Ravin R15 Review
The Ravin R15 was a great crossbow in it’s heyday, while Ravin do have better crossbows available now it can still be a good option if you can get it cheap
The R15 was unveiled in 2017 and has been causing ripples ever since. Picking up from where the successful R9 left, this bow asserted Ravin as one of the best crossbow manufacturers, despite being in the game for a very short period. The R15 offers exceptional performance with rifle-like accuracy up to 100 yards and is currently placed as the second fastest Ravin crossbow right behind the R20 and R29. It comes with cutting edge Ravin technology, which we have come to love such as the patented Helicoil technology, Trac-Trigger Firing System, Versa-Draw cocking system and the unique Frictionless Flight System. Here is a detailed review of the R15, Although it is a great crossbow, I would personally buy the R20 over this one
Let’s Check Out The Features Of This Crossbow
Design and Build
The R15 comes with all the bells and whistles featured in all Ravin crossbows. The first feature you are more likely to notice is the beautiful Predator Camo finish that apart from giving it a tactical predatory appearance, also adds to the aesthetic value of the bow. Another thing that will capture your attention is the skeletonized stock design that features huge cutouts on the butt stock, limbs and riser that reduces its overall weight to just 6.9 pounds allowing you to shoot it off-hand. The bow is also very compact and compressed with a full length of 34.5 inches and 6 inch axle to axle width, which allows stress free maneuvering and handling on treestands and close quarter blinds.
The highlights of the R15 include the patented Helicoil technology for its cable system, the Trac-Trigger Firing System, Versa-Draw Cocking System and the unique Frictionless Flight System. Aside from the bow, the R15 package also includes the following accessories: six 400 grain Ravin branded arrows and nocks, six 100 grain practice field points, a 3-arrow quiver, a mounting bracket, 100 yard illuminated scope, built-in sling mounts and a removable cocking handle. This bow comes pre-assembled and pre-tuned from the manufacturer and can be shot right out of the box.
The overall appearance of the R15 is a delicate bow that has nothing much to offer in terms of speed and power, however looks can be really deceiving. This bow is actually the second fastest Ravin bow, slightly edged by the R20 and R29, which are both tied at first place registering 430fps and 164 foot pounds of power. The R15 offers bone shattering performance of 425fps speed and 160 foot pounds power, which (as any hunting connoisseur will attest) is not really different from the first placed R20/29. The R25 will still produce the same rifle like performance and outcome up to 100 yards, and at a much lower cost than the two.
The patented Helicoil technology utilized for its cable system is responsible for the exceptional performance. The technology allows cables to coil in helical grooves on top and bottom of the cams keeping the bow perfectly balanced, during drawing and shooting. This eliminates cam lean and improves downrange accuracy of the bolt. Helicoil technology also rotates the cams to an amazing 340 degrees, which gives the bow the needed ammo to supercharge the bolt to the amazing speed and poundage. Its Frictionless Flight System keeps the arrow and bowstring free floating above the rail. This eliminates friction, allows improved downrange accuracy of the bolt and also lengthens string and cable life.
The R15 features the Trac-Trigger Firing System (TTFS), a unique trigger system that boasts of a smooth 2.9 pound trigger break with less creep and overtravel. The trigger system also doubles as a cocking and decocking device. The TTFS device is firmly installed on the flight rail to reduce side-to-side movements as it moves along the track during cocking/decocking. This allows it to attach exactly at the center of the bowstring and to retract it uniformly for straight nock travel and improved accuracy.
Versa-Draw Cocking System
The drawing mechanism of the R15 is the Versa-Draw cocking system that comes fully integrated with the Trac-Trigger Firing System. It is permanently installed into the stock and its weight already accounted for in the listed weight of the bow. So, there are no surprises with this bow, as is the case with most rigs with removable crank systems. The manufacturers deliberately omit the weight of the cocking devices to make their bows appear lighter. What is amazing about the Versa-Draw cocking system is the unique approach it utilizes to draw the string.
Included on both sides of the stock are two recessed holes, where a removable cocking handle is attached and held by built-in magnets. Once the cocking handle is installed in place, the next step is to press the spool thumb release button located behind the trigger. And, as you press it, rotate the cocking handle in a clockwise fashion to help release the tension on the cocking strap. Release the button and remove the cocking handle. Press again the spool thumb release button and let go to engage the Trac-Trigger Firing System (TTFS) device.
