When Airgun Meets Crossbow

The Pioneer Airbow from Crosman Benjamin is a new way to hunt, firing full-size arrows at 450 fps.

It's a device that has managed to out-future the looks of ultra-modern firearms like the bullpup UTS-15 shotgun and the FAMAS and Steyr AUG rifles. And this thing doesn't even fire bullets.

It fires full-sized arrows with broadheads from what is basically a high-caliber airgun, something Crosman knows something about producing. So is it a crossbow, or an airgun that shoots an arrow? Crosman is calling it the Pioneer Airbow and admitting that it’s an all-new category of big game weapon that fires full-length arrows and full-weight broadheads, with no strings, cams, or limbs.

The Airbow can fire eight shots in the same time an archer could fire three from a crossbow without refilling it's tank, all at the gun’s full power of 3,000 psi, moving arrows at 450 feet per second. That consistent speed can create two-inch groups at 50 yards. The company says accuracy is also improved because the Airbow pulls arrows from their front when launching rather than pushing them from behind like a crossbow.

It’s configured like a bullpup airgun, meaning it's compact and adding optics is simple with a full-length top Picatinny rail. It’s also pretty short, at 33.5 inches overall.

The Crosman Benjamin Pioneer Airbow.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages for deer hunters is how safe it seems to be to use in a tree stand. There’s no string to pull back or get caught on gear or tree branches. Instead, an ambidextrous cocking lever that lifts up from the top of the stock is operated with only two pounds of force. That means pretty much anyone of any physical ability can operate the Airbow.

Has anyone hunted with it? Yes, it’s been field tested a bit. Below you can see a video of the buffalo Jim Shockey took with a Pioneer Airbow. It’s pretty safe to say its big-game capable. Shockey also shows you how it operates at his backyard range. It’s so easy to cock it hardly seems like he’s doing anything.

Crosman will be selling the Airbow under the Benjamin brand, which will also produce arrows for the device, but you can use any standard length arrow by shrouding the nock with a litter barrel-shaped cover.

Crosman also provides a map of the country letting you know what game and in which states you can hunt with the Airbow legally on its website, though you may want to check local regulations and see if the Airbow would fall under big-game airgun laws or crossbow laws in your state.

With an MSRP of $849, it comes with three 375-grain carbon fiber arrows with field tips, a CenterPoint 6x40mm scope with a custom MTAG reticle offering aiming points out to 75 yards (a canted Picatinny base for the scope provides an additional 20 MOA of adjustment), a custom sling, and a quick-detach arrow quiver plus Realtree AP camo decals.