As an avid hunter, I’m always on the lookout for gear that gives me an edge in the field. Crossbows balance the strengths of vertical bows with firearms for archery purists seeking purity of the weapon while benefiting from advanced tech. When a buddy let me try his new Wicked Ridge Invader HP crossbow on a recent deer hunt, I realized this innovative brand delivers serious bang for the buck that punches well above its weight class.
Intrigued to discover more behind the magic of these attainable working man bows, I plunged headfirst into researching everything about Wicked Ridge to see what makes them such sweet affordable shooters. Here are my firsthand impressions after testing a couple of models personally.
Reliable Power on a Budget
While $1,500 flagship compound crossbows flaunt bleeding edge tech, their four-digit price tags limit access to wider audiences. As the playable little brother under the TenPoint brand’s wing, Wicked Ridge fruited from 25 years industry dominating expertise became the everyman’s crossbow achieving startling speeds rivalling the big boys using efficient, repeatable components built to last generations rather than just seasons.
Because let’s be honest – most of us hunt for tasty venison steaks come fall rather than chasing trophy racks to mount on man caves walls hoping to impress giggling girls and jealous Joneses. We yearn for simplicity without costly gimmicks complicating success. The ultimate glory lies in perfecting fundamentals rather than flashy frills anyway. Wicked Ridge feels created explicitly so working stiffs can focus hunting rather fiddling with gear. I truly respect that building honest integrity.
Across their line, you’ll see capped FPS ratings around 330-400 using efficient repeating cam systems. While not market leaders, these realistic speeds suffice killing game efficiently up to moderate distances stressed practicing. Sleek narrow vertical bow style designs cock smoothly via builtin rope draws or cranks compared to wider parallel traditional crossbows. At just 6-7lbs, the light weights make Wicked Ridge comfortable carrying all day through demanding terrain versus bulky alternatives approaching 9lbs or more.
For the money, no one brings this tasty combo allowing average hunters affording easily approachable archery.
Checking Out the Invader G3 – Ideal Deer Crossbow
|Wicked Ridge Invader G3
|20 inches (uncocked)
|35L X 18.5W X 13.5H inches
|Up to 330 FPS
|86 ft lbs
After admiring my buddy’s sweet bullseye groupings with the Invader HP model during our hunt together, I had to snag the successor G3 edition to test its notable upgrades myself. Right off, the narrow vertical bow styling stands out as beautifully sleek and ergonomic. Without a riser, the split limbs flow from front to back seamlessly.
This narrow straightness makes maneuvering through thick woods super easy versus wider parallel limb crossbows catching on branches and limbs constantly. Just be sure to watch string angles coming over the rail. Steeper approaches risk degraded accuracy losing power.
At just 6.6lbs, the Invader G3 epitomizes a lightweight hunting crossbow optimized for those mile hikes reaching remote tree stands. Furthermore, Wicked Ridge build their Invader line specifically around optimal hunter-friendly handling thanks to balanced measurements under 3 feet axle to axle while under 2 feet width tip to tip. It shoulders swiftly for snapshots when game surprises wander past.
Speaking of stealth, this bow barely makes a peep cocking back just 165lbs using the included rope cocker. Even manually cranking poses little exertion thanks to the smooth, repeating round can system. Once latched, the automatic safety engages securely until pressing the trigger unleashing bolts around 330 FPS on average. At under $500 MSRP including a starter kit, the G3 over delivers ridiculous power meeting hunting needs wonderfully.
Through the Ringer Testing
Of course firing a couple practice bolts statically at targets briefly only reveals so much. I truly wanted to test this promising little weapon system dynamically across a variety of factors influencing real-world success rates bringing home that tasty venison for the freezer. Here’s how the Invader G3 fared based on my buddy’s and my lengthy testing.
Accuracy & Consistency
No troubles stacking tight groupings even at 40 yard distances once I dialed in adjustments for the 3x multi-line scope. The consistent FPS velocities thanks to quality cams and cables paired with match grade 20” aluminum bolts performed wonderfully without issues.
Cocking & Safety
Smooth easy cocking motion every single instance without hang-ups. The automatic safety snaps crisply once drawn keeping things safely latched until ready to shoot. Nice audible indicator status helps alert hunters everything is set properly.
At just 104.4 dB measured average upon release using quality silencer strings, it compares admirably to leading competitors. Lightyears are quieter than gunshots. Sequoia cam offers even greater stealth.
Fantastic handling thanks to the narrow vertical design. Balances steadily for off-hand shots using the integrated sling studs to stabilize further. Rubberized coating gives confident grip preventing slipping even through gloves in pouring rain and snow.
The G3 survived repeated bumps and dings without losing zero thanks to quality construction and machining tolerance alignments. Can tell Wicked Ridge’s parent TenPoint’s shining through! This beast will protect your investment across lifetimes rather than just seasons.
