Mathews Z7 Xtreme Is Powerful

I've never owned a Mathews, but recently I picked up a Mathews Z7 Xtreme. I liked the shorter axle-to-axle length, forgiving brace height and company reputation.

Shooting a bow is fun again. I shoot more often, and I bet I'll be a better shot as the 2011 deer season begins.

My groups are tighter, too. I attribute that to an almost complete lack of hand shock and an easy draw cycle that isn't abrupt and doesn't tap my energy before I hold at full draw.

The Xtreme follows the Z7, which was released last year and was Mathews' best-selling bow ever. Mathews shaved a few inches from the Xtreme's length to give it a tight 28 inches axle-to-axle. This short bow fits me (5 feet, 10 inches with a 27-inch draw) much better and is easier to wield in a ground blind or tree stand.

It also has a newly designed grip that is narrower and less contoured than the one shipped with the original Z7.

I am OK with the loss of speed by going with a shorter axle-to-axle bow and a higher brace height (7 3/8 inches). Besides, the Xtreme is billed as a 330 fps bow, while the original Z7 hit 333 fps with its 30-inch length and 7-inch brace height.

There is some trade-off in fps compared to some of the modern speed bows on the market. Still, speed isn't everything and sometimes confidence kills. MSRP: $899.

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