Crossbow Field Test: AXE AX440

In an industry where innovation is the name of the game, the new AXE AX440 crossbow stands near the top of the heap for 2022.

Crossbow Field Test: AXE AX440

For many years, crossbows produced by FeraDyne carried the brand name Carbon Express, but that moniker is now used only for the company’s arrows. Carbon Express crossbows were moderately priced and had a solid reputation for dependability and accuracy; that tradition continues today with the company’s Rocky Mountain RM-405 ($379.99) and RM-415 ($399.99) crossbow packages. To satisfy the desires of hunters who demand elite performance, FeraDyne has introduced AXE Crossbows.

Compact at only 30.5 inches in length and only 11.5 inches wide axle-to-axle when ready to fire, the AXE AX440 is sure to impress crossbow enthusiasts. For starters, the AX440 comes fully assembled except for the scope, which easily attaches to the Picatinny rail using two wrench-friendly nuts. The scope rings can be tightened using the provided Allen wrench.

The AX440 features an integral, user-friendly crank cocking system that also de-cocks the crossbow at the end of a hunt. The full-control crank handle is turned clockwise to cock the crossbow, counter-clockwise to de-cock. No buttons to push and no levers to switch. The crank can be stopped or continued from any position along the guide rail and remains attached to the crossbow at all times.

This is a noticeable improvement over other systems that require the handle to be removed and stored on the crossbow or in a coat pocket. Either way the crank can be misplaced or lost, but not with the AX440. The handle is always there, solidly in place and ready for action. The bow cannot be over cocked thanks to a built-in hard stop upon achievement of full draw.

Another great feature of the AX440 is its rock-solid integral quiver, which keeps three arrows tucked safely and conveniently below the limbs. No more loose, rattling quiver mounts or brush-catching obstructions to deal with.

According to FeraDyne, conventional one-piece aluminum rail crossbow designs rob speed, efficiency and arrow life. The stock of the AX440 is different in that it eliminates the rail concept and utilizes dual carbon guide rods along the entire length of the stock. The shoot-through riser and tunable roller rest on the bow’s front end create a free-floating arrow system that minimizes contact, friction and torque over the entire flight path. The end result is more arrow speed, accuracy and longevity.

The AX440 comes equipped with an illuminated, multi-reticle scope that’s calibrated by arrows speed for shooting from 20 to 100 yards in 10-yard increments. The proprietary scope is designed specifically for the AX440 and provides a wide field of view with red/green dot reticles that are sharp and clear even at the 100-yard setting. A set of flip-up scope caps are also provided.

The AX440 package includes the crossbow, scope, integral quiver and three AXE Micro 19 micro-diameter (.166 inside) arrows fitted with aluminum nocks that click into place to ensure proper loading every time.

Published Specs

  • Manufacturer: FeraDyne
  • Model: AXE AX440
  • Draw weight: 204 pounds
  • Power stroke: 15 inches
  • Arrow length: 19 inches
  • Arrow speed: 440 fps
  • Trigger pull: 3.5 pounds and zero trigger creep; dry-fire inhibitor
  • Sights: Illuminated red/green multi-reticle scope with flip-up lens caps provided
  • Cocking device: Integral full control clutch power crank
  • allows cocking and de-cocking
  • Length: 30.5 inches/foot hold collapsed; 34.75 inches/foot hold extended
  • Axle-to-axle width: 11.5 inches cocked, 16.6 inches uncocked
  • Weight: 10.5 pounds without scope
  • Other features: Integral quiver, adjustable butt stock and comb, adjustable foot holder, tunable roller rest. Scope speed-calibrated from 20 to 100 yards. Rail-free, reverse limb design.
  • MSRP: $2,099.99
  • Contact:


Cocking the Crossbow

As always, it’s imperative that a hunter read and understand the owner’s manual before attempting to load or shoot a crossbow because the process differs considerably from other crank-type units. Cocking begins with the trigger box slide rolled up all the way to the rear of the crossbow. Turn the crank counter-clockwise to release the trigger box, which will slide down to the string. At this point the safety must be in the FIRE position. This will be “click” No. 1. Next, manually push the trigger box onto the string until the catch clicks and traps the string. The safety will automatically move to the FIRE position when the trigger box is slid down to the string. The Dry-Fire Inhibitor will click (click No. 2) when the trigger box contacts the string. It is important to hear and verify both clicks. The safety must be in the FIRE position initially to make the system work, otherwise it will not be possible to properly load an arrow into the trigger mechanism.

Turn the crank clockwise to begin drawing the string back to the cocked position. The trigger housing travels along the carbon guide rods during the cranking process, engaging a series of safety features along its path before meeting with the back wall. The bow cannot be over-cocked. Halfway through the draw the safety will be automatically moved to the SAFE position.

To load the crossbow, position an arrow with the odd-colored vane down. Insert the nock end of the arrow under the riser archway and into the center of the trigger slide. Once the arrow is properly aligned within the arrow funnel, firmly seat the arrow in the trigger slide until the nock clips onto the bowstring with an audible click. This is the very important “click No. 3,” indicating that the crossbow is fully and properly loaded and ready to shoot. If the nock is not securely seated on the bowstring, the crossbow will not fire.

