Crossbow Hunting: Barnett Wildcat Crossbow
Written by: Kim Lockhart, Copyright.
Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow, Review:
The Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow is one of the best selling crossbows of all time. We tested the Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow in our search for the best dollar value hunting crossbow. While this crossbow is affordable, it is truly a great value for the money spent, as it is, accurate, lightweight, very easy to use, well built, ambidextrous for right or left handed users and compact.
This crossbow has a revolutionary crank cocking attachment built right into the stock, which is offered as an option. The crank cocker only requires 17 lbs. of force to cock the crossbow. There are two key points I would like to make here. First, if you install the crank assembly in the Barnett Wildcat C5, the instructions are a bit vague I feel, the drum assembly that the cocking string winds onto comes apart so it can be installed and this is not illustrated in the instructions. The second point is this, the crank installs right side and or left side to accomodate either right or left handed shooters, very admirable feature. The black cheekpiece pads pop off for the crank installation. The crank installs on the opposite side of where your face meets the stock for shooting.
The worst thing to have happen to a crossbow is accidentally firing the crossbow with no arrow locked in place. The older Wildcat C5 crossbows did not have this new feature. The new feature is the (Anti Dry Fire) trigger that protects the user from shooting the crossbow without having an arrow in place. The Anti Dry Fire Trigger has a spring loaded redundant safety bar that remains in place until the arrow is seated properly, which then finally allows the user to switch the safety off and shoot the crossbow, another admirable feature.
Technical specifications of the Barnett Wildcat C5
- 150 lb. draw weight
- 12" powerstroke
- 302 fps. - 400 gr. arrow (our velocity test)
- 81 ft.lbs. arrow energy (derived from our test velocity).
Dimensions of the Barnett Wildcat C5 are
- 5.9 lbs stripped weight,
- 8.5 lbs loaded weight (scope - quiver - arrows - sling),
- 35.5" length,
- 26.75" width,
- 37" string length.
Our review of this crossbow did find that the Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow is a medium velocity crossbow, with minimum arrow drop out to 30 yards. Medium velocity means the Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow will drive arrows of various weights between 275 feet per second to 325 feet per second velocity. Our choice of arrow set-up had a velocity of 302 feet per second offering enough arrow energy for hunting cape buffalo, brown bear and grizzly bear.
I mounted a Bushnell 4-power x 32mm rimfire scope on the Wildcat C5 crossbow and sighted it dead on at 25 yards as this would have a mid range arrow trajectory of 3" high at 10 yards and a maximum point blank range of 3" low at 30 yards with a dead on center hold from 0 to 30 yards for deer hunting.
|300 Feet Per Second Arrow Velocity Trajectory Table:
|+ 2" High
||+ 3" High
||+ 3" High
||+ 2" High
||- 3" Low
Accuracy testing of the Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow by myself and others, revealed this crossbow quite easily grouped arrows into a 4" dot at 50 yards and tighter depending on wind direction and speed.
Warning: Do not try to shoot groups with this crossbow or you will destroy your arrows quickly.
Further shooting of the Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow at various ranges would reveal the below arrow drop figures:
From 30 yards to 35 yards, the arrow drop is an additional 5.4".
From 35 yards to 40 yards, the arrow drop is an additional 6.2".
From 40 yards to 45 yards, the arrow drop is an additional 7.2".
From 45 yards to 50 yards, the arrow drop is an additional 8.2".
Total arrow drop from 30 yards to 50 yards is 27".
Barnett does offer a multi-reticle crossbow scope in some of their Wildcat C5 crossbow packages, the scope will compensate the arrow trajectory as I outlined above by offering multiple aiming points. This scope is worth having mounted on the Wildcat C5 crossbow if you intend to shoot beyond 30 yards.
While product reviews tell us some of the story actual field conditions, use and field testing tell us another. We purchased the older Barnett Wildcat C5 in 2010 and it made its way into the deer hunting fields in the state of Ohio for the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons being used by my son-in-law who had no prior hunting experience at all.
The 2010 season the little Wildcat C5 crossbow was exposed to rain and snow conditions and pulled through quite well with no ill effects. My son-in-law would at this point understand the value of range estimation to target after several missed shots at white-tailed deer.
The 2011 season begins with the crossbow being shot and confirming zero which had not changed from the year before. The one thing that did change was my son-in-law now has a better understanding of ranging qualities of archery gear.
(Close is good, Closer is better.)
In the second week of the 2011 Ohio archery deer season, the phone rings and it is one very excited son-in-law, I got one and the next question was, what do I do now, answer, catch your breath, relax and I will be there shortly. Upon arrival at the scene it was quite clear that the 7/8" diameter trophy ridge broadheads were a very good choice for the the Barnett Wildcat Crossbow as the arrow passed completely through the deer, the deer traveled about 20 yards and piled up, a perfect double lung shot from a ground blind set-up.
While the story would be great if this first deer kill for this first time deer hunter had a rack that measured 180 inches however a 110 pound doe kill generates nearly the same excitement for first timers and I have to admit my excitement for my son-in-law was pretty over the top as well. Welcome to the brotherhood of deer hunters.
The 2012 season would see the Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow hit the range again for a confirmation of its zero and again it has not changed. The string is still in excellent condition and at this point this crossbow has been shot a lot with no real visible signs of wear on any parts. Unfortunately this season would pass by with very little hunting time for my son-in-law.
The 2013 season would see this crossbow at the range one more time, this time the crossbow was about 1 1/2" off its zero, a couple more shots and its dead on. This season sees for the first time this young hunter thirsting for his first buck kill and a strong determination to accomplish this. I believe a new deer hunter has entered the frey, and very welcomed from my point of view.
On November 4th, 2013 my phone rings once again with a very excited son-in-law, I did it, I got a buck, this time when I arrive at the scene, lying on the ground is a good two year old six point buck with one very shaky son-in-law standing there saying I did it I actually got a buck. Congratulations Caleb you are now a deer hunter that any dad would be proud to call son.
Once again the little Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow comes through with another complete pass through double lung shot, the deer in this case traveled an additional 35 yards before piling up. Perhaps one of the most important things in this review is the birth of a new deer hunter, Caleb. What drew his interest? A small lightweight crossbow that was fun to shoot, my daughter, son-in-law and grand-kids had a lot of fun shooting this crossbow hundreds of times in their back-yard. The Barnett Wildcat C5 in my opinion is one very solid crossbow that any deer hunter would appreciate to own.