Mission Archery’s MXB Charge, introduced in 2017, and is one of six hunting-style crossbows with arrow speeds ranging from 310 to 400 fps. The Charge is rated at 365 fps, which means it is a great mid-range crossbow for all aspects of whitetail hunting. Out to 50 yards no deer is going to be able to out run the Charge’s standard 22-inch arrow. Even such old-school bugaboos as “jumping the string” are a thing of the past.

First impressions of the Charge were many and satisfying. For starters, the crossbow weighs 6.9 pounds, which is good news for any hunter who must carry his gear long distances through the woods, over crop fields or in wetland cover where vines, branches and saplings grab and bind at every step. Also notable on first inspection is the Charge’s compact size — just 32 inches end to end. The finish is Mission’s own “Lost AT,” which is certain to blend in with any whitetail cover type from September through February. The bow looks like it belongs in the woods.

More good news is that the Charge comes fully assembled except for the quiver and scope, each requiring just two screws to install. I especially like the Charge’s pop-on, pop-off quiver mount, which requires no fumbling with slides or latches before or after dark. A minute of practice will make anyone a pro at installing or removing the quiver, which is a definite plus after hours or when rain, snow and other typical hunting conditions makes one want to get back to the truck in a hurry.

The Charge’s spec sheet is also worthy of applause. Its maximum draw weight is 225 pounds, a tad heavier than most modern crossbows but not unmanageable thanks to the proprietary Smart Guide Slide, which creates an ultra-smooth draw cycle and makes cocking the Charge a nearly effortless exercise. The power stroke is under 13 inches, another plus from a cocking standpoint. The axle-to-axle width is a tick under 20 inches, which means the Charge can easily be carried down most deer trails and through typically heavy whitetail cover without worrying about aggravating entanglements.

The basic crossbow is included in one of three packages that are defined by the type of scope the customer orders. The Basic package includes a quiver, three arrows and a tube of rail lube along with a 4×32 non-illuminated scope. The XB Hunter package features a 1.32 SR etched-reticle illuminated scope, and the Pro Hunter package (my test model) includes a 1.5-5x 5×32 SR etched-reticle two-color illuminated scope.

In my elder years I am quite partial to any crossbow scope that offers green illumination for use during early dawn and dusk hours. I don’t do as well with red illumination (too bright for my old eyes), but with the green illumination set at its lowest setting (as most crossbow scope manufacturers and experienced hunters recommend) I am deadly on targets and deer right up till legal shooting time ends.

Speaking of dead-on, I was quite surprised to see that the Charge was precisely on-target with the first shot at 20 yards, this after having to mount the scope after delivery. In most cases sighting-in is a three- or four-arrow affair at the very least, but by chance and luck my Charge was on the money from the first shot.

Cocking and loading was, as Mission proclaims in its PR material, “ultra-smooth,” which is definitely helpful when a short-armed shooter is trying to put a 22-inch arrow on the rail. I made a minor adjustment to the length of the cocking rope to accommodate my stature and had no trouble cocking and loading the crossbow over 100 times during initial sighting-in. Cocking was easier than expected and there were no problems with the trigger, safety or anti-dry-fire mechanisms. I lightly lubed the rail every five shots as recommended by Mission and made sure each arrow was fully and properly seated per the owner’s manual. After running more than 200 arrows down the rail I had no malfunctions, glitches or other issues.

As is the case with most crossbow manufacturers, Mission recommends using arrows that are 22 inches long and weighing a minimum of 375 grains. I have never had any trouble using factory-supplied arrows and generally purchase additional, identical arrows from the same manufacturer for the sake of continuity. Mission also recommends using half-moon nocks instead of other designs which, in my testing, have all shown to be accurate, functional and dependable. However, for warranty purposes it’s always best to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations and cautions.

I had hoped that Mission would have included a sling for the Charge as part of the basic package but I always seem to have enough carrying straps on hand to amend that situation. Even at a short 32 inches and lightweight at less than 7 pounds the Charge is much easier to transport and carry while still-hunting with a sling. Provided or not, I use a sling on all my crossbows and have yet to find a more appreciated accessory. When packing for hunting trips I make sure I include at least one sling, and all of my at-home crossbows are equipped with slings as well.

On the roving course, the Charge performed perfectly on all targets at all distances. For fun this year I moved a couple of foam bear targets (the biggest such targets I have) out to 50 yards. The intervening distance was clear of brush, wide open and well lit, giving arrows plenty of room to perform their ballistic gyrations. I made kill shots on all targets at all distances, which speaks well of the Charge and its components.

The Charge’s Hawke scope has an extra reticle designed for use at 60 yards and I dutifully sighted it in for that distance for testing purposes (hence the 100 shots), but I would not attempt such a shot under standard whitetail woods conditions. I did back off to 60 yards in a couple of cases, but there was too much intervening vegetation to consider shooting a viable option. There are certainly instances where 50- and 60-yard attempts may be reasonable but not in the dense woods of the Northeast where I do most of my hunting. Crossbow hunters I know who frequent the wide-open croplands of the Midwest will take longer shots when they are offered, but they also are careful to place range markers (flagging on cut corn stalks is the norm) just to be sure that an “estimated” 50 yards is not 60 yards — or more.

Other than my usual wish that manufacturers include a sling with their crossbows, I could find nothing to complain about the Charge during the entire testing sequence. In fact, I was quite happy to see that Mission includes a soft case with each crossbow, which makes transporting the crossbow and accessories much easier and convenient.

Today’s crossbows are complicated, expensive products that deserve to be handled with care between hunts. Dirt on the rail or damage to the limbs, cables, string and cams can be a real problem when transporting an uncovered crossbow on top of a pile of gear, especially over long distances. Considering that the most basic crossbow packages now sell for over $1,000, I’d recommend that the hunter’s first accessory purchase be a soft or hard case to help protect that investment.

To find out more about Mission’s complete line of crossbows, gear and accessories, log onto www.missionarchery.com.

Spec Sheet

Manufacturer: Mission Archery

Model: MXB Charge

Draw weight: 225 pounds

Power stroke: 12¾ inches

Arrow length: 22 inches

Trigger pull: 3½ pounds, dry-fire inhibitor

Sights: Hawke scope provided (other scope options available)

Cocking device: Rope cocker (provided)

Overall length: 32 inches

Axle-to-axle width: 19½ inches

Weight: 6.9 pounds

Other features: Adjustable limb and stock system; soft case provided

MSRP: $899.99

For more information: www.missionarchery.com.

BONUS: A Free Case Is A Real Plus

These days, crossbow “packages” often include only a crossbow, scope, quiver and three arrows, so it was refreshing to see that the new Mission Charge arrived with all that plus a cocking rope (not always included) and a soft case. It’s a sure bet that most hunters will travel via vehicle, air or rental car this season, so it’s a good idea to carry the crossbow and accessories in a case where all items can be zipped up and loaded safely and carefully for the trip.

The advantage of a soft case are many, starting with the fact that all accessories and extras ranging from rail lube to arrows, broadheads, slings and cocking devices can be placed in their own, individual pockets for easy transport and easier recovery. With all gear stowed in the same unit there is no need to search the entire vehicle every time an arrow, broadhead or other necessary part is wanted.

Also, the soft case can be loaded last to ride safely on top of the pile for the duration of the trip. It’s never a good idea to put a crossbow case under other gear because damage to the crossbow especially strings, cables and cams, can occur en route. Place the crossbow case on the floor of the front or back seat of the vehicle whenever possible and keep sharp, heavy items away from the case at all times.