Prepping 101: The Silent Kill – But NOT a Silencer!

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I don't suggest that anyone bring a crossbow to a gunfight, but as a survival tool for hunting, killing animals you may have trapped, and possibly taking out intruders under the cover of not a lot of noise, a crossbow is an effective tool.

I don’t suggest that anyone bring a crossbow to a gunfight, but as a survival tool for hunting, killing animals you may have trapped, and possibly taking out intruders under the cover of not a lot of noise, a crossbow is an effective tool.


Horton Crossbow Innovations
http://www.hortoncrossbows.com/shop/horton-legend-ultra-lite/

A friend the other day asked me if I knew anything about setting up a charitable trust to purchase a silencer. He specifically asked because he’d like one for survival, to be able to get in and get out quietly hunting game on public and private land. My answer is what the heck do you want one of those for when you can get a high end crossbow for about the same price? I find it strange that people will go to such lengths to own a contraption that takes 6 months to get, requires a $200 tax and puts you on a list of “special people” with the Federal government, yet balk at spending even close to that on a crossbow that will be far more consistent and useful over time. I think silencers are cool toys as much as the next guy, but if you are going to spend a thousand bucks on the ability to kill man or beast without a lot of commotion, a high end crossbow is extremely effective, and lasts as long as you have bolts. I decided to combine this idea with my review of the new Horton Legend UltraLITE, made by TenPoint, because though some people reading this are already out hunting deer with high end USA made crossbows, but a lot of you have never tried one I’m sure. You might say OUCH at $919, with a scope and three arrows, but this is no Wal-Mart brand from China.

My idea for this article came right about the time that I saw this Horton Legend UltraLITE come up as available for review. It is pretty high on the food chain in crossbow world, and I don't think you could find an easier or well put together piece of machinery.

My idea for this article came right about the time that I saw this Horton Legend UltraLITE come up as available for review. It is pretty high on the food chain in crossbow world, and I don’t think you could find an easier or well put together piece of machinery.


The problem that most people make with crossbows, no offense, is buying a cheap one. Then they go on discussion boards and tell people that crossbows aren’t reliable weapons for survival (outside of the apocalypse movies of course), because blah blah and blah blah broke and I couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with it. Crossbow technology goes all the way back to the middle ages, and that technology remained mostly unchanged until maybe 15 years ago when there was a push to legalize crossbows for hunting game in the United States. The crossbow is a fairly simple device, and a powerful killer if made right.

Draw Weight Isn’t Everything

This Horton Legend UltraLITE has a 175lb. draw weight, but if you are slight of build don’t fret. Built into the crossbow is a string drawing system called the ACUdraw 50. It consists of two magnetic lawnmower pull handles connected to pulleys, with hooks to grab the string and pull it back into locked position. I found it easy to draw, and much superior to the “fishing reel handle” system I have on my older TenPoint crossbow. With this ACUdraw 50 system, there is nothing to remember, and nothing to lose, and I love it.

This crossbow is different from the other high end crossbows I've used because it has a nifty cocking system using two lawnmower pulls.  It makes the 175 lb. draw weight effortless.

This crossbow is different from the other high end crossbows I’ve used because it has a nifty cocking system using two lawnmower pulls. It makes the 175 lb. draw weight effortless. And unlike the “fishing reel” crank systems, there is nothing to lose.


There are also both compound and recurve bow crossbows, sometimes even made by the same company, but the key is the drawing system, and of course, the actual velocity of the arrow. This Horton has a 330 feet per second arrow speed, with a standard lightweight carbon fiber arrow. They weigh about 3/4 of an ounce with the practice tips, and if you do the math (7,000 grains per pound/16 x .75), you get 328 grains. Ballistically that only equals 87 foot pounds of energy, similar to a 25 ACP, but anyone who has hunted with a crossbow will tell you that this number makes no sense. A 25 ACP would penetrate maybe an inch into a deer, but a crossbow bolt usually goes right through, even if it his a bone. This is because the foot pounds calculation is skewed toward velocity, so a slow, heavy, projectile looks weak, when it really pounds through many things that a light and fast bullet won’t.
The AccuDraw 50 system sits on both sides of the stock, and those handles have magnets to hold them down.

The ACUdraw 50 system sits on both sides of the stock, and those handles have magnets to hold them down.


