December 19, 2014
By Curt Wells
I apologize for taking my time to get this review out to you but I received my Mathews NO CAM HTR just one day before leaving for Kansas. Without sufficient time to set the bow up and get the string and peep "shot in," I used my Chill X to take a 145-class buck on the 11th day of a seven-day hunt — but that's another story.
I delayed this review again because I decided to use the new bow on a hunt in Saskatchewan, and when I got back I immediately left for the Mathews Retailer Show where I gleaned some more information on this new NO CAM ST technology.
The obvious feature of the HTR is the round wheels at both ends, but make no mistake, this is not your grandpa's old round-wheel compound from 1980. Unlike the round "eccentrics" of days gone by, the axle on the NO CAM ST technology is positioned at the center of the round wheel.
The actual "camming" action takes place on the inner ring system, which is positioned off-center. That's a simplistic description, but this complex symmetry spawns several major benefits:
-The arrow rest mounting hole is at the exact center of the bow, and the crossover point of the control cables is also at the center. With the cams slaved to each other, this all combines to create true straight and level nock travel, which contributes to ease of tuning and, most important of all, repeatable accuracy.
"Our goal was to create the most accurate-shooting bow ever built, and if I find something that works better, I will always go to it," explained Matt McPherson at a media conference in Wisconsin.
-This design also creates one of the smoothest draw cycles you will find in a compound bow. That is extremely important in many hunting situations in close quarters with wary game like whitetails. At the release, that smooth draw cycle converts into a smooth shot cycle and that translates into one of the quietest bows you'll shoot.
Now, here's my experience with the NO CAM HTR. Once I got my bow fitted with a QAD Ultrarest and a Spot-Hogg sight, I tied off my string loop and adjusted the rest so my arrow was positioned straight through the rest mounting hole, and for centershot.
Because of the design and its intent, I was expecting a smooth draw cycle. But this bow exceeded my expectations. I realize such things are subjective, but to me the draw felt like a recurve bow that gradually lost draw weight as it was drawn.
There was no hump in the build-up to peak weight, and no "break over" at the end. It was smooth as silk from start to finish — a thing of beauty to me because I've always put great value on a smooth draw cycle.
This bow is totally silent throughout the draw, bottoms out on a solid wall due to the Rock Mods, and it balances very well. At the release, this bow is extremely quiet for one thing, but something else is strangely missing — recoil.
Next, I set up my chronograph and zipped a few arrows through it to check the speed. As expected, this is not a speed bow, which should be obvious by the feel of the draw cycle.
First, I shot an IBO arrow of 350 grains with the bow's draw weight set to 70 pounds at my 30-inch draw. The chronograph read 315 fps. I had a string loop, peep sight, and Monkey Tails on the string, so this bow should match its stated rating of 321 fps with the 85 percent Rock Mods.
Then I switched to the "real" world by turning my HTR down to 64 pounds, a reasonable weight for a ground blind in the subzero Saskatchewan timber. I loaded the bow with my typical hunting arrow weighing 473 grains, fairly heavy compared to most bowhunters. The chronograph read 262 fps. At 70 pounds, that same arrow flew at 278 fps.
Now, just for kicks, let's look at how speed is often overvalued. If a buck is standing at 30 yards, a relatively long shot in whitetail hunting, an arrow released from my NO CAM HTR set up for Saskatchewan will get there in .3435 seconds. If my same 473-grain arrow were traveling at 300 fps (which would require a very fast speed bow), it would take .3000 seconds to get there.
The difference from one extreme to the other is a scant .0435 seconds — not even one-half of a tenth of a second. At 20 yards, a far more common distance for the vast majority of whitetail hunters, the time difference is just .0229 seconds — imperceptible to both hunter and game. Even at 60 yards the difference is only .0870 seconds, not even a tenth of a second.
Obviously, these calculations do not account for the decreasing speed of the arrow, but that is insignificant because both arrows weigh the same. Faster arrows certainly have a flatter trajectory, but with respect to time, speed isn't nearly as relevant as many believe.
Far more important is your ability to get through your drawing motion smoothly and release an accurate arrow. I was able to do both as I prepared for Saskatchewan and quickly had my HTR shooting very well. So well, in fact, that I took it to Saskatchewan and didn't take a backup bow.
On the first day of the hunt, my NO CAM HTR was pressed into action. It was 10 degrees below zero (real temperature) and dead calm. A good buck stood 15 yards from my ground blind, staring at me. If there was ever a time when I needed to draw quietly, smoothly, and without commotion, that was it. The arrow flew true, and my new bow saved me from five more days of subzero hunting conditions!
In summary, the NO CAM HTR is a fantastic bow for the bowhunter who wants smooth, consistent accuracy. Give it a try, and you just might find it to be your ultimate bow.
But, if you're into speed, Mathews just released their answer. The new Monster Wake is a high-end speed bow that boasts an IBO rating of 352 fps with an 85 percent letoff! But that's yet another story, so stay tuned.