Being a long-time hanger-on in the archery industry I get to play with lots of gear. From bows to arrows I take advantage of this privilege, making an attempt to test as wide a variety of gear as possible so I can speak authoritatively on any equipment subject. Invariably, as the season developes and I begin shooting in earnest, favorites emerge. Here are my pets from the current batch (