The SA Sports Fever is a good entry level recurve crossbow package. You get everything you need to take on small to medium game right out of the box. This bow offers great value for money as a budget, first time or beginners crossbow. Keep it well maintained, carry a spare string and upgrade the bolts to some 20" Carbon for more serious hunting and you've bagged yourself a sweet deal.
The motto of SA Sports is to make affordable outdoor gear without compromising on quality. Their Fever crossbow is a recurve design which normally weighs in above the pistol as the most affordable style of crossbow. This particular package is touted to be the best value you'll find available anywhere. We'll take a detailed look at what you get for your money in this review.
SA Sports Fever Specifications
50 ft lbs (estimated with a 380 gr arrow)
26.5" (tip to tip)
31" Long (without foot stirrup) x 27" Wide
1 year limited manufacturer warranty - Details
Who's it designed for?
This is a full size entry level adult crossbow that comes in a ready to shoot package. It is designed as an entry level, budget or beginners bow for both hunting and recreational target shooting.
What can I hunt with it?
With only 50 ft lbs of kinetic energy shooting a 380 grain bolt this bow is suitable for hunting medium sized game such as deer and antelope right out of the box. As this is a relatively low powered bow we'd recommend keeping your deer hunting shots within a 30 yards range for maximum effectiveness. The supplied bolts are good enough for small game, any serious hunting will require you to upgrade them. As always, please check your state regulations for minimum crossbow draw weights before hunting.
Crossbow Comparison Tables
If you want to compare this bow to other bows we've got just the thing, our comparison tables sit alongside a helpful buyers guide that tells you what everything you need to know about picking a good crossbow. Links to all our reviews are on those pages, 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's the SA Sports fever manufacturers promotional video showcasing the bow features and best points!
What's better than a manufacturers video taking you through the entire assembly process?
(Ed) A pre-assembled crossbow?
Er, yeah... well nevertheless here's a video in which the bow is assembled and strung in about 15 minutes. The process is pretty painless and whilst the hex wrenches are supplied you'll need a Philips screwdriver to mount some of the components.
This bow comes in a ready to shoot package which has just about everything you need to get started. The only thing you may want to look at investing in is a crossbow case. We wouldn't recommend hunting with the supplied 2219 aluminium arrows, they're great for practice but you'll want to upgrade to something slightly more professional to take down larger game.
Alongside the actual bow the SA Fever package normally includes:
- 4x32 mm multi reticle scope
- 4x 16" aluminium 2219 bolts
- Easy detach quiver with 4 bolt capacity
- Shoulder sling
- Rope cocker
- Assembly Tools & Manual
- Stringer cable
- Rail lubricant
The multi reticle scope has markings to allow you to zero in the bow at different distances. You can start by zeroing with the center crosshair at say 15 yards and then walk back and shoot down range to determine the distances of the other reticle crosshairs. Then when you are out in the field hunting or practicing you just need to pick the correct crosshair depending on the distance to target you've judged before you shoot.
This isn't a top of the line optical device. You can get better and you can upgrade if you want to. However we didn't have much trouble zeroing in the bow using it. A competent archer can get this bow shooting accurately using the supplied scope. It's fit for purpose at the entry level user this bow is designed for.
In the package you'll get a rope cocking device which we'd suggest you learn how to use. These make the job of cocking the bow a lot easier than trying to pull back the string by hand. There's no mention in any of the literature of this one supporting any sort of hand crank device. So if you don't think you can rope cock approximately 50% of 170 lbs (that's 85 lbs for the math drop outs amongst us) you might want to look elsewhere.
Quiver and Arrows
The quick detach quiver you're supplied with is of good quality and it's easy to attach and detach. 16" 2219 aluminium bolts work just fine for zeroing in the bow and target practice, but you'll want something stiffer and with a more potent tip for any serious hunting of anything other than small rodents. SA suggest that 20" carbon with 100 gr tips are a good choice (that's straight out of their manual).
