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The 2011 Bows are Here... Pick the Right One!

by Dustin DeCroo 14. December 2010 19:17
Dustin DeCroo

The 2011 bows have arrived and if you’re like me, you’re always excited to see what our favorite companies are putting on the shelves. The 2011 line-up is as impressive as it has ever been and it is up to us to choose the one fits the best. Selecting a bow that fits both our body and our application will help make us the best shooters we can be. Axle-to-axle length, brace height, draw weight, draw length and mass weight are a few of the first items that need to be considered for a proper fit.

These are a few of the new Z7 Series for 2011 from Mathews!

The first step in determining which bow is best for anyone, is to determine what the primary use of the bow will be. For instance, will it be used predominantly out of a tree stand or will it spend more time being packed around on spot and stalk type hunts? Do you want a longer bow that is more stable and forgiving or something shorter that is more compact and easier to pack around?

Hoyt's Carbon Element and the CRX 32 are only a couple of the additions for 2011!

Next, the draw length must be correct and the draw weight should be comfortable. I’m amazed on a regular basis at how many people attempt to draw more weight than they should or how their draw length is a complete misfit. It is a very common misconception that a 65 or 70 pound draw weight is required to kill most big game animals in North America. In reality 50 or 55 pounds is sufficient to kill even large animals like elk or moose. If you cannot draw your bow straight back without having to aim at the sky or “sky draw,” you are attempting to draw too much weight. With a proper draw length, the anchor point of the string (D-loop or the corner of the string) should sit at the corner of your mouth and the end of your nose should touch the string between the anchor point and the peep sight (if you use one)… all this with your bow arm slightly bent. I see lots of people with the string on the side of their face and sometimes all the way back to their ear, both are examples of a draw length that is too long. Make sure that both your draw length and weight are correct and your shooting will only get better.

After you determine your draw length and weight, it’s time to consider how you like a bow to feel. Do you like a very light weight bow, or something a little heavier? Perhaps you prefer a hard wall at full draw as opposed to a spongy wall when you are at full draw. Smooth draw or maybe a bit more aggressive draw cycle? Sometimes the only way to figure out what “feel” you like is to shoot several different bows on the market.

Now that you have a properly fitting draw length and weight, know what you’ll use your bow for and you know how you want your bow to feel… it is time to make sure that you understand what specifications to look at that will accommodate your needs and preferences.

Axle-to-axle length (commonly referred to as ATA or axle length) is the distance between the axels in the middle of each cam. Generally speaking the longer the ATA distance, the more forgiving a bow can be. A long ATA is also beneficial to shooters with long draw lengths because it has a larger string angle at full draw which will prevent nock pinch. A long ATA is also beneficial to finger shooters that do not use a release. Short ATA’s lengths are generally more light weight and less obtrusive in a tree stand. A short ATA may be something like 31” or less, while a long ATA might be 35” or longer. The new Mathews Z7 Extreme sports a 28” ATA length and their Z7 has a mid-length 32” ATA. Most all bow manufacturers have something that will fit the needs of every shooter.

The z7extreme from Mathews is a compact bow with a short axle-to-axle length of 28 inches but a forgiving brace height of 7 3/8".

Brace height is probably the most overlooked spec on any bow, specifically for new shooters. The brace height is measured from the string (at rest) to the center of the riser or the inside of the grip. A long brace height like the 8 ¾” on the Mathews Z9 generally produces a little less speed but is much more forgiving to poor form or an unsteady release. On the contrary, a 6 ¾” brace height like that of Hoyt’s Alphaburner produces much more speed but will most likely be less forgiving. Most people opt for a happy medium with sometime like the Bowtech Destroyer 340 or Mathews z7 which both have a 7” brace height.

Hoyt's Alphaburner

The z9 from Mathews has a long brace height for smooth shooting and is great for archers with long draw lengths.

The IBO speed is often times the first spec that bowhunters notice. The IBO speed is a “bottom line” speed that levels the playing field in speed calculation. IBO speed is calculated by shooting a 300 grain arrow out of a bow with a 70lb draw weight and 30” draw length. Speed is important but regardless of how fast a bow is, an animal will always hear the bow go off before the arrow arrives. The speed of sound is 1,126 FPS and the fastest bows on the market can only safely sling an arrow slightly over 350FPS.

