Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow Review (Black)

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Barnett Wildcat C5 Package

Barnett Wildcat C5
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150 lbs.13"320 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"35.2" / 8.5 lbs.
- Superior quality for a good price
- Equally suitable for hunting and target practice
- Deadly and accurate at well over 50 yards shooting distance
- Very durable stock and ergonomic design
- Comes with solid and durable arrows
- Made in the USA

- Package doesn't include rope cocking device
- Included sight is of average quality
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Barnett Crossbow
Wildcat C5 Manual:Download PDF

Package Contents & Assembly

Welcome to our Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow review. Opening your package will reveal the following items inside:

  • Wildcat C5 crossbow (limbs, stock, string and cables)
  • 3x 20 inch arrows with field points
  • Four-arrow quiver with mount
  • Foot stirrup
  • 3-Dot Red dot scope
  • Barnett string wax
  • Assembly hardware including bolts and hex keys
  • Assembly & Usage manual
  • Warranty card (5 years, limited)

For a compound crossbow, the Barnett Wildcat C5 is very easy to assemble, even if you’ve never used a crossbow before.  As usual you start by attaching the quiver mount to the bottom of the stock using the included screws and key. Next slide the riser onto the stock, and fasten it using the largest of the included bolts. Now slide the foot stirrup into the hole at the front of the crossbow and fasten it with two bolts. Finally, slide the scope onto the stack, tighten down the scope screws, and you’re done. Expect the whole procedure to take 15 minutes at best (it took me personally less than 10).

Preparing to Shoot & Specs

According to specs, the Wildcat C5 can fire a bolt at a speed of 320 FPS with a draw weight of 150 lbs. I do not like to concern myself with numbers too much and rather prefer to see how a crossbow actually performs, as numbers can sometimes be deceiving.

As always, make sure to wax the string before you cock the crossbow for the first time. You’ll want to wax it once every 7-or-so bolts fired to make it lasts as long as possible.  I cocked the Wildcat manually as I’m used to pulling 150 lbs. of weight, though you can buy a rope cocking aid separately – as always I recommend the extra-long Jandao rope cocking aid ( link), which has proven very durable and is longer than most other ais. The cocking motion was very smooth and the string was latched easily with every attempt.

Make sure to set the safety to “on” once you’re done cocking the Wildcat to avoid an accident or a “dry” fire – the latter will void your 5 year warranty from Barnett.

In practice: Target Shooting

While the Wildcat C5 was designed for hunting, it performs just as well in a target-practice environment. I sighted the 3-red-dot scope within a few minutes and fired arrows from a 30 and 40 yard distance (my yard is too small for anything beyond that).

If you’ve ever used a compound crossbow before, you’ll immediately notice how quiet this model is. While definitely not Barnett Wildcat C5 Review - Crossbowa “whisper,” the noise levels were low enough that I didn’t feel the need to install additional silencers. My first shot was aimed at a bulls-eye I placed on a large bag filled with sand. The arrow, fired from 30 yards away, punched a hole right through and damaged the garden chair that was standing behind it. This is a very powerful crossbow so make sure nothing you care about is positioned behind the target or it could suffer.

Shot it from 40 yards, this time placing a thick piece of wood behind the target, and the arrow again went right through the sand bag. My arrows were grouping in a 1″ circle, and I did not feel any vibrations when the shot was fired; trigger pulled smoothly and with just the right resistance.

Ballistic Data For The Barnett Wildcat C5

Your actual results will vary slightly depending on weather, and significantly with arrow weight change. See our Crossbow Ballistics Guides section for a complete understanding of how we conducted our tests and why this data matters.

In practice: Hunting

I’ve successfully harvested 3 deer with the Wildcat C5 (two bucks and one doe); one was shot from a ~25 yard distance and two from around ~40 yards. In all three cases the arrow achieved a full pass-through (two shoulder shots and one shot closer to the neck), and the deer only managed to run an 80-100 yard distance before they collapsed. Keep in mind the arrows included with the package come with field points; I recommend getting Barnett’s 125 grain Broadheads for hunting, they work perfectly with this crossbow.

