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The Ultimate Guide to Excalibur Crossbow Scopes: Pros, Cons and How to Choose

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

Maybe you’re thinking about getting yourself an Excalibur Crossbow package that includes an Excalibur crossbow scope, maybe you’re disappointed with the performance of your current scope, or perhaps you’re looking to take your hunting equipment to the next level.

Whatever the case, all of the options with the Excalibur Crossbow Scopes range are fantastic choices when looking for this critical crossbow accessory. In this article we’ve provided everything need to know so you can see why these models are so popular.

Who Makes Excalibur Crossbow Scopes?

No surprises here, Excalibur Crossbow Scopes are made by Excalibur Crossbows. The company was founded in 1974 and is based in California. This family-owned business has almost 50 years of experience and are known for their high quality crossbows and scopes.

Excalibur Crossbow Brand

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

What Different Types of Excalibur Crossbow Scopes Are Available?

Excalibur Crossbow Scopes have a variety of uses, including hunting, 3D archery, target shooting, bowfishing, and more. Over the years they have had several different styles of scopes to choose from to suit your needs, but they’ve slowly honed down their range to the core three offerings tabled below

Entry Level – Excalibur Dead Zone Scope

Premium Option – Excalibur Tact 100 Illuminated Scope

Flagship Model – Overwatch Illuminated Scope

But which to choose? Our guide covers everything you need to know about these premium quality scopes and will help you make an informed choice. If you want to learn more, read on, but there’s a lot to cover here, I’m not gonna lie!

Model
Excalibur 1 in. Tube Dead-Zone Scope - 32 mm
Excalibur TACT 100 Crossbow Scope
Excalibur Overwatch Straight Tube Scope
Image
Excalibur 1 in. Tube Dead-Zone Scope - 32 mm
Excalibur TACT 100 Crossbow Scope
Excalibur Overwatch Straight Tube Scope
Accolade
Quality On A Budget
Illumination and Precision
Everything You''ll Ever Need
Jump To Our Review
Model
Excalibur 1 in. Tube Dead-Zone Scope - 32 mm
Image
Excalibur 1 in. Tube Dead-Zone Scope - 32 mm
Accolade
Quality On A Budget
Buy Now On Amazon
Jump To Our Review
Model
Excalibur TACT 100 Crossbow Scope
Image
Excalibur TACT 100 Crossbow Scope
Accolade
Illumination and Precision
Buy Now On Amazon
Jump To Our Review
Model
Excalibur Overwatch Straight Tube Scope
Image
Excalibur Overwatch Straight Tube Scope
Accolade
Everything You''ll Ever Need
Buy Now On Amazon
Jump To Our Review

If you want to skip straight to the detailed reviews, please use the specific links in the table above, or you can jump to the start of the reviews section here.

Just in case you’re wondering why the Excalibur Tact Zone scope is missing from the list, this model is now a discontinued line. You may still see them around and for reference they are reasonably similar to the Dead Zone model. There’s also the Excalibur Twilight DLX, another discontinued line that is similar to the Dead Zone but includes illumination.

Excalibur Crossbow Scope Review

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

Why Do You Need a Scope for Your Crossbow?

As far as bow accessories go, a scope is an absolute must-have. However, there are a few things worth knowing before you dive in.

Firstly, a crossbow scope is not a rifle scope. Although you could use a rifle scope for crossbow hunting, its overkill and may even make your less accurate. This is because rifle scopes are designed for much longer range shooting than crossbows.

To support the increased range, rifle scopes have a high degree of magnification, around 6-10x or even higher. To enable this magnification, they are often quite large and weighty.

A scope designed specifically for a crossbow will be much more compact. Although zoom on crossbow scopes is available and definitely awesome, you will only need 2-5X at most, keeping the size and weight to a minimum.

In fact, technically speaking a crossbow scope is a type of crossbow sight that features magnification. Although some bow sights that don’t have magnification still get referred to as crossbow scopes, it’s technically not correct. They should instead be referred to as a reflex sight or crossbow sight.

Crossbow sights and scopes also provide a targeting reticle that allows for trajectory compensation and can even help with leading shots. Reticle designs can improve your accuracy, particularly when shooting over longer distances.

But the main reason most crossbow hunting pros believe crossbow scopes are amazing is because of the light gathering properties. They allow for far more light to enter your eye for a much clearer shot. A high quality lens can make twilight conditions appear like its the middle of the day.

Excalibur Tact 100 Crossbow Scope Review

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

Crossbow Scope Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Crossbow Scope

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a crossbow scope. We’ve done our best to cover them all so you are fully informed.

