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My Second Crossbow: A Review of the Wicked Ridge Raider CLS Crossbow

January 8, 2013
By Travis R. Hunt - OVO Pro Staff , Ohio Valley Outdoors

One does not forget their first. their first car, their first house or their first gun. My first car was a Chevy Chevette, my first house that I owned was 1008 square feet and my first gun was a bolt action 22 caliber rifle. Don't get me wrong, I hold a special place in my heart for each of these items. However, if there is a problem with someone's first, the problem is that you usually had to sacrifice having more because of lack of money or lack of knowledge or both. This same thought is true when I think about my hunting tools. Besides my knowledge and skills, I truly depend on my hunting tools, specifically my crossbow and my hunting tower, to give me any advantage I can, when going head to head with the whitetail deer.

In my fledgling days of exploring the woods of Ohio, my crossbow was a 2001 Horton Legend XL, and my hunting blind was a hand-made tower on the edge of a clover field. I can say nothing ill of my Horton other than it was 'oh so loud' and a bit bulky. I can say nothing ill of my tower other than it was cold and the wooden floor "popped" in the morning if the evening before dropped below 32 degrees. Never the less, I brought home venison from the combination of that crossbow and that tower.

Fast forward 12 years, I am older, wiser and have a few more pennies than I had back then. This combination was the catalyst that brought me to decide to "upgrade" to my second crossbow and my second blind. With this said, money remains a constant, and with five children to feed and educate, my goal was to keep each purchase under $1,000. Through my research and recommendation from industry insiders, I settled on two products: the TenPoint Wicked Ridge Raider CLS crossbow ( and the Shadow Hunter Wild One Series blind. This article is specific to my review of the Wicked Ridge Raider CLS. I will discuss the Shadow Hunter Wild One blind next issue. I based my decision to ultimately select the Raider on the following factors: 1. TenPoint crossbows are made in Ohio; 2. TenPoint has an exceptional reputation in the archery industry; 3. TenPoint carries a respectable warranty and; 4. TenPoint has a variety of crossbows to choose from.

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The author with a TenPoint Wicked Ridge Raider CLS crossbow.

With this said, I received a new TenPoint Raider in the box. The directions were acceptable and I assembled the Raider in about 15 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to find the box contained a field kit that consisted of a quiver assembly, three aluminum arrows with field points, and a sling. A field kit is a nice addition; however, the Raider comes with a mounted TenPoint 3x multi-line scope. After I applied oil to the trigger and two cams, lube to the rail and wax to the string I was ready to shoot. I do not shoot aluminum arrows, so I purchased a six pack of Carbon Express flat knock 22" carbon arrows and applied the 100 grain field points.

The Raider looks like it is up to the task as it is dressed in synthetic Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity camouflage with built-in ACU-52 cocking devices and a scope. The body is not carbon fiber as with more expensive TenPoint products, but it has a single molded stock with 12-inch IsoTaper limbs and efficient MR cams. This creates a weapon that is able to shoot arrows up to 330 fps. The Raider has a 12.37-inch power stroke, is 37.75 inches long, weighs 7 pounds and is 20.75 inches wide.

Before I went much farther down this path, I placed a telephone call to TenPoint customer service and discussed the semantics of sighting in the Raider's scope. They assured me that the Raider left the factory bore sighted and the arrow would be "on paper." Honestly, I was skeptical and a few minutes later I put their word to the test. I sent a group of three arrows down range at 20 yards and they were all between 6 and 8 inches directly above center. Bore sighting is a beautiful thing when it works. Then I walked the arrows in. I ultimately settled one inch above center. After exploring the woods, sitting in my blind and slinging more arrows down range I offer the following opinions.

Fact Box

"Besides my knowledge and skills, I truly depend on my hunting tools, specifically my crossbow and my hunting tower, to give me any advantage I can, when going head to head with the whitetail deer."

The Pros:

Performance - Perhaps the most important indication of a quality crossbow is its ability to shoot accurately and consistently. My Raider was both accurate and consistent. not to mention bore sighted from the factory.

Trigger and safety - The Raider boast a sensitive 3 pound trigger. A sensitive trigger is essential for accuracy in archery as well as firearms. Additionally the trigger has a built-in ambidextrous dry-fire inhibitor safety (DFI). I am left handed so this was particularly convenient. More importantly the DFI will save your crossbow from an often catastrophic dry fire.

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TenPoint 3x multi-line scope - The scope features a reticle with three duplex crosshairs. The crosshairs are positioned to synchronize with arrow flight at 20, 30 and 40 yards. The scope was bright in sunlight and as I expected, significantly more dull as the day gave way to dusk. The issue I have with the scope is simply one of preference. I prefer a red-dot device on my crossbow. I could easily remove the scope and mount my red dot or a new Trijicon Crossbow Acog if I choose.

The Cons:

Noise - I did not have the capability in the field to measure the decibels when an arrow exploded from the Raider. Before my initial shot I anticipated a quiet or at least a more quiet than I was accustomed to in a crossbow. I was disappointed that the Raider was not, in my opinion, a quiet crossbow. I know that Ten Point and other crossbow manufacturers market noise and vibration dampening attachments. Maybe this would help the Raider.

And the Indifferent:

ACU-52 - The ACU52 is a built-in cocking device consisting of housings on each side of the stalk, two retractable drawstring ropes, hooks and handles. This is conveniently located and reduces the draw weight by half. The only complaints I had about the ACU-52 was after drawing the crossbow I accidently let go of one drawstring before it was retracted into the housing. This definitely made a noise that would wake the woods on a frozen Ohio morning. This was my fault, but the scary part is that I can picture this happening at the most inopportune time. To take this a step further, the ropes did not always retract flush into the housing, I often had to manipulate each handle to fit flush against the stock.

In summary, the TenPoint Raider CLS is a bold addition to the 2012 Wicked Ridge line of "affordable" crossbows. The package is priced at $799 at both Cabela's and Gander Mountain. The Raider was a pleasure to assemble and shoot and remained accurate after hiking in the woods and climbing into treestands. The crossbow may be a little noisy. If you desire you can spend a lot more money to purchase a crossbow that is a little bit quieter. This extra money may very well not be worth the benefit.

I was impressed with the Raider and just as impressed with TenPoint's customer service. For under $800 you will be the proud owner of TenPoint performance and quality. I am sure to see a few Raider's in the woods of Ohio this hunting season; after all, one will likely be in my hands.



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