November 04, 2010
By Curt Wells
This year's bow models are tough, forgiving, quiet -- and fast!
By Curt Wells
After a bit of a hiatus from speed -- in order to place priority on silence and reduced hand shock -- bow makers seem to have shifted their focus back to building fast bows. Pushing the envelope again, many bow manufacturers now list arrow speeds as fast as 350 feet per second (fps) IBO (70-lb. draw weight, 350-grain arrow, 30" draw). Most practical hunting setups won't produce such astronomical speeds, but the IBO rating gives a basis for comparison. Whatever the measure, 2007 bows are fast!
Some manufacturers have made only subtle changes by adding new models, refining cam designs, or adding sharp new paint jobs. Other bow makers have made significant changes or revamped their lineups altogether. Of one thing you can be sure -- all companies are striving to make better products.
As a matter of clarity, all bow lengths mentioned in the text are axle to axle, and all speeds listed are IBO (unless otherwise noted). Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
With that said, read on for a look at the latest bows. Have fun figuring out which will be your trusted hunting companion this year and beyond.
1. ALPINE ARCHERY
The heart of Alpine's newest bow, the Silverado, is the Velocitec Cam System, a licensed hybrid technology refined by Alpine engineers. The cables do not attach to the limbs, and the dual cams, although very different, have dual payout grooves to balance the load. The Upper Velocitec Control Cam gives the Silverado a smooth draw and minimal recoil. The Lower Velocitec Power Cam generates arrow velocity, giving the Silverado its IBO rating of 325 fps. The Silverado, at 32" long with a brace height of 7.25", is built around Alpine's patented modular riser. The limbs are anchored in place by VX Pocket Technology, and the cams are fitted with Fast Trac Ball Bearings.
Another new offering from Alpine is the 3-lb., 32" Micro Elite, with draw lengths ranging from 21"- 28" on the same Stalker II Cam.
Alpine's Tundra Series of bows still includes the 31" Avalanche and the 34" Denali. Match Grade versions of these bows include riser sections machined to accept integrated accessories.
2. APA INNOVATIONS
This company, based in Biggar, Saskatchewan, builds bows for speed. The Black Mamba, which comes in two models, is the fastest. If you think you can handle a true speed bow, try the 35.87" Black Mamba X1. With a brace height of only 5.5", this bow generates speeds up to 353 fps! The 33.87" Black Mamba X2 has a much higher brace height of 7.06", but it still produces 340 fps. Both bows are fitted with APA's Venom Twin Cams. All APA models have a carry handle machined into the riser as well as a multi-tool center.
3. ARCHERY RESEARCH
Sometimes it's smarter to make refinements than wholesale changes, and that's the philosophy at Archery Research this year. AR has fitted the popular Velocity with a new, improved Ram Velocity Cam, a modular design with a new draw-stop system that allows you to customize the valley. This year's Velocity also features 11 separate vibration dampeners and a grip with in-creased thumb clearance. It remains 34" long with a 6.5" brace height and boasts speeds of 312 - 320 fps.
The AR 31 is back in the line with a Ram Plus single cam and the new Hyperlite Unibody limb pocket system. Developed for treestand hunters, this bow is 31.5" long and has a generous brace height of 8.25". The AR 35, the AR 35SD (short draw), and the AR 34 round out AR's high-tech line.
4. BEAR ARCHERY
The big news at Bear Archery involves a yearlong collaboration with Will Primos and his team in the creation of a new flagship bow, The Truth. The Primos team had considerable input in the design of this single-cam bow. The Truth's machined-aluminum riser is loaded at either end with Bear's Compression Molded Quad Limbs and the new Elliptical Perimeter-Weighted Single Cam. The limbs flex beyond parallel, and the 80% letoff ends at the "Rock Stop" position. At 33" in length, with a brace height of 7", The Truth is capable of speeds up to 314 fps. As Will Primos puts it, "The Truth gives me a balance between speed and forgiveness." The Truth is, this bow won't shoot down your hunting budget, either.
Bear Archery's line of bows still contains the Code, a 34" bow with a 7.37" brace height; and the Instinct, a shorter bow at 30" with a 7.5" brace height. The Element is back as well, and the Odyssey II is a new, highly adaptable youth bow with a draw-length adjustment range from 13" - 27".
