Over the years I have watched as Barnett crossbows steadily evolved, getting better with each passing year due largely, I believe, to the creative genius of David Barnett. Many still consider Barnett products to be inferior to most crossbows on the market based simply on the fact that Barnett is priced at a working man’s level of affordability. One hears chatter about break downs and mechanical problems from the Barnett line, but based on my vast personal contact with grassroots crossbow hunters, there seems to be no more problems with Barnett than most other brands. In an age where crossbows are becoming far more complicated and increasingly powerful, I truly believe that a large part of mechanical troubles originate with improper usage by the owners. Users who believe that an Owner’s Manual is a guide to refer to when you have a problem and not a instructional guide from which to learn proper handling and use of their new hunting implement. Regardless of which crossbow you purchase, please spend the time to read the Owner’s Manual from cover to cover, at least once. The time invested in that little booklet will pay big dividends in the safe use and longevity of your crossbow.
The unique and artistic design of the Ghost incorporates the foot stirrup right into the bow.
Barnett’s Ghost 350 arrived at my door in two pieces, which was not a transportation tragedy, but instead the traditional manner that it is shipped. Once assembled with a single bolt, which firmly attached the bow to the stock, I careful inspected the crossbow. The first thing that caught my eye was the classic design; one that incorporated the foot stirrup right into the contour of the bow in an undeniable artistic manner, giving the Ghost 350 a very unique and quite handsome appearance.
The 3x30 scope on the Ghost is enhanced by reticules are illuminated circles.
The overall length is 37”; its only 24” wide and has a 12” power stroke; that combined with the 175 lb draw weight produces a stunning 350 fps. The carbon riser and aluminum flight deck keep the total weight to right around 7.5 pounds. The bow is enhanced with the Barnett AVI technology molded over laminated limbs reducing noise and vibration up to 30%. Whiplash cams, a very sensitive anti-dry fire mechanism and one of the finest triggers I have ever seen on a crossbow top this package off. The stock is beautifully adorned in Realtree APG Black camo. My Ghost 350 package included an illuminated 3x32 scope, four 20’ arrows, a 4-arrow quiver and a rope cocking device.
The overall appearance of the Ghost 350 is second to none.
It all made for a very striking package in appearance, but I was anxious to see how the Ghost 350 preformed on the range. My first observation was the bow’s extreme comfort when shouldered. The fit was accented by the raised cheek rest, a thumb hole stock and the extra wide fore-stock (which also keeps one’s fingers clear of the string when firing), which naturally forms the bow to my body. The scope was very close to zero and within the first half dozen shots the Ghost was impaling the bull's-eye with every release. We zeroed the top mark in at 20 yards, which automatically placed mark #2 at 30 yards. Mark #3 zeroed in at 35 yards and mark #4 was right on at 43 yards. (Never assume that the reticules of the scope on your new bow will automatically be zeroed in at 30, 40, 50 and sixty. Shoot and move until you have determined the yardage for each mark and then mark it down on a piece of tape and adhere in plain sight to your bow for reference.) A note of the yardages was made and then there was little left to do but enjoy the smooth performance of the Ghost 350.
The trigger on the Ghost 350 is one of the finest I have ever seen on a crossbow.
It was quiet, fast, consistent and deadly accurate, just what any person would expect from a state-of-the-art, respectably scary Ghost. The thing that I am most impressed with, however, was that darn trigger. It’s just as fine a trigger as I have experienced on any rifle. Smooth, light and with a surprise release; it is just amazing to experience that well-crafted of a trigger on a crossbow.
Since I present my reviews from a hunter’s point of view, the question is, “How did the Ghost 350 perform in the field?” The targeted game for the test was Pronghorn Antelope on our annual pilgrimage to Douglas, WY. I combined the Ghost with Lumen-Arrows and Grim Reaper broadheads experiencing excellent results.
Buck taken at 16 yards.
The buck was taken at 16 yards and went perhaps 50 yards. I was not pleased with the shot as the nervous animal, from a standing broadside shot, actually began to spin away from the arrow before it arrived. Entry was back a little far, but due to the angle of the body as it was turning away, the exit was just behind the front leg on the opposite side. The buck expired within five minutes. The Lumen-Arrow passed completely through the goat and was intact, although buried deeply into the sloping bank of the waterhole. The doe was taken from a standing broadside shot of 18 to 20 yards. The arrow passed through the heart damaging both front legs causing the animal to collapse in less than 30 yards, in all probability, being out before hitting the ground. The arrow was broken due to the major contact with the front legs of the goat, but the Lumenok was retrieved in excellent shape and still burning brightly.
The doe was taken with the Ghost 350 and a single arrow to the heart at under 20 yards.
I ran into only one problem while using this bow and guess what? User error! And that is where, experience has taught me, most crossbow problems originate. This problem was self-inflicted and occurred while trying to uncock the bow by firing an arrow from of it. It occurred on the first day of hunting. I had passed on a shooter-buck because I had been caught with a camera in my hands (that same buck became a victim of the Ghost 350 the following day). When I attempted to take the bow off safe, the latch would not budge. At first I thought I had gotten dirt into the latching mechanism, but a quick shot of WD40 had no visible affect on the problem. After a few minutes of painful pondering the problem, the solution to dawned on me; I recalled that the Operation Manual had specified moon nocks and upon checking my arrow, I discovered that I was trying to unload my bow with a flat nock. The anti-dry fire mechanism on this bow is so finely crafted that even this minor detail prevented the bow from being discharged. That kind of engineering can only be admired and respected, which is more than can be said for my personal attention to arrow selection.
The thumb-hole stock and raise cheek piece make this bow extremely comfortable to shoulder.
The bottom line is that the Ghost 350 is one fine crossbow from this hunter’s point of view and the fact that you can get completely set up for around $600 only makes it better. Barnett has been manufacturing some excellent and reliable crossbows at friendly prices in the past few years and if you are in the market, you owe it to yourself to check them out. But whatever crossbow you decide upon, do yourself a big favor and study the Owner’s Manual carefully. It will save you a lot of headaches, not to mention the inconvenience of service calls.
The safety release and anti-dry fire mechanism are extremely well designed.