Parker CenterFire Review – Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Parker CenterFire

Parker CenterFire

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165 lbs.12"335 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"37.5" / 8 lbs.
Pros:
- Dead-on accurate
- Classic Monte Carlo design with thumbhole
- Very little vibration or noise


Cons:
- Heavier than average
- Rope cocking device only included with Perfect Storm package
- Must use moon nocks or capture nocks
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Parker Crossbows

What Comes In the Box?

Welcome to our review of the Parker CenterFire. Each Perfect Storm package delivered by Parker includes the following items:

  • The Parker CenterFire crossbow
  • Illuminated multi-reticle scope
  • Assembly hardware and tools
  • 4-arrow quick detach quiver
  • 6 RED HOT high velocity arrows
  • 3 RED HOT Crosspro 100 Broadheads
  • 6 100 gr field points
  • Rope cocking device
  • Crossbow sling
  • Wax and Lube kit
  • RED HOT soft crossbow case
  • Owner’s manual DVD
  • Warranty card

Assembling Your Crossbow

centerfire1Once you’ve taken all the shiny pieces out of the box, it’s time to put your new crossbow together. Parker makes this easy with a simple assembly process that is well-described by the owner’s manual and by videos on the Parker web site. You just attach the cable slide to the cables, and then attach the riser to the stock. The foot quiver and scope are already mounted, so you don’t need to do that. Once you’ve attached the riser to the stock, you can mount your quiver and you’re ready to go. One thing to bear in mind is that Parker recommends you have some blue LocTite on hand during assembly, so be sure to pick some up before you start putting your crossbow together. Overall, it took me less than 10 minutes to have the crossbow ready to sight in.

Hard-Hitting and Dead-On Accurate

Once I had the crossbow assembled, I headed out to the range to sight in the scope. The scope was almost sighted in straight out of the box, so I was nailing the bull’s eye within 3 shots. The Parker CenterFire throws out the 400-grain arrows at 335 fps, and delivers them with almost 100 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, so this crossbow definitely has the power to take down just about any target you might acquire. As is so common with today’s more powerful crossbows, I made sure to prop my target block up against my backstop to prevent the force of the arrows from knocking the block over.

Once I was sighted in, I began testing the accuracy of the CenterFire. From 25 yards, I quickly learned to choose different aiming points after splitting 3 arrows in a row. From 25 yards, at least, this x-bow was proving itself to be a tack driver, so I backed out to 50 yards. From this range, I could maintain 1/2” groupings, and my 75 yard groupings were barely an inch in diameter. Power + accuracy = an excellent x-bow, so far.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The Parker CenterFire

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.

Will Hunters Enjoy the Parker CenterFire?

centrfire3Parker advertises the CenterFire as being lightweight and compact, but my own evaluation of the crossbow says otherwise. The crossbow measures 20.75” axle-to-axle, and 37.5” long. It weighs in at 8 pounds. For the price level, this is a decently compact and lightweight x-bow, but there are definitely smaller and lighter models out there. With that said, I had no problem maneuvering the crossbow in the field, either in my tree stand or my ground blind.

The CenterFire is new for 2014, so I haven’t had as much chance to test the crossbow in the field as I would have liked, but what I’ve seen of it so far points to this crossbow being an excellent choice for hunting. I did have the opportunity to test it during a couple of deer and turkey hunts, and found that it was small enough to carry through the woods without getting tired or tangled up in brush. It also maneuvered nicely in my ground blind, and performed very well in my deer stand.

During a turkey hunt, I managed to lure a group of toms over to my ground blind. The illuminated scope came in particularly useful on this hunt, as it was overcast and dark when I spotted the toms. Once one of the toms was within 25 yards of me, I took careful aim at his breast and took the shot. The arrow was delivered right on target, and the tom didn’t stand a chance—we’re definitely having wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this year!

Cocking The CenterFire

If you get Parker’s Perfect Storm package, you get everything you need to get started, even a rope cocking device. If you don’t opt for the Perfect Storm package, though, make sure you buy a rope cocking device. While the 165 pound draw weight of the CenterFire is doable by hand, I always recommend using a rope cocking device for optimum consistency in your draw.

The Illuminated Crossbow Scope

centerfire2The crossbow scope that comes with the Perfect Storm package is an illuminated multi-reticle scope, and the scope comes pre-mounted and almost fully sighted in right out of the box. I only had to make a few tiny adjustments before I was driving nails with the crossbow from 25 yards.

The scope has held true for several months now, and I’m sure it will hold true for quite a bit longer. The optics are excellent quality, perfectly coated for resistance to fogging and for optimum light gathering capabilities.

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

Bolts

My CenterFire came with 6 RED HOT High Velocity arrows, but whatever package you get will come with at least 4 of these arrows. The RED HOT arrows are nice, but I prefer Firebolt. Whatever you do, though, make sure your arrows have either moon nocks or capture nocks, and be sure they are 20” arrows weighted to 400 grain to hit the advertised 335 fps.

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

Safety and Design

This x-bow has a soft touch finish, which is nice for keeping a grip on the bow during wet conditions. There is a full comb to help you maintain a solid cheek weld, and the vented forearm’s safety finger flange is perfectly sized. The crossbow is quiet and vibration-free, thanks to the pretuned Anti-Vibration and Shock (AVS) system Parker has installed on the CenterFire. The anti-dry fire mechanism and safety work flawlessly each and every time, rounding out this crossbow to a very nice package at an affordable price.

Warranty

All Parker crossbows come with a limited 5-year warranty, and Parker’s customer support staff are always friendly and helpful. Thankfully, I haven’t had to call on them for this crossbow, but if problems ever do arise I’m sure they will be prompt to take care of the problems. Just be sure to register your warranty within 15 days of your purchase, or it won’t be valid.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review. The Parker CenterFire is an economical, high quality crossbow with excellent performance and reliability. Don’t take my word for it, though—go try out the CenterFire for yourself. 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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