Skip to main content

New Crossbow Shoots Like A Rifle

New Crossbow Shoots Like A Rifle

The Ravin R15 crossbow offers amazing speed and accuracy in a compact design that shoots like a rifle

Ravin crossbows offer a rifle-like feel and deliver incredible velocity and excellent accuracy in a lightweight package that weighs in at under 7 pounds.

I'm a shooter.  I don't care what it is, if it launches a projectile, I probably enjoy learning how to use it.  That said, bows have never really been my thing.  I have a compound bow that I practice and hunt with but I use it because it gets me more time in the woods, not because I love the Zen of the bow.

The one thing that I do love about my compound bow is that I can shoot it safely almost anywhere, including in my suburban backyard or garage.  It's not loud and, though I certainly have to be aware of my backstop, it's far easier to contain an arrow than it is a bullet, regardless of caliber.  When I began testing crossbows a few years ago for Petersen's HUNTING, I realized that there was a way to combine the advantages of a bow with the feel of a firearm: the stock, the grip, the trigger, the scope.  This year, when we incorporated the Ravin Crossbows R15 into the test, I found that it was the closest thing to a rifle that I could shoot on a bow range. I was hooked immediately.


Ravin is a new company in the archery space. When their R15 crossbow hit the market, it raised the bar significantly.  The makers of this product did not rush to the market but instead went back to the drawing board with a goal of creating the most effective and innovative crossbow possible.  The numbers don't lie; it's pretty safe to say that they hit their mark on this one.  Ravin's incredible velocity, excellent accuracy, narrow dimensions and overall quality is head and shoulders above the rest of the industry.  Ravin crossbows are the most powerful on the market, period.


Ravin's HeliCoil technology allows the bow's twin cams to rotate 340 degrees. The result is ultra-fast arrow speeds and a narrow, compact design that makes these bows easier to wield in tight quarters.

Amazing Velocity  

The most quantifiable attribute of a Ravin is its speed.  When I conducted Petersen's Hunting's Crossbow Test in 2015, the fastest velocity we recorded was 374 feet per second.  Less than two years later, the Ravin R15 is producing velocities over 425 feet per second!  Even the less expensive R9 model produces a previously unheard of 390 feet per second at the "muzzle." That is serious speed.  For comparison's sake, the fastest compound bows on the market rarely exceed 350 feet per second.

Ravin achieves this amazing speed due to the HeliCoil technology, which allows the bow's twin cams to rotate 340 degrees.  The arrow/bolt also floats above the rail when fired so it is not subjected to friction that would slow its flight upon launch.  This "no-friction" launch also helps in the accuracy department.  Due to that speed, as well as Ravin's accuracy potential, we can engage targets of beyond 100 yards with the R15.




One of the reasons for Ravin's amazing arrow speed (up to 425 feet per second) and accuracy is that the arrow/bolt floats above the rail when fired, eliminating friction that slows arrow flight upon launch.

Compact Design

One of the things that has kept me from fully-embracing crossbows in the past has been their size. Most are incredibly bulky and unwieldy to carry due to their width.  The same HeliCoil technology that makes Ravin the fastest crossbow on the market also makes it the most compact, with an axle-to-axle measurement of only six inches when cocked.  Besides being compact, these bows are also light with both the R15 and R9 models weighing in at under 7 pounds.  So, in the Ravin we have a crossbow that is the approximate size and weight of a traditional rifle or carbine, which is another mark in the "plus" column if we're looking to replicate that shooting experience.


The lightweight Ravin is easy to master. The author says someone with good shooting fundamentals could expect to hit pie-plate-sized targets at 100 yards with the R15 on their first time out.

Easy to Master

I won't say that crossbows are more accurate than conventional compound bows because I don't have the empirical data to make such a claim.  What I can say is that crossbows are far more functionally accurate than compound bows and can be mastered far faster — as in hours instead of years.

Shooting an "upright" bow to its potential takes a tremendous amount of practice and skill and I have the upmost respect to those who have set themselves on that path.  A crossbow, on the other hand, is far more forgiving to shoot.  With a buttstock, pistol grip, check rest, forend, and magnified optics, shooting a crossbow is like shooting a rifle; a rifle with no recoil or muzzle blast.  Not only does a crossbow allow for fire from the shoulder with multiple points of contact with your body, it allows the shooter to use supported/rested positions with which to steady their aim. Someone with good shooting fundamentals could expect to hit pie plate-sized targets beyond 100 yards with the R9 and R15  on their first outing with it, something that would take years of practice to accomplish with a compound bow.

