Ravin R26 Review - It's Compact And Deadly
The R26 is a deadly compact crossbow from Ravin. Read below to get a good review of this crossbow
First Impressions Of The R26 From Ravin
The R26 is part of Ravin’s 2019 crossbow line-up that also featured the R29. It comes with the same design, accessories and performance included in the previous 2018 models, the R10 and R20. However, the overall length of the R26 was considerably reduced to a shocking 26 inches, making it the shortest and most compact rig ever made beating the likes of Tenpoint Nitro X and XRT. As a result, I like to consider it as a miniature version of the R10, as they both feature the same speed and poundage. Ravin retained the exclusive Helicoil technology, Trac-Trigger System and the unique Frictionless Flight System on this bow to make it a force to be reckoned with in the field. Here is a detailed review of the Ravin R26, the smallest crossbow on the planet.
Ravin R26 Crossbow Specs
|Length (with stirrup)||26”|
|Axle to Axle||5.75”|
|Speed||400fps (using 380 grain arrow)|
|Kinetic Energy||142 ft. lbs|
|Draw Weight||12 lbs|
Ravin R26 Review
Outdoor Veteran Rating
Check Out These Awesome Features Of The R26
Design and Build
What separates the R26 from the rest is its lightweight and ultra-compressed size that measures only 26 inches full length, which is approximately 8 inches shorter than the previous R10 and R20 crossbows. It also weighs a mere 6.5 pounds with an axle to axle width of only 5.75 inches cocked and 9.25 inches uncocked. As a result, it currently holds the title of the shortest crossbow on the planet. Aside from its size and weight, the R26 is very similar to its predecessors and even utilizes the same design and accessories to offer top notch performance in the field. It comes with the same skeletonized stock that is constructed from the lightweight and durable cast polymer. The cutouts featured on the buttstock, limbs and riser help reduce the bow’s overall weight, which improves handling and balance. The R20 utilizes the Helicoil technology for its bow and cable system and the Trac-Trigger Firing System that is integrated with the Versa-Draw Cocking System.
It also features an aluminum flight track that is used by the Trac-Trigger system to cock the bowstring. Another trademark feature is the Frictionless Flight System that is responsible for keeping the bolt above the flight rail for easy and smooth shots. This bow does not come with a foot stirrup, but instead it features limb bumpers that firmly hold the bow on the ground for easy cocking and storage. Also, the soft rubber textured comb included on its stock is optimized for perfect eye alignment. The color pattern adopted for the R26 is the Predator Dusk Camo that does not peel or fade and adds to the allure of the bow. The R26 package features the following accessories: Ravin’s 100 Yard Illuminated Scope, six 400 Grain Match Grade Arrows with Nocks and 100 Grain Practice Points, a 3-Arrow Quiver with a Mounting Bracket and a Removable Cocking Handle.
The R26 won the 2019 OUTDOOR LIFE Editor’s Choice Award. That alone is enough to tell you that this tiny bow is not to be messed with. The most commendable aspect of this bow is that Ravin did not sacrifice performance for the sake of creating a miniature bow. Personally, I feel that it has been amped up from the previous R10, since it comes with the same speed and power but in a super compressed design. With just 9.5 inches of power stroke, this bow can deliver up to 400 fps speed with 142 foot pounds of power – a deadly combination that will provide an instant death to any game even past the 100 yard mark. The secret to such high profile performance is in the patented Helicoil technology that is utilized for its string and cable system. The cams rotate up to 340 degrees super-charging the string to unleash the bolt to the amazing speed and power.
The unique Helicoil technology allows the cables to coil away from the top and bottom of the cams in helical grooves when drawn. This keeps the cams perfectly balanced, eliminating cam lean and increasing the downrange accuracy of the bolt. The R20 also features the exclusive Frictionless Flight System that suspends the arrow and bowstring above the flight track allowing for smooth and frictionless shots. The arrow only comes into contact with the string and the double rollers of the rest. This eliminates track friction allowing for constant trajectory of the bolt, which further improves downrange accuracy past 100 yards. The Frictionless Flight System also lengthens the bow’s lifespan by eliminating rail and string friction.
Another highlight of this bow is the Trac-Trigger Firing System (TTFS) that also doubles as a cocking and decocking device. It is firmly installed on the flight rail to reduce side-to-side movements that may impact how the bow is cocked. As a result, the TTFS device is able to attach at the center of the bowstring and to retract it uniformly, which will in turn facilitate straight nock travel. The R26 is therefore one of the most accurate bows with a 99% proven accuracy. Also, the TTFS is one of the best trigger systems available offering smooth and frictionless trigger breaks at around 2.9 pounds with less creep and overtravel. The trigger system also comes with the auto-safety and the anti-dry fire features that I will shed more light on at the safety features section.
