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Barnett released two brand new recurve crossbows this year, the classic Barnett Wildcat and the Blackcat. These recurve crossbows come in a traditional classic design and deliver arrow speeds of up to 260 feet per second, and that with a relatively low draw weight of only 165 lbs. Other recurve crossbows achieve these arrow speeds only in combination with higher draw weight (at least 175 lbs).
Recurve crossbows are gaining in popularity. This is mainly due to the fact that they require little maintenance, you can easily replace the strings at home. Recurve crossbows are a great option for new crossbow shooters who want a straightforward, easy-to-use design.
The Barnett Wildcat and Blackcat both come in a “Ready-to-Shoot” package with a premium dot sight, two 18-inch aluminum crossbow bolts, a lightweight quiver, and lubrication wax.
Barnett Blackcat and Wildcat Crossbow Specs
What we like
- Hard-hitting 260 FPS
- Fantastic traditional design
- Low draw weight for a 260 FPS recurve crossbow
What we don’t like
- No crossbow case included in the package
- No shoulder sling included in the package
Size and Weight
I really like the look of the Blackcat and Wildcat recurve crossbows, they both feature a traditional simple design, and the number of movable parts is kept to a minimum. They are not the most compact recurve crossbow out there, the Blackcat and the Wildcat crossbows both measure a total length of 35.5 inches(32 inches without the stirrup,) and a width of 28 inches(axle-to-axle,)22 inches when cocked. These lightweight crossbows tip our scales at only 4.8 lbs (without accessories).
Construction and Design
The Wildcat/Blackcat recurve crossbows feature a sturdy lightweight stock and a safe finger guards pass-through foregrip. The crossbows are comfortable to hold and shoulder and the crossbows are well balanced.
Like most Barnett crossbows the Blackcat and the Wildcat are customizable. The crossbows feature three Picatinny rails, so you can attach extra equipment, like optics, extra quiver, flashlight, etc.
The crossbows come with a rubberized anti-vibration foot stirrup that helps quiet the bow down during the shooting. To dampen the crossbows further Barnett decided to install them with track-mounted string dampeners, they significantly reduce string noise during firing.
As always, Barnett did a fantastic job with the camo finish of these crossbows. The Wildcat’s camo pattern looks great, and the Blackcat’s Black Strike also looks really nice.
Arrows and Speed
The Barnett Blackcat and the Wildcat both shoot arrows with speeds in the range of 250-260 fps. Barnett speed tested the crossbows with 380-grain arrows. The Aluminum arrows in the package are 18 inches long. They do not weigh 380-grain so you won’t reach the crossbows advertised speed with them. However, they are high-quality arrows that I would gladly hunt with.
The crossbows come with a lightweight side-mount quiver that can hold a total of four arrows.
Both the Barnett Blackcat and the Wildcat come with a good quality red dot sight that functions properly. It is a fine sight with no special features.
These crossbows are very easy to cock and they cock smoothly. You only have to pull 165 lbs of weight. If that is still to much weight for you to pull you can of course buy a rope cocker that will reduce the pull weight by 50%.
Trigger and Safety
Barnett decided to equip the Blackcat and Wildcat with a MIM (Metal Injection Mold) tight tolerance trigger. This is a very nice, high-quality trigger.
The trigger system is equipped with ambidextrous auto-safety and anti-dry-fire which prevents you from accidentally dry firing the crossbow. The crossbows both feature finger safety reminders to keep your hands safely below the flight deck.
Assembly and Sighting-in
The BlackCat and Wildcat come “Ready-to-Shoot”, meaning that they come mostly pre-assembled. With just three bolts you can install the crossbow and start using them.
Read the user manual that is included in the package!
The Blackcat and Wildcat are easy to manage and shoulder. The butt of the stock lies comfortably against the shoulder and the “pass-through” concept offers extra stability and comfort. Because of their lightweight build and maneuverable design, they are is ideal in run and gun situations and very much suited to be used in a tree stand or ground blind.
We speed tested the crossbows with the chronograph we use to speed test all the crossbows that pass our review table. We shot with the aluminum arrows that were included in the package, with them we reached a maximum velocity of 245.6 feet per second.
The trigger has a smooth crisp pull and it doesn’t make to much noise if you pull it. There are no annoying vibrations and zero perceivable creep.
The crossbows have a Soft Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer, this device retains the arrows and holds them securely on the flight deck before firing. You can hang the crossbow upside down and the arrow won’t fall off
Also worth mentioning is that the crossbows are remarkably quiet due to their various dampening systems. Barnett equipped the crossbows with track-mounted string dampeners and the rubberized anti-vibration foot stirrup also helps to significantly quiet the bow down.
These new recurve crossbows from Barnett are easily the best 270 FPS/165 lbs draw weight recurves for under $200 currently on the market. They are very comfortable to carry, shoulder, and shoot with and they come with a lot of safety features.
If you are looking for a great starter crossbow that is easy to cock and packs a punch, I highly recommend either one of these awesome looking recurve crossbows. They are a fine pick for beginners, reliable for seasoned crossbow users or collectors.
Arrows and Broadheads
I recommend buying a 5-Pack Barnett 16075 Headhunter 20 “arrows. Pair them with some fine heads like the Rage Crosbow X Broadheads. These broadheads are optimised for crossbow usage. They weigh 100-grain and have a 2-inch cutting diameter.
Storage and Transportation
There is no crossbow case included in the package. I recommend buying a Guide Gear Deluxe Universal Soft Crossbow Case to store and carry the Blackcat and/or the wildcat. It is a cheap crossbow case that really wel made and durable. It fits these recurves nicely.
If you want a sling to comfortably carry the crossbows then I recommend buying a Southland Archery Universal Black Padded Crossbow Sling.