Range

The effective range of a crossbow scope should be front of mind. You’ll typically see effective range between 50 and 100 years. Longer range will tilt the odds in your favor, improving your accuracy over long distances and allowing to confidently take a shot without getting too close and alerting your target.

However, you need to make sure the rest of your crossbow setup remains effective at these distances. Crossbow bolts (the correct name for crossbow arrows) with wide broadheads or a long arrow length, or bows that shoot at low speeds may struggle at long distances regardless of your scope’s range.

Illumination

Illuminated scopes help the shooter to see the reticle and the display inside the scope. In broad daylight illumination won’t be necessary, but in low light conditions it is an absolute game changer.

If you are often hunting in the early morning or early evening then you should definitely go for an illuminated scope. Hunters who use ground blinds will also love an illuminated reticle. If you hunt in dense forest or high up in tree stands you may also benefit.

At the extreme end, you could also go for night vision. This will give you the ability to hunt effectively at any time of day in almost any conditions.

Drop Compensation

You have two options here. The first option is a scope that can be adjusted relative to the speed of your crossbow, otherwise known as a variable speed scope. Setting the scope at lower speeds for a slower crossbow will adjust the reticle position to provide more drop compensation than at higher speeds.

If you don’t have a model that includes drop compensation, a fixed scope, you will likely have a reticle that includes several different targeting points designed to be used depending on the distance to your target. However, these points are set based on a fixed speed, so you will need to tune your crossbow if its speed doesn’t match your scope.

You do this by adjusting the elevation dial on the scope, though you may as well tune your windage (horizontal) as well. The tuning process is basically trial and error, target shooting a crossbow bolt or two before adjusting and repeating at different distances. Check out our guide on how to adjust a crossbow scope for more details.

It might also interest you to know, particularly if you also like to hunt with a compound bow or recurve bow, that a quality rangefinder will include drop compensation AND angle compensation, allowing you to shoot with precision from tree stands or ground blinds.

Excalibur Crossbow Scope Manual

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Magnification

The level of magnification will help improve visibility and precision of your target at longer distances. It’s basically like zoom on a camera, except that it may be fixed. Variable magnification is preferred, allowing you to adjust the magnification based on the target’s location.

The level of magnification is typically highlighted in the scopes specification. You’ll typically see the format #x##. The first # denotes the magnification and the second number is the lens diameter. So a 4×30 scope features 4x magnification and a 30mm tube or lens diameter.

Stray Light and Glare

There’s nothing more frustrating than find yourself in the perfect position to take down a big buck, slowly shouldering your crossbow and putting your eye to the scope, and suddenly getting a load of glare right in your eye. Not cool!

Optics obviously need to let light through so you can see, but that light can reflect and refract, making it very difficult to see. The technical term is “light transmission”, but you will often here it being referred to as “stray light”. This natural phenomena can be reduced with a good quality scope.

The best crossbow scopes will have multi coated lenses. Some will have other anti-reflection systems like baffling or patented paints. TRUGLO crossbow scopes are a great example, but as you’ll see, so are Excalibur crossbow scopes.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance you need to hold your eye away from the lens for it to give you a perfect image, and is typically only a few inches. It’s inherent in the way the lens is designed and can’t be changed.

Although you can learn to get comfortable with different eye relief distances, many hunters find it quite difficult to adjust. Even a one inch difference in eye relief can really throw you off your game.

It might not seem like a big deal, but be sure to know your own personal preferences and find a scope with an eye relief that fits your comfort zone.

Excalibur Dead Zone Crossbow Scope Review

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

Lens Quality, Parallax and Exit Pupil

There’s not a lot of point shooting with a crossbow scope if the lens quality is poor. The lens should provide exceptional clarity in the conditions it was designed for. You should settle for nothing less.

You may stumble across the word “parallax”. To simplify it as much as possible and also stay focused on hunting, parallax refers to how the scope sitting at a slightly different position to your crossbow’s rails can affect the accuracy of the shot. A high quality lens will compensate for this effect.

You may also hear the term “exit pupil”, which refers to the amount of light which will reach the eye through the lens. It is calculated as the lens diameter divided by the magnification. Best case scenario, look for an exit pupil of 4-8mm, on the higher side if you often hunt in low light conditions or like to use high magnification.

Weatherproofing

It’s no good having a fancy scope for your crossbow if it fails as soon as it gets a little drop of water on it. You should go for optics that are designed to take on the rugged conditions you often face as a hunter.

Most scopes specifically designed for crossbow hunting will be fine as long as you don’t drop them in a stream, but its definitely worth making sure.

