The Gearhead X16 is a 70-, 90- or 125-pound draw-weight crossbow with a hearty 16-inch powerstroke, and yet weighs an industry-low 4.5 pounds bare. Still, when first picking it up, I assumed that ultralight weight meant a louder crossbow. And at the 125-pound max draw weight, the X16 probably lobs arrows like a beer-league softball pitcher, right? Wrong on both counts.
The X16 Carbon Fiber, although the lightest crossbow I’ve ever tested, also ties for the quietest, measuring 95.4 decibels on my unofficial sound meter. The X16 I tested wasn’t equipped with any string silencers, so this crossbow could easily be even quieter. It recorded speeds slightly over the company’s claimed 340 fps with a 324-grain, 24-inch arrow.
The X16’s frame has a profile that’s more daylight than bow. This crossbow is intricately designed so all excess material is whittled away to leave only the necessary structure of the supporting frame. X16 Carbon Fiber’s frame is made almost entirely of, well, carbon fibers. Gearhead takes two sheets of rigid carbon fibers, computer- cuts them, and then attaches them together with over 40 bolts to form the crossbow’s frame. The X16’s frame forms the forend, barrel, receiver, grip and buttstock.
What differs is the crossbow’s carbon-fiber trigger bar that’s clearly visible within the bow’s cage-like frame. It extends 7 inches to connect the trigger pivot to the sear pivot. The trigger itself is made of heavily skeletonized aluminum. You’ll also notice the X16’s shoot-through riser is formed by a framed cage that protects the broadhead. The carbon fiber riser attaches to the frame of the crossbow by aluminum reinforcement, and the laminated limbs attach to the riser with a hinged pin system and support bridge in the middle before terminating at machined-aluminum cams on each axle. The X16’s metal-encased fire control system also features an anti-dryfire device.
For an additional several hundred dollars, customers can get one of two accessory packages. Besides an adjustable-power, multi-reticle scope, both packages include a removable quiver, six Gold Tip arrows, and a rope-cocker. The Performance Package Carbon Fiber X16 features a machined-aluminum adjustable buttstock. This crossbow comes standard with a vertical forend that’s borrowed from tactical firearms.
Although I suspect Gearhead will refine the X16 by making it smaller yet, and work out a few of the frame’s edges to make it more ergonomic, it’s already an amazing crossbow that delivers all the performance of bows weighing nearly twice as much. It’s whisper-quiet, deadly accurate and as feathery as a whippoorwill.
For more information, please visit Gearhead Archery’s Website.