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Mathews Chill R Review

mathews_chillr_review_1Mathews is a powerhouse in the archery industry, and for that reason I expect big things year in and year out. The company has played a major role in advancing bow design on many fronts, and for that we all benefit.

Smartly recognizing customer enthusiasm for the 2013 Chill, Mathews elected to build on that success to create the new-for-2014 Chill R. This version has many of the same components, features and technologies as the original. However, it is longer and faster. The Chill R features the AVS DYAD cam system, Quad V-Lock limbs, GeoGrid riser, Reverse Assist Roller Guard, Focus Grip and more.

Grid, Grip and Guard

Since the 2010 Z7 bow, Mathews has been producing risers that venture into a grid-like design concept. A version of that still exists today in the form of the GeoGrid riser, which is at the heart of the all-new Chill R. The GeoGrid design allows engineers to reduce overall mass weight while increasing strength and rigidity. This equals less carrying weight and greater shooting consistency.

The Focus Grip gets its name from what Mathews calls the Focus Ridge. Basically, it is an archer-facing raised rib that runs down the middle of the grip. The intent is to force hand pressure to the center of the grip even when form may be lacking. In addition to the performance, you also get some comfort and insulation from the grip's rubber material.

Mathews' exclusive Reverse Assist Roller Guard is mounted to the GeoGrid riser nearly midway up the sight window. This system wraps the cables around the archer side of the rollers rather than on the front side like many other systems on the market. As a result, it reduces friction and torque on the cables during the draw cycle. This, of course, makes the bow more forgiving, accurate and smoother to draw.

Giddy Up

One of the key differences between the new Chill R and the original is brace height and resultant speed. There are obvious benefits in gaining speed, which include a flatter trajectory (less opportunity for errors in judging distances) and deeper penetration.

The Mathews DYAD AVS (Advanced Vectoring System) cam system generates an advertised IBO speed rating reaching up to 342 fps. AVS technology moves the force vector from one side of the axle to the other during the draw cycle, which coupled with the inner and outer cable wheels, increases stored energy and letoff. This system also terminates the ends of each cable to the opposite cam, forcing the system to work in sync and thereby automatically correcting for imbalances. This translates into dependability for bowhunters.

The DYAD AVS cam system rides on sealed bearings and stainless steel axles, produces 80 percent letoff and offers draw lengths from 23-30 inches, in half-inch increments, through a series of modules.

The War Against Shock

mathews_chillr_chart_2Mathews readies the Chill R for war against shock, vibration and noise by outfitting it with many features and technologies designed specifically for that task. The past-parallel split limbs are key warriors, as they move in opposite directions at the shot to cancel much of the unused energy. Joining the fight are two Monkey Tails and a set of String Grubs, both designed to remove string oscillation. Properly positioned String Grubs may actually increase speed as well.

Recommended


The Dead End String Stop Lite also focuses on reducing string vibration and noise. A Harmonic Damper located at the top end of the riser consists of a weight suspended in an elastomer web and is so effective at reducing vibration that other industries want a piece of it. Mathews advertises a 75-percent reduction in residual vibration from their Harmonic Stabilizer Lite, which is 70 percent lighter than the original version.

Impressions

As with the 2013 model, the new Chill R is a great blend of shooting enjoyment and performance. It is one of the most efficient bows I have ever tested, reaching the high 80s in terms of dynamic efficiency percentage. It is surprisingly lightweight and quiet, while registering only small amounts of shock and vibration.

The draw cycle is a little stiff up front, but not inconsistent. Balance and aim are solid, and the Focus grip is both functional and comfortable.

Specifications:

Manufacturer: Mathews, 608-269-2728

Model: Monster Chill R

Cam System: AVS DYAD

Weight: 3.95 pounds (advertised); 3.9 pounds (as tested)

Brace Height: 6€‰1„8 inches

Axle-To-Axle length: 33 inches

Letoff: 80 percent

Draw Weights: 50, 60 and 70 pounds peak

Draw Lengths: 23-30 inches, in half-inch increments

Riser: Reflex, GeoGrid

Limbs: QUAD V-Lock

String: Zebra Trophy, 63.25 inches

Cables: Zebra Trophy, 30.625 inches

Grip: Focus Grip

Finish: Lost AT, Black, Desert Tactical, Blue Ice, Black Tactical

Advertised IBO Speed: up to 342 fps

Suggested Retail Price: $999 for Lost AT — all others have an additional charge

Comments: Lightweight, quiet and solid on target.