Another top-notch AXE Crossbows offering is the AX405, which is slightly smaller than the AX440 and shoots arrows 405 fps.
Another top-notch AXE Crossbows offering is the AX405, which is slightly smaller than the AX440 and shoots arrows 405 fps.

On the Range

Because the scope must be mounted to the crossbow by the user, it is recommended that shooting begin at 10 yards to ensure initial accuracy out of the box. I preset the scope calibration adjustment to 440 fps, the arrow speed at which the AX440 is rated.

I had my AX440 dead-on at 20 yards in three shots, then began shooting at 30, 40 and 50 yards.

Accuracy off the bench was phenomenal — I could not risk firing more than one arrow per bull’s-eye without risking expensive Robin Hoods at every distance. (Be forewarned that a box of six AXE Micro 19 arrows sells for $125, not including broadheads, so it’s easy to understand how continually trashing arrows with follow-up shots could be prohibitively expensive.) A word to the wise: alternate between targets at all distances for longer arrow life. Shooters are sure to be surprised and impressed by the AX440’s arrow speed and accuracy.

It took only a couple of minutes to install the supplied set of sling swivels to the AX440’s stock; a sling is not included in the package, so I grabbed one from my own collection.

With the AX440 sighted in and fitted with a sling, it was ready for a session on the roving range where a variety of targets are set up at various distances and elevations in an effort to simulate typical whitetail-hunting situations.

The AX440 performed exceptionally well on all targets at all distances, including a few that were moved to the 60-yard mark simply for testing purposes.

I did shoot the crossbow off the bench in 10-yard increments out to 100 yards per the manufacturer’s recommendation if only to prove that the crossbow was capable of delivering hunt-quality accuracy as advertised; and it did.

In real-world hunting conditions, I prefer and recommend that hunters limit their shots to 40 yards. That said, the AX440 routinely produced fist-sized groups at maximum range.

Thanks to the adjustable foot holder, cocking and loading the crossbow was a breeze, even on uneven ground. With practice one can cock and load the AX440 in about 20 seconds, which is very fast in the world of crossbows.

The cocking and de-cocking processes went smoothly and without a hitch throughout the range phase. In fact, over the course of about 150 shots, the AX440 seemed to cock more smoothly and load more quickly as it became “broken in,” yet there were no signs of wear or parts fatigue during the testing phase. Because there is no traditional shooting rail, no additional lubrication is required between shots.

FeraDyne’s proprietary AXE Micro 19 arrows performed flawlessly. At 19 inches (an inch shorter than most crossbow arrows) and pencil-thin at .166 inches inside diameter, the shafts were noticeably thinner in hand and faster to the target. Sturdy and stout to the touch, these lightweight arrows are certainly in keeping with the AX440’s innovative design. As mentioned, they are expensive and may be difficult to acquire on extended trips, so I’d recommend stocking up before each season, and especially prior to a major out-of-state hunt.

FeraDyne’s AXE Micro 19 arrows are 19 inches long and have nocks that snap solidly onto the string. These arrows are pencil-thin at .166 inches inside diameter.
FeraDyne’s AXE Micro 19 arrows are 19 inches long and have nocks that snap solidly onto the string. These arrows are pencil-thin at .166 inches inside diameter.

Final Thoughts

As might be expected of a crossbow costing more than $2,000, there is little to be disappointed in regarding the AX440’s design, function or accuracy. This is a high-end, top-quality bow and performed as such throughout my testing process.

The 5-year, original-owner warranty covers all parts except strings, cables, flight rails, trigger slide box and cosmetic blemishes. With proper care and maintenance this is the last crossbow you should ever own.

As usual, I would prefer that every crossbow be supplied with a sling and case, but these can be acquired from after-market suppliers. The AX440 is currently offered only in flat black.

Sidebar: AXE AX440 Adjustability

Most modern crossbows are manufactured in a “one size fits all” design that, of course, does not fit all or even most hunters. After a scope is mounted on the Picatinny rail, tall or short shooters are often forced to squirm into place in order to comfortably shoot and operate their new crossbow. Purchasers will be happy to discover that the AXE AX440 can be adjusted to fit the specific needs and measurements of the individual shooter.

FeraDyne obviously put a lot of thought into its AX440 configuration. For starters, the foot-hold/stirrup is instantly adjustable to provide several inches of additional length and then locks solidly into place using a conveniently located thumb latch.

Also, the AX440 features an easily customizable butt stock that includes two .75-inch-thick extensions. The bow’s minimum length of pull is 14.25 inches, but it extends to 15 inches with one extension in place, and 15.75 inches with both installed. The stock also has 1.25 inches of cheek rest (comb) adjustments.

The AX440 includes an adjustable arrow rest, which is factory tuned but can be custom set for improved accuracy by the end user. Simply loosen the two screws at the base of the slide and lower the rest all the way down. Slowly move the rest up incrementally until there is no high tear while paper tuning. These adjustments can be made by knowledgeable operators or by any certified crossbow technician.

Finally, the AX440’s integral cocking crank and quiver can be adjusted to accommodate right- or left-handed shooters.

For more information on the AXE AX440 as well as FeraDyne’s numerous bowhunting accessories, visit


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