive editor Alex Robinson, and archery tech Danny Hinton. We evaluated each bow for accuracy, speed and energy, handling and balance, fit and finish, trigger pull, cocking effort, safety, and value. Speed was checked with a chronograph with factory-provided bolts and field points, which were also weighed so we could calculate kinetic energy. Accuracy was measured by averaging three 3-shot groups from each tester, taken at 30 yards from a Lead Sled. Cocking effort was subjective but easy—is the bow a pain to cock or not? Triggers were weighed on a Lyman trigger scale and subjectively judged for creep and travel. For safety evaluations, we considered such things as whether the bow’s safety mechanism automatically engages when cocked, and if the design requires some part of your body (hand, foot, face) to be in a position it shouldn’t be in while you’re loading or shooting. Accuracy, speed and kinetic energy, and handling and balance are the key measures of a crossbow’s utility to a hunter, so those categories were doubleweighted. What about noise? After years of crossbow testing with decibel meters, we’ve determined that, compared to vertical compounds, all crossbows are so loud that the difference between them is moot for hunters.
Senior editor Natalie Krebs with the Mission Sub-1.