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Review of Barnett Wildcat C5 Hunting Crossbow

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Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow

This is my Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow. I added sling swivels so I could use a sling (great move). It came with the quiver and red/green dot sight "scope."

Photo copyright Russ Chastain.

The Bottom Line

The Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow doesn't quite match the specs Barnett has assigned to it, but it does the job anyhow. I used the included red/green dot "scope" and put two deer in the freezer in two trips to the woods, so I have to say it works for me.

It's a bit heavy and awkward, but I never met a crossbow that wasn't. This one will kill deer just as dead as a thousand-dollar crossbow, as long as you learn its limitations and hunt within them.

I like mine.


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  • Comfortable camo ambidextrous thumb-hole synthetic stock with large integral trigger guard.
  • Stock thumb hole is large and allows for easy maneuvering of the crossbow.
  • Wide-bottomed forearm with finger grooves and serrations make it easy to grip.
  • The cocking stirrup is rubber-coated, making it quiet and non-marring.
  • Barnett provided good customer service when I needed it.


  • No sling studs on stock. Had to add my own at a cost of about $10.
  • The trigger assembly is crude and can be unpredictable. Mine sucked until I deburred it.
  • The quiver can be awkward when attached, and mine fell off when I bumped it wrong.
  • Fails to achieve advertised velocity and energy. Weight & size doesn't quite match specs.


  • Compound split-limb crossbow rated at 150 lbs draw weight.
  • Mine came with quiver and red/green dot scope.
  • Weighs 8.6 pounds with red dot scope, sling, and LimbSaver Crossbow Silencer System installed (quiver not installed).
  • Length: 36.25 inches. Width: 27.75 inches (uncocked). Power stroke: 12 inches.
  • Claims 320 fps and 114 ft-lbs of energy, but with a 445-grain arrow (they recommend 450) it generates 290 fps and 83 ft-lbs.

Guide Review - Review of Barnett Wildcat C5 Hunting Crossbow

The Barnett Wildcat C5 crossbow has been good to me, although it was a bit of a wild ride at first.

While practicing with it and shooting some arrows through my chronograph, I got stupid and dry-fired it. 300 miles of driving later, I had visited Barnett's headquarters, where they replaced the limbs, limb bolts, wheels, axles, cables, string, and trigger, for $39.95 plus tax. Not bad.

During practice afterward, I found that my Satellite Mag-125 three-blade broadheads were flying erratically, and I knew I needed to do something about it - fast. Archery season was approaching rapidly.

A trip to a small archery shop left me with some Rage 2-blade broadheads and six new Horton Lightning Strike MX aluminum arrows. I soon determined that they would fly right, and my max range was 27 yards. Okey dokey.

Two trips to the deer woods left me with two dead deer - a nice fat doe and a respectable seven-point buck. Color me happy.

Prior to that, I determined that Barnett's claims for velocity and energy are inflated. They claim 320 fps (feet per second), and they recommend a total arrow weight of 450 grains. At 445 grains, my Wildcat produced 290 fps.

Energy claims are also off. Barnett claims 114 ft-lbs of energy for this crossbow. That number is apparently imaginary, since a 450-grain projectile driven at the (mythical) advertised speed of 320 fps only produces 102 ft-lbs. A real-life 445-grain bolt/broadhead combination driven at 290 fps puts out 83 ft-lbs.

Numbers aside, if you don't push the crossbow farther than you should, it will do just fine. Because my red/green dot scope has just one aiming point, I zeroed the bow so I could hold right on a deer's kill zone and hit where I'm aiming, from zero to a max range. Experimentation showed that my max range was 27 yards, and anything inside that range was theoretically dead meat.

Of the two deer I took with this crossbow during its first season, the farthest was at 23 yards, and his head now graces my living room wall.

I added sling swivels from Wal-Mart for about $10, drilling the holes with my Leatherman Juice CS4 multi-tool one evening in camp. I use a nylon sling with camo shoulder pad, and I attach the sling backwards (pad towards the butt) and carry the bow behind my back with the bow portion downward - uncocked, of course.

The crossbow is a bit heavy at 8.6 lbs without the quiver or arrow(s), but no hunting crossbow is very light. The addition of the sling made that weight easily manageable. I remove the sling when I'm in the stand.

I enjoy the rubber coating on the cocking stirrup, which allows me to keep my right hand on the grip of the stock and set the stirrup on the rail of whatever stand I'm in. The rubber makes it silent and non-marring.

The red/green dot scope that comes with it is a cheapo, but it works. Because it mounts on a narrow dovetail, adding a regular scope might be tough.

All in all, I like my Barnett Wildcat C5, and will continue to hunt with it whenever I get the chance.

- Russ Chastain



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