I looked at the Viper SS and Viper Extreme (online as there is no dealer anywhere near me) and decided the extra 20 fps and a safety that I didn't think I would care for wasn't worth the extra money. The Viper SS has the automatic safety in the trigger / scope mount block and I will tell you it is super quiet to engage or disengage. It is most definitely the easiest crossbow to cock that I have ever owned or used and it is well balanced. It is shooting 415 grain 22" arrows consistently at 338 fps and its advertised at 340 with a 400 grain arrow.
Now, that being said; I ran up on a great deal for a new / old stock Serpent LTD II that they only made in 2012. It is faster than the regular Serpent and I kind of think it might have been the model for the Viper Extreme. It is pushing my 20" 410 grain arrows at 356 fps and it shoots 20" arrows with no problems while my Viper pretty much requires 22" with broadheads. The Viper can shoot 20" arrows but they are right at the end and most broadhead blades touch the rail or riser sides. The safety on the LTD II is midway like the Viper Extreme but this one is pretty quiet although not nearly as quiet as the Viper SS that I own. Where the loud noise comes from on the LTD II is when you cock the thing; it is really loud. Of course, there is no mistaking whether or not you have seated the string.
All in all, I really like the Darton crossbow line. They are a little heavier than most but there are still heavier crossbows than a Darton, too.
Darton customer service is second to none. My Viper was advertised with an adjustable butt stock but there were no spacers in the crossbow or box that I received. I called Darton and had a real live breathing person on the phone within two minutes or less. Within four days I had the spacers and that was when shipments were very slow due to excessive snow.
I have the Extreme and have spent a lot of time with the SS. Both great crossbows. You can't go wrong with either one, but yes, the safety issue does matter. IMO, you are more than fast enough with the SS because remember, Darton shoots its advertised speed with a 400 gr. arrow. I guess I'd say save the 100.00 and get some goodies with the difference.
I agree the safety is loud IF all you do is push it to the off position.
I use 2 fingers to take it off in hunting situations similar to the way I disengage the safety on my 870 when I am slug gun hunting. Have you tried this?
Now, my wife has small hands. She needs to push with the thumb of the left hand, and hold resistance with the index of the right. This also quiets the process.
As everyone has pointed out above yes there are two totally different safety's of between the bows. There are also two different trigger positions the ss sits in the middle of the trigger window and the extreme sits back in the trigger window. I personally prefer the viper over the viper extreme. The main reason is because I let so many people shoot my bows they I don't want to worry about them forgetting to turn on the safety once cocked. The auto safety is huge to me.
I don't need the Auto-Safe but the SS can use the Mission Triggertech and the xtreme not!If you want more control over the triggering moment then there are advantages to installing a "Triggertech" box. The somewhat higher speed and the somewhat higher wear that are present in the xtreme can be neglected.