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Parker Thunder Hawk crossbow review

The Thunder Hawk is Parker Bow's top offering for 2013. Available as bow only or with Parker's Perfect Storm package, the Thunder Hawk features Parker's proprietary Advanced Split Limb technology with integrated Fulcrum Pocket System. Lightweight and compact at 6.5 pounds and 34.25 inches overall, the Thunder Hawk is optimally balanced for steadier aim from blinds or treestands or while still-hunting in thick cover. Axle-to-axle length is 20.375 inches. Draw weight is 160 pounds with a 10.75-inch power stroke, generating arrow speeds of 320 fps using 20-inch, 400-grain carbon arrows.

Parker's EZ Pull System, engineered into each crossbow, reduces cocking effort by more than 50 percent when paired with the Red Hot EZ Roller rope cocker, resulting in one of the easiest-cocking crossbows in the industry.

The Thunder Hawk also features Parker's auto-engage ambidextrous safety, which automatically places the trigger in the "Safe" position when the crossbow is cocked. The crossbow also features Parker's auto-engage anti-dry-fire mechanism, which allows the crossbow to fire only when an arrow is properly seated in the firing mechanism. The mechanism includes a nylon arrow retention spring and integrated one-piece scope base. The all-metal, no-creep trigger mechanism requires no maintenance and is accompanied by a 100-percent lifetime warranty.

The Thunder Hawk includes a vented forearm for weight reduction and includes a safety flange to keep fingers well below the rail while shooting.

The Thunder Hawk is designed for use only with Parker's Red Hot or Hunter arrows fitted with the company's patented Capture Nocks, which completely surround the string to reduce string jump, misfires and improper nock placement while loading.

The Thunder Hawk base model comes with the buyer’s choice of a 3X multi-reticle scope, a 1X illuminated multi-reticle scope or a 3X illuminated multi-reticle scope. Mounts and rings are included. MSRP for the crossbow and basic scope, arrows and quiver is $549.95. For the Thunder Hawk with illuminated multi-reticle scope, the MSRP is $599.95. The Perfect Storm package includes the crossbow, an illuminated multi-reticle scope, six 20-inch Red Hot high-velocity arrows with field points and three broadheads, a rope cocker, sling, wax and lube kit and soft case. MSRP for the Perfect Storm package is $839.95.

With the Thunder Hawk fully assembled and ready for the range, the shooter's two primary concerns are accuracy and consistency. Because the scope must be mounted to the crossbow by the purchaser, it might take four or five shots to get the arrows on target. The Thunder Hawk is easy to cock and load, although smaller shooters might find it helpful to reduce the length of the cocking rope. Cocking should be accomplished with one short, smooth stroke ending with the click of the trigger mechanism as it automatically moves into the Safe position.

Once the crossbow is sighted in at 20 yards, however, the shooter is advised to shoot no more than two arrows at each bull's-eye to avoid costly "Robin Hoods," arrows that strike the nocks or fletching of previous arrows. Although the multi-reticle scope is pre-set for shooting in 5-yard increments, it's important to test-fire the crossbow at various distances to ensure that arrow placement is consistently on target.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for waxing and lubing the string and rail to ensure continued accurate shooting. Annual maintenance may require shipping the crossbow to Parker for routine adjustments as well as necessary cam, string or cable replacement.

Well-balanced and lightweight, the Thunder Hawk is perfectly suited to target shooting, roving and still-hunting in heavy cover. Another great feature of the Thunder Hawk is its positive quiver latching system, which keeps the quiver solidly in place and eliminates squeaks and rattles while cocking, shooting or moving the crossbow into shooting position while in a stand or blind.

For more about the Thunder Hawk or Parker's complete line of hunting bows and crossbows, log onto www.parkerbows.com or call (540) 337-5426.


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