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Crossbow Review: TenPoint Stealth SS

TenPoint Technologies of Suffield, Ohio, continues to set the bar for short, compact, lightweight crossbows. The new Stealth SS is the latest in TenPoint’s line of crossbows designed with the needs of stalkers and still-hunters in mind, incorporating all of the company’s best product features in a much smaller package.

Weighing in at 6.8 pounds, the Stealth is just 34 inches long and 17 ½ inches wide axle to axle (uncocked), fitting easily into the confines of most ground blinds. Many standard crossbows, especially recurve models, are much heavier and nearly twice as wide, making them nearly impossible to maneuver through saplings, brush and other tight places.

Pull weight on the Stealth SS is 185 pounds, generating 352 fps and 102 ft./lbs. of kinetic energy with a 20-inch, 370-grain Pro-Lite arrow. Even with 545-grain Full Metal Jacket arrows, the Stealth SS breaks the 300 fps mark — more than adequate for whitetails out to 40 yards.

Assembling the Stealth SS was quick and easy, requiring one primary bolt and set screw to fasten the limbs to the barrel, and two set screws to lock the foot stirrup in place. All the necessary tools and hardware are included in the crossbow package.

The Stealth package includes a 3X Pro-View 2 scope with red and green dot reticle adjustable for intensity. The dots can be viewed in black under bright light conditions, while red or green are recommended for dawn and dusk situations. The scope is installed and pre-sighted at the factory. Allowing for variations in aiming style, visual acuity and cant, my sample Stealth SS grouped feather-tight and less than an inch off the mark at 20 yards. A few clicks of windage adjustment and my arrows were hitting dead-on.

There are three lines and four dots calibrated for 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards, beginning with the top dot. The 50-yard dot is free-standing and was on target under calm, clear conditions after initial zeroing at 20 yards. Shooters should keep in mind that four to five clicks are required to move the point of impact ¼-inch at 30 yards.

The Stealth SS also includes TenPoint’s new, improved quiver design, which includes a soft rubber tube hanger and a rock-solid mounting system. The quiver mount is ambidextrous, which means it can be installed on the left or right side of the crossbow. Made of metal and anchored by Phillips-head screws, the mount is not likely to rattle or loosen over the course of a long, busy deer season. Also, the quick-disconnect bracket is attached to the quiver mount with metal screws. Quiver design is a major concern among crossbow hunters, and TenPoint has them covered. After more than 500 shots, the quiver on my Stealth SS is as tight and solid as the day it was installed. One less thing to worry about!

Another great feature of the Stealth SS is TenPoint’s patented Accu-Draw 50 cocking system, which reduces the force needed to cock the crossbow by half. The cocking rope, hooks and handles are built into the rear of the stock, where a retention spring holds the system in place. After the crossbow is cocked, the rope, handles and hooks slide back into the unit, out of the way and ready for the next shot. This eliminates the need for carrying (or remembering!) a standard cocking rope. Also, the Accu-Draw system is held tightly in place to eliminate rattling or chatter while still-hunting or aiming at a potential target.

Because a quick session at the bench does not (in my eyes) constitute “field testing,” I took the Stealth to New Jersey for an early-season archery hunt where stands, blinds and still-hunting were on the agenda. After five hours on Interstate Route 95 I shot the Stealth again, and it was still on target at 20, 30 and 40 yards. I’m not a fan of long-range archery shooting, especially on live game, but for kicks I loosed a couple of arrows at 50 yards — and ruined both of them with a Robin Hood just left of center. I should have known better!

My first hunt was out of a cornfield blind with opportunities from the left and right. From my corner seat, the Stealth SS was plenty short enough to allow me to swing back and forth between windows without catching on the blind, and the short limbs made it easy for me to cover my field of fire without moving or leaning to make up for limb width.