The TTFS device will slide along the flight track up to the string stop, where it will automatically clasp at the bowstring. An audible sound will indicate when the string is properly clasped. Then, re-install the cocking handle and start rotating it in a clockwise direction. This will trigger the device to retract uniformly. Stop working the handle only when the device is fully drawn. The whole process is super easy and requires approximately 12 pounds of draw force. As a result, it can be used by virtually anybody including kids and the elderly.
Another amazing feature of the Versa-Draw is that it can be used to disarm the bow, without having to shoot it – a common problem with most crossbows today. To disarm the bow, first remove the arrow. Then, press the spool thumb release button continuously as you rotate the cocking handle in an anticlockwise fashion. The TTFS device will respond by moving towards the string stop. A slacked cocking strap will indicate to you that the bow is fully decocked. Cocking and decocking all Ravin crossbows is very simple that the company deliberately chose not include a foot stirrup on its bows. You can cock any of its bows laterally on a table or vertically with the aid of limb bumpers.
The Trac-Trigger Firing System comes with the auto-safety and the anti-dry fire safety features, which prevent dry firing before the arrow is properly loaded. The auto-safety feature is an external yellow switch that automatically moves to the safety mode (white dot) when the TTFS device clasps at the bowstring. To make the shot, you will have to move the switch manually to the firing mode (red dot) and the bow will be ready to shoot. The anti-dry fire is also automatically activated when the TTFS device clasps at the bowstring and is only disengaged when a Ravin branded arrow is properly installed.
Another safety feature is the audible click sound that alerts you when the arrow is properly installed. Generally, it takes about 10 pounds of human effort to properly install an arrow. The R15 also includes safety wings above the foregrip that prevent your hand from sliding into the flight path during action. The finger grooves and hard texturing on both sides of the foregrip reduce slips and allow for firm grip even with gloves. In addition, the trigger is fixed on the stock and is only engaged when the bowstring is fully cocked.
Noise and Vibrations
As you would expect from all Ravins or any powerful crossbow, the R15 is quite loud. However, this minor drawback does not pose much of a challenge when it comes to performance, since this rig comes with the speed to back it up. It goes without saying therefore that there isn’t much the prey can do to get away even if it hears the noise. However, if a loud bow gets on your nerves, then you can always purchase limb vibration dampeners separately to control the noise. But, the purchase will add to the overall cost of the bow, which is not cheap.
400 Grain Ravin Branded Arrows
The R15 package comes with six 400 grain Ravin branded arrows and nocks that offer durability, accuracy and unmatchable performance. These arrows boast of 100% pure carbon construction with high impact brass threaded inserts and aluminum nock bushings. They are also inspected for straightness tolerance to within .003 inches and feature 2 inch high profile offset vanes. The package also includes six 100 grain practice points, a three arrow quiver and a mounting bracket.
Ravin’s 100 Yard Illuminated Scope
The built-in scope for the R15 is the Ravin 100 Yard Illuminated Scope, a great scope that boasts of fully multi-coated 1.5 to 5 power optics. It also features speed and arrow drop compensation settings for crossbows that shoot between 300fps and 425fps and a 9-dot calibration for 20-100 yards for improved accuracy at different yards. It further includes two rheostat controlled illumination modes that feature red and green colored dots for low light conditions. The scope is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed to make it fog proof, waterproof and dustproof. It comes with mounting rings and flip-up lens caps.
Is The R15 A Popular Crossbow
The most obvious drawback of the R15 is its high price, which discourages most people from owning it despite offering exceptional performance. Another issue is the loud noise, which can be easily offset by purchasing limb dampeners. But, this will add to the overall price of the bow. Another issue that is prevalent in all Ravin crossbows is the lack of an alternative cocking method. In case of a crank system failure, your hunting exercise will be cut short since there is no other way to cock the bow. I hope Ravin takes notice and offers a manual way of drawing the bowstring. Lastly, the bow is only compatible with Ravin nocks, which means you cannot upgrade to better nocks if you wanted to. Aside from these few drawbacks, there isn’t anything else to complain about the R15 and is definitely one of the best crossbows you will ever use.
Summing up my R15 Review
The R15 is everything you would expect from a flagship Ravin crossbow. Speed, power, precision and user friendliness are just, but a few of the great features you will experience with this bow. The company put its A-Game to ensure that this bow produces world class performance. Taking advantage of Ravin’s cutting edge technology like Helicoil technology, Trac-Trigger Firing System, Versa-Draw cocking mechanism and the Frictionless Flight System, it offers pinpoint accuracy up to 100 yards. And to top it off, a beautiful design that is bound to garner every attention in the field. As the second fastest Ravin crossbow, the R15 is really a force to reckon with in the field. It may come with a heavy price tag, but it is a sound investment that receives my seal of approval.