Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package
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150 lbs.12"315 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"35.5" / 7.7 lbs.
- Best crossbow for a rank beginner looking for an affordable model
- Very cheap for such a powerful compound xbow – can’t beat the value
- Enough kinetic energy for any legal game in the US
- Package includes everything you need to get started immediately
- Automated safety prevents dry firing
- Military-style stock; very comfortable and looks plain cool

- Package does not include a rope cocking device
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
Today's Online Prices:Compare Prices
Also Recommended:Best Barnett Crossbows
Jackal Ballistic DataSee Charts (up to 50 yds)

Package Contents & Assembly

Welcome to our Barnett Jackal Crossbow review. After ordering this model online, I waited 2 days before I received my package. Inside it I found the following parts:

  • The Jackal compound crossbow (stock + bow)
  • Three 20″ arrows with attachable field points
  • red-dot sight
  • Detachable quiver for your arrows
  • Quiver attachment platform
  • All the hex keys, bolts and screws required for assembly
  • Instruction & Safety manual
  • Warranty card (5 year, limited)

Assembling the Barnett Jackal ( link) took me around 10 minutes, which is pretty fast considering it’s a compound crossbow. I followed the installation instructions and attached the quiver bracket to the bottom of the stock with the provided screws. Afterwards I inserted cable slide and then the string and cables into the cams/limbs as specified on one of the pictures in the manual, and then pushed the riser into the stock until it “clicked,” signifying a successful attachment, which I later reinforced with the hex bolt included in the package.

Jackal Box Contents

Now came the time to install the foot stirrup; I simply had to insert it into the opening at the front of the crossbow and then secure it with the included screws. All that was left now is attaching the red-dot sight; I placed it onto the mount and moved it around a bit until it was around 3-4″ inches away from my eye (when in shooting position), which is standard practice for red-dot sights. I then tightened the mounting side plates so the sight would not fall off, and was ready for some serious shooting.

Jackal 1

Preparing To Shoot & Specs

First thing I did was lubricate the string and cables on the Jackal; it is advised to do so every 5 arrows fired at the most – it’s much easier to do than you could imagine.  I personally prefer using flat nocks on my crossbow arrows, however Barnett recommends using half-moon nocks in their manual, which I can live with :)

I placed my foot in the stirrup and cocked it it easily by hand, without using a rope. This crossbow has 150 lbs. of draw weight, however don’t let that fool you – it fires 20″ carbon arrows with a speed of 315 feet per second, more than enough to kill pretty much anything you’ll come across, and definitely more than enough for target practice. As soon as the Jackal is cocked, the anti-dry-firing mechanism is activated, which automatically places the crossbow into “safety-lock” mode. If dead-lifting 150 pounds each time you need to cock the crossbow sounds like a chore, then I recommend getting a rope cocking device to make the job much easier.

Jackal 2

Accuracy & Power

I lined up for the shot, with my target being a home-made “penguin” (basically a nylon bag filled with lots of cardboard). I was roughly 60 yards away from the target. The trigger pull is roughly 3.5 lbs., which felt perfect to me – just enough to prevent accidental firing, and just enough that you can push the trigger without struggling.

The crossbow was pretty loud, but that is to be expected from such a powerful weapon. My arrow landed around 1″ away from the bulls-eye, and that’s despite me not having even sighted the red-dot sight that came with the Jackal. The arrow went so deep in that I literally had to use my whole body weight to get it out from the bag, and I’m now considering getting something new to use as a target as I don’t think my current “penguin” will survive long enough while being under fire from this weapon.

Jackal Cam 1

Where hunting is concerned, you can take out pretty much anything with the Barnett Jackal. On my first attempt from a 40 yard distance I took down an Elk with no trouble at all, and I expect it could be done from much, much further than that (maybe even 50+ yards), though I would not attempt it as I do not trust my aim to be as accurate as needed at such a distance. But if you can land the arrow properly, I’m sure it will kill it.

