When you have a chance to combine an excellent off-season hunt for a cool exotic animal that eats better than anything wild I have ever tasted and do it while field testing a prototype of a hot new hunting tool, how can you not think these are the times one loves their job?

Back in February I accompanied a handful of press folks and corporate executives to a posh lodge in south Texas to hunt Axis deer with the then yet-to-be-released Browning OneSixTwo crossbow from the company’s line of ZeroSeven crossbows. The first of these crossbows were shipped to dealers in mid-April.

The OneSixTwo features Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camouflage and is made in the U.S.A. With a 145-pound draw weight and 14.625-inch power stroke, the bow is rated to shoot at 370 fps, producing an initial kinetic energy of 122 ft./lbs. Mass weight is 7.25 pounds. The OneSixTwo prototype I had proved to be smooth-shooting and highly accurate.

The bow ships fully assembled in a hard plastic Browning TPS (Total Protection System) Travel Case. It will also come with Browning’s patent pending Crank Cocking Device (CCD) installed from the factory. The bow is equipped with a bore-sighted Cross 1.5-5×32 mm pushbutton illuminated crossbow scope with auto shut-off. Three 22-inch Browning carbon arrows are included in the package.

The scope is calibrated to match the velocity of the provided 22-inch Browning carbon arrows and a 100-grain point. On this trip I shot it at the range with both field tips and 100-grain GraveDigger Cut On Contact broadheads, which you can find on No Limit Archery’s website. Once calibrated, the scope’s internal range marks were right on at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards.

Serious rifle shooters will appreciate the TriggerTech trigger system. TriggerTech actually changed firearms triggers drastically, and that technology is now available in the Browning crossbow line. Here’s how it works. Most other triggers play with pivot points, sear type and polishing to achieve better breaks with all the same tools. These are excellent triggers, however, sliding friction is always present and that’s what leads to “creep.” TriggerTech introduced a whole new method, which they call Frictionless Release Technology, or FRT. FRT uses a patented free-floating roller between the sear and the trigger. This takes sliding friction out of the equation. If you take friction out of the equation, then a more perfect trigger performance is possible. The result is that there is no creep in this trigger system — and best of all, they break consistently, allowing for precise trigger control. I have shot this system before in some high-end sniper-type rifles and loved them. I can tell you the 3.5-pound break set on my test Browning crossbow broke clean and crisp every shot.

For added safety, Browning incorporates its ADF (Anti-Dry Fire) feature that will not allow the safety to be off if an arrow hasn’t been loaded. In addition, the TriggerTech trigger won’t fire unless the arrow has been loaded with the proper vane facing down. This ensures positive contact between the arrow and the string.

Browning OneSixTwo. Image courtesy of Browning.

Browning OneSixTwo. Image courtesy of Browning.

The patented flight track hook groove keeps the cams aligned when cocking the bow. This design allows for an even and consistent draw and results in better timing for the cams when fired, which helps create repeatable accuracy. Also featured is a soft-touch rubber Comfort Ledge Palm rest that has proprietary rubber finger reminders to help both reduce vibration and sound suppression as well as act as a finger protector when shooting the bow. The quick-detachable 3-arrow quiver can be placed on either side of the bow and lines up parallel to the stock using the left or right Picatinny rails. There is also a rail on the bottom of the forearm for added custom ability of a grip or other accessories.

On this trip we hunted primarily from ground blinds with the crossbow rested over a set of tripod shooting sticks. I took an Axis buck and doe, the shots being 28 and 35 yards. Both times the broadhead hit right where it was supposed to and recovery was quick and easy.

Bottom line? The new Browning OneSixTwo is a sweet-shooting crossbow that’s easy to set up and use both on the range and in the field. MSRP is $1,400.

Cross 1.5-5×32 mm Crossbow Scope

The included Cross 1.5-5×32 mm pushbutton illuminated crossbow scope is a winner and an added $200 value with this package. This model weighs in at 13.2 ounces and features a 30mm mono tube and multi-coated optics. It has been nitrogen purged in order to waterproof and fog-proof the optic.

Two things stand out. First is the fact that with a simple twist of the selector ring, you can calibrate the scope’s reticle. The reticle features five small aiming circles set in a vertical line; once calibrated to the crossbow’s raw arrow speed, they are dead-on from 20-50 yards, in 10 yard increments for arrow speeds ranging from 250-425 fps. My test crossbow had an arrow speed of 370 fps. Once I turned the dial to that setting, my arrows impacted exactly where they should, using both field tips and a 100-grain GraveDigger Cut On Contact broadhead.

Second, the glass-etched reticle’s aiming dots can be illuminated in either red or green (or, when unilluminated, they’re black) with each color able to be illuminated in five increasingly bright illuminations to match prevailing light conditions. They’re very helpful in low-light situations.

Unlike some crossbow packages that throw in a scope designed primarily for rifle shooters, this optic was made explicitly for crossbows. It’s a great addition to an already excellent package.

GraveDigger Broadheads Begin To Blend Old And New

GraveDigger broadheads are a blend of old and new broadhead technologies. The result is a hybrid head that incorporates both a single fixed-blade and two expandable bleeder blades that create a devastating hole in game. The “old” technology is in the design of the GraveDigger in the closed position. Here it is a 1-inch, cut-on-contact, two-blade broadhead with ½-inch bleeders. This design goes back to the old traditional Bear Razorhead in its simplicity and effectiveness. The main blade is a small blade from front to back, but still maintains a 2:1 blade angle due to the double grind on the blade. This greatly enhances penetration.

The kickout (expandable) blade retention system is a new patented design featuring curved blades. These curved blades penetrate extremely well due to less friction that are found with straight blades. When you view the GraveDigger in the closed position, the tip of the blade on the right side is actually the left blade and vice versa. This achieves two things. First, the mass of the blade is opposite the tip in relation to the screw pin. This means during the initial shot from the bow, the blades are seated or pushed back into the bottom of the ferrule, so they are not forced open. And second, the tip of the blade exposed acts as a leverage point when the blade contacts the animal, which creates less energy to open the blades, thus retaining more of the kinetic energy of the arrow. This results in better penetration. The blade retention system is simple in design, with no rubber bands, O-rings or clips to hold them in place.