Crossbows tend to be a controversial topic in the hunting world and that controversy has helped feed a growing market. The demand tells me they’re here to stay. You can find examples of crossbows selling anywhere from $200 – $2,000 and everywhere in between. Through various trade shows and days at archery shops I’ve had the chance to fire quite a few crossbows. My Dad also hunts with a crossbow so I’ve helped him sight his in and get it all set up. Personally, I think they’re an absolute blast to shoot but they aren’t my weapon of choice when hunting. In hunting situations I’m more comfortable with a compound bow. Does that mean I condemn anyone that hunts with one, absolutely not. Does it make me a better hunter, no way. I now own one and I can tell you it’s a good time shooting it and the main reason I love it; now my son can confidently participate in archery season with me!
As mentioned above there’s a wide range of pricing for crossbows and just the crossbow doesn’t make you hunt ready. There’s still accessories to buy so finding the sweet spot of dishing out a enough dough to get a solid crossbow without over spending is the challenge. As with most weapons the exponential increase in price often comes with minor but costly improvements. Some people including me are willing to pay for those improvements on occasion but if you’re in the market for the best bang for your buck the Wicked Ridge Invader G3 should be on your list of crossbows to try out.
The Wicked Ridge Invader G3 comes in essentially ready to hunt at about $550. That gets you a crossbow, sight and quiver. You’ll still need to buy bolts, field points and eventually broadheads which can add up to another $150 or more. To outfit my Invader G3 I went with the TenPoint Pro Elite 2.0 bolts. They’re on the heavier side but I like shooting heavier arrows out of any archery equipment. It makes for a bit more momentum down range where it counts, uses energy more efficiently and can help quiet things down little bit. They come with 100 grain field points but I’ll likely end up with a 125 grain broadhead for hunting.
My initial impressions are it’s a great crossbow for the price. It has great balance and feels good holding it and off of a rest. I also like the grip for your non-shooting hand. It helps keep all fingers and thumbs out of the way of the string by allowing you to wrap your fingers around the grip and under the rail. My biggest gripe for a long time with crossbows is the noise. They can be quite loud but out of the box and thrown together the noise from this crossbow is quite minimal, especially for it’s price point. The TenPoint scope that comes with it is easily adjusted and super clear. I haven’t really tested it in low like but I assume it will preform pretty well. The built in cocking mechanism is super convenient and makes for quick and easy cocking and loading. Like any crossbow, reloading isn’t a stealthy action but having the pull rope integrated makes it much easier. I don’t spend a ton of time shooting crossbows but the trigger on the Invader feels very good. It’s easy enough to squeeze and produce a shot without feeling like you really have to bear down on it, or worry that it’ll go off with the lightest touch.
Overall, for the price this is about as good as it gets for a crossbow. You can spend a lot more and get a few more bells and whistles but this will more than get the job done. Like any archery equipment I suggest shooting before buying and Gander Mountain stores tend to have a great selection to try out, however this is one I wouldn’t hesitate to order online if there isn’t a store around you.
[Full Disclosure: The crossbow and bolts were provided at no cost by Gander Mountain for an honest review. This review is my honest opinion and has not been changed or edited]