Ravin introduced the Ravin R500 as their 2021 flagship model during the 2021 ATA Virtual Show Lancaster Archery hosted back in January. Unfortunately, it was pretty hard to get our hands on a Ravin R500 crossbow, so we couldn’t write a review any sooner than today.
Ravin introduced their new proprietary cam system; the HexCoil cam system. During the ATA virtual show, Ravin claimed it breaks the 500 feet per second barrier. Today we’ll be taking this crossbow out to the range and giving it a full review! Hopefully, we can see our first ever 500+ fps rating on our chronograph!
Ravin R500 Crossbow Specs
Wow! Does this …thing still qualify as a crossbow? Ravin did an amazing job at designing the R500! It’s extremely narrow because of their brand new HexCoil cam system and this new tech was also key in making this a 500 feet per second crossbow.
The crossbow can be cocked entirely electronically by the push of a button, but it can also still be cocked manually with a detachable draw handle.
Ravin introduced this crossbow with 2 different scopes. The cheapest option comes with a 100-yard illuminated scope that’s speed rated at 550 feet per second. The more expensive option comes with an “Adjustable Turret Scope”. You might be thinking what the heck may that be, but we’ll explain it all in the #OPTICS section.
The Ravin R500 only comes in the color option “Slate Gray”, but it looks incredible!
Ravin ships the R500 and the R500 Sniper fully assembled and pre-tuned.
Design and Durability
With a length of only 28 inches, the R500 is slightly longer than Ravin’s most compact crossbow the R26. Because of Ravin’s new HexCoil Cam System that can rotate 360 degrees, the width of this crossbow is a lot narrower and comes in cocked at 3.6 inches and uncocked this crossbow has a width of just 7.6 inches.
Weighing around 10 pounds, the Ravin R500 isn’t the most lightweight of crossbows. High-performance crossbows require stronger materials and this often results in a heavier weight. Actually, for what you’re getting, this crossbow isn’t even that heavy and it has a comfortable hold.
We do think that the Ravin R500 crossbow feels a bit front-heavy. After an hour or so in our range test, we already got used to it. When taking this crossbow out to the range, we recommend using a tripod.
As we mentioned earlier, Ravin offers the Ravin R500 with 2 different scopes. The “basic” R500 comes with an illuminated 100-yard scope that’s speed rated for crossbows up to 550 feet per second. This scope has a range of 30 to 100 yards and features red or green illumination. Fully multi-coated lenses, waterproof, fog-resistant, shockproof, and recoil-proof is what makes this scope an excellent option for this crossbow.
As for the more expensive option, the R500 Sniper package, Ravin installed an adjustable “Turret Scope.” This is currently the best scope Ravin has to offer. It might not be as advanced as the Garmin XERO X1i that TenPoint installed on a couple of their crossbows, but it’s the best non-electronic scope you can currently get. You can adjust the yardage via the top elevation turret and it includes all the premium features you could ask for.
With the Ravin R500 you’ll be able to cock the crossbow with the push of a button:
Ravin equipped the R500 with their new “VersaDrive Cocking System” that utilizes a new dual screw-driven system. The VersaDrive cocking mechanism is driven by an electric cocking motor that includes a removable battery and a charger. “The internal clutch within the VersaDrive System eliminates over-cocking and allows the cocking and decocking process to be stopped or resumed at any time.”
When we first emailed Ravin about the battery pack, they replied that we should be able to get about 50 cocking/decocking cycles from 1 full charge. Depending on temperature and weather conditions, a battery may perform worse and in a new promotional video, Pete Scobell mentions a battery life of 30 to 50 cycles.
If the battery is dead, or if you’d rather cock it manually, you can simply attach the removable draw handle. The manual cocking effort is just 17 pounds with the R500 draw handle.
Now that we’ve covered the features of the new Ravin R500, we can take it out for a test and rip some arrows down the range!
With a Powerstroke of 15 inches and kinetic energy of 222 FT-LBS, Ravin claims this is the first crossbow that breaks the 500 FPS mark. As we’re confident that Ravin properly pre-tuned the crossbow, we’ll be placing a target at 100 yards and shooting a couple of test groups first.
Ravin includes 6 Ravin .003 Arrows & Field Points with all R500 packages. There are no broadheads included and currently, it’s extremely difficult to find broadheads that are speed rate for up to/over 500 fps. We’ve found 1 set of broadheads that mentioned handling speeds of up to 500 fps and those are the Thorn RIFT 2.2” expandable broadheads. We’ve ordered a couple of sets and are testing these as well!
After the first couple of shots and a couple of small adjustments, we got an extremely tight grouping. The Ravin R500 with adjustable turret scope is insanely accurate. It’s the most powerful crossbow we’ve ever fired! The arrows were buried deep inside the target, even with the Iron Man 24″ Xtreme 500 target.
We did get some issues with the nocks of the arrows. We started the day with six arrows and ended the day with two undamaged arrows. We’ve contacted Ravin and we’re waiting for new nocks to arrive. We’ll update this section once we’ve received and tested the new nocks.
