Ravin R26 Crossbow

Archery dynamite comes in a tiny package
; .

The Ravin R26 is one of the most compact, accurate, hard-shootin’ crossbows
available and perfect for gun hunters who want to “moonlight” with a bow.

It would be difficult not to see the rise in popularity of crossbows today. From television advertisements on outdoor channels to magazine ads, crossbows have proliferated during recent years. Outdoor gear catalogs have several pages of crossbows ranging from entry-level all the way to high-end models. Crossbows are here to stay and the technology behind them paves the way to some mighty impressive innovation.

Many states, like Missouri where I reside, allow crossbow use during archery season. For folks who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, this provides a lot of hunting time compared to rifle seasons alone. The Missouri archery season opens around the middle of September and runs all the way to the middle of January. This gives hunters ample opportunity to hunt pre-rut, rut and post-rut for our most popular big game animal — whitetail deer. You can also use crossbows during turkey season, adding a new dimension to your outdoor experience.

There are many of us who won’t tackle hunting with traditional bows for a variety of reasons. I’ve got a bad shoulder and it’s painful to draw a bow. To be proficient at any method of hunting — especially archery — a lot of practice is mandatory and I’m unable to pull a bowstring enough to qualify. The crossbow allows folks like me the opportunity to spend quality time hunting during archery season. My wife also enjoys hunting with the crossbow so it’s nice we can spend time together chasing deer and turkey on our farm.


The safety and cocking mechanism are ambidextrous. The ability to
de-cock the Ravin means no shooting after dark to unload!

The included Ravin scope is specifically calibrated for the crossbow
and includes aiming points out to 100 yards.

Eye Catching

I’d been researching crossbows for quite some time and hadn’t made a decision when I stumbled across something new and interesting in the Velocity Outdoor booth at a trade show. Hanging on the wall was a really short, compact crossbow by Ravin. This wicked-looking item caught my attention and, after handling it, I had to try it out.

The overall length is only 26″ and to say it’s compact would be an understatement. The axle width is only 5.75″ when cocked and 9.25″ un-cocked, making it the shortest and narrowest high-performance crossbow made. The little jewel weighs only 6.5 lbs. so you won’t feel like you’re packing a log around all day.

When I received the Ravin R26, I was like a little kid at Christmas. I’ve watched TV commercials where someone is shooting groups at 100 yards with the Ravin and now I had one to try out!

There are many attributes enhancing the overall performance in this crossbow. The frictionless flight system is just one of them. HeliCoil technology allows the arrow and string to free float above the rail, eliminating friction. This design provides consistent accuracy and increases the life of the string. The system keeps both cams perfectly level when drawing and shooting. Rail friction decreases arrow speed while increasing inconsistent launch.

One particular feature I appreciated was the cocking system. This ultra-compact integrated mechanism is built into the stock design and I found cocking the Ravin to be easy. The system is ambidextrous and you can de-cock the crossbow without having to shoot it in to a practice target — a handy feature indeed!

Another unique feature is the Trac-Trigger firing system. This built-in mechanism slides forward on the rail, clasping directly to the exact center of the string each and every time the bow is drawn. The Trac-Trigger automatically activates the safety when the bow reaches full draw. The trigger breaks clean every time.

My test unit arrived with a 100-yard illuminated 1.5-5X Ravin scope. It’s a slick-looking optic measuring less than 9″ and fits perfectly on the Picatinny-style rail. The scope had rings already attached and mounting was painless. This optic has aiming points from 20 to 100 yards and the clarity was superb.

Six Ravin practice arrows with 100-grain field points and specialized nocks were also included. A quiver and mounting bracket also come standard. For those hunters who wish to carry their bow with a sling, built-in sling mounts are standard. The fully assembled and pre-tuned Ravin was now ready for the range and I was anxious to see how well it would perform.


The Ravin is extremely compact, measuring only 9.25" axle to axle.

The Ravin may be a tiny package, but it packs a deadly downrange punch.

Arrows On Target

I set up a 20-yard target at our farm and, utilizing the 20-yard crosshair, I began to shoot groups, adjusting the scope after each group. It wasn’t long before the Ravin was delivering bolts with excellent accuracy. I found the crossbow extremely easy to cock using the integral crank. After sighting-in at 20 yards, I moved back to 30 and 40 yards. The scope, designed specifically for the Ravin, was right on the money using the dots marked for every 10 yards out to 100. I was both surprised and impressed with the accuracy at all ranges. The Ravin was not only fun, but easy to operate.

After the range session I was ready to take the Ravin hunting (after all, I didn’t get this baby for punching targets). Turkey season was in full swing. I’d already called a big tom up for my wife earlier in the season, so now it was my turn. Karen also wanted to go with me and watch the crossbow in action.


Mark took this big gobbler at 33 yards with one well-placed shot from the Ravin R26 crossbow.

Gobbler Glory

Before daylight, we’d set up quite a way off in the distance. As we sat in our blind, two coyotes, nine deer and a lot of squirrels entertained us. About an hour had passed when I heard a gobbler open up not far away. A few calls later we spotted him at the end of a field — probably 150 yards away.

It was quite a show watching him strut all the way across the field. There was a puddle of water in front of us and I used it as a marker. If the big bird would make it to the puddle, I was ready to launch a bolt. It took a while and my heart started beating faster the closer he came. Using the 30-yard crosshair, I set the mark on the bird, hoping he would turn to the side. He did — and I squeezed the trigger.

The bolt caught him through the wing and into his vitals. The bird flopped momentarily and it was time to notch my tag. It had been a wonderful morning in the woods and the Ravin performed like a champ.


After shooting Mark’s Ravin, Steve plans to get his own before fall deer season.

Archery Envy

When my lifelong friend Steve found out I’d taken a turkey, he asked to shoot the Ravin as we’d been talking about getting a crossbow for deer. After Steve shot it himself, he immediately told me he’d have one before archery deer season opened. It now looks like both of us will be hunting with one this fall.

If you’re in the market for a crossbow, the Ravin just might be up your alley. It’s compact, easy to carry, painless to cock (or de-cock) and impressively accurate. We think it’s going to fill a freezer or two with venison this fall. In the meantime, Steve and I are having fun practicing.


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