Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

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Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by Green380 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:58 pm

I've waited a couple weeks to post this, in the hopes that time would temper my disappointment. I'm sorry if it hasn't and I'm sorry if this is too long.

I headed out for my afternoon sit on Nov 21st, when I heard that sad sad cracking noise while cranking to cock the crossbow. I'd babied that bow. I've added extra twists to the string as required all along. I've never dry fired it (even in to the anti dry fire), I have only shot stock arrows or arrows over 400gn. Upon hearing it crack I immediately lowered the string back down and saw one of the limbs have a very large splinter. I knew this could happen, I'd read about it happening on Matrix 380's before I bought one. I'd also been lulled in to thinking about warranties and customer service.... I say lulled in because now it began. I called Excalibur right away, of course nobody answered, I left a message didn't get a call back but I did finally get through on probably the 8th call a good two hours later. I knew I could call earlier than I could fill out the online forms but all Dawn could do was email me instructions on how to fill out the forms.
The moment I made it through the door on Nov. 21 I completed the RMA form, I got my approval to send the limbs back the next day, and mailed them off express post that afternoon. Today finally on Dec 5th I have some limbs again. Unfortunately crossbow season is only until the 10th, and I won't be hunting daybreak tomorrow as I need to sight in my 'new' limbs first.
If any of you are coming to the forums thinking you are going to buy one of these bows, please only do so if you can afford to have more than one. I will be selling mine once the season is done and hopefully picking up something more reliable. I have a family and a job it breaks my heart to loose hunting days to equipment failure. Don't get me wrong the Matrix shoots fantastic. I got some arrow making supplies from Don and made some awesome arrows for it this year. I love them. I have a lot invested in this.
Even more luckily my husband borrowed a old Winchester 94 and at least got some meat in our freezer this year. He got a nice buck, a buck the Matrix should have got, if it wasn't somewhere in postal limbo with a cracked limb. That's right an old battered 70 year old lever action gun had to step up when my 2015 purchase failed.
A word to the warranty, yes I did get them replaced but what if you're ready for the hunt of a lifetime? Do you have a backup bow? I suggest you get one.
Also somehow in sending my limbs back I ended up with new limbs without the brake pads I'd installed, I didn't want to peel them off the old limbs as they really are a one time use item. So if you have brake pads, realize that if you warranty your limbs you'll be buying new ones.
I'd read others with broken limbs, but to be frank I just never knew how deep that disappointment would be. I don't come from a family of hunters, my friends are rifle hunters, I don't just have someone to borrow a bow from when mine fails. I'd won one guy over to buying an Excalibur and I now feel a bit guilty, the rest were getting intrigued but I'm not going to be able to recommend it for hunting anymore.

I do owe this forum a big thanks, it was great last year when I started out.

In short- if you have limited time to hunt, buy a second bow. I won't be buying another Excalibur, and it isn't because they aren't accurate but they certainly aren't reliable.

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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by paulaboutform » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:14 pm

I understand your disappointment and I'm very saddened reading your story. Good luck with whatever you choose.


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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by racking up points » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:20 pm

I bring backup rifles when I go on a hunt, just in case. It's not wise to assume any mechanical device will never fail no matter how reliable and being that the bow is the most important piece of equipment you carry afield, at minimum you should have back up limbs. You can slap them on and not need to worry about your POI...have fun doing that with a wheelie-bow. When you blow a limb on a compound crossbow, IF it's warrantied, your turn around time will be longer and they won't supply you with extra limbs, (because who in their right mind would do that?)

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but stuff happens. Best of luck to you with whatever brand you settle on but a word to the wise, if you want to hunt with any crossbow have a contingency plan in place.
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by Trentco1 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:37 pm

There's No need for a 2nd bow. Call dawn back and ask her to send you a set of blemished limbs for $80 bucks it would be one of ur best investments.
crap happens but this way ur covered;)
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by paulaboutform » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:31 pm

Trentco1 wrote:There's No need for a 2nd bow. Call dawn back and ask her to send you a set of blemished limbs for $80 bucks it would be one of ur best investments.
crap happens but this way ur covered;)
I agree with the above posts as well. When I hunted with my compounds I always carried my toolbox and parts as well as a completely set up second bow. With my excals I always bring spare strings, limbs, and basic tools. In all fairness I'm also the guy with steel bars on my windows, a high fenced and locked gates to my yard, a monitored security alarm and live feed security cameras...and I live in a nice neighborhood. :mrgreen: My point being, I'd rather be over prepared for what ever may arise. :wink:
*if you do decide to change your mind a spare set of limbs is great insurance to avoid down time. You can actually change them out in the field.


