Whether you're a new archer or have been in the community for years, you've likely heard about Barnett crossbows. That's because it's one of the most famous brands and for good reason. Barnett produces cutting edge crossbows with the newest and most innovative technology on the market.
One problem, though. There are so many different models. Which one is right for you? The fact is that while most Barnett crossbows are great pieces of equipment, certain models are better for certain situations. In our experience, these are the best ones.
Best Barnett Crossbow Reviews At A Glance
The TS380 is one of the most versatile Barnett crossbows on the market. It has a pass-through foregrip and adjustable butt stock so that you can adapt it to your size and stance.
The 380 FPS bolt speed is also highly versatile. It's fast enough to provide plenty of kinetic energy and pinpoint accuracy to take down mature bucks, but it's not too much to handle even if you only hunt a couple of times each season.
Similarly, this crossbow comes in a ready-to-hunt package so you don't need to research and buy all the different accessories separately. The pack includes a multi-reticle scope for accuracy, a side-mount quiver, two bolts, lube and an integrated crank cocking device.
The cocking crank is an especially good feature to have and once again makes the crossbow accessible to most people even if you don't have tons of experience or time to learn. This device allows you to slowly crank back the bowstring to cock the crossbow rather than having to pull it up. This is also easier to do in a tree stand and quieter, too, which is certainly better for hunting.
As with most Barnett crossbows, this one goes the extra mile when it comes to safety. It has a floating bristle arrow retainer, TriggerTech frictionless release technology, finger safety reminders, and an anti-dry-fire system. This last one is especially important because even experts sometimes accidentally dry fire their bows, and it's dangerous for the bow and the shooter.
- Adjustable butt stock
- Fast but manageable 380 FPS
- Ready-to-hunt package
- Integrated crank cocking device
- Extensive safety features
- Anti-dry-fire system
- Single gray camo option
Due to its versatility and adaptability, we recommend the TS380 for, well, everybody. From large men to small women, from daily hunters to once-a-seasons, from range rats to newbies, nearly anybody can handle the 380 FPS bolt speed and use the crank to cock the crossbow with minimal effort.
For all this, it's still a great value. You know you're getting a quality piece of equipment but still not spending too much if bowhunting isn't your primary hobby.
As the name suggests, the Whitetail Pro STR is designed specifically for whitetail hunting. With blistering 400 FPS bolt speed, it's incredibly accurate even over longer distances, and while it can be harder for newer hunters to handle, it can help an expert step up their game to take down the big trophy buck that's been giving them the slip season after season.
This is also another ready-to-hunt package that comes with everything you need to take advantage of whitetail season. That includes two bolts, a side-mount quiver and lube wax. Plus, you get an illuminated scope that helps you hunt in dim light like at dawn and dusk when whitetails are the most active as well as a cocking crank for more convenient cocking in the tree stand.
The weight is a tad high on this model at 6.9 pounds, but that's not too much to handle, especially if you've been hunting for a while. It also has a pretty narrow ATA width of just 17.625 inches, which is great for hunting in tree stands, especially climbing ones that don't have a lot of room. You won't accidentally bump into something with the crossbow and scare off your buck.
Like other Barnett models, the Whitetail Pro STR has plenty of safety features like a bristle arrow retainer and a finger safety reminder. However, our favorite feature is probably the Tru Bark camo designed to blend in with the deciduous forests where most whitetails live.
- Super fast 400 FPS
- Ready-to-hunt package
- Illuminated scope
- Integrated crank cocking device
- Narrow ATA width
- Tru Bark camo finish
- Hard to handle for beginners
If you live in the Midwest or South and primarily hunt whitetails in the fall, you should definitely consider this crossbow. It has a number of great features that have the specific purpose of addressing whitetail hunting obstacles. For instance, the camo will keep you hidden in most whitetail environments, and the illuminated scope allows you to hunt when whitetails are most active.
Oh, and don't forget its 400 FPS bolt speed. This means more accuracy over longer distances and more penetration to take down big bucks in less than ideal circumstances. If you're having trouble getting the trophy you want, this crossbow could be the solution.
Barnett has a wide range of crossbow models, but the Whitetail Hunter STR is one of the best values. Part of this is because it's a ready-to-hunt package that includes a number of great accessories.
For example, the multi-reticle scope helps you shoot the 375 FPS accurately, even if you haven't shot a lot of crossbows. Similarly, the lightweight quiver and string dampeners make the crossbow more stable, so you can shoot it more consistently as a beginner. The package also comes with a rope cocking device, which, while not as effortless as a crank, does make cocking a lot easier.
Additionally, the package includes seven headhunter bolts. Not only does that increase the value of the crossbow, but it makes it easier to improve your skills. You can use some of those bolts on the range and don't have to worry about losing a few in the woods.
