The trend this year is toward good-feeling bows that deliver a fast arrow. Never have there been more capable bows on the market than this year.
Bowtech Destroyer 350
They call it the Overdrive Binary System; it is the most advanced cam system I have seen. The idea is to attach the split harness to the ends of the axle instead of to the cam to reduce limb twist, but binary cams need to be fed a little harness at the end of the draw. Bowtech geared the offset axle to turn with the cam so they can feed out that bit of harness to keep the cams in synch.
The Destroyer 350 also features a flexible cable guard-rod with rollers at the end. This reduces the amount of torque acting on the riser through the cable guard. I was impressed with the speed, of course, and with how still it remained in my hand as the arrow vaporized into the target. Brace height is 6 inches, IBO speed is 342 to 350 fps. The Destroyer 350 is 32 5/8 inches long and the MSRP is $949. (877) 447-0293, www.bowtecharchery.com.
The Iceman's short parallel limbs are supported at their center by an extension of the riser. This allows Diamond to put a hinge at the butt of the limb, rather than locking it solidly in a pocket spreading the stresses.
The Iceman also features the same FLX Guard used on Bowtech's Destroyer 350. Bowtech makes the Diamond brand. This bow isn't super fast, but it is very smooth to draw and rock solid at full draw. I found it to be very quiet in the hand during the shot. Brace height is 7 inches, IBO speed is 308 to 315 fps. The bow is 31 1/2 inches long and the MSRP is $799. (877) 447-0293, www.bowtecharchery.com.
The new Judge is very similar to the GT500, just a bit faster. I shot the Judge at the ATA Show and have shot the GT500 many times. They feel a lot alike. The Judge is very quiet -- impressively so. Looking through my notes from the ATA Show, the Judge also had a solid feeling shot and is slightly top heavy so it tips forward easily during the follow-through. And fast! Very fast!
The Judge has a moderately low brace height and a binary cam system. The brace height is 6 inches, and it produces an IBO speed of 343 to 347 fps. The bow is 34 7/8 inches long with an MSRP of $869. (877) 503-5483, www.elitearchery.com.
Hoyt Maxxis 31
I shot the Maxxis 31 shortly after it came out and found it to be a slightly better bow than the AlphaMax. It is a little faster, a little smoother and a little sweeter-shooting.
The limbs on the Maxxis go beyond parallel at full draw. This configuration eliminates all hand shock during the shot. It is a perfect hunting bow in two lengths: 31 and 35 inches. Features include a string suppressor, hybrid cam and a split roller guard. The bow has 7-inch brace height with an IBO speed of 323 fps. 31 and 35 inches long and sells for around $749. (801) 363-2990, www.hoyt.com.
The Z7 carries an aggressive single-cam, parallel limbs, limb-mounted string suppressors for maximum vibration reduction and the harmonic dampening system. These are not notably new. However, the stiff, lightweight Grid Lock riser is an eye-grabber.
The cam on the Z7 is very smooth. In talking with a Mathews representative, I learned that the Z7 produces right at 90 percent efficiency. That is why it can be so fast (332 IBO) with such a smooth draw. The Z7 also features the Reverse Assist Roller Guard. With this system, the harnesses push back into the roller rather than pulling out on it. The result is less friction and greater efficiency. It is a lot to pack into a 30-inch package. Brace height is 7 inches. Suggest retail is $899. (608) 269-2728, www.mathewsinc.com.
PSE X-Force Axe 6
The X-Force was the first bow with a dramatically curved limb system that permitted the limb tips to fly straight up and straight down at the shot -- while producing sizzling speed. Despite the fact that these bows were very fast, they were also sweet shooters with very little hand shock.
The latest in the X-Force line is the new Axe 6. It is a very fast hybrid-cam bow, but one of its greatest features is its adaptability. It will make 6-inches of draw length adjustment using rotating inner cams instead of detachable modules. It is wicked fast with an IBO speed of 337 to 345 fps with a 6-inch brace height. The 32 1/2 inch bow has an MSRP of $749. (520) 838-2000, www.pse-archery.com.
Quest is made by G5, an engineering company. You can find evidence of this commitment to quality and precision all over the Primal. Its Sync Cam is a binary system that produces a very smooth draw and excellent arrow flight characteristics. The harnesses slide within ceramic-coated holes of the I-Glide cable guard, eliminating moving parts. The bow has a string suppressor and factory-installed Bow Jax limb silencers. When I shot this one, I was impressed with its smoothness and solid feel. The bow features a 7 1/8-inch brace height and an IBO speed of 330 to 332 fps. It is 32 inches long and has an MSRP of $699. (866) 456-8836, www.questbowhunting.com.
Redhead Kryptik Pro
The Kryptik is made for Redhead (Bass Pro Shops) by Bowtech/Diamond so you know it is well built. The Redhead bows generally have fewer bells and whistles than the main line of Bowtech bows, and are more closely akin to the Diamond line in that way. The Kryptik Pro features a grid-style riser design similar to the look of the new Mathews bow.
The Kryptik Pro is smooth, and due to its low 6 1/4 inch brace height, it's also fast (IBO 331 to 336 fps). The bow is 31 1/4 inches long and sells in the catalog for $649. (800) 227-7776, www.basspro.com.
The Maniac fits almost everyone and still delivers good performance across the entire adjustment range. It is a great bow for a new archer, someone who doesn't need the most advanced bow, just a simple product that won't break the bank. Mathews makes Mission and this is obvious in the limb-mounted string suppressors, the Zebra Hybrid string-and-harness system and the parallel limb design that reduces recoil during the shot. The Maniac has a 7 1/8-inch brace height and an IBO speed of 310 fps. It is 3
1 inches long and has a suggested retail price of $449. www.missionarchery.com.
Darton Pro 3800
I really like this bow. After shooting it, I was left with the feeling that it is the best bow Darton has ever made. That is saying a lot, because they have produced some great bows over the years.
The Pro 3800 was very quiet and very stable in the hand during the shot, but it was also very fast. The Dual Sync cam system is a binary cam with split harnesses to better stabilize the limb tips for perfect arrow flight. The bow also features two string suppressors for quiet, accurate shooting. It has a 6-inch brace height and an IBO speed rating of 345 to 350 fps. It is 33 3/4 inches long with an MSRP of $830. www.dartonarchery.com.