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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by one shot scott » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:37 pm

1) I'm very sorry to hear of your hunt gone bad due to equipment failure. That sucks and I can imagine how let down you must feel.

2)You say you knew that it was a possibility from what you have read. You bought a speed bow. If you have read here on the forum much you would know that Excalibur claimed o/heated limbs from a outside supplier. The problem has been corrected so they say. This is not my way of excusing Excalibur, but they did replace under warranty. I would still call re: your brake pads.

3)Pretty sure no matter what make of bow you may buy there is always a chance of something similar happening. scopes, limbs, triggers, pulleys are all prone to failure regardless of make. We here may have seen some loss of reliability that came along with the narrower and faster models but Excal still treats their customers pretty well. And as a whole they are still really darn good crossbows.

4)peak bow season is when everyone digs their bows out of hibernation and starts shooting. Naturally this is when a problems are realized. Excalibur customer service is obviously busier this time of year than the other 8 months

5)Always have a back up. Like mentioned: Limbs would have been a ten minute job and no hunt time lost. And much cheaper than a complete back up bow. Not so easy with a compound.

not all limb splinter render a bow inoperable. If they are not too big they can be removed and you can continue to use the bow while the warranty claim is being processed. Good luck in whatever direction you choose. I do hope ya stick around.
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by L. E. Carroll » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:45 am

I sent you a PM with a possible good solution to your 380 issues.

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Camo Matrix 380 W/ XB 30SR Clone by Hawke & a Boo trigger
all w/Camo Munch mounts
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by sproulman » Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:35 am

My Horton got crack at bolt hole years ago do to shooting light arrows 350 grains and also dry fire etc.

also i had crack noise in my limbs big splinter on inside of left limb and 2 in our camp limbs blew apart on left limb at bracket after shooting just 10 times or so .other 3 are fine on micros ....So far no problems on my new limbs.

as long as warranty is good I am good on this....

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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by Carnivorous » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:54 am

If you sell it you will lose a few hundred bucks or more. Or you could be out 80.00 for some insurance limbs but that's better than losing a few hundred bucks.

Buy some back up limbs and carry on.

I have never had a limb splinter. If I did I would cut the splinter off and continue to hunt. It's a cosmetic issue not a safety issue.

On a side note your avatar picture shows the bow is cocked an arrow is loaded and is slung over your back. I hope the safety was on.. :)
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by tremps01 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:43 am

My Matrix 380 has over 4000 shoot with same limbs. I'll never go hunting without my backup limbs and spare scope and never had to use it. As you said it breaks my heart to loose hunting days to equipment failure.

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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by Green380 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:27 am

Thanks for all the replies-
First off yes the safety is always on, unless I'm ready to put my finger on the trigger. I work with firearms daily, but yes I do leave it cocked to paddle across the lake, mostly on the off chance the buck that comes to drink decides to make an appearance takes me a while to cock the with the C2.

As for backup limbs, I actually tried calling last year about backup limbs, left a couple messages but they were busy as usual during hunting season. I WOULD be willing to carry backup limbs, no worries on that however when I did warranty my limbs this fall Dawn had me mail in the front end of the bow as well ( For the record I got back the same front end I sent her just with new limbs and washers installed). Unlike many here my warranty experience wasn't all that friendly my guess is if I started mounting blemished limbs I'd suddenly not get warranty for the originals. Funny in a sad way is the warranty limbs cost me near what blemished limbs would cost plus an extra week in transit. So that's something to keep in mind as well, if you need to warranty limbs but would rather save a week and spend a few more $ just orders blemished limbs and keep trucking.

It's hard to explain I'll try to upload a picture but this splinter was NOT cosmetic, it was very large and changed the brace height of the bow. It was 100% not safe to shoot as is.