As you will see from the assembly pictures, these 100% USA made Horton crossbows are built extremely well and include a lot of experienced design elements that you won’t find in Chinese crossbows that look not that much different, but are in a completely different world. Horton/TenPoint crossbows are made for real hunters, and real hunters spend a lot of money, and even more valuable time, getting out to enjoy their hobby. There is no room for crossbow failure, and that is the assumption that goes into these high quality tools. This Legend Lightweight is only 6.8lbs for the device itself, and with the quiver mounted and full of arrows, plus the included scope it comes in just under 9lbs.
If I have one beef about this crossbow is that is that getting the handles to wind back in can be a little tricky, but the more you do it the more you get the feel for it.

If I have one beef about this crossbow is that is that getting the handles to wind back in can be a little tricky, but the more you do it the more you get the feel for it.


I have had problems with testing my crossbows because they go right through every archery target I have put in front of them. This rips at the feathers, and when the arrow eventually thumps into something solid, the impact flares the front of the arrow and eventually the tip holder falls out. For this article I ordered a just found on Amazon which advertises 400 fps. For my initial shots it does stop the arrow and they are easy to remove, but I don’t think two or more shots in the same hole will probably end up going right through.

For this article I decided to sacrifice a couple arrows and shoot directly into an oak tree with the practice tips, just to demonstrate the sheer killing power that a crossbow like this Horton puts into your hands. At 50 yards, the bow came zeroed to point of aim, and sunk those practice tips over an inch and a half into the tree. The second one left the head in the tree actually. I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of this thing with soft body armor against a hunting tip, because my guess is that it would go right through.

The trigger pull on the Legend is a release, not really a regular trigger, but I was able to measure it between 4 and 5 lbs.

The trigger pull on the Legend is a release, not really a regular trigger, but I was able to measure it between 4 and 5 lbs.


The trigger pull on a crossbow is actually pretty crisp, and I bought a special unloading arrow with a big rubber tip so I could test this Horton with my trigger pull gauge. It came in at a pretty consistent just over 4 lbs, and there is no takeup or drag. When you cock the crossbow it puts the safety on for you, so you do have to remember to disengage the safety before firing. I will also warn you that if you purchase a crossbow target, test your accuracy on two different spots instead of the way you would on a firearm, always at the same point of aim. I have split arrows, Robin Hood style, with my TenPoint. Crossbows are deadly accurate and vary very little shot to shot within their range. I hope to return with this crossbow for a night vision hunting article, and I hope we get to test that range, because in my testing so far the range of a crossbow is far beyond the 30-50 yards most people claim.
The safety automatically flips on when you draw the string across the release. You have to remember to turn it off to fire.  Note the sticker that says you have to use their bolts with the bumpy backs to them, but I tried others and they worked fine.

The safety automatically flips on when you draw the string across the release. You have to remember to turn it off to fire. Note the sticker that says you have to use their bolts with the bumpy backs to them, but I tried others and they worked fine.


Assembling the Legend UltraLITE was pretty easy, but you do have to follow directions. There is a special guide piece that slides on the forearm to guide the cross strings of the compound bow and it has to be greased with a tube they give you. You also have to pull up on the string to seat the bow into the forearm, which when you look at it doesn’t make any sense, but nonetheless, you do. This particular crossbow is what I would consider a top tier in both price and performance. This is one of few crossbows that have an adjustable length of pull and adjustable cheek comb. Both are rock solid, and they come installed, as does the scope (zeroed on mine!), the cocking mechanism and the safety deck. You have to build the quiver, and I got the rubber tube thing backwards in my haste (don’t know what it’s for anyway).
I would never tell anyone to bring a crossbow to a gunfight, but a high end crossbow has a ton of killing power. This is sunk into an oak tree from 50 yards.

I would never tell anyone to bring a crossbow to a gunfight, but a high end crossbow has a ton of killing power. This is sunk into an oak tree from 50 yards.


There are other Horton and TenPoint crossbows you can get online for much less than the pricetag on this one, but if you feel like it is a deal too good to be true make sure you check what it comes with. They do sell these bows with no cocking device. The Horton name was defunct for a while, so don’t take this review to apply to old Horton crossbows which I have never tried.

