Parker Challenger Crossbow Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Parker Challenger crossbow

Parker Challenger
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125 to 150 lbs.10.25"275 to 300 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"31.75" / 5.5 lbs
- Adjustable draw weight
- Compact and lightweight

- Known issue with delamination of the limbs
- Uses non-standard capture nocks
- No rope-cocking device included
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
Today's Online Prices:Compare Prices
Also Recommended:Best Parker Crossbows

Package Contents

Welcome to our Crossbow Review of the Parker Bows Challenger. The Challenger is a youth and ladies crossbow, designed for smaller-framed shooters. Each package delivered by includes the following items:

  • The Parker Bows Challenger Crossbow, including stock and bow assembly
  • Assembly hardware and Allen wrench
  • 4 x 32mm Multi-Reticle Scope
  • 4-arrow Quick Detach Quiver
  • 4 crossbow arrows
  • Owner’s manual
  • Parker Crossbows sticker
  • Warranty card

Assembling The Crossbow

Assembling this crossbow is quick and easy, and Parker provides excellent instructions. All you have to do is install the cable guide, attach the prod to the stock, and then attach the quiver. I had my Parker Challenger assembled and ready to shoot in less than ten minutes.

If you want to adjust the draw weight of the crossbow, follow the included instruction sheet on how to remove the shims to adjust the crossbow to a heavier draw weight. I went ahead and adjusted mine to 150 lbs., and it took less than a minute to make the change.

Parker Challenger

Accuracy And Power

The Parker Challenger crossbow has an adjustable draw weight of 125 lbs. to 150 lbs. When set at the 125 lbs. draw weight, the bow fires arrows at 275 fps, with 67 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. With a 150 lbs. draw weight, arrows fly off the rail at 300 fps with 80 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. Even at the lowest draw weight, the crossbow packs enough power to take on all but the largest North American game.

Once sighted in, I was able to shoot 1” groupings from 20 yards and 1.5” groupings from 40 yards. From 60 yards, I was only able to maintain 3” groupings, so this crossbow is really at its best at shorter ranges.

Hunting: What To Expect

Parker ChallengerThis is an exceptionally small and lightweight crossbow, but it certainly packs a punch. It’s easy to carry around in the bush, especially if you install a padded sling. Its small size makes it easy to cock even in a small deer stand, and the short stock allows excellent maneuverability when taking aim at your target.

With the draw weight set at 150 lbs., the Parker Challenger is powerful enough to take on moose or even Cape buffalo, if your aim is true. On my test hunting run with the Parker Challenger, I spotted a 10-point buck about 25 yards from my deer stand, so I decided to take the shot. The arrow went straight through and drove its way into the ground. The buck ran for maybe 50 yards before he collapsed and died from blood loss.

Ballistic Data For The Parker Challenger

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.

Kinetic Energy Of The Parker Challenger

Now the question still remains: will the Parker Challenger meet the demands of hunting as far as stopping power, or kinetic energy, goes? Bear in mind that this crossbow features an adjustable draw strength of between 125 and 150 pounds, leading to the delivery of arrows from 275 fps to 300 fps. At its lowest setting, this means your 400 grain arrows will have 67 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy at point blank range. Set to 150# draw, you’ll get 80 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy at point blank range. You’ll lose a few percent lbs. for every yard beyond point blank range, of course, so you can expect a 30-yard shot to have between 63 and 74 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. This is enough for most game, but might not be sufficient for hunting the toughest game, like grizzlies or Cape buffalo.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Cocking The Parker Challenger

The Challenger is smooth and easy to cock, even at 150 lbs. The string pulls back nicely, but I recommend always using a rope-cocking device to ensure you have a consistent and even draw.

The Crossbow Scope

The Parker Challenger comes with a 4 x 32mm multi-reticle scope. The scope was close to sighted in out of the box, requiring only a few shots to fine-tune it. Once sighted in, the scope stays sighted in even when traipsing around in the woods.

The optics on this scope are very nice, and the light-gathering capability of the scope is excellent. I was disappointed at the lack of illuminated reticles, but I found the reticles to be easily visible even in low-light conditions.

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


The Parker Challenger comes with 4 20” arrows at 400-grain with field tips. If you decide to buy new arrows, you must make sure they use capture nocks, since that is what the crossbow is designed to use.

I modified my Firebolt carbon arrows with capture nocks, and found that they shoot just fine, despite Parker’s warning to only use Parker arrows. Who ever listens to that stuff, anyways? Just make sure you put capture nocks on your arrows and don’t go beneath 400-grain weight, and you’ll be fine.

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

Safety and Design

The Parker Crossbow comes equipped with an automatic safety and an automatic anti dry-fire mechanism. Both safety features work flawlessly, engaging exactly when they should. The safety is ambidextrous and smooth to operate.

The foregrip has a handle that makes it easy to tell where your fingers should be to keep them out of the way of the string. The G2 bull-pup trigger has a very smooth pull, without any of the jerkiness that you might find in crossbows of this price point.

The only drawback to the design of the Parker Challenger is in the too-small rockers the initial manufacturing run used. These rockers, because they are too small, have a tendency to cause the limbs to delaminate. Be very mindful of this, and make sure you aren’t going to be one of the unlucky few to have their limbs delaminate out in the field. Parker has been quite good about replacing the entire prod assembly with newer units, using larger rockers. I’d probably recommend calling Parker, if you buy this crossbow, to see if you can get the prod assembly changed preemptively.


The Parker Challenger has a lifetime warranty, and Parker stands behind that warranty. Their customer service representatives are outstanding, friendly, and eager to make sure you have an excellent experience with your new crossbow.

What Crossbow Case Fits the Parker Challenger?

The Carbon Express Deluxe Case is an excellent place to store the Parker Challenger. This soft case is generally best for non-recurves and crossbows with normal to small scopes. It can be found on the market for under $70. This Challenger will also fit into the Allen Company case which is less expensive.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review. The Parker Challenger is a very nice crossbow, with a small footprint and light weight. It is perfectly geared towards youth and women, or anybody with a smaller frame. The only caveat to the crossbow is the delamination issue, but Parker is being very helpful in repairing the problem. It would have been nice if they’d found the problem before they began shipping the crossbow, but this sort of manufacturer’s defect happens more often than not, and not just with Parker. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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