Fundamentally I've lost that certain something for this bow, I know we love it, but I DO expect my things to work. Oddly enough if I'd been the first to report a problem and it's a one off error of some kind I'd just laugh about it being just my luck. It isn't frequently I deal with warranties as I'm pretty crazy on the research prior to purchasing I think in this case I was blinded by the love of the bow, and I deeply regret it. However the couple other times I've dealt with warranty issues it's usually been a smoother, friendlier experience. Excalibur made it clear they did NOT care about my bow, acted like in all likelyhood it was my fault (you sure you check your brace height?), and didn't care I'd loose most of my season.

The guys used to tease me when I entered the moose draw, as they knew I usually only crossbow hunted and said I'd better bring a gun to kill the moose as the bow wouldn't do it. It sad that this is now the reality.

Also just a final aside, I don't mind rifle hunting, but the bow is more fun to me. I can hunt places I can't with a rifle and I can do it a month earlier.

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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by Green380 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:38 am

UPDATE- I did just get a message from Dawn saying she would send me some brake pads. So this is a bit of good news.

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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by grouse » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:56 am

I have contemplated buying a new crossbow for the last two years. I can afford it, but I can't convince myself that I need it. My Axiom is both accurate and reliable, and while it is considered to be relatively slow (if 305 fps with a 350 gr arrow is slow) it puts arrows right through whitetails at 30 yards.

Despite the problems, I would not even look at any brand of crossbow but Excalibur. When I decide to buy a new model it will probably be a micro 315 or a matrix 330. You can hunt whitetails with a .375 magnum but my 25.06 kills them just as well. I have yet to read about limb problems on the lower poundage (but still very lethal) Excaliburs. You may want to re-consider and look at other Excals.
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by robertyb » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:16 am

Blemished limbs are warrantied just like the new limbs are. The blemish is simply in the camo finish and does not affect the limbs at all. If needing limbs fast I would have offered them my CC number and had them overnight them. The charge would have been backed off when your limbs were received.
I do not understand why Dawn would have asked for your riser to be sent in if they were going to return the original. Most of the guys I have seen do this got a new generation riser back. It is a lot cheaper to pull the limbs and mail them in.

I went through several limbs blowing on me on compound crossbows before I finally changed over to an Excalibur. I bought a spare set of limbs and have never needed them (knock on wood). :D
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Re: Of Splintering limbs and grave disappointment

Post by wabi » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:21 am

I shoot an old Phoenix and am on my 3rd set of limbs, so I know limbs can and will splinter & break. My biggest complaint is the the limbs I have now are nowhere close to matching the camo of the stock.
Recently Vixenmaster posted a thread about Excalibur's warranty only being 5 years for the older models, and apparently Excalibur has decided to now enforce that clause in warranty.
Seems like the new owner(s) are more concerned with profits than the bulletproof customer service we had when Bill T. was at the helm.

If you buy a new gun do you need to buy a spare barrel just in case the original splits? No - they build enough of a safety margin into those products to eliminate most failures with recommended loads (like proof testing barrels).

Sorry folks, but I can't see spending the $$$$ for a new product, then having to buy spare parts as insurance!
They should be made right the first time! If they can't be made to last then perhaps it's time to look for something more reliable. (Which would probably mean higher recommended arrow weights, lighter draw weights, and less advertised speed.)
The recurve crossbow is much more user friendly as far as maintenance & repair, but the competition (compounds) focuses on speed. To compete the recurve models have been pushed to the limits and failures occur (and I personally don't buy the story the failure rate has not gone up).

Maybe it's time to take a step back to the old straight riser and long limbs like the first models had. I started with a Vixen and abused that bow more than I like to admit through both ignorance and carelessness.
Dry fires did nothing but make a horrible noise - the bow still shot the next arrow right into the bullseye! I could change the string without a stringer with no problem, and those strings lasted for years if I took care of them (watched for wear and re-served if needed).
Arrow speed was slow (by today's standards), but accuracy was great, so hunting simply meant getting close. I never failed to get a pass-through on a deer if I did my part, and they all were easy recoveries. I had to HUNT, not simply SHOOT, but then why do we pick archery in the first place?

If Excalibur would re-introduce the Vixen & Exo lines with forward risers (machined is fine), skip the camo step (go with a solid color that blends with the woods), put a reinforced string groove in the limbs instead of a glue-on tip (like a longbow has today - an extra layer or two of material), add a dacron string and leave out the imported scope so I could put my Leupold on it, I'll pre-order it today!

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