Faster, lighter, more compact, and improved technologies are the major trends for crossbows in 2022. TenPoint has blown past the 500 fps barrier with a new model promising 505 fps arrow speeds—and it comes with a rangefinding scope. Ravin has a 6-pounder that’s more compact than any xbow before it. From top-tier flagships to practical budget models that will get the job done in the woods, 2022’s crop of horizontal rigs is a good one, and there’s something for every taste and budget. Here’s a rundown.
1. TenPoint Nitro 505 Oracle X
The Nitro 505 Oracle X is truly next-level in not just one way but two. It delivers an astounding max speed of 505 fps, making it the fastest hunting crossbow we’ve ever covered. And it comes fitted with Burris’ Oracle X Rangefinding scope to deliver unparalleled precision at any range. the Nitro 505 is compact, too, measuring just 6.5-inches when cocked, and the 30.5-inch-long crossbow creates a whopping 227-foot pounds of kinetic energy when the included 400-grain bolts are sent down its rail. Meanwhile, the Oracle X scope makes picking the perfect place to aim as simple as pressing a button. When activated via a wireless remote, the range button on the 2-7x optic provides immediate target distance and an exact aiming point that factors in shot angle. The whole package is state of the art, but, boy, it doesn’t come cheap. For those who want gear that’s on the bleeding edge of technology and innovation, however, this is it.
2. Ravin R26X
When Ravin introduced the original R26 back in 2019, it was the most compact and quick-handling 400-fps crossbow anyone had ever seen. I remember that F&S executive editor Dave Hurteau picked it up and said, “I’ve caught trout longer than this thing.” It was just the thing for hunting on the move or for hiding in tight spaces. And now, Ravin has made it even better with a fully integrated silent cocking system that promises a draw that’s as easy as it is stealthy. Powered by HeliCoil Technology, the R26X launches bolts at 400 fps, and at 6.5 pounds and 26 inches long, with axle-to-axle length of just 5.75-inches wide when cocked, it’s still super handy for use in tight tree stands, ground blinds, and on spot-and-stalk forays. Draw effort on this 340-pound draw-weight rig is a mere 12 pounds, and the bow comes fully assembled and pre-tuned.
3. Excalibur TwinStrike TAC2
Excalibur’s TwinStrike rocked the horizontal bow world last year with its double-barreled design and why-have-one-shot-when-you-can-have-two concept. The TwinStrike is back for 2022 with TAC2 added to its name and a shorter, slimmer profile that lops about an inch off the overall length and 3 ounces off its weight, making it more compact and maneuverable. Excalibur’s latest tips the scale at 7.5 pounds, hits a top speed of 340 fps, and has a total length of 32-1/8 inches. Like the original, the TwinStrike TAC 2 allows shooters to send a second follow-up arrow instantaneously, which can be a major advantage in the field. The included Charger EXT crank reduces felt draw weight to just 13 pounds, and its design provides a safe and silent cock and de-cock.
4. Wicked Ridge Fury 410 De-Cock
Wicked Ridge has a reputation for offering high-quality crossbows at an affordable price, and while the new-for-2022 Fury 410 De-Cock isn’t exactly cheap at over a grand, it represents a solid value when you consider what you get. This is the manufacturer’s shortest crossbow to date, measuring 29 inches, and it’s only 9 inches wide axle-to-axle when cocked. The Fury also hits an impressive speed of 410 fps and features the ACUdraw De-Cock, which not only improves safety but also reduces the effort needed to cock the crossbow to just 5 pounds. The D-1 Trigger sports a 3.5-pound pull, and the cast aluminum riser is bulletproof and lightweight. The xbow also features a nylon-filament arrow retention brush that boosts arrow grip and alignment while reducing noise and vibration. Put it all together and you get just about everything you want in a crossbow for hundreds less than the top-end models.
