Crossbow Review: Velocity Defiant

Short, lightweight and accurate, and with a price tag under $500, the Defiant is a worthy hunting crossbow.
Crossbow Review: Velocity Defiant

Another new face in the world of hunting crossbows, Velocity Archery, is going to be a tough one to beat. The company’s new defiant model is short, lightweight and accurate. And with a price tag below $450, it comes in well under the price-point radar compared to other crossbows of comparable quality and durability.

The fun begins with assembly, and the Defiant is actually fun to assemble! The owner’s manual and instructions apply only to the Defiant, not the manufacturer’s full line of crossbows, which eliminates a lot of “if this” and “if that” while reading and during the assembly phase. Also, all of the necessary tools are provided in neat, reusable plastic bags. There are only three basic screws to insert, and the pre-fitted scope pops on in seconds using two large base bolts.

The Defiant’s quiver design is another dream come true — two screws and done. The quiver base includes a sturdy, positive lock that holds the quiver solidly in place with no wiggle or jiggle.

Fully assembled, the Defiant weighs 7.5 pounds. Just 33 inches long, this is a crossbow that is well balanced and compact, perfect for hunting out of confined spaces such as one-man blinds or hang-on tree stands. Axle to axle the Defiant is 23 inches wide, more than adequate for sneaking and peeking while still-hunting or stalking. The Defiant’s 14.5-inch split-limb design power stroke sends arrows downrange at 325 fps with a draw weight of a relatively light 150 pounds. Trigger pull is crisp and clean at 4 pounds even.

The Defiant features an adjustable one-position foregrip that eliminates concerns about “finger slap” when shooting the crossbow. A user would have to be a contortionist to shoulder the crossbow, grasp the foregrip and still manage to slip a finger or thumb above the rail, which is a good 3 1/2 inches below the string path.

Cocking the Defiant is minimally different than other crossbows. The trick is in the cocking rope, which has hooks similar to other crossbow cockers with one minor difference — the hooks must face downward when cocking as opposed to upward, as is usually the case. The difference is small but important, because if one tries to cock the crossbow with the hooks facing up, the angle is wrong and the string won’t bypass the anti-dry-fire mechanism. Trust me — pulling on the rope with the hooks facing up will not cock the bow! With that little detail taken care of, I was ready to do some shooting.

Here at Crossbow Talk I let my test crossbows do the talking — at the range. Specs, accessories and long-term warranties all help sell crossbows, but performance in the field is the ultimate selling point. Some crossbows do not measure up to even basic standards, but the Defiant more than met my minimums for accuracy prior to a serious hunt.

It is generally acceptable for crossbows to group inside 3 inches at 20 yards, but I consider this sloppy only because I know the majority of these units can do much better than that. Being a Marine with Expert rifle and pistol ratings has nothing to do with it!

Starting at the bench over sandbags at 20 yards, I want nock-to-nock performance or something very close to it. At 30 and 40 yards out of a blind or stand I’ll accept 3-inch groups simply because twigs, wind, rain, angles and human frailties are common demons that can affect accurate shooting at live game. Under controlled conditions I expect better-than-average accuracy.

Because the Defiant’s scope must be attached by the user, I assumed my first group would be anywhere but dead-center. Luckily, my stars were aligned when I mounted the scope, because the first shaft hit the top of a 2-inch circle at 20 yards. “Good enough” by some hunters’ standards, but I prefer tighter groups when I can get them. Two clicks downward and two arrows later, the Defiant was dead-on, too accurate to risk second or third shots at the same bull’s-eye. That’s what I like to see!

Moving back to 30 yards, I was able to keep all my arrows inside the 2-inch ring but slightly lower. Because I don’t shoot at deer much beyond 30 yards, I would not consider a half-inch loss in accuracy a true disaster — but a click or so in elevation would not have hurt. I chose to leave the scope setting in place just to see how well the Defiant performed at 40 yards, and the results were about as one might expect.

My groups were tight but just touching the bottom outside edge of the bull, which for me is too low. However, I rarely shoot deer at 40 yards where I hunt. For testing purposes I added two clicks of elevation and one right windage, and the next round of arrows started falling into the bull’s-eye. Of course, this meant that my arrows would group slightly higher at 20 and 30 yards, but not so high that a heart-lung shot would be questionable.

One tip that crossbow shooters might find useful is the same rule that applies to rifle shooting. Just as your .243, .308 or 7mm Mag. “likes” certain loads, so does the average crossbow. Of course, every manufacturer provides proprietary arrows with their products, but the truth is that not all arrows are alike. Lengths, weights, materials and fletching vary considerably between arrow manufacturers, and a crossbow only regurgitates what you feed it. If accuracy seems erratic or unacceptable, consider using another company’s arrows or, if you’re the ambitious type, try installing different fletching or inserts.

My test Defiant performed well mechanically and functionally at the range, but then it was time for the Graduate Course — a long walk through the woods shooting at random targets set at various distances, elevations and angles. What I strive for here is to emulate natural conditions where game is encountered suddenly and without warning — with no time to whip out my rangefinder. It’s see-and-shoot while walking at a normal hunter’s pace, and it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds!

In some cases, walking the trail with a crossbow is like dragging a 2x12 across a work site. Fortunately, the Defiant is compact (only 33 inches long) and well balanced. The foregrip makes it much easier to carry and mount the bow, and the grip also serves as a comfortable carrying handle between targets. With care, the sling can be lengthened and then slipped over the head to aid in weight distribution, making the crossbow even easier to handle enroute to the next target. Just be sure to keep all sling parts below the rail, limbs and cables.

Because the Defiant came equipped with an illuminated-reticle scope, I waited until near dark before venturing onto the target trail. Often, shots at whitetails occur just before sunrise or after sunset under iffy light conditions. The best advice when using illuminated sights is to start with the lowest possible setting. Too bright and you won’t be able to see the target behind the red or green glow of the crosshairs. This turned out to be the case on the range, where I had no trouble hitting the vitals of my foam deer, bear and hogs out to 30 yards and more.

By the way, I was careful to lubricate the Defiant’s rail every 15 shots as recommended by the manufacturer. To reduce wax buildup inside the receiver, I cocked the crossbow first and then lubed the rail below the ADF mechanism to the string serving.

Complaints? If I had to grumble about anything, it would be that the foregrip is a one-position unit with just enough slack in it to put some shooters off. A tighter, adjustable grip would make the Defiant the perfect hunting crossbow.

The Defiant package includes a 4x32 illuminated reticle (green and red) scope, cocking rope and sling, along with three 20-inch arrows and field tips. MSRP for the basic package is $429.99, less than most comparable crossbows, which don’t always include cocking devices or slings in the base package. Plus, Velocity includes a five-year warranty on parts and labor (excluding the scope battery).

Velocity Archery offers six crossbow versions, including a self-cocking pistol (not legal for hunting in most states), plus red-dot and speed-dial scopes (adjust according to arrow speed), cube targets as well as “The Beast,” a four-blade “bone crusher” broadhead that offers 8 inches of cutting surface.



Manufacturer: Velocity Archery       

Model: Defiant

Pull weight: 150 pounds

Arrow length: 20 inches

Arrow speed: 325 fps

Trigger pull: 4 pounds

Sights: 4x32, illuminated crosshair

Cocking device: Rope cocker

Overalllength: 33 inches

Axle-to-axle length: 23 inches

Weight: 7.5 pounds

Other features: Reaper Buck camo finish, 14.5-inch power stroke, 95.48 ft./lbs. of kinetic energy.

MSRP: $429.99

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