This isn't really about hunting but it bears mentioning that, at the time of this writing, crossbows are legal for use during archery season in 25 states.  An additional three states allow them to be used during a portion of their archery seasons.  So if, like me, you're a hunter looking to get out in the woods outside of rifle season and you don't want to spend all summer practicing with your bow, a crossbow is a strong option.  And if you're going to hunt with a crossbow, you may as well have the best one on the market — one that pushes your effective range out to borderline rifle distances.  The scope included with the Ravin is calibrated to put arrows on-target out to 100 yards and, with some practice, it can be effective beyond that.

The best part is that I can walk out my back door and start putting shots on-target.  My dream was always to be able to do that with a rifle and though I have my own private shooting range at this point, it's still 20 minutes away.  With the Ravin, I can practice fundamentals using an archery target set up in my garage or shoot a full 3D course among the oak trees outside. Shooting it in the house would get me a quick divorce.  Rain, shine or a busy schedule, every day can be a range day with the Ravin and the ammo is reusable.

Crossbows can blur the lines between archery and firearms and the Ravin R15 pushes the envelope toward the firearms end of the spectrum.  The accuracy, velocity and quality of this crossbow makes it a legitimate choice for the rifle shooter looking to expand their horizons a bit.  The fact that it is a legitimate hunting tool for any game in North America is just a bonus.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Venison Curry Recipe

Venison Curry Recipe

Hearty and flavorful, this curry is simple to make and requires just a few ingredients you can likely find at your local store. The cooking method turns tough cuts tender, making it a great choice for shoulder and hindquarter cuts from deer, elk and other venison. Bonus points if you use axis deer, which are native to India.

New for 2021: Browning X-Bolt Pro McMillan & Recoil Hawg

New for 2021: Browning X-Bolt Pro McMillan & Recoil Hawg

Browning's X-Bolt Pro family has grown in 2021 with the addition of the Pro McMillan. An innovative muzzle break — the Recoil Hawg — also joins the line.

New for 2021: Browning Maxus II Shotgun, Wicked Blend Shotshells

New for 2021: Browning Maxus II Shotgun, Wicked Blend Shotshells

Waterfowlers should take notice at the new products from Browning.

New for 2021: Nosler M48 Mountain Carbon Rifle New Chamberings, Stock Updates

New for 2021: Nosler M48 Mountain Carbon Rifle New Chamberings, Stock Updates

Regardless of which caliber or color scheme option you choose, these M48 Carbon Rifles are the perfect way to get into a hard-hitting, affordable, lightweight, accurate, and high precision rifle from Nosler.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology.The Best Cellular Trail Cameras for 2020 Optics

The Best Cellular Trail Cameras for 2020

Tony J. Peterson - July 09, 2020

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology.

Hunters may not have as much influence on buck movement and behavior as we think. Deciphering New Deer Data for Rut Success Whitetail

Deciphering New Deer Data for Rut Success

Jeff Johnston

Hunters may not have as much influence on buck movement and behavior as we think.

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy Optics

How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy

Joseph von Benedikt

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.

We're deciphering new deer data for rut success.Daylight Deer Movement During the Rut Whitetail

Daylight Deer Movement During the Rut

Jeff Johnston

We're deciphering new deer data for rut success.

See More Trending Articles

More Bowhunting

Rifle-like precision and simple to shoot: We put the best to the test.Field Tested: Crossbows That Kill Bowhunting

Field Tested: Crossbows That Kill

Chris Larsen - September 05, 2019

Sponsored By
Outdoor Sportsman Group
Pack up these new must-haves for archery season.New Backcountry Bowhunting Gear Essentials Bowhunting

New Backcountry Bowhunting Gear Essentials

Jace Bauserman - August 30, 2019

Pack up these new must-haves for archery season.

Kali Parmley, associate editor of Petersen's Hunting, highlights the features of the new TenPointATA Show 2016: TenPoint Carbon Nitro RDX Crossbow Bowhunting

ATA Show 2016: TenPoint Carbon Nitro RDX Crossbow

PH Online Editors - January 11, 2016

Kali Parmley, associate editor of Petersen's Hunting, highlights the features of the new...

Stop missing in-field shots you could be making.Rangefinding Sights For Bowhunters Bowhunting

Rangefinding Sights For Bowhunters

Tony J. Peterson - July 01, 2019

Stop missing in-field shots you could be making.

See More Bowhunting

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now