Crossbows are excellent tools. Some are better than others, and the author’s storied tenure of success using various makes from crossbow kingpin, TenPoint, is unrivaled. If you’re in the market for a new horizontal hunting companion, TenPoint provides more quality choices than you can shake a stick at.
by Brad Fenson
It was the last day of hunting season, and when a nice buck walked into view, I could feel the excitement surge through my veins with a shot of adrenaline. I had finally set up my new TenPoint Havoc RS440 and had spent time on the range, ensuring it shot dimes out to 50 yards.
The dream was to use the bow on a whitetail before the season ended, and unless I made a mistake, there was a good chance it could happen. The rut was winding down, and the buck was interested in the smells along the trail. However, his stomach also led him to choose vegetation that disappeared down his gullet.
It took a minute for the buck to close the distance, giving me time to compose myself for a shot. The deer quartered towards me but turned to feed, offering a perfect broadside opportunity. I tightened my finger on the trigger, and my arrow zipped through the buck like a hot knife through butter. The buck kicked up his heels and dashed for dense cover. I was shocked, not believing that I had shot a deer on the first day of hunting with my new bow.
A TenPoint Legend
The Havoc was one of TenPoint’s first high-performance, compact crossbows. It uses a reverse-system limb design with a speed rating of 440 fps. The bow was one of TenPoint’s premium lines using the ACUslide-series introduced in early 2020. The ACUslide system is a game changer, allowing the crossbow to be cocked and de-cocked without losing control and operating with seven pounds of pressure. Most importantly, for hunting, the ACUslide system works silently.
The Havoc has been replaced with new models but set the stage for several new bows with benefits for hunters. A TEC-TACTICAL Stock reduced weight and length without compromising safety or performance. An S1 Trigger featured a two-stage, zero-creep design. TenPoint added a MICRO-TRAC Rail to reduce weight further, improve crossbow balance, and reduce arrow friction by 50 percent. The Havoc is 26.5 inches long and 7.5 inches wide cocked, with a 13.5-inch power stroke. The reduced weight upfront was noticeable on the deer hunt, allowing for better control and stability. The Havoc also introduced TRI-LOCK limb pockets to ensure alignment of the limbs and Vector Quad cable that eliminates cam lean, resulting in consistent and straight arrow travel.
TenPoint Nitro 505
When the TenPoint Nitro 505 hit the market, I had to try one. Shooting consistently over 500 feet per second offered many advantages, including a straighter trajectory and converting speed to kinetic energy. The Nitro had all of the new features of the Havoc and more.
I first shot arrows through a chronograph, which proved the bow shot true to its name. The bow shot close to a dozen arrows with only two fps variance. The consistent accuracy was a game-changer.
I used the Nitro 505 in Oklahoma for a deer hunt and crushed a nice buck at over 30 yards, and it did not have time to react or duck the string. The bow would be a favorite for Tim the Toolman Taylor, with more speed and energy than ever. I quickly fell in love with the Nitro 505 and found it in my hands for several more deer hunts.
This Nitro 505 is a perfectly balanced reverse-draw crossbow that measures 6.5 inches wide and 30.7 inches long, delivering 227 foot-pounds of kinetic energy with a 400-grain projectile.
New & Improved Cams
This bow featured a new RX8-Cam system that rotates 404 degrees. For strength and durability, deeper cable grooves, improved cable spacing, and increased strand count on string and cables were added to keep up with increased energy. Another first was the Auto-Brake Gear System, which allows for silent cocking and safe and controlled de-cocking of the crossbow. A Dyneema cocking strap was an upgrade to handle over 2,000 pounds of force. The 7 ½-inch XTEND Adjustable Crank Handle reduces cocking effort to 5 pounds and stores securely in the buttstock.
The power comes from the 17-inch power stroke — the longest in the industry. TenPoint extended the MICRO-TRAC to 20 inches. The crossbow weighs 7.9 pounds and measures only 30.7 inches in length.
