2013 Bow Sights

By Bow StaffJanuary 13, 2013

LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015

The 2013 ATA show was as always….not disappointing.  For a bowhunter, it’s wall-to-wall archery gear, the best manufacturers, and a family reunion for the industry.  This year marked my 7th show and I had the opportunity to review sights for Bowhunting.com.  For a guy who hunts out west, I’m interested in a quality sight that is built to perform and still withstand any and all hunting conditions.  Here’s a few that caught my eye:

Montana Black Gold – Ascent. 

What warms my heart is a company that stands behind their product.  All of the MT Black Gold sights come with an unconditional guarantee, which they’ve had for 26 years.  The Ascent comes with their new high performance “PhotoChromatic” shell that is 80% tougher and changes color faster.  You can have this sight with 3 or 5 pins and use the bottom pin to dial in a specific yardage with their “Dial-of-Death.”  I really like a sight with multiple pins and the ability to have a slider for the bottom pin. 

The housing size is 1.75″, total weight is 9.2 oz., and if you get the dovetail version you can customize your length and adjust 3rd axis.  This sight also passes the quiver test meaning it works great with one-piece quivers.  I like this sight for practicing at longer distances; if you’ve never tried dialing in a built-in slider it is not as hard as you think.  The sight comes with 54 different sight tapes customized for bows of almost all speeds.  When using the tapes you shoot at 20 yards and 60 yards, and then pick the tape that works for you instead of making your own.  MT Black Gold pins are very durable and the pins are practically bomb proof with machined micro grooves.  This is a great sight for folks that hunt whitetails and animals out west and want to dial in specific yardages. www.blackgoldsights.com

TRUGLO – Rival FX. 

What caught my eye on this sight was their feature that enables you to change fiber color without changing pins.  Most bowhunters agree that green is the brightest fiber followed by red, so you could easily stick to whatever color scheme that suits you’re fancy.  The “TRU-FLO 3.0” fiber design allows quick and easy fiber replacement.  At the show, I was able to replace a fiber in a matter of seconds and could see this feature being very attractive for backcountry bowhunters who repair things in the field.  The 5 pin sight can come in .029 or .019 pin diameter.  The sight has a unique feel, which the company calls a “TRU-TOUCH” coating.  Yes, it is tool-less, has micro-adjustment, 2nd and 3rd axis, a very bright level, reversible bracket, glow-in-the-dark shooter’s ring, and  your choice of color option as well (black, realtree apg, realtree xtra, lost camo).  Good sight for backcountry bowhunters.  www.truglo.com

Archer Xtreme – AX Driver. 

This cutting-edge moveable sight has an innovative EDG (elevation drive gear) system that offers smooth and precise yardage adjustments.  With today’s faster bows and stronger arrows, many bowhunters are extending their effective shooting range.  This sight will aid you in that quest with its 2nd and 3rd axis adjustments, larger sight picture for maximum field of view, and has single or 4-pin models at .019 inch.  It also has micro-elevation and horizontal adjustments.  This sight is packed with features, such as Center Core Pin stainless steel tube pins for strength and protection.  This sight will not let you down and is worth a second look.  www.archerxtreme.com

CBE – Tek-Hybrid.

This sight was one of my favorites.  The Tek-Hybrid has an exclusive, rapid-drive elevation system for quick and precise vertical adjustment.  The review sight tape display allows you to make fine adjustments without having to rotate your bow.  The fibers are extremely well protected via their fiber management block.  It also comes with a rheostat light and Rhino pins aligned in the same plane.  The sight comes in 1, 3, or 5-pin configurations with built-in-third axis adjustment.  The 3rd axis leveling is in the housing itself with two screws.  Dialing in your sight with the tool-less micro-adjust is easy and the slider glides with a fine-point, stainless steel indicator needle.  I love this sight.  www.custombowequipment.com

Trophy Ridge -React. 

