Ravin Crossbow Review
I’m sure a lot of people are against crossbows, but hear me out on this one. I am privileged and fortunate to be a member of The Freedom Hunters. Not only as a volunteer, but a disabled vet myself. I get the opportunity to work with some esteemed colleagues, and some more “handi-capable” then myself. Some have some difficulties with missing limbs, some do not. I’m always on the search for new things that can help the less able-bodied. I think I’ve found the ticket! Let me say initially, I was in the mindset of “oh great, another high-dollar crossbow on the market”. Well, let me say I stand corrected! This crossbow is truly a machine.
First of all, as an archery nut and avid bow hunter, I certainly do not buy into the hype. I had to see it, touch it, shoot it, and see what the buzz was all about. For starters, this thing is awesome! Lightweight, compact, and very versatile. The technology in this is beyond expectation. Just putting it to my shoulder felt as natural and comfortable as my rifles. It’s light, and unlike most crossbows, extremely user friendly. It wasn’t cumbersome or difficult to acquiesce targets. It was as easy to change targets without losing normal sight picture. That in itself is impressive.
Cocking. Most modern crossbows use the rope-cocking device, or this added on cranking assembly. This particular system has it built internally into the stock. Makes things significantly easier. Also, it only takes 9 pounds of force to cock it. It’s actually less pressure than cranking a car window (if you can remember what that’s like). Also, it’s self-contained completely. The only thing that is “external” is the actual crank handle, which stows away nicely.
Firing. It has a smooth, CRISP trigger that is very user friendly. It surprised me. I’m used to heavy and awkward triggers on crossbows. This is not a typical crossbow trigger.
Power. Well, for something that measures out at 390 feet per second it has plenty. I didn’t actually put it through the chronograph, however I plan to. This thing is fast. VERY FAST. SCARY FAST. Also, with an average crossbow rated target bag, it buried the bolt past the fletching in the bag at 20 measured yards. If I wasn’t in an indoor range with a backstop, the bolt would have completely penetrated the bag and I’d have had to go looking. If you get this screamer, get a good quality target! The company boasts about accurate 100 yard shots. I can actually believe it by the thump it puts in the bag. I haven’t tested that yet, but I definitely hope to just for kicks.
Bolts. They give you bolts made by Gold Tip, which automatically gives them brownie points in my book. They make the best I’ve ever shot. Part of the new technology, they use rollers on the end of the bow itself. There is very minimal frictional loss from the bow itself to the bolt to slow it down. Once the string launches the bolt, there’s no need for lube in the channel. Or lubing the channel with a slider mechanism, etc etc etc. The only part that makes contact is the rollers. The string doesn’t even contact the rail either. Completely independent and no frictional loss.
Optics. It has an incredible scope on it right out the box. I’d be hard pressed to find a better factory scope on a crossbow to date. It’s even marked out to 100 yards, which I can believe it will reach easily. It isn’t too busy, and target acquisition is easier than some. It has plenty of eye relief, and not too much either. Happy balance. It even has a gentle safety reminder to protect your fingers. Quality optics from the factory help.
Now for the downsides. First of all, cost. I can’t honestly say I have the money to invest in one at this moment in time. It is on the high-dollar side of the house. They have 2 versions as we speak. The R9, and the R15. The R15 is faster. To be honest, as a hunter the R15 isn’t necessarily worth the extra money for the extra feet per second increase. And to be honest, that’s the only difference I see.
Secondly, it was rather loud at the indoor range I shot at. Granted, it was indoors. So there is some of the noise levels. However, it was very loud in comparison to my crossbow and the others I’ve shot. It actually kinda surprised me as to how loud it was. It has no dampeners on it from the factory, which could suppress the noise to a level. I’d like to hear the difference with some dampeners installed.
Thirdly, the cranking gears. They are VERY loud. It has a sprag-clutch system on it. I am speculating the sprag-clutch is so you don’t have any accidental dry-firing or any un-safe conditions. That is an awesome feature, however VERY noisy. Especially in the woods, you get 1 shot unless there’s significant amounts of other ambient noise. That is one thing I wish they could quiet down from the factory.
One final thing is the actual bolts. They don’t have illuminated knocks (whichever brand you prefer) yet. Apparently the representative was told they would be available soon. Also, they are rather expensive to buy (which is typical for crossbow bolts). However, they are Gold Tip, so if you have some do-it-yourself savvy and a fletching jig you can make your own bolts for a fraction of the cost.
Overall, this machine is impressive. I’m definitely impressed and sold. As soon as I can afford it, I will own one. I also want to put it through the paces more. The Green Top that allowed me to shoot it didn’t let me play with it too much, and not that I blame them either. They were gracious enough to let me shoot more than a few rounds, and give it the “indoor” test. I will be hopefully giving it the “outdoor” test soon.
-Bill Vahle, Fall Obsession Field Staff