Darton VIPER Extreme Review (In-Field) – Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Darton VIPER Extreme

Darton VIPER Extreme

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180 lbs.13.5"360 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
22"35.5" / 8 lbs. 7 ozs.
- Quiet
- Fast
- Good Trigger

- Expensive
- Somewhat Heavy
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Darton Crossbows

Darton Viper Extreme Crossbow Package Contents

Darton VIPER Extreme5As with their other crossbows, the Darton Viper Extreme crossbow is offered in multiple packages, but the two most common are the Hunter and the Pro Package. The Hunter is the more entry level of the two, but still has just about everything you would need to get started. It includes the crossbow, a 4 x 32mm scope and rings, a BQ4 quiver and four 22” arrows. Also included are an EZ Draw cocking rope and rail lube.

When you move up to the Pro Package, you will get a 2-7 x 40mm Toxin Hi-Grade Scope and rings, a BQ4 quiver, a quiver side mount and a telescoping mono pod. Also included are an EZ Draw rope cocker and an EZ Draw winch as well as a neoprene sling. The Pro Packages also includes a case, which is always nice to have, as well as rail lube and four 22” arrows.

Kinetic Energy of the Darton Viper Extreme

The Viper Extreme offers plenty of power for most hunting situations. Using a 400-grain projectile, the Viper Extreme is going to be slinging it at around 360 fps. This translates to an ample 115 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle, and around 107 at 30 yards. This should be plenty to take most small to medium game animals.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Design, Safety, Comfort and Accuracy

Darton VIPER Extreme2The Darton Viper Extreme has a nice overall feel. It is a bit heavy, but that can sometimes be an advantage as a heavier crossbow is easier to steady. The higher weight also means more material holding it together, and many shooters are opting for better built crossbows rather than ultra-lights.

The trigger is nice, breaking at just over 3 lbs. and with very little creep. The trackless barrel reduces friction and the patented string catch adds an extra dimension of accuracy. The string stops are actually part of an integrated suppressor system that includes a patented barrel dampener. We really liked the new ambidextrous safety that you can now actuate without removing your hand from the grip, much like is found on an AR rifle.

Ballistic Data For The Darton VIPER Extreme

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 with the Darton Viper Extreme

The Darton Viper Extreme is a good size crossbow for most hunting situations. It isn’t the lightest crossbow, so keep that in mind if you are going to have long walks into and out of your hunting area. The width, axle to axle, is a mere 17”, so you can get into tighter spaces with the Viper Extreme. Given the speed and the power of the Viper Extreme, you should be able to take most species in North America, although something as large as an elk might push the limits a bit.

How Quiet is the Darton Viper Extreme

The Viper Extreme is actually fairly quiet, especially when you consider the 180 lb. draw weight. This is in large part to the integrated suppressor system that includes string stops and a patented barrel dampener. No crossbow is going to be silent, but the Viper Extreme does a good job staying stealthy.

Cocking the Darton Viper Extreme

Darton VIPER Extreme3Cocking the Viper Extreme is not too bad, given the short 13.5” power stroke. The crossbow isn’t too long so you don’t have to lift ridiculously high to cock it. One thought for a lot of shooters is to consider the winch cocker. Even with the short power stroke, you will still be pulling back with 90 lbs. of force using a rope cocking aid. This is a lot of pull every time you want to pull the trigger.

Quality of the Optics

Having a crossbow capable of long-range shots without a variable power scope can really limit your full enjoyment of your crossbow’s capabilities. You don’t want a scope with too much fixed magnification or low-light shots are going to suffer.

Conversely, you don’t want a scope with too low of a magnification or you won’t be able to take full advantage of the longer range capabilities. The 2-7 power magnification of the Toxin is a great blend and the larger 40mm aperture ensures you will have enough light to do the job. The 4 x 32mm scope included in the Hunter package is certainly capable of putting your arrows on target, but we would strongly recommend looking in to the Toxin upgrade.

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

What Arrows to use with the Darton Viper Extreme

Darton VIPER ExtremeDarton recommends using a 22” arrow with the Viper Extreme. This is interesting given such a short power stroke, but that is what they include in the package, so it would be best to stay with that length. At 360 fps, you aren’t going to be putting as much stress on the arrows as you might with a higher speed crossbow, so you should have a rather large selection available.

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

Overall Thoughts

The Darton Viper Extreme is overall a well-built crossbow that is both accurate and powerful. It is very quiet, especially when considering the 180 lb. draw weight. If you are looking to really enjoy the longer-range capabilities of the Viper Extreme, you should really consider the scope upgrade. Hunting with the Viper Extreme should be a pleasant, and rewarding experience. It is on the upper end of the price range, but fast + quiet usually is. All in all, this is certainly a crossbow that is worth taking a close look at. Take a look at today's amazon.com price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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