Carbon Express' X-Force® BladeTM Crossbow
By: Jim and Mary Clary
We are generally not interested in the "entry-level" products from any company as they are usually devoid of the quality found in the company's primary line of products. However, when Mr. Lou Riley, President of Eastman Outdoors, Inc. asked us to at least take a look at the X-Force® BladeTM, we agreed. We did so because of his reputation for demanding only quality products from every company that he has been associated with (which includes Sig Sauer).
Well, to make a long story short (before you read the details), the X-Force® BladeTM crossbow is entry level ONLY in its price. It has all of the features that a demanding hunter expects. Maybe not for elephants, but then most of us aren't as proficient as Fred Bear.
Mary's crossbow of choice has been the Covert 3.4 Muddy Girl, a superbly engineered piece of equipment that is outstanding in every aspect. As such, the X-Force® BladeTM had a high standard to meet and it does.
Both the butt-stock and foregrip are adjustable which permits the user to customize the unit to their individual requirements. The "ready-to-hunt" kit comes with all of the hex wrenches required for all adjustments, as well as necessary for servicing of the crossbow. The cams are cast and precision polished to insure flawless operation. They operated with the same smoothness as found on the Covert 3.4.
The high-end extruded rail, found on all Carbon Express crossbows, ensures a consistent bolt release from the X-Force. And, the newly designed stirrup to aid in cocking accommodates hunting boots and has a slip-resistant rubber coating which provides for faster loading, even when wet. In fact, the stirrup provided enough stability that Jim was able to cock the crossbow with minimal effort using the included cocking-rope.
As is standard on all Carbon Express crossbows, the X-Force employs anti-dry-fire technology, which increases safety and, just as importantly, crossbow service life. And, being a lefty, Jim appreciates the ambidextrous safety that works for both left- and right-handed shooters.
The X-Force Blades comes with a very nice 4x32 scope that features six reticle crosshairs. However, since Jim plans on keeping the X-Force himself, he replaced it with a 2-7x variable scope. That is simply a personal preference on his part. The factory installed 4x32 scope is very similar to the one on the Covert 3.4 and we have no reason to believe that it will not perform just as well.
The only things that remains for us to do is test the consistency and accuracy of the X-Force® BladeTM. We will let the following target speak for itself... three bolts fired at 40 yards. Not too shabby for a guy that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn a few weeks ago.
The following are the X-Force® BladeTM "Ready-To-Hunt Specifications:
Carbon Express® Pile Driver Premium Carbon Bolts - 3x
Arrow Quiver - Mounts on crossbow holding 3 bolts
Practice Points - 3x
Rail Lubricant & Hex Wrench Tools
4x32 Multi-reticle Scope
Water, fog and shock resistant
10" Picatinny Forearm Rail
Accommodates lights, lasers, and bipods
Cocking rope included
Large Single Piece foot stirrup accommodates hunting boots
Anti-dry-fire mechanism for safety enhancement
Length of Pull: 14.25"-16.25" (depending on butt stock adjustment)
Draw Weight: 165 lbs.
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Length: 34.5 "-36.5" (depending on butt stock adjustment)
Width: 17.5 " uncocked-13.0" cocked
The X-Force® BladeTM may be classified as an "entry-level" crossbow, but that is only because of its price. It is a well-built machine... not a toy. It is a full-featured unit, ideal for new crossbow hunters or seasoned hunters who want to have a reliable "backup." In fact, we had it in the back of our pickup on a recent hunt... just in case.
The only possible recommendation we can make would be to provide an optional butt-stock that would accommodate the Carbon Express Quiet Crank for those hunters who are somewhat impaired and have difficulty cocking a normal crossbow.
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