You're not given a weighting in the specifications for the poundage required to pull the trigger on this bow. Some higher quality bows will tell you they have a 5 lbs trigger pull with zero creep. No such luck with this one. We didn't measure the trigger pull but I can tell you it felt a little on the heavy side and I could feel some creep (that's movement in the trigger before release and after you'd expect the release). Overall though this isn't something that should worry a beginner or someone purchasing one of these as a first crossbow. It's only after many years of shooting many different bows that you come to appreciate these finer details. Even then, triggers still work, you just appreciate them differently and it's only people shooting at the highest levels that really care about such things.
Anti-Dry Fire and Auto Safety
There isn't an anti-dry fire mechanism on this crossbow, it doesn't know if there is a bolt on the rail or not. However when you cock it using the supplied rope cocker the safety does automatically engage as you'd expect so your chances of making a mistake, dry-firing it and voiding the warranty are limited.
One of the nice points about the SA Fever vs some of the other entry level package bows available is that it's a full camo dip. Everything on this bow with the exception of the sight, the strap, the limb tips, quiver and string is dipped. Quivers are always optional fitments anyway so that's not really much an issue. Even though the limbs are camo, the FEVER logo is emblazoned on the front in orange. It's there but it's not too outstanding.
Stock and Limbs
The Fever is supplied with a tube of lube that you need to apply regularly. This type of maintenance is pretty standard with crossbows as the string contacts the rail all the time and without lube will wear more quickly. You should apply the supplied lube to both the string and the rail approximately every 10 shots as a minimum. Even when properly maintained however you may still notice slight degradation in your string after 20-50 shots. One good thing about a recurve crossbow is that they're pretty easy and to re-string yourself so get a spare string and keep it with your gear.
The body of the stock on this bow is skeletonized and there's a nice fore-grip which sits below several skeleton holes so there's little chance of you holding it incorrectly. By incorrectly we mean with your fingers anywhere near the rail or the bolt shaft!
Can't complain! This is a great little crossbow. We had it zeroed in using the supplied sight in about 20 minutes and couldn't really fault the performance of the bow or the accuracy. Your mileage may vary, this is an entry level package and you may get some substandard components, however there's a warranty to cover you if you're unlucky enough to be one of those people. But most of you won't be.
I would say this was the quietest bow we've ever shot, but I'd be lying. If you want to be a real Sneaky Pete when hunting you'll certainly want to improve upon things by adding some good string silencers at a minimum.
"How does it compare?"
The Barnett Recruit is a crossbow package designed for the small framed, women or younger crossbow shooter. It comes with safety features you won't find on the SA Sports Fever such as anti-dry fire and auto safety and a pass-thru fore-grip. The Barnett only has a draw weight of 130 lbs yet speeds of upto 330 fps using a 380 gr arrow. You can also use a crank (not supplied) to cock one of these lowering the pull required to around 17 lbs. This one comes with a red dot sight.
The Barnett however is a compound so you don't get the benefits of the easy restringing and lower price that comes with the SA. More in the full review.
CenterPoint Sniper 370
The Sniper is a more powerful bow at 370 fps and 185 lbs draw there isn't much you won't be able to take with one of these. This one comes with an easily adjustable AR style stock and you also get a quiver, arrows and a sling thrown in with the 4x32 mm sight. This one also comes with a 5 year warranty vs the 1 year on the SA Sports Fever.
Another compound, again, restringing requires a pro-shop usually, not so with a recurve. Read more.
New for 2017 the SAS Authority is another compound that targets the entry level crossbow hunter. This one has a 4x32mm scope and 175 lbs of draw and 340 fps advertised speeds. SAS make quality gear at great prices. The benefits of a compound over a recurve are much higher fps for a similar draw weight, however you can't easily restring one yourself when the string eventually breaks. Our review.
About the Manufacturer
Based in Allentown, Pennsylvanie, since 2010 (they're relatively new) SA Sports have been gaining ground as an influential presence in the outdoor world. They work closely with designers and engineers to try and meet their goal of bringing you affordable gear that doesn't compromise in quality.
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