Excalibur Ibex SMF Crossbow Review

This Excalibur Ibex review was prepared for you by Thomas Lipsey


Excalibur Ibex SMFSpeedDraw WeightLengthWeightRating
Excalibur Ibex SMF review

Check Current Price on Amazon.com

305 FPS175 lbs.36.4"5.9 lbs.9.5/10


  • Very light construction
  • Comfortable to hold, easy to aim
  • Great for target practice and hunting game up to the size of elk


  • Trigger might take a bit of time getting used to for beginners
  • Not enough power to take down the largest game (ox, buffalo)
  • Lacks an anti-dry fire safety system.

Package Contents

Below is a list of the items you will find inside any Ibex package purchased after February 2013.

  • The Ibex SMF recurve crossbow
  • 4-reticle crossbow scope
  • Four Firebolt crossbow arrows (20″)
  • Target field tips for the arrows
  • Arrow quiver
  • Cocking device (rope)
  • Owner’s manual & Lifetime warranty from Excalibur
  • Maintenance kit (lubricant, wax)
  • Assembly bolts and keys

The only thing you will need to go hunting are some crossbow arrow broad-heads. Other than that, you’re ready for action.

How To Assemble The Excalibur Ibex SMF

Recurve crossbows are even more easy to assemble than compounds. You’ll be doing the following:

  1. Attach the quiver mount to the bottom side of the stock.
  2. Use the provided bolt and Allen wrench to fasten the riser to the stock.
  3. Mount the scope and the foot stirrup using the screws included with the package.

The pictures in the assembly manual will make this process a breeze, even if it may sound a little complicated to you right now. Will take no more than 10 minutes before you are ready to shoot the Ibex.

First Impressions: Design, Durability, Safety Features

  • The camo finish is surprisingly detail-rich and looks like something that has been printed by a high quality color printer.
  • Fore-grip has a thumb hole to keep your palm safe and your fingers as far away from the arrow rail as possible. Unfortunately there’s no thermal material on the fore-grip, so it can feel rather cold to the touch when shooting in colder weather.
  • The butt rests comfortably against the body, although I would have preferred for the shoulder plate to be a little longer. It’s still very comfortable nonetheless, and has a very ergonomic design.
  • Arrow quiver is installed under an angle that prevents it from ever getting in the way when aiming and shooting.
  • Extremely light, which is surprising considering how sturdy the stock and riser are.
  • Both the foot stirrup and quiver mounting do not loosen up with time, despite the crossbow generating a fair bit of vibration when shot.

Overall: compact and durable, comfortable and safe fore-grip. Lacks an ADF (anti-dry fire system), so you’ll need to be extra careful about an accidental dry fire.

Trigger Assembly

  • According to my test, trigger pressure is 3.1 lbs. This is a little lower than what I’m used to having on my Barnett crossbows. Once I got used to it though, it was a non-issue.
  • Trigger travel distance is quite long, so you’ll need to make sure you’re trigger finger action is on-point to avoid any “jerking” that could negatively impact accuracy.
  • Trigger action is very smooth even without frequent lubrication.

Overall: a solid trigger, although beginner shooters may need some practice before they can utilize its full potential.

Kinetic Energy (KE) And Shooting Speed

  • Advertised speed is 305 FPS. My tests with 350 grain arrows resulte in 306 FPS (value is an average taken after shooting 3 arrows through a chronograph).
  • Point-blank kinetic energy was roughly 71 ft-lbs.

Accuracy Of The Excalibur Ibex

  • The scope provided is solid and will remain sighted despite heavy use, requiring very minimal (if any) windage and elevation adjustments over time.
  • A very light frame with no downward-lean of the front of the crossbow makes it very comfortable to aim effortlessly and with no “shaking.”
  • Hitting 2 to 3 inch groups from 45 yards away is not an issue at all with the Ibex, and even a beginner can do it after a few days of practice.
  • Rember that accuracy can reduced if you cock the crossbow unevenly, or if you put too much wax on the string.

Overall: very accurate, even in the hands of a rank beginner.

Arrows For The Excalibur Ibex SMF

  • Any 20″ or 22″ crossbow arrows will work great, whether aluminum or carbon. Personally though I do prefer aluminums on this particular crossbow.
  • The FPS and kinetic energy values provided above assume 350 grain arrows (including tip weight). You can use 400+ grain arrows to achieve a little more kinetic energy, but keep in mind this will reduce shooting accuracy as the arrows will travel slower and hence experience more drop mid travel.
  • If you want to hunt, get some exra broad-heads, as none are included with the package.
  • The arrows that come with the Ibex are 20″ Firebolts. They’re very durable and won’t disappoint regardless of your shooting distance, and they’ll survive the impact from as close as 10 yards.

Quality of The Ibex SMF Scope

  • Holds zero very well and requires minimal adjustments over time.
  • Some blurring is visible around the edges, reducing the field of view a bit.
  • The scope has 4 reticles; you sight the first one for 20 yards, and the remaining three will be for 30, 40 and 50 yards, respectively.

Overall: a good scope that can be used to hunt in poorly-lit conditions. The somewhat reduced field of view though can be annoying for some hunters. As such, it’s possible that you may want to replace the scope for something better a few months or years down the line. (Though this will depend on your preferences and hunting environment.)

Is The Excalibur Ibex SMF Suitable For Beginners?

Recurve crossbows are usually suitable for beginners, due to the lack of cams and cables (this means less maintenance involved and less parts that can potentially break). The only thing beginners should be aware of is the trigger action, which is not 100% forgiving of form mistakes. As a result, beginners will need to pay extra attention when working on their trigger finger action.

Some things that make the Ibex suitable for beginners are:

  • So very light (a little over 6 lbs. with the scope mounted). Even small-framed archers have no problems carrying and shooting it.
  • Very accurate at shorter and longer (over 50 years) distances.
  • Can be used to successfully hunt for both deer and elk.

Keep in mind there is no anti dry fire mechanism in place. Make sure to move the safety to “on” position right after you cock the Ibex to avoid an instance of dry fire, which would void your warranty and likely destroy your crossbow.

Is This Crossbow Suitable For Hunting?

  • The Ibex provides enough kinetic energy to take down deer and elk.
  • If you want to hunt for the largest game (cape buffalo for instance), this crossbow won’t be enough and you’ll need something more powerful.
  • Very easy to maneuver in a tree stand and carry around in the field, due to the short length an super light weight (even with accessories installed).
  • Very quiet, even for a recurve crossbow.

Overall: as long as you’re not after the largest game in the world, the Ibex will work perfectly as a hunting weapon.

How Long Will The String On The Ibex Last?

I’ve only shot around 600 arrows frmo this x-bow, and so far I haven’t noticed any signs of wear or serving separation. Can’t say exactly how long the string will last, but based on the experiences of a friend who’s owned the Ibex for longer than I have, you should expect to shoot over 1000 arrows before a replacement string will be required.

Where To Buy The Excalibur Ibex?

As far as the Ibex goes, make sure to take a look at today’s price on Amazon.com before you make a buying decision.. You can also check with some sporting goods stores in your local area, or GanderMountain.

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