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Review: Steambow AR-6 Stinger II Crossbow

The archer has been regarded as a superior warrior throughout history. His considerable training, physical strength and ability to use a traditional bow & arrow efficiently began at a young age and continued for most of his life as a warrior. Archers were admired, lionized and celebrated by many ancient cultures. The crossbow is another option.

This technology was developed around the 7th Century B.C., a long time after the bow and the arrow. The handheld crossbow technology was discovered in China by Western cultures around 300 years later. It is derived from the gastraphetes (a “belly shooter”, which the Greeks used. Instead of pulling the string back as medieval crossbows did, the mechanism was pulled down by the weight and body of the user. Crossbows, like the bow and arrow, are a more powerful weapon than the bow and arrow because they require less training and require less skill to operate. Crossbows can be operated by anyone, even a novice archer.

Above: The Stinger II Crossbow is light and compact, making it a great weapon for both home or field use.

Photos by Natalie Price

The Steambow AR-6 Stinger II

Steambow, an Austrian company was founded by a group crossbow shooters. They wanted to create innovative crossbows for other crossbow shooters. The AR-6 Stinger II was developed and manufactured by them in collaboration with companies from the aerospace, automotive and weapons industries. It took two years for the AR-6 Stinger II to be perfected thanks to the hard work of an engineering team and a group of testers. The AR-6 Stinger II is a ultralight, repeating pistol-style crossbow that has a fast rate of fire and an adjustable stock. It also comes with a variety of accessories to enhance shooting accuracy and individuality.

Unassembled weapons arrive in boxes. While some may see this as a hassle, we view it as an opportunity for us to learn more about the various parts of a crossbow. It helps to better understand the mechanical components of the crossbow by putting it together. The carbon fiber and glass laminate limb feel smooth and sturdy when you remove it from the Styrofoam package. It is easy to assemble and fits without difficulty. All the tools, including Allen wrenches, screws and nuts, are included. The only problem is that the instructions do not include a sketch showing the parts and terminology. This would have been helpful for a beginner.

The package included two strings, one of which is a spare, and a stringing tool to help you install them. Although the magazine, foregrip and rifle stock were easy to put together, we didn't notice the optional laser sight (sold separate). The deck had to be pulled apart, which meant that the whole thing would have to be taken apart. We skipped this step. The laser's accuracy was not the only thing that made the crossbow work, but rather the weapon's quality.

Steambow AR-6 Stinger II

MSRP: $280


Crossbow Pros & Cons

A crossbow has a distinct advantage over other arrow-based weapon types. Once the crossbow is cocked and has a bolt at its ready, the user does not need to exert any additional energy to keep it ready. The draw weight of a longbow is 50 to 80 pounds. This must be maintained during the firing and aiming process. A crossbow, on the other hand, can have up to 200 pounds. It can also have a greater velocity due to its higher draw weight. This is especially useful for young shooters or people with disabilities. The trigger is simply pulled by a pull of the trigger.

Above: The Stinger II's adjustable stock lets you get the most from your body. However, removing the stock completely allows for a compacter configuration.

Crossbows can be used in a variety of ways and are very precise. Crossbows can be used with laser and telescopic sights to make it even easier to use. The rifle stock also helps to stabilize the weapon while aiming. Crossbows can be used in all positions, not just standing or kneeling.

Crossbows have a tradeoff. They are heavier because they require more engineering and materials to support the heavier draw string. Crossbows can be bulkier and make them difficult to use in tight spaces. This can make it difficult to draw quickly.

Above: Three options for bolts. You get six blue training bolts (140 grain), but broadhead hunting bolts (140 grain) and black Bodkin bolts (170 grain).

They are also very noisy. They are also noisy. The draw mechanism emits a distinctive clatter and the trigger pull unleashes a sharp clank, which can be used to scare prey before they have a chance to strike. Crossbows are useful in situations where stealth is essential.

Crossbows are slower than traditional bows in reloading, so if you miss a shot, chances are you won't get another chance. A traditional bow allows an archer to nock another arrow using one hand, and without taking aim from the target. Crossbows require the user to take the weapon down, load the bolt, unwind the string, and then re-aim. This requires two hands and some time.

Above: We lost two bolts during our range time. One buried itself so deeply into the foam target that its head was popped off.

The Range

The Stinger II's light weight is one of its greatest strengths. It weighs in at just 2.6 pounds and debunks crossbow critics who say they are often overweight. It's also easy to cock and you can have six steel-tipped daggers flying downrange with just 20 seconds of magazine.

Above: A variety of items can be stored on the bottom Picatinny Rail. It doesn't retain the foregrip well.

