“Innovative design” is a time period that has been bandied about in crossbow manufacturing circles since Wham-O first marketed its wood-stocked, iron-limbed crossbows again within the early 1960s. There could be little question that crossbow design has come a great distance within the interim. Most of as we speak’s crossbows are properly made, correct, reliable and easy to make use of. Nevertheless, the similarities between producers are sometimes noticeable and no actual technological advances have come down the pike in a number of years.
For the primary time in over 20 years of searching with and reviewing crossbows, I’ve lastly discovered the primary truthfully progressive, superb, even unimaginable crossbow up to now. Gearhead Archery’s new line of X-16 crossbows (Commonplace, Goal and Tactical) function many new, fascinating, helpful and productive advances in crossbow know-how. There will not be room to debate all of them within the brief area of this text. I’ll attempt!
For starters, the X-16 is obtainable in all-aluminum or all-carbon fiber, weighing 5.5 kilos and four.5 kilos respectively. At 36-inches lengthy and 14.5-inches axle-to-axle (cocked), the X-16 is as compact, light-weight and rugged a crossbow as you’ll discover anyplace available on the market.
However get this — meeting takes roughly 5 seconds! There are not any nuts, bolts, washers or some other hardware to cope with and no instruments are required. Merely slide the limb part into the rail part after which tighten a big, free-floating, snug knob to finish the job. A spring-loaded retaining pin holds the sections in place, and a decent match might be maintained by sometimes tightening the knurled knob. That’s all there’s to it. Not solely is the X-16’s meeting course of progressive, it’s designed to permit the consumer to disassemble the crossbow for journey, an actual profit to hunters who’re on the street (or within the air) a number of occasions in the course of the fall and winter. A fitted, well-padded nylon case is offered that features loads of area for peripheral gear.
The Hawke 1.5–5x multi-reticle illuminated scope is manufacturing unit mounted and sighted in for 10 yards. Provided that I had simply three arrows to work with I used to be cautious to shoot only one arrow per goal. All have been dead-on at 10 yards and maintained their integrity out previous 40 yards, which is greater than satisfactory for typical whitetail searching situations.
The X-16 is designed to be used with 24-inch standard-nock arrows, distinctive amongst crossbows that use 20- or 22-inch shafts. Accompanying check outcomes present that the X-16 delivers arrows at 362 fps, barely quicker than its 350-fps score. After over 100 photographs on the vary, the crossbow was nonetheless sending arrows downrange at greater than 355 fps — greater than quick sufficient to take deer, hogs, bears, turkeys and different huge recreation.
Persevering with with the improvements, the X-16 is loaded in a different way than most crossbows. The pointed finish of the arrow goes into the “whisker” arrow relaxation first, after which the arrow nock is inserted into the anti-dry-fire mechanism with the cock feather dealing with up, not down, as is widespread with different grooved-rail crossbows. The arrow finally ends up laying simply off the rail between the anti-dry-fire mechanism and the arrow relaxation, one other distinctive function of the X-16. This implies there isn’t any arrow drag because the string travels down the rail. This, I think, accounts for the extra arrow velocity, which is elevated by 5 % or extra over the crossbow’s score.
As is normal amongst crossbows the X-16’s thumb security have to be within the “Safe” place. Slowly slide the arrow again into the set off field to boost the anti-dry hearth mechanism. Maintain pushing till the arrow snaps onto the string. To shoot, merely push the security button ahead. To unload the X-16, use an previous arrow or a specifically made discharge arrow, and shoot it right into a mushy goal with a protected backstop.
There isn’t any routine upkeep required for the X-16 line of crossbows besides to maintain the strings correctly waxed. Gearhead recommends waxing the middle serving that holds the arrow, the facility cables and the remainder of the draw string each 25 photographs or so — 5 occasions much less ceaselessly than most different crossbow producers advocate. As a result of the X-16 is sighted in on the manufacturing unit at 10 yards, I made a decision to take care of that place and commenced capturing at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards utilizing the extra reticles put in within the scope.
Accuracy started to fall off barely after 45 yards, which is to be anticipated. All of my arrows stayed inside a 5-inch group at 50 yards, which many hunters contemplate acceptable for whitetails. The place I hunt, there are few wide-open alternatives from a stand or blind past 40 yards, however when circumstances warrant it — an open area or pasture, no wind, no intervening brush and a relaxed deer standing nonetheless and broadside — I might not hesitate to shoot at a trophy-sized buck at 50 yards with the X-16.
As a result of the X-16’s advertising division makes a lot of the crossbow’s light-weight and durable design, I used to be fascinated by seeing how the crossbow carried out on tree-stand and blind targets at recognized distances, however much more interested in how it might deal with whereas nonetheless searching and “stalking” foam targets on the roving vary. Because of the X-16’s five-position adjustable fore grip and cozy pistol-grip design I discovered it surprisingly snug to carry and carry the unit whereas shifting alongside my woodland course. At solely 5.5 kilos, my aluminum-framed check mannequin was light-weight, nicely balanced and fast to the shoulder. There have been no misses or mishaps on the 20-target course.
