Barnett Buck Commander CRT Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Barnett Buck Commander

Barnett Buck Commander
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175 lbs.14"365 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
22"36" / 8.1 lbs.
- Best crossbow on the market for less than $800.
- More power than you’ll ever need.
- Exceptionally accurate, comes with an illuminated multi-reticle scope.
- Capable of taking down virtually any animal in the world.
- Very deadly at ranges of well over 60 yards.
- Quiet and low-maintenance for a compound crossbow.
- Very durable stock / rail.
- Comes with a rope cocking aid and high quality arrows.

- Somewhat heavy (8.1 lbs.)
- Not for shooters on a budget
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Barnett Crossbows
Buck Commander Manual:Download PDF

Package Contents & Assembly

Welcome to our Barnett Buck Commander review. This compound crossbow can be only bought as a whole package, which includes the following items:

  • The Buck Commander crossbow (prod + stock + cables and string)
  • Illuminated (red/green) 3×32 multi-reticle scope with scope ringsBuck Commander Crossbow Top
  • 3 x 22″ arrows with field points
  • Detachable quiver + quiver mount
  • Foot stirrup
  • Rope cocking aid
  • Assembly hardware (bolts and hex key)
  • Wax for the string
  • Assembly & Care booklet
  • Warranty card (5 years, limited)

Compound crossbows usually take some time to assemble, however with this particular model I found the process really simple,  thanks to the very detailed instructions provided by Barnett. It’s just a matter of attaching the quiver mount (this should be the first step), attaching the bow assembly to the stock and mounting the scope.

All the screws and installation hardware are provided in the package by Barnett. The whole process won’t take more than 15 minutes. Other users of the Buck Commander have had similar experiences. So if you’re a complete beginner who’s never even seen a crossbow in his life, you’ll get this one “up and running” in no time.

Preparing to Shoot & Specs

At 8.1 pounds, this crossbow is a little heavy, though after a few days of shooting I got used to it completely. I used the wax supplied with the package by Barnett to wax the string, taking care not to put too much wax as it Buck Commander on Tablecould reduce shooting accuracy. Barnett recommends applying a layer of wax every 5 to 10 arrows fired, which is standard practice for most crossbows.

The Barnett Buck Commander has a draw weight of 175 lbs and a shooting velocity of 365 FPS (it’s actually closer to 370 with the provided arrow. Cocking a crossbow with this draw weight will require from most people using the rope cocking aid supplied with the package, which reduces the force required to draw the string by 50%. Personally I cock the Buck Commander manually as I’m used to it, whichever approach you choose however make sure that you hold the string at equal distances on both the left and right side of the stock – this will help avoid uneven cocking.

Once you cock the crossbow, the anti-dry-firing safety mechanism will be activated, requiring you to turn the safety off manually before you can fire an arrow. Keep in mind that Barnett’s 5-year warranty on this weapon will be void if you ever dry-fire the Buck Commander, so please never do so even for testing purposes.

In practice: Target Shooting

As I expected from a Barnett crossbow in this price range, the Buck Commander was far too powerful for my home-made targets. With the ~370 FPS velocity, you can pretty much forget about target practice from a distance of less than 15 yards, as the force will likely shatter or splinter your arrows.

I made the mistake of taking my first shot from a 10 yard distance and the arrow dug so deep into the foam/cardboard Barnett Buck Commander Reviewtarget that only 3 or 4 inches out of the total 22″ length of the arrow were visible; it took me a good minute to remove the arrow, and once I did, it was a little damaged from the forceful impact. Other people report equally impressive power. I therefore recommend that any target shooting you do should be done from a minimum distance of 15 yards, and preferably 20 yards – I did not experience any issues with arrow damage at this range, though the arrow was still digging in a good 10 inches into the target. This is the most powerful crossbow I’ve ever shot.

The scope provided by Barnett deserves a special mention here; it’s exceptionally well made, and I believe even a complete beginner who’s never shot a crossbow can consistently hit quarter-sized targets from 25 yards and further. With that said, I recommend that you do not shoot your arrow at the exact same location twice if the previous arrow is still lodged in the target; the accuracy on this crossbow is so great that you are likely going to end up hitting the exact same spot where the previous arrow is embedded, damaging or even splitting it in half.

