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Barnett Wildcat C5 Crossbow Review: Why Is It So Popular?

When it comes to crossbows, Barnett is a leading brand. Their main line crossbows are made in the U.S. and are well known for their reliability. The Barnett Wildcat c5 is one of their bestsellers so I decided to check it out and tell you guys what I think about it.

So why exactly is the Wildcat c5 so popular? Well, to spare you the suspense I will tell you right now that the reason why this is so is because it is simply a solid entry level crossbow with a great price. If you want to know why I think this then I encourage you to keep on reading.


Barnett Wildcat Crossbow

Barnett Wildcat C5 Specs

Barnett advertises the weight of the bow being at 8.5 pounds. However, usually the manufacturers get this measurement without putting all the accessories on. Since I usually hunt with all the accessories on my crossbow, the real weight of the weapon is more like 11.5 pounds. But still, this weight is light enough to be able to carry for hours upon hours.

The Wildcat C5 has easy to handle, compact dimensions. It measures 26.75 inches wide and 35.5 inches long. However, when cocked, you should expect about a 22 inch width. The crossbow is even narrower because of the fact that it has very small cams.

If you don’t already know, the power stroke is crucial for determining the speed of the bolts that it shoots. Typically, the longer the power stroke the, faster the bolt will fly. The power stroke for the Wildcat C5 is a full 13 inches. This means that when cocking the bow, the string will pull back 13 inches. This is above the average crossbow which is a 11 to 12 inch powerstroke.

The draw weight, which determines how hard or easy it is to cock the crossbow, is a mere 150 pounds. This is very manageable, especially when accompanied with a rope cocker. Also, since this is a compound bow with cams, you only feel the full weight at the beginning of the pull. After that it feels much easier. Because of this, I believe this crossbow can be suitable for people with strength problems or back and shoulder problems. I believe this crossbow is suitable for even kids.

Out of The Box

The Wildcat C5 is dressed in Next 1G camo, although it is also offered in plain black. It’s small dimensions make it easy and comfortable to handle. It has a sleek, military styled stock wide enough to protect your shoulder area from any recoil.

When purchasing the Wildcat C5, Barnett offers two options: a package with three 20-inch bolts, a quiver and a scope with a red dot sight or a package with just the bare bow and no attachments. With the latter, you are free to customize it with any accessories that you want. I would recommend getting the package with all the accessories unless you have some experience and know exactly what you want from a bow. Note that there is no option that comes with a rope cocker, so you’re going to have to get it separately yourself. Luckily, Amazon is great at presenting you with all the accessories you might need.

The Wildcat C5 is simple to assemble even for the ones that don’t know anything about crossbows. The riser and limbs come separate from the stock. Basically all you need to do is figure out how to put them together. If you happen to need more information, there is an instruction manual that you can look at. The package comes with all the hardware necessary to assemble so you don’t need to worry about not having the right tools.

The package that comes with the scope has an illuminated red dot sight that is simple to zero in. You’ll have no trouble being accurate after a few practice shots.


The bolts that come with the bow are called the Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow Arrows. These bolts are 20 inches long and weigh about 8.1 ounces with 100 grain field points. With these arrows you will be able to shoot at the advertised speed of 320 feet per second.

If you want to put broad heads on your bolts you should expect a 5 fps to 20 fps drop, depending on how light or heavy you prefer your broadheads. Barnett offers 2 types of broadheads for their crossbows - a 100 grain and a 150 grain package. Barnett refers to them as their Gamecrusher Broadheads.

For the Wildcat C5 I would recommend the 100 grain ones since you don't want to drop the speed of your shots any more. It's important to note that we are recommended to have a velocity of at least 300 fps to hunt medium size game like whitetails.

The trigger quality is surprisingly good for a crossbow this cheap. When I pulled it, it felt light and smooth while still having a lot of "umph" in the shot itself. 

Shooting The Wildcat c5

​The stirrup of this crossbow is wide enough for you to effortlessly keep the bow still as you get ready to cock it. Like I sead before, cocking the Wildcat c5 is easy, especially with a rope cocker. Another nice feature this crossbow has is that this crossbow has a crank attachment installed right on the stock. This means that you have the option to get a crank cocking device. 

Once you cock the crossbow and the string sticks onto the latch, the bow will automatically be engaged into safety mode. It also has the anti-dry fire mechanism that prevents you from removing the safety while there is no arrow on the crossbow. But once you insert the arrow on it you are now able to switch off the safety and shoot.

The Wildcat C5 is pretty accurate and easy to shoot. I was able to get a 2 inch group at 20 yards and a 5 inch group at 50. Assuming you have your bow sighted in correctly, you should be just as accurate. I believe that the reason of why this crossbow is so accurate is the simplicity of the design and it's good balance. What I mean by good balance is that most of it's weight is located close to your body, making it easy to maneuver the sight onto your target. 

One of the few things that are unfortunate about this crossbow is the amount of noise and vibration it produces after every shot. Naturally we do not want loud crossbows so as to not scare our game away. Keep in mind that this is a compound crossbow, which means it is still pretty silent compared to most recurves. If this is a problem though, you can always install suppressors. Given all of this though, I think the speed of the crossbow makes the noise and vibration more than tolerable. 

As long as we're talking about the crossbow's negative aspects, I have something to say about the scope. Despite it being accurate, when I tried to put it on, it was difficult to adjust. Apparently the scope was not properly screwed onto the rail mount and it wasn't until a few days that I realized this and tightened it. You may think I was just clumsy when assembling the crossbow, but if you look at forums, a lot of people are having trouble with the exact same thing - some even claiming that their scope broke without even treating it roughly. After doing some research I found out that, since the rail mount is made of plastic, it is not very stable or durable. Luckily, I have not experienced any unwarranted breakage on my Wildcat C5.


For a compound crossbow, the Wildcat C5 is really cheap. Having this into account we should lower our expectations. You should not expect this crossbow to have all the bells and whistles like the crossbows that break the $1000 barrier. If you're looking for that you can check out our reviews for the very best crossbows on the market.

Even though this crossbow is not at that level of quality, it is still very surprising how much it is capable of. The accuracy and speed are simply to notch for it's price. The trigger is just as high end as the more expensive bows. The biggest problem, however, was the plastic scope mount.

All in all, it is completely understandable why this crossbow is Barnett's best seller: it is cheap, fast and accurate. In my opinion, the Wildcat C5 may just be the best entry-level crossbow in the market. It would also be great for children who are just starting to get into the sport. 

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