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When this company set out to improve its unique bow, the goal was not to change the bow's appearance but to tweak it in ways that would improve performance. The result was the Bladerunner A-51, which has a redesigned riser with a more comfortable grip and larger sight window. Among other small alterations, the sight attachment holes have been repositioned to accommodate various sight designs.
Bladerunner bows feature true centershot without the use of a cable guard, so they eliminate any concerns about cam lean. Draw lengths are available up to 32", and draw weight adjusts from 40 - 70 lbs. on the same bow. At 26" in length, the Bladerunner fits into the tightest of hunting situations.
This company's center pivot riser may be the most significant design change in the bow industry for 2007. At first, the new Guardian looked odd to me, but now that I have shot it, the bow is growing on me. The "forked" riser creates two points of contact for the limbs. The limbs flex slightly at full draw, but the real payoff of this design is the nearly complete lack of hand shock. The past-parallel limb design and the new CenterTrac Binary Cams team up to deliver amazing arrow speed for such a dead-still design.
The Guardian, with a length of 33.25" and a brace height of 7.25", tops out the chronograph at 328 fps. The Commander, also with Center Pivot design, measures just over 37" long, making it suitable for both release and fingers shooters. It generates speeds of 310 - 318 fps. On both of these bows, the arrow rest mounting holes have been lowered to reduce vertical torque. Both can be maintained without a bow press.
Last year's highly popular Tribute and Allegiance bows have been refined slightly for 2007. The new Allegiance is a bit lighter than the previous version.
7, Browning has refined one of its most popular bows, the Illusion, a single-cam model featuring the Trance Cam with 4" of draw length adjustment and an asymmetric idler wheel. With a 31.5" length and brace height of 7.18", this bow produces arrow speeds of 311-319 fps. The limb pockets incorporate a new Hyperlite Unibody system that quiets the bow while aligning the limbs.
The popular Mirage boasts some of the same features in a shorter frame with a length just under 30". Two brand new models have the new limb pockets as well as Vibracheck rubber grips. The Vapor, armed with the single Trance cam and a generous brace height of 8.12", comes in draw lengths up to 32". The 32" Myst, equipped with the HC Hybrid Cam and parallel limbs, spits arrows out at 309 fps.
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8. CUSTOM SHOOTING SYSTEMS
This company offers unlimited options, allowing you virtually to custom-build your own bow. The short, fast Swamp-master Pro is a bowhunter's bow. You can choose from three cam systems, including the new OS3 Trinary Cam. Lengths available are 30", 32", and 34". Brace heights range from 6.5"- 7.5", and speeds run from 295-318 fps.
Another option is the Encore Elite, a longer bow with brace heights from 7.5" - 8.5". All of CSS's cam systems are available on this bow, and it comes in draw lengths up to 34". All CSS bows come with Vapor Trail Strings and a complete TUNERZ vibration-dampening package.
9. DARTON ARCHERY
This company, which developed the highly popular "hybrid" cam system, now has engineered the next step in two-cam design, a 2 1/2 cam called the CPS Hybrid G2 Cam System. This new design is said to bring true twin-cam performance to a hybrid cam while eliminating the timing, letoff, and synchronization problems inherent in two-cam systems.
The fastest of the Darton Pro Series bows is the 34.5" PRO3000. Its low 6.25" brace height contributes to a speed rating of 333 fps. The PRO2000 is the same length. With a brace height of 7.25", it's still capable of 320 fps. The PRO 4000 is 37" long. The 39.25" PRO5000 is available in draw lengths up to 33.5". My 6'9" son, Jared, could shoot that bow!
Darton's Assault Series bows also feature the new G2 Cam System. The 31" AS300, with a brace height of 7", produces speeds of 326 fps. The AS400 measures 34.5" in length, the ultra-short AS100 27.75". All of these Darton bows are equipped with the LimbLok limb bolt locking system.
10. DIAMOND ARCHERY
The Black Ice is the premier bow at Diamond Archery, and for good reason. The new 4" Black Ice Pinnacle Cam is fast and allows you to custom tune the valley. The 53-degree, beyond-parallel limbs provide the energy that translates into 309 - 317 fps in a bow that's just under 32" long. A bonus is a mass weight of only 3.6 lbs.
The Liberty and the Justice migrated in from BowTech's line and are destined to remain popular options, both powered by the Enhanced Freedom Cams. The Triumph and Rapture are both 31.5" long with brace heights of 6.75" and 8", respectively. Finally, the Edge and the Cutter offer options for the novice and the youngster. All Diamond bows are available with accessory packages.
