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Top Bow Rests

Top Bow Rests

THE FIRST TIME I tried a drop-away rest, I fumbled with the rest until I decided it was beyond me and needed to be set up by a pro shop. How times -- and arrow rests -- have changed! Since my first fumbling attempts, I have shot and hunted with various drop-away rests, and I have tested additional rests as background for this feature. In short, I've found modern drop-away rests to be user friendly, accurate, and durable. Below I review several new rests for 2010 that will help make you a better archer and bowhunter.

A longtime leader in drop-away arrow rest technology, Ripcord has raised the bar even higher with its new Code Red ($113). The Code Red has a new internal braking system that eliminates launcher bounce-back after the shot. When you release the string, the launcher drops and stays in the down position to ensure that the launcher does not bounce back and clip the arrow as it passes by. For adjustability to fit all bows, the Code Red's launcher arm can be set to three different positions. It also has a generous windage adjustment. The Code Red has a new super-tough Delrin slimline launcher that can be moved inside center shot for improved overall performance and easy tuning. The launcher arm is covered in a soft red, super-quiet over-molding, which eliminates the need for moleskin. Shooting the Code Red, I cannot hear an arrow slide across the launcher as I would with many other rests. The most appealing feature may be the quick set-up time. The Code Red comes with a small football clip that quickly attaches the timing cord to the cable -- no bow press needed. I had my Code Red set up and shooting in five minutes flat. Like previous Ripcord rests, the Code Red is a full-containment drop-away that cradles the arrow from all sides so it cannot fall off the rest at any time during the draw cycle. CONTACT: Ripcord Technologies, (406) 683-0100,

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Unlike Trophy Taker's drop-away rests of the past that attach to a buss cable, the new SmackDown ($128) attaches to the bottom limb of the bow via a limb clasp. As drawing the bow takes pressure off the timing cord, an internal opposite-tension spring inside quickly raises the launcher. This occurs early in the draw cycle before the cams break into the letoff position. When you release, the arrow stays in contact with the launcher almost the full length of the shaft before the launcher instantly drops out of the way. The extended time the shaft remains on the launcher stabilizes the arrow, which makes tuning high-speed bows easier. The SmackDown launcher's new dual-bearing system results in whisper-quiet, vibration-free performance throughout the shot. Setup is easy. My buddy and I had the limb clasp attached to the limb, the rest adjusted, and were ready to shoot in four minutes. If the cable stretches or needs adjustment, simply loosen a set screw, pull out the slack, and tighten the screw back down. The SmackDown is the most user-friendly bow rest Trophy Taker has ever made. You can buy it with or without a full-containment ring that prevents the arrow from falling off the launcher. If you are nervous about getting something caught or torn from the long timing cord from the rest down to the bottom limb, relax. I have used a similar rest for years in the backcountry of Idaho, New Mexico, and Alaska and have never had a problem. The advantages outweigh the potential problems.

CONTACT: Trophy Taker, Inc., (406) 826-0600,

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The Omega Elite ($110) is what I would call a hybrid rest, in that it incorporates features found in both drop-away and full-containment bristle-style rests. The Omega Elite has three retractable fingers that hold the arrow securely in the center of the rest. When you release the string, the fingers stay in contact with the arrow throughout most of the shot cycle to stabilize the shaft, and then they retract at the last instant to eliminate all potential fletching contact. The rest has an optional locking arm that holds the fingers in place, making this a simple full-containment rest. In either case, the fingers hold the arrow securely in place, regardless of shooting angle. Machined from aircraft aluminum, this is one rugged rest that will hold up under years of abuse. Yet it weighs only 4.6 oz. The actuation cord attaches with an easy-to-use cable clamp, so you need no bow press to set up the Omega Elite. I had mine set up and ready to shoot in less than 10 minutes.

CONTACT: Athens Archery, (574) 224-2350,

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At first glance, NAP's durable, all-metal Apache ($60) looks like just another drop-away rest, but after close examination you will notice unique features. The rest comes with a containment ring that has a sound-dampening pad all the way around, so even if you shake a little when you draw, the arrow cannot hit any metal surfaces. Combine that with a super-wide launcher wrapped in felt, and you have an extra-quiet rest. Adjusting and fine-tuning a drop-away rest can be difficult, and that's one reason I like the Apache -- the large, easy-to-adjust knobs require no Allen wrenches or screwdrivers. Simply loosen a knob with your fingers, move the rest, and tighten the knob -- with your fingers. Thanks to this feature, I set this rest up in about seven minutes. The rope on the Apache must be served into the cable, so you need a bow press to set it up.

