Crossbow Review: TenPoint Nitro 505

The TenPoint Nitro 505 sends a 400-grain arrow downrange at 505 fps, making it the fastest crossbow in the world. It’s also easy to load and deadly accurate.

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Nitro 505

I might as well get right to the point: With an arrow speed of 505 fps and 227 foot-pounds of kinetic energy, the Nitro 505 is the fastest crossbow on the market and the most powerful crossbow ever built by TenPoint. Having tested, used and reviewed TenPoint products for the better part of 20 years, I had nothing less than high expectations when my sample unit arrived.

The Nitro 505’s reverse-draw design is not all about bells and whistles as much as it is about form, function and accuracy, which count more in the hunter’s playbook than clever accessories and innovative perks. Serious hunters want a crossbow that is well-made, dependable, weather-proof, exceptionally accurate and functionally reliable. To go into the woods with anything less would be folly for them.

Having raised the bar with the world’s fastest crossbow, TenPoint is once again fully focused on the wants and needs of crossbow hunters worldwide. Featuring a wonderfully balanced reverse-draw platform, the Nitro 505 is equipped with a newly designed RX8 Cam System, a two-stage, zero-creep S1 Trigger that delivers a consistent and crisp 3.5-pound pull, plus one of the easiest cocking and de-cocking systems currently available.

Published Specs

  • MANUFACTURER: TenPoint Technologies, Inc.
  • MODEL: Nitro 505
  • DRAW WEIGHT:  300 pounds (5-pound cocking effort)
  • POWER STROKE: 17 inches
  • ARROW LENGTH: 20 inches, Alpha Nock only
  • ARROW SPEED: 505 fps (with 400-grain arrows) 
  • TRIGGER PULL:  Two-stage, zero creep; 3.5 pounds; dry-fire inhibitor 
  • SIGHTS: EVO-X Marksman Elite variable speed scope with integral level and external adjustment turrets
  • COCKING DEVICE: ACUslide system                      
  • LENGTH: 30.5 inches (without foot stirrup) 
  • AXLE-TO-AXLE WIDTH: 6.5 inches when cocked; 12 inches uncocked       
  • WEIGHT  7.9 pounds (without accessories)
  • OTHER FEATURES: Reverse draw cocking/de-cocking ACUslide mechanism; six-arrow quiver with QD mount; integrated noise-dampening string stop system
  • MSRP:  $3,049.99/moss green; $3,149.99/Veil Alpine Camo (shown)

TenPoint’s proven, field-tested, proprietary ACUslide cocking mechanism requires only 5 pounds of force to operate — a fraction of the effort required on most other crossbows. The ACUslide provides consistently smooth and safe cocking and equally easy de-cocking by merely backwinding the integral handle. Unlike a couple other de-cocking systems on the market, this easy cocking feature allows the operator to stop the process at any point without fear of damage, injury or losing control.

The Nitro 505 crossbow hunting package includes an EVO-X Marksman Elite variable speed scope with external adjustment turrets, integral ACUslide cocking and de-cocking system, six EVO-X AlphaNock CenterPunch Premium carbon crossbow arrows (.001-inch straightness), an ambidextrous QD six-arrow quiver, and TenPoint’s integrated noise-dampening string stop system.

While the Nitro 505s base model MSRP of $3,049.99 (moss green stock; black scope) may seem steep compared to many other “base model” crossbows, there is something to be said about top-of-the-line components, workmanship, design, accuracy and function. 

One often overlooked feature of TenPoint crossbows is scopes are factory mounted and pre-sighted before they’re shipped. I’ve been to the TenPoint facility in Mogadore, Ohio, and have seen not only how their crossbows are made, but also the attention to detail that goes into every aspect of manufacture. These people care about their products and know what they are doing. Crossbows leave the factory with sights pre-set at 20 yards, and it is the rare model that fails to measure up right out of the box. The crossbow arrives fully assembled except for mounting the quiver; all I had to do was snap the QD quiver onto its pre-assembled mount and I was ready for some serious target work.

And so it was with the Nitro 505. If anything, TenPoint has trained me over the years to believe in its pre-shipping accuracy protocols. I fire only one arrow at each bull’s-eye. The reason is simple: If I dare fire two or more arrows at one point of aim, I risk damage to the shafts, fletchings and nocks. I’ve fired enough Robin Hoods over the years and in fact have one on the Wall of Fame at TenPoint, so ruining more arrows isn’t high on my agenda.

Even if the crossbow is shooting an inch or two off the bull’s-eye during initial sighting in, all arrows fired will land within a hair’s breadth of the first. This is what you get for the higher MSRP. I, for one, believe consistent, pin-point accuracy is worth the price. At worst, minimal tweaking with the elevation and windage turrets will have the Nitro 505 shooting dead-on out to 100 yards. 

