Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review – Popular Beginner Crossbow

Barnett is one of the largest companies in the industry and sells more crossbows than a number of its competitors combined, so I was very interested in finding out more about the Jackal crossbow and why it's such a popular beginner crossbow. In this review, I will cover the following: what comes in the box, the Jackal specifications, what kind of bolts are best, how to assemble it, how powerful it is, how accurate it is, and many more questions. My 'aim' is to mention everything that is worth mentioning about the Jackal in order to help you find out if it is the right crossbow for you. Keep reading this Barnett Jackal crossbow review to find out the answer!


Click the item on the table below to skip to your most pressing question, or continue to read the whole article.

Why Choose a Barnett Crossbow In The First Place?

If you are at all interested in crossbows, you've probably heard of Barnett, a manufacturer of all things crossbow-related. Barnett has been in business since 1962, which demonstrates their experience and ability to know what hunters want.

Barnett’s engineers are constantly outdoing themselves by making better and better crossbows - it seems to be a passion of theirs. They're always striving to make their crossbows better, faster, stronger and more powerful. Based on the changing demands of modern hunting, Barnett has streamlined their creations to be adjustable, lightweight and powerful.

What Comes In The Package?

  • The Jackal Crossbow

  • 3 crossbow bolts (20") with field points

  • 3-dot scope

  • Quick-detach bolt quiver

  • String wax and assembly hardware

  • Owner's manual and warranty card (5 year, limited)

  • All the hex keys, bolts and screws required for assembly

How Easy Is It To Assemble?

The picture-filled assembly instructions are great and easy to use. A beginner should be able to assemble the Jackal Crossbow in less than 20 minutes. Here are the basic assembly instructions:

  1. Attach stock to quiver mount.

  2. Attach riser to the cocking stirrup.

  3. Secure the stock to the riser.

  4. Mount the 3-red dot scope.

All of the tools needed to assemble are in the box - including keys, screws and bolts.


  • Weight - 7.7 lbs

  • Draw Weight - 150 lbs

  • Power Stroke - 12"

  • FPS (Feet Per Second) - 315

  • Length X Width - 36" X 28.5"

What You Need To Understand About Crossbow Specs

If you're looking to buy a crossbow, you need to understand the numbers, but if you're familiar with these things then feel free to move on.

The velocity of crossbows is expressed in feet per second. The draw weight is the maximum amount of weight an archer will pull while drawing the bow. Then there is the power stroke. This is perhaps the least understood of a crossbow's features. Power stroke is the length between the crossbow's string in its farthest (or cocked) position and its resting (or un-cocked) position.

Why is power stroke important? Usually, the longer the power stroke, the quicker the arrow will fly. The longer the stroke, the more energy and power is being transferred to the arrow. However, power stroke alone doesn't completely determine a crossbow's speed. There are several other factors that also influence speed. These include limb and cam design as well as draw weight.

In general, a crossbow with a longer power stroke will house more energy than a heavier bow with a shorter stroke. The combination of draw weight, power stroke and high efficiency synthetic cam system will result in an even faster bolt speed. These things are what allows the Jackal crossbow to be surprisingly powerful.

Cocking The Jackal Crossbow

The Jackal crossbow, with a draw weight of 150 lbs, is very reasonable. If you're like most and are not interested in putting your fingers through strenuous work, or if you have arthritis, then we would recommend that you use a rope cocking device, which can easily be found on Amazon. This allows for a smooth and easy cocking of the crossbow. A good rope cocker can reduce the draw weight felt by the archer by about half. Not only that but it also helps your string to be even which allows you to make consistently accurate shots. Using a rope cocker, the Jackal crossbow could potentially be used by young adults and women as well.

How Accurate Is The Jackal Crossbow?

I believe the Jackal may be the most accurate budget crossbow you can find. The scope is easy to sight. Sighting means calibrating the scope to your new bow. The Jackal performs well, taking not more that 6 - 12 shots before aligning with the scope. Beginners can easily achieve a 1" to 2" arrow group from 30 - 50 yards away. This means you can be a total newbie and be able to take down a rabbit at 30 to 50 yards away!

If you change the included field points to broad-heads, you'll have to zero the bow and the scope once again. If you don't, your shot placement will be way off. Most broad-heads come with practice tips, so if you buy broad-heads, you'll be able to use them for target practice as well. Field points keep your target around longer, as using broad-heads will tend to destroy your targets pretty quickly.

The scope has 3 vertical red or green LED's. Plus the bow comes with vertical/horizontal set screw adjustments, which can be used for three dot sighting-in alignment.

For the price of this bow, I am impressed at how stable the weight distribution is. This is an important reason why the Jackal is so accurate. When it comes to accuracy, good weight distribution and stability are just as important as a good, calibrated scope.

How Good Is It For Hunting?

It is interesting to note that if you want to hunt big game like deer, minimum draw weight of 125 lbs is usually needed. As you can see, the Jackal more than satisfies that.

The Jackal’s light-weight and compact size makes it very maneuverable in the woods. It is accurate and easy to aim. At 315 feet per second the Jackal delivers enough kinetic energy to take down the largest game in North America - including cape buffalo, elk, etc. If you didn't know, that is very impressive for this price range.

