Navigating the world of budget crossbows can be a bit daunting, but every once in a while, a product stands out from the crowd.
Enter the Southland Archery Supply (SAS) Manticore 150lbs Crossbow.
Priced at a modest $139.99, this crossbow has created a stir in the archery community, earning a respectable 4.3-star rating on Amazon with over 350 reviews.
Despite its budget-friendly price, it comes equipped with a scope, extra arrows, and a rope cocking device, promising an experience that goes beyond the price tag.
But does it truly deliver on that promise?
In this review, we'll be taking an in-depth look at the SAS Manticore Crossbow.
We'll scrutinize its design and build quality, test the accuracy and range of its shooting, explore the effectiveness of the included scope and rope cocking device, and gauge the value it provides for its cost.
We will also consider the user experience, from unboxing to target practice, and assess the bow's potential for hunting or sport shooting.
As with any budget product, it's important to approach this review with realistic expectations.
Remember, the Manticore isn't competing with high-end, professional-grade crossbows that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more.
Rather, it aims to provide a functional, accessible entry point into the world of crossbows.
But the question is, does it do enough to warrant its growing popularity? Stay tuned as we uncover the truth behind this budget-friendly crossbow.
Features and Specifications:
- Draw Weight: 150lbs
- Speed: 210 FPS (Feet Per Second)
- Power Stroke: 10.5″
- Crossbow Weight: 5.50 lbs
- Length: 34″
- Width: 26″
- Arrow Length: 16″
- Comes with Scope, Extra Arrows and Rope Cocking Device
Now, let's delve into what these specs mean for you as a user:
The Manticore boasts a draw weight of 150lbs.
This is quite impressive for a budget crossbow, as it directly affects the power and speed at which the arrow is shot.
However, this also implies that it might require a bit more strength to cock than lower draw weight crossbows.
Thankfully, the included rope cocking device should help to make this process more manageable, particularly for beginners or those of smaller build.
With a speed of 210 FPS, the Manticore falls into the moderate speed range for crossbows.
This isn't the fastest crossbow on the market, but it's certainly respectable, especially at this price point.
The speed is sufficient for target practice and even some hunting scenarios, although it might not pack enough punch for larger game or professional sport shooting.
A power stroke of 10.5″ is fairly standard.
It's the distance the string travels from the uncocked to the cocked position, which helps determine the speed and power of the shot.
This contributes to the Manticore's decent speed rating.
Weight and Size
The Manticore is a full-sized crossbow, with a length of 34″, width of 26″, and a weight of 5.5 lbs.
This size gives it a solid, sturdy feel without being overly bulky or unwieldy.
The weight is on the lighter side, which can be an advantage for carrying it around, though this might also affect stability when aiming.
The included arrows are 16″ long, which is a fairly standard size for crossbow bolts.
It's worth noting, though, that you're not limited to using the included arrows; the Manticore should be compatible with most standard-sized crossbow bolts.
One of the standout features of the Manticore is the inclusion of a scope, extra arrows, and a rope cocking device.
This is a significant value addition, particularly for beginners who might not yet have these accessories.
The scope, while not high-end, should provide decent accuracy enhancement for those learning to aim.
The rope cocking device is a valuable inclusion, making the high draw weight more manageable.
Overall, the SAS Manticore presents a decent package of specifications for its budget price.
It's not going to compete with premium, high-speed crossbows, but it offers a solid and complete entry point into the world of crossbows, whether for target practice, learning the ropes of archery, or even for some hunting scenarios.
My Personal Experience
As an avid hunter, I've had the opportunity to take the SAS Manticore out into the field on multiple occasions.
I'll share some of my personal experiences and anecdotes to provide a glimpse into what you might expect with this crossbow.
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Manticore was its solid feel.
The weight was a pleasant surprise, given its budget price.
It's light enough to carry around without too much trouble, yet it has a certain heft to it that gives the sense of a well-constructed tool.
Cocking the crossbow with the provided rope cocking device was easier than I initially anticipated.
The 150lbs draw weight can sound intimidating, especially to those who might be new to hunting or crossbows in general.
But with the rope cocking device, the process was manageable, and I could do it relatively quickly after a bit of practice.
The first time I took the Manticore out for a hunting trip, I was a bit skeptical.
I wasn't expecting a budget crossbow to perform well in a real hunting scenario.
I was hunting deer that day, a task usually reserved for my higher-end equipment.
However, the Manticore held its own.
The arrows flew true and straight, and with a careful aim, I was able to take down a medium-sized doe from about 30 yards out.
The 210 FPS speed isn't the fastest out there, but it was enough in this scenario.
The included scope, while not top-of-the-line, did its job reasonably well.
It provided a clearer focus on my target and improved my accuracy.
I wouldn't rely on it for long-range shots, but for the relatively close range hunting I was doing, it was more than adequate.
One thing I appreciated was how quiet the Manticore was.
Some crossbows can be quite loud when shot, which can spook other nearby game.
The Manticore's shot was relatively subdued, which helped keep the woods undisturbed.
I've used the Manticore several times since that first hunting trip.
It's not replaced my high-end crossbow for bigger game or longer-range hunts, but for smaller game and closer ranges, it's proved to be a reliable, budget-friendly alternative.
All in all, the SAS Manticore 150lbs Crossbow has earned its place in my hunting arsenal.
It's a testament to the fact that sometimes, budget equipment can surprise you.
