Pushing the performance envelope

This is the second blog piece of two, giving you the information you need to decide if a limb swap is a move for you or not. The first blog in this set is here and looked at the standard equipment you get when you buy a complete crossbow from Steambow. Without going into the rationale for each configuration a second time, here’s a very quick recap instead.

Steambow’s AR-6 Compact gives you a 6-shot integral magazine mounted on a pistol-grip, straight-pull frame ships with the 35-lb CQ limb. The Compact’s bigger and older brother is the AR-6 Tactical. Again, the integral magazine, but with a shoulder stock that functions as a cocking system and the original 55-lb limb. That same limb also features on Steambow’s only single shot in the AR-Series lineup: the Survival

Finally, the M10 Tactical. Steambow’s newest crossbow has a 10-shot detachable box magazine upper mounted on the shoulder stock-cocking lower but fitted with the Quick Detach frame. This model sports the 75-lb Advanced limb mounted on a limb block for absurdly fast assembly or takedown.

The original performance booster

Those are the three limb sets that buyers are most likely to experience. However, if you want more range, more power, or both, Steambow has three more tucked up its sleeve for the more demanding owner. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

Steambow’s first foray into the higher power bracket was not the 75-lb Advanced limb, as you might think, but the Pro limb, with a draw weight of 90 lbs. Indeed, the Advanced limb only predates the M10 Tactical crossbow by about six months. By contrast, the Pro has been in the Steambow catalog for several years now.

The rationale for the Pro was two-fold. Steambow is primarily a weapon manufacturer. The weapons it produces are very often used for recreational and increasingly competitive uses, but more serious functions remain if the owner chooses and laws allow. Given the modular nature of the Steambow range, you can fit any limb to any model, provided you have the strength to cock it. And so, putting the Pro in a Tactical frame gave the user a more potent combination if they planned to keep their AR-series crossbow as the ultimate defense against the unthinkable.

If that was the case, the Pro definitely packed a punch with around a 60% increase in draw over the standard Tactical limb. Greater force, kinetic energy, penetration, and range. That’s not to say the only use for the Pro is for home defense. Quite the contrary. 

The Pro has allowed many users to have a great deal of fun in their backyards, reaching out more confidently to greater distances or getting more out of their high-penetration bodkin arrows, ruining the day of many unfortunate coconuts and tin cans. All the same, those 90 lbs of draw did turn the AR-6 Tactical into a fearsome piece of equipment that pretty much any adult could cock with relative ease and speed.

Breaking new ground in the repeating crossbow market. Again.

What came next was indeed a dynamic duo: two hugely capable limb sets released virtually at the same time. These were the Magnum with 120 lbs of draw and the Hunting with a colossal 150 lbs. 

These degrees of performance really do mark Steambow out as a manufacturer with high specifications. Indeed, the Hunting is the most powerful limb available on a crossbow of the AR-series’ size, packing more fps per lb of crossbow than even the most powerful full-size hunting recurves on the market.

It’s no surprise that the names of these limbs belie their likely uses. Either one of these has the power for some serious damage with the 150-lb Hunting designed for, no surprises, hunting. There will be some customers out there who hunt with a crossbow, namely in the US. Of those, there will be some who are tired of hauling a behemoth of a hunting crossbow across Hill and Dale, not to mention the carcass of their kill on the way back out. And that is before you take into account the staggering cost of such full-size crossbows.

Steambow’s Hunting and Survival may be the answer they need. The Magnum is easier to operate and less punishing on strings, arrows, and muscles while still delivering improved significant range, making it a good choice for smaller game animals.

Of course, an owner can use these on any of the AR-Series crossbows, but there are practical considerations. First of all, cocking a 150-lb crossbow using only a straight pull system as on the Compact will leave some very red in the face and out of breath: it is a beast of a limb. And while stronger limbs will, naturally, give greater range in a competitive setting, the cocking time will be longer, which might cost a shooter valuable seconds when a round is over. 

All that to say each limb has an ideal use in mind, but how owners decide to use them is an entirely personal choice, with personal choice being the bedrock of the modular crossbow philosophy. So, if you want to see for yourself, have a look through the choices for more information.

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