This month’s Face Off is a crossbow special. We take a look at these beasts from Barnett and EK Archery, to see which is best…
Barnett and EK Archery have been vying for position in the compound crossbow market for many years so today we are going to take two of their crossbows and compare and contrast to find out who is the ultimate winner.
First Impressions :
The first thing you notice when picking up the Barnett is it is incredibly light. The specs say it weight around 6.4 lbs but in all honestly it feels a lot lighter than this because of its excellent balance and angled foregrip that enables a precise grip with the front hand leading to easier movement and aiming. Good balance like this is an aspect that is often overlooked with lower priced crossbows that often tend to favour raw power over actually accuracy. Largely in part due to the uninitiated thinking that the higher numbers on the box, the better their crossbow will be.
One thing that detracts from the Barnett however is the colouring. The shape of the crossbow looks great but I’m not to keen on the camouflage look even when its done well and here it seems so unnecessary. Paper targets don’t often notice predators so I don’t known who you are meant to be hiding from. And OK, I can concede that maybe the camo is to help our more trigger happy friends across the Atlantic ocean, but then why then is there giant orange lettering down the limbs? Ah well.
The EK Torpedo looks much more to my taste, black, straight lines and a more tactical appearance. I can even forgive the limbs which feature a carbon fibre effect despite being fibreglass (why?) because the overall appearance of the crossbow is good. However, the Torpedo feels heavier than the Barnett particularly at the front end and the grip at the front is not as nice leading to an unbalanced front end. This could potentially negatively affect accuracy as well as tiring your leading arm faster than average.
I’m inclined to give the win to the Barnett here as how your gun, or in this case bow, looks in comparison to how it shoots so it is the light weight of the Barnett that tips the balance in its favour. Just make it black next time please.
Winner : Barnett Raptor FX3
The Barnett is well equipped with cocking rope, quiver, bolts and a 4×32 scope with mounts. While this is all nice to have and allows you to get shooting straight out of the box, if serious target shooting is what is required an upgrade to the scope, to a Hawke or Meopta maybe, and definitely an upgrade to the bolts, which are not very good quality at all, would be required.
The Barnett also features an adjustable buttpad which is a nice touch allowing to to fit snugly into the shoulder and is also equipped with an easy to use safety and an anti dry fire mechanism which prevents the crossbow from firing unless a bolt is loaded. A key mechanism as dry firing is the leading cause of crossbow malfunction. There are some reports on the internet of the original Raptor snapping strings due to the recoil from the limbs being too large. This particular problem seems to be have been fixed with the FX3 as the string used is much tougher and I have had no problems with strings during testing.
The EK comes equipped with the same items as the Barnett although the scope is somewhat nicer being a 4×32 IR or illuminated reticle that can be lit up to allow for easier targeting and better performances in bright sunlight or night. The stock of the EK is also extendable in a similar fashion to a M4 or AR15 which grants snug shouldering for shooters of all sizes. Also the quiver of the Torpedo will hold 6 bolts as opposed to just 3 held by the Raptor. The Torpedo is also fitted with an anti dryfire system which is always appreciated. Also my Torpedo came with a little tube of string wax which was a nice touch as preventing your string from drying is one of the key components of maintaining an effective tool.
Both crossbows are pretty well equipped in their own way so I’m going to call this a draw.
Winner : Draw
The Barnett has a draw weight of 150lbs meaning it is able to be drawn by hand. I would almost always recommend drawing the crossbow with a cocking aid however as it provides a more reliable and even draw. The Barnett will shoot 20 inch carbon bolts at around 330 FPS which makes the Barnett accurate to around 50 yards and will require some pretty thick padding to stop the bolts. Trust me, a foam target will not be enough. I have heard horror stories of bolts going though garden fences and also the car behind it so always ensure you know what is behind your target.
The Torpedo however is even more powerful with a draw weight of 185lbs and, using the same 20inc carbon bolts produced and average fps of 356. This gives the Torpedo an effective range 60+ yards with better accuracy than the Barnett. Seriously, this thing shoots exceptionally well. I was bowled over with the performance, 1 inch groups at 50 yards is something a thousand pounds worth of airgun can’t achieve so to see it in a crossbow that is under £400 is frankly amazing. And yes I know that FAC airguns will shoot this far but you have to go out and acquire a license for one of those. A crossbow is available over the counter, providing you are over the age of 18, just like a sub 12ft/lb gun so must be compared against those.
The trigger on the Torpedo is also fantastic. It is crisp and clean with a predictable let off and enhances the precision of the crossbow. Also the Torpedo is £50 cheaper than the Raptor so this is an easy win for the EK to be honest.
Winner : EK Archery Torpedo
Having not been much of a crossbow shooter before having to test them for Pellpax I am consistently impressed by their power and accuracy, and also amazed they remain unlicensed. The UK government is notorious for clamping down on anything they consider “dangerous” so I would imagine it is only a matter of time before these were clamped down on but, as things stand, proof that you are 18+ is all that is required.
The shot for shot performance you get from one of these is simply not available elsewhere without an FAC and the ease of which these crossbows are operated makes them a real viable choice for people looking to get into target shooting. In all honestly the only advantages a 12ft/lb airgun has over one these is the price of ammunition and the ability to be able to shoot vermin.