A whitetail deer buck standing in the woods.

If you intend to hunt animals, however, it is important that you get broad-heads. Notice that these are not included in the box. So if you want to hunt, we recommend that you get bolts that will accept broad-heads. Our recommendation for broad-heads are the Gamecrusher Broadheads. You can actually get both the bolts and the broadheads all bundled up into one from Amazon. 

How Good Are The Bolts?

As noted above, the Jackal comes with three 20" Easton bolts. They each have screw-in field points. That is better than glued-in field points, which is prominent in cheaper arrows. The field points are 100 grains. They are also only intended for target practice and not hunting.

The bolts seem to be very durable. Even after hundreds of shots, the arrows should not bend or break. But since the package only comes with three, we definitely recommend that you get more just in case. Although the bolts are 20 inches, Barnett also points out that 18 inch bolts should work just as fine.

Speaking of arrows, it is also nice how quickly and easily the quiver can be detached from the stock.

What Is the Design Like?

The crossbow has a military-styled body. The fore-grip is very comfortable to hold and it does a good job in keeping your fingers away from the flight rail. The shoulder rest is adequate enough, except that we would have liked it slightly wider.

We really like the split limb design. It is practical because it allows the limbs to accelerate faster due to lowered air resistance, and it also adds to the bow’s aesthetics.

The trigger action seems to be very solid and dependable. Some users report to really like the feel of it. We are definitely impressed with the high quality of the trigger considering this bow’s price range.

How Durable Is It?

The aluminum riser is light and should last for tens of thousands of shots. The split limbs allow it to be extra flexible and forgiving.

The cable and string on the Jackal crossbow are made out of synthetic materials. Naturally, the string should start to fray and separate at about 700 shots. (unless you constantly make unforced errors such as accidentally dry-firing it) But after that you can easily replace them and continue to enjoy the crossbow.

How To Extend The Life Of Your Jackal Crossbow

The Jackal comes with a tube of lube wax. When using the bow, make sure to wax your string often - about every 5 shots or so. This will ensure that you'll get the maximum life out of your string. Click here for more detailed crossbow maintenance tips.

This lube wax should also be applied to the flight track every 5-10 shots. This keeps the flight track lubricated and reduces the resistance between the arrow and bow and keeps the bow from wearing out from the friction caused by the arrow. We strongly recommend maintaining the flight track well lubricated since it will also add to your crossbow's speed and accuracy, because isn't that what we all want? You may need to apply wax more often if your bow is exposed to heavy moisture.

Safety Features

The anti-dry fire mechanism is fairly standard on crossbows today, so it's not surprising that the Jackal has one. If you don't know what this does, it prevents you from accidentally firing when there is no arrow attached to it. This is important for safety reasons and also because it would prevents the bow from getting damaged.

Of course the Jackal also comes with a safety lock. You should find that the safety lock is easy to slide on and off when properly loaded. This is important if you're hunting or shooting with others. Let's say you're aiming at a deer and it begins to move. You begin to quietly follow and turn your crossbow away. If you're with friends, you wouldn't want the bow to accidentally fire. You can easily slide the safety on before lowering your aim, keeping you and your friends safe.

We like the the fact that this crossbow has flared-out sides on the fore-grip. This protects your fingers by keeping them beneath the string. This is a great feature, because the string raking across your fingers could really do some damage. Remember the 315 feet per second speed of the arrows? Imagine that much kinetic energy hitting your fingers or hand. Ouch!

Other Findings

  • We noticed that this crossbow doesn't take very long to master. You'll get bored shooting targets pretty soon and will want to get out there and hunt.

  • It's important to note that this bow is ambidextrous. so you can also use it if you're left-handed.

  • The crossbow is a bit noisier than most other crossbows, but, given its low price and the amount of power that it harnesses, it is to be expected.

How Does The Jackal Shoot?

Watch the video below for a brief video on how well the Jackal crossbow shoots.

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Review Verdict

Now that I've covered just about everything you need to know about this bow in my Barnett Jackal crossbow review, I will share my verdict. Overall, I was very pleased with the Jackal crossbow on many levels. Its high power, accuracy, lightness and sturdiness make this a great crossbow for beginners. Advanced archers will enjoy this bow as well. With a rope cocker, this bow can be used by almost anyone who is old enough. It is highly accurate and can take down any wild game in North America. In my opinion, this is a great crossbow for the price. i think it's quite the good deal and worth buying.

Barnett offers a five-year limited warranty that covers manufacturer's defects in workmanship and materials. The warranty doesn't include normal wear and tear on the strings and cables, misuse, or dry firing.

The easiest way to purchase your Barnett Jackal is through Amazon. Amazon offers expedient shipping on some models and has a generous return policy should anything go wrong with your crossbow during shipping or even if you're unhappy with your purchase.

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Assembly Instructions

I found some online documentation from Barnett's website that will help you assemble your new crossbow. Follow the links below to access the PDF files direct from the manufacturer.

If you have a question, be sure to leave a comment below.

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