Of course, it has its limitations, but for what it is—a budget, beginner-friendly crossbow—it's exceeded my expectations.
Price and Value for Money
At $139.99, the SAS Manticore Crossbow is positioned as a budget-friendly entry into the world of crossbows.
Given its features and performance, the question then is, does it provide good value for money?
In terms of raw specifications, the Manticore holds its own against many other crossbows in its price range.
With a 150lbs draw weight and a speed of 210 FPS, it offers respectable power and velocity for a budget model.
The size and weight of the crossbow also provide a sturdy, comfortable hold for the user, which can often be a concern with cheaper models.
Where the Manticore really shines in terms of value, though, is in the extras included with the purchase.
The addition of a scope, extra arrows, and a rope cocking device adds significant value to the package.
These accessories are not just afterthoughts, but usable components that can enhance your crossbow experience.
The scope, while not top-tier, can help with aiming and accuracy, especially for beginners.
The rope cocking device makes the 150lbs draw weight manageable, and extra arrows mean you can start shooting right away without needing to make an additional purchase.
In terms of performance, as I've shared in my personal experience, the Manticore can indeed handle real hunting scenarios within its limitations.
It's not going to take down large game at long distances, but for smaller game and closer ranges, it's a capable tool.
Finally, it's worth noting the overall user experience.
The Manticore is relatively easy to assemble, the cocking mechanism is straightforward (particularly with the included rope cocking device), and the shooting experience is pleasant with a surprisingly quiet shot.
In conclusion, considering the features, the included extras, the performance, and the user experience, I believe the SAS Manticore Crossbow offers excellent value for its price.
It's not without its limitations, and it certainly isn't competing with high-end, professional-grade crossbows.
But for someone looking for an affordable entry point into the world of crossbows, or a budget-friendly addition to their hunting arsenal, the Manticore is a solid choice.
What are people saying?
Jon highlights the excellent value of the Manticore crossbow, praising its sturdy construction and the power to take down a deer with good shot placement and proper bolts and broadheads.
He was impressed by the lack of a “cheap” feel to the crossbow, which even surprised his friends when they learned of its price.
Jon did note that the included cocking device is too short to use with the crossbow and the free scope did not meet his expectations.
However, he still considers the crossbow an incredible value for its price and plans to purchase another as a gift.
Trollman regards the Manticore as a “darn good crossbow for the price”.
He appreciated the ease with which he could modify the crossbow, removing the wooden grip and installing a picatinny rail for a foregrip and bipod.
Despite encountering a slight issue with the trigger upon delivery, he found it easy to fix and still rated his purchase 5 stars.
He plans to purchase more units for friends and recommends it to anyone seeking a decent crossbow without splurging on a top-end model.
In short, he considers it “worth every penny of the cost”.
While the SAS Manticore Crossbow has a lot to offer, particularly for its price, it's not without its drawbacks.
As some reviewers have pointed out, the included cocking device and scope could be better.
I found the cocking device to be slightly short for comfortable use with the crossbow.
It's not a major issue, as you can purchase a longer cocking device separately, but it's worth noting.
The scope, while functional, is not the best quality.
For serious hunting or precision shooting, you might want to consider investing in a better quality scope.
The arrows included with the Manticore are also on the cheaper side.
They're fine for practice shooting, but for hunting, you'll likely want to upgrade to higher quality bolts.
One minor issue I encountered during my usage was the trigger mechanism.
It felt a bit stiff initially, which caused some discomfort during prolonged shooting sessions.
However, after a bit of use and some lubrication, it did seem to loosen up a bit.
While these drawbacks are worth considering, they don't detract significantly from the overall value and performance of the Manticore, especially considering its budget-friendly price.
For those just getting into crossbow shooting or hunting, or for those looking for a budget-friendly option, the SAS Manticore Crossbow is still a strong contender.
It's important to remember that no product is perfect, and some compromises are to be expected at this price point.
But as long as you approach it with realistic expectations, the Manticore can offer a solid and enjoyable crossbow experience.
Should You Buy? Concluding the Review
The SAS Manticore Crossbow offers an excellent introduction to the world of crossbows for those on a budget or those just starting out.
With its sturdy construction, respectable power and speed, and included extras, it presents an impressive package for its price point.
While it does have a few drawbacks—such as the short cocking device, the low-quality scope, and the stiffness of the trigger—these are not deal-breakers.
They are minor issues that can be addressed with a small additional investment, or even just a bit of patience and practice.
The Manticore delivers on its promises: it provides a reliable, enjoyable shooting experience, whether for target practice or hunting.
It's light enough to carry around but solid enough to provide a good grip and stability.
Its power and speed, while not the highest on the market, are more than sufficient for various uses.
Moreover, the value for money is hard to deny.
For under $150, you're not only getting a functional crossbow but also a scope, extra arrows, and a rope cocking device.
Even if you decide to upgrade some of these accessories, the base crossbow itself is a worthy investment.
Based on my personal experiences and the overall user feedback, the SAS Manticore Crossbow offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Whether you're a beginner looking to get started with crossbow shooting, a hunter looking for a budget-friendly addition to your arsenal, or even an experienced shooter looking for a solid backup crossbow, the Manticore is a choice worth considering.
In conclusion, while it's not without its flaws, the SAS Manticore Crossbow's strengths significantly outweigh its weaknesses.
It delivers more than what you'd expect for its price, making it a compelling option for those seeking an affordable yet capable crossbow.