Part Rifle, Part Crossbow, Pure Traditions: The Crackshot XBR Arrow Launcher

Traditions Performance Firearms announced a new arrow launcher earlier this year called the Crackshot XBR. Built around a break-action rimfire rifle, the Crackshot uses a .27-caliber blank to push a specially-designed arrow out the muzzle at speeds of up to 385 feet per second.

Traditions says that this works out to just under 100 foot-pounds of force at 30 yards, which puts the arrow in the 300-grain range. It’s going to be quiet, too. According to Traditions, the Crackshot only makes about 80 decibels of noise when firing.

By design the Crackshot requires a different kind of arrow. Called Firebolts, the arrows have hollow shafts that slide down over the launching tube inside a large-diameter sleeve. The sleeve has an overall length of 22 inches, while the tube itself measures in at 21 inches long.

The tube gets loaded with a blank, which, when fired, uses the compressed burning gas to send the arrow out from the muzzle. Each Crackshot comes with three Firebolts. Traditions will offer additional arrows and their own brand of Powerload blanks separately.

The Crackshot has a lot of practical appeal for hunters, especially if it gets classified alongside crossbows by local wildlife departments. For now, the ATF is calling it a muzzleloader. Traditions is working with wildlife officials around the country to get the Crackshot green-lit for hunters.

As an added bonus for hunters and plinkers everywhere, Traditions will include a 16.5-inch rimfire barrel assembly chambered for .22 Long Rifle with each Crackshot. On top of that, each Crackshot ships with a Traditions 4×32 riflescope.

Set up as an arrow launcher or rifle the Crackshot weighs around 4 pounds, which is about half of what a similarly powered crossbow can weigh.

See Also: Traditions Launching Improved Smackdown Muzzleloader Projectiles

Traditions hasn’t set a firm release date for the Crackshot and some details might change by the time these start hitting store shelves. The suggested retail price will probably be $449 for the base model and $50 more with a Kryptec Highlander camo upgrade.

Replacement 6-packs of arrows will run $29 and Powerload blanks $24 for 100. Real-world and online pricing is likely to be less across the board. For more info head over to the Traditions website.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Billy shock May 6, 2019, 10:03 am

    Will this be in the category as the crossbow for the disabled

  • David February 24, 2019, 1:02 pm

    The idea that these things would be limited to hunting or are in danger of becoming obsolete is somewhat ludicrous, the blank mechanism that generates the propellant force is available in lumber stores around the country and the “arrow” is or could be readily available from any archery source that sells fletching equipment and the hollow shaft arrow becomes the expansion chamber for the gas which then turns the arrow into more of a compressed gas rocket. As to hunting, this would expand the preppers capability and would be capable of perforating Kevlar body armor if used in a defensive capacity. Reduced noise , lethality, and components that would be available in non firearm sources ( read innocous) may “one day ” help keep the playing field level.

  • Dan Doughty February 22, 2019, 12:11 pm

    Must see an actual loading & firing of the CrackShot to check consistent function, arrow speed, accuracy and long time shooting test sessions and to know what the guarantee is of this product. A video would be nice to have posted here or on YouTube.

  • Gary Fowler February 22, 2019, 10:41 am

    I see little to no purpose for this “thing” (not a rifle and not a bow) as a hunting tool. Compound crossbows for the disabled person not capable of pulling back a traditional bow seem to be a much better choice and dont require special proprietary ammo and arrows.

  • Matt February 22, 2019, 10:03 am

    But why?!

    • Phil February 22, 2019, 11:58 am

      That’s alluded to in the article with all the talk about using crossbows during archery season.

  • Fred Gasparino February 22, 2019, 9:30 am

    A few decades ago when I was a teenager, I remember one of the local guys at our gun club talking about .410 arrows. He said he would stuff an arrow down a break action 410, screw the broadhead on, and load a 410 shell that had the shot removed from it.

    I always wanted to try it to see how accurate it was, but never got the chance.

    This is pretty much the same idea only different.

  • Richard P Bartanen February 22, 2019, 9:26 am

    So, do you take it to a rifle range or an archery range to practice?

  • Jerry S. February 22, 2019, 9:20 am

    Naaaah, don’t thinks so.

  • John B February 22, 2019, 9:11 am

    I checked this out at the NRA show last week and really want one. The guys at Traditions were great to talk to as well.

  • Link Lackluster February 22, 2019, 7:36 am

    Not a bow. Keep it as a muzzle loader. I don’t want idiots with these things in the woods with me during bow season.

    • Midwest Bowman February 22, 2019, 9:36 am

      I agree with you. I do not even think that crossbows should be treated the same as compound/traditonal archery tackle. The difference I think lies in the movement required to fire the weapon.

      These along with crossbows are made to be pointed and fired just like a shotgun or muzzleloader versus the full motion of drawing a compound or recurve. I think there should be a shorter, designated season for corssbows unless the individual has shoulder or other physical issues preventing them from drawing a bow or is over the age of 65.

      I think it would be a toss up as to whether this would even be considered a “crossbow” since it does fire using a blank, so we shall have to wait and see.

      • Michael Christensen February 22, 2019, 9:08 pm

        Midwest bowman, part of the reasons so many things get pushed to the side and creates problems is your comment above. You say crossbows should not be allowed into the archery season because it is easier to shoot. Guess what, your compound bow is easier to shoot as well because of the let off of the cams and the wrist release you are using. So your holding weight is 1/4 the true draw weight and you are using a trigger just like a gun with the release. Now if you are talking recurve, then that is a true archery tackle. Full draw weight all the time and the finger pinch from the string. I have no feeling in my right hand ring finger half way to the finger tip because of the pressure pinching the nerves in my finger from drawing bows so long. You also need to remember that crossbows predate compound bows by several centuries. They all use stored energy from the limbs to propel an arrow/bolt and they all have the same range limitations. They should all be in one category, archery season. In Maine crossbows are only used during firearms season. My point about this is why restrict yourself with a crossbow in a firearm category. It would be like putting a spear class in the archery class. How many people are going to do it if they are truly hunting for meat. Now this thing belongs in the black powder category because you are not loading a complete cartridge, it is pieces just like black powder, instead of a cap and black powder, you are installing a blank cartridge.

  • TJ February 22, 2019, 4:56 am

    I don’t know, it looks like someone was smoking crack and decided to come up with this thing. Somehow guns and arrows don’t or shouldn’t be mixed.


    • N8 September 9, 2019, 6:23 am

      I mean… it IS right there in the name.

      Isn’t it?

  • Rich February 22, 2019, 4:39 am

    Don’t like the fact that it uses proprietary blanks and arrows. What happens if, a couple years down the road, those items are discontinued? Owners will be left with a useless wallhanger unless they stock up on the proprietary items. Think it can’t happen, ask the owners of the Daisy caseless ammo rifle that came out some years back…

  • Eddy Jolley February 20, 2019, 11:56 am

    Great article and pictures – this is definitely a niche “rifle” but I like it!!

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