Late last season found me in western Ohio, crossbow in hand, in pursuit of a whitetail buck. Hunting with Jeff Davis, owner of The Lost Shed Lodge, my cameraman and I were clinging tight to our buddy heater and doing our best to hide from the polar vortex that had set in over most of the Midwest. They were undoubtedly the coldest days I have ever spent bowhunting.
The subzero temps were hard on us, but even harder on our equipment. Though armed with one of the best performing crossbows on the market – the TenPoint Stealth NXT – I was quick to realize the importance of quality accessories. Extreme weather conditions or not, a hunter is only as good as the weakest link of his hunting setup and bow accessories are not where you want to falter.
This couldn’t be any truer in 2019, as the market has introduced some of the fastest crossbows hunters have ever seen. Faster bows in smaller packages mean greater levels of energy being exerted and a greater need for higher-performing accessories. Manufacturers in the crossbow segment are answering that call to action in 2019. Here are some of the hottest accessory options on the shelf this summer.
TenPoint is no slouch when it comes to high-performing products, with a knack for finding the upper end of the spectrum with their bows. However, the brand is quickly evolving to offer more than bows in 2019, introducing an extensive lineup with the goal of providing a complete hunting system for the market. We kick off our review with their new Evo-X CenterPunch Arrow and Evo-X CenterPunch Broadhead. This dynamic duo is designed by the team of experts in eastern Ohio for precision at high speed.
TenPoint CenterPunch Arrow
The 20-inch CenterPunch arrow is a modulus carbon offering .001 straightness and equipped with some of the industry’s finest fletchings – the 3.5-inch Bohning X-Vanes – both elements working in favor of downrange accuracy and accompanied by an 84-grain insert sitting at the front to promote a 17-percent F.O.C. I can attest to the proven performance of this arrow as this was the arrow that I prepped, employed and successfully connected on an Ohio buck. Flyers were a non-factor, as I saw unparalleled consistency, even when I purchased two diverse half-dozen lots from different retail locations. The updated CenterPunch will now come standard with the new revolutionary ALPHA-NOCK.
TenPoint Evo-X CenterPunch Broadhead
When looking to put their name on a broadhead they could stand behind, the team at TenPoint tested over 20 industry leading broadheads before settling on the Evo-X CenterPunch Broadhead. The CenterPunch is a rear-deploying, 100-grain head with a collarless design. That’s right – a high-velocity broadhead and a 1 7/8-inch cutting diameter at that, with a collarless retention system. The CenterPunch’s blades, housed in a 7075 T6 aluminum ferrule, feature a strategic design that actually promotes greater retention as velocity increases in flight. $44.99/3-pack
Rage Trypan Crossbow 150
Another broadhead well worth the mention is the new Rage Trypan Crossbow 150. An evolution of the inaugural Trypan, one of my favorite mechanicals to date, the Crossbow 150 design still features the stiletto-shaped ferrule but in machined stainless to increase mass for better downrange accuracy. The new design will hold the 2-inch cutting diameter, the keyed ferrule for user-friendly collar installment of the high-energy series shock collar and thicker .039-inch blades of the flagship. This broadhead is built in the heavier 150-grain offering to account for the majority of crossbow arrow manufacturers that are not offering out of the box F.O.C. schemes. $54.99/3-pack
NAP Dark Night
My guess is that very few crossbow hunters ever expected Batman nomenclature to grace the category of the crossbow accessories, but with a simple look you will see that New Archery Products appropriately tagged their new broadhead the Dark Knight. Following the hybrid-mechanical craze, this new offering outfits two SpitFire-like bleeder blades and ferrule, but features an innovative pivoting main blade. The NAP design team believes the creative pivoting design will step up to the longtime quality reputation of the brand, allowing the blade to pivot around bone while maintaining kinetic energy and greater penetration. Combined, the blades will offer a four-bladed 1 3/8-inch cutting diameter and will be available in 100- or 125-grain offerings. $39.99/3-pack
Exaclibur Charger EXT Crank
“Click, click, click…” goes the cocking device of nearly every crossbow. The design team at Excalibur has introduced a solution to that problem. The new Charger EXT Crank is designed to allow crossbow users to draw their bow easily and quietly in the field, without alerting every deer in the woods. The experience is surreal. The EXT reduces draw weight to 12 pounds, while fitting all Micro and Bulldog models, as well as the Stryker Katana. The only downside to this fine accessory is that it is only made for Excalibur and Stryker models. $289.99
Excalibur Explore Takedown Case
Solution-minded in 2019, the team at Excalibur Crossbow again stepped up to crush another distraction in the field by addressing the cliché inconvenience of traveling with a crossbow. Introducing another rock-solid recurve crossbow with the industry-first takedown capability, they needed a complimentary takedown case. Placing the stock and limb assembly side by side, the Explore Takedown Case is the most compact crossbow case on the market. Measuring just slightly longer than the stock of the Excalibur TD models and only 2x the width of the stock, the Explore Takedown is constructed of heavy 1000D Cordura and equipped with six total pockets. $119.99
Mission Custom SKB Hardcase
The team at Mission Crossbows has introduced a new storage solution, and we all know they are no strangers to producing above average products. This time, they have partnered with the folks at SKB Cases to produce a hardcase solution that will outlast any extreme traveling element that you can imagine. The new Custom SKB Hardcase platforms an injection molded exterior, with custom-cut innards that will protect any of the Sub-1 series of bows and accessories, while in true SKB Hardcase fashion, will keep your gear inside dry. Knowing this level of bow protection comes at the expense of weight, the design team equipped the case with wheels and a convenient tow handle. $349.99
Vanguard Veo 2
Inclement weather or not, we demand a steady rest when baring down on our target. Vanguard is here to help with that, via the new Veo 2 aluminum shooting stick. Coming in at only 2 pounds, it offers the reduced weight of a monopod and the stability of a tripod, but out-maneuvers both. The differentiating factor of this shooting stick from its competitors is the ball joint and tri-stand design that allows for it to be used in nearly any crossbow hunting scenario. From the ground blind to spot-and-stalk hunting, and even in a treestand, the Veo 2 can assist in taking a steady shot. $79.99
For more on crossbow accessories of 2019, make sure to check the pages of our publication at a newsstand near you or subscribe today!