Shorter, Lighter, Faster

Today’s Highly Advanced Crossbows are Ideal Hunting Weapons.
 
According to some sources, crossbows date back 6,000-7,000 years. First appearing in China, they revolutionized warfare. Here’s why: To accurately fire an arrow with a bow required significant expertise. In fact, archers were cultivated and trained from a very young age and were considered an upper class. The crossbow, on the other hand, could be wielded by those with little training and it inflicted significant damage. So much so that it was banned by Catholic popes during the Middle Ages and was even outlawed by the Magna Carta.
 
As can be expected, crossbows have evolved significantly since their introduction. Today’s crossbows are shorter, lighter, narrower and faster than their counterparts of only a few years ago.
 
“Crossbows have evolved a lot in the past five years and have become highly efficient,” said Excalibur’s Rob Dykeman. He cites new materials, including aircraft aluminum, better designs and higher levels of engineering for the efficacy of today’s crossbows.
If you are thinking of adding these weapons to your hunting arsenal, we recommend the following.
 
Excalibur
 
An exciting new entry from Excalibur is the Grizzly Matrix. It’s very affordable while including many of the features found on more expensive Excalibur crossbows. Excalibur’s Grizzly Matrix delivers 18-inch bolts at 305 feet-per-second (fps) and has a 200-lb. draw weight. It weighs only 5.5 lbs. and features Mossy Oak Break-up Country camouflage and Excalibur’s super-strong composite frame.
 
“Our new Matrix Grizzly crossbow enables sportsmen the ability to have the famous Excalibur reliability, accuracy and service at a very affordable price,” Dykeman added. “You can adjust your string in less than 20 minutes and de-cock your crossbow without having to fire an arrow.”
 
Included with the Matrix Grizzly crossbow are a Dead-Zone scope, one-inch scope mount, a four-arrow quiver with bracket, four Diablo arrows, four 150-grain field points and a rope cocking aid.
 
A great option for those looking for a more compact crossbow is Excalibur’s new Micro 335. According to the company, it’s the most compact recurve hunting crossbow in the field, thanks to limbs that are only 25 inches wide and a 10-inch power stroke.
 
“The new Micro 335 is ideal for hunting in ground blinds or tight cover. It’s amazingly quiet, smooth to shoot, deadly accurate, and like all Excalibur crossbows it’s built to weather the very toughest hunting conditions for decades of flawless service,” Dykeman added.
 
The Micro 335 weighs a mere 5.2 lbs., delivers 16.5-inch bolts at 335 fps and has a draw weight of 270 lbs. It features Realtree Xtra camo finish.
 
“The Micro 335 features our stylish, yet comfortable, new Feather-Lite skeletonized stock that includes rubber grip inserts for unparalleled control and feel. It comes with an ambidextrous cheek piece and an oversized trigger guard for cold weather hunting,” Dykeman explained.
 
Included in the Micro 335 package is a Dead-Zone scope with one-inch rings, Guardian Anti-Dry-Fire-System, Recoil Energy Dissipation System (R.E.D.S.) suppressors, a four-arrow quiver (with bracket), four Quill arrows with 150-grain field points and a rope cocking aid.
 
To maximize your hunting time, these crossbows require very little maintenance. The company recommends oiling fasteners to prevent rust, occasionally adjusting strings and lubricating the rails.
 
Barnett
 
Also popular with Dunham’s Sports customers is Barnett’s Quad Xtreme crossbow.
 
“For those looking for extreme value and extreme performance, it’s tough to beat our Quad Xtreme crossbow,” explained Barnett’s Bob Zellmer.
 
The Quad Edge Xtreme features a lightweight, composite stock, resulting in an estimated 7.2-lb. mass weight. It has a 125-lb. draw weight and excellent performance at 340 fps. It further features high-definition camo, the CROSSWIRE string and cable system and a premium accessory package that includes a 3×32 scope, three-arrow quiver and three 22-inch headhunter arrows.
 
For those who prefer a reverse Limb crossbow, Zellmer recommends the company’s BC Raptor Reverse.
 
“As the name implies, our BC Raptor Reverse is built on our very popular BC Raptor chassis. All of the features of the highly successful BC Raptor are included in the BC Raptor Reverse, at a lower price,” he added.
 
This reverse crossbow features an adjustable butt plate, CNC-machined aluminum flight track, carbon riser and laminated limbs. It weighs 6.4 lbs. and delivers bolts at 330 fps. The draw weight is 150 lbs.
 
The BC Raptor Reverse comes with a premium, illuminated scope, rope cocking device, cross premium three-arrow quiver and three 20-inch headhunter arrows.
 
“The footprint of the BC Raptor Reverse is small, making it ideal in tight spaces. Also, recoil is minimal, making it extremely smooth to shoot. All in all, this is very nice, well-balanced crossbow.
 
