I have been using an old, borrowed Horton Thunderbolt (150 lb compound with iron sights), and I've just put together enough cash to buy my first xbow. I'm planning to hit Cabela's tomorrow to test out several bows. But in advance of that, I've already narrowed my interest to several options, two of which are Excaliburs. In fact I'm fairly sure I'll get an Excal, but I face a novice's dilemma: Package vs. Bow Only.
I already own some Thunderhead 125 gr broadheads and a couple of Carbon Express 20" arrows, plus a cocking string, wax, and rail lube. In other words, I'm all set to immediately start using a bare bow, such as the 200-lb Vortex. But I know that eventually I'll want a scope, a quiver, and more arrows, which are packaged with the 175-lb Ibex. I can't afford the Vortex Lite Stuff package, so I'd be getting just the bow with the standard fiber optic sight. At Black Bear, the basic Vortex is $15 more than the Ibex package -- if you count the $35 cost of adding dissipator bars to the Ibex, which I would do immediately. (I'm also sort of considering the 175-lb Phoenix which has an aluminum frame and does NOT have the thumbhole stock. But to keep the question simpler I'll stick to comparing the Vortex bow and the Ibex package)
So, the main difference in these bows, as far as I can tell, are that the Ibex has a composite mainframe (rail) while the Vortex has aluminum, and the Vortex has a 25-lb greater draw weight.
Bottom line: Is the additional power of the Vortex and the aluminum mainframe worth the extra money vs. the Ibex? I like the idea of starting with a better platform, and adding accessories over time. But do I need a 200-lb draw weight? I have a shoulder problem so I like the idea of a lighter pull (always using a string cocking device), and I've read that 200-lbs+ is kind of overkill for taking down a whitetail at <=40 yards. Hunters kill plenty of deer with 150-lb crossbows, so I know 175 will be enough for my purposes. But would 200-lb provide greater accuracy or confidence in getting a clean kill?
As for the composite rail, it gets good reviews so far, and Excal says it's equally sturdy. But will have the same longevity as aluminum? What is the practical benefit of aluminum vs. composite, if cost weren't a factor?
I know it's easy to spend other people's money, but what would you do if you were me? If you tested both bows and basically liked them equally, how would you weigh the value of the Vortex's power and aluminum rail against the accessories packaged with the Ibex?
Thanks in advance.
Edited by Mtburr, 07 October 2012 - 11:44 AM.