Barnett Outdoors BCR Review – Recurve Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Barnett Outdoors BCR

Barnett Outdoors BCR

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150 lbs.12.5"245 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
18"32.5" / 4.9 lbs.
- Integrated crank available (but not included)
- Large open thumb hole is great for bulky gloves
- Adjustable butt pad

- No rope cocking device included
- Red dot scope is hard to sight in
- Too weak for serious hunting
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?No3
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Barnett Crossbows

What Do I Get with this Crossbow?

Welcome to our review of the Barnett Outdoors BCR crossbow, a new recurve crossbow by Barnett. Each package delivered by Barnett includes the following items:

  • The Barnett BCR crossbow
  • Premium red dot scope
  • Assembly hardware and tools
  • 3-arrow quiver
  • 3 18” arrows
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty card

Getting It Ready to Shoot

outdoors1Assembly of this crossbow was about what I expected for a recurve crossbow. The limb came pre-strung, so all you have to do is remove the nose bolt, remove the safety tag, and then reinstall the nose bolt loosely. Insert the limb into the nose, and follow the instructions to install the pressure pad and the rest of the retaining bolts and screws. Next, you will install the foot stirrup onto the recurve and then mount the quiver and the scope.

Once done, which for me took just 10 minutes, you’re ready to head to the archery range and sight in the scope.

Accuracy And Power

The Barnett BCR delivers the arrows at 245 fps with 54 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. This makes it a pretty lightweight crossbow designed mainly for target shooting or small to medium-sized game hunting. But how well does it shoot?

When I went to sight in the crossbow, I was immediately presented with a problem. All of my shots were going far too low, even after massive adjustments to the elevation dial on the red dot scope. I ended up inserting a rubber washer wedge under the rear of the scope mount, which gave a bit more room for elevation adjustments, and was then finally able to sight in the crossbow. You should not have to do this just to sight in your crossbow, but I’m stubborn.

Once sighted in, the accuracy of the crossbow was still only so-so. From 25 yards, I could maintain a 1” pattern, and could hit a 2” pattern from 50 yards. Since the red dot scope does not offer any magnification, I wouldn’t use the crossbow any further out than 50 yards.

Not entirely happy with the accuracy, I tried another scope. No go. The problem is the crossbow itself, not the scope. The trigger pull is a bit too heavy and I believe causes the nose of the crossbow to pull up and to the side when you pull the trigger. I’ve tried to adjust my trigger pull, but I suspect I’m going to end up taking this crossbow to a gunsmith to have the trigger fine-tuned. Once again, this is something that you shouldn’t have to do to a crossbow, and will probably void my warranty, but hey…this is only a $200 crossbow, so I don’t mind playing around with it a bit.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The Barnett Outdoors BCR

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 BCR Recurve?

According to Barnett, BCR stands for Buck Commander Recurve, which would lead me to believe that the crossbow is ideal for hunting deer. As long as the deer aren’t too big, I’m okay with that description, but 150 lbs. of draw is the bare minimum required for deer hunting in most states, and 53 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy might make your shot questionable against a large buck. I certainly wouldn’t try using this crossbow for anything larger than deer; it would likely just injure the animal and not kill them fast enough for humane, ethical hunting.

Since the BCR is new as of 2014, I’ve only had the opportunity to take this crossbow out in the field with me once. It performed pretty well, letting me harvest a 9-point buck with ease from my deer stand. The shot did pass through the buck, and the deer only ran off for about 50 yards before I found him taking his dirt nap.

Cocking The BCR

With a draw weight of just 150 pounds, the Barnett BCR x-bow is one of the lightest draws I’ve seen other than in bowfishing crossbows. It draws back smoothly and easily, and could even be drawn without a rope cocking device. I wouldn’t advice that, though, since rope cocking devices help ensure the string is pulled back evenly and consistently. Unfortunately, the BCR does not ship with a rope cocking device, so make sure you pick one up. The BCR is compatible with Barnett’s integrated crank cocking devices, if you choose to purchase one of those and install it on your BCR.

The Crossbow Scope

With the accuracy problems I had with this crossbow, I decided to test the red dot scope on another crossbow, a TenPoint Titan. It sighted in quickly and easily on the Titan, and held true through several rounds of shooting and storage. Once I had it properly mounted on the BCR, and the mount on the BCR adjusted for more elevation adjustment, the scope seemed as accurate as this x-bow will allow. The illuminated red dot is perfectly sized and illuminated, so you shouldn’t have any problem seeing your target in low light conditions.

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


The Barnett BCR crossbow comes with 3 18” arrows weighted to 400 grain. These arrows are decent enough for target shooting for a few shots, but they don’t stand up to my high levels of pickiness for hunting arrows. I switched the included arrows out for Firebolt arrows cut to 18”, and have had excellent performance from those arrows. The BCR is definitely a budget crossbow, and its performance shows that, but it does better slightly better with better quality arrows.

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

Safety and Design

This crossbow features an automatic safety and anti-dry fire system that both work reliably for every shot. The adjustable butt pad lets you tailor the fit of the butt stock to your build and clothing, somewhat, and is a nice feature. The patented quick-detach limb assembly allows you to quickly and easily remove the limb from the stock for storage and transport, but you should invest in a bow stringer if you want to destring the crossbow for any reason.


Barnett crossbows are covered under a 5-year limited warranty, and Barnett’s customer service staff are friendly and knowledgeable. They weren’t much help with the sighting in problem, though, seeming to think that I must have been doing something wrong. This is a new crossbow, though, so hopefully they will soon realize the problem with the bow and get it fixed.

What Crossbow Case Fits the Barnett Outdoors BCR?

A decently affordable soft case choice to tote the Outdoors BCR is the Tarantula Deluxe Crossbow Case. For $69 it is a rather good deal. An even more affordable alternative soft case is the Allen Company case for less than half of that. It also provides additional room for large accessories.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading my crossbow review of the new Barnett BCR. This is definitely what you’d call a “cheap” crossbow, since it performs like a cheap crossbow. You have to make manual modifications to the crossbow to get it to sight in, and it is louder than the average budget crossbow. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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