Package & Features
The name harkens back to the classic original wooden Barnett Wildcat from a generation ago, but apart from the name, the affordable price might be the only thing this latest incarnation has in common with the original. In one respect – mass weight – it is very comparable to Barnett’s CarbonLite series. A mass weight of 7 pounds even puts it in the same ballpark with all the CarbonLite bows except the Razr and the Raptor Reverse, which weigh half-a-pound less.
The obvious comparison is with last year’s Wildcat C5. Apart from the price and the power stroke, the Wildcat C6 offers numbers that are smaller across the board: a 125-pound draw weight compared to 150 for the C5; a total length which, at 35-3/4 inches, is ¼ inch shy of the C5; and a significantly more compact width at 17-¼ inches compared to 28 inches for the C5. Despite the more compact size, the C6 boasts a power stroke of 14.12 inches, compared to 12-¼ inches for the C5. The moderate price of $399 matches that of the camo C5, though a black version of the C5 sells for $349.
Though similar in overall design and appearance and sharing some of the same components (such as the Picatinny rails), the Wildcat C6 features a magnesium riser compared to the aluminum riser of the C5. The R.T.H. package of the Wildcat C6 comes with a rope cocker in addition to the quiver and three arrows. It also features a 4 x 32 scope. It is pretty much ready to hunt.
The scope offers five reticles, thin but crisp. There is no light on the scope, but light transmission seems sufficient. The scope comes with see-through protective caps. The three-arrow quiver is light, durable and quiet, and it mounts easily on a bracket beneath the crossbow.
The matte-black finish, Picatinny rails and cut-out stock contribute to the AR look that is trendy these days. Fit and finish were not an issue – I found no visible flaws or machining marks, though there was a small burr on the pass-through portion of the stock that I would sand off before using the crossbow regularly. Logos on either side of the shooting rail add a little contrast and dress the bow up a bit.
Shooting The Bow/General Observations
At 7 pounds the Wildcat C6 is not heavy, nor is it super light. Weight is a little forward, but the balance is such that many hunters could shoot this crossbow offhand at closer ranges. The stock and the foregrip are not adjustable, but it was comfortable for my 6-foot frame and would probably be more so for shorter hunters. A cheekpiece puts the scope at eye level. Cocking using the rope cocker was, as you might expect for a 125-pound crossbow, very easy. An optional crank cocker is available, though the owner’s manual indicates that the rope cocker is the preferred method for cocking the Wildcat C6.
The trigger is excellent, with a slight amount of travel and a crisp breakover. There is a slight click when the safety is turned off, just enough to ensure that it’s no longer engaged and not loud enough to spook game at anything more than a few yards away. This is a quiet crossbow, even without string stops or silencers. There is a negligible amount of vibration at the shot, but all in all this is a very comfortable crossbow to shoot.
I particularly like the pass-through grip which, together with the flared finger guard, makes an accident unlikely even for a distracted shooter.
My first few shots from 20 yards grouped the arrows about an inch to the left of the 2-inch bull’s-eye. A couple of tweaks to adjust windage put every arrow in the bull’s-eye. As with any crossbow scope, the five-reticle scope atop the Wildcat took me a little time at the range to determine at which distance each reticle is dead on. I’ve become accustomed to shooting lighted scopes, but I had no difficulty seeing the reticles or shooting accurately with this scope and would not expect this to be an issue in any but the lowest-light conditions.
I hesitate to describe a crossbow as excellent for beginners, because my belief is that if it’s excellent for beginners, it’s excellent for anyone. The safety features, easy cocking and affordable price do indeed make this crossbow an excellent choice for beginning crossbow shooters. Those are all qualities any crossbow shooter can appreciate, though, in addition to which the Wildcat C6 is reasonably fast, pleasant to shoot, quiet and accurate. It is a fairly no-frills crossbow, which offers some advantages in itself. How much faster, lighter, prettier or more feature-packed a particular crossbow is worth is something every hunter will decide for himself, but the bottom line is that the Wildcat C6 is a very effective crossbow at a great price.
Instructions include large illustrations and are easy to follow (which is more than can be said for many crossbows), but assembly of the Wildcat C6 is about as close to intuitive as I’ve seen for any crossbow, and all the parts fit together easily without a lot of jimmying or force. I assembled the Wildcat C6 in less than 20 minutes, and that included about 10 minutes of adjusting the scope to get ideal eye relief.
Overall Length: 35.75 inches
Axle-To-Axle Width: 17.25 inches (uncocked)
Weight: 7 pounds
Kinetic Energy: 91 ft. lbs.
Speed: 320 fps
Draw Weight: 125 pounds
Power Stroke: 14.12 inches