I put the Nitro 505 to work on a spring black bear hunt. I wanted speed and kinetic energy, which I found in this crossbow. SEVR Robusto 2.0s weighing 150 grains were placed on each arrow. A giant boar came in the first night of my hunt, and I shot it through the vitals with a clean pass-through. The colossal bear made it less than 10 yards from where it stood when shot. The performance of the speedy crossbow continued to impress.
After filling the freezer and loading my taxidermist with antlers and hides from animals taken with the Nitro 505, I had trouble looking at another crossbow. However, TenPoint’s new Flatline 460 provided a unique balance between compact design and speed.
TenPoint Flatline 460
The Flatline 460 is compact, lightweight, easy to maneuver, and still offers extreme speed. The crossbow is 26.5 inches long and 7.5 inches wide when cocked and weighs 7.5 pounds. A shorter rail means more weight transitions over the entire bow, providing balance and stability. It had the features of the other two high-performance bows, like the MICRO-TRAC, ultra-light, two-piece TEC-TACTICAL stock. It also offered an adjustable length-of-pull buttstock. The Flatline 460 uses reverse-draw limbs that shoot an arrow down a 14.5-inch power stroke. The crossbow uses 16-inch EVO-X CenterPunch carbon arrows.
The Flatline offered features from both the Havoc and Nitro, being compact and shooting an honest 460 fps with a 400-grain hunting arrow, producing 188 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. The bow seemed ideal for an African safari with Mike Birch and Hunt the Sun, where I would pursue several plains game species.
On my first morning out, I shot a 650-pound blue wildebeest through both shoulders and still got a clean pass-through. I went on to harvest several springbok and a dandy impala ram. The compact bow provided benefits for travel, being lightweight and easy to accommodate.
Like all TenPoint crossbows, safety comes first. The trigger assembly has a DFI (Dry-Fire-Inhibitor) to prevent accidental crossbow discharging. The DFI protects the bow and provides a visual check to confirm that an arrow is correctly seated under a nylon-filament arrow retention brush. A trigger block safety prevents accidental discharge.
A new feature is Scope Struts, best described as extra bars to reduce vibration and noise and stabilize the scope. New Scope Struts and a Longer Dovetail are a solid base to mount an optic and help provide consistent accuracy. The struts offer up to 80 percent more strength to the scope mount, creating confidence, consistency, and accuracy while reducing vibration. The Flatline 460 has a Sentry Bowhanger integrated into the design.
First World Problem
A collection of crossbows hangs in my archery room. There are no plans on getting rid of any of them. Each has special memories and applications for hunting and shooting. Few waterfowl hunters only have one shotgun and fewer big game hunters only own one rifle. An avid bowhunter should have options for different hunting scenarios where the greatest advantages can be gained.
The biggest problem is deciding which crossbow can see action on any day. All are shot and maintained regularly and are ready to hunt. It is a problem that only I can appreciate.
The Havoc RS440 is no longer available, but the features of this compact crossbow are available in the Flatline 460 with a starting price of $2,599.99.
The Nitro 505 has a starting price of $3,049.99 and is still one of the fastest crossbows in the market. Also, check out the Stealth 450 and the Siege RS410 with forward limb designs. If you are new to crossbows, the Viper 430, Titan De-Cock, and Turbo S1 are outstanding starter packages.
SEVR: A Broadhead to Keep Up With Crossbow Performance
Ten years ago, the thought of a mechanical broadhead shot at over 500 FPS would cause hunters to shutter. However, SEVR has engineered a line of heads with the blades folded into the ferrule that uses the acceleration, wind, and travel speeds to keep the blades closed. An O ring ensures centrifugal force from fletch, and spin will not deploy the blades. The rear-deploying blades open on impact and lock in place.
The blades offer a slap-cut to create crazy wound channels and blood trails. The broadhead blades can steer around the bone as they cut.
SEVR broadheads are available in 100-grain heads with a 1.5, 1.7. and 2.0-inch cutting diameter with a titanium tip. The Robusto 2.0 is a 150-grain titanium tip. The extra weight will help quiet the bow and increase kinetic energy and penetration.
Another advantage is that SEVR broadheads produce field-point accuracy by using a lock screw in the head you intend to hunt with — shoot it, remove the lock screw, and go hunt.