Crossbows can be difficult to operate because the cocking mechanism is often too complicated for people with normal arms, such as Daryl from The Walking Dead. They usually use a cocking device that must be easily accessible or you can use your feet to anchor. However, the Stinger II uses a simple cocking technique. The thumb release lever on the rifle stock can be activated. This will cause the entire unit to bend in half. A pair of chrome arms grabs the string and pulls it back into the retention hole just above the trigger. A new bolt will fall into place when this happens and it is ready for fire. Pull the trigger, aim, and then fire the stove. Although it is simple, it can be difficult to master.

Above: The chrome arms represent the business end the cocking mechanism. They grab the string and pull it back towards the retention notch.

However, there is some exchange. The 55-pound tension on the limbs in our example didn't make it difficult to cock the crossbow. The 90-pound option is also available, but it would be more difficult to string the string into the retention hole. Steambow states that the projectile speed for the 55-pound limbs is 180 feet per second. The 90-pound limbs, on the other hand, can propel the projectile velocity up to 220 feet/second, which is an increase of 18%.

Keep your eyes on the target

Above: Six bolts are loaded and ready for action. You won't lose track of the bolts in the excitement, but a quick glance at the remaining bolts will help you keep your eyes on the count.

We took the standard limbs and went to the range (aka backyard) to check the penetration and accuracy of the Stinger II. Steambow provided a few dozen bolts (targets, broadheads and Bodkins). The kit included a 20-inch foam target that we placed “down range” at 50 feet.

At 20 feet, the target was easy to hit from a closer distance. After setting up the sight and making adjustments to our shooting style, each bolt was able to reach the target about half-way through the target. Our groupings began to become chaotic as we moved back to the 50-foot mark. The drop rate also increased.

Above: Fiber-optic front sight is possible to be augmented with many options, including a laser sight that integrates into the crossbow's body, a red dots sight and/or scope (which is probably too much).

We lost approximately 12 inches of drop when the bolt hit the 50-foot mark, as the bolt moves at a speed of only 180 feet per second. At this distance, it will be difficult to keep a group together. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that we didn't penetrate the target we were shooting at. At 75 feet, the bolt hit the target but missed completely. We tried hip firing, but it didn't work. The bolt then bore into the soil behind the target at such depth that it has not been found. The rest of the rounds penetrated the dense foam target easily.

Above: The buttstock is made from hard plastic and won't slip off your shoulder thanks to its textured surface. We were not concerned about slippage because there is zero recoil and the crossbow is so lightweight.

We had trouble aiming accurately with the fiber-optic front view with the push tab for magazine release. This seems awkward. Crossbow's body can block most of the target, making it difficult to see clearly. One could argue that mounting a red dot (Steambow offers one as an option), would improve one's sight of the target. However, at a higher range would it make one more accurate. Perhaps not.

You can track the bolt's trajectory and see it hit the target thanks to its slow speed. As we shot more, the cocking mechanism became more natural and natural until it flowed into a natural movement.

This tab opens the magazine cover to reload and doubles up as the rear sight.

Be concerned

This is a powerful weapon. The unique design makes it easy to use and requires almost no maintenance. It is also very simple to master. There were some issues. It's light, but some components feel cheaply manufactured and poorly attached. This can cause the weapon to rattle when it is moved. It can also make it difficult to jump on nervous prey.

Above: Your groupings can vary depending on distance, skill and patience as well as reloading speed. This was at 50 feet.

Instead of attaching to the Picatinny bottom Picatinny Rail with a horizontal retention screw, as accessories are usually, a plastic “screw”, more like a nub, is used. It is tightened from below the grip and then pushed into the rail slots. This is a disconcerting way to attach it, as this is an integral part of the cocking process. It is essential to secure it properly as it makes it difficult to cock the weapon.

Above: The magazine's bolt rests on top of the string as it is pulled back into position before firing. We noticed that the fletching from the first bolt can sometimes face down and impede the string until it is straightened.

Wrapping up

Above: The crossbow can be shot with ease thanks to the AR-style foregrip and buttstock.

According to the press release, this crossbow is ideal for small game hunting, home defense and pest control. It's not clear how effective it would prove to be in home defense. Although a bolt of the same strength as a 12-gauge is unlikely, I believe a couple, properly placed into vital organs would dissuade any burglar. The Stinger II will knock any rat out of your attic, or rabbit in search for its next meal, at least 50 feet.

The Stinger II is lightweight and simple to use, even for those with little knowledge of weapons. It's also a fun weapon to have around and a joy to shoot.

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Review: Steambow AR-6 Stinger II Crossbow appeared originally on RECOIL OGRID.


By: Offgrid Staff
Title: Review: Steambow AR-6 Stinger II Crossbow
Sourced From:
Published Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2022 11:00:00 +0000

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