Back in the 2011 lineup for Bowtech the proven Bowtech Destroyer 340 is a complete package!

Finally, one of the specifications that I pay much attention to, is the mass weight of the bow. For the type of hunting I do, I prefer a light weight bow something that is under four pounds (bare bow weight) whereas lots of tree stand hunters prefer a heavier (often times more steady) bow. Don’t forget that the weight of your bow can be doubled by the time all the accessories are in place.

Pick a bow that fits and you’ll be sure to shoot better and be more successful in your bowhunting adventures!!!

Hoyt Maxxis Bow: Dead In Hand

by Bow Staff 13. October 2010 05:18
Bow Staff

 Hoyt Bows has built a serious reputation over the years for designing top notch hunting bows.  For the 2010 hunting season, they have birthed possibly their greatest creation yet: the Maxxis.  

Whether it’s the smooth, accurate, recoil-free shot from a treestand or the feeling of dragging a monster buck back to the truck, “Dead in Hand” perfectly describes a day on the hunt with the new Maxxis.  Built from the success of last year’s AlphaMax, Maxxis takes it even further with our new beyond-parallel XTS ARC Limb System and patent-pending In-Line Roller Guard- engineered to deliver a whole new level of speed and smoothness.  That smoothness and efficiency can make all the difference in the world when it comes to filling your tag.  Prove it to yourself.  See your authorized Hoyt dealer to demo the all-new Maxxis today.  Get ready for the new season.  Get Serious.  Get Hoyt.



Some said it would be impossible to top the AlphaMax. Hoyt's engineers didn’t listen. Meet the all-new Hoyt Maxxis: Hoyt Bows premiere hunting compound for 2010:

  • All-new, past-parallel, laminated XTS ARC Limb System—engineered to kill vibration and produce an unbelievably smooth shot.
  • The Maxxis also features an innovative, patent-pending, In-Line Roller Cable Guard that reduces friction, increases speed and improves efficiency with a lightweight, durable, low-profile design.
  • Perfectly balanced, smooth-shooting Maxxis is light, sleek, fast and tough, and delivers a lengthy list of other purpose-built technologies—including Hoyt's TEC LITE Riser, XTR Cam & 1/2 Performance System, and popular 180 Grip.
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The Best New Bows For 2009

by Bow Staff 16. March 2009 11:37
Bow Staff

Here we bring you the top bows from each of the many bow companies on the market. While several of these companies have more than one new bow for 2009, (you can go to their websites to see the others) we didn’t have enough room here to mention them all. We hope this gets you fired up for the bow season that is (unfortunately) still several months away.


Bowtech’s newest bow, the Admiral, features all four of the concepts that we have defined the company. It has a Binary Cam system for easy maintenance. It won’t go out of time easily. It features the center pivot riser and limb system. It has parallel limbs and it is a pleasure to shoot – fast and stable.

The Center Pivot riser system moves the pivot point of each limb toward its center so the limbs can still be long enough to spread stresses, but positioned in such a way that it they are parallel to each other even with a moderate brace height. Binary cams are hybrids that look like conventional dual cams but with the harnesses from each attached to the other cam so they can’t easily go out of time. The Admiral has an amazing seven inches of draw length adjustability and a carbon string suppressor that lines up with the stabilizer to maximize recoil reduction.

Model: Bowtech Admiral
Brace Height: 7 1/2 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 31 inches
Letoff: 65 to 80% adjustable
Advertised IBO speed: 312 to 320 fps
MSRP: $829


First off, the Cat Hybrid Duo Cam is a binary cam style for which the cams are slaved to each other; they cannot easily go out of time. Martin also amp’d up the speed of the Firecat from last year’s version with this new cam. It has an adjustable hard draw stop allowing you to create a super-solid back wall right where you want it. Finally, the new Firecat also has a roller cable guard to reduce bow recoil.

As far as features go, you will find a rubber-covered rest shelf and a custom string and harness system that promise to offer low-stretch reliability. You will also find a leather grip for warmth, vibration reducing modules in the riser and a string suppressor. The Firecat has every one of Martin’s top features.

