Excalibur Matrix 355 Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Excalibur Matrix 355 Package

Excalibur Matrix 355
Get Best Price & Average Rating

240 lbs.12.2"355 FPS


How to sight a crossbow?
18"35" / 5.4 lbs.

Compared With Other Crossbows

Pros:
- Best recurve crossbow for below $950
- Ergonomic, well-balanced, low-maintenance recurve design
- Very accurate and deadly at well over 70+ yards
- Consistent performance regardless of weather conditions
- Comes with the best scope I've ever seen on a crossbow
- Dedicated to hunters; suitable for target practice
- Includes a set of 4 really durable arrows

Cons:
- Would have liked to see an anti-dry fire safety mechanism
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
Best Price:Amazon.com

Package Contents & Assembly

Welcome to our Excalibur Matrix 355 review. The following items are included in each newly-bought package from Excalibur:

  • The Excalibur Quad-Loc riser + limbs + stirrup
  • The Ergo-Grip assembly stockExcalibur Matrix 355 Box contents
  • Tact-Zone five-reticle scope
  • 4x Diablo 18″ carbon arrows (350 grain)
  • 4x field points
  • 4-arrow quiver with mount
  • All screws and hex key
  • Instructional DVD
  • Rope cocking aid
  • String lubricant
  • Assembly & Care booklet
  • Excalibur’s limited lifetime warranty

I received my Excalibur Matrix 355 crossbow on January 11th 2013.  Before I got to putting it together I went through the manual, which includes information about assembly, maintenance and safety. The assembly procedure itself is extremely simple, as is the case with all recurve crossbows: attach the prod to the stock, attach the scope and the quiver mount, and you’re done. Took me 10 minutes at most.

Preparing to Shoot & Specs

Excalibur Matrix 355 AssembledStarted by waxing the string, as instructed in the manual; standard practice for any crossbow, as it helps improve shooting accuracy. Since the limbs on the Matrix 355 have a scary draw weight of 240 lbs., I did not even attempt to cock it manually and used the rope aid supplied by Excalibur. The cocking procedure was very smooth, and the string was latched firmly each time.

The Excalibur Matrix 355 does not come with an Anti-Dry Fire safety mechanism, so please remember to manually move the safety lever to “on” as soon as you cock the crossbow and before you seat an arrow in the shooting groove. Do not switch safety to “fire” position until you are prepared to fire; it’s best to think of the safety lever as just another trigger.

The Matrix has a velocity of 355 FPS when shooting the recommended 18″, 350 grain carbon arrows. These are the arrows supplied with the package, and I placed one in the groove as soon as the crossbow was cocked, making sure that the nock of the arrow came in full contact with the string.

In practice: Target Shooting

I obviously had high expectations from an Excalibur crossbow in this price range, and the Matrix 355 did not disappoint. The 5-reticle scope was almost entirely zeroed right out of the box, and I only needed to fire two arrows to get it 100% accurately sighted for the default 20 yard shooting range.Matrix 355

I spent around 3 hours at the range, trying it out at distance between 20 and 70 yards.  Accuracy was very consistent regardless of the distance – everything depends on your aim and if you miss, you can be certain that it is your fault, and not a fault with crossbow accuracy/alignment. Power output was excellent and the arrows dug a good 4-6 inches into the tough arrow stopping targets, depending on how far away it was.

Thanks to Excalibur’s Ergo-Grip, the Matrix was very comfortable to hold and I never felt like needing to take a rest from shooting to give my upper body muscles any rest – that’s a very important, yet often overlooked quality. I decided to also try out a few 20″ arrows just to see how they would perform (the crossbow comes with 18″ arrows and that’s the recommended length). The Matrix 355 handled those really well, and accuracy was just as consistent as with the 18″ arrows (though a slight reduction in accuracy was noticeable at ranges over 50 yards, but that was perfectly expectable).

In practice: Hunting

I have not yet had a chance to try out the Matrix 355 in a hunting environment, and I’m eagerly awaiting October this year. I do own another Excalibur crossbow however (the Axiom SMF), which at 305 FPS is far less powerful than the Matrix 355, and it was perfectly capable. I will quote myself and show you what the Axiom SMF was capable of on my deer hunting trip:

I fired the arrow from a distance of around 50 yards; normally I would try to get a little closer, but I was pretty confident that with this particular crossbow I could land the shot comfortably.

My arrow landed spot on where I wanted and passed right through the shoulder and went out through the other side, landing in a tree truck around 20 yards behind the game and digging in a good 3 inches into that tree. The deer managed to run less than 70 yards before it collapsed.

Keep in mind that this was a 305 FPS Excalibur crossbow only! With the Matrix 355 I fully expect to have even better results, and I’m confident I’ll be able to take down any game in the country. Also, keep in mind that Excalibur is known to manufacture the finest hunting crossbows in the world.

The Excalibur Matrix 355 Scope

The crossbow came with a Tact-Zone five-reticle scope. As already mentioned, the scope is very well sighted out-of-the-Matrix 355 Scopebox and will require very minimal adjustments. The top-most reticle is zeroed at 20 yards, and the remaining reticles are automatically sighted for 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards, respectively.

Keep in mind that this is an illuminated scope, so each reticle will have a red/green-dot centered in the middle, enhancing visibility of your target in poorly-lit environments. The lenses are multi-coated, allowing it to gather more light than the average scope, and hence providing an even clearer view of the target regardless of weather conditions.

The Arrows

The Excalibur Matrix 355 comes with 4 carbon arrows; 18″, 350 grain. In order to maintain accuracy and velocity, it’s always recommended to use arrows with the same specifications as those that are supplied with your crossbow package. As stated above, however, I did test the Matrix with 20″ arrows and it performed just fine.

Four screw-in field points are included as well, at a weight of 150 grain each. The field points as well as the arrows are exceptionally durable and are of the same quality as even the best crossbow arrows out there, including those made by Easton. For hunting purposes you will need to get hunting broad-heads for your arrows (they should weigh 150 grain as well); Excaliburs Boltcutter broadhead packs are a great choice.

Durability & Construction

The Matrix 355 is as durable as it might seem to you when looking at the pictures in this review. This crossbow comes with PowerLoad limbs, which according to independent testing proved to be on average 40% more durable and long-Matrix Ergo Stocklasting than regular limbs on cheaper crossbows. The Ergo-grip stock design is a great feature as well; there’s this cool hole where your thumb can be placed, finger guards, a pistol grip, and rubber grip inserts design to eliminate slipperiness.

The majority of Matrix’s weight is distributed in the back portion (the part closer to you), making it really comfortable to hold as you don’t feel the tip dropping down while you aim. Excalibur also put a lot of thought into improving the geometry of this crossbow; upon closer inspection it seems that the string manages to consistently stay away from the rail, which I am certain will provide the string with longer life. If you want to reduce vibration and noise even further, you can purchase a pair of Excalibur R.E.D.S. Supressors, which are attached to the limbs and are made exclusively for the Matrix crossbow series.

In short: you’ll be getting your money’s worth with this one.

Excalibur Matrix 355 Review – Summary

This model is rated as our top crossbow in the $800-$1,000 for very good reason. Lots of work and creativity went into every single element of this weapon. You get an exceptionally ergonomic and comfortable stock, powerful yet very durable limbs, exceptional design geometry and alignment, a dependable trigger, superb scope accuracy and clarity of vision, great arrows and field points to boot. The perfect package.

Take a moment to check out the best deal and user ratings on Amazon.com.

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