Crossbow Review: Barnett HyperGhost 425

The Barnett HyperGhost 425 is compact and fast, providing crossbow hunters with all of the speed and power needed in the field.

Crossbow Review: Barnett HyperGhost 425

Upon delivery of Barnett’s new HyperGhost 425, buyers will be quick to spot the “easy one-bolt assembly” blurb on the box and will likely jump right in with wrench in hand to assemble their new crossbow. Not so fast!

As I have stressed over many years of writing this column, it is logical, sensible and — in this case — mandatory to carefully read the owner’s manual and associated paperwork prior to assembly or there will be issues later on. For example, one must first install the quiver mount because that assembly sits directly under the rail-and-limb connection. If you wait until later to install the quiver, you will have to disassemble the crossbow and start over. Read the manual, please!

With that said, the Barnett HyperGhost 425 is in fact fast and easy to assemble. The quiver bracket goes on easily, and then you can proceed with the “one-bolt assembly,” taking approximately five minutes from start to finish. More good news is the 1.5-5X32mm illuminated scope is factory mounted. All that remains is a quick study of the cocking process (that manual again!) and it’s time to head to the range.

Barnett HyperGhost 425 Specs

  • Draw weight: 206 pounds
  • Power stroke: 16.3 inches
  • Arrows: Proprietary 22-inch, .204-diameter Hyperflite
  • Arrow Speed: 425 fps
  • Trigger pull: 3 pounds; dry-fire inhibitor
  • Sights: Illuminated 1.5-5X32 scope, factory mounted (see sidebar below)
  • Cocking device: Cocking sled-style rope provided                     
  • Overall length: 36.25 inches
  • Axle-to-axle length: 17.6 inches
  • Weight: 7.7 pounds
  • Other features: Mossy Oak Treestand pattern, Soft-Lok floating bristle arrow retainer, TriggerTech trigger, retractable counterbalance support, sled-type rope cocker
  • MSRP: $1,299.99
The Barnett HyperGhost 425 is 17.6 inches wide when ready to shoot.
The Barnett HyperGhost 425 is 17.6 inches wide when ready to shoot.

The HyperGhost 425 is relatively compact at just over 36 inches long and just a fraction over 20 inches wide. Its axle-to-axle width (cocked) is 17.6 inches. Draw weight is a stout but manageable 206 pounds with a 16-inch draw stroke. As one might expect, all that stored energy sends Barnett’s proprietary .204-inch-diameter, 22-inch arrows downrange at 425 fps, slightly more on a freshly waxed rail.

That is rather quick compared to most crossbow arrows, but these shafts are designed for speed and deliver remarkable accuracy. I suspected as much at first and made sure I shot only one arrow at each bull’s-eye, a good thing because the first three skinny arrows would have been touching (or worse) at 20 yards. Considering that a pack of three arrows will set you back over $50, it’s probably not a good idea to attempt continuous “Robin Hoods” merely to amuse your friends.

The HyperGhost 425 feels good in hand and is nicely balanced for off-hand shooting, and Barnett has helped the cause of still-hunters and stalkers by adding a “retractable underarm counterbalance support” system to the unit. The RUCS locks in place against the stock and is easy to operate when needed, a nice touch for hunters surprised by a nice buck en route to their blind or stand.

The quick-detachable side-mount quiver is also a handy feature and can be left in place while hunting, though it may be removed for blind or stand shooting if desired. The adjustable butt stock is also handy for fine-tuning the bow to individual specs, also helped by the Picatinny rail scope mount. There are three additional Picatinny rails on the stock to accommodate various specialty accessories.

The HyperGhost 425 package includes the crossbow in Mossy Oak’s Treestand pattern, mounted 1.5-5X illuminated scope, three 22-inch arrows, QD quiver, sled-type cocker and string wax. The MSRP is $1,299.99. A Barnett sling (available as an accessory), will set you back another $25.

When it comes down to it, bells and whistles are great, but in the final analysis what matters most is if a crossbow can deliver an arrow to the desired target with speed, accuracy and reliability. The HyperGhost 425 proved to be more than up to the task both at the bench and on the roving range.


