We were pretty impressed with the Darton Viper SS in last year’s crossbow test, and the Rebel 135 SS ($850; dartonarchery.com) has a lot of same qualities, just in a smaller package. At only 32 inches overall and 7.5 pounds, it is Darton’s lightest, most compact crossbow yet. What’s more, the Rebel 135 SS puts the trigger/safety assembly under the cheek piece, which shifts some of the weigh toward the real for better balance, making this solidly built bow handle even better.
Hits: Compact and light compare to the company’s other offerings. A pretty, darn good trigger, for a crossbow. Good safety features, and a nice, big foot stirrup for when you’re wearing boots. At 350 fps, is reasonably fast for such a short bow.
Misses: To make up for the short powerstroke, the Rebel has a fairly heavy 180-pound draw weight. That said, last year’s Darton had a 170-pound draw, and yet was one of the easiest-drawing of all the bows we tested. So it’s not all about weight. (They don’t let us draw the bows at ATA, so I can’t tell you exactly how this one draws.)
What Else You Should Know: Like many things, scopes are not that easy to evaluate at the ATA show, but this seemed like a pretty good one.