SA Sports Ambush Crossbow Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
SA Sports Ambush

SA Sports Ambush

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150 lbs.11.5"285 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
16/20"35" (w/o foot stirrup) / 6.25 lbs.
- Lightweight
- Very accurate
- Compatible with crank cocking devices

- Occasional problems with cocking mechanism not latching the string
- Poor-quality included arrows
- Short 1-year warranty
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?No3
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best SA Sports Crossbows

Assembling The Crossbow

Putting together a crossbow is always a fun experience, and you never know just how fun it will be until you get into the project. Luckily, SA Sports includes a great owner’s manual that details how to put the Ambush together, and follows that up with an excellent YouTube tutorial.

Assembly was very easy, and I had the crossbow ready for the range within 15 minutes. The trickiest part is stringing the crossbow, since the owner’s manual is a bit unclear on how to position the cable slide. Still, I got it figured out pretty quickly.

Everything else is a snap; the quiver mounts easily, as does the scope. Once you’ve got all that done, you’re ready to start shooting.

Accuracy And Power

The SA Sports Ambush fires arrows at 285 fps (assuming 375 gr arrows), and deals out roughly 68 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. This is just about perfect for target shooting, since it’s powerful enough to drive the arrow into the target block but not so powerful that the arrow blasts clean through the block and into the backstop.

The Ambush is also pretty accurate. Once I had the scope sighted in (which took me all of 4 shots), I started testing the accuracy. From 20 yards, I was maintaining half-inch groupings on a bad day, quarter-inch groupings on a good day. At 40 yards, I could bull’s-eye every time and keep a three-quarter-inch grouping, and my grouping from 60 yards was about an inch in diameter.

Hunting: What To Expect

I wouldn’t take this crossbow hunting for anything larger than deer, since it isn’t powerful enough to ethically hunt larger game. However, the crossbow is light and fast, and is perfect for deer and turkey.

I took the Ambush on a turkey hunt, and came across a group of strutting toms vying for their place in the pecking order. I took cover, watched and called carefully. One of the toms came into range, and I carefully took aim and fired a shot at him. My aim was true, and I bagged our Thanksgiving turkey, courtesy of the SA Sports Ambush. Nothing beats wild turkey killed with a crossbow, let me tell you.

Cocking The SA Sports Ambush

This is a recurve crossbow, so cocking it is pretty smooth and steady. With a draw weight of 150 pounds, the Ambush can readily be cocked by hand, but SA Sports includes a rope cocking device, so use it. Rope cocking devices ensure that you get the string evenly pulled back, which greatly improves your accuracy, and they make the draw less than half what it would be otherwise.

My Ambush cocked reliably each and every time, the string latching securely into place. However, a friend had his Ambush start dry firing when he was cocking it, and he said that it was getting really hard to cock. I suggested he contact SA Sports about the problem, and sure enough…a handful of the SA Sports Ambushes out there have suffered from the same defect in the cocking mechanism. My buddy was able to get his crossbow repaired quickly under warranty, though, and he hasn’t had any problems since then.

The Crossbow Scope

The scope on the SA Sports Ambush is your standard 4×32 multi reticle scope. It’s a decent beginner’s scope, but has poor light gathering capabilities and a tendency to experience glare on bright, sunny days. Other than that, it’s a very good scope, sighting easily and keeping zero through a whole season of jostling and transporting the crossbow.


SA Sports includes 4 16” aluminum arrows with the Ambush, which are absolute junk. The nocks and vanes fall off easily, and the aluminum arrows can’t handle the abuse even such a lightweight crossbow deals. I quickly moved to my 20” Firebolt arrows, weighted them in at 400 grain, and had the same level of accuracy as before. The speed dropped off a little bit, but the arrows still hit with plenty of force for deer hunting or hunting smaller game.

Safety and Design

The Ambush features a large boot-style foot stirrup, along with a vented aluminum barrel and aluminum wheels, with an ambidextrous automatic safety. The crossbow is compatible with crank cocking systems, but doesn’t come with one. The trigger pull is pretty light and smooth, with an excellent break point.

The only problem with the safety of this crossbow is the problem I mentioned before with the cocking mechanism not functioning properly. If you start to notice the string doesn’t want to latch in place, stop using the crossbow immediately and contact SA Sports for assistance.


SA Sports only provides a 1-year warranty for the Ambush, so you should hope that any problems with your crossbow show up in that first year. The customer service representatives at SA Sports are top notch, friendly, and knowledgeable.

What Crossbow Case Fits the SA Sports Empire Ambush?

The Carbon Express Deluxe Case accommodate the SA Sports Empire Ambush well for under 70 bucks, unless you have a big scope. For a bit more room check out the Allen Company case. It is a soft case for 30 bucks which offers a little more room.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review. The Ambush is a decent crossbow for target shooting and light hunting, but it does suffer from an occasional manufacturer’s defect that you need to be aware of in the cocking mechanism. Make sure you exercise all precautions, and stop trying to use the crossbow if you notice any quirks. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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