Excalibur Axiom SMF Review
When it comes to crossbows, Made in USA isn’t necessarily the mark you want to see. Excalibur Crossbows, based out of Ontario, Canada, is one of the world’s top producers of recurve crossbows backed by a die hard following and overwhelmingly high user satisfaction rate.
The Axiom SMF represents one of Excalibur’s most affordable models and ranks as one of the most well received crossbows ever made. Seriously–try to find a bad review of the Axiom SMF, there isn’t one out there. That’s because Excalibur owner Bill Troubridge and his team are themselves avid hunters and crossbow fanatics that are dedicated to making the best possible products for their own use. Luckily for us, these guys know how to build a solid recurve crossbow and have been passing on their creations to the hunting community since 1983 with some of the most accurate and reliable products on the market. Whether you’re just getting introduced to the sport or you’re a veteran crossbow hunter, there are few better crossbows ready for precision shooting straight out of the box than the Axiom SMF by Excalibur, let alone at this stunning price point.
Recurve crossbows employ the traditional crossbow design that has been used for centuries that many hunters now prefer over the complex intricacies of compound crossbows. With all of the cam wheels, cables, and moving parts on compound crossbows something is bound to break or fail at the least desirable time. With over 25 years experience mastering their craft, the builders at Excalibur have stuck with the recurve design to come up with products like the Axiom SMF that are unmatched in reliability and durability. But don’t think that ruggedness comes at the expense of well-rounded crossbow–the Axiom SMF is so consistently accurate you’ll be feeling like a modern-day Robin Hood. And after extensive field-testing of all of their products Excalibur feels they must warn you of this possibility–you’re advised not to shoot in the same spot twice or you run the risk of splitting your arrows in two.
The Axiom SMF is, as advertised, extremely capable of taking down the biggest game in North America from black bear to caribou and everything in between with deadly accuracy and stopping power. That’s thanks to the crossbow’s hefty 175-pound draw weight and powerful 14.5-inch power stroke. Like many crossbows in this power range manually cocking the string can be difficult, but Excalibur includes a rope cocking aid that easily and smoothly brings the string to an evenly cocked position. But part of the reason Excalibur only makes recurve bows is because of how much easier they are to cock. Actually, pretty much everything about the Axiom SMF is simple–it’s easy to assemble and comes with an instructional DVD, it’s easy to maintain, and it might even be a little too easy to hit your target time and time again (I suppose your concerns could be worse). A defining inclusion in this simplistic design is the ability to replace the crossbow’s string in mere minutes. That means that no matter how far into the bush you trek if a mishap occurs you can be prepared to handle it yourself–try saying that with compound crossbow. Also unlike most compound crossbows the Axiom SMF is capable of un-cocking at the end of a hunt without having to waste and lose arrow.
As consumers we want the products we buy to be as foolproof and easy to use as possible. Unfortunately sometimes making the most efficient product means using expensive parts, prices that are often passed onto the consumer in the overall purchase price. Fortunately for the crossbow community Excalibur knows how to balance their material and production costs with exceptional quality design and the Axiom SMF is an example of a crossbow that uses less expensive composite components to create a high-quality hunting machine. SMF stands for Synthetic Main Frame and the aluminum rail used on the much pricier Excalibur models has been replaced with a fiber-reinforced plastic on the Axiom. This composite is sturdy and evenly balanced and you’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference from the aluminum-built models aside from the fact that the Axiom SMF is one of Excalibur’s lightest crossbows at only 6-pounds. When it comes to speed the Axiom SMF is at the lower end of average for crossbows, but 305 fps has been proven through dozens of testimonials to be more than enough to take down big game. Furthermore, users of the Axiom attest to its incredible accuracy with two-inch groupings consistently achieved by most shooters at 20 and 30-yards.