This “Horton Crossbow Innovations” is a new company, launched in January of this year, and as yet they only have two models, this one and an even niftier one with the arms along the sides, and $300 more expensive. All Horton crossbows are made in Mogadore, OH. Please see the pics for assembly instructions and some basic testing. This crossbow came up for review from our friends at Media Direct just as I was thinking about a Prepping 101 article using my TenPoint, so I jumped on it, mostly because it has the ACUdraw 50 instead of the fishing reel crank, which I am always terrified of losing. At some point I’d like to do a head to head comparison between these two bows and the Chinese copies in the $300-$400 range from the big box stores and online. If you can swing it, and/or you want to try a whole new dimension to your deer or hog hunting, these Horton crossbows aren’t cheap, but in my limited experience, you won’t find better.

The tip had sunk in more than an inch and a half. Do you know a regular compound bow that would penetrate like that?

The tip had sunk in more than an inch and a half. Do you know a regular compound bow that would penetrate like that?

The scope on the Legend came zeroed to point of aim, even though you have to assemble the bow. It adjusts like any rifle scope but has graduated lines inside for distance to match the crossbow.

The scope on the Legend came zeroed to point of aim, even though you have to assemble the bow. It adjusts like any rifle scope but has graduated lines inside for distance to match the crossbow.

This is how the contents of the box arrive. There are only two main steps besides the quiver.

This is how the contents of the box arrive. There are only two main steps besides the quiver.

This guide clips to the string and has slots for the higher and lower string. The crossbow comes with this lubricant for it, and it slides in easy.

This guide clips to the string and has slots for the higher and lower string. The crossbow comes with this lubricant for it, and it slides in easy.

To seat the bow into the forearm, you push down while pulling up on the string.

To seat the bow into the forearm, you push down while pulling up on the string.

Then there is one set screw, and two others for the foot stirrup used for cocking. That's it!

Then there is one set screw, and two others for the foot stirrup used for cocking. That’s it!

The crossbow comes with the Allen wrenches you need for assembly, but the quiver does not.

The crossbow comes with the Allen wrenches you need for assembly, but the quiver does not.

The quiver clips on and off much like the head on a consumer camera tripod, and it seems very solid.

The quiver clips on and off much like the head on a consumer camera tripod, and it seems very solid.

This Bone Collector target linked in the article was able to stop the bolts short of the feathers, but I don't know if it will do it twice in the same hole. Note that this was offhand, 20 yards away, and two of the arrows are touching.  Use different points of aim when you test your crossbow or you will split arrows.

This Bone Collector target linked in the article was able to stop the bolts short of the feathers, but I don’t know if it will do it twice in the same hole. Note that this was offhand, 20 yards away, and two of the arrows are touching. Use different points of aim when you test your crossbow or you will split arrows.

Though I doubt these will ever be collectible, the low number serial numbers show you how few of these are made. They are for elite hunters and survivalists.

Though I doubt these will ever be collectible, the low number serial numbers show you how few of these are made. They are for elite hunters and survivalists.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Chris August 20, 2015, 12:24 am

    Horton makes an excellent crossbow product that enjoyable to target shoot and hunt with. We feature a lot of related crossbow information at crossbowhuntin.com

  • Jerry D. Foster April 13, 2015, 11:40 pm

    I have the fishing reel cocking device and it works great. I lost my left arm and I am wondering if this new cocking device
    would be suited for me.

    Jerry Disregard goodby

  • Jerry D. Foster April 13, 2015, 11:38 pm

    I have the fishing reel cocking device and it works great. I lost my left arm and I am wondering if this new cocking device
    would be suited for me.

    Jerry

    • Administrator April 13, 2015, 11:55 pm

      Um no. It relies on being able to spread your arms out wide at the same time.

  • Jerry March 31, 2015, 8:12 pm

    If you want to sell crossbows, sell crossbows but don’t try and compare them to silencers. That’s ridiculous!!

  • Jerry March 31, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Comparing silencers to crossbows is the same as comparing apples to oranges. There is no comparison. The main question was why would your friend want to break the law by hunting on PRIVATE land apparently without the owners permission? I certainly DO NOT want to find some unknown individual on my property without my permission. I usually give my OK when people ask but send them a message when they do not. As to the silencer vs. bow. Which is easier to conceal? Which is lighter? Which requires ammo that is easier to carry? Here’s one observation: You don’t have to track down a bullet once it leaves the barrel but if you want to continue to hunt with a crossbow, it’s always a good idea to keep track of your bolts!!
    As I said, No comparison!!

