In this day and age, the archery industry — like many others — has become extremely competitive and overcrowded, with new manufacturers constantly entering the marketplace. This is especially true of the crossbow market, so when I heard another new company had entered the fray, honestly, I rolled my eyes.
But after seeing what the folks at Ravin Crossbows had been working on at this year’s ATA show, I was completely blown away by the innovation, quality and performance of their new products. Even at a glance, you can tell a lot of thought, engineering and pride is put into everything they manufacture.
For 2017, Ravin offers two models: the R9 and the R15. Both are packed with cool features and offer blistering arrow speeds in an extremely compact design. Specifications for both models are identical, with the exception of draw force, arrow speed and price. The R9 has a suggested retail of $1,549.00 and shoots 390 fps with a 10-pound draw force. The R15 retails at $2,049.00 and shoots 425 fps with a 12-pound draw force.
Overall, both models are 341/2 inches long and feature an unbelievable axle-to-axle width of only 101/2 inches un-cocked and 6 inches when cocked. This makes them ideal for shooting in the tightest confines, such as from a box-stand window or compact ground blind. Both weigh 6.9 pounds, which is on the light side for a crossbow, and they are extremely well-balanced.
Ravin crossbows are powered by Helicoil Technology, which is a new cam system that is designed to do several things that enhance both accuracy and performance. When the bow is cocked, the cables spool away from the top and bottom of the cams in helical grooves. By spooling off of both sides of the cams, the cables keep them perfectly balanced, eliminating any cam lean and allowing them to rotate 340 degrees. This is significantly more than other cam designs, and it provides those high arrow speeds. Also, the cables do not cross or rub at any point, and this means less friction, wear and maintenance. Ravins also feature a Frictionless Flight System, where the string and arrow do not contact the rail, for less string wear and a smoother, quieter shot.
Another innovation is the Trac-Trigger firing system, in which the entire trigger mechanism slides forward on the rail and attaches directly to the center of the bowstring. The string can then be cranked back to the firing position using the ambidextrous Versa-Draw integrated crank-coking device. At full draw, the Versa-Draw has a slip clutch that prevents overdrawing and breaking the cocking strap. This system can also be used to safely un-cock the Ravin without firing. The trigger is as good as or better than many rifles, boasting only a 2-pound trigger weight, with little or no creep. Ravin says 3-inch groups are easily obtained at 100 yards, and after shooting it, I believe them. You can stack arrows with them.
Ravins come equipped with a lighted, speed-adjustable scope with the yardage clearly marked for each aiming point. To sight in, you simply use the scope’s windage and elevation adjustments to sight the 20-yard crosshair, and then use the speed/magnification adjustment to sight the second crosshair at 30 yards. All other distances are sighted in automatically at this point.
The crank handle attaches to the quiver bracket for storage on the bow even while shooting, leaving one less thing to keep up with. The handle and quiver can be easily removed with only one hand, thanks to the push-button engagement system. The bow is fairly quiet out of the package, but I’ve found the addition of limb dampers to really help. I have been using Kinex Limb stabilizers, and they make it almost silent. Not only that, but they come in an orange color which perfectly matches the accents on the Ravin. They also offer a soft case, which again is extremely well made. It is coffin-shaped, compact, and comes with backpack straps, making it easy to carry into the field. The Ravin arrows are 400 grains and come with nocks that snap securely onto the bowstring, resulting in more-secure arrow attachment and therefore, fewer dry fires.
Do yourself a favor and look into the new Ravin crossbow line this year. Their quality construction, innovative features, and all around “cool factor” have many people who never thought of shooting a crossbow before, itching to buy their first.