Barnett RC150 Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Barnett RC150

Barnett RC150
Check Price on Cabelas.com
150 lbs.9.5"260 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
18"33.5" / 5.7 lbs.
Pros:
- Very affordable compound crossbow
- Fairly quiet for its class

Cons:
- Cannot use any cocking aids
- Scope rail only works with Barnett red dot scope
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?No3
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Barnett Crossbows

Package Contents

Welcome to our review of the Barnett RC-150 crossbow. This crossbow features an adjustable stock and a single-dot red dot scope. The bow fires arrows at 260 fps, with 75 ft. lbs. of energy. Each package delivered by includes the following items:

  • The Barnett RC-150 Crossbow
  • Quick-detach Quiver
  • Red Dot Scope
  • 4 18” aluminum arrows
  • Allen wrench
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Card

Assembling The Crossbow

Barnett RC150Assembling the Barnett RC-150 is pretty much what you’d expect. You attach the prod to the stock using the included Allen key wrench, tighten the bolts, and then mount the scope. Putting my RC-150 together took me less than 10 minutes, and then I was outside to start breaking in and sighting in the bow before testing its accuracy.

Accuracy And Power

With a draw weight of only 150 pounds, I was not expecting the Barnett RC-150 to be a powerhouse. Barnett rates the bow at 260 fps with a kinetic energy of 57 ft. lbs. The crossbow’s power stroke is a short 9.5”, and the included 18” arrows are shorter than I’m accustomed to working with. That said, I found the RC-150 to be powerful enough to send my arrows halfway through my foam core block target.

Once I had the crossbow sighted in, I tested its accuracy. This crossbow has pretty amazing accuracy, when you consider the sub-$200 price tag. I was able to maintain 2” groupings from 30 yards, and 4” groupings at 50 yards. Overall, not bad. If I’d been able to use my rope cocking device with the bow, my accuracy might have been even better, but the ramp behind the scope is sloped without any catch and does not allow for the use of a rope cocking device.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The Barnett RC150

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.

Hunting: What To Expect

The Barnett RC-150 crossbow is not the most powerful crossbow on the market, but it’s still marginally acceptable for taking down small- to medium-sized game, as long as your tracking skills are up to par. When I took the RC-150 out into the bush, I was fortunate enough to get a shot off at a medium-sized doe, and saw my arrow drive three-quarters of the way through her shoulder. Unfortunately, I had to spend the better part of the next two hours tracking her, as the penetration was not deep enough to let her bleed out quickly. I finally located her, dropped from blood loss about 300 yards from where I shot her.Barnett RC150

If you plan to hunt larger game, like elk or moose, steer clear of this bow. It does not have the speed or power to take down anything larger than a deer.

Cocking The Barnett RC-150 Crossbow

The first thing I noticed about the Barnett RC-150 was the ramp behind the rail. Normally, a crossbow will have a flattened surface on that ramp that you can use for a rope cocking device, but the ramp on the RC-150 is sloped. I tried placing my rope cocking device behind the red dot scope, but that threatened to push my scope off the bow and I decided to just cock it by hand.

At 150 pounds, the RC-150 is not extremely difficult to cock, as long as you have some upper body and hand strength. It draws back smoothly, but I’d prefer using a rope cocking device with any crossbow. Without an even, consistent draw, your accuracy is degraded and you wear your string out faster. Like most people, my right arm is stronger than my left, so I am sure that I’m not giving a consistent pull on both sides of the string.

The Crossbow Scope

The Barnett RC-150 includes a simple Red Dot Scope. The scope came out of the box almost perfectly sighted in, and required only a bit of fine-tuning before I was able to start my accuracy testing. I found the scope to hold zero (remain sighted in) reliably, even when bouncing around on my back through the woods.

Unfortunately, the red dot scope that comes with this crossbow only has a single dot, so you have to manually calculate how far up or down to place the dot for range. Even more unfortunate, Barnett has chosen to use a scope mount that simply will not fit any other crossbow scope. I’ve known a couple of people who used pistol scopes with good luck, but trying to find an aftermarket crossbow scope for this crossbow will require an additional purchase of a mount adapter.

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

Bolts

Barnett ships the RC-150 with 4 18” aluminum arrows. They recommend 18” arrows with a weight of 376 grains. What this means is that you will find it difficult to purchase more arrows for your crossbow in the stores; most crossbow arrows are sold in 20” and 22” lengths, so finding 18” arrows requires either cutting your own or purchasing online.

The aluminum arrows that came with the crossbow were poor quality, bending after only 1 or 2 shots. I quickly moved on to my own custom-made carbon arrows at 376 grains, and found these to be much more reliable with the RC-150 than the included arrows.

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

Safety and Design

The Barnett RC-150 suffers from a major design flaw in the safety. When I first cocked the RC-150, the safety would not disengage. In a call to Barnett’s customer service, they recommended tapping lightly on the safety with a hammer to disengage it. I did this, and it did work, but the safety lever is a cheap plastic button that is difficult to reliably tell if it is engaged or not.

After the call to Barnett, I lubricated the safety with sewing machine oil, and that seems to have solved the problem of it sticking. Still, I cannot reliably operate the safety with gloves on, and have to either remove them or wear gloves with removable finger and thumb tips.

The adjustable stock is a very nice design choice, as it accommodates shooters of all different sizes. This crossbow, were it not for its safety flaws, would be a good crossbow for a youth to use.

Warranty

Barnett covers all of their crossbows with a 5 year limited warranty, and their customer service is top notch. The warranty does not cover string failure, however, and Barnett crossbows are pretty notorious for breaking strings.

What Crossbow Case Fits the Barnett RC150?

A nice soft case, which is under $70, for the Barnett RC150 is the Carbon Express Deluxe Case. There is also the Barnett Case (Model 17083) which is slightly below that price and offers plenty of space for quivers and scopes.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review. The Barnett RC-150 is a very inexpensive crossbow, coming in at just under $200. Unfortunately, Barnett has achieved that price point by skimping on safety details that, quite honestly, make this crossbow an unwise purchase. Take a look at today's cabelas.com price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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