Review: Ravin R29 Crossbow Is Lightning Fast, Super Accurate And Easy To Shoot
Fast, compact and easy to shoot. My Ravin R29 crossbow review is that simple. While reviewing the Ravin R29, I found it to be a high-performance crossbow that’s small in size and big in features.
With its high velocity, Frictionless Flight System, Versa-Draw integral cocking spool and easy sight-in illuminated scope, the Ravin R29 makes it a breeze to achieve higher levels of accuracy at greater distances, even for a beginning shooter.
R29 Rated At 430 Feet Per Second
The Ravin R29 is rated to shoot its shortened arrows – bolts in crossbow parlance – at 430 per second. For comparison, that’s about 100 fps faster than a standard compound bow. Need something faster? Ravin also offers the R29X that’s rated at rated for 450 fps.
Ravin R29 Is Easy To Cock
The R29 features Versa-Draw, a compact, wind-up cocking system tucked neatly into the crossbow’s stock.
Pressing the thumb release at the back of the butt stock releases the Trac Trigger Firing System (TTFS) module, which slides down the bow’s rail and locks onto the bow string.
You then attach the winding handle and crank the bow string until it is fully cocked.
It’s a simple system that doesn’t require much arm strength as do many crossbows with their manual cocking cords.
The R29 features a safety and anti-dry-fire mechanism that are engaged automatically when you cock the bow.
The cranking arm is removable and can be stored on the same bracket under the bow that holds the quiver.
R29’s Scope Is Easy To Sight-In
The Ravin R29 comes with a scope that gives you the option of choosing either a red or green illumintated reticle with variable brightness settings. Gradients on the reticle provide easy sighting out to 100 yards.
The R29 is easy to sight-in. First, set the speed dial on the scope to the speed of you the crossbow, in this case 430 fps.
That calibrates the scope for the trajectory of the arrows that are included with the bow. That gets you roughly on target. From there, only small adjustments are needed on the windage and elevation dials.
Ravin R29 Is A Joy To Shoot
The Ravin R29 design makes use of what the company calls the Frictionless Flight System. With this design, the bolt doesn’t contact the rail at all. The bolt is secured by the nock at the rear and rests on rollers at the front. This system helps this crossbow to achieve a high level of both speed and accuracy.
The company claims three-inch groups at 100 yards is possible with the R29. Of course, I had to put the crossbow to the test myself. I’ve shot recurve and compound bows most of my life, but I was absolutely amazed when my first shot with the Ravin R29 blasted off at 431 feet per second according to my chronograph.
Helping me to test this crossbow was my son Sean. Despite having no archery experience, he found it easy to score center hits on the target at different distances from 20 out to 75 yards.
No Experience Required
That’s the great thing about a crossbow. You don’t have to be an experienced archer to operate one. There’s no recoil to absorb and with this Ravin model in particular, you don’t need to be muscle-bound to operate it.
During my accuracy testing with the R29, I averaged three-shot groups of 1.5 inches from a rest at 50 yards. The scope proved to be very helpful in hitting the mark, especially with the illuminated reticle when our shooting sessions lasted through fading light late in the day.
When I got to a 100-yard range, I had no difficulty hitting the target at that distance. At my skill level, I’d never dream of shots that long with a recurve or compound bow.
Penetration was extreme to say the least. The bolts nearly went all the way through the two-foot archery cube I used at the start.
I resorted to putting several layers of thick cardboard and then another archery target in front of the cube so I wouldn’t lose the bolts or damage the fletching.
Few Downsides with the R29
On the downside, the Ravin R29 was slightly louder to fire than other crossbow models I’ve fired. Also, moving the safety lever from “safe” to “fire” required very little movement. The trigger was excellent, with no creep or take-up.
And while the R29 was very compact, great when moving through thick brush to get to your stand, there was no way to adjust the length of the stock for a custom fit.
All The Features You Need
If you are just getting started shooting crossbows, you could begin with a basic model and upgrade as you become more experienced.
But after testing several crossbows, to my way of thinking, I’d make an immediate jump to a full-featured crossbow such as Ravin R29.
The Ravin R29 is easy to shoot for the beginner and has most of the features a seasoned shooter could want. You get the compact size (29 inches overall and just six inches wide, axle to axle when cocked).
You get the speed and power (430 fps with extreme penetration). And you get superb accuracy out to 100 yards. The R29 beats entry level crossbows in every one of those categories.
The Ravin R29 is on the pricey side at a suggested $2,324.99. But you’re getting a quality crossbow that should last through many hunting seasons.
For more information, go to RavinCrossbows.com.
Key Features: Ravin R29 Crossbow
Speed: 430 fps
Overall Weight: 6.75 pounds
Overall Length: 29 inches
Axle-to-Axle Width: 6 inches cocked; 10.5 inches uncocked
Power Stroke: 12.5 inches
Optics: Scope with a green and red illuminated reticle
Other: Built-in wind-up cocking mechanism, removable draw handle; quiver mounting bracket; three-arrow quiver; built-in sling mounts
Steven Paul Barlow is a retired sergeant/station commander and former firearms instructor with the New York State Police. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and enthusiast with all things related to firearms, knives, and survival. He has been writing on outdoor topics for more than 35 years. His collections of outdoor humor stories are available at www.BriarHillBooks.com.