Archery Accessory Box

ols, you'll realize that they are easy to misplace, which is why a storage system like the Archery Accessory Box from Plano Molding is a good idea. The Archery Accessory Box is designed with a see-through top, one lift-out tray, up to 16 adjustable compartments, and is compact enough to throw in your vehicle when you hit the road in the fall. Price: $20

Archers Allen Wrench Set

If you want to boil down tool needs to a granular level, the jumping-off point for all bow work involves a quality set of Allen wrenches. I emphasize the word quality because I've had sets completely explode on me the first time I've used them. I don't know why it's so hard to make a set of Allen wrenches that will last, but a lot of companies seem to have trouble with the task. Fortunately, Pine Ridge Archery has it figured out with their Archers Allen Wrench Set. This set has all of the wrenches you're likely to need, and it contains them with a bolt and nut assembly that doesn't allow them to flop all over the place like lesser-quality sets. I keep a set in my shop, my truck and my daypack, so I'm covered no matter where or when I hunt. Price: $10

Bowsmith

Another tool that has found its way into my shop is the Bowsmith from Real Avid. The Bowsmith contains needle-nose pliers, a string spreader, knife blade, fletching stripper, nock crimp, string loop setter, and a bevy of other tools (28 in total). This handy tool set is small enough to stow away in a pack as well, and it can be invaluable in bow camp when the nearest pro shop is far away. Price: $50

Allen Company Compact Bow Tuning Kit

I also used my Allen Company Compact Bow Tuning Kit. Since I had to redo my center serving, I also needed to tie on a new string loop, which necessitated the use of the contained bow square. Although I didn't use a nock set, the Compact Bow Tuning Kit comes with nock pliers and three nock sets. Price: $15

Digital Bow Scale

An often-overlooked tool that is simple and can be used by every bow owner is a bow scale. I like Cabela's Digital Bow Scale, which features a backlit LCD screen and automatic weight lock, and is accurate up to 110 pounds in case you plan to shoot deer hiding behind concrete walls. It amazes me how often I talk to bowhunters who simply guess at their draw weight after cranking their limbs in or out a few turns. It's much better to know exactly what your bow is set at, especially if you're getting close to either end of your bow's recommended weight spectrum. Price: $20

Pro Archery Pliers

If you're in the market for a pair of pliers that will last longer than any bow you're likely to buy and features a nock set crimper and remover, a D-loop stretcher and scary sharp side-cutters, look no further than the Pro Archery Pliers from Easton Technical Products. These needle-nose pliers are extremely durable and can make home bow fixes a breeze. Price: $22

Bohning Mini Server

Considering potential bow fixes, it would be wise to not ignore serving issues. Last fall I was sitting in a treestand in north-central Wisconsin, when I happened to glance down at my nocked arrow. The angle looked off, and upon closer inspection I realized that my center serving had slipped and my entire string loop had crept up my string, throwing my entire bow tune out of alignment. Back at the cabin, I busted out my Bohning Mini Server and re-served my string. The Mini Server is perfect for the home bow mechanic because it eliminates the need for a cable spreader and is extremely easy to use. However, that wasn't the only tool I used to get back to shooting. Price: $19

Economy Vise

After putting the above tools to good use at home or in deer camp, it's inevitable that you'll realize something is missing — a vise. The option to clamp your bow into a quality vise and work on it with both hands free is important, which is why I've started using an Economy Vise from Apple Archery. Plastic-coated jaws provide a secure grip on your bow's limb without causing any damage to the finish, while the Economy Vise allows for 360 degrees of left-to-right and front-to-back rotation. Just like using a lineman's belt to hang a treestand for the first time, when you use a vise like this to work on your bow, you'll wonder how you ever functioned without it. Price: $81




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