While hunting live game, my personal range limit is 40 yards, but it’s fun to shoot farther at targets simply to experience the incredible accuracy of the Nitro 505. Long experience tells me that wind, rain, snow, cold and low light will not be a deterrent to a 20-yard shot, even if they all occur at the same time, which does happen. Harsh conditions will definitely affect my decision-making process when faced with longer shots, which is why I go with the 40-yard limit. If something tells me I might not be able to make a shot at longer range, I’ll do the prudent thing and wait. Sadly, in recent seasons I have found a few decent-size bucks dead on public land that were poorly hit by arrows, and I suspect that distance — shooting too far — was likely a common theme. The coyotes were appreciative.

TenPoint's new Nitro505 is lightweight, compact (at just 30 inches) and nicely balanced for ease of carry while still-hunting in typical whitetail cover. The six-arrow QD (Quick Detach) quiver is also reversible for left-handed or right-handed shooters.
TenPoint's new Nitro505 is lightweight, compact (at just 30 inches) and nicely balanced for ease of carry while still-hunting in typical whitetail cover. The six-arrow QD (Quick Detach) quiver is also reversible for left-handed or right-handed shooters.

On the Range

As expected, the Nitro 505 was quickly zeroed in off the bench. As advertised, the unit is quick and easy to cock and load — so easy in fact that I spent some extra time shooting additional shots at various distances just for the pleasure of it. The Nitro 505 is fun to operate and shoot, which old-school crossbow enthusiasts will find especially appealing. Back in the days of hand-cocking a heavy, cumbersome crossbow, the “fun” aspect fizzled within five or six shots. It was a lot of work!

With a 5-pound draw effort, the Nitro 505 is as easy to cock as a crossbow can be at this point in the innovation curve. The unit is short (just over 30 inches), balanced and easy to handle from the bench, on the ground, in a blind or from a treestand. I could find nothing to complain about when cocking, loading and shooting from any platform at any angle.

As timing would have it, my sample Nitro 505 arrived during early spring, after the last snow was gone but weeks before leaves formed on the brush and trees. This made a trip through my roving course a breeze, with maximum illumination and visibility at every stop. I am a big fan of optimum-condition testing merely to see how a crossbow performs when all elements favor the hunter, and the Nitro 505 was more than equal to the task. 

On the roving course, various 3-D and standard targets are set up at distances ranging from 10 to 40 yards. (I do my long-range testing from the bench.) Given that conditions were essentially perfect when the Nitro 505 arrived, I had no trouble acing the course time and again. Thanks to bright sunshine, no foliage, bare ground and windless conditions, the course was a shooter’s dream. Round after round progressed with no misses, no lost arrows and no ricochets or twig interference.

That alone is enough to make any shooter’s day, but the Nitro 505 functioned and performed flawlessly, about what you’d expect from a top-end crossbow designed by one of the most experienced manufacturers in the business. Everything in or on the crossbow operated flawlessly, as designed. After several 100-arrow daily shooting sessions over the course of a week, I found the trigger pull still set right at 3.5 pounds; the de-cocking system was still tight and smooth and, importantly, the cocking handle remained locked tightly in its slot under the stock. Keeping track of that cocking handle is important because the unit has a 300-pound draw weight, which means hand-cocking is not an option.

On the author’s roving range, the Nitro505 proved deadly accurate from all stations out to 40 yards. Shooting from the bench was equally impressive out to 100 yards.
On the author’s roving range, the Nitro505 proved deadly accurate from all stations out to 40 yards. Shooting from the bench was equally impressive out to 100 yards.

In final analysis, TenPoint’s Nitro 505 is all the crossbow you’re ever going to need. With proper care and maintenance, it should certainly provide a lifetime of service. I have many crossbows that are 20 years old and still in top operating condition. None of them were made to the quality standards that are obvious in the Nitro 505. This one’s a keeper!

Sidebar: EVO-X Marksman Elite Crossbow Scope

TenPoint crossbows have always come with specially designed, proprietary scopes that were made and meant for crossbow shooting and hunting. Some competitors include a standard or adapted riflescope with their crossbows, but the difference in application and performance is immediately obvious.

The Nitro 505 crossbow comes with the EVO-X Marksman Elite scope pre-attached and set at the factory. Only minimal adjustments are required at the range. Initial sighting-in often requires firing just one or two arrows, which makes it quicker and easier for a treestand-bound hunter to get started with his hunt. 

The scope is equipped with three illuminated duplex crosshairs calibrated for 20, 40 and 60 yards; two illuminated dots at 30 and 50 yards, and four non-illuminating chevrons at 70, 80, 90 and 100 yards. The top crosshair is the 20-yard setting, and the bottom chevron is the 100-yard setting. All of the settings may be viewed in black, while the 20- through 60-yard settings can be viewed in red or green as conditions dictate.

Additional features of the Marksman Elite scope include adjustable focus, arrow speed locking ring, integral liquid level, light intensity adjustments for changing conditions, and fine-tuning adjustments that allow tweaking accuracy at long range after the scope is zeroed at 20 yards.

For more information on the Marksman Elite scope or on TenPoint’s complete line of crossbows, arrows and accessories, visit our site.


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