Model: Martin Firecat
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 80%
Advertised IBO speed: 335 to 345 fps
MSRP: $629 



Mathews is now making two cam bows. While they have selected a very narrow band of products (two bows – the Monster and Monster XLR8) to carry the new system, it is huge news from the company that pioneered the single-cam. In no way is Mathews saying that the two-cam is better than the single-cam. They are just using their version of the two-cam for a specific purpose.

The AVS cam system is short for Advanced Vectoring System. This technology revolves around the way Mathews anchors the end of the cable to the opposite limb. The harness comes off one cam and then loops around two eccentric shaped elements, one on each side of the cam, on the other cam. Both cams (top and bottom) function the same and are mirror images of each other, just like a traditional two-cam bow. As the cams turn, these sidecar elements turn inside the looped harness ends so the cable can actually cross from one side of the axle to the other giving designers more ways to make the bow fast and smooth. The result is shocking.

Model: Mathews Monster
Brace Height: 6 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 33 1/2 inches
Letoff: 80% Advertised
IBO speed: 350 fps
MSRP: $899


Rytera’s new Alien X is one of the coolest looking bows on the market. It also has a smooth draw and is low maintenance due to its binary cam system. Many of today’s bows look roughly the same and essentially shoot the same. They are all good, much better than anything we shot back in the 1990s. It is hard to stand out in this crowd except in a negative way. But the Alien X impressed with its lightweight, smooth draw, solid feel and fast arrow delivery.

By the way, Martin makes Rytera. The Alien X owes its good looks to a large number of cutouts in the riser that give it a very distinctive appearance. These cutouts also make the bow very light. It is one of the lightest bows on the market. It also has a moderate brace height and a roller cable guard. There isn’t much else you could ask for with this bow except maybe a guarantee that a big buck will walk past this fall.

Model: Rytera Alien X
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 80% Advertised
IBO speed: 330 to 340 fps
MSRP: $699


Matt McPherson calls the Reezon’s new cam the most efficient, fastest single-cam system ever developed. Dealers will also love the cool Quick Change Axle that makes swapping out cams much easier. Since Mathews uses draw length specific cams, being able to swap out cams quickly makes the bow much more dealer friendly.

The Reezon 6.5 has many of the features that have made Mathews bow famous: narrow, parallel composite limbs for light weight, a roller cable guard for reduced recoil, harmonic dampeners in the riser and a professional grip.

Model: Mathews Reezon 6.5
Brace Height: 6.5 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 80% Advertised
IBO speed: 340 fps
MSRP: $869



Not everyone wants a low brace height with a super aggressive cam system. In fact, there aren’t that many situations where you really need that much raw speed. That is where the Bow Madness comes in – it is ideal for bowhunters looking for smooth shooting and moderate performance. Inspired by the relationship between Drury Outdoors and PSE, this bow shares its name with a television show the Drurys are producing for the Outdoor Channel.

The Bow Madness is one of the lightest adult bows on the market, weighing just 3 1/2 pounds. It features a smooth single-cam design and limbs that go well past parallel when you draw the bow. This limb geometry reduces recoil and hand shock.

Model: PSE Bow Madness
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 80% adjustable to 65%
Advertised IBO speed: 318 to 326 fps
MSRP: $599


Darton is the originator of the hybrid cam and the binary cam. Seemingly, everyone in archery has licensed these technologies from Darton’s Rex Darlington. So, there is no reason to expect that Rex’s own baby would be without these advanced cams. The Pro 3500 features Darton’s version of the binary cam system.

The G2 system balances the forces acting on the limb tips by splitting the harnesses and running them on both sides of the cam. The forces acting on the limb tips are balanced and that prevents cam lean that can result from limb tip torque. As a result, the bow produces very good nock travel for easy tuning. The Pro 3500 has a string suppressor near the middle of the string to eliminate any whip action that might occur when the string stops. This bow is fast and feels good in the hand.

Model: Darton Pro 3500
Brace Height: 6 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 33 3/4 inches
Letoff: 75% Advertised
IBO speed: 338 to 343 fps
MSRP: $866


Diamond’s Black Ice wasn’t super fast but it was very smooth, had a great back wall, was quiet and fast enough. It was one of the best bows on the market when it cam out in early 2007. The Iceman has the same qualities but also exhibits Bowtech’s Center Pivot riser design owing to the fact that Bowtech makes Diamond bows. If you are wondering why this design is significant, refer to the write-up we did on Bowtech’s new Admiral.

