Pros: decent fps, easy draw, affordable, accurate, auto-safety
Cons: pin sight issues, bolts are junk
Several years ago, my state made it legal for all hunters to hunt with crossbows. This was, of course, wonderful for disabled hunters because I knew several who, though they were infact disabled, could never get through the miles of red tape to get a crossbow permit. I have a healthy (though some would argue it was unhealthy) collection of guns, bows, and all...and I fell in line with others when the stores starting selling crossbows, to purchase one just to try them out. I ended up buying two, one a Barnett, but the other a PSE Viper Copperhead.
The PSE Viper Copperhead comes in a Crossbow Package where it includes the crossbow, the bolts (arrows) and quiver, and a peep sight. It can be found at outdoor stores such as Cabela's, Woods & Waters, Academy Sports & Outdoors, and if you have a sporting good department in your Walmart, it can be found there, too. It can also be found online, but your state would have to be allowed to use them to order. It's one of the more affordable packages, retailing at $230.
It's a good basic crossbow. As far as it's appearance, it can stand alongside some of the more expensive models. It is "film dipped" in an unrecognizable (to me) color of camo but it is close to Realtree. The quiver will remove, but it sits handy right at the end of the x-bow and will hold 7 bolts. (It comes with four 17" bolts with field points). It has a basic black sling for carrying over the shoulder, and the stock even features a large thumb hole for easier gripping and shooting. The fore-end (the part you hold to lift the weight of the crossbow and steady it), is adjustable, so it will slide along (and lock in place with a screw) the length of the crossbow until that perfect length is found (then, tighten the screw).
The length of the crossbow is around 36 inches, it's width 28 & 1/2 inches, and the weight is close to 9 pounds.
It will fly bolts at 265 fps, but I lost a little speed when upgrading to 20"s and adding broadheads. 17'" bolts are recommended, but I haven't lost any accuracy when going up. Infact, it seems to be far more accurate when using 20" arrows. And, it's deadly at 30 yards. But, the bolts that come with it are really poor. Trust me, you'll replace them.
It's draw weight is 150 pounds. It's really easy to draw because it breaks down mid-draw. Being a female, I don't have the same strength as a lot of the guys I know, so I needed something "easy". It is far, far easier to cock than my Barnett Quad It has a sturdy foot grip that I place my foot into and then use both hands to pull the string back until it locks into place. The great thing about this x-bow is that when it is cocked, it automatically switches on safety. Anyhow, when it is cocked, I place a bolt on it and it's ready to go (well, after I turn it off of safety once I have it on a target)
The sights for this crossbow are absolutely horrible. There's a red dot scope that's made for it and I heard a lot of good about that, but it isn't legal in my state (make sure to check your crossbow laws!). I'm using the included rear peep sight, which works well...and am on my second or third pair of pin sights. I cannot get any to stay in place on this crossbow; they all eventually fall down after a few shots. What I resorted to, was sighting it in when I put on a new pair, and then scratching a line through the metal at the place that the sights are when it is zeroed in. That way, when they fall, I can just put them back at the marks without having to shoot it several times to find the right place to put them back up to. I've never had this issue with the Barnett, but it's not much a nuisance anymore, now that I have my system in place. I may eventually replace the plate.
I've heard from other Viper owners that their serving unraveled after only a few shots and they had to get the string replaced. I think it's a hit or miss thing because I have shot mine countless times and haven't had that issue.
It really is just a basic crossbow. It doesn't have any bells and whistles, and there are plenty on the market with a higher fps (but you will pay a higher price for those!), but it is still deadly and will get the job done, whether you want to use it for target shooting or hunting. PSE makes great bows, is why I decided to try this one out, and I'm not dissatisfied. For the money, I think it's a good value and will work well for the hunters who don't have a large budget for one of these weapons. So yeah, I'd recommend it as a good first crossbow.