  • Leetrav March 31, 2015, 12:17 pm

    Everything has its place when it comes to ‘prepping’ or just being prepared. Suppressors are a great choice for more and more people. Yes they require front-end time to be legal beagle. Family Trust are easy and not too expensive to set up. it is a time and timing thing for sure. But once all your ducks are in a row it is pretty darn sweet. There have been millions of suppressors sold in America. More and more people are enjoying the ‘freedom’ of quiet hunting. They don’t ‘silence’ anything but they do cut back on the ‘report’ a good bit. .22s get pretty quiet for sure and any sub-sonic pistol rounds do too. It’s fun. It’s practical. It could make survival in a hostile environment easier too. I’m down with the crossbow thing too BUT a suppressed firearm is hard to beat for accuracy and a ‘final answer’. You can never be too prepared.

    • Leetrav March 31, 2015, 12:51 pm

      Correction. Not millions of suppressors sold, yet anyway. But it’s coming. Texas leads the way, with the ‘lion’s share’, of course. I was surprised it is NOT a million yet. People are waking to the fact that it is legal. The hoops you jump through are easy too. The actual numbers are 600,000+ and 80,000 waiting for their tax stamps…plus or minus a few. Companies making suppressors are growing to meet demand. Get yours asap. Lots of info on the web to point you in the right direction….

  • Bobby March 31, 2015, 9:33 am

    Hey, you will want to look at the PSE TAC Elite or Ordinance. I now have one of each…one is for the AR lower!
    Powerful, heavy but designed for long range shots that make it worthwhile, comes with crank…rugged and worth every dollar…add a good compound bow and you have best of both worlds.

  • L Cavendish March 30, 2015, 8:55 pm

    Like he said…if you buy a legal silencer…they WILL have your name on file….and it may be that you also agree to allow for a search for said item at any time for any reason…anyone out there have a copy of the license to post so we can see what kind of contract you get into?

  • ChiGurh March 30, 2015, 4:03 pm

    Can anyone name a bullet caliber that can be suppressed and not have a transonic crack that can also pierce through Kevlar? If not, the crossbow has one advantage in that.

  • Ken March 30, 2015, 3:36 pm

    I have been thinking of a crossbow as I have gotten older and having back problems.
    a coworker and his son and a friend killed 7 deer last season using the same crossbow purchased from
    Wal-mart.

  • George March 30, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Someone’s been watching too much Walking Dead tv

  • Jon March 30, 2015, 11:01 am

    Let’s be practical.

    In a prepper environment, the maintenace requirements to maintain one of these higher priced crossbows over an extended period of time are extensive and overly arduous making them an impractical solution in any survivalist scenario.

    Alas, the main thrust of this story was to market a product trying to lead uninformed buyers into a false sense of security and preparedness.

    Any archery centered solution must center on the sustainabilty of successfully replacing the disposables (string and arrows) with consistently performing substitutes after original supplies wear out or are lost during the course of events.

    .

    • UncleNat March 30, 2015, 1:21 pm

      Have to agree Jon. Seems a little over-engineered for a SHTF situation. Better off learning to use a self-bow and making your own arrows. Still, for normal situations I would love to have one. My old back and eyes don’t fare so well with traditional archery equipment. Thanks for the review Paul.

    • Ed Pate March 30, 2015, 4:51 pm

      I agree, this bow seems a little high end for its intended purpose. I picked up a very nice Barnett Wildcat C-5 last year at Dunham’s on sale for $200. It is my first bow of any type and I really enjoy it, simple and effective and I like having it on hand for any SHTF situation should I run out of ammo and need to hunt.

  • Jack March 30, 2015, 10:23 am

    In no way is a silencer comparable to a crossbow. If it was there would be loads of them in use like the hundreds of thousands of Silencers that are in use. I can’t think of one advantage a crossbow has over a silencer and apparently you can’t either since you didn’t list one……

    Here’s a list of silencer advantages:
    Lightweight
    Cheaper
    Less maintenance
    Ease of use
    Durability
    Longer effective range
    Quieter
    Shorter Learning curve
    Limitless ammo

    Crossbow advantages:
    ?

    Silencer disadvantages:
    Misconceptions of non users

    Crossbow disadvantages:
    Limited ammo
    Heavy
    Maintenance nightmare
    Slow follow up shots
    Reduced range
    Louder
    Bulky
    Learning curve is much longer
    Hard to load
    Many more parts to break

    Anyone can plainly see that there is no advantage to be seen here….