One of the newest bow companies in this year's review, Evotek started manufacturing bows in 2006. The Pro Series comprises the Impact 31", the Stalker 34", and the Evolution 37", all equipped with Evotek's smooth Lightning Solo Cam System and extra-wide-tracked idler wheel. All three have brace heights of 7.37" and arrow speeds from 300 - 319 fps. All come equipped with Sims Limbsavers, String Leeches, and Teflon cable slide.
The Evotek line also includes the American Hunter and two youth bows, the Ridgeline and the Lil' Hunter, with infinite draw length.
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12. FORGE BOWS
This Wisconsin bow manufacturer offers five new models for 2007. The new Forge Smoke incorporates a "Max View" riser that adds 25% more vertical and horizontal visibility. The Dead Stik back balancer/string silencing system reduces hand shock and string vibration. The 32.25" Smoke, with a 7.62" brace height, generates 315 fps with its single Edge Cam.
Also new this year are the SRX 32 and 34. Both are powered by the Synergy Cam, which provides a smooth draw and speeds approaching 300 fps. These bows also feature the Max View machined riser, the Dead Stik system, and triple pivoting limb pockets.
The new 30" Woodsman is a value bow in the $400 range. Powered by the Edge Cam, this bow launches arrows at 305 fps. For anyone looking for a bow with short draw length and lighter draw weight, look at the new Nimrod. Draw weight adjusts from 26 - 55 lbs., draw length from 21.5"- 26.5".
13. HIGH COUNTRY
This company's 2007 line is essentially all new. The Iron Mace is a parallel-limb bow with the new Trinary Cam system that requires no split yoke attachment to the limbs. The riser is machined from a billet of ZR-1 aluminum. Weighing 3.9 lbs. and measuring 33.5" in length, the Iron Mace cranks out arrows at speeds of 330-340 fps. Other features include an anodized roller guard, Winner's Choice strings, and BowJax limb and string dampeners.
The all-new Stiletto 380 comes in two versions -- carbon riser or aluminum riser. Both employ the Trinary Cam and roller cable guard, and both have lengths of 31.5" and brace heights of 7.5". The carbon Stiletto weighs 3.4 lbs., its aluminum counterpart 4 lbs. Both launch arrows in the 325 - 335 fps range. The Sidewinder Pro, also available with carbon or aluminum riser, employs a Hybrid Pro Cam and roller guard, as does the Katana, a new short bow at 32.5".
Eleven. That's the number of new bows Hoyt unveiled for 2007. The flagship Vectrix is loaded with new technology, including a patented StealthShot String Suppression System. This device arrests the oscillating string to reduce both noise and vibration at the shot. Other features that eliminate noise and vibration include two RizerShox, AlphaShox in the split limbs, and FUSE StringShox tucked into the FUSE bowstring. The Vectrix measures 33" in length, the Vectrix XL 36". Brace heights are 7" and 7.5", respectively. The new Vector Cam & 1/2 powers both to speeds of 315 fps.
The new 38 Pro, evolving from the popular ProTec, boasts a length of 38.5" and a brace height of 8.25". The 38 Ultra, patterned after the popular UltraTec, has a 38" length and 7.5" brace height. The all-new Vulcan speed bow, built on a reflexed TEC riser that lowers the brace height to 6", yields speeds of 325 fps.
The hugely popular Trykon has given birth to the Trykon Sport for older youths and the Trykon Junior. The brand new Montega, a deluxe fingers-shooter's bow with a length of 45" and a brace height of 8.75", attains speeds in the 270 fps range. The Avenger, a short, lightweight, mid-priced bow; and the Selena, a bow designed specifically for women, round out Hoyt's line of hunting bows.
15. JENNINGS ARCHERY
For 2007, this company's line includes two models, both unchanged from 2006. The Strike is the shorter of the two bows at only 31.5", and has the lower brace height at 7.6". The Reliant is 34" long and has a brace height of 8".
Both bows are single cam, sporting the J-REV balanced cam with a "Rock Stop" Module installed. Jenning's Tech Twist BCY 8125 strings are standard, and IBO speeds run just over 300 fps.
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16. KODIAK OUTDOORS
New for 2007 is Kodiak's 33" Nomad. This bow has Vapor Trail strings wrapped around an all new Hybrid S-4 Cam & 1/2 system. A reflexed riser and 6.62" brace height contribute to this bow's 318 fps. Draw lengths on the Nomad are specific to the archer with a half-inch adjustment.
