Package & Features
Iconic crossbow maker TenPoint has deep roots in Ohio, where for many years crossbows have been, as far as game regs and seasons go, just another bow. Given those heartland-of-America credentials, it seems inconsistent to think of TenPoint as the BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche of crossbow manufacturers, but many hunters do. And even TenPoint describes the new Stealth FX4 as a “rock-solid crossbow that’s built like a tank but maneuvers like a luxury automobile.”
Not surprisingly, the Stealth FX4 is being compared to the 2014 Stealth SS, which I reported on last year and which is apparently being replaced by the FX4. In fact, all TenPoint’s crossbows are identifiably TenPoint at a glance, sharing a number of design elements that TenPoint refers to as “core features.” These include the familiar thumbhole stock, which is also a bullpup-style stock touted as enhancing accuracy; the integrated AccuDraw cocking system, available as a conventional rope cocker or with a mechanical cocker; and the highly touted metal injection molded 3 ½-pound trigger. Less visible are TenPoint’s anti-dry-fire mechanism, the quiet metal safety and the Vibra-Cush bow-to-barrel mounting system.
Interestingly, given the similarities in specifications, the Stealth FX4 is considerably faster than the 2014 Stealth SS. Both are 34.4 inches long, both weigh exactly 6.8 pounds, both have a 185-pound draw weight and the FX4 at 13.3 inches cocked is an insignificant .2 inches more compact than the similarly very compact SS axle to axle. Yet the FX4 launches a 370-grain Pro Lite arrow at a top speed of 370 fps, compared to the 352 fps of the SS with the same arrow. The difference, apart from the possibly more pre-stressed limbs suggested by the tiny difference in width and the slightly redesigned cams, must be largely a result of a draw stroke that is an inch longer.
In addition to the various features already mentioned, the Stealth FX4 comes standard with a 3X Pro-View Scope on a 7/8-inch dovetail mount, a detachable three-arrow quiver with an ambidextrous side-mount bracket, three 425-grain TenPoint Pro Elite carbon arrows with the recommended Omni-Nocks, a Bowjax noise-dampening package and an instructional DVD.
The finish is Mossy Oak Break-Up on the stock, contrasting with the deep black barrel, cams, riser, scope mount, scope and AccuDraw 50 cocker. Fit and finish, to paraphrase the makers of fine double shotguns, are commensurate with the overall quality and price of the crossbow.
Shooting The Bow/General Observations
At 6.8 pounds the Stealth FX4 is, while not heavy, certainly not on the light end of the spectrum. It is a very comfortable and well-balanced crossbow. The very lightweight stirrup, along with the bullpup design that moves the trigger mechanism farther back, no doubt contributes to the balance. The thumbhole stock design, which encourages pushing the butt firmly against the shoulder, contributes to holding stability along with the balance.
Crossbow scopes in general have made a quantum leap in quality in recent years, but I particularly like the scope that comes standard with this model. It features three horizontal reticles, thinned near the center with dots at the intersections. A rheostat controls the lighting of the dots. A fourth dot stands alone below the reticles. I like this configuration, which provides a precise aiming point for longer distances while keeping the lines to three for less confusion and quicker target acquisition. The now-standard see-through lens caps protect the lens. And as I have commented before with regard to this same scope, the rheostat is easily turned on and adjusted but is not likely to switch on accidentally (as is too often the case), meaning that it will work for you when needed most.
The scope comes pre-mounted, and TenPoint claims it is pre-sighted-in at 20 yards. Naturally this had to be tested. I stepped out to my backyard range, backed off to 20 yards from my Block crossbow target and took an offhand shot. I felt the top dot was on the bottom of my 2½-inch orange bull’s-eye as the trigger broke, and sure enough the arrow buried itself deeply into the bottom of the orange bull’s-eye.
I’ve commented before on TenPoint’s trigger system. It is probably the best trigger in the industry. Metal is almost always preferable to plastic. I like the metal safety. It does make a very audible click, but I’ve discovered that by grasping it firmly between finger and thumb and pushing it gently forward I can reduce the noise considerably if I need to do so in a hunting situation.
The model tested came with TenPoint’s AccuDraw 50. I’ve used both the AccuDraw 50 and the AccuDraw. Both work very well, and the fact that they are integrated into the stock where they can’t be lost or forgotten is a real plus. They tuck away neatly and stay tight to the butt stock where they’re out of the way and quiet. My personal preference on crossbows up to 185 pounds is the AccuDraw 50. For individuals shooting heavier draw weights or those who need or simply prefer the ease of the crank-style AccuDraw, the extra cost is money well spent.
My closing comment regarding last year’s Stealth SS was that those who insist on only the best quality should give that crossbow a close look. With even higher speeds at no tradeoff in any other desirable qualities, that comment goes double for the Stealth FX4.
Following TenPoint’s instructions, it took a little under 20 minutes to assemble the crossbow, all going smoothly with all parts fitting together easily. I then came to the instructions for the included noise-dampening kit and spent another 20 minutes disassembling the crossbow to install the dampeners to the barrel and stirrup, then re-assemble it.
Overall Length: 34.4 inches (with stirrup)
Axle-To-Axle Width: 17.6 inches (uncocked)
Weight: 6.8 pounds
Kinetic Energy: N/A
Speed: 370 fps
Draw Weight: 185 pounds
Power Stroke: 13.4 inches