Mission by Mathews Ballistic 2.o In-Depth Review
It all started with a vision. When Mathews Inc was started in 1992, they set out to innovate and deliver a product that has become one of the most recognizable names in the archery industry. Today, they continue to produce trophy caliber products with unmatched customer service. About 8 years ago a new vision of Mathews Archery was born, the Mission by Mathews bow line. It provides archers an entry level affordable bow that still delivers the same top quality performance that Mathews in known for. Today, Mathews’ Mission line includes five bow models. Let’s take an in-depth look at the 2016 Mission Ballistic 2.0.
Mission bows are designed to “hit the sweet spot between performance and price.” The 1st generation Ballistic was built from 2013 to 2015 and is essential very similar to the Mathews Chill. Built around the same AVS (Advanced Vectoring System) Cam system, it has a ATA (Axle-to-Axle) length of 28.5 inches. It has an overall length of 34 inches from tip to tip. The brace height, which is the distance from the back of the riser to the string, is 7 5/8 inches. This is slightly longer than the first generation model which had a brace height of 7 inches.
Specs on the Ballistic 2.0
IBO: 330 fps // Weight: 4.27 lbs // Draw Weight: 60-70lbs // Draw Length: 26-30″ // Let-Off: 80% // Axle to Axle: 28.5 // Brace Height; 7-5/8″ // Cam: AVS // String: Zebra Hybrid
When I first opened the box with the bow, I thought that it was going to be too small because of the size. Well, that was until I drew it back. For the 2016 Mission Ballistic 2.0, they decreased the ATA from 30.5 to 28.5 and increased the weight slightly from 4.18 to 4.27 lb. But it is still launching arrows at 330 fps IBO. It is also rated at 80% let off once fully drawn back with its split glass almost parallel limbs. I honestly couldn’t believe how compact it is. It comes standard with Zebra hybrid strings which look and perform great. I don’t typically shoot a shorter bow, but the compact design and maneuverability for a ground blind or tree stand has really grown on me.
One of the major differences you will notice on the Ballistic 2.0, and all Mission bows for that matter, are the plastic limb pockets instead of the machined pockets. This is one quick way to identify them from other Mathews bows that cost 2X as much. Hoyt did the same thing, with their PowerMax bow as well.
Another difference from the regular Mathews line is the composite rod cable guard instead of a roller guide. Again, a common theme with Hoyt’s PowerMax and Charger bows.
The grip is a soft composite instead of the flatback emblem grip on the Mathews Halon seen below. Every hand is different, so to me judging a grip is very subjective. However, with larger hands, I still felt fairly comfortable holding the bow. After shooting about 50 shots through the bow, I felt like the grip settled firmly across my inner hand. Not high or low, but evenly. Some critics say that it doesn’t feel as comfortable as others, but like I said, to me that is all personal preference.
One minor change from the first generation Ballistic, is that they added a single Harmonic Stabilizer Lite in the lower part of the riser. With the first generation, it was an add on.
The Mission line also includes the Hype DT (Dampening Technology) bow, which as seen below is slightly longer at 31 inches compared to the Mission Ballistic 2.0.
Fit and Finish of the Mission Ballistic 2.0
The Ballistic 2.0 comes in 3 color options including the Lost Camo AT (shown), Lost Camo OT, and Black. The new finish option for the 2.0 is the Lost Camo OT which is the camo finish with a white, almost snowy, backround. The finish work on the bow looks very good. I inspected for flaws but couldn’t find any. The finish is smooth and clean, and the overall look of the bow is somewhat aggressive.
Riser Design of the Mission Ballistic 2.0
The Mission series never adopted the Geogrid riser design but the current cut out still looks modern and stout. The extruded aluminum riser on the 2016 is slightly shorter, hence the shorter overall length, but with a little bit more muscle to maintain the strength.
AVS CAMS (Advanced Vectoring System)
The AVS Cam system on the Ballistic bow is very similar to the Blaze Cams and Mathews Chill bows. The only difference is that the Blaze and Chill bows cams have an added perimeter cam weight that give them a slight bump up in speed. The cams are completely adjustable with changeable mods from 26 inches to 30 inches in ½ inch increments. Unfortunately they don’t have a longer draw option if you have a longer draw than 30 inches. My test bow was set at 29 inches but was easily changed by removing 2 allen screws on each cam without the need for putting the bow in a bow press. Different mods normally cost around $40 dollars, but sometimes you can find bow shops that will swap mods for free.
The extreme adjustability of not only the draw length but draw weight is one aspect of the Mission Line of bows that really stands out to me as a selling point. The Mission Hype is adjustable from 19 to 30 inches and from 15 to 70 lbs. Yes, you read that correctly. Both the Hype or Ballistic 2.0 would be an excellent choice for younger or beginning archers because of the ability to adjust the bow. It can truly grow with them. But, that is not to say that this bow is just for beginners at all. The smooth draw, minimal vibration, and proven Mathews technology make this bow a looker for anyone who wants quality performance without the higher price tag. Additionally, these bows are becoming popular with the generation of archers that have been out of the sport for some years, and are getting back into shooting. With that said, I personally would recommend this bow to anyone looking for a quality shooter, especially at this price point. The 2016 bow in my local archery shop is $499 bare bow and $619 with an entry package on it.
Shootability of the Mission Ballistic 2.0
When I first drew the bow back, I felt like I really had to pull back all the whole way through. The draw is smooth, but it doesn’t let off to 80% until the very back of the draw cycle. In the hand, the bow feels like its ready to go. This is not a bad thing at all because you can feel the power ready to rock. When letting down the bow from full draw, it seemed like it wanted to jump a bit coming back down over the hump, so a controlled let down is needed. I am confident, that with any bow you shoot over time, your muscle memory makes it more and more comfortable with the specific bow’s cycle that you shoot. I shot some nice groups with it, so I don’t question its accuracy…only yours!
Because of the short ATA length at 28.5 inches, the bow will torque if you wrap your hand instead of let it rest in your palm. This is completely normal, but with the slightly longer brace height on the bow should make it a little more forgiving in general.
70lb draw weight, 30 inch draw length, 401 grain arrow = 296-304 fps
53lb draw weight, 30 inch draw length, 401 grain arrow = 248-256 fps
Overall, this bow is impressive. At the mid price point (around $500) for a brand new bare bow that gives you speeds that rival any top bow in the industry, the Ballistic 2.0 has my vote. Considering all the new vibration and sound dampening additions, Mission archery really made a special bow. If you are someone who really wants a quality bow, but doesn’t want to spend $900-$1000 for a new bow off the shelf. I would have absolutely no hesitations recommending this bow, especially because it is made in the USA and backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty to the original registered owner. The best advice anyone can give is before you buy a bow, go shoot the bow. Take the time to ask questions, learn, and become an informed buyer. Shoot Straight!