Prior to testing the Covert 3.4, we never considered a bow and arrow for hunting. The reasons were many. First, with a conventional bow, we might as well be throwing rocks at our quarry.... that is how "proficient" we were. With the new compound bows, we were a bit better, but our forearm strength was not sufficient to make it enjoyable to hunt with them. And crossbows, well, in the past, most states did not permit their use for hunting and the draw weight to cock them was too much for either of us. The cocking ropes packed with most crossbows did make the job a bit easier, but it was still problematic and painful for a lot of folks to cock crossbows designed for hunting big game.
All of that changed when Carbon Express® introduced their Quiet Crank.... ah, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, let's take a look at the Covert 3.4 Muddy Girl that we received for testing. Mr. Lou Riley, at Eastman Outdoors, offered to let us try out the Covert 3.4, as he was aware that Mary is Mobility Impaired due to a permanent back injury. As such, she can legally hunt with a crossbow in New Mexico during the regular archery season.
Anyone who has been involved in archery knows that Carbon Express® bolts and arrows are among the best on the market today (if not the best). Their quality is superb. They consistently fly "true" to their target. When equipped with the broadhead of your choice, they are proven game getters. As such, we won't go into details concerning them except to state that they are worth every penny. If you haven't used them before, you are missing out on that extra edge that we all want in hunting.
The Covert 3.4 is not some WhamO-style crossbow that you pick up to play with on the weekends. This is a serious piece of equipment, just as well built and reliable as any of your hunting rifles. Do not expect to "pick it up" for a couple hundred bucks. If you are serious about getting into hunting with a crossbow, you must expect to pay a reasonable price for a quality piece of equipment.... If you go cheap, you will get just that--a cheap and poorly constructed device that will let you down at the earliest opportunity.
The Covert 3.4 is an incredible piece of equipment. It is well balanced and with the adjustable forearm and recoil pad it is easy to "customize" to meet your individual needs. After we made the adjustments for our 6' frames, the crossbow came up to the shoulder comfortably with the scope perfectly aligned. We would also like to point out that the "ready-to-hunt" kit comes with all of the hex wrenches required for all adjustments and necessary for servicing of the crossbow as well.
The 4x32 multi-reticle scope held all adjustments without deviation. Some reviewers in the past had problems with the scopes holding their adjustments. We did not. After a bit of practice, it was easy to hold on target with the six elevation crosshairs to adjust for targets beyond our 40-yard zero point.
The specs on this bow state that the trigger box housing is cast and equipped with very precise internal components. Although we didn't take it apart (not recommended), it was apparent that they put a lot of thought into its design as the Covert 3.4 delivered a clean and crisp trigger pull of 3.5 pounds.
We have seen and inspected the cam sets on other crossbows. Some were "pot" metal of unknown origin and others were polymer-based. The Covert 3.4 uses a high-end aluminum alloy for their cams. These cam sets are responsible for the increased speed and flatter bolt trajectory characteristic of the Covert 3.4. They will not break and should last a lifetime of shooting. Add in the tunable synthetic bow string and power cables and you have a system that is unmatched in the industry.
Our Caldwell chronograph documented that the speed of the Hot Pursuit bolts was as advertised: ranging from 340 f.p.s. to 345 f.p.s. That is incredibly consistent. The extruded aluminum barrel with its polished power channels substantially reduces the recoil and which contributes to the accuracy which we obtained. If we told you the details of our accuracy tests, most folks wouldn't believe us. Let's just say that Jim felt like Robin Hood during our tests due to the very consistent groups that the Covert 3.4 delivered.
We had to shoot at that distance, rather than the initial recommended 25 yards. At 25 yards, the bolts embedded themselves in our 3-foot thick dense foam backstop, tearing up the fletches... so we backed off to 40 yards.
We did not notice any vibration or "twang" of the bowstring, so characteristic of many crossbows. We attribute that to the SilenTech coating on the stock. SilenTech is a proprietary vibration and sound damping rubber-like exterior coating.
Carbon Express® Hot Pursuit Premium Carbon Bolts - 3x
Arrow Quiver - mounts on crossbow holding 3 bolts
Practice Points - 3x
Rail Lubricant & Hex Wrench Tools
4x32 Multi-reticle Scope
Water, fog, and shock-resistant
Weatherproof synthetic bull-pup stock with SilenTech* coating
*Proprietary Carbon Express® vibration-and-sound-dampening
Muddy Girl camouflage pattern by Moon Shine LP
9" Picatinny Forearm Rail
Accommodates lights, lasers, and bipods
Cocking rope included
Optional Quiet Crank available which reduces cocking effort by 90%
Low-profile foot stirrup
Anti-dry-fire mechanism for safety enhancement
Length of Pull: 14.5"
Draw Weight: 175 lbs.
Weight: 6.85 lbs.
Length: 30.75 inches
Width: 16.25 inches uncocked - 12.5 inches cocked
The design of this crossbow (size and balance) enabled us to keep it close to the body while standing, yet it came up smoothly and quickly when needed. The Covert 3.4 is one of the industry's shortest and most narrow crossbows in its class, but with more than enough power for taking down deer, elk, and feral hogs. We are just not brave enough to recommend it for grizzly bears, because Fred Bear, we are not.
If you remember our mention of the Quiet Crank in the beginning, it is now time to give it the full credit it deserves for making crossbow shooting easy and a lot of fun.
For just under a hundred bucks, you can (and should) buy the Quiet Crank for cocking. Yes, you read the specs right.... this handy tool reduces the cocking effort by 90%. That means that just about anyone, regardless of size, age, or physical condition, can easily cock the Covert 3.4. Simply "plug" it into the back of the stock, place the hooks over the bow string and crank it back until it automatically locks in place. After you use this neat tool, you will never go back to regular rope cockers. It is too bad that it doesn't fit on other crossbows... but, since it doesn't, maybe you should consider selling what you have and buy a Carbon Express® crossbow.
Our final words ... the Muddy Girl Camo is really cool (and not just for girls). The Covert 3.4 Hot Pursuit possesses speed and power that is rarely found in a crossbow of this class. You can buy a bigger one, you can even spend more money, but we seriously doubt that you would ever find a better buy than the Covert 3.4. Stay tuned for Mary's follow-up articles on her fall hunts with the Muddy Girl.