If you were to ask any bowhunter worth his or her salt what the most important piece of hunting equipment to carry into the field is, the answers would likely run the gamut from bows to clothing.
One essential piece of gear that might not even make the list would be arrows, which tells you that either manufacturers have done one heck of a job with their products (to the point we don't need to devote a whole lot of brain power to our arrows) or collectively most of us don't understand how important our arrows really are. The case, it seems, is a little of both.
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Sure, on the surface it makes sense that you need an arrow designed to fit your individual shooting setup, but what else? How well will they penetrate? How consistent should they be? Should each arrow be matched to tight weight and spine tolerances? Should they be easy to remove from a target? At anywhere from $10 to nearly $20 a shaft, how long should they last? These questions are all important and should be asked before you plunk down your hard-earned cash for a fresh dozen. One thing is for sure â€“ regardless of your budget, Carbon Express has an answer for all of your arrow questions.
Over the last decade or so, Carbon Express has taken the industry by storm, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The design team at CX has developed some of the coolest technology on the market, and the company has patented much of that technology.
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And because of these exclusive innovations, the CX brand has been able to stand out in the crowd, which is remarkable given the relatively short period the company has existed and the level of competition in the category.
To understand Carbon Express' climb toward the top of the arrow food chain, it's beneficial to start from the beginning when Eastman Outdoors took over the marketing and sales duties for AFC in 1994. AFC manufactured pultruded shafts, but they needed a partner with a strong sense of outdoor marketing.
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In short order, AFC began to produce shafts to Eastman's specifications, and in 1998 Eastman Outdoors took over production of Carbon Express Wrapped Shafts. From 1999 until the present day, Carbon Express has been a leader in carbon arrow technology, and the folks at CX have garnered an extremely loyal following from competitive shooters and hardcore bowhunters alike.
The root of such loyalty is borne from the simple deliverance of quality. From its start, the folks behind Carbon Express strove to produce arrows that featured not only cutting-edge technology but tighter tolerances (they laser check all of their premium hunting shafts to 1/10,000 of an inch for straightness and spine consistency and electronic sort for precisely matched weight).
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Today's arrow lineup is a far cry from the original arrows Carbon Express produced, and the bowhunting and target archer demographic is covered entirely by arrows that are chock-full of innovation and performance.
To truly understand the ins and outs of Carbon Express and their arrows, I went directly to the source. Eastman Outdoors Executive Vice President Lennie Rezmer knows his arrows, and he's not shy about discussing them. The first thing I asked Lennie about is the Weight Forward technology that can be found on several of their popular arrow models like the PileDriver, Mayhem Hunter, and new Mayhem Hunter Hot Pursuit.
"The goal of Weight Forward technology is to find the perfect Front Of Center (FOC) balance, which we achieve by using a lighter material in the back third of our arrows. With that we can distribute the weight to the front two-thirds of the arrow without changing the spine. Most hunters will just add a heavier insert or broadhead to increase FOC, but the problem is they end up changing their spine. Our built-in technology allows for the proper added FOC without changing spine or tip weight," said Lennie.
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But Lennie Rezmer and the rest of the CX crew haven't rested on their laurels concerning their built-in Weight Forward technology. Instead, this year they have taken another step forward with their new Dual Spine Weight Forward technology (see sidebar). This technology not only ensures proper FOC distribution but a stiffer, lighter back third that causes an arrow to recover almost immediately and virtually guarantees better downrange performance and tighter groups.
I've had the good fortune to shoot both the Maxima Hunters and the Maxima Hunter KVs extensively this year, and I can say that I've been greatly impressed with their performance. This really became evident when I started shooting them at distances out to 80 yards and more. Long-range shooting is a great way to put all equipment â€“ as well as your shooting form â€“ under the microscope. It takes all the pieces working harmoniously to produce tight groups at long ranges, with quality arrows being near the top of the list in importance.
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As further testament to the effectiveness of Dual Spine Weight Forward technology, Lennie Rezmer reiterated a conversation he'd had with Mathews Founder Matt McPherson: "Matt gave us the ultimate compliment when he said, 'I did a lot of testing this year with different arrows. I tested your arrows in the Z7 Xtreme, and the newest arrow with the Dual Spines is the finest arrow I have ever shot out of our bows.'" McPherson was so impressed with Carbon Express arrows that all of the new Mathew's bows are boxed with a card that's worth a $10 rebate on CX arrows.
For many hunters, that $10 rebate might be best used by applying it to the purchase of one of the coolest offerings Carbon Express has for the year â€“ new Maxima Blue Streak and Maxima Blue Streak Select arrows. Maxima Blue Streak arrows use an innovative Diamond Weave technology, a carbon cross-weave that delivers unmatched spine uniformity. To put it into perspective, the spine selection tolerance for these arrows is +/- .0025", meaning if you do your part during the shooting process these arrows should group like no others.
To take it a step further, Maxima Blue Streak Selects offer the same spine tolerance as the Blue Streaks but include the tightest specifications in the entire Carbon Express line for overall arrow straightness, with +/- .001-inch specs. These are arguably the most accurate arrows ever made available to the public.
You might wonder how one company can continually produce such innovations. "I'm never satisfied with what we're doing," Lennie confided. "I truly believe that to make the best arrows, quality and performance have to be everything. If you maintain the highest quality and the best performance, you'll win in the long run. Our arrows are a little more expensive, but if a customer wants to step up to something better, they come to us. We have a lot of customers who come to us from other brands, but rarely do they leave."
Lennie Rezmer's unrest in the pursuit of arrow perfection is a mindset found throughout the ranks at Carbon Express. You need only look at the varying offerings from the company to realize that they're constantly thinking about how to cater to the entire archery community. Whether you're a speed freak drooling over chronograph readings produced by Mach 5s, a dangerous game junkie with a quiver full of heavy, bone-breaking PileDrivers, or a detail-obsessed archer with a fresh half-dozen Maxima Blue Streak Selects, Carbon Express certainly has you covered.
From the sounds of it, that's going to be the case for a long, long time.