Finally, you can also use the Whitetail Hunter STR with confidence because it has nock sensors and an anti-dry-fire mechanism. This is high-tech safety at a great price.
- Great value
- Multi-reticle scope
- Included string dampeners
- Seven headhunter bolts
- Nock sensors
- No cocking crank
Obviously if you're on a budget, a value Barnett model like the Whitetail Hunter STR provides you with a quality crossbow capable of taking down your quarry without draining your bank account. That said, it's also a great choice for beginners for a few reasons. First of all, you don't have to spend too much money when you might upgrade later. Furthermore, it comes with a lot of features to help the inexperienced like a multi-reticle scope and manageable 375 FPS bolt speed.
Barnett crossbows tend to be top-shelf models, but that doesn't mean there isn't a budget model with the same quality designs behind the others. That's the Droptine STR.
For how surprisingly low the price is, you actually get a lot of great features, not to mention the speed and power to take down whitetails or other game. Specifically, it shoots at 380 FPS to produce 132 foot-pounds of kinetic energy for lethal penetration. Additionally, the innovative design includes a step-through riser that makes cocking easier and shifts weight toward the center, which helps beginners with accuracy.
Where Barnett cut costs is in the compound design. It's a bit wider than other models at over 18 inches and weighs a little more too. Also, while you do get a rope cocking device and the step-through riser, there's no cocking crank.
That said, Barnett did still include everything you need to start hunting out of the gate. On top of a TruTimber Strata camo finish, the package comes with a scope, side-mount quiver and two bolts. Plus, you get advanced safety features like an anti-dry-fire mechanism, finger guards and safety reminders.
- Budget price
- 380 FPS
- Step-through riser
- TruTimber Strata camo
- Ready-to-hunt package
- Wide ATA
- No cocking crank
Maybe you're just getting into hunting. Or maybe you want to take advantage of the longer archery season in your state. Crossbows can be great for a lot of situations, but if you don't have the money to fork over for a top-shelf model, what can you do?
In this case, you should consider the Droptine STR. Getting a budget model usually means getting an off-brand with cheap features and poor construction, but with this model you get typical Barnett quality at a low price. In fact, it's enough quality to start hunting seriously and successfully.
You've probably seen plenty of experienced hunters using Barnett crossbows, but, believe it or not, there are beginner models too. One of these is the Whitetail Hunter II which has manageable specs and important features to start you off on the right foot.
First of all, the Whitetail Hunter II shoots at 350 FPS. This is still enough for hunting, but it's much easier to manage for beginners. Just keep in mind that this will decrease the distance over which you can hunt.
Additionally, it has some impressive specs for the price like a narrow ATA width of 16.125 inches and weight of just 6.4 pounds. This makes it easy to hold steady and move agilely for new archers who may not be used to the bulk of a crossbow.
Other great features for beginners include the multi-reticle scope that helps you shoot accurately without a lot of practice and the lightweight side quiver that doesn't interfere with your shot. While we wish it came with a full cocking crank, which would be much easier for newbies, we do like the included rope cocking aid.
Last of all, beginners really need to pay attention to safety features. They're more likely to forget to turn on the safety, accidentally dry fire their crossbow, cross their fingers in front of the bowstring, etc. The Whitetail Hunter II covers these situations with an anti-dry-fire system and bristle arrow retainer.
- Low price
- Easy-to-handle 350 FPS
- Narrow ATA
- Multi-reticle scope
- Extensive safety features
- Slow shot
- No cocking crank
The great thing about a crossbow is that it doesn't take a whole lot of practice to start hunting effectively. That's doubly true with Barnett's Whitetail Hunter II. Thanks to manageable specs like 350 FPS and a 16-inch ATA length in addition to extensive safety features, beginners can take this crossbow to the tree stand with enough confidence to start taking down their quarries.
The first thing you notice about the HyperTac Pro is its almost unbelievable speed rating: 430 FPS. This means it's more accurate than other models even over long ranges, and it produces over 150 foot-pounds of kinetic energy resulting in 25 percent deeper penetration. This means more lethal shots at tougher angles and longer distances.
It's not just speed, though. The HyperTac Pro also has tons of top-shelf features you won't find on other models. That includes options for customization throughout the frame that make the crossbow adaptable to almost any person and situation. For instance, the butt stock is micro-adjustable, and so is the cheek piece.
What's unfortunate about this model, other than its top-shelf price, is the heavy weight of 8.9 pounds and the wide ATA. That said, the ATA when cocked is impressively narrow at just about nine inches thanks to an advanced cam system.
