Ravin R9 Crossbow Review
The Ravin R9 Crossbow is unlike any other crossbow that came before it. It has an unmistakable look. But the Ravin R9 is more than just a narrow crossbow. It is a high performance narrow crossbow.
The R9 is just six inches axle-to-axle when cocked. Couple that with itís blazing fast 390+ feet per second speed and we have a crossbow that can really turn heads in the woods and on the range. Another distinctive feature is the railless system. The arrow does not rest on a rail. There is a roller rest on the front of the crossbow and the back of the arrow utilizes a lock-in nock very similar to what you would see on a compound bow. This secures the arrow in the trigger system.
Unlike most crossbows that can be purchased with or without a crank, the Ravin R9 is only available with a crank. This is because of itís unique trigger system that actually travels all the way down to the string when the crossbow is uncocked. This ensures the string is always cocked back from itís center point, increasing accuracy. Another great feature of the Ravin crank system is the clutch that is built into the crank handle. This mechanism makes it impossible to over-cock the crossbow.
The R9 is super compact, making it perfect for just about any hunting situation from ground blinds, treestands, and even spot and stalk situations. Itís just six inches axle-to-axle when cocked and 34.5Ē long. The spec sheet from Ravin states the crossbow at 6.9 pounds. Iíve found the advertised weight of a crossbow to always be hogwash and the Ravin is no different. Manufacturers get this weight by stripping the crossbow down. That being said, the true weight of the crossbow with all of the accessories including the scope, quiver, and arrows is 8.9 pounds. That may sound heavy when comparing it to other crossbowsí advertised weight. But if weíre talking about the true weight of a crossbow, the R9 is one of the lightest crossbows with a crank Iíve ever weighed. Most crossbows with a crank are in the neighborhood of 10 pounds.
I shot the R9 through the chronograph 10 times with speeds ranging from 395 to 398 feet per second. Thatís above the advertised speed of the crossbow. The trigger weight on the test model I shot measured a consistent 3.2 pounds which is about average for current model crossbows. The scope is illuminated and offers speed compensation. There are 9 aiming points giving shooters marks from 20 out to 100 yards.
The Ravin R9 performed admirably on the range. I shot five groups of three arrows off a bench rest at 30 yards. The groups were all under 1.5 inches with the arrow vanes touching in all of them. Keep in mind this isnít locked down so there is some human element involved. But the consistency was excellent and typical of a premium crossbow.
I put the nock system to the test as well. Ravin Crossbows use a proprietary nock system that locks into the string. The interesting part of the system is it allows the anti-dry fire mechanism to be placed behind the string, not in front of it like most other crossbows. This virtually eliminates any possibility of a dry fire. I tried to manufacture a dry fire by not fully locking the arrow onto the string(you should hear an audible click sound). The crossbow would not fire without pushing the arrow all the way back. The Ravin can also be decocked without firing it. There are detailed instructions on how to do this in the manual.
By now youíre probably wondering what the negative aspects of the Ravin R9 are. Well, they have pretty much thought of everything in the design. The obvious drawback to the crossbow is the price. If $1499 is out of your price range, it really doesnít matter how cool it is. Also, keep in mind that the Ravin can not be put in a normal bow press so most smaller archery shops probably wonít be able to do much with an R9 unless theyíve sold them. We can service your R9 for you if you need service.
One of the chief complaints Iíve seen online is accuracy. Ravin addressed this earlier this year when they switched from Gold Tip to Black Eagle arrows. Iíve seen groups tighten up quite a bit when the change was made. I think part of the chatter on this is due to Ravinís marketing. They market the R9 as a 100 yard weapon and tout itís rifle-like look. So there are a lot of people who are purchasing them with the idea that it will perform like a rifle. Itís still a piece of archery equipment that takes practice to be effective. The arrows can be grossly affected by wind. Even though the R9 is an incredible piece of equipment, in my opinion itís maximum effective range for most shooters is going to be inside 60 yards. It takes a lot of skill and time to shoot beyond 60 yards and in my opinion even if you can hit targets at 100 yards, it is not ethical to take game at that distance.
In summary, the Ravin R9 is an incredible crossbow. If your budget allows for it you should definitely consider this crossbow on your short list of potential bows for the 2017 season. For more information, see the video below.