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Optics Onyx Tactical Crossbow: Part 3

Onyx Tactical Crossbow: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sen-X Crossbow
Onyx Tactical Crossbow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Sight?
  • Important tips
  • The sight-in
  • Firing behavior
  • I’m pleased
  • Next
  • Summary

Today I’m going to sight in the Onyx Tactical Crossbow. Fortunately I have sighted-in a crossbow once before, with the Sub-1 crossbow. So, even though the Onyx cocks pneumatically, I know how a powerful crossbow works in general.


I need some kind of sight for the bow because it doesn’t come with anything. Pyramyd AIR sells two different Burris crossbow scopes — a budget 3X32 XB that looks like an entry level scope and a 2-8X36 XB that looks upscale. I didn’t have either scope on hand so I used the 1.5-5X32 Hawke that came with my Sub-1. It’s much closer to the upscale scope that Pyramyd AIR sells.

I just took it off my Sub-1 and mounted it to the Onyx. Since both bows have Picatinney rails, the mounts fit the Onyx perfectly. Then I headed to my back yard to sight in. Instead of telling you let me show you how that went, but before you watch the video, know three things:

1. This was the first time I ever shot this bow.
2. The video is 5-1/2 minutes long, but it took me two hours to complete. Because of issues with light I actually filmed it twice.
3. For some reason every airplane in the state of Texas decided to fly over me as I filmed this the second time, and you’ll hear them. If the results hadn’t turned out as good as they did I would have filmed it again!

Important tips

I mentioned lubing the flight deck rails in the video. Do that to prolong the life of the bowstring. You can also apply wax to the bowstring itself.

Notice how careful I am with the bow. I’m not used to pushbutton cocking yet and I wanted to be safe.

I got 4 full cocking cycles from one 13 cubic-inch Air Venturi regulated tank. What you DON’T see in the video is the time I pushed the cocking button by mistake. The bow didn’t cock completely because I stopped it and released the air, but if that hadn’t happened I probably would have gotten 5 full cocking cycles from that one tank.

Notice that not all the air is exhausted when the bow fires. I exhausted the remainder before setting the bowstring for the next shot. If you forgo that step you can set the bowstring but it takes about 80-100 pounds of force. It saves a little air but I wanted easier cocking, so I didn’t do it.

The sight-in

A good crossbow scope has an adjustment for the muzzle velocity of the arrow. You set that number and, if it is correct, the reticle inside the scope will coincide with your target at the ranges indicated. It’s the same thing as holding over in field target, only the crossbow scope reticle is set up for it a lot better. Let’s look.

The reticle in my Hawke crossbow scope looks like this. When the bow is sighted in and the correct velocity is dialed into the scope, the arrow flies to the aim point at each indicated distance. All you need to do is determine the range pretty closely.

Adjust the velocity setting on the scope to match the velocity of the arrow you are shooting. Then the arrows will go to the aimpoints indicated in the reticle.

The Onyx shoots 325-grain field points at 330 f.p.s., so that’s what I set on the scope.

Firing behavior

The Onyx fires with some vibration that is both heard and felt. And there is some recoil. Just hold the bow steady as you squeeze the trigger, because it takes that 330 f.p.s. 20-inch arrow a long time to clear the flight deck.

I’m pleased

This sight-in session went very well. I have never sighted-in a crossbow before now — the Sub-1 came to me already sighted-in. But as you have seen in the video the process is straightforward and not that complex.


Next I will shoot the Onyx at distance. I will start at 20 yards, then move to 30 then 40 and finally 50 yards if I am still doing okay. The bow can easily shoot twice that far, but who knows whether BB Pelletier can?


The Onyx crossbow is performing to spec so far. When I first saw it I thought it was complex and heavy, but after shooting it and taking the time to learn how it works I have a different opinion. I see a hunting crossbow with power and what appears to be great accuracy. It also safely solves several typical crossbow problems. The next test at distance should be the clincher.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

26 thoughts on “Onyx Tactical Crossbow: Part 3”

  1. B.B.,

    Not having any experience with using a crossbow, does this require more follow through than a ten meter rifle for accuracy?


    PS Section Sight? 2nd paragraph 1st sentence: I just took it off my Sub-1 and mounted it to the Onyx. Since both bows have Picatinney rails, the mounts fir (for) the Onyx perfectly.

  2. BB,

    No serious crossbow is quick firing or quiet, but this thing is more like a muzzle loader when it comes to a second shot. You had better do it right the first time.

    Nice scope.

  3. B.B.

    What cool feature that scope has. How do the optics/reticle change when you dial in the velocity of the bolt?
    Could something similar be adapted for airguns?


    • Yogi,

      I’m not familiar with how a crossbow scope works. I’m tempted to say nothing changes other than the erector tube going up and down, but then the different velocities don’t make any sense.

      Yes it would be possible to make a similar scope for a pellet rifle, but the reticle marks would be closer to each other. That’s why I said this scope works like holdover in field target.


      • The reticle is scaled so that as the magnification changes, the hold points change along with it (Second Focal Plane). They just design the reticle so that it closely correlates with the velocity. All you are changing when you adjust the “velocity” ring on the scope is the magnification. They’re usually close, but not dead on due to variations in bolt/arrow weight and tip/broadhead use.

        • Tyler,

          That is what I suspected. Genius! No different than a second focal plane scope changing with magnification,……….. you have to change the hold overs.


  4. IF the different elements of the reticle moved independently for the different distances as you adjusted the velocity ring, I doubt it would be “springer” rated..

    But a crossbow is really just a very old springer design..


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