The concept of a crossbow is not new. It is believed to have been invented in Central Asia around 600 BC and used by the Warring States. In the Middle Ages, crossbows were so powerful that some European kings banned them from civilian property. Fast forward to the early 2000s, when crossbows enjoyed a renaissance in popularity, thanks to a surplus of white-tailed deer and the relaxation of state game laws. We are now witnessing a golden age of crossbow design. And Ravin, with crossbows like the Ravin R29X, is more responsible for the progress of the crossbow than any other bowmaker.

Since this Wisconsin-based company was founded in 2017, it has continually pushed the boundaries to bring hunters the most powerful, smallest, safest, and most accurate (albeit the most expensive) hunting crossbows of all. time. And while its R29X model isn’t its most forward-thinking – that goes to its upcoming R50 (a 500 fps electrically-armed model) – it may be the best all-around model for hunters given its size-to-power ratio. .

The R29X is compact, powerful, relatively light, precise and most importantly, it is easy to use. Ravine

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Ravin R29X Specifications

  • Speed: 450 fps with 403 gr. The arrow
  • Riser: machined aluminum
  • Stock: polymer
  • Trigger: 2 lbs. 11 ounces
  • Dimensions: Length: 29 “, axle to axle beam width: 6”, power stroke: 12.5 “
  • Weight: 6.75 pounds.
  • Accessories: 6 arrows, crank, quiver, luminous bezel
  • MSRP: $ 2,624

Presentation of the Ravin R29X

Ravin’s R29X crossbow is a more powerful upgrade to the company’s standard R29. The “X” means it is advertised to launch a 400 grain arrow at 450 fps for 180 ft-lbs. kinetic energy that breaks bones. Despite that horsepower, the 29X retains the 6.75 lb lightweight of the original. weight (bare) and its widest tip width of 9 inches when cocked, so it remains nimble and easy to carry around the woods.

The point is, speed sells bows in stores, but precision and ease of use – or hunting – kills game in the field. I define “hunting ability” as the combination of the size of a crossbow (so that it can be easily carried and maneuvered silently in a blind) and features that make it intuitive and precise to shoot when the pressure is on. .

About five years ago, crossbow makers tended to mold a bunch of polymer grips, design elements, and accessories and bolt them to crossbows to make the crossbow look like it was full of features. At the very least, that might make them cool for the untrained consumer. But I applaud Ravin for taking 29 sets of most of those fancy cosmetics and leaving them with a bridge-style skeleton riser design machined from solid aluminum instead. Only the stress-resistant parts of the crossbow body – such as the headrest and pistol grip – are injection-molded polymer and overmolded with grippy rubber to save weight and make the bow comfortable in the hands. . That the Ravin R29x is among the most powerful crossbows available as well as the lightest is an indicator of the Ravin’s top-notch engineering and manufacturing capabilities. It is also very precise. I just like the non-BS machined aluminum design that performs well while reducing weight.

The incredible power of the 29x is due to a combination of features, including Ravin’s patented HeliCoil eccentric system which is as simple as it is efficient. In a nutshell, the cams are attached to the yellow inside of the cam axles via a channel that winds the bus cables around the axle when the crossbow is cocked. This reduces the leverage placed on the cams and applies pressure evenly on the ups and downs, thereby reducing the tilt of the cams. Second, its cables are not continuous. Rather, they are anchored in the center of the riser to a square metal cutout. This allows the boom to pass directly along the center line of the string without the need to pull the cables down, which can also cause tilt. The thick, chunky cams and limbs combine for a beastly 300 pound weight, delivered to the boom via 12.5 inch horsepower.

The design omits a traditional barrel that the arrow typically rides on when launched. Instead, the Ravin R29X uses a dual roller arrow rest through which the vanes pass intact. This system dramatically reduces friction and therefore increases the speed of the boom, although it is not fully “floating” as some publications suggest. Although one of these spring loaded roller guides has broken in the past, it is 99.9% reliable and quantifiable. If a roll breaks, a simple replacement can be ordered and exchanged within a minute.

Ravin has also improved his Versa Draw arming system by making it silent, a big plus for not scaring the game away. Additionally, if you decide to stop arming at any time and let go of the handle, it will stay put rather than crush you. To disarm, you can turn the handle to relieve tension, then push the lever on the back of the stock while turning the handle counterclockwise to lower the string. If you release the button, disarming will stop.

The Ravin R29X uses the company’s patented sledge-shaped fire control system which cocks the bow, contains the dry fire stop, and engages the trigger and safety; It’s called Trac-Trigger. With a tested pull weight of 2 lbs 10 ounces, it is lighter than most custom shotguns, and that fact definitely improves its accuracy. If I could change one thing about the 29X’s fire control system, I would make the safety lever bigger and more tactile, so using it without looking or with gloves on was more intuitive.

The Ravin R29X the best crossbow.
The 29X is nimble and easy to transport in the woods. Ravine

R29X test

My test unit averaged 450 fps (exactly what the company claims) to produce an incredible 181 foot-pounds of kinetic energy when firing the supplied bolts and 100-grain field points that weighed 403 grains combined. It averaged groups of 1¼ inch at 30 meters. This means groups 2.5 inches to 6 yards and groups less than 5 inches to 100 if the shooter’s skills are up to par. In my opinion, it was quite loud at 108 decibels compared to other crossbows (often slower), but when I experimented with heavier arrowheads, a transformation occurred: with points of 150 grains, kinetic energy increased to an impressive 194 ft-lbs. Groups have gone down to 1 inch and decibels have gone down to 105. I suspect the arc life will increase dramatically as well.

What the R29X does best

It’s a hunting machine. It is compact, powerful, relatively light, precise and, above all, easy to use.

Where the ravine is missing

If this arc were mine, I would also upgrade the pathetic Chinese-made reach of the 29X for better quality. For an arc costing $ 2,600, what is a few hundred dollars more to invest in quality branded optics like a 1x-8x-24mm illuminated reticle unit that is now prevalent?

Does the Ravin R29X fulfill its mission?

Yes, without a doubt. In addition to the R29X’s top-of-the-line performance, its small size and hunting is what I like the most. Until now, most 450 FPS crossbows have been heavy due to their beefy builds and not fun to lug around the woods. But the Ravine is closer to carrying a gun than a crossbow from just five years ago. Well-designed features like its half-moon shaped headrest that allow it to easily rest on anything is a testament to its hunting ability. A handle integrated into the stock facilitates transport and climbing up a tree. It has crampons for a sling, a storage system for the cocker spaniel handle (so you are less likely to lose it) and it is 100% ambidextrous. Put simply, the Ravin R29X is a pure hunting crossbow that also delivers top notch performance. I believe this is among the best two or three crossbows made since, oh, maybe 230 BC when the Qin dynasty conquered the Han. Nonetheless, the history of the crossbow and its evolution continues into the indefinite future as Ravin shows no sign of stopping its current technological conquest.


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