CONTACT: New Archery Products, (708) 488-2500,

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Some years ago, Muzzy pioneered the containment drop-away rest with its Zero Effect Arrow Rest, and now the company has taken that concept a step further with its X-Celerator ($55) drop-away rest. Actually, to call this a drop-away rest is a bit misleading because it's more precisely a drive-away rest. Rather than using strings or springs to pull the launcher down, the X-Celerator drives the launcher down with a rigid arm attached to the downward cable. The rigid arm raises the launcher as you draw the bow and drives it out of the way of the arrow when you release the string. This unique attachment allows you to control the speed at which the rest drops. Through experience, I've found that setting up this style of rest takes me a few more minutes than some of the other styles -- it took me 15 to 20 minutes to set up the X-Celerator -- but once it is set up, it's reliable and accurate. New versions of the X-Celerator are designed to work on many of the bows with string stoppers.

CONTACT: Muzzy Products Corp, (770) 387-9300,

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The Bone Collector Series Ultra Rest ($155), with the Bone Collector logo in bright green on the side, is easy to set up and a joy to shoot. This rest features Lock-Down Technology that consists of a patented eccentric cam and brake system that locks down the moment the bow is shot, eliminating the possibility that the launcher arm will bounce back up to interfere with the shaft or fletching. This rest also has Velocity-Drop Away Technology, which means the launcher will stay in the upright position, ready to be fired. As a full-containment rest, Ultra Rest holds arrows in place, even if you turn your bow upside down. My favorite feature is the large thumb wheel, rubberized for silence and a positive grip, that cocks the launcher arm into shooting position. I found this easy to operate with my thumb. Laser-cut felt that comes with the rest ensures silence as you draw an arrow across the rest. Thanks to a cable clamp that comes with the rest, you need no bow press to set it up. I installed my Ultra Rest, ready to shoot, in seven minutes.

CONTACT: Quality Archery Designs, (434) 846-5839,

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Introduced last year, the Tri-Van Vanishing Rest is a total-capture rest with three support arms resembling tiny toothbrushes that hold the arrow in place as you draw your bow. As you release the string, the three support arms disappear into the body of the rest, allowing the arrow to pass through, free of all friction and vane interference. For 2010, Mid-Atlantic has gone one step further with the Tri-Van Multi-Adjust Pro ($130), which has all-metal launcher arms, and independent windage and elevation adjustments. My favorite feature of the new version is the Vibra-Shield casing, which helps eliminate vibration and other noise. I also like the large button you push to activate the launcher arms. It is simple and easy to use. Tri-Van rests must be served into the buss cable. Set-up time for me was about nine minutes.

CONTACT: Mid-Atlantic Archery Products, (410) 658-9660,

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Schaffer Archery is known for thinking outside the box, and the company's new Opposition Arrow Rest ($140) testifies to that way of thinking. With opposing jaws that clamp around the arrow shaft, this unique rest looks like a pair of pliers. When you draw your bow, the jaws close tightly around the arrow shaft to hold it solidly in position. When you release, the jaws slide smoothly apart to eliminate all friction on the shaft and to ensure total vane clearance. In short, the Opposition Arrow Rest promises full containment along with the friction-free arrow flight delivered by any drop-away arrow rest. This is truly a unique and innovative product.

CONTACT: Schaffer Performance Archery, (952) 894-6169,

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A few years ago, G5 introduced a drop-away rest called the Expert. The rest became an instant favorite among hardcore bowhunters because of the smooth, quiet operation that results from its unique spool launcher. This year, G5 introduces the Expert Pro ($120) for bowhunters looking to raise their accuracy to the next level. The Expert Pro connects to the upward buss cable, which eliminates tension on the buss cable that could pull the bottom cam out of synch. The rest has new and improved ball bearings for smooth operation and years of reliability. In addition to these features, the rest has vertical adjustment so you can fine-tune it to your liking. The Expert Pro is available in Realtree AP, Black, Lost Camo, and Optifade.

CONTACT: G5 Outdoors, 1-866-456-8836,

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