The Titan 32 and 34, fitted with the S-2 single cam and parallel limbs, produce speeds just over 300 fps. The single S-Cam remains the heart of Kodiak's two veteran models, the Bow Logic 32 and 34.
17. LONE WOLF
The Lone Wolf himself, Andrae D'Acquisto, has broken from the treestand-making pack to introduce a single, no-nonsense bow. The Lobo employs a unique riser design that somewhat mimics D'Acquisto's treestand geometry, and it is coated with urethane to dampen vibration and noise. As of this writing, the color is dark gray. This bow is so new not all the details were available. However, at 35" in length, the Lobo has a brace height of 7.25" and 75% letoff.
The Lobo's riser, limbs, and patented hybrid cam system emphasize accuracy and forgiveness first, followed by penetrating arrow speed. If you crave an easy draw and consistent accuracy under the "hot lights" of real hunting situations, the Lobo could be your bow.
18. MARTIN ARCHERY
A flagship bow doesn't always have to be the most expensive or technology-laden model. It could simply be the best value. Martin Archery recognizes that concept with its best-for-the-money Bengal.
This 32" bow takes advantage of Martin's new modular riser design consisting of three parts. Each part is machined separately, which improves precision and reduces machining time and cost. The Bengal is a parallel limb bow powered by the new single M-Pro Cam. The 7" brace height offers enough of a power stroke to put out 310 fps IBO. That's a lot of bow for about $400!
If you prefer a shorter bow, look at the Cheetah at 30.5". Want a longer bow? Check out the Pantera, a new model in the Pro Series that measures 35" in length and uses the single M-Pro Cam to zip arrows along at 310 fps. That's just a sniff of the options at Martin Archery.
For 2007, Mathews introduces its exciting new SlimLimb technology. The SE3 composite limbs are only 1.1" wide, compared to the standard limbs at 1.5" wide. Significantly reducing weight, this is more than a cosmetic alteration. The new Drenalin weighs only 3.85 lbs., and because the narrower profile extends all the way past the new Limb Turrets to the SphereLock Pivoting Limb Lock System, the Drenalin has a very sleek overall look.
That's not all. This bow combines its 33" length with a 7" brace height and the Straightline perimeter-weighted Drenalin Cam to zip arrows along at 320 fps. Of course, the Drenalin also features Mathews innovations like parallel-limb design, Harmonic Dampers, Roller Guard, and String Suppressors.
For young archers, check out Mathews' first youth bow, the Ignition. This single-cam bow has String Suppressors, sculpted wood grip, composite limbs, machined Aeroriser, and Zebra Hybrid bowstring. Draw lengths range from 22"-26", draw weights from 20 - 50 lbs. The hunting model comes dressed in Realtree Hardwoods HD.
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20. MISSION ARCHERY
Matt McPherson embarked on a mission to start a new bow company that offers mid-priced bows, and from that desire was born Mission Archery. This brand new company offers three bow models, all 33" long, all made with machined aluminum risers, the perimeter-weighted Mission Cam, Cable-X Silencers, and String Cushions to reduce vibration and shock.
The top-of-the-line X5 features Advantage Max-4 camo, a reflexed riser, speeds in the 310 fps range, and a suggested retail price of about $560. The X4 has a similar look and construction but costs about a hundred bucks less. The X3 sports a black riser but still has all the features of its brethren plus speeds of 310 fps at a cost of only $340.
The Frontier and the Hornet are still Parker's flagship bows, but the company now has expanded into a new line of "Xtreme Parallel" -- XP -- bows. Seven XP models feature a delicate balance between limb pocket angle, limb design, and cam engineering to maximize performance and to minimize hand shock and vibration.
The Pioneer XP, a 32.25" model with a generous 7.75" brace height, is fitted with the new ARC Single Cam featuring a built-in articulating draw length adjustment module that permits 3" of draw-length adjustment with no effect on performance. The 30.5" Legend XP, sporting the smooth-drawing EZ Cam, has a forgiving brace height of 8". A Synprene grip helps you grab onto the Trailblazer XP with its ARC cam and, like all Parker bows, it comes in an optional fully-rigged Outfitter Package. The Wildfire XP with its Super One-Cam, and the Dual Cam Buck Hunter XP fill out the XP line of adult bows. Short-draw bowhunters should check out the Contender XP and the Challenger XP.
