Today we’ll be reviewing a classic from Barnett; the Barnett Jackal crossbow. It’s a cheap crossbow for less than $300, features a premium red dot sight, and shoots arrows at 315 feet per second with a draw weight of 150 pounds!
The Barnett Jackal is an entry-level crossbow with a premium red dot sight that’s powerful and accurate enough to take out any animal at 40-yard distances that might cross your path during a hunting trip!
With each Barnett Jackal crossbow package you’ll get the following: Barnett Jackal Stock, Barnett Jackal Riser, Red Dot Sight, Quick Detach Quiver, 3x 20” Headhunter Arrows with Field Tips and an Owner’s Manual.
Barnett Jackal Crossbow Specifications
- Powerful enough for big game animals
- Comfortable grip
- Almost no recoil
- Pass-through foregrip protects your fingers from getting in between the strings
- No rope cocker included
- Not compact
- Picatinny rail is only secured with one Torx-screw
First Impressions / Size and Weight
Weighing only 7 pounds the Barnett Jackal crossbow is pretty lightweight. It doesn’t feature any special or fancy accessories. Due to it being a beginner or entry-level crossbow it’s not that compact. Measuring a total of 32.5 inches in length and 26.5 inches wide uncocked and 20.5 inches wide when cocked.
Even though Barnett calls it a “military-style stock” it actually isn’t adjustable. A military-style stock should be adjustable or foldable in my opinion. It does shoulder nice and feels very comfortable to hold because of the ergonomic grips.
Arrows and Speed
Barnett speed-rated the Jackal crossbow at 315 feet per second with a draw weight of 150 pounds. This crossbow features high energy cams that produce that extra little power to put it over the 300 feet per second. For example, the Barnett Wildcat or Blackcat are traditional recurve crossbows with a draw weight of 165 pounds but only reaches speeds of 265 feet per second.
Barnett includes 3 20-inch Headhunter arrows with the Barnett Jackal crossbow package. These arrows have a total weight of around 410 grains and that includes a 100-grain field tip, meaning the shafts weigh around 310 grains. Barnett features moon nocks on the Headhunter arrows.
NOTE: When loading the Barnett Jackal with an arrow, always make sure the odd colored (yellow) arrow fletching is down.
Barnett designed the Barnett Jackal to be a cheap entry-level crossbow. Therefore this crossbow does not feature a great scope. Barnett mounted a red dot sight on the Barnett Jackal.
A red dot sight is the most basic optic you can get. It does not offer any magnification. The red dot sight that is mounted on the Barnett Jackal features 3 aiming points for 20, 30, and 40 yards distances.
TIP: Bring some spare batteries with you. If you’re out hunting and the red dot sight is out of power, your hunting trip is over.
If you want to shoot at farther distances or have magnification then I highly recommend buying a different scope. Make sure it’s a lightweight scope, as the Picatinny rail is secured to the stock of crossbow with only one Torx screw. I’d recommend this TRUGLO hunting scope. It is a minimal, compact crossbow scope for less than $50.
Unfortunately, Barnett does not include a rope cocking device with the Barnett Jackal crossbow package. Using a rope-cocking device to cock a crossbow will reduce the draw-weight by 50%. This means that the Barnett Jackal’s draw weight is only 75 pounds with a rope-cocker.
It’s best to use Barnett’s rope cocking device, but if you prefer a different one then of course use the one you like.
Trigger and Safety Features
Barnett features an anti-dry fire metal injection molded trigger. It isn’t the latest trigger from Barnett (TriggerTech), but it’s still a very smooth trigger.
It has a 3.5-pound pull, breaks clean, and has zero creep.
Assembly and Sighting-In
Barnett does not ship the Jackal pre-assembled, you’ll have to assemble it yourself. If you have assembled a crossbow before, then it won’t be too hard to assemble the Barnett Jackal crossbow.
Sighting in was not needed as the first couple of shots were dead-center. This might be different for you, so make sure to use the Barnett Jackal for some target practice before you take it out on a hunting trip.
Of course, I had to take the Barnett Jackal out to the range for some thorough testing. My first time handling this crossbow was a bit surprising. The ergonomic grip and stock feel comfortable and shoulders nice.
To save some strain on my back and shoulders, I brought a rope-cocker with me. This saved me a lot of time and energy.
While loading the Barnett Jackal, make sure the odd colored vane is pointing down. It should be the yellow-colored vane.
After properly loading the arrow, the anti-dry fire will disengage and you’ll only have to switch the safety to fire, and you’re ready to shoot the crossbow.
I did not have to sight in the red dot sight. The red dot sight was already correctly zeroed in on 20, 30, and 40 yards distances.
I also managed to get pretty tight groups at 40 yards. I was a bit surprised actually, 1-inch groups with a red dot sight at 40 yards. With some practice, anybody should be able to get the same results.
Next up is the speed test. I took out our trusted chronograph and fired 3 shots to get some accurate results. The chronograph gave results of 316, 315, and 317 feet per second! Right on the money!
While shooting the crossbow, I noticed it generated quite a lot of noise and vibrations. This doesn’t matter a lot if you’re just using it for target practice, but if you’re out on a hunt this can be a game-changer. Installing a set of string or limb dampeners can be quite effective in reducing the noise and vibrations that the Barnett Jackal produces.
Rope Cocking Device
As I already mentioned in the #cocking section, the Barnett Jackal does not come with a rope cocking device. It’s best to buy one separately on Amazon. A rope cocking device will also prevent you from getting string wax on your hands.
Arrows & Broadheads
Barnett recommends to only use 20 or 22-inch arrows. Barnett includes Headhunter arrows with the Barnett Jackal crossbow package. The arrows only have field tips and you need to separately buy broadheads.
You can either pick the standard Headhunter arrows from Barnett, as they’re good and pretty cheap also. If you’re looking to get even cheaper arrows for the Barnett Jackal, then check out this pack of 12 carbon crossbow bolts from TY Archery.
To actually go out for a hunt, you’ll need some broadheads with your arrows. Rage offers pretty cheap broadheads. These broadheads have a cutting diameter of 2 inches, this is enough for the biggest game you can hunt.
Barnett features a big warning in the owner’s manual; “Climate controlled storage and waxing the string every ten shots is highly recommended.” Always try to store a crossbow in a crossbow case. This will provide optimal protection for your crossbows and makes it easy to transport as well.
As the Barnett Jackal is a very cheap crossbow, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a crossbow case. An inexpensive case that fits this crossbow is the Southland Archery Supply Padded Soft Crossbow Case with a sling.
As I already mentioned in the #Range Test section, the Barnett Jackal is quite a noisy crossbow. Installing a set of Bowjax limb dampeners to quiet down the crossbow is highly recommended. It also helps in getting tighter groups (more accurate shots).
Final Rating of the Barnett Jackal Crossbow
Our Rating of the Barnett Jackal
For a beginner/entry-level crossbow the Barnett Jackal is a great choice! This crossbow shoots 315 feet per second, is very accurate at 40-yard distances, and is comfortable to hold. The Barnett Jackal is also fairly easy to assemble, even if you don’t have any previous experience with assembling crossbows. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a rope-cocking device, you can buy one separately though!