We were impressed by the ready-to-hunt package, too. It has three Hyperflite bolts that take advantage of this crossbow's amazing power in addition to a premium 5x32mm illuminated scope that works better for far shots and is more accurate than the scopes on other Barnett models.
Another feature included is the integrated cocking crank. This makes cocking the crossbow easier even in a crowded tree stand so you can take multiple shots without spooking game.
- Blistering 430 FPS
- Power and penetration
- Narrow ATA when cocked
- Premium illuminated scope
- Integrated crank cocking device
- Top-shelf price
- Wide ATA when uncocked
We recommend this crossbow for serious hunters to want to take things to the next level. The speed and power will improve your chances of a lethal shot and increase the amount of shots you can take. Plus, the numerous features and micro-adjustability allow you to address every detail and increase your success on the margins. If you hunt regularly and want to take down clever trophy bucks, the HyperTac's impressive design could make all the difference.
Best Barnett Crossbow Comparison Chart
Best Overall - Barnett TS380 Crossbow
Fastest Barnett Crossbow - Hypertac Pro 430
Best For Deer Hunting - Barnett Whitetail Hunter Pro STR
Best For The Money - Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR
Best Budget Barnett Crossbow - Barnett Droptine STR
Best For Beginners - Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow
What You Should Know About Barnett Crossbows
Barnett Outdoors, LLC, is based in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where the head offices and main manufacturing hub are located. However, things didn't start there. In fact, Barnett actually got going in Wolverhampton, England, in 1962 when bowyer Bernard Barnett began working on crossbows in his garage just as a hobby. Local people took notice of his impressive handiwork and started ordering their own crossbows.
After Barnett's business spread rapidly throughout the UK, he entered the American market and opened his first US factory in 1980. For two decades, Barnett maintained operations on both continents, but with a larger American market and more efficient manufacturing processes, Barnett moved everything to Florida in 2003.
Throughout its history, Barnett has been an industry leader. With a focus on innovation that continues to this day, the company has been responsible for much of the technology we now take for granted on crossbows, such as:
- Crank cocking devices
- Break-action cockers
- Overloaded sound-dampening foot stirrups
- Adjustable stocks and cheek pieces
- Carbon risers
- Shoot-through and folding foot stirrups
Additionally, Barnett was the first company to produce a crossbow shooting at bolt speeds over 300 FPS. Always trying new ideas and technology, Barnett has a wide range of crossbows from budget models to top-shelf weapons that push the limits of modern capabilities.
Barnett Crossbow Designs
Barnett has one of the widest ranges of products in the archery world. Some are more basic, others more advanced. The result is that there's an ideal Barnett crossbow for just about any situation.
There are many different types of crossbows. Here are Barnett's three main designs.
Barnett Compound Crossbows
The Compound Crossbows are Barnett's most basic and straightforward models. Like a vertical compound bow, this design uses a cam system, a type of advanced pulley system, to increase the power of the crossbow while minimizing its width as well as the effort required to cock it.
Although a compound crossbow is more mechanically complex, it's faster and more powerful than a recurve crossbow with most of Barnett's compound crossbows reaching around 380 FPS with over 120 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. They also usually have ATA widths under 17 inches, which means they're agile and easy to maneuver.
Compound crossbows will require a fair amount of maintenance to keep them operating in peak condition.
Barnett Step-Through Riser Crossbows
Barnett's Step-Through Riser Crossbows are also compound crossbows but with one important added feature: a step-through riser. Basically, this is a cocking stirrup that's integrated into the frame of the crossbow itself. The riser has a big hole in it where you can stick your foot for leverage while cocking the crossbow.
Because the cocking stirrup is integrated into the riser itself, a Barnett Step-Through Riser crossbow is more balanced. As a result it's easier to use and shoot accurately, not to mention cock. Plus, it gets improved bolt speed of around 400 FPS and over 130 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.
Barnett Hyper Crossbows
Barnett Hyper Crossbows take the compound crossbow design to the extreme. They're arguably Barnett's most advanced models with impressive specs that outperform most competition. This is because a Hyper Crossbow uses Barnett Hyperflite bolts, which are essentially lighter-weight, narrower vertical bow arrows.
This means bolt speeds of over 420 FPS and around 150 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. That improves accuracy and penetration for more lethal shots in more difficult situations.
It's also worth noting how technologically advanced the cam system is on a Barnett Hyper Crossbow like the HyperTac 420. Its innovative design provides for an extra narrow ATA width when cocked of just 9.1875 inches. That means it's easier to carry, maneuver and shoot in a tree stand.
Things To Consider When Shopping For Barnett Crossbows
What do you want your crossbow for? Deer hunting, target shooting, survivalism? Your answer will play a role in which Barnett cross you should pick.