22. PEARSON ARCHERY
This company has applied new technology to its top-of-the-line bows to retain more stored energy in the limbs by slipping a machined aluminum Energy Transfer Insert (ETI) over each limb tip before drilling the axle hole. The insert surrounds the top half of the limb, which not only helps the limb use all of its stored energy but also strengthens the weakest part of any bow. The added weight at the limb tip has also been found to increase arrow speed.
The ETI technology is built into Pearson's popular Stealth, a 33.5" hybrid-cam bow with a 7.5" brace height that puts out about 316 fps. Two new bows, the Z-3
4 and Z-32, also boast the ETI system, parallel limbs, Angel Wing grip, and the new Z-7 single cam, capable of speeds up to 325 fps. All of Pearson's top bows are fitted with Stone Mountain strings and Realtree's new APG camo finish.
It's easy to tell that Pete Shepley is back at the helm at Precision Shooting Equipment, as the innovation is back with a focus on speed and kinetic energy, two of Pete's favorite subjects. Maximizing the company's X Technology by lengthening the limbs from 9" to 12", and combining this with a variation of the G-Force riser, PSE has created a real speed demon in its X-Force, a bow capable of IBO speeds approaching 350 fps! With limbs that flex well past parallel, a 6" brace height, and a new Hybrid Fast (HF) Cam system, this is not a bow for the faint-of-heart or the weak-of-form. But for fans of arrow speed and kinetic energy, this is the bow. The new single-bolt HyperSplit limb pocket assures stability and quiet performance. The X-Force, measuring 33" long, comes in peak draw weights from 50 - 70 pounds.
The Mach-X, with its 9" limbs is only slightly tamer, and a new version, the Mossy Oak X, is dressed up in Mossy Oak's Break-Up camo pattern. PSE also has applied X Technology to the new Firestorm X, a 29" bow armed with the 9" split limbs, 7.5" brace height, and a new NRG-X single cam.
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The only bow surviving a complete makeover at Reflex this year is the 45.5" Caribou, a model designed specifically for shooting with fingers. The rest of the line is new.
The Ridgeline comes in 32" and 34" lengths and brace heights of 7" and 7.25", respectively. Both are built on ma-chined-aluminum TEC Risers featuring Reflex's new Prolink Pocket System that locks the limbs into alignment with the riser. Powered by the new FX Cam & 1/2 System, both produce speeds of about 310 fps, and both are equipped with RizerShox, AlphaShox, StringShox, and FUSE custom strings and cables.
The Rampage has similar features but a more economical machined-aluminum riser (not a TEC riser). The Growler features a TEC Riser made of magnesium rather than aluminum, which keeps the cost down while giving you all the important technology, including the new FX Cam & 1/2 System. For an entry-level bow, look at the 34" Bighorn powered by the proven Slam & 1/2 Cam System.
25. ROSS ARCHERY
This Missouri bow manufacturer seemingly came out of nowhere to quickly become a major player in bowhunting. The newest featured model, the Cardiac, lands Ross squarely in the middle of the need-for-speed arena. The reflexed riser on this 33" bow sculpts out a 7" brace height that generates 320 fps. A single cam is precision matched to the idler wheel, and a Winner's Choice custom string and buss cable bring it all together. A Flatline Anti-Vibration System quiets the shot, and a new camouflaging process hides the bow.
Three other models of similar design round out the Ross line: The CR331, CR334, and CR337 models are 31", 34" and 37" in length, respectively. Brace height for all is 7.75", and speeds are just over 300 fps. All Ross bows have Teflon cable slides and broadhead guards on a wide riser shelf. Slim, clean lines -- and now speed -- define Ross bows.
26. WHISPER CREEK
This company's bows incorporate all available technology to eliminate vibration and noise, ranging from the patented HyperSUSPENSION package with dual independent axles and WhisperGRIP Traction Control to the BowDAMP material used in the cams and idler wheels.
Whisper Creek's flagship bow, the 31" Innovator Pro, has a 7" brace height and speed of 310 fps. Quiet performance is a priority with Whisper Creek, and the decibel level of the Innovator Pro is a whisper-like 65 dB.
The new Stealth LX is a highly compact bow with a length of only 26" but a forgiving brace height of 8". The 35" Odyssey remains in the line.
Whisper Creek has teamed up with Doc's Team Extreme to create a new line of bows with slightly less dampening material. These include the Devastator, the Extreme Heat, and the Sweet Demise.