Horton Havoc Crossbow

The decision is in! Americans are embracing the crossbow in unprecedented numbers.

Crossbow sales are booming as more and more states adopt laws legalizing its use for general or archery hunting seasons. The reasons are simple. As is true with most weapons, it takes time for the message spouted by the uneducated to be demystified. Crossbows do not offer a great “unfair” advantage, nor will crossbow-hunting cause the depopulation of any species of game—big or small.

The truth of the matter is that we have an exploding whitetail population thanks to proper habitat and herd management. We also have an aging hunting population. Many hunters, who enjoyed the pursuit with a stick and string in hand, simply cannot draw the heavier weight of a vertical bow anymore. Others have spent their time afield with a rifle and are simply looking for new adventure, another challenge. Here, the horizontal bow is the perfect solution and a great introduction to bow hunting.

For many years, I hunted exclusively with a bow and arrow. Even when I was invited on a pheasant hunt, I raised more than one eyebrow when I lined up behind a dog with a longbow in hand. The brows went even higher when they realized it was not a joke.

Recently, I received a Horton Havoc to review. I am no stranger to horizontal bows. In fact, I was the first editor of Petersen’s Crossbow Hunting Magazine when it was launched several years ago. So the opportunity to put the Havoc through its paces was a welcomed assignment.

The Havoc

My impressions of Horton’s Havoc were varied, but all good. The Havoc is a reverse draw model, which makes the entire package much slimmer and easier to wield. The quiet, compact powerhouse handles like a dream and delivers an incredible mix of innovation and performance. The Havoc is built with a CNC-machined riser for incredible accuracy and balance from most any shooting position. Adding to the power generation are the CNC-machined cams, which result in a 325 fps speed rating.

No corners were cut on the Havoc. Horton outfits each Havoc with its handcrafted Viper X string for the fastest possible flight and increased durability. Novices, and those unfamiliar or tentative at taking their first shots, will be comforted by Horton’s anti-dry fire mechanism. This mechanism keeps the crossbow from firing without an arrow or with an arrow that is not properly seated.


Horton included a CNC Picatinny rail sight-bridge for easy mounting of your favorite optic. Eye’s—old and young—will enjoy the Havoc’s optic. My package came standard with a 4×32 Mult-A-Range Scope, with consistent 4X magnification; 4-inch constant eye relief and Mult-A-Range reticle system with integrated windage marks, and precise ½-inch MOA click adjustment at 100 yards.

Two, solid, composite limbs power the Havoc, which include the CH Arm design for in-field string replacement. The ergonomic stock has an interchangeable recoil pad and ambidextrous Monte Carlo cheek rest for added comfort. Horton designed the Havoc with an optimized MIM Talon ultra light trigger, foot stirrup with boot ridges, RDT Cocking Sled, Arachnid BLK 5 Arrow Quiver and three Savage arrows.


The Horton Havoc provides plenty of speed and power to harvest any game animal in North America. The RDT Cocking Sled made loading the limbs a breeze. With a bit of coaching, I had my wife cocking the bow for me, but the Tom Sawyer thing only lasts for a couple of shots.

The trigger was smooth and broke crisply. The recoil was moderate for a 175-pound crossbow and the optic was clear. I tested the speed by shooting 10 shots through the chronograph. The test resulted in a 327 fps average with 2 fps deviation across the entire group.


Havoc 175

  • Draw Weight: 175
  • Length: 34.5 inches
  • Powerstroke: 13 inches
  • Feet Per Second: 325
  • Overall Width: 17.5 inches
  • Loaded Width (Axle to Axle): 8 3/8 inches
  • Weight: 8.3 pounds
  • Arrow Length:< 20 inches

Havoc 150

  • Draw Weight: 150
  • Length: 34.5 inches
  • Powerstroke: 13 inches
  • Feet Per Second: 300 *Savage Arrow
  • Overall Width: 17.5 inches
  • Loaded Width (Axle-to-Axle): 8 3/8 inches
  • Weight: 8.3 pounds
  • Arrow Length: 17.5 inches

What are your thoughts on crossbows? Let us know.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (3)

  1. I wouldn’t consider it to be “unprecedented”. Look at social media and TV. Norman Reedus on “The Walking Dead” has been using a crossbow effectively against “zombies” for several seasons now. Because of his role on the TV show and his use of the crossbow, I’ve heard many people mention their desire to buy one and train with it. I’ve always wanted to buy one due to an old shoulder injury/surgery and a blown back. Just because I’m disabled doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hunting too. For some medical cases, a crossbow is our only recourse if we want to hunt with a bow.

  2. I purchased one from Canfields in Omaha in 1974 it was made by Whamo the people who used to make frisbes and still have it today, had to restring it and a guy here in Texas goes by “Old no bull” on e-bay, great guy, knew exatly what i had needed and made me two, kinda neat to bring that old thing back to life!

  3. Years ago I had a Crossman crossbow, and around early ’75 it was stolen from me. My dad had bought it new from Manning’s probably around ’65 or ’66 and he died in December of ’67. I never touched it for several years, and I was never really interested in any kind of archery. He’d also bought two fiberglass Colt recurve bows with the quiver and armguards and lots of arrows etc. One of them was also stolen from me around ’69 or so. I gave the other to a friend recently who’s very much into archery, along with a fishing arrow. I never knew Colt made archery gear, and thought it may be worth something, and that he’d appreciate it. The Crossman crossbow was made of some sort of light weight wood, and had a stubby, but thick heavy aluminum bow that would attach with wingnuts if I recall, and there was a couple of stiff wires at right angles which had small thick black rubber rings which fit the wire snuggly to serve as sights. I can’t remember the accuracy of it, but I do remember that the little arrows which were only 16 to 18″ long, would strike very hard, penitrate about anything, and travel well beyond most intended targets. To cock and load it you’d place the butt of the stock on the ground between your feet with it pointing straight up, and push downward hard on the string until it caught and latched in the trigger assembly. Then you’d lay an arrow in the slot along the top edge of the stock, and push it back a couple of inches to the stop, where a flat spring gently pushed down force on it to keep it in place. Who know’s, when they outlaw the rest of our guns, school kids may have to resort to these.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.