Weight and Dimensions

As with many things in hunting, weight is a key concern. Dropping even a single pound from the total weight of your gear can make a huge difference over a long day. Less weight on your crossbow can also improve accuracy as the bow will be easier to steady.

Smaller scopes will almost always weigh less, however they usually lack features or have low or no magnification. You need to find a trade-off between these features and weight that suits your needs.

Whatever the case, choose an optic designed for a crossbow, not a rifle. Although you can use a rifle scope, its overall length will be much longer than a proper crossbow scope. Choosing optics fit for your purpose will be much more effective in the end.

Reticle Style

More of a personal preference and not one the should make or break a purchase, but still a consideration. There are several options out there including the standard red dot scope, a chevron, to crosshairs, circles and more unusual options like the one below!

crossbow scope reticle
EoTech SPS2-Z Zombie Stopper Holographic Weapon Sight
  • Shortest sight from EoTech to date

This reticle has an absolutely awesome design! Time to shoot some zombies!!

Mounting System

90% of crossbow scopes are going to use mounting rings and will be suitable for practically any modern crossbow. However, some will use a Picatinny rail system, which may not fit your crossbow (although you can usually install Picatinny rails at extra cost and effort). Make sure that whatever mounting system your crossbow has aligns with your crossbow scope.

Color and Design

Mainly personal preference here, but it’s pretty awesome if you can get yourself a scope that matches the look of your bow. Even more awesome, try to get both in full camo!

Warranty

If the manufacturer isn’t willing to back their product, why should you! I’d be looking for a minimum 10 year guarantee, but a lifetime warranty is pretty standard for genuinely good models.

Do your research though. Just because a company offers a lifetime warranty doesn’t mean you have peace of mind. Check out brand and product reviews and if you see complaints about long wait times on failed products or poor customer service, steer clear.

Luckily, with Excalibur, you have nothing to worry about. Better yet, buying through Amazon offers you even more protection!

Excalibur Dead Zone Crossbow Scope Review

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

Budget

This is probably the #1 consideration. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it’s true. Money talks. Do some research before hand and get a feel for the prices you should be expecting.

Of all your hunting accessories, a scope is definitely worth dropping a few extra dollars on as it can literally be the difference between a takedown shot and a complete miss. Just remember, you get what you pay for!

Excalibur Crossbow Scope Reviews

We’ve covered everything you need to know to make an informed purchase, so it’s time to a take a look at the optics which Excalibur has on offer. Let’s get the ball rolling with their entry-level model, the Dead Zone scope.

Excalibur Dead Zone Crossbow Scope Review

Dead Zone Scope
Excalibur 1 in. Tube Dead-Zone Scope - 32 mm
  • Crossbow scope has a 1 in. tube and 1 in. rings
  • Multi-coated lenses for more light transmission in low light 15% wider field of view
  • Features a compact and lightweight rugged construction

The Dead Zone is Excalibur’s lowest priced offering. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not great, far from it. Excalibur’s commitment to quality still permeates through every part of this scope’s design, backed by a lifetime warranty.

To make things more affordable they’ve chosen to remove some features which many bow hunters can live without. The effective range is a little lower at 60 yards, there’s no magnification and no illumination. If you live with this, its a damn good scope for the money!

Let’s take a look at the specs:

  • Effective range of 20-60 yards, visible on Excalibur’s unique chevron reticle design
  • Adjustable speed dial to suit crossbows shooting bolts a 300-410 feet per second
  • Fantastic clarity through the 1 inch (25.4mm) tube with multi-coated lens (1×25)
  • Perfectly compensates for parallax affects at 30 yards
  • 8 inches long and weighs approximately 1.0 pounds
  • Waterproof and shockproof
  • Includes lens caps to protect the quality optics when you’re not hunting
  • 3-4 inches of eye relief
  • Ring mounted with 1 inch rings included

The quality of this lens is fantastic. Although there’s no illumination, shooting through this scope looks and feel amazing. There’s very limited glare, even in direct sunlight, and targets look clear and crisp.

Excalibur Dead Zone Crossbow Scope Reticle

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

The reticle is very nice and easy to get used to. There is very little interrupting your view, but enough to feel confident when adjusting for distance. The horizontal crosshairs also help to to compensate if your target is moving. I didn’t need to use this, as I was only shooting targets, but it’s a nice addition.

If you aren’t looking for illumination or magnification, there’s really nothing to complain about here. If you are, let’s check out Excalibur’s more premium offerings.