The Wildcat C5 weighs 8.5 lbs, which is a little above average, however I’ve found the construction to be incredibly balanced, enough so that it felt pretty light to carry. You can easily spend many hours in the field holding it without feeling like going back home due to a shoulder strain.

Overall, very happy with the performance and for the money paid, I think it’s a great value.

Kinetic Energy Of The Barnett Wildcat C5

Accuracy is important, but so is the force dealt by the arrow to the target. The Barnett Wildcat C5 has the power to go along with its accuracy, I’m happy to say. Each 425-grain arrow is thrown at the target at 320 FPS, which gives the arrow 97 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy at point blank range. If you assume the standard reduction in force of few percent ft. lbs. for every 10 yards, you’ll still be shooting your target with 90 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy from 30 yards away. This is more than enough stopping power to rip through the toughest legal game in North America, even a grizzly bear!

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

The Barnett Wildcat C5 (Black) Scope

The scope on the Wildcat is the only thing I’m not very happy about. While it’s pretty accurate when sighted, it will not hold zero consistently, meaning you will often need to re-adjust the elevation and windage to maintain perfect accuracy. The crossbow itself is excellent and you will fully be getting your money’s worth, however I’d recommend getting a new scope for it after a few months worth of shooting.  The Barnett 4x32mm scope is a great choice.

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

The Arrows

The Barnett Wildcat C5 Black Edition comes with 3x 20″ carbon arrows and a quiver. The recommended total arrow weight is 450 grain, which includes a 120-grain hunting broad-head or practice field points. You may want to check out our crossbow arrows guide.

The arrows that came with the package were durable and worked perfectly for me. Just remember to evenly cock the crossbow (pull the string at equal distance from the stock on both sides), as doing otherwise will damage the arrows, string and rail.

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

Durability & Construction

Barnett Wildcat C5 BlackEverything about the Wildcat C5 screams “durable.” Manufactured in the USA by a very well-established company (over 51 years of experience making crossbows), Barnett seems to have put a lot of effort into making this weapon sturdy and surprisingly comfortable to hold.

The trigger requires just the right amount of pressure, and the shot is quiet and pretty much vibration-free when compared to other models in this price range. There’s obviously a thumb-hole grip, and the stock is made from compound materials using GAM technology, which stands for “Gas Assisted Molding” and is a manufacturing process used for creating different components and which provides for much higher durability of the finished product.

The design allows for the attachment of a crank cocking mechanism; simply remove the two plastic covers on both the left and right side of the back of the stack, and you can easily attach the crank. I personally have not done this though so can’t provide you with more information on this particular issue.

What Crossbow Case Fits the Barnett Wildcat C5?

The SKB Hunter Series Crossbow Case is a nice choice for the Barnett Wildcat. This hard case quite expensive and may not be within everyone’s budget. The Tarantula Deluxe Crossbow Case is a great soft case, as well as more affordable alternative. It also has a few pockets to store accessories.

Barnett Wildact C5 Review – Summary

While this crossbow was designed “by hunters, for hunters,” it’s perfectly suitable for target practice as well. The power output is excellent and each of the separate components are perfectly dependable, making the Wildcat C5 very low-maintenance and fun to shoot. Just make sure to get a rope cocking aid with your purchase if you’re a beginner, and consider replacing the accompanying scope after getting some shooting experience under your belt. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

1 Comment

  1. Still one of the best selling bows in the world. Barnett has updated a new version that weighs in at just over 6 pounds, the wife has one and she loves it great for the smaller framed people and still packs a serious punch. It will shoot slightly faster than advertised (new model) on my chronograph it will easily hit 330-340FPS, I would assume the KE would also be slightly higher than advertised as well. Great bow

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