Excalibur Equinox Shadow Zone Review

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Excalibur Equinox Review

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The Excalibur Equinox is built on the heritage of the previous Exomax, as it poses as the new top of the line model. It’s features are common with the Exomax: rated at 225Lbs, it has a 16.5” Power Stroke and it still propels an arrow at up to 350FPS. It is , however, nearly 1 inch shorter (at 38.4”) thanks to a newly designed thumbhole stock that comes in a new camo pattern: Realtree AP.

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Packaging

The Excalibur Equinox comes in a heavy cardboard box (11) that contains:

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  1. Main section (thumbhole stock+ trigger assembly +barrel already assembled)
  2. Riser and limbs assembly (already assembled )
  3. Dissipator pads and mounting screws
  4. Foot stirrup
  5. Set of Allen wrenches and screws
  6. String
  7. Peep and fiber optic sight
  8. Instruction manual
  9. Warranty and registration form
  10. Instructional DVD

This is the only configuration available for the Excalibur Equinox, if you want a “ready to hunt package” you have to purchase an additional accessory package “the right stuff” that comes in two flavors: the standard package and the scope package.

Quality

The Excalibur Equinox is a first class product. You can tell that from many small details.

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We already mentioned the Fiber optic front sight mounted with a dovetail.

Another area to inspect is the stock molding, on this Equinox you can see the parting line (where the two halves of the stock contact and open to let the molded part out) but if you cannot touch it since it is so small your finger cannot feel it (it means the mold is either brand new or very well made).

Also on the stock you will appreciate the recessed screw seat , and the perfect finish in Realtree AP , very well done even in hard to reach areas (see pics)

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You may also note the ribbed (anti slip) trigger or the convenient location of the safety (the safety must be engaged manually though).

Barrel and riser are made from anodized aluminum, the riser in particular is a mechanical masterpiece, it has many many milling operations, drilling and tapping. You can just see some tool marks in couple of areas. Another amazing thing is the Excalibur logo on the dissipator bars, if you look carefully you will notice that it is milled !!

The pistol grip and foregrip feature a different, rough, texture to ensure maximum grip.

Ergonomics

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Generally the Equinox is a very well balanced crossbow, on the front-rear axis (with a scope mounted) the center of gravity falls somewhere just under the foregrip, thus the bow is very easy to maneuver and requires no effort to be taken into aim position. On the lateral plane (side to side) the Equinox pays the price of being a recurve, at 35,4” wide (27,3” when cocked) it is a little slower to twist than a compound design.

The pistol grip and foregrip feature a rough texture that ensures a good grip, the foregrip also is large enough to ensure that you fingers even extended will not reach up to the flight rail.

The stock molding is designed thin at the rear and it enlarges at the pistol grip to get even larger toward the front grip, at the end, where it contacts your shoulder features a rib that widens the design to ensure a large area of contact, a similar rib is featured on the cheek piece, for comfort as well. I would just have favored a slightly longer stock to be perfect ( I stand 6’tall ) , it will be ok for most and , should you need there is always the longer Exomax.

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The shorter stock (from Exomax) makes also for an easier cocking. Here is the second reason to enjoy your right stuff package. In the package you will in fact find a rope cocking aid. The rope cocking aid is positioned on a notch feature on the stock (just behind the trigger housing) and it makes an easy job of cocking your crossbow. The cocking rope can slip on the rounded notch feature equalizing pressure on both sides thus guaranteeing consistent string alignment , you do not need to worry about pulling harder of faster with one hand

The same cocking aid is designed to allow un-cocking and this is the second best reason to have it.

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An optional crank cocking device is available as an optional. It is called the Cranckaroo, it is affixed onto the stock with a single screw, it works with similar principle to the rope cocking aid (equalizing pressure on both sides) and allows easy cocking with one hand enabling people with handicap or disabilities to enjoy the sport.

Performance

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With this review we introduce a new speed tests, we will in fact test crossbows with several different arrows in different weight combinations in order to give better idea on how the bow performs.

Excalibur claims for the 225 lbs Equinox a maximum speed of 350 FPS , but that is achieved using the optional Fast Flight Flemish String that must be purchased separately (does not come with the crossbow or right stuff package). How does the Equinox perform “out of the box” ?

I think the number speak for themselves.

We used different arrows from different manufacturers , we used on all 125 grain field points , on the Excalibur bolts that came with the right stuff package we used the enclosed 100 grain points.

The reason being that in the right stuff you will find both 100 grain field point and 100 grain broadhead, so this may be considered the manufacture’s recommended combination.

The arrows in the right stuff package are made by Easton.

The Excalibur setup is on the light side at (285 grain carbon arrow + 100 field point ) 385 grains and it gives a solid 328 FPS. I have no doubt this setup with the Fast Flight string will go to 350 FPS.

Please also note that Excalibur minimum arrow weight is 350 grain. We tend to prefer heavier arrows though.

A heavier arrow , while losing some speed, gives more momentum , is less sensible to side winds will make the crossbow more efficient (less vibration) and more (relatively) silent.

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We used:

Performance Table

performance table

Noise Performance

We also tested the Silencer Pads to be mounded on the damper bars.

Using the 457 grains setup (XX75 Aluminum) we measured:

Without pads     101-102 db

With pads           93-94 db

(Obviously arrow speed is not influenced and remains the same for both measurements)

Conclusions

It is quite hard to condense in a few words my feelings, I wish all of you could handle and shoot one.

This crossbow is really magnificent, it is built though, it is a solid and dependable performer capable of great accuracy. At U.S.$900+ it is not a bargain but it is surely worth every cent.

Is it any better than its predecessor Exomax? On paper they perform the same but the new thumbhole design to me is definitely a plus.

Should you need more info, or for the name of your nearest dealer, please visit Excalibur web site at http://www.excaliburcrossbow.com/

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