As a result of the X-16 is such an revolutionary product, it’s extra essential than ever to learn the proprietor’s guide from cowl to cowl. The whole lot from meeting to disassembly for journey is mentioned intimately with wonderful pictures all through. There are many suggestions included for protected use whereas capturing the X-16 and when the crossbow is just not in use. For instance, it’s not advisable to go away the crossbow within the cocked place “for extended periods of time,” though I routinely depart my check crossbows cocked from daybreak until darkish (even in summer time) to simulate searching circumstances. The X-16 confirmed no indicators of string fatigue or elements failure throughout this specific check interval, which featured 80-degree days, wet nights and frosty-cold mornings.
Complaints? As normal, I want Gearhead and different crossbow producers would provide a sling for his or her merchandise. The X-16 is constructed on the AR design and has loops or grooves included the place a sling could be put in, however none was offered. Additionally, there was no quiver included in my package deal nor, for some purpose, was there any string wax. The proprietor’s guide does advocate holding broadhead-tipped arrows “in a quiver” however apparently, it’s as much as the proprietor to offer their very own. This solely provides to the expense of a crossbow that, in aluminum, has an MSRP of $1,499 and, in carbon fiber, a worth of $1,999. As a whitetail hunter, I would like that a quiver, cocking rope and sling be normal gear on any crossbow and someday it simply might come to cross.
One further consideration is that the X-16 is designed for 24-inch arrows, uncommon within the crossbow business. Three arrows are supplied with the usual X-16 package deal however in fact, any hunter/shooter goes to need to construct up a provide of arrows. Shafts of that size aren’t generally present in sporting items shops, archery outlets and the like, so it is going to be essential to order further arrows from Gearhead or have them customized made at an area store. To be on the protected aspect, I all the time journey with a dozen new arrows and broadheads plus two or three “discharge” arrows for unloading the crossbow after every day’s hunt.
From the standpoint of strong design, sturdy development, accuracy and ease of meeting Gearhead’s X-16 line of crossbows are untouchable in at the moment’s market. The metallic end is such that rain or snow won’t have an effect on the crossbow’s perform in any method. I might anticipate no hassle searching with the X-16 out of a tree stand, blind or whereas nonetheless searching in sometimes thick whitetail habitat.
MANUFACTURER: Gearhead Archery
DRAW WEIGHT OPTIONS: 75, 90 or 125 kilos
POWER STROKE: 16 inches
ARROW LENGTH: 24 inches with normal nock
ARROW SPEED: 350 fps
TRIGGER PULL: three.1 kilos; dry-fire inhibitor (2.1 kilos in Goal and Tactical fashions)
SIGHTS: Hawke 1.5-5x multi-reticle, red-green illuminated scope offered, manufacturing unit mounted and sighted.
COCKING DEVICE: Cocking rope (non-compulsory) or by hand
OVERALL LENGTH: 36.5 inches
AXLE-TO-AXLE LENGTH: 14.5 inches (cocked)
WEIGHT: 5.5 kilos (aluminum body); four.5 kilos (carbon body)
OTHER FEATURES: Adjustable fore grip, chrome steel hardware, whisker relaxation normal, sound dampeners commonplace. Predator customized dip, Carbon Fiber or Desert Tan colours; additionally out there in Tactical and Goal variations.
MSRP: $1,499 (aluminum body), $1,999 (carbon body)
Learn That Proprietor’s Guide!
Shooters who’re acquainted with normal crossbows are positive to seek out the design, type and performance of Gearhead Archery’s X-16 line of crossbows to be new, uncommon and undoubtedly a step above the norm for quite a lot of causes.
Meeting of the X-16 is a uniquely totally different expertise from the beginning. So is loading an arrow, which sits above the rail at a slight angle with the cock feather dealing with up, not down, as is typical of most crossbow designs. With out studying the proprietor’s guide a hunter might properly try and load the arrow with the cock feather down, producing lower than the specified outcome.
Additionally essential to shooters is the adjustable fore grip, which supplies 5 totally different settings that may be helpful when searching out of tree stands, blinds or whereas nonetheless searching or stalking.
Along with primary capturing and security ideas the guide consists of necessary notes about meeting, perform, climate circumstances, dealing with, storage, upkeep and guarantee information which are distinctive to the X-16 line of crossbows. It takes mere seconds to assemble the X-16, however it’s extremely really helpful that purchasers spend a couple of minutes studying the proprietor’s guide earlier than placing the crossbow collectively and heading for the vary.
For extra info on Gearhead Archery’s full line of searching crossbows, go to www.gearheadarchery.com.