Versa-Draw Cocking System
The R26 features the Versa-Draw cocking system that is fully integrated with the Trac-Trigger Firing System. The ambidextrous system features two recessed holes, where the removable cocking handle is installed and held firmly by an integrated magnet. To cock this bow, rotate the cocking handle as you press the spool thumb release button behind the trigger grip – this helps release any tension on the cocking strap. Remove the cocking handle and press again on the spool thumb release button to free-up the TTFS device. It will slide forward until it comes into contact with the bowstring. An audible sound will indicate when the device securely clasps at the string. You will then reinstall the cocking handle in the recessed hole and rotate it clockwise until the Trac-Trigger unit is fully drawn back. This takes about 12 pounds of draw force.
Decocking the bow is equally easy and will require very little of your time and effort. Press the spool thumb release button continuously, as you rotate the cocking handle in an anticlockwise movement. Do this until the bowstring comes into contact with the string stops. Another way of knowing that the bow is fully decocked is by looking at the cocking strap, it should slacked. This bow does not feature foot stirrup, instead it comes with limb bumpers that keep it firmly secured on the ground during cocking. The Versa-Draw cocking system is so efficient that it can be used by virtually anyone including women and children.
The primary safety features of the R20 are the auto-safety and the anti-dry fire system integrated into its Trac-Trigger Firing System. The two safety features are automatically activated when the bowstring attaches on the TTFS device to prevent dry firing before an arrow is properly installed. The auto-safety feature includes the safety and firing modes that are activated by an external knob. The safety mode represented by a white dot is automatically activated when the TTFS device clasps on the string, while the firing mode (red dot) is manually triggered when you are ready to shoot. When a Ravin branded arrow is properly installed, the anti-dry fire mechanism automatically disengages to allow you to make the shot. Installing the arrow takes about 10 pounds of your effort and an audible click sound will alert you when the arrow is correctly installed in place. The R20 also includes safety wings above the foregrip that prevent the hand from sliding into the flight path during action, while the finger grooves and texturing on the foregrip reduce slips and allows for firm grip even with gloves. It is also worth noting that the trigger stays fixed on the stock when the bow is inactive and is only engaged when the bowstring is fully cocked.
Noise and Vibrations
As is the case with most powerful bows, this bow comes with a very loud pop that will most likely alert the prey. Luckily, its ultra-fast speed guarantees that the prey will drop dead on its tracks before it even thinks of getting away. Although Ravin tried to reduce noise and vibrations on this bow by utilizing its advanced Helicoil and Frictionless Flight technologies, the R20 is still very loud. However, you can purchase separately limb vibration dampeners, which will unfortunately add to the overall cost of the bow but are worth it. Even with the noise, the degree of precision of this bow easily outperforms most of the quiet bows at that speed.
400 Grain Match Grade Arrows
The R26 comes with a six pack 400 grain Match Grade Arrows and nocks with six 100 grain practice points. The arrows are constructed from 100% pure carbon with high impact brass threaded inserts and aluminum nock bushings. They also feature 2 inch high profile offset vanes and are inspected for straightness tolerance to within .003 inches. As a result, these premium arrows offer speed, power, accuracy and durability. The package also includes a three arrow quiver and a mounting bracket.
Ravin’s 100 Yard Illuminated Scope
The built-in scope for this bow is the Ravin 100 Yard Illuminated Scope that boasts of fully multi-coated 1.5 to 5 power optics. It features speed and arrow drop compensation settings for xbows that shoot between 300fps and 425fps. The scope also includes a 9-dot calibration for 20-100 yards and two rheostat controlled illumination modes that feature red and green colored dots. The scope is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed to protect against dust, moisture and fog. It comes with mounting rings and flip-up lens caps.
Is The R26 A Popular Crossbow
The R26, like its predecessors is very pricey and may be out of reach for most folks. Another issue is the ultra-compressed size that is really hard to handle for tall individuals. Some people even complain that they need a raised platform or a table to be able to cock it. Although the compressed size makes it extra easy to maneuver with in tight spaces and blinds, the R26 is a bow meant for smaller framed individuals and women – and this excludes tall women. If you are above 6.0 feet with a very long wingspan, then this bow is a no-no for you. I wish Ravin would have included an adjustable butt stock to make it more convenient for taller guys. Another issue is the permanently fixed crank system that makes it impossible to cock the bow manually when the crank system breaks down.
Ravin R26 Review
Outdoor Veteran Rating
My Final Thoughts On The R26
The R26 may come off as a fragile bow that has nothing special to offer apart from its tiny size. However, this bow is actually an excellent bow that comes with enough speed and punch to give you the prized kill. In fact, the R20 is just a miniature R10 that is designed for people with short stature. Its lightweight and ultra-compressed design allows you to handle and operate it with a single hand, leaving you with an extra arm to handle another accessory like a camera to record the whole process. With this bow, Ravin has proved that there are no limits that it cannot reach to produce high quality bows and there is no telling what else they have in store for us in the near future. The R20 is a very expensive bow, but it will definitely give you bang for your buck.