Classified by many as a “budget” crossbow, Wicked Ridge builds may be easy on the wallet, but they are long on performance.
by Brad Fenson
A dark object down the two-track started to move, and everyone flew into action, knowing it was a hog. The sun was falling fast in the western sky, and the Florida heat was starting to dissipate. One of my hunting companions cocked her Wicked Ridge Invader 400 crossbow and slid an arrow down the rail. The wind was perfect for a stalk, with the big boar focused on its stomach and not paying much attention to its surroundings. We closed the distance quickly and soon left the huntress to get within a comfortable shooting distance.
We could hear the pig grunting and chomping dinner. I tensed from the excitement when the crossbow worked its way into the shooter’s shoulder. The pig took two steps, and the next thing I heard was a blood-curdling squeal and the hog crashing through palmettos. Seconds later, everything fell silent. The shot was perfect, and tracking was easy, with a well-defined blood trail. The hog was only 30 yards from where we last saw it, and a celebration for success was evident with the high-fives and big smiles.
Hogs Are Fun
Hogs are always fun to hunt, and a crossbow is a perfect tool for stalking close and driving an arrow through tough skin and protective shoulders. There is plenty of kinetic energy to ensure penetration, and being able to spot and stalk adds to the excitement and reward of the hunt.
That big Florida hog was taken in 2016 and was my introduction to Wicked Ridge Crossbows. To say I was impressed is an understatement.
Wicked Ridge Invader 400
The Invader 400 has been in the Wicked Ridge lineup for a long time and is still the best seller today. Wicked Ridge crossbows may not have the curb appeal as some high-end crossbows, but what it pales in looks, it makes up for in performance.
The Invader 400 is 34.5 inches long and 15 inches wide when cocked. The power stroke is 13.5 inches and helps generate the energy to shoot a 370-grain arrow and broadhead at 400 fps. It is a forward draw design, which is intuitive for most people picking up a crossbow for the first time.
The draw weight is 185 pounds and is available with ACCUDRAW or ACCUDRAW50 to ensure the task is easy and repeatable. The one detail that has always stood out is that the crossbow weighs six pounds. The lightweight design and features make it easy to hold, shoot, and maintain stability. It is a fantastic bow for small framed shooters or anyone looking for a lightweight option for a backpack hunt or fly-in adventure.
Nebraska Whitetail & Turkey
There is nothing the Invader 400 cannot do regarding hunting big game in North America. I watched the value-driven bow in the hands of an experienced archer in Nebraska, and we feasted on tenderloins and turkey nuggets. The Invader proved it could take on anything and provide positive results. The lightweight design made it a perfect choice for fall turkey hunting. Hiking through the Sandhills was easy, and setting up was quick and productive. The Invader was intuitive, provided consistent results, and filled tags.
Big Spruce Black Bear
A unique opportunity to hunt wilderness black bears in northern Saskatchewan excited me. I knew I wanted to do it with a crossbow. Mark Belchamber of Big Spruce Outfitting provided details, and the most critical was that I could only have 50 pounds of luggage, including hunting and fishing gear.
Assessing my crossbow options, the Wicked Ridge Blackhawk 360 stood out.
I had picked the bow up to run comparison tests with other brands, and it stood out. Eight shooters tested eight different crossbows, and speed, noise, and accuracy were documented. The Blackhawk 360 was the only bow with zero variance in speed. Every arrow flew through the chronograph at 327 fps, producing duplicate readings in each shot.
The forward-draw limbs are 15 inches wide when cocked, and the bow’s total length is 35.5 inches. The bow is lightweight at an even 6 pounds. A power stroke of 13.5 inches generates 350 fps/109 FP KE with a carbon arrow. The bow is skeletonized but features modern components, ready to hunt, including sighted at 20 yards. The crossbow was a natural choice for my bruin hunt, allowing me to pack all my hunting gear at about 10 pounds.
I was shooting Easton XX75 aluminum arrows and loved the retro look and feel. The heavier aluminum would provide better penetration with consistent arrow flight and accuracy. I topped the projectile with a 100-grain SEVR Titanuim 2.0 broadhead.
A huge boar courted an old sow on the second evening of my hunt. The boar was reluctant to step into the open, but after two hours, he let his guard down when the sow started to roam. I leveled my crosshair on the bear, and the XX75 zipped through the vitals, exiting the bear and penetrating a 55-gallon steel drum. The penetration was impressive, and I recovered the bear 40 yards into the spruce forest.
The Blackhawk 360 screams value but delivers performance that matches any crossbow. It caught the eye of other hunters in camp, and everyone took the opportunity to shoot it. It might not be the most stylish and visually appealing crossbow. However, the ease of use, accuracy, and consistency make it a racehorse in any competition. It has a special place in my archery room, reminding me that bigger and stronger is not always better. The newest version of the crossbow is the Blackhawk XT, shooting 380 fps, starting at $449.00.
New For 2023
TenPoint makes Wicked Ridge crossbows, and as new technologies are proven, upgrades come to the lineup. There are four new crossbows on Wicked Ridge’s 2023 menu, including the Raider 400 De-Cock featuring the ACCUDRAW De-Cock and stock options. It is an economical bow offering a premium cocking and de-cocking device. The Raider 400 starts at $749.99.
The Wicked Ridge forward-draw Raider 400 De-Cock has modern features and weighs 6.5 pounds. The lightweight bow has an ACUdraw De-Cock that is easy to operate with 5 pounds of force. The D1 Trigger helps maintain accuracy when shooting arrows up to 400 feet per second. The Raider 400 De-Cock crossbow hunting package includes a 3x Multi-Line Scope, ACUdraw De-Cock, three match 400 carbon arrows (.004″ straightness), and a 3-arrow quiver.
The Raider De-Cock generates speed from a 15.5-inch power stroke and 185-pound draw weight and measures 15 inches axle to axle. All Wicked Ridge crossbows come as a package, with everything a hunter needs to get set up and into the field.
The newest member of the Wicked Ridge family is the Rampage XS, starting at $549.99. The crossbow has a total length of 34.5 inches and weighs 5.8 pounds with the Tactical stock and 6.5 pounds with the XS stock. The Rampage is 15 inches wide cocked and sports a 13.5-inch power stroke. It produces arrow speeds of 380 fps and 128 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. It has a forward limb design with a draw weight of 175 pounds.
If you are considering a new crossbow, check out the entire Wicked Ridge lineup.