5. TenPoint Titan De-Cock
TenPoint knows when it has a good thing, which is why they’ve kept the best-selling Titan and given a bit of a facelift to make it even more appealing. For 2022, this mid-priced, feature-rich bow has the new ACUdraw De-Cock silent cocking and safe de-cocking system that includes the manufacturer’s Auto-Break Gear System designed to eliminate the potential loss of control that can otherwise lead to injury or bow damage during the de-cocking process. This 9-inch-wide Titan sends bolts at a respectable 380 fps, and the all-new D-1 Trigger is a two-stage, zero-creep design that includes a DFP (Dry-Fire Prohibitor) and provides a rifle-like 3.5-pound trigger pull. A simple button push moves the trigger to de-cock mode. Bottom line: It’s a rock-solid crossbow that carries TenPoint’s reputation for quality at a lower price.
6. Ravin R18
Look familiar? Ravin introduced the R18 at the 2020 ATA show, but for reasons we’ll chalk up to the vagaries of the times, the bow never made into the hands of hunters (that we know of). And in fact, Ravin says the R18 will not be available for purchase until the spring of this year, making it one of the most anticipated launches of 2022. I mean, just look at it. It appears to be as much like a rifle as a crossbow, which fits Ravin’s marketing line of “Meet Your New Rifle” to a tee. The R18 utilizes a new VertiCoil Cam System to allow for an incredibly compact crossbow that still provides solid power. With an unheard-of 1.3-inch cocked axle-to-axle height (not length in this case), the bow sends bolts downrange at 350 fps. The limbs expand vertically rather than horizontally, making for an incredibly handy and light (6 pounds) bow. It features a detachable stock, a removable quiver system, and a built-in cocking mechanism. At around $1,500 it is not cheap, yet with such an innovative design, it’s not exactly expensive by top-end crossbow standards, either.
7. Rocky Mountain RM400 Black
If you’re uncertain about diving into the crossbow ocean and want to dip your toes in the water first, Rocky Mountain’s RM400 Black is a great way to do it. Built on a one-piece black synthetic stock with a durable limb system, this bow weighs 7.4 pounds and comes field-ready with everything you need. Bolt speed, at 400 fps, is very impressive at this price range, and the 135-foot pounds of kinetic energy it produces is more than enough to down any species of big game. The RM400 features a DFS (Dry Fire Safety) system that auto-engages when the bow is cocked, as well as a pair of string suppressors and limb dampeners to reduce noise and vibration. Pretty much all crossbows come with an accessory package, but at this price, it’s especially notable that you get a 4×32 scope, rope cocker, RM Quiet Crank, quick-detach three-cross-bolt quiver, three PileDriver Carbon Express bolts with practice points, and rail lubricant.
8. Excalibur Mag Air
A budget-style crossbow that’s well-suited for both adult and youth hunters, the Mag Air is a fully accessorized horizontal recurve model fitted with a crisp trigger and a total weight of just 6.7 pounds. The Gen2 synthetic frame creates a light but sturdy platform that is balanced and ideal for any hunting style. The Mag Air hits a top speed of 305 fps, and draw effort on this 136-pound crossbow is just 12.4 pounds. A rope-style drawcord and all accessories needed to be field ready are included. You get the reliability of a recurve in a lightweight package that doesn’t break the bank.
9. Wicked Ridge Raider 400 De-Cock
As its name implies, the new Raider 400 combines impressive 400 fps speed with press-of-a-button de-cocking capability. Not only does the crossbow hit a good price point under $800, but it comes with the D-1 Trigger that’s already being heralded as Wicked Ridge’s best ever, which it ought to be as they borrowed the trigger from their big TenPoint brother. The Raider is built on a new TACtical X stock that’s molded from glass-filled polypropylene for added strength. Powered by 5S Cams and DynaFLIGHT 97 string and cables, the Raider measures 15-inches wide and weighs just 6.5 pounds. Why does it cost $300 less than the similar Fury 410 above? Well, the latter is 10 fps faster and being a reverse-draw model, also 6 inches shorter axle-to-axle when cocked. In other words, if you don’t mind a little more width and a tiny be less speed (400 fps is plenty fast for any hunting), you can save some money here.