We often only think about firearms when we discuss hard-core survival. And of course, we need a good knife for various chores. But archery is often overlooked. Today, we’re taking a close look at Cold Steel‘s Cheap Shot 130 crossbow. I quickly found that it is a joy to use.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, a friend and I used to hunt rabbits in a field – a big field – down the block from where my mother and step-father lived. I didn’t live with them, but would spend some weekends at their house. The field itself was outside the city limits of Chicago, Illinois. Believe it or not, my friend and I got a lot of rabbits with our bows. That is the extent of my use of a bow and arrow. I had no experience with a crossbow, until long-time friend, Lynn Thompson, who owns Cold Steel, sent me his newest product to test.
Some Assembly Required
Look, I don’t like to open a box, only to find out that the product inside of it, needs to be assembled, and more often than not, the instructions are not clearly written. So, I pass this chore along to my oldest daughter, and she has the patience to follow the instructions and assemble whatever it is that I need to have assembled. When I gave her the Cheap Shot 130 crossbow box, I got “that” look from her, however, inside of 5-minutes, she handed me the completely assembled crossbow. Wait? What? Huh? Can’t be!!! Sure enough, she assembled the Cheap Shot 130 and even read the instructions on how to use and it, and explained it all to me. Everyone knows that their dad isn’t the brightest tool in the shed, right?
A close examination of the Cheap Shot revealed that this thing was really, and I mean, REALLY well-made. The only change I’ll make to it is to replace the red dot sight, with a much better one. However, the red dot sight that comes with the bow, makes it ready to go.
Let’s check out some of the things about the Cheap Shot that I’m sure you’ll like to know. First off, it has a draw weight of 130 pounds. Wow! That’s a lot of energy sending a bolt down range, and I was thinking, this hummer is going to be hard to cock – not even close, it has a cocking handle, that makes cocking it a piece of cake, and it is FAST, too! The draw weight sends bolts down range at 226-feet per second, and is capable of 3-inch groups at 30-yards.
You get six bolts with target tips on them, as part of the package, and additional bolts are available from Cold Steel, as well as various hunting tips. Lynn told me that he took several deer and other big game with his Cheap Shot sample. Many folks don’t know that Thompson is a big game hunter. He hunts all over the world – and he uses he knives, spears, handguns and other weapons, like this crossbow. He is a world class hunter.
You also get sling was, a single point shoulder sling, an M4-style stock with buffer tube, single position red dot sight, fore grip, secondary detachable fore grip, two lens cleaning wipes and an Allen wrench for quick assembly/disassembly.
I set up a cardboard box, with a lot of pieces of cardboard inside of it, to capture the bolts. Well, needless to say, the first bolt went right through the box, luckily, I was able to recover it – I had a good back stop – my pump house. So, I added more sheets of card board to the box. Second shot, was very close to the orange bulls eye on the box – I was shooting at 20-yards. Third bolt was a bit low…after that I made some adjustments to the red dot sight and really started having fun with the Cheap Shot 130.
My youngest daughter, who is 30-yrs old, spends way too much time watching some of the super heroes on television, mostly the Marvel comics super heroes and one of her favorites is The Arrow – she got herself a long bow, target and some arrows and has been practicing now for some time. I still remember her first few shots in our front yard – she completely missed the target – so let’s hope her skills have improved. I’m sure she’d love this Cheap Shot crossbow, though – easy to aim, easy to shoot and very easy to reload.
The string was waxed before I used the Cheap Shot, as well as the rail that the bolts ride on. The instructions say to re-wax the string after every five shots – easy enough to do. I’d stock up on string wax, if you plan on using this crossbow for survival purposes. And I’d sure stock-up on spare strings, too.
The trigger pull on this crossbow is very light, and easy – no stacking or anything like that as you’d find on a handgun. And, as already mentioned, it is extremely easy to re-cock this bow, for follow-up shots, too – it doesn’t take a lot of effort at all, to re-cock the bow with the lever.
I used to live outside the Oregon Coast, where there was a lot of bow hunting, and most hunters weren’t very good with their bows. I’m sure they were taking shots well beyond any reasonable distance a good bow hunter should take. It was nothing to see elk, walking down our road with as many as half a dozen arrows stuck in their rump – that is cruel! If you can’t take an animal cleanly, then pass on the shot – please!
Practical For Survival
So, where does the Cheap Shot 130 fit into a survival situation? Well, for one thing, if you plan on doing any hunting, it may not be a good idea to use a firearm, that will let everyone know where you are at – could prove fatal to you at some point if they track you down. A crossbow, like the 130 has more than enough power to take deer and elk-sized game and do it without a “bang” – it will be nearly silent. So, I think a crossbow is a darn good idea for long-term, rural survival and hunting.
You can also legally hunt various game – if your state allows the use of a crossbow – during bow season. Make sure you check your regulations before going afield with a crossbow. Your state may allow bow hunting, but may not allow crossbow hunting. Be certain of the legalities. Of course, in a total SHTF scenario, we won’t be too worried about hunting regulations.
Full-retail price on the Cheap Shot 130 is $279.99 – but shop around, and you’ll find it for less money, and perhaps even with free shipping. Be sure to stock-up on plenty of spare bolts. You will lose some, no doubt about it. And, pick the right hunting broadheads for the game you plan to hunt. Many states are very particular about the size and shape of arrowheads used for hunting – be advised! So, if you’re in the market for something a bit different for your survival preparations, then check out the Cheap Shot 130 crossbow. It is a dandy tool for survival!
JWR Adds: I received the following proviso from a SurvivalBlog reader, who is an M.D.:
“Please advise your readers that [in most states] unless you have a letter from your physician stating that due to disability you are unable to use a long bow to hunt and should be allowed to use a crossbow as well as a release from your state’s DNR you will be breaking the law if you use a crossbow to hunt in the pre-SHTF times. As a family physician, I had to write letters for my patients on many occasions for this very issue.”