Horton Explorer HD 150 Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight

Horton Explorer 150

Horton Explorer 150

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150 lbs.10.75"270 FPS

How to sight a crossbow?
20"30" / 7.25 lbs.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive but effective design
  • Included scope is fantastic
  • Lightweight and quiet

Cons:

  • No included rope cocking device
  • Since Horton is out of business, no warranty support
  • Limb pockets tend to crack

Package Contents

Howdy, and welcome to our review of the Horton Explorer HD 150. Each package delivered by Horton includes the following items:

  • Horton Explorer HD 150 crossbow
  • 4x32mm Mult-A-Range scope
  • Hunter Elite 3-arrow quiver
  • 3 20” crossbow arrows
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty card

After you unbox your crossbow, you’ll need to take a little time to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual and then assemble your bow.

Assembling The Crossbow

If you are a beginner to crossbows, Horton’s manual for the Explorer HD is fantastic and makes assembly quite easy and quick. All that you have to do is attach the prod to the riser, attach the foot stirrup, and then mount the scope and quiver. I’m pretty experienced at assembling crossbows, so my mileage might vary from yours, but I had my Explorer HD ready for the target range inside of 15 minutes.

Accuracy And Power

Your first step in getting your now-assembled crossbow ready for hunting is to sight in the scope. Fortunately, the Mult-A-Range scope comes almost perfectly zeroed in right out of the box, requiring just a few adjustments to windage and elevation to get everything fine-tuned.

Once I had the bow sighted in, I was able to shot ½” groupings at 25 yards, ¾” groupings from 35 yards, and 1-1/2” groupings at 50 yards. The Explorer HD is very accurate, and shoots consistently each and every time.

This is not the most powerful crossbow on the market, with an arrow speed of a mere 270 fps, but it is powerful enough to drive the arrow completely through my target block from 30 yards.

Hunting: What To Expect

The Explorer HD 150 delivers 65 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, which is adequate for deer and smaller game. I would not attempt using this crossbow for any larger game, though, because it just is not powerful enough.

With my Explorer HD 150, I have bagged my full limit for the season in antlered and antlerless deer, most of the time seeing the deer only able to stumble off for 25-30 yards before dropping from blood loss. This is not the most powerful crossbow on the market, but it is more than suitable for someone who is new to archery or crossbow archery.

The light weight of this crossbow makes it ideal for carrying through the woods, since you won’t break your back or suffer any serious fatigue from carrying it.

Cocking The Horton Explorer HD 150

The Horton Explorer HD 150 has a draw weight of 150 pounds, which is very doable for someone to cock by hand. I would never recommend this, though, because hand-cocking a crossbow seriously compromises your safety and accuracy. While the crossbow does not include a rope cocking device, universal ones can be had very less than $20, so I would recommend investing in one for cocking the bow.

Rope cocking devices reduce the amount of strength needed to cock a crossbow by at least 50%, and also serve to make sure you draw the string back evenly and consistently.

The Scope

The Horton Mult-A-Range 4x32mm scope included with the Explorer HD 150 is one of the best stock scopes on the market. It boasts excellent eye relief as well as crisp, clear optics. The scope was sighted in almost perfectly out of the box, and held true throughout two full hunting seasons without needing any adjustments.

The illuminated dots are easy to see, even in low light conditions, making this scope as useful at dawn as it is at high noon.

Bolts

The Explorer HD 150 ships with 3 20” arrows, but I quickly replaced those with my favorite Firebolt arrows. Horton recommends 400 grain arrow/bolt combinations for this crossbow, and I would not really recommend going above that. The bow is slow, and putting heavier bolts through it would probably work against you in the hunting field.

Safety and Design

There is not really anything surprising about the design of the Horton Explorer HD 150. It features a pistol grip with open trigger guard, making it easy to use with gloves on. This crossbow is designed for smaller archers, since it is only 30” long. It’s a terrific crossbow for introducing your teenager to crossbow archery and hunting, and is relatively safe and consistent if someone experienced examines the crossbow periodically.

The main challenge with this crossbow is the tendency for the limb pockets to crack. This creates an unsafe crossbow, and the cracking seems to happen even in the absence of dry firing. Since Horton is no longer in business, you won’t be able to get any warranty repair work done on the crossbow, and might have to fork out more of your hard-earned cash to have the limb pockets repaired or the limbs replaced.

Warranty

No warranty support here, folks, because Horton is no longer in business. You might find a seller willing to offer a money-back 30-day warranty, but even those are rare finds these days.

You can often still get service on Horton crossbows, since there are still some parts floating around out there and crossbow technicians usually cut their teeth on Hortons, but you’ll have to pay for it. There is also no telling how long parts will remain available.

Review Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review of the Horton Explorer HD 150. This is a nice enough crossbow for a beginner, but the tendency of the limb pockets to crack creates a possibly unsafe shooting situation. I could really only recommend this crossbow to an experienced archer who can recognize the signs of problems and pull the crossbow from service as soon as problems show up. Take a look at Amazon.com’s great price on the Horton Explorer 150 if you’re interested.

4 Comments

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  1. Like your review comments . I’ve owned this one for years.and I am still amazed at its capabilities.each year prior to season I recheck it’s accuracy . that means only 4 shots.and I shake my head and smile . then put my target back in storage..

  2. what is the small dial on both sides of the stock above the thumb hole? I bought mine used without a Manual thanks. Hargis

    1. Dial a range they called them should raise point if impact about 3in or 10 yards if you go up one number But it’s easier to use the lines inside the scope mine only moves for a 45 yard shot

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