Excalibur Tact 100 Crossbow Scope Review

Dead Zone Scope
Excalibur TACT 100 Crossbow Scope
  • Fast clean multi-reticle aiming system that allows for accurate adjustments out to 100 yards
  • Multi-coated lenses for more light transmission in low light 15% wider field of view
  • Tactical scope is compact and has lightweight rugged construction

The next scope in the list is the Excalibur Tact 100 Illuminate Scope. Although this is the next most expensive scope in the range, its quite a leap from the Dead Zone in terms of price. For the extra investment, you get some pretty sweet additional premium features.

As with all their scopes, you get the ultimate peace of mind provided by a lifetime warranty on defects and workmanship, and the scope is both shockproof and waterproof. Awesome!

Features are highlighted below:

  • Excalibur’s unique multi-reticle provides trajectory compensation for up to 100 yards
  • Reticle features redgreen rheostat illumination perfect for low light conditions
  • Speed dial can be set for crossbows shooting between 300 and 450fps
  • 30mm multi-coated lens practically eliminates stray light and glare (1×30)
  • Zero parallax within 30 yards
  • 0 inches long and weighs approximately 0.9 pounds
  • Waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof meaning its suitable in almost any conditions
  • Lens caps and 30mm rings for mounting are included
  • Eye relief of 3-4 inches
  • CR2032 3V lithium battery for illumination with great battery life

In upgrading from the Dead Zone, you are basically paying for three things: lens quality, range and illumination. If these things matter to you, then you should be considering the Tact 100.

Excalibur Tact 100 Crossbow Scope Reticle

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

The dial on the left side of the scope allows your to control the illumination, providing improved reticle visibility so you can aim accurately at dawn and during twilight hours. Paired with the multi coated lens and the easy-to-use guide points for trajectory adjustment on the reticle, you have no excuse for missing your target!

Although shooting at 100 yards is well outside of typical hunting distances, you can achieve consistent accuracy when target shooting or stumping with this scope, giving you confidence when you take this out on a hunt.

The shortcoming here is zoom, which leads us to the Overwatch.

Excalibur Overwatch Crossbow Scope Review

Dead Zone Scope
Excalibur Overwatch Straight Tube Scope
  • Product Type: Outdoor Recreation Product
  • Package Dimensions: 13" L X 3" W X 3" H
  • Package Weight: 1.0 Pounds

Now we come to the flagship model, the Excalibur Overwatch Crossbow Scope. This is the ultimate model from Excalibur and comes complete with the best they have to offer, including their lifetime warranty.

This is the only Excalibur scope that offers magnification, at 2X-5X, providing you with a massive advantage on accuracy and precision. The lens quality is superb and offers fantastic light transmission properties for an ultra-clear image in all but night conditions.

The specs are detailed below:

  • Excalibur’s Fast point 100 yard reticle gives you up to 100 yards of effective range
  • Designed for the fastest crossbows on the market, adjustable between 300-450 fps
  • 2X-5X magnification automatically adjusts with speed dial setting
  • 30mm straight tube provides fantastic light gathering properties for amazing clarity (2-5×30)
  • Red/green illuminated reticle is perfect for poor light conditions
  • Reticle design offers targeting points for trajectory adjustment in 10 yard increments
  • No parallax within 30 yards
  • 6 inches long and weighs approximately 1.0 pounds
  • Weatherproof, waterproof, shockproof and fog-proof, so you’re always ready
  • Lens caps to protect your new favourite toy when you finally stop playing with!
  • 3-4 inch eye relief
  • Ring mounted with 30mm inch rings included
  • Uses a 3V CR2032 lithium battery for illumination with ample battery life

This thing is amazing. Although the main difference compared to the Tact 100 is the zoom, it really makes a difference. My accuracy and consistency improved on the range and I felt more confident with each shot.

Excalibur Overwatch Crossbow Scope Reticle

Image Credit: excaliburcrossbow.com

The quality lens did not fail to impress and the illumination worked well when we tested it during the early evening, a very noticeable improvement relative to the Dead Zone. The reticle was also amazing, allowing for easier trajectory adjustment than the Tact 100, enabled by the magnification capability.

The only downside was that the magnification was fixed to the speed setting on the scope and could not be independently adjusted. Maybe something for a future model.

Excalibur Crossbow Scopes Summary

That’s the lot gang! We’ve covered everything you can possibly need to pick your scope, including why you might even want a scope in the first place! Rest assured, its highly likely the scope which comes fitted to your Excalibur crossbow is already an awesome, particularly if you are going for their high end packages.

Our buying guide will help you understand all the factors worth considering and we’ve shown you through our detailed Excalibur crossbow scope reviews how each model performs in these important areas.

We hope this has given you confidence in the brand and their products. We know that once you get yourself one of their scopes, you regret it!

Happy hunting, and as always, stay safe!

 

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