November 08, 2017
By Jon E. Silks
You may have heard whispers in the wind, talk around the water cooler or some hint of a special introduction coming from Bowtech. Well, the wait is over, and the 2018 Realm has burst onto the scene looking to claim its place among the best.
I was fortunate enough to get one of the pre-production rigs to run through a few tests and, if time allowed, take it to the woods for a little one-on-one time with a rutting Pennsylvania whitetail. My goal was to discover two things: first, what makes this bow special — and second, could this dog hunt?
So, what is it that sets this bow apart? It all starts with the Company's popular Overdrive Binary Cam system, which is unique in that the axles are not your average axles; instead, the Cam Synchronization Axles (CSA) are locked into the cam's rotation, forcing them to work together. SmartBow Technology is driven by the cam system and gives the shooter total control of string movement from full draw until the time the arrow leaves the string.
A double yoke system top and bottom attaches to each end of the CSAs, allowing fine-tuning of the cam and string positions for a perfectly centered shot — no more moving your rest left or right to account for these variances. Simply place your rest in the exact center position and tune the bow for personal perfection. You gain confidence knowing your rig is perfectly aligned with straight horizontal and vertical nock travel.
In addition to the performance enhancements, the Realm's cams employ a simplified and more efficient version of PowerShift Technology. In this improved system, a FlipDisk is used to switch back and forth from Performance and Comfort setting, which generates about an 8 fps difference in speed and a noticeable draw cycle change.
The CSAs use a cantilever system with double bearings to accommodate the wider platform of the new limbs. These limbs, unlike past models, are a full solid core, not laminated. Bowtech brought the complete production of the limbs in-house so they have full control of the design, quality and testing processes. And every Bowtech model is required to withstand over 100,000 shot cycles.
The wider limbs coupled with the wider CSAs bring great stability to the system, and it plays out when locking onto the target. Coupling the limbs and riser is Bowtech's CP Dual Lock pocket, which uses an elongated tab that extends down into an opening in the riser. That locks the pocket to the riser, and the limbs are locked into the pocket, creating a zero-tolerance alignment system.
You will notice somewhat of a departure from the Bowtech norm in the Realm's riser. It is a little straighter and works with the SmartBow Technology to give the archer a more forgiving shooting experience. Also notable is the wider riser thickness (side to side) just above the sight window and below the stainless steel stabilizer mount where it flares out to accept the CP Dual Lock pocket tab and serve as a stable platform for the pocket and wide stance limbs. This is a significant component in building stability into the Realm, not to mention the increase in strength.
Other components of the Realm include the new Orbit Dampener, FLX Cable Guard system, the Clutch Performance grip, custom string and cables and several vibration dampening accessories. The Orbit system can be placed in any one of 8 locations on the riser, can be stacked for added balance and vibration dampening and will eventually be offered in multiple colors.
Beyond the overall pleasant shooting experience built into this rig, all these technologies are intended to give you something you may not even realize if you don't reach out and touch the target downrange at 50, 60, 70 or 80 yards — improved repeatability and long-range accuracy. However, even if you do keep your shots somewhat closer, these improvements mean even greater precision and arrow-busting performance.
Now we know what sets the Realm apart when it comes to features and technologies, but does it actually make a difference in the field? If my short experience is any indication of success in this category, we can be sure Bowtech's Realm is up to the challenge.
On the morning of Monday, Nov. 6, I woke to poor weather — basically a downpour here in central Pennsylvania. I didn't even want to get out of bed let alone go out in the wet, cold woods. Looking at radar, though, it appeared there may be a break in the monsoon at just about the right time to make a decent morning outing, so I persisted and got myself moving. After all, it was Nov. 6!
I reached a previously installed ladder stand that good friend and hunting partner Justin O'Shea and I had decided was probably going to produce some activity this week. It even had a tree umbrella hooked up! Daylight and some light fog arrived together, and the hunt was on. But the morning seemed dead and nothing was moving, not even any squirrels, mice or birds. It was making me sleepy!
I had literally just hit the send button on a text to my son telling him it was a quiet morning and it was unlikely any deer were going to move through, when I looked up and saw the back half of a deer. The head was obstructed by a big oak tree. In one step he made it clear that I needed to grab my bow and get ready! He was a nice 10-pointer with good tine length and main-beam mass. He was approximately 70 yards down and to the right of me, making his way slowly toward me.
At 22 yards, he stopped broadside, browsing on the forest floor. My Bowtech Realm easily came to full draw and was solid on the buck's vitals. In an instant, my 3-blade Rage-tipped Easton FMJ was on its way, and the buck jumped and raced away from me to complete a 50-yard dash before stumbling to the ground. What a hunt! I had acted on a lesson learned long ago from my father and grandfather and hunted in spite of the forecast, and my new equipment performed flawlessly. The day ended with a respectable buck and meat in the freezer. I love this stuff!
Now you know — the Realm is packed full of features and technologies, performs well in testing and definitely can hunt!