Every bow is designed with a purpose in mind. Some bows are designed to be the ultimate target archery bow with accuracy as the key goal in mind at each step in the process.
Other bows are designed to reach maximum speeds that would make your head spin. Still others try to fit niches as traditional bows, comfortable bows, or even just cool looking bows.
The Barnett Jackal was designed for the very specific purpose of getting new shooters involved in crossbow shooting and to make that first experience a good one. While this bow could certainly be a capable tool for anyone, it is a simple and low maintenance bow that is perfect for those just joining the ranks.
- Low risk - affordable
- Enough power to hunt most game
- Designed with safety in mind
- Lack of a cocking aid
- Fairly loud
95 ft. lbs.
Who's it designed for?
The Barnett Jackal is a capable crossbow designed to be a shooter’s first bow. It is a complete package that can offer an enjoyable shooting experience, while still providing an economical option.
If you have never shot a crossbow before, but are entertaining the idea of getting started, this is a low risk option that still puts a solid bow in your hands.
What can I hunt with it?
In terms of kinetic energy produced, the Jackal is substantial at 95 ft. lbs. of energy upon impact. This sort of power should allow you to adequately hunt big game animals like elk and moose, and is plenty of power for smaller animals.
If you ever have plans of hunting dangerous game like grizzly bear or water buffalo, you may consider going with a bit larger bow in that case.
Our Comparison Table
All the bows we review (and some we haven't yet) get added to our crossbow comparison tables alongside a guide that helps you understand what features and specifications actually mean. They're a great place to get a quick overview of what's on the market, and find something that fits with your requirements.
Here is one solid review showcasing the Barnett Jackal in action.
The assembly of the Jackal isn’t a huge chore, and can be accomplished in around 10 minutes. You will have to attach the quiver, cables, strings, and cable slides, all of which have photos to accompany, and help you get setup.
After that, the riser of the bow simply snaps into the stock and after a few more screws to secure things, the majority of the bow is locked in place. To finish the setup process you need to attach the foot stirrup and scope.
None of the assembly is beyond the skills of even an inexperienced archer and is nothing to be afraid of.
The scope that comes with the Jackal is an entry-level red dot scope. This one should have you shooting close groups at 20 yards out of the box.
After that, it will be up to you to tighten things down and get your crossbow grouping where you want it. It is an illuminated red dot, so that can be attractive to hunter’s planning on taking this into the field. Red dots allow you to sight with both eyes and track fast moving prey more easily than a normal scope.
One feature that is a bit of a letdown with the Jackal is the lack of a rope cocking device included. You can easily pick one up for less than $20, and it will be in your best interest to do so. Not only do rope cockers make it easier, but they create more consistency and thus make the crossbow more accurate.
Quiver and Bolts
The quiver that attaches to this bow is a standard 3-bolt quiver you will have to attach when you get the bow. In addition to the quiver, this crossbow package also comes with 3 20” Easton carbon bolts complete with screw-in field points.
If you are a beginner, you’ll really appreciate how this crossbow contains everything you’ll need to get started. The screw-in field point feature is also beneficial for someone with hunting aspirations as many entry level crossbows come with glued points, meaning the archer must buy brand new arrows to go hunting.
The trigger on the Barnett Jackal is set at an average 3.5 pounds and breaks cleanly. Having a clean breaking trigger will help you stay accurate and consistent on your shots.
Anti-Dry Fire and Auto Safety
The folks at Barnett didn’t overlook anything in the safety department with this crossbow. Like nearly all bows it has a anti-dry fire system that requires a bolt to be in place before firing.
It also incorporated an automatic safety, which means when the string hits full draw it will automatically come on. Both of these features are great for all shooters and will make your time in the field more safe.
The camo and black model is the only color choice for the Jackal. This particular color scheme is good for hunting and looks pretty sharp in general.
In terms of branding this bow isn’t overly ornamented. Both the upper and lower limbs on both sides of the rail have branding in addition to some minor branding above the trigger.
All in all, this crossbow certainly wouldn’t be the last girl asked to dance.
Stock and Limbs
For building materials this bow features an aluminum rail that is designed to last for years to come. The aluminum is not only durable, but its lightweight contributes to the balance of the crossbow. Like most bows these days, the limbs are a composite material that are built to withstand the high pressures they are under, and are more durable than other materials. This bow was built as a great entry level bow, but it was also built to last as well.
Another aspect of the stock worth mentioning is the foregrip design. As mentioned, Barnett incorporated many basic design features to make this bow more safe. One feature in the stock is the pass through foregrip and flared finger guard. Both of these features will make it difficult, if not impossible, to get your fingers in the way of the string upon the shot.
Again, this feature is great for anyone, but especially for someone just learning the ropes.
In the shooting department this bow winds up about where you’d expect. It has good accuracy for the short to mid range shots, but won’t excel in long distance shooting. If you are looking to hunt, or just do some target shooting, it should be adequate in most circumstances.
One beef a few shooters have with this bow is the noise level. It does happen to be a bit on the loud side, a feature that isn’t great for hunting. With a bow shooting 315 fps, and being a touch noisy, it would be best to keep your hunting shots at a minimum distance if possible.
"How does it compare?"
Barnett Whitetail Hunter
"a more powerful and customizable alternative"
If you’ve looked over the Jackal, and think you’d like to get something with a little more power, you might take a look at the Barnett Whitetail Hunter.
This bow uses a heavier 160 pound draw weight to get arrows into the 340 fps range. The extra speed could certainly help out in hunting situations.
The Whitetail hunter is also more customizable with an adjustable butt plate and picatinny rail as well. Checkout the full review.
Barnett Ghost 410
For a shooter looking to get top notch performance, the Ghost 410 has to be on your radar.
This compound crossbow put out by Barnett can hit breakneck speeds of 410 fps. That’s almost a full 100 fps. faster than the Jackal. It also is touted to be one of the quietest and most comfortable crossbows to shoot.
All of that performance does come at a price, and the 410 requires more of an investment up front. Read more in our review.
"well appointed and accessorized"
Another crossbow roughly the same caliber as the Jackal is the Parker Thunderhawk. This compound bow arcs arrows at a respectable 325 fps, 10 fps. faster than the Barnett bow.
It also comes with a few nice accessories, like a 4 arrow quiver and 4 arrows to fill it up.
The Thunderhawk may also be ideal for those hunters who do lots of hiking, as it weighs just 6.9 pounds. Take a closer look in our review.
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