In practice: Hunting

Buck CommanderThere are no limits here really. You can take down deer, elk, buffalo, bear, and even elephants if they are legal in your country. The Barnett used their AVI technology in the production of their limbs, which they claim reduces the noise-levels of the Buck Commander by an average of 25%. From what I can say though, and compared to other compound crossbows that I’ve shot, this one is closer to 50% more quiet than other models in this price range.

As for the effective range, you can get a perfectly clean pass-through on any game found in North America from a good 60+ yards, if you are confident you can land your arrow properly from that range. Last year I harvested two elks with the Buck Commander – both were taken down from a good 40+ yards with a full pass through. The crossbow was so quiet and fast that my prey barely managed to start ducking before the arrow hit them.

Ballistic Data For The Barnett Buck Commander

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 Barnett Buck Commander

Not only is the Barnett Buck Commander CRT fast and accurate, but it’s powerful, too. This x-bow throws out 425-grain arrows at 365 FPS, which means you’re dealing out an arrow with around 126 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy behind it at point blank range. If you take your shot from, say, 30 yards, you’ll lose around 9 ft. lbs. of KE, which still leaves you with 117 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy to help the arrow rip through your target. This is more than enough power for you to take down any legal game in the world.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

The Arrows

The Barnett Buck Commander package contains three 22″ carbon arrows with attachable (not glued) field points for target shooting. The arrows are exceptionally strong and will last you a very long time if you wax your crossbow regularly and if you don’t shoot at targets from a shorter distance than 15 yards (the sheer power of the Buck Commander will likely cause the arrow to splinter at such short ranges).

They come with half-moon nocks, which are Barnett’s recommended nocks and which need to be aligned vertically before each shot so that the string goes inside the groove in the back of the arrow. For hunting purposes, I recommend getting Barnett’s 125 grain expandable broad-heads ( link) – they are extremely sharp and will get the job done, but also their weight is ideal for this particular crossbow to keep velocity and power output optimal.

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

The Buck Commander Scope

This scope definitely deserves a special mention in this review. First of all, it is pretty much sighted right out of the box, so you’ll be able to land your arrows extremely accurately without zeroing the scope. The scope has 4 reticles in total; the top-most one is sighted for 20 yards, and the remaining ones are automatically sighted for 30, 40 and 50 yards, Barnett Buck Commander Scoperespectively. Maximum magnification is x3.

I’ve found the illuminated dots in this scope very helpful, and much brighter and easier-to-see than on other somewhat lower quality scopes. You can choose between either red or green dots and you can even set the brightness level for the dots. You’ll find these illuminations very helpful when hunting in darker conditions or when shooting in a misty / foggy environment. There’s one illuminated dot for each reticle, so they’ll be helpful regardless of the range your shooting from.

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

Durability & Construction

Durable is definitely the right word here. Just to see what would happen (yes, I was bored), I dropped the Buck Buck Commander Anti Vibration CrossbowCommander onto the ground while in the forest from a tree (around 9 feet above the ground). I even had the crossbow cocked at the time (though no arrow was seated), just to see if the safety mechanism would go off accidentally. The Buck Commander survived the drop without as much as a scratch, and the string was still safely latched in position. I obviously don’t recommend to anyone doing this type of testing 🙂 I only did it for the sake of this review.

Barnett used Barnsdale laminated limbs for this crossbow, which include their proprietary AVI technology (Anti Vibration Isolation) designed to reduce noise-levels by 20-30% (though like I said earlier, my personal feeling is that it’s closer to 50% compared to other compound crossbows). The trigger is very dependable and it’s pretty much impossible to pull it by accident, as it requires a bit of force – not too much, but just enough to avoid an accident.

What Crossbow Case Fits the Barnett Buck Commander CRT?

The Carbon Express Deluxe Case is an excellent choice for the Barnett Cuck Commander. While it is on the smaller side as cases go, this soft case is perfect for this one. It can be found online for a good price. An alternative option is the Allen Company Case which is also soft; however, its price is half that of the Deluxe.

Barnett Buck Commander Review – Summary

Despite being a compound, this crossbow is both very quiet and low-maintenance – there is usually lots of tweaking and tuning involved with compounds; Barnett has managed to take all of that out of the equation. The Buck Commander is more powerful than you could ask for (sometimes downright too powerful), shooting precision is spectacular, and it’ll make quick work of pretty much any game on the surface of our planet.

If you can afford the Buck Commander, get it. It will last you a lifetime, and you’ll probably never look for another crossbow again. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

Thanks for reading!

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