Barnett’s new Ghost 410 split-limb crossbow should make sportsmen happy, with hunter-friendly features that include a “ready-to-hunt” package containing all the necessary elements for quick and easy assembly.

Barnett has crossbow assembly down to the nitty-gritty, with just three screws required to complete the job. Two screws attach the quiver mount to the forend and one long screw attaches the limbs (with integral cocking stirrup) to the rail. All screws and tools are provided in separate bags for easy sorting and application, which makes the assembly process a breeze.

The owner’s manual is straightforward, simple and well-illustrated, with sharp images that leave no room for error. Every crossbow owner should take a few minutes to read the owner’s manual because there are slight differences in assembly between manufacturers. A few minutes of familiarization will save a lot of aggravation and do-overs during the assembly process. The Ghost 410 has only three parts to assemble (quiver mount, limb assembly and sling) with no guesswork involved. Read and proceed, it’s as simple as that.

Although the provided illuminated-reticle scope was factory installed, I gave the mounting screws an extra half-turn just to be sure, because I like my scope screws to be firmly seated before I start shooting. None of the screws were what I’d consider to be loose, but they all accepted some extra tweaking with the Allen wrench. For me it is always standard procedure to check scope and stirrup screws at the start of every hunt just as added insurance, and doing so is recommended in the owner’s manual as well.

The Ghost 410 is typical of today’s split-limb designs with composite laminated limbs, aluminum flight track and pass-through foregrip with integrated finger guards (which Barnett refers to as “reminders”). The CarbonLite stock allows for the use of an integrated cocking crank, although the crossbow can be cocked by hand or by using the provided standard cocking rope.

cc-3Overall weight of the Ghost 410 is 7.2 pounds. Limb width is 22 inches with an axle-to-axle (cocked) width of 20 inches. Draw weight is 185 pounds, with a 15.4-inch power stroke generating 149 ft./lbs. of kinetic energy. Designed for 22-inch arrows, the Ghost 410 sends a 400-grain field-tipped arrow off the rail at 410 fps. Using 380-grain arrows boosts arrow speed another 10 fps. Heavier shafts, of course, will produce much slower arrow speeds, i.e., down to 357 fps using 425-grain arrows. The Ghost 410 package produced 410 fps speeds right out of the box, which is significantly faster than most other hunting crossbows, so there’s no practical need to seek faster arrow speeds. No whitetail buck can run faster than 410 feet per second!

First impressions were all positive when the Ghost 410 arrived. Assembly was easy, and I was pleased to see that the scope provided eye-catching red or green illumination for all six dot reticles. The illumination function is a convenient push button on the left side of the scope, with an easy-to-remember on, red, green and off sequence. Also included with the package is a buttstock extension that will add almost 2 inches to the length of the stock, a plus for shooters with longer arms and necks.

I was also pleased to see that Barnett had included a sling and cocking rope as part of its package. Too often these necessary items are considered “accessories,” which means an additional expense for the shooter. Except for broadheads, the Ghost 410 truly is ready to hunt — and I am sure many sportsmen, including first-time crossbow users, will appreciate that.

Finally, I was pleased to see that the quiver bracket is designed so the quiver can be mounted on either the left or right side of the crossbow as needed without having to reverse the mount to accommodate the quiver posts. Small issues for sure, but from a crossbow hunter’s point of view, these features are much appreciated.

As always, the value of any hunting crossbow is in consistent accuracy, and the Ghost 410 did not disappoint at the range. While I’m not a fan of 22-inch arrows simply because there’s no practical reason for them from a hunting standpoint, they are as accurate and dependable as 20-inch shafts. There is no reason not to use the longer arrows, and some crossbows are specifically designed for them, but it’s a good idea to order spare shafts well in advance of the hunting season or a special trip because 22-inch arrows are not commonly found in archery tackle shops.

In any case, the Ghost 410 is worth its weight in field tips when it comes to range shooting. At 20 yards my first three arrows were inside a 2-inch circle, and after a few clicks of adjustment it was risky to shoot two arrows at the same target. The more frugal approach is to limit shots to one arrow per bull’s-eye, and the Ghost 410 was up to the task at 20, 30 and even 40 yards under calm conditions.

I did have trouble with the lower three dots in the scope, which one might assume would put the shooter on target at 50, 60 and 70 yards. The usual 10-yard incremental adjustments were fine out to 40 yards, but after that I could not find a common denominator for longer distances. Arrows fell in acceptable groups at 48 yards, 55 yards and 62 yards, but that kind of spread is too difficult to manage under stressful, low-light hunting conditions. Bottom line: I will save the long-range dots for range targets but stick to shooting at distances under 40 yards on live game.

My backyard range is designed to present hunting-type situations for deer, bear, hogs and turkeys at varying distances, and the Ghost 410 performed perfectly when I took the time to use a rangefinder on specific targets. I move my targets around quite frequently just to avoid getting myself into a shooter’s rut, so I make it a point to range each target before I shoot, which is what I routinely do while hunting from a blind or stand. Guessing distances when using archery equipment, even with arrows traveling as fast as 410 fps, is never a good idea! When I did my part, the Ghost 410 was up to the task, and every arrow I fired at 10 to 40 yards was a lethal hit on my backyard menagerie of artificial deer, hogs and bears.

Complaints? Not many. I found the instructions included with the scope to be essentially useless from a crossbow shooter’s standpoint. Discussion of the scope’s use with shotguns or rifles included no mention of crossbows. The instruction pamphlet also explains how to use the “range-finding reticle” which is not a feature of the scope provided with the crossbow. And, there is much discussion in the instructions about “100-yard windage and elevation” when of course no crossbow shooter is going to sight in or shoot game at such distances. All of this aside, any experienced hunter who sights in for 20 yards and keeps his shots within 40 yards will have no problem getting his Ghost 410 quickly ready for hunting season.

One other small point of contention: The instructions accompanying the provided cocking rope fail to clearly establish whether the hooks should be up or down while cocking the bow. The only reason this is important is that some manufacturers provide cocking ropes that require the hooks to be down during the cocking process. In some cases misapplied hooks have been known to give way at the moment when maximum pressure is exerted on the string, giving the operator a decidedly sharp slap in the face as the hooks spring backward off the string.

In addition, the rope cocker provided with the Ghost 410 is recommended for use with four other Barnett crossbow designs (but not the Ghost 410) and mentions “two roller hooks,” which were not installed on the rope cocker I received. Loading with the hooks facing up is the proper method with the cocker provided with my sample crossbow, but it behooves the owner to ensure that he has the proper cocking device and carefully follows the manufacturer’s cocking instructions.

The standard Ghost 410 package includes the crossbow, a pre-mounted 4×32 illuminated multi-reticle scope, sling, rail wax, quiver and three 22-inch arrows. MSRP is $1,199.