We shot the Iceman at the ATA show. It is hard to remember every single bow when you shoot 30 or 40 of them in two days, but this one did make an impression. It had an aggressive draw, but was stable, fast and quiet. The single-cam used on the Iceman permits seven inches of draw length adjustability in 1/2 inch increments. It will probably fit everyone you know, making it easier to sell it or trade it or give to your children when you eventually upgrade.

Model: Diamond Iceman
Brace Height: 7 1/8 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 31 1/2 inches
Letoff: 65 – 80% Advertised
IBO speed: 310 to 318 fps
MSRP: $770


Bear Archery has a very understandable product mix. They basically have bows for every price range. You can find a new Bear with a suggested retail price all the way from $330 up to $700. They are all good bow, but the top end bows simply have more features. The Game Over fits right into the middle of this range. These bows have string suppressors, single-cam systems and a smooth draw cycle. All carry a set of flared split limbs that give them a snappy, futuristic look. And all will a truck bed with whitetail deer.

The grip of the Game Over also has a very distinctive Bear graphic that looks great. This bow has a single string suppressor below the grip and is a bit slower than the top of the line Truth 2, mostly due to its higher, more forgiving brace height.

Model: Bear Game Over
Brace Height: 7 3/4 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 33 inches
Letoff: 80%
Advertised IBO speed: 303 fps
MSRP: $480


The new AlphaMax 32 impressed us with its quiet performance, low hand shock, light weight and excellent speed. Really, that is the whole story for this bow, in a nutshell. It is the best bow Hoyt has ever made. If you like Hoyt bows, you will love the AlphaMax 32 or its big brother the 35.

You will find a new ZTR Cam & 1/2 system (a hybrid cam), parallel split limbs and a riser design with more cutouts – hence the drop in weight. The XTR cam permits easy draw length adjustment via rotating elements (no bow press required) and has a draw stop to assure a solid back wall. A spacer between the limbs assures precise limb alignment for consistent shooting. A string suppressor eliminates string vibration after the shot.

Model: Hoyt AlphaMax 32
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 75%
Advertised IBO speed: 321 fps
MSRP: $800 to $849


The Mission bow line is produced by Mathews Archery so it can offer lower priced products to consumers who want to own Mathews innovation and manufacturing, but can’t afford all the bells and whistles. The Eliminator has everything you need on a hunting bow: parallel limbs, solid performance, a moderate brace height, a good grip and string suppressors for reduced string noise after the shot. But it is much less expensive than top-end bows.

With an MSRP of roughly $480, the Eliminator is at least reasonably affordable. If you don’t need more, and can’t really afford more, don’t pay more.

Model: Mission Eliminator
Brace Height: 7 1/8 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 30 1/4 inches
Letoff: 80% Advertised
IBO speed: 310 fps
MSRP: $479


Quest bows are made by G5 Outdoors, a very good machine shop in Michigan that also makes broadheads, sights and rests. There are some very neat features on the XPB. One is the revolutionary cable guard system. It is a very simple, efficient design. The harnesses run through ceramic-glazed holes in the cable guard bar. It is like a roller guard but without the rollers.

Additional features include a Metrao custom string and harness system, factory installed limb and string silencers, a two piece laminated wood grip and a string suppressor. When G5 Outdoors (who makes the Quest bow) got into the bow market, they didn’t mess around. It is as good a bow as there is on the market.

Model: Quest XPB
Brace Height: 7 1/2 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 80%
Advertised IBO speed: 320 to 324 fps
MSRP: $675


Bowtech purchased the Ross brand last year and is now producing a very nice new model called the Carnivore that has one very intriguing feature that sets it apart. This feature is called the Krank.

The Krank is a pulley at the end of the harness that would otherwise attach to the bottom cam in the hybrid system. Instead, a separate short mini-harness attaches to the cam, loops over the Krank and then back to the axles of the bottom limb. This gives the cam designers another pulley to play with as they create the ideal force versus draw curve and it also spreads the force of the harness equally to both sides of the limb tip for perfect balance and no draw-induced cam lean. The result is better nock travel and better arrow flight.

