Indiana’s new deer hunting regs now permit crossbow hunting from October to January. In years prior, a crossbow could only be used in the December archery season unless the hunter had a handicap permit. I have been interested in bowhunting since I was a kid but had an elbow injury in the late 90s that pretty much put an end to any serious traditional bowhunting for me so the next logical step was switching to a crossbow. There are some pretty good hunting opportunities around some of the subdivisions in our area and archery equipment is the only way to harvest that game.
I had been looking for a recurve crossbow for quite awhile and up until recently there were very few options. After researching the other brands in this price range, I settled on this SA Sports model because I could not find any reviews complaining about design flaws or mechanical failures.There’s no arguing that a compound crossbow is superior to a recurve in arrow speed but the recurve wins out with simplicity in design and ease of maintenance. I wanted a crossbow that didn’t have extra moving parts or rely on a press to service the string and cable. I am willing to trade some performance for the peace of mind in knowing that I can restring this weapon out in the middle of nowhere if necessary.
This crossbow came as a package deal that included a sling, 4 arrows (bolts), a quick-detach quiver, a bow-stringer, rope cocking device, a rear open sight and a tube of rail lube. The kit also included a 4x scope sight that I chose not to install so it did not make it into these photographs. There’s also a spare string and a pouch in the photo below. Neither of those items were in the kit. The string was ordered directly from the factory as soon as I had the ordering info and the pouch is a Rothco pouch. I had it on hand and everything belonging to the crossbow fit into it so we’ll be using this pouch until a better one can be found.
Assembly was pretty straight-forward. Install the poly bushings, center the bow and tighten the bolt. There is at least one video online showing how to do this. Stringing the crossbow was just as easy and safely accomplished with the stringer that came with the kit.
I have a few upgrades in mind for the front sight. That black bead is going to be a real issue in low light hunting conditions and I’m a little concerned about the sheet metal bracket that it’s mounted to. Both of those issues are easily solved. The adjustable rear open sight went on with no problems.
With the assembly out of the way I took it to our woodpile to sight it in and see what it could do. The arrows (bolts) that were provided in our kit are 16″ #2219 aluminum with 125 grain field tips. Kind of a heavy arrow material but also a durable one. The crossbow was sighted in at 50 feet on a homemade archery target which is nothing more than a box stuffed tightly with chopped foam rubber carpet padding. After 3 shots and three adjustments, the next 4 shots are shown below.
I was expecting the arrow flight to have some noticeable trajectory but that was not the case. The flight was nearly flat at the fifty foot range that was used and the arrows penetrated the box very nicely. The next test was four shots into the foam deer target at 60 feet. There’s a flyer that would have been a gut shot and that was all me, I could feel the crossbow lean right as I squeezed he trigger. Notice that the bolts penetrated that thick foam very well.
This crossbow is rated at 175 pounds. The Indiana minimum rating is 125 pounds. I would not hesitate to use this crossbow on deer-sized game. I really feel that SA Sports will be giving Excalibur a run for their money. I purchased this crossbow at our local farm store but this crossbow is also available through Amazon: