We’ve all heard of the Swiss folk hero William Tell’s uncanny aim in shooting an apple off his son’s head. The details, however, are a bit darker than Rossini’s upbeat operatic overture suggests. Legend has it that, after refusing to bow to the hat of the local Austrian lord named Gessler, Tell was arrested and sentenced to shoot an apple off of his own son’s head with a crossbow. The terms were simple: if he made the shot successfully, he’d be set free. If he refused, both Tell and his boy would be executed. Tell proved himself an expert marksman and split the apple. (Shortly after, he would do the same to Gessler, which sparked a revolt against Austria.) Of course, Tell’s feat and the legend were particularly impressive because he used a primitive weapon of the era (the fourteenth century). Were he asked to do the same today, it would be just as nerve-rattling, but at least our hero could use the most advanced crossbow incarnation known to target shooters—the Tenpoint Phantom Xtra compound crossbow—to help him hit his mark.
Made in the U.S.A., every aspect of the Phantom is engineered to increase precision, dampen noise and absorb vibration during execution, making it perhaps the quietest crossbow on the market, hence the name.
Ready: Load the Phantom by putting the crossbow on the ground, slipping your foot in the stirrup bar, pulling the bow string upward and then placing the bolt in the arrow shaft. Full cocking requires 185 pounds of draw weight pressure on the bow string, but an integrated ACUdraw device can assist you in the drawing process if needed.
Aim: Steady the solid maple stock against your shoulder like a rifle. A 3x Pro-View scope will give you a showing of ranges with accuracies precise enough to shoot a cigar out of someone’s mouth from up to 50 yards away.
Fire: Smooth trigger action quietly launches an arrow through the air with enough force to pass through two deer easily.
Only recently have crossbow hunting laws been relaxed as exploding deer populations across the country have convinced local legislators to allow the crossbow’s use during archery season. If you’re not a hunter, the Phantom is great for target practice or perhaps a peasant uprising in your local fief, but at $2,500, it’s doubtful that the proletariat will be using the Phantom anytime soon.