Taking the strange looking rifle into my hands, I carefully inserted an arrow, without a nock, onto a tube inside the barrel. Next, I opened the break-action rifle, placed a powder charge into the chamber, closed the gun, clicked the safety off, and squeezed the trigger. The arrow flew from the barrel with incredible accuracy and buried itself in the bull’s eye of the target 20 yards away. I repeated the process and shot with perfect arrow placement at 30 yards.
To say that shooting arrows out of a firearm was immediately addictive is an understatement. Testing the accuracy and range makes you want to shoot until you run out of powder charges.
The Traditions Crackshot XBR is the newest toy in the shooting and plinking market. The firearm has an XBR upper, a barrel with a portion of the receiver built in, with a tube insert to hold and seat a specialized arrow. The upper receiver fits into the lower receiver to make the XBR functional and comes with a 16.5-inch .22 caliber upper for small game hunting and target shooting. The combination of XBR and .22 caliber uppers are interchangeable to make the firearm multifunctional.
The XBR concept is unique and uses an aluminum arrow with no nock or rear insert. The arrow slides onto the tube in the barrel, loaded from the muzzle. The barrel evenly spaced around the tube allows clearance for the fletching on the arrow. Traditions is calling the arrows for an XBR a Firebolt, which is a 16-inch 2216 aluminum arrow. The primer and charge for the XBR is made possible with a powder-charged rimfire casing called an XBR Powerload.
The Firebolts shoot at speeds up to 385 fps, with consistent accuracy. The powder charge energy runs up the tube the arrow is seated on, which pulls the arrow from the front end, instead of driving it from the back, like when shot out of a bow. The front-centered energy means there is no arrow tuning required. The Crackshot XBR is suitable for the entire family, as it is easy to use, with low recoil, and the rifle is lightweight and easy to maneuver. A side-mount quiver runs along the barrel for storing and carrying up to three Firebolts.
The Crackshot XBR will add new elements to plinking and shooting. The ability to convert the Crackshot to a .22-caliber rifle by changing the upper adds value, creating two toys in one firearm. Be warned, the use of the XBR is highly addictive and could make you late for dinner or other important events.