Horton Crossbow Innovations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.