July 20, 2021
As we exited the San Antonio International Airport, our small group was struck by the moisture glove that had settled over the area for the past few days. Lucky for us, we were heading west into the Texas’ Hill Country, where temperatures over the next few days are expected to be cooler than normal for mid-May.
As we traveled west on I-10, the rise in altitude brought changes in both scenery and temperatures, increasing excitement for days to come. Leaving traffic, malls and urban sprawl behind us, we were quickly surrounded by vast ranches and open spaces that seemed to stretch for miles in all directions. For the next four days, we would be guests at Lazy CK Ranch, a popular archery destination for exotic game species like axis deer, aoudad, blackbuck and fallow deer. Our goal was to attract at least a few of our target species into archery, allowing us to test the effectiveness and impact of the Ax AX405 crossbows we hunted with.
The energy was palpable as we pulled off the two-lane highway onto the 7,000-acre ranch. As we walked the dirt roads to the lodge, we spotted everything from oryx and impala to white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkeys. The first light tomorrow would find us tucked into shades to begin the hunt, but first we had to unpack our bags, train with the crossbows, get our licenses, and handle other important preparation work.
First impressions are everything
Since this is a newcomer to the market – having debuted in 2020 – I wasn’t sure what to expect from an Ax crossbow. That being said, what they say about first impressions is absolutely true, and my first impression was that there was a lot to love about this platform!
For starters, the AX405 is sleek and compact, making it easy to maneuver and handle (more on this in a moment). Arming and disarming the bow is also an incredibly simple process thanks to the built-in crank and sliding trigger. To load the crossbow, all you need to do is turn the handle counterclockwise, which moves the trigger slide box forward until it captures the string at the before the arc (you will hear a click). Then you manually push the trigger assembly until you hear a second click, which means it’s fully locked with the string, and you can start turning the handle in the opposite direction to bring the box back. trigger and the rope in the loaded position.
The integrated handle and cocking / disarming system are designed so that if you let go of the handle, or if your hand accidentally slips off the crank while loading or unloading, the trigger and rope will stay locked in place where they go. find, preventing serious injury or damage to the arc. It goes without saying that there is great peace of mind knowing that there is a safety device like this in place on these high powered bows.
My initial question about the integrated grip was, “How could this impact a hunter in the field since it cannot be removed?” However, both during the practice session and during the hunt, I can honestly say that the grip was barely noticeable and certainly didn’t raise any issues or concerns.
When it comes to power, the AX405 is more than capable of taking down a variety of big game. The design of the butt and riser of the arch; The 210-pound reverse-pull split limbs and the resulting 13-inch power stroke work together seamlessly to propel the included 0.166-inch micro-diameter bolts with the bow to over 400 fps.
Unlike many crossbows on the market, the bolts do not rest or descend on a rail. Instead, they’re flanked by carbon guide rods on both sides, with the notch engaging the detent assembly and the front of the bolt resting on an adjustable roller rest. FeraDyne Outdoors, which makes Ax crossbows, claims that this unique floating arrow system improves bolt speed and accuracy by reducing friction and torque throughout the bolt path.
By the way, FeraDyne also unveiled the AX440 this year. The new model for 2021, which is capable of throwing bolts at blazing 440 fps, continues to build on the Ax Crossbows innovations rolled out in 2020, with an equally compact profile and only slight design changes to generate. faster speeds.
How the AX405 pulls
After going over the safety features and operation of the AX405 at camp, the next agenda was to make sure we could hit our target with these high powered crossbows. As we had a tight schedule, the bows with which we would go hunting had been pre-aimed for us. That being said, I was still a bit skeptical that this would be a quick workout, as it rarely is in my case.
To my surprise, however, two shots from the crossbow – one from 20 yards and another from 30 yards – resulted in two hits. This was the first time that I didn’t need to change the scope or setup, even when a crossbow had been sighted before by someone else. The arc was also very smooth when fired, without any excessive noise or vibration when fired. Needless to say, with this kind of impact and result, I was more than comfortable with the bow and couldn’t wait to go the next day.
In the field
There is no doubt that the Ax 405 is compact, measuring 27.5 inches long with its closed footrest and 9.95 inches wide axle to axle when cocked (14.5 thumbs unarmed). This streamlined profile makes it easier to handle and maneuver the bow when hunting from a tree or sitting in a blind, which we did while hunting.
The AX405 weighs around 11 pounds with the scope and quiver attached (9.7 pounds without), but the weight of the bow is balanced well in your hands thanks to the inverted limbs, butt, and riser.
Other features of the AX405 are a 3.7-pound, zero-creep trigger; adjustable butt and cheek; and a multi-range reticle scope that offers markings from 20 to 100 meters in 10 meter increments. The bezel offers a clear and wide field of vision and is both anti-fog and shockproof. It also offers the option of lighting red or green light points, providing options when hunting in different lighting conditions.
About the hunt
During my three days in the field, I saw a variety of game including Father David’s deer, sika deer, Corsican rams, wild turkeys and deer galore. However, the two species I had in sight had eluded us, despite my guide’s best efforts.
On the last night, as time went on, the two of us improvised and ventured out to a part of the ranch that hadn’t been hunted recently. And while there must have been a stand at the site, the tree he was in had collapsed due to storm damage or old age. Therefore, we had to quickly assemble some ground armor from branches and twigs – not necessarily an ideal setup when you actually hunt this spot a few minutes later.
To my surprise, considering the relative commotion we just had, once the feeder went off, the deer and turkeys started to come out of the brush. Then, from across the massive field we were looking at, a blackbuck entered the scene. Slowly and carefully, he made his way through the landscape. As it approached, however, I turned my head slightly to get a reading of its location. Phew!
The meager branches that we tossed at random clearly didn’t provide enough cover, as the animal immediately determined that something was wrong. He spun around, started moving in the opposite direction, and eventually headed for safer boundaries.
While I knew I was coming home empty-handed, it didn’t dampen my spirits in any way. The week was amazing from start to finish with lots of animal sightings, beautiful weather and amazing hospitality from the owners and guides at Lazy CK Ranch. The biggest takeaway from the whole experience, however, was that I can’t wait to try the AX405 crossbow once the white-tailed deer season opens in my home state this fall.
- Length: 27.75 inch (with closed footrest)
- Width: 9.938 inch (axle to axle armed)
- Weight: 9.7 lbs (without accessories)
- Power stroke: 13 inch
- Kinetic energy: 138 ft-lbs.
- Announced speed: 405 fps
- MSRP: $ 1,699.99
- Contact: FeraDyne Away | feradyne.com/axe-arbalètes/