All said, it certainly earned my buddy’s and my seals of approval for outstanding service as ideal deer hunting weapon platforms across years of future adventures!
Gifting My Father the Rope-Cocked Rampage 360 Crossbow
|Wicked Ridge Rampage 360
|103 ft lbs
|33L X 21W X 12H (inches)
With Father’s Day approaching, I struggled for gift ideas suiting Pops’ salt of the earth character. He taught me deer tracking and shooting as a kid, but age stiffened his gimp shoulder making bowhunting difficult nowadays. Medications managing chronic back pain costs piled up too meaning expensive hobby gear remained firmly out of reach.
Still – the gleam in his eye reminiscing old hunts indicated the passions still run deep no matter how that battered body protests. I surprised Pops by gifting this pocket rocket crossbow perfect for aging hunters losing range of motion. Let’s see how the mechanical advantage of the rope drawing cocking system and narrow axle width revitalized his spirits returning to beloved woods!
The cookie cutter rectangular cutouts machined passing string travel helps drop weight below comparable models without sacrificing ruggedness. At just 6.8 lbs, the easy rope draws mean even smaller framed folks span the 165 lbs limbs using strategic body positions and lighter strokes. The automatic safety also engages quicker once latched compared to finicky gravity pin types needing alignment. Peace of mind waits at the press of a trigger now!
Once decocked, the slim 18” axle-to-axle width lets archers of all sizes maneuver tight confines easily. And at just 33 inches length tip to tip, tree stand hunters enjoy superb handling raising, lowering and positioning for finding shooting lanes. The centered balanced weight also transitions smoothly when pivoting without awkward front or rear bias torque compromising accuracy reacting to close moving targets.
Sending bolts rocketing over 360 FPS via pre-loaded precision cams and fast flight strings makes ethical one shot harvests out past 40 yards easily achievable after sufficient practicing understanding ballistic arcs. The 3.5lb trigger breaks clean as well without creep-enhancing precision.
All factors combined made this my best Father’s Day gift ever seeing Pops beam leaving pain behind now able enjoying Nature’s gifts once more almost effortlessly. Just a couple range sessions reacquainting muscle memories and we were off stalking the timber chasing that extended family’s coveted freezer venison – his Rampage crossbow leading the hunt!
Why I Love Wicked Ridge Crossbows
Through my lengthy firsthand testing of Wicked Ridge’s Invader and Rampage bows plus researching deep into their broader catalog, certain qualities stand out cementing them as my favorite archery weaponry giving extra confidence as ethical hunters.
Smooth Repeating Cams
Unlike temperamental friction peg designs losing FPS over short periods, Wicked Ridge optimizes dual string cams transferring maximum energy shot after accurate shot no matter what nature throws our way. Consistent power keeps confidence and accuracy high.
Lightweight Riserless Construction
Shaving weight through forged slim cutouts paired with a straight riserless flight track enhances portability through gnarly terrain without tiring carrying clunky heft all day. Responsiveness also improves swinging and pivoting faster when the game appears unexpectedly over traditional bulky styles.
Safety Focused Engineering
From automated latching triggers to anti dry fire components preventing accidental shots when decocked to machined pre-loaded limbs eliminating noisy creaks spooking wildlife, Wicked Ridge delivers peace of mind across operating states. It lets us focus fully on the hunt rather than fiddling with equipment.
Working Class Price Points
Priced affordably under $650 complete for most set ups, these approachable weapon platforms open archery to wider audiences rather than limiting enjoyment to wealthy elites only. Compromises made enhance usability without negatively hampering ethical performance.
At the end of the day, Wicked Ridge crossbows deliver ridiculous accuracy, power, and reliability that outperforms pricing dramatically. Formidable hunting technology placed responsibly into hardworking hands.
Final Thoughts After Miles Testing in the Field
After extensive firsthand testing, the Wicked Ridge brand stands by impressive claims backed by parent company TenPoint’s 25+ years of perfecting crossbows. Clever engineering enhances handling for real-world hunters without drastic price inflation. As my go to archery specialists moving forwards, I gift Wicked Ridge crossbows confidently knowing high grade components and smooth power translates easily harvesting nature’s game responsibly for family dinners year after year ahead.
While vertical compound bow purists mock crossbows as overly convenient compromising the purity of the weapon SYSTEM missing nuances separating boys from men, truly appreciating archery’s art means hitting targets decisively through mastery of fundamentals rather than flashy mag wheels on Cup cars barely street legal. Glory is found through repetition of sound practices.
By balancing downrange energies and slim responsive profiles excelling bushwhacking through dark timber, Wicked Ridge’s offerings open profound 2019 experiential enjoyment and sustenance to earnest hungry souls seeking substance over status.
Debate purchasing points all day long by shrinking groups keep the freezer full when season arrives. Ultimately Wicked Ridge helps families create lasting memories relishing nature’s bounty long after fancy features fade away. And that’s what life’s all about!