Most crossbows these days are being offered as package deals, the Axiom SMF among them. Included in the kit is the crossbow, multiplex scope, 4-arrow quiver, and four Firebolt arrows with field points. Many shooters will be pleased with the inclusion of four arrows and detachable quiver as most crossbow packages only include three, but others may find that having a larger quiver attached can offset the crossbow’s balance. The Axiom SMF does have a front-end foot stirrup and is slightly nose-heavy to begin with so shooting without the quiver and arrows attached may be preferable. Straight out of the box you will notice the flawlessness of the design and finish of your new Axiom crossbow thanks to the computer machine-made frame. The kit includes all of the hardware needed to assemble the crossbow with accompanying manual and instructional DVD, but you’ll be geared up and ready to shoot within fifteen minutes.
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download the user manual here. Hope it will be useful to you.
As previously mentioned, the Axiom SMF is barely 6-pounds in weight and feels featherweight in the hands; most hunters will have no problem lugging the Axiom around on extended trips. Recurve crossbows are universally wider than their compound counterparts but most shooters discussing on the forums accept this as part of the design and don’t find the width to be an issue when hunting. The stock and limbs are outfitted with an attractive Realtree Advantage Timber camouflage and the stock contains several raised friction points that help you have more control over the crossbow when firing. At the front end of the Axiom SMF you’ll notice a heavy-duty prod mounted bolted to the rail, a simple tool designed to support the tension of the limbs. The Axiom SMF features Excalibur’s lengthy Modular Magtip limb system that are designed to stabilize the crossbow and prevent it from rolling, or tilting, to one side or the other.
Squeezing the trigger of the Axiom SMF can be summarized as a feeling of pure satisfaction. With just 3-pounds of pull the Axiom’s trigger system allows for a cleaner and snappier pull of the trigger with very little noticeable creep. Hunter’s will also enjoy the easily accessibly manual safety that can be easily engaged when using gloves on winter hunts. The package provides four Firebolt arrows appropriate for target shooting but hunters will definitely want to upgrade to stronger arrows with broadhead points if they intend to take down big game. Many reviewer for the Axiom account for arrows going straight through deer and hogs, so unless you are content with sacrificing an arrow for a kill you should find arrow tips that will find the bone and stick. The multiplex scope included in the Axiom SMF package is perfectly suited for recurve bows in this speed range (275-325 fps) and is bound to add to your already accurate shots (remember not to fire in the same spot twice!). The scope is very easy to adjust with one click accounting for every 1/2-inch at 20-yards and 2.5x magnification. Most users have no problem dialing their scopes on target within the first three or four shots of using the crossbow, but it’s likely to come zeroed right out of the box.
Excalibur offers a Flemish DynaFlight string as an upgrade available for the Axiom SMF. This string is a worthwhile enhancement that can help maximize arrow speed and reduce firing noise output. If there was one flaw in the Axiom it would be its tendency to create loud vibrations when fired, but this is a side effect of all recurve crossbows that never fails to attract droves of users. To further reduce the noise of your crossbow you can always consider a string suppression system that, combined with the DynaFlight string, will significantly reduce your firing volume. It’s also recommended to purchase a crossbow stringing tool to carry with your gear in the field so you’ll always be ready to field-change your string if needed. As with all crossbows, be sure to perform routine maintenance on your Axiom by applying wax to the strings and lubricants to the rail. A waxed string will keep its tension longer and a lubricated rail can help increase arrow speeds.
With the Axiom SMF, Excalibur proves that it’s possible to create a budget-friendly crossbow that can hold its own as a quality piece of hunting equipment against the expensive big boys on the shelf. The Axiom makes for a great introductory crossbow for rookie shooters who will no doubt be shooting like a pro in no time simply by letting the crossbow do the work it was designed to do–simply. And even when they do reach pro status no upgrade will be required as the Axiom is bound to last a lifetime. If for whatever reason it doesn’t, all Excalibur products come with a lifetime warranty and attention from one of the crossbow market’s top rated customer service departments. Excalibur could easily tack on a few extra figures to the Axiom’s purchase price and get away with it but they are confident that they are doing the right thing by providing you with the highest quality product at the lowest cost. Lightweight, accurate, reliable, powerful, and affordable–the Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow is a hunting force to be reckoned with.
FYI: There are other great crossbows from Excalibur which you can choose from, so we encourage you to return to the homepage and find the best crossbow for yourself.