To keep Barnett crossbows in optimal conditions, Zellmer suggests lubricating the strings and cables often.
 
As with nearly every sporting goods category, crossbows have benefited greatly from today’s highly engineered designs and leading-edge materials. Whether you are new to the sport or are considering new equipment, we strongly recommend you speak with a knowledgeable expert at your local Dunham’s Sports store. Arm yourself with the right crossbow for a successful hunting season.
 
Good luck!
 
-Deer Abby
 
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The Simple Pleasures of a Silent Hunt

There’s no greater joy for hunters than that first day in the field, when they escape the rigors of modern life and return to their roots. At one Michigan company where I worked, the first day of deer season was a holiday. As it should be.
 
Now, thanks to an expanded crossbow season that includes much or all of the weeks allotted to archery and firearm hunting, that special day can come a bit sooner for many of us.
 
But the advantages of crossbow hunting go well beyond a longer hunting season. Rob Bluthardt, a Michigan hunter who has been harvesting bucks since he was a kid with both firearms and conventional bows, has been shooting with a crossbow for several years. “The main reason I love crossbow hunting is you get the challenge of bow hunting but the reliability and accuracy of hunting with a rifle,” says Rob.
 
Hunters haven’t always held crossbows in high regard. Bow hunters thought them to be a cheat, and complained that the archery season was no longer theirs alone. Firearm shooters considered crossbows inefficient. But most have come around. Many bow hunters have seen that a crossbow enables accurate shooting while preserving the silence and challenges that distinguish archery season. And firearm shooters now recognize that today’s crossbows are accurate weapons that can both extend the season and fill the freezer.
 
Upside, Downside
 
Crossbows offer advantages over conventional bows. A crossbow can be armed in advance, so you’re ready to shoot when opportunity presents itself. Pre-arming also enables shooting from a relaxed position, allowing accuracy at close range. A safety device helps prevent accidental discharge.
 
The downside is limited range. While a firearm can bring down a distant deer, crossbows are restricted to about 40 yards. That means no yapping in the deer stand, and factors like wind direction become critical. Plus you get only one shot. Second shots are usually not part of the program. But accuracy and stealth are skills every hunter should develop, so hunting with a crossbow can make us better.
 
The Modern Crossbow
 
While state regulations that encourage crossbow hunting are new, the weapon is an ancient one that was used by Chinese and Mediterranean civilizations prior to the first century. Early crossbows were conventional bows fitted with a trigger device. Today’s recurve crossbows are similar in concept. They’re quiet and light, but power and range are limited.
 
The majority of current crossbows are of a compound design. The draw is shorter than that of a conventional bow or recurve crossbow, so a cam system is used to enable plenty of draw weight and optimize delivery velocity.
 
Cocking devices are available for most crossbows. The mechanism pulls the string into a loaded position and can enable those with strength limitations to join the hunt. However, many able hunters employ a cocking device, as it makes loading more precise.
 
The Barnett Ghost 410, which is available at Dunham’s, is a great example of a modern compound crossbow. With a draw weight of 185 lbs., it can generate 149 ft. lbs. of energy and deliver a 22-inch arrow at a velocity of 410 feet per second. Yet it weighs only 7.2 lbs. That minimal weight is the result of a design that employs advanced carbon construction.
 
Dunham’s also offers less expensive crossbows. For example, the best-selling Barnett Wildcat C5 is a reasonably priced weapon with a draw weight of 150 lbs. That’s sufficient to deliver a 20-inch arrow at a speed of 310 feet-per-second. The SA Sports Ambush Crossbow is very affordable and is a good entry-level weapon. The Titan Extreme by Ten Point is a medium-priced alternative. With 180 lbs. of draw weight it can deliver an arrow at 333 feet- per-second. A built-in crank cocker reduces the cocking tension to a mere 5 lbs. Dunham’s sales consultants are well educated in crossbow technology and can help you choose a bow that’s right for you.
 
Getting to the Point
 
Crossbows fire arrows, called “bolts,”are similar to those used in conventional bows but shorter and heavier. Extra heft means they hit the target with plenty of force. The best bolts are made of carbon fiber and can retain more velocity downfield than less expensive aluminum bolts.
 
At the business end of the bolt is the penetrating broadhead. Available in various configurations and weights, it must be matched to the game to achieve a quick, humane kill. A lighter broadhead can achieve greater speed but won’t hit with as much force as a heavier one.
 
Fixed-blade broadheads require some preparation before going out in the field. Because broadheads differ in flight characteristics, scope adjustment and bow tuning should be worked out on the target range. Retractable blade broadheads, which expand only on impact, fly true and are a good solution for hunters who can’t put in time on the range. The blades of all broadheads should be sharpened every time the arrow is fired to ensure maximum effectiveness.
 
Deer season is upon us. See you in the field.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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