March 23 03:07 AM
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Darton crossbow review needs clarification

Dear Mr. Woods-N-Water News:

I am writing you this letter in response to an article that was written in the September 2009 issue titled "Hot and Deadly Crossbows" written by Darren Warner in attempt to clear up a few points.

I read the article and wanted to address the statement that Mr. Warner made regarding Darton Archery's crossbow: " I was a little disappointed in the amount of recoil I felt after each shot."

As a result of several conversations I have had with people in the search of a crossbow, I have concluded that many people have a negative feeling about the Darton line that needs clearing up.

The recoil that is referred to is the result of one of Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion "each action has an equal and opposite reaction." Darton bows have the limbs mounted at an angle with little deflex "pointing nearly straight away from the barrel or rail." The limbs are mounted this way so that the string is forward on the rail creating a very short brace height. This gives the bow one of the longest power-strokes in the industry. Bows with a short brace height are faster because they have a longer powerstroke.

When the bow is fired the Darton limbs are thrust forward instead of to the sides, the reaction is a slight amount of recoil. Darton could mount the limbs more parallel to the barrel as other crossbow manufacturers do, but then the bow would have to be longer and heavier.

To emphasize my point, the TenPoint Defender that Mr. Warner gave a more favorable rating to is 175 lb. in draw weight and, according to TenPoint's website; the Defender shoots a 425 gr. arrow 330 fps with 101 foot pounds of kinetic energy.

A Darton Lightning 175 lb. will shoot a 420 grain arrow 378 fps with the same weight bow. That amounts to 48 fps faster for the same draw weight. With a 475 gr. arrow the Lightning will shoot 362 fps and with a 525 grain arrow will shoot 346 fps with 140 ft lbs of kinetic energy. With a 525 grain arrow, that is 100 grains heavier than the Defender's arrow, the Lightning still shoots 16 fps faster.

The Darton Blazer/Phazer at 160 lb. - ten lbs less of draw weight - shoots a 425 grain arrow 350 fps for a kinetic energy value of 115 foot lbs.

The Darton Lightning is offered in the same price range as the Defender and the Blazer is offered in the $600 range.

People often comment on the noise level on crossbows. The reason that crossbows are noisy is that they do not transfer energy to the arrow as efficiently as a compound bow.

For example, a 60 lb. bow shooting a 425 grain arrow equals 7.08 grains of arrow weight per pound of draw weight. Then compare that to a 170 lb. crossbow with a 425 grain arrow equals 2.5 grains of arrow weight per pound. The noise you hear is energy dissipating in the form of noise and vibration. This applies to all bows.

It should be also noted Darton has continually produced bows since 1964. They have manufactured compound bows since the late 1960s and crossbows for about 16 years. Darton is the inventor of the Hybrid cam. From that invention they have licensed technology to other companies that have then produced such cams as the BowTech Binary cam, the Hoyt cam and a half, and the PSE X force cam just to name a few. I have included this information about the cams to illustrate that Darton has made huge contributions to the development of the compound bow industry wide.

There are always tradeoffs in engineering, most people who want a crossbow generally want fast flat trajectory to make hitting at distance easier and lesson the chance of a deer ducking an arrow. In late 2006, the 2 1/2 cam was invented. This, in effect, made the one cam type systems obsolete. Proof of this is other companies attempting to develop two cam systems.

Finally, the issues with the arrow inserts Mr. Warner mentioned were not Darton's product, Darton does not make arrows and the orders with the company responsible for manufacturing the arrows were canceled.


John Maus

John Maus
November 03, 2009

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