Hottest New Crossbows of 2019?
It would be very hard to argue that any other lineup of bows has attracted the same amount of hype, interest, and attention that the new ultra-compact Ravin R26 and R29 crossbows have. In just the last few years, Ravin’s revolutionary design has made an everlasting impact on the crossbow world, and for good cause. These bows coming out of Superior Wisconsin (Ravin’s HQ) are technologically ahead of the curve.
Both new Ravin’s feature built-in, easy to use Versa-Draw crank with built in clutch system AND the ability to de-cock safely (<- huge plus). These bows also have a trigger mechanism that actually slides down the rail to attach onto the bow, ensuring the trigger catches in the same spot every time for repeatable accuracy. This Trac-Trigger firing system also reduces the opportunity for operator error.
Another accuracy-improving feature is the Frictionless Flight Rail. The actual arrow does not sit on any sort of metal surface at all, it free-floats above the rail and rests on two small wheels at the end. This is a similar concept to what Precision rifle shooters call a free-floating barrel. Less friction = less margin for error.
Perhaps the most important feature of the success of this lineup is the Helicoil cams. This revolutionary cam system rotates 340 degrees, and coils the cables away from the top AND bottom of the cams simultaneously, keeping the cams perfectly level during the shot process. (We wrote a review specifically on the Helicoil system that goes a little more in-depth here).
Both the R26 and the R29 come out of the box breaking the 400fps+ mark. Both bows ship with Ravin’s .003 arrows, which weigh 400 grains when installing with a 100gr. field point or broad head. That is a pretty heavy arrow, and the kinetic energy produced from the shot process on these bows is absolutely nutty!
One of the most frequent questions we get sounds a little something like this:
“Does the Speed difference between Bow (A) and Bow (B) make a difference? “
On paper, yes it absolutely does. The difference between these two bows is 30 feet per second. The difference in kinetic energy (with 400gr. arrow) is 22 foot-pounds.
Although one set of numbers does give you an advantage, will one bow over the other make the difference between a deer jumping the string and not? Probably no…
These Ravin bows are incredible pieces of machinery, but the extra 30 feet per second you gain by going to the R29 is not going to make or break your hunt. I cannot argue that it doesn’t give you an advantage because by the numbers, it does! However, the main difference between these two bows is their size, particularly in overall length.
Regardless of the speed, both of these bows are built to be incredibly compact, efficient, and maneuverable. The Ravin R26 measures a remarkable 5.75″ wide when cocked, and 9.25″ when cocked. It’s bigger brother the R29 only measures 6″ wide when cocked and 10.5″ when un-cocked. One question we get a lot is why does it matter?
Well, in a hunting scenario it can be advantageous in numerous different setups.
If you’re hunting out of a ground blind, you won’t have to worry about your limbs flaring out and smacking into the edges of your windows, potentially damaging your blind and probably breaking your bow, or at least bending a cam.
On the way into your stand, both of these two bows will almost always stay directly behind you, if carried on a sling. That means you’re less likely to be dragging them around through branches, brush, and tipping yourself over backward when getting caught on something sturdy.
The one thing I will mention about the size that some of our taller customers have reported that the R26 is so short that it’s simply uncomfortable for them to shoulder and shoot.
I myself am 6′ 0″ tall, and the bow is just barely comfortable for me. I much prefer the way the R29 feels in hand compared to the R26. Unfortunately, there is no definite cutoff or answer to if the bow will feel comfortable to you, that will just have to be a judgment call.
Features / Specifications
This is just a simple little info-graphic we designed to help you better compare these two crossbows side-by-side.
I’m sure if you’ve made it this far to the review, you’ve probably heard the hype behind how accurate these machines can be, and it’s true! Just for the sake of this review, I grabbed our shop R26 and brought it to our outdoor range to take a few shots at 70 yards. This was my second 3 shot group, I had a flyer on my first one!
I will admit one thing about the Ravin’s claim to accuracy. 99% of the time, these bows are going to be a much better shot than the person behind them, myself included! I practice proper shooting techniques and have shot rifles my whole life, but I see it all the time that people tell me their bow won’t group right. Then I take them outside to the range and they are punching the trigger, shooting an un-level bow, etc. So…if you want to utilize these bows to their maximum potential, it might be worth your time to watch a few videos on proper shooting techniques.
Warranty / Customer Service
Both of these crossbows come with a 5 Year warranty from Ravin Crossbows. The particular’s on the warranty are subject to a few rules and conditions, so we pulled this quote right from the Ravin FAQ Page on their website. These two bows are now Ravin’s 5th and 6th models released, and we are super happy with the consistency and quality of their products thus far.
“New Ravin Crossbows are covered under a five-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship to the stock, trigger and cocking mechanism, and limb assembly when used normally in accordance with Ravin’s published instructions and guidelines. Our liability extends to parts, labor, and return transportation to the customer and is non-transferable. This limited warranty does not cover strings, cables, scopes, arrows, transportation of product to our service center, damage caused by abuse, dry firing, using arrows other than the Ravin-branded arrows recommended for your crossbow, failure to follow safety advice and usage instructions in the manual, modification or failure to perform normal maintenance, or any other expenses or damage to property or person. This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may also have other rights that vary from state to state. “Under “What is the Warranty on my Ravin Crossbow” on Ravincrossbows.com
We have been very happy with the level of support Ravin has given to our customers. The customer service team has done a great job with the few problems we have had arise in the past few years. Both Crossbowexpert.com and Ravin Crossbows are both located in Wisconsin, and we typically receive parts / shipments in 1-2 business days, which makes doing business a breeze.