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

How to sight a crossbow?
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
- Can take down almost any game in the US from a good 40+ yards
- 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
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Jackal Manual: Download PDF

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
  • 3-red-dot sight
  • Detachable quiver for your arrows
  • Quiver attachment platform
  • All the hex keys, bolts and screws required for assembly
  • A tube of wax
  • Instruction & Safety manual
  • Warranty card (5 year, limited)

Assembling the Barnett Jackal 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 barnett jackal crossbow packagescrews. Afterwards I inserted cable slide and then the string and cables into the
/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.

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 3-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 3-red-dot sights. I then tightened the mounting side plates so the sight would not fall off, and was ready for some serious shooting.

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 – I recommend the rope aid from Jandao, as it’s extra long and very affordable.

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.

Barnett Jackal Crossbow ReviewThe 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 3-red-dot scope 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. Other users of this crossbow report remarkable power as well, so I’m not alone on this one.

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.

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 85 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 2 ft. lbs. per 10 yards) from longer ranges, so a 30-yard shot would probably net you around 79 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.

The Barnett Jackal Sight

As I already mentioned, the package came with a 3-dot red dot sight. 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 really accurate out of the box, and you’ll need minimal effort to zero it @20 yards for the top-most dot – 3 to 5 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 ruin out of juice in the field – not fun at all!

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 Barnett Jackal Crossbow 2glued-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 – they cost a little over $30.

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.

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.

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.

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review – Summary

This is the finest crossbow you can get in the $200 – $400 range. 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. If you like the Jackal, take a quick look at the excellent discount and customer ratings on Amazon.


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.

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