If you're a hunter, you should also consider the game you're hunting. For whitetail deer the power of most Barnett models is plenty, but you want a camo finish that blends in with the deciduous forests most whitetails live in. Meanwhile, if you're hunting larger game like elk or moose, you need a more powerful model like a HyperTac and a mountain or snow terrain camo finish.
However, if you want the crossbow just for hobby shooting, you don't need a camo finish at all. Rather, you want a lightweight and stable model that shoots fast. For survivalism, well, you mainly want something powerful, and camo isn't a bad choice.
One great thing about Barnett is that they have a crossbow model for just about every budget. As a general rule, specs and features improve the more you're willing to pay, but budget Barnett models are still effective and usually more than plenty to hunt with.
Besides simply wanting to save money, being a beginner is another reason to go with a value or budget Barnett model. That's because you'll get more manageable specs and you'll have more money to upgrade to a more advanced model in a couple of seasons when your skills have improved.
If you're an expert who hunts often and wants to beat personal or professional records, one of Barnett's more expensive models can help you get out of a plateau and take shots you haven't been able to make before. That's because most top-shelf Barnett crossbows are cutting edge and feature specs that push the limits of archery capabilities.
Speed isn't everything… but it is a lot. Higher speed means a bolt can travel farther before dropping, so it increases how far a crossbow can shoot accurately.
More significantly, bolt speed combined with bolt weight determines the kinetic energy of the bolt, which determines how deep it will penetrate and maintain its trajectory even when it strikes bone or thick soft tissue like cartilage. However, if you remember your high school physics class, you might recall that the formula for kinetic energy is Ek = ½mv2. Since the velocity (v) is squared, increasing speed has a bigger impact on kinetic energy than increasing mass (m).
That said, you only need around 40 foot-pounds of kinetic energy to take down a whitetail deer with larger game like elk and moose requiring a bit more. Modern Barnett crossbows usually top 100 foot-pounds, so they'll be enough to hunt with regardless.
If you're a beginner, you may want a slower crossbow, closer to 350 FPS, because it will be easier to handle and shoot consistently. Experts, however, can definitely benefit from the blistering speeds of top Barnett models.
Weight is an important spec to look at before deciding on a crossbow whether you're hunting or just target shooting. The reason is simple. You can hold a lighter-weight crossbow more steadily, and that means you can shoot it more accurately. This is even more important when hunting because you may have to hold the crossbow level for a long time while you wait for your quarry to move into position.
As an extra bonus, a lightweight crossbow is also easier to carry into the woods. If you hunt deep in the wilderness or have a lot of tree stands on a large piece of property and have to walk a lot when you hunt, every ounce you can shave off your gear is a big plus.
Barnett pioneered a number of different innovations for crossbow cocking, including the integrated crank, cocking rope and step-through riser. Almost all Barnett models come with some kind of aid, but which depends on the price range and complexity of the design.
An integrated crank is certainly the easiest to use. It takes little effort and basically no practice to do it right. However, this is usually only an option on Barnett's more expensive models that have other advanced design features.
If you're on a budget, a cocking rope is still a good option that's accessible to most beginners. You'll just need to read the instructions to learn how to hook the rope onto your bowstring, and it will take a little more muscle on your part.
When you use a cocking rope, you still need to use the cocking stirrup just like you would cocking the crossbow by hand. In this case, a step-through riser is a good feature to look for as it's more stable and provides better leverage.
Keep in mind that you will have to uncock a crossbow after unsuccessful hunts and you will need to have a plan to accomplish that.
Quality of Scope
Most Barnett crossbows come with an included scope, but the quality and accuracy over distance varies depending on the model and price range.
One thing to look at is the magnification, usually expressed as something like 4x32mm, the 4 meaning four times magnification. You might think that you simply want more magnification, but that actually might be counterproductive if you're shooting at close range. For this reason, don't go for the highest magnification unless you're getting a powerful crossbow and plan to shoot at long distances well over 40 yards.
Additionally, make sure the scope you're getting with your Barnett crossbow has multiple reticles, which most do. Reticles are calibrated for specific distances, so if you plan to hunt from a tree stand and take shots from varying distances, the more reticles at smaller intervals, the better.
Lastly, consider illumination. An illuminated scope lights up the reticles in red or green so that they catch the eye and are easier to see in dim light. Many game animals including whitetail deer are most active at dawn and dusk, so this is particularly helpful if you'll be hunting them.
Barnett makes some of the most powerful and reliable crossbows on the market, but there sure are a lot to choose from. Our overall recommendation is the TS380, a model that will work for just about anyone regardless of skill level or goals. That said, each Barnett crossbow has its specific advantages and disadvantages that could apply to your personal situation.
Any of the Barnett models will work for bow hunting, it just depend on how much you want to spend.