PSE Rattler Review (In-Field) – Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
PSE Rattler

PSE Rattler

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165 lbs.10.5"285 FPS

How to sight a crossbow?
20"36" / 8 lbs. 11 ozs.

PSE Rattler Package Contents

The PSE Rattler is offered in a variety of package configurations. The one that we looked at had:
A 3-dot Red Dot scope
Four 20” arrows with 100-grain field points
A six-arrow detachable quiver
One item that was missing that we would have included is a rope-cocking aid. Given that these aren’t that expensive, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to pick one up.

First Impressions: Design, Safety, Comfort and Accuracy

PSE RattlerWhen you first look at the Rattler, you can tell this is a crossbow that is more designed for the entry-level shooter. It does have a nice film-dipped camo finish as well as an anodized machined aluminum barrel. Another cool feature is the fully rubber-dipped foot stirrup which helped stifle a small amount of the sound and vibration.

We really liked that it had an auto safety, but we would really have liked to have seen an anti-dry-fire system on the Rattler, especially given that it will likely be shot by a newbie shooter. Another safety feature that was not included are the flanges above the fore grip. These would normally be to keep the shooters off-hand fingers and thumb from ever getting into the string path. One positive however is the ability to move the forward grip to the most comfortable position for the shooter’s forward hand.

Kinetic Energy of the PSE Rattler

The PSE Rattler combines a modest draw weight with a short power stroke to push arrows in the 350-grain range at about 285 fps. This translates to around 63 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle. This is certainly not the hardest hitter out there, but that should still be plenty of punch for a well-aimed shot to down a deer and even elk.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The PSE Rattler

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.

Hunting with the PSE Rattler

PSE Rattler2The Rattler is a basic crossbow that is going to work OK for hunting deer within about the 30 yard range. We found that the included arrows started to have too much unpredictability beyond that range for us to recommend any shots longer than that. You are really going to want to find some suppressors as well as there is a notable twang when you fire.

How Quiet is the Rattler

The PSE Rattler is not what we would consider quiet, especially given the modest 165 lb. draw weight. This is definitely a crossbow that will benefit from both string suppressors as well as multiple limb and stock dampeners.

Cocking the PSE Rattler

The Rattler is a fairly easy crossbow to cock, thanks in large part to the low draw weight and the short power stroke. We were actually able to cock this by hand, but if you are going to be making multiple shots, do yourself a favor and purchase a rope cocking aid.

Quality of the Optics

Given the price of the Rattler, we don’t want to pick on the optics too much. Frankly, this is an optic for a beginner who is going to spend most of their time at the range. Realistically, you can’t expect a high-end optic on a $300 – 350 crossbow. If you are serious about hunting with the Rattler, you might look into a better aftermarket scope, but for just getting shooting, the red dot will work fine.

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

What Arrows to use with the Rattler

The arrows that arrive with the Rattler are sufficient for a day at the range, but should really be upgraded if you are going to be doing a lot of hunting. We found the included 20” arrows were quite a bit heavier than the 350-grains the Rattler was tested with. We have heard of some folks cutting back arrows to the 17” range, but we always hesitate to recommend deviating too much from the manufacturer’s recommended length. We will say that the included arrows got a bit wild as we extended the range of our shots.

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

Overall Thoughts

The PSE Rattler offers the entry level shooter a crossbow capable of taking a deer at a fairly modest price point. The lack of an anti-dry-fire system and forward hand safety flanges means that the novice shooter is going to need a good instructor and a lot of self-discipline to ensure the crossbow isn’t damaged and the shooter isn’t injured from a dry fire or string strike. That being said, for the price, you will get plenty of crossbow to learn to shoot with. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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