  • Gregg Greenwood March 30, 2015, 10:14 am

    I’m willing to concede there are situations where a crossbow would be useful. But you can’t pretend a crossbow is somehow “better” than a modern suppressed firearm. If it was… you would see the special forces combat guys throwing their suppressed firearms in a pile and using a bow. Not gonna happen.

    IMO, it is worth the scratch and effort to get two suppressors. One for a .22. I would prefer a dedicated rimfire model but you can get one that will work with 5.56 AR’s and that can also do a decent job on .22 LR. Then get another one for .45 ACP. If you had to try to defend yourself against multiple attackers attempting to quietly infiltrate your position or you had to slip into another position yourself… which would you rather have? A crossbow or a modern .45 with suppressor? Wouldn’t be hard for me to decide!

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn March 30, 2015, 8:57 am

    Nice article. In fact, very nice. Comments about noise and “reloading” are both true enough, though just about every X-bow manufacture makes add-ons that help dampen sound. As for the complaint about cocking, here, too, manufacturers have available various mechanical and even battery-powered devices that greatly lessen the “oomph” out of cocking. The release arrow thing is a great suggestion but a much less expensive alternative is to take a damaged arrow (they’re really not true “bolts”) and use a Super Glue-like adhesive to attach a 9mm Lugar cartridge case. Not only is an excellent release aid there are no squirrels, rabbits or even wild turkeys that will walk away after being properly hurt with one. Yep, I know something about X-bows. I’ve live in Ohio and have hunted with the devices for neigh unto 25 years and presently own three of them (my wife and brother annually each borrow one). The four deer that I shot with my TenPoint/Wicked Ridge model this past deer-hunting season is a testament to the effectiveness of today’s X-bows; and there’s a whole bunch of $500 X-bows out there that will get the job done in very fine fashion.

  • Matt March 30, 2015, 8:51 am

    Crossbow is about the same noise signature as my suppressed .22 pistol shooting 40 gr. subsonic, considerably louder then the same suppressor on my 10/22 shooting 60 gr. SSS Aguila and exponentially louder then the same thru a bolt action Anschutz. With the rifles accurate enough for head shots at 100m.

  • Stephen March 30, 2015, 8:33 am

    The compound bow will be more consistent? Better how? They make as much noise as many suppressed weapons are are less lethal and as if not more expensive. You have one shot opposed to as many as are in a magazine. Reloads are slow with a crossbow. Bolts(arrows) are hard to come across and a easily damaged. A good suppressor should last 10s of thousands of rounds. I am embarrassed you guys “printed” this article. Being on a special list? Maybe if everyone got one the list would cease to be so special.

  • David Sikes March 30, 2015, 7:51 am

    As a kid I use to throw hatches, drove in nails, and shot at a massive red oaks in our back yard. 25 years those trees died. I hope you sealed up that hole.

  • craig March 30, 2015, 7:08 am

    Crossbows aren’t quiet. They make a lot more noise than silenced weapons. Go to an archery range where they’re shooting these…they are neat bows and remove a lot of need for practice as compared to archers with human drawn bows.

    Quiet they aren’t. If you want a quiet bow, get a recurve/stick bow. Want to have a scope and use your rifle shooting skills, get a crossbow.

  • Joe March 30, 2015, 6:51 am

    I wanted a crossbow for a long time, Then my back went south and when I got the chance to try one, the stress of pulling the string back to firing position was too much for lumbar comfort so I had to pass on that part of my bucket list.

  • Lui March 30, 2015, 4:55 am

    Crossbows are cool, but efficiency belongs to the compound bow. With a crossbow after every shot you have to take both hands, cock it and most likely take you eyes off the game. With a bow you just grab another arrow from you quiver stick it in pull back and shoot, all can be done without taking you eyes off the game. Secondly don’t let draw weight fool you. Cross bows have to have heavier draw weight because the bolt travels a lot shorter distance in the cross bow then an arrow does in a bow. Because an arrow travels farther in the bow, it builds up more energy then in the shorter travel you would experience with a cross bow. Hence cross bows have to have heavier draw weights to equal the performance of a compound bow of lesser draw weight.

  • Peter March 30, 2015, 3:12 am

    The bow costs about a thousand $1000.

    • Matthew March 30, 2015, 12:28 pm

      I found them on Amazon for less the same bow too.

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