On Day 2 I was in a tree stand covered with camo material. I prefer to sit with my crossbow in hand rather than hanging it from a hook, and the Stealth SS was no more trouble to handle than any of my favorite deer rifles. The crossbow fit easily across the rail of the stand and allowed me full range of motion from right rear to left rear without catching on limbs, twigs and vines. I do like to hang my quivers on a hook once I’m in a stand, and the Stealth’s rubber loop quiver spent the day securely in place with no rattles or squeaks caused by the incessant wind.

On Day 3 I hunted from a small, one-man ladder stand that had been in place for several years. The small seat was crowded on three sides by a trio of oaks, so my only option was to sit in the stand with the crossbow in my lap, facing forward at the only window of opportunity the site allowed. Fortunately, the hunters who placed the stand knew what they were doing. A heavily used deer trail passed just 15 yards to my front, and every one of the 12 does I saw from that stand would have been in the freezer had I been in the market for a baldie. Thanks to the Stealth’s short limbs, I had more than enough room to aim and swing.

On Day 4 I decided to try still-hunting along a winding creek bed and on a 4-wheeler trail through an uncut cornfield where we knew deer were bedded during the day. The Stealth SS carried well, allowing me to focus on the job at hand without being distracted with fighting my way through weeds, clinging corn stalks and entangling tassels. I saw several does and small bucks that offered quick shots down the 4-wheeler trail and could have had most of them. The one decent buck I saw was antlers down and skittering past me 10 rows deep, not a good shot for any arrow slinger, crossbow notwithstanding, so I passed it by.

Overall, the Stealth SS performed beautifully, and at the end of the day was dead on target. Of course, I wiped the bow down each evening and kept the trigger mechanism, rail and serving clear of wax and debris. At the end of the trip, the crossbow was still on target right up until I packed it up for the ride home.

Complaints? I find it difficult to find fault with a well-built, easily assembled, solidly constructed crossbow that puts every arrow in the black. The Stealth SS is as close to the perfect Eastern still-hunter’s crossbow as exists on the market today, and only a unit that’s shorter, slimmer and more accurate will beat it. I suspect that if anyone comes up with a better crossbow it will be TenPoint or its sister company, Wicked Ridge.

That said, I would like to see crossbow manufacturers include a soft case to help protect the bow as well as a sling to make transporting the bow a little easier. I realize that most companies consider these “accessory” items to be purchased separately, but for practical reasons, a case and sling would truly complete the basic crossbow package, even if the MSRP has to increase accordingly.

TenPoint’s 3X Pro-View Scope

The Stealth SS package includes a 3X Pro-View scope, which is equipped with three lines and four dots calibrated for 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. The top dot/line is factory calibrated for 20 yards. The center dot/line is set for 30 yards, etc. The fourth free-standing dot is calibrated for 50 yards.

The dots can be viewed in black for daylight shooting, and red or green for low-light conditions. Dot brightness can be adjusted by turning the intensity dial on the left side of the scope. The higher the intensity, the brighter the dots will appear (lines are not illuminated). Use the lowest intensity possible for existing light conditions to achieve maximum performance.

The intensity dial is also the “on” or “off” switch. To operate the scope, line up the intensity number/color desired with the index dot centered at the rear of the intensity dial. The dial should be in the R or G position when the scope is not in use to maintain battery life.

The Pro-View scope requires a lithium 2032 battery, which has a shelf life of up to 10 years and is designed to function at much lower temperatures than standard batteries. Because battery life is determined by the number of hours used, always carry a spare battery in the field. While the scope can be left on for the duration of the hunt, it is best to turn the intensity setting to R or G when the scope is not in use

It’s a slick scope that works well with this crossbow and is sure to please the most discriminating whitetail hunter.

The Stealth SS comes in Mossy Oak Break-Up pattern on the stock, barrel and limbs. The Stealth SS Package includes a Pro-View 2 scope, Accu-Draw or Accu-Draw 50 cocking system, quiver and mount, and three arrows with vanes and field points. MSRP for the Stealth SS with Accu-Draw is $1,199 or $1,099 with the Accu-Draw 50 cocking system.

For a catalog or additional information, log onto TenPoint's website or call (330) 628-9245.


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