When we took the R500 out to the range it was a pretty cold day and after about 36 shots our battery drained and we had to manually crank-cock the crossbow for the rest of the day. If you’re planning on going to the range on a cold day, we advise bringing an extra battery pack.
Do not shoot arrows with broadheads when shooting at targets. Your targets will wear out very quickly and it’s not worth it. Use the field points that Ravin includes with the package instead and use your broadheads for a hunt!
Because of the insane amount of power the Ravin R500 generates, you probably need some more durable accessories. We had a hard time finding the more durable crossbow accessories, but we’ve compiled a list of accessories we recommend for this crossbow.
Arrows & Broadheads
Ravin includes 6 Ravin .003 Arrows & Field Points with the R500 packages. It’s best if you just use the Ravin arrows. If you want to take this crossbow out for a hunt, you’ll probably want some broadheads. There aren’t many broadheads that are speed-rated at 500 fps, but we’ve found a couple. We’ve tested the Thorn RIFT 2.2” expandable broadheads and they hold very well. Another set of broadheads that work very well is the Ravin Titanium broadhead.
Special 500+ FPS Targets
We tested the R500 with the Big Shot Iron Man Extreme 500 Target. This high-quality and durable crossbow target is rated for crossbows up to 500 feet per second and stops the arrows from the R500 quite well.
- #1 Target suggested by top crossbow brands due to unmatched durability for the crossbow enthusiast!
- Stops up to 500 FPS cold!
- Easy arrow removal from the target for crossbows, compound bows, youth and traditional arrows
- Durable internal material uses high compression design to vitally eliminate tunneling effect from accurate tuning at both close and long distance
- Weather resistant design lasts in the toughest environments
Another target we can recommend is the SpyderWeb ST-24XL High-Density No Speed Limit. This crossbow target does not have a speed limit. We reviewed the smaller one, the ST-18XL, this target also stops the arrows surprisingly well.
- Get rid of arrow pulling issues once and for all. Even at speeds Even at over 500 FPS, guaranteed no more hassles with arrow puller or lube ever again
- Who else wants to safely stop all fast arrows and bolts? Discover how easy your arrows or bolts stop within an average of 6-8 inches. And 100% Made in USA
- The secret to saving money is by not having to replace your targets or arrows too often. Revolutionary Spylar is a woven facing will give you proven long-lasting results
- Little know way to keep your heavy target outside. This Weatherproof design resists the elements if standing upright and away from the ground moisture
- Save time and money from having to buy or build a stand. This heavy duty and reliable frame will not fall over or move when shot
Storage and Transportation
As always, we only recommend using the official case for the crossbow unless the manufacturer doesn’t offer a case for the crossbow. Using the official case guarantees a snug fit and a properly secured and protected crossbow.
Ravin suggested we use the Ravin Soft Case R26/29/29X or the Ravin Hard Case R10/R20 for the R500 crossbow. This seemed a bit odd to us, but these crossbows almost have the same dimensions. We can confirm that the Ravin R500 fits in both cases.
Ravin R500 Crossbow Review
In conclusion, the Ravin R500 is a high-quality crossbow that offers top-notch performance, whether you are hunting or target shooting. The Ravin R500 is an extremely fast and accurate crossbow while still having a compact and narrow frame. If you’ve got the cash to spend then this is the crossbow you want to buy! It’s unfortunate about the nocks being faulty, but we’re confident Ravin will fix the nock issue quickly.
What we like
- Insanely accurate
- VersaDrive Cocking mechanism and Removable Draw handle
- Comfortable Hold
- Compact and narrow
What we don’t like
- Nocks don’t seem to properly fit
- Currently unable to buy extra arrows because of the nock issue
FAQ About the Ravin R500 Crossbow
Is the Ravin R500 legal?
Short answer: Yes. Longer Answer: Check your state’s regulations.
Is the Ravin R500 heavy?
At just under 10 pounds it’s on the heavy side for crossbows. The past couple of years crossbows were getting lighter and lighter, but if you compare this weight to a crossbow from back in 2013, like my Darton Viper SS which weighs almost 9 pounds without any of the high-tech features like the R500, the Ravin R500 isn’t that heavy at all. TenPoint’s Havoc RS440 and Vapor RS470 XERO weigh even more after you’ve included all accessories!
Is the Ravin R500 too expensive?
With an MSRP of $3,349.99, it’s pretty expensive. Is it too expensive? If you look at what you’ll be getting, we think it’s worth it. Suggest us another crossbow that costs less with the same features, high-quality scope, and electric cocking mechanism to review.
It’s a very expensive crossbow and not everybody is able or willing to spend that much money on “just” a crossbow.
Can the Ravin R500 shoot at 500 feet per second?
Yes! We’ve tested this crossbow and saw speeds of around 500 feet per second!
Is the Ravin R500 the fastest crossbow ever?
When the Ravin announced and released the R500 it was the fastest crossbow.
TenPoint has announced the Nitro 505 in December 2021 and that’s currently the fastest crossbow.