Model: Ross Carinivore Website:
Brace Height: 7 3/8 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 31 inches
Letoff: 65 to 80% adjustable
Advertised IBO speed: 310 to 318 fps
MSRP: $650 to $700


APA bows have odd-looking risers with carrying handles built into the grip section. The handle serves a more utilitarian purpose beyond simply making it easier to hold onto the bow. We never found that particularly hard before. Actually, the handle makes the riser stiffer and stronger in its midsection permitting the designers to make the grip itself smaller.

APA has been making fast bows longer than almost anyone. The new Black Mamba MX1 is fast; it features an advertised IBO speed rating of 352 fps. APA’s new King Cobra is even faster with a brace height a shade over five inches; it blasts out advertised IBO speeds of 362 fps!

Model: APA Black Mamba MX1
Axle-to-Axle Length: 34 inches
Brace Height: 5 1/2 inches
Letoff: 75% Advertised
IBO speed: 352 FPS
MSRP: $799.00


Alpine employs a version of the hybrid cam called the Velocitec Hybrid. Both cams are slaved to each other in this binary style cam system. It has two harness take-up tracks on both cams, like the Darton and Bowtech systems. This produces a very balanced limb because the forces acting on the limb tips are equal on both sides of the cam. As a result, the cam won’t torque to the side when you draw the bow and this promotes good arrow flight.

The Silverado Ventura is the first new bow from Alpine in the past three years that features a conventional riser instead of Alpine’s multi-part risers that have been the standard offering on most recent bows. The Ventura is for those who simply prefer a conventional design. Other features include Alpine’s VX Pocket that allows you to tightly clamp the two split limb halves together in the pocket for total security and zero movement during the shot. I shot the bow at the recent ATA Show and it was smooth, very quiet and exhibited virtually no hand shock. It was a pleasure to shoot.

Model: Alpine Siverado Ventura
Brace Height: 7.75 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 35 inches
Letoff: 80%
Advertised IBO speed: 320 fps
MSRP: $699


We had a chance to shoot the new GT500 at the recent ATA Show and were very impressed. The bow is fast (we knew it would be). But what surprised us was how quiet it was how little hand shock it exhibited. It produces amazing speeds of up to 346 fps with a forgiving brace height of 7 1/8 inches.

As mentioned, the bow is nice and stable in the hand with good balance. We also liked the narrow grip which we are certain will help reduce bow hand torque making the bow even more forgiving.

Model: Elite GT500
Brace Height: 7.125
Axle-to-Axle Length: 35 Advertised
IBO speed: 346 fps
MSRP: $850


The DZ-30 is super short, that much is clear by the name (the “30” kind of gives that away). It also features a limb pocket that moves the limb forward (called the Rolling Fulcrum System) so that the bow can produce a modest brace height with reasonable length limbs that are parallel and a straight well-balanced riser. In many ways this pocket serves to have the same affect as the Center Pivot riser from Bowtech. You have to shoot the bow to appreciate how all these elements come together.

Other features include a fast hybrid cam, Winner’s Choice Custom bowstring and harnesses, many bow silencing, rest silencing, arrow silencing and string silencing accessories (what else would you expect from the company that pioneered modern bow silencing). The bow was surprisingly stable and quiet when shooting a lightweight IBO arrow.

Model: Sims DZ-30
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 30 inches
Letoff: 80% Advertised
IBO speed: 320 – 325 fps
MSRP: $700


We were not able to shoot the new Addiction at the ATA Show because it was still a work in progress. However, we did get to look at it – and study it. It has cool vulcanized rubber in the string slots of the cams. This reduces vibration in the bow and makes it quieter. It also has a hinged cable guard that lets the cables move sideways slightly at full draw to reduce side load and friction.

The Addiction also has machined aluminum tip overlays on the limbs to protect them from cracking. The string suppressor is spring loaded so it moves forward slightly when the string bottoms to fully cushion and dampen the string. It is not a hard stop. It is a great looking bow. I look forward to the next opportunity when I might be able to shoot it. It is due to be released in March of 2009.

Model: Full Force Addiction
Brace Height: 6 3/8 inches
Axle-to-Axle Length: 31 3/4 inches
Letoff: 75%
Advertised IBO speed: 337 to 342 fps
MSRP: $749

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