The new React Sight might just change the game.  The pins literally sight themselves in! Allow me explain.  First, you get the 20 and 30yard pins properly tuned using the micro-windage and elevation adjustments, and the bottom three pins will automatically move 40, 50, and 60 yards via the master adjustment knob on top of the device.  The sight is calibrated to work regardless of your bow model or arrow speed.  If you do things correctly, you can have a brand new rig sighted in and ready to roll in a few minutes. The guys from Trophy Ridge stated that it is mathematically impossible for their system not to work; only time will tell.  The sight comes with .019 inch fiber-optics pins, rheostat pin light, sight level, and reversible mounting bracket.  The sight does not have third axis adjustment, but definitely stands apart with a simple dope-in system.  www.trophyridge.com

Axcel – Armortech HD Vision. 

The sight comes with harmonic dampening built-in and offers a 2-inch housing for optimal view of your game animal.  Next is their True Center Vision technology meaning you’ll have a complete circular sight picture, even viewed slightly off-center.  Strength, stability, and durability stand out.  It comes with .019 or .010 fibers, micro adjustable gang (windage and elevation), and the biggest selling point is you can move each pin individually with a set-screw and drive.   This means you can move 1 or multiple pins at the same time.  The third axis leveling is done through pivoting the bubble level and all this adds up to a very legit bowhunting sight.  www.axcelsights.com

HHA – Optimizer Ultra –

This is their top-end sight that has a 4:1 gear ratio that magnifies your yardage adjustment.  Their system comes with 45 pre-calibrated sight tapes making it simple to dope -in.  The sight can come with a rheostat light that shines right on the fiber so you can easily adjust lighting depending on bright or low-light conditions; a huge bonus for bowhunters!  All of their sights accept lens kits and you can get the 3rd axis accessory if you desire.  Their sights have won many awards over the last nine years and the quality and attention to detail is evident.  www.hhasports.com

Spot Hogg – Tommy Hogg. 

This sight isn’t really new, but it’s the one they chose to highlight for this piece.  The sight has zero bushings making it extremely strong, quiet, and durable.  It is simple to set-up with a wheel design that acts as your slider, and you can micro-adjust on the fly.  The housing is 1.75″, and you can use any housing from Spot-Hogg, so if you like their 5 or 7-pin models, you can swap out seamlessly.  The Tommy Hogg has great quiver clearance, and is a touch on the heavy side, but it’s definitely built like a tank.  Expect this sight to stand-up to harsh hunting conditions.  www.spot-hogg.com

Sword – Maximus Pro. 

The sight has a 6″ dovetail bar so you can manipulate the sight distance.  It is tool-less, micro-adjustable, and comes in .010, .019, .029 pin diameter.  The sight comes with 3rd axis adjustment, a 1.625″ housing, and you can order custom configurations.  This means that perhaps you want your top pin big and bright, so make it .029 pin diameter.  Then you could have your next two pins with a diameter of .019, and then make your bottom pin for longer distances at .010.  The sight has 5 pins and the scales to adjust your gang are laser etched.  For target archers, this sight accepts a 1.75″ lens and has a high and low sight mounting system with built-in offset for extended sight window.  This sight is pretty much rock solid.  www.swordsight.com

Axion – Vue Micro Adjust. 

This bad boy is lightweight, bright, and has all the goodies a bowhunter could want.  The fiber optics is well protected and the sight has a rheostat light and level included.  Like most sights on the market, it has micro-adjustable windage and elevation with laser engraved reference marks for sighting in your bow.  A couple of items to mention are the staggered mounting holes and the pins which are available in .019 or .010 fiber and protected with a 2″ pin guard inside measurement. www.axionarchery.com

There are plenty of options out there to say the least. However, you’ll have to find what works best for you and where you plan to hunt.  For me, I like 5 pins and an available slide option for the floating bottom pin.  3rd Axis adjustment is critical for the terrain I hunt because of the steep angles that many of us “Western” bowhunters face.  All of the sights I reviewed were high quality with well thought out from an engineering standpoint. In the end, you’ll have to decide what works best for you….but isn’t that one of the coolest things about bowhunting?

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