Shooting the Barnett HyperGhost 425

Because only Barnett’s 22-inch, lightweight arrows with capture-type nocks are allowed for warranty purposes, I purchased extra arrows with the intent of running the unit through its paces without letup until something went wrong. As it turned out, the HyperGhost was more than up to the task, sending arrow after arrow into the “black” even in 100-degree heat with nothing more than a light waxing of the rail and string every 10 shots. In fact, I tried to shoot as many arrows as fast as I could at ranges out to 60 yards and succeeded only in wearing myself out — that 206-pound draw weight has its limitations. For typical hunting situations the HyperGhost cannot be bested, mechanically at least.

As mentioned, the HyperGhost 425 was on target right out of the box. I like my arrows to hit about an inch high at given distances just in case my rangefinder is off, but with only two clicks of adjustment all my arrows struck dead center and on target. Also as mentioned, the arrows were falling too tightly to even bother with “groups” without risking damage to shafts, nocks and fletching, so I placed quarter-sized orange stickers on my Block target and shot one arrow at each spot. After an hour of this, I decided there was nothing further to prove between 20 and 60 yards from the bench, so I gathered up my arrows and headed for the roving range.

It happened to be extremely hot (near 100 degrees), humid and about as inhospitable as the woods can be for a trial shoot, but I decided that because I was testing the crossbow, I may as well endure the worst that might happen to a deer hunter. Deer seasons open in August in South Carolina and elsewhere, and I’ve hunted in similarly miserable conditions over the years — one can’t expect ideal temperatures and dew points on every hunt.

It was noticeably but minimally cooler in the woods during my test roving, which made the process more bearable for me, but I doubt that I will ever hunt deer when it’s that hot or humid. I sweated and swatted deer flies at every step, but the HyperGhost was more than up to the task, putting arrow after arrow in the kill zone for the better part of the afternoon and into the early evening.

None of my targets are more than 40 yards out, but they are purposely hidden behind foliage, fallen trees and other normal, natural obstacles, so visibility can often be iffy, especially at the longer distances. For test purposes, I dialed in the scope’s red and green illumination and shot only at shaded, long-range targets in the fading daylight and had no trouble putting my arrows where they needed to go.

While shooting from ground blinds and tree stands revealed no accuracy issues, I did have an interesting time cocking the crossbow while 20 feet up in a one-man stand. It was not so much a matter of function as finding the right spot to stand and step into the stirrup while wrestling with that 206-pound draw weight. With practice, I could quickly cock and load the crossbow with ease, but in a hunting situation it might be more practical to get out of the treestand and continue the loading process with both feet on the ground.

Needless to say, the HyperGhost 425 more than met my stringent demands for accuracy under all conditions. There were no mechanical issues at all, no dry-fires or malfunctions, and the RUCS unit performed flawlessly for the duration of the shoot.


Final Thoughts

Aside from my standard lament about a sling not being included in the basic HyperGhost package, I couldn’t find anything to complain about during the testing process. The crossbow handled and functioned flawlessly throughout, but I suppose that is to be expected when forking over $1,300 per unit. The Barnett HyperGhost 425 is well worth the price and should satisfy the needs of any Whitetail Journal reader.

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Barnett’s illuminated 1.5-5X Halo scope is included in the HyperGhost 425 crossbow package.
Barnett’s illuminated 1.5-5X Halo scope is included in the HyperGhost 425 crossbow package.

Sidebar: Barnett’s 1.5-5X Illuminated Scope

Owning any crossbow means spending plenty of time looking through, adjusting and caring for a scope; some units are sorely lacking in this department.

However, Barnett’s illuminated 1.5-5X Halo scope is “the bomb” for many reasons. First, the crossbow comes with scope attached and (evidently) pre-sighted, so only minor initial adjustments are required at the range.

The push-button red-green illumination sequence is quick and efficient, offering several brightness settings in red and green. Holding the button in for a few seconds turns the illumination settings off.

There six circle-reticles provides shooters a range of opportunities from 10 to 60 yards in 10-yard increments. One can also start at 20 yards to increase the effective range out to 70 yards, more than enough for 99 percent of whitetail hunting situations. The HyperGhost was deadly accurate at either setting and frugality suggested that shooting more than two arrows at any target, even 60 or 70 yards, would result in costly “Robin Hoods.”

The scope comes mounted and ready to shoot with the crossbow package and all the necessary wrenches and a cleaning cloth are included.


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