The Jackal is a surprisingly powerful crossbow, and it’s much more accurate than I expected it to be, considering the price.

Barnett Jackal Ballistic Data

ballistic-1 Ballistic-3 Ballistic-2

To receive instant free access to our ballistic data for the Barnett Jackal (arrow speed and kinetic energy reduction for up to 50 yards out), we kindly ask that you subscribe to our free crossbow hunting e-mail notifications. As a subscriber, Mark will send you a few e-mails per month about:

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Just provide your e-mail below to subscribe and instantly receive a link to the Jackal Ballistic test charts:

Kinetic Energy Of The Barnett Jackal

Of course, what you really want to know is how much hitting power the Barnett Jackal punches with. This crossbow will hit your target at around 315 FPS, assuming you’re shooting at point blank range. That translates out to around 90 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy from point blank range with 400-grain arrows. Bear in mind, you’ll see some drop-off of your kinetic energy (approximately 3% per 10 yards) from longer ranges, so a 30-yard shot would net you around 82 ft. lbs. of stopping power. This is still more than enough to take down even the toughest North American game, including Cape Buffalo and grizzly bears.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Jackal Stock

The Barnett Jackal Sight

As I already mentioned, the package came with a red dot sight (although I did mount my scope onto it later, hence the scope in the pictures). The name “red” in this case is a little misleading, as you can choose between both red and green, and pick from among five different brightness settings, depending on your preference. The sight is fairly accurate out of the box, and you’ll need minimal effort to zero it – 5 to 10 arrows shot is all it will take. I recommend that you always carry a spare battery with you, in case the one that comes with the sight were to run out of juice in the field – not fun at all!

See our detailed guide on how to sight-in your crossbow

Jackal Trigger

The Arrows In The Box

My Barnett Jackal came with 3x Easton, 20 inch carbon arrows. Included with the arrows were three attachable field points, which I was happy about – some crossbows, particularly the cheaper models, come with arrows which have glued-in field points, so if you want to go hunting you’ll need to get completely new arrows that can accept broad-heads. In this case however, and if you want to hunt, just buy a set of 3 high quality broad-heads from Barnett ( link).

As for the arrows, they are very durable – definitely more so than the arrows that come with the Arrow Precision Inferno Fury. They can take a beating and will last you a long time, unless you are constantly shooting from short ranges such as 10 yards or less.

Barnett recommends using either 18″ or 20″ arrows with the Jackal, though I prefer sticking with the 20 inchers as they seem to fit just right onto the rail of the crossbow. I’m sure the 18″ will work just fine too, otherwise Barnett wouldn’t be recommending them; it’s just a matter of preference. You can obviously store the three arrows in the quiver, which you can easily detach when marching through the woods.

You can also learn more about crossbow arrows and take a look at our broadhead recommendations

Durability & Construction

Just a few quick words here. I really enjoyed the stock on the Barnett Jackal; it holds EXACTLY like a regular military rifle. The grooves in the grip make it exceptionally comfortable to hold, kind of like those old gaming joysticks on gaming consoles. Recoil is minimal despite the high FPS, though it is a bit loud, as already mentioned.

Jackal Limbs

As for durability — Barnett would never release a crossbow made of anything less than perfect materials, so I’m not even going to bore you with the details. In short: it’s as durable as a crossbow can get. What you should be worrying about is the durability of your target, and whether it will be able to handle the devastating force that the Jackal will unleash upon it :)

What Crossbow Case Fits The Barnett Jackal?

This is a fairly small crossbow, so it will fit into most cases. As far as recommendations go, a very cheap and affordable one is the Barnett Case (Model 17083), which you can get for around $50 – it will fit the Jackal perfectly even with the sight on. A comparably good but somewhat cheaper alternative is the Allen Company case.

Jackal Front

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review – Summary

This is the finest low budget compound crossbow you can buy. It also happens to be the model that we would recommend to absolutely any beginner, regardless of whether they want to hunt or shoot just for fun. You should not take this to mean that this is a crossbow for beginners only, however; it’s just as good a choice for intermediate and advanced crossbow-shooters, basically for everyone looking for great power, accuracy, and safety, at an affordable price. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.


Add a Comment
  1. Thanks for the information I ordered A Barnett Jackal and I cant wait to get it can you email some information on some broadheads to use with this crossbow thank you

  2. Based on your review, and customer comments, I too have a Barnett Jackal on the way-I was able to get one with a 4×32 scope instead of the red dot. I always worry about the battery failing at the worst time! I look forward to hunting with this crossbow; last year with a Horton HD125 I hit a doe but did not kill her. I look forward to a little more zip in my bolt this year!

  3. What are the best broadheads to use for the jackal…I have the 20 inch carbon arrows that came with the package….Also do you know anything about the broadheads made in China

  4. I just got my Jackal this past week and it took 3 shots to get it sighted in at 20 yds. I am amazed at how accurate this x-bow is at the 20, 30 and 40 yd ranges ranges I have tried it at. It also seems to be very powerful as it shot two of the bolts clean through my straw bales! Whitetails, and all else, beware.

  5. I am a short woman. 5′. At my size, do you think the jackal the best option for me? As the child of a WWII vetera, & prior service USAF vet myself. I have been around guns most of my life, but am very new to the crossbow. I welcom any and all suggestions.


    1. I think it will be a good choice for you. btw, thanks for your service to our country… I was in the AF for six years as a crew chief on f-16s.

  6. I have had a Barnett Jackal for a little over three years. I have harvested a deer with it each year since I bought it. I am replacing the cables and string this year and taking it to Kentucky for a week long crossbow hunt. Very Pleased with it.

  7. I bought one a little over a yr ago! Just love it and got a couple deer with it last yr! Only thing I didn’t care for was the red dot,had a short in the light and would come on and off! So I talked with a veteran sniper and he told me to get a hawk scope.I did and now I’m splitting bolts at 30 and dirty yrs! A friend has a ten point and my bolts go as far in the target as his but mine was about 400 cheaper.Id buy another if I had to.

  8. I have had my Jackal for 3 years and I am amazed at it’s devasting impact at target. I thought about upgrading to a more advanced bow but when I saw that most higher priced bows had nothing on mine, I decided against it. Impact force and Accuracy were no different, besides much of accuracy depends on the shooter. I did however, upgrade my red dot for a Nikon Bolt XR 3 x 32 crossbow scope. It’s cross haired and zeroed at 20 yards and marked at every 10 yards to 50. The two together make a great combo for half the price of anything comparable.

    1. Mike, if you get any reply, please post or let me know, I need to quieten a very noisy Barnett Jackal too ! My Parker Tornado comes with factory string suppressors and is quiet. I want to quieten my son in law’s Jackal if possible.

  9. I’m looking at getting the Barnett Jackal or Barnett Brotherhood. I’ve read your reviews on both & they both seem really good for the range I’m looking. Do you have any extra thoughts on which would be best? This will be my first crossbow.

  10. I’ve had my Barnett jackal about one year and have harvested three deer. This morning in the stand went to shoot and The safety would not release then realize the bolt had slid forward about 1/4 to 1/2 inch moved it back, went to shoot And it still would not release it had moved forward again.
    Came home called Barnett and Matt was very helpful said the bolt retainer was too loose instructed me on how to tighten and said if I had shot it with the bolt loose the crossbow would have EXPLODED! thanks for the help Matt. Please check the bolt tightness before shooting that is a big reason they EXPLODE.Happy hunting and be SAFE

  11. Congratulations, you provide very high quality information, specially for people like myself (new to crossbows). I am buying this jackal model. I want to practice small game hunting (viscachas, ducks, partridge). Which broadhead would you recomend? The gamecrusher broad head recommended on your review maybe is too powerfull for small game? Though, the pro of these (as I think) would be that if I hit the animal, it will for sure get a fast death.

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