PSE Toxic Skullworks Review – a Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
PSE Toxic Skullworks Crossbow

PSE Toxic Skullworks Crossbow

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150 lbs.11"325 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"35.25" to 39" / 9.4 lbs.
- Short, 11-inch power stroke
- Fantastic scope with excellent accuracy
- Very little frontal heaviness

- Heavy, at 9.4 pounds
- Fairly loud
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best PSE Crossbows

Package Contents

Well, it’s time for another crossbow review, and today we’re going to look at the PSE Toxic Skullworks. Each package delivered by PSE includes the following items:

  • PSE Toxic Crossbow in Skullworks camo
  • 4×32 Scope with 4 reticle lines
  • Sling
  • 4-arrow quiver
  • 4 carbon arrows
  • Sling
  • Rope Cocking Device
  • String Wax
  • Rail Lube
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Card

Once you’ve unboxed the pieces, you’re ready to put your new crossbow together. Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual, and then get started.

Assembling The PSE Toxic Skullworks Crossbow

Assembly of the PSE Toxic crossbow is simple and easy, with very clear instructions. Once you mount the prod to the riser, you attach the foot stirrup and then mount the scope and quiver. It took me no more than 15 minutes to have my PSE Toxic ready for the range.

Accuracy And Power

PSE 41799IF Archery ToxicEven with its short 11” power stroke and 150 pound draw weight, the PSE Toxic is able to fling arrows downrange at a blazing 325 FPS. Using 425 grain arrows, it delivers a whopping 100 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, which ripped through my target block like a hot knife through butter.

Sighting in the scope was easy, as the scope was almost sighted right out of the box. Within a few shots and two minor windage and elevation adjustments, I was holding ½” groupings from 25 yards, and started moving out to test the long-range accuracy.

I was able to maintain 1” groupings at 35 yards and 45 yards, and 2” groupings from 50 yards. This crossbow shoots straight every single time, and has the power you have come to expect from a modern crossbow.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The PSE Toxic Skullworks

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: What To Expect

I was anxious to get the Toxic out in the hunting field, knowing that its 100 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy could take down any legal game in North America. I had the opportunity to go hunting antelope, and took along the Toxic to see how she would perform. During our first day, I spotted a large pronghorn antelope and carefully lined up my shot. Once I was satisfied with the shot, I pulled the trigger and watched the bolt slam in and out of the antelope. He staggered off for about 25 yards before dropping from blood loss.

I’ve also used the Toxic on several deer hunts, and never failed to fill my limit. This is an excellent crossbow, especially considering the inexpensive price tag. My only beef with this crossbow is its weight: at 9.4 pounds, it was a heavy crossbow to carry around.

Cocking The PSE Toxic Skullworks

The PSE Toxic has a very light draw weight of only 150 pounds, making it very easy to draw, even by hand. I always recommend using a rope cocking device, though, because that ensures an even, consistent pull that is essential to accuracy. PSE even includes a rope cocking device with the Toxic, so use it.

Pulling back the string is quick and easy, even without the cocking device. With its short 11” power stroke, you don’t have to pull back very far before the rope is cocked.

The Crossbow Scope

The included 4×32 scope is one of the nicest I’ve seen come with a crossbow. Its reticles are easy to see, and the optics are clear and crisp. It sighted in quick and easy, and held true through an entire season of hunting (even with being transported on an aircraft for a hunting trip). I was very pleased with the quality of the scope, and think it is one of the nicest features of the Toxic crossbow.

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

Bolts For The Toxic Skullworks

The PSE Toxic includes 4 Charger carbon bolts, and these bolts will serve you well. I’m a fan of Firebolt arrows, but I stuck with these bolts through my accuracy and hunting field trials of the crossbow. I have to say, the Charger bolts give my Firebolts a run for their money. They shoot straight and true, and are good, solid arrows. If you do decide to upgrade to different arrows, stick with 20” arrows at 425 grain.

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

Safety and Design

The PSE Toxic features an adjustable stock, so you can fit it nicely to your frame and stature. The stock gives the crossbow an overall length of anywhere from 35-1/4” to 39”. The quiver is side-mounted, which is unique for crossbows and was something I thought would throw off accuracy, but it didn’t.

The trigger pull on the PSE Toxic is nice and firm, but not too heavy. The crossbow is very well-balanced, so you don’t have to worry too much about frontal heaviness. The Skullworks camouflage finish is unique among crossbows, giving the Toxic a very unique look. If you don’t like the look of the Skullworks finish, the Toxic is also available with a Mossy Oak finish.

Make no mistake, this crossbow is not without its flaws. At almost 9 and a half pounds, this is probably the heaviest crossbow I’ve ever carried in the field. The weight does help steady the crossbow some, but it still causes quite a bit of fatigue when you have to carry it around for several hours.

This is also one of the noisiest crossbows I’ve ever fired. Fortunately, that noise has yet to be a problem on the hunt, but it does take some getting used to. I almost found myself using hearing protection when shooting this crossbow, it was so loud.

The anti dry fire mechanism works flawlessly every time, keeping you assured that you aren’t likely to accidentally dry fire your crossbow.


PSE offers a limited lifetime warranty on its crossbows, and offers excellent customer service. I’ve had to call PSE about other crossbows, and found their representatives to be friendly and quick to assist.

What Crossbow Case Fits the PSE Toxic Skullworks?

The Carbon Express Deluxe Case is always a nice soft case for crossbows with smaller scopes and runs close to $70. For a soft case that accommodates larger accessories, try the Tarantula Deluxe Crossbow Case. It is also around $70; however, it does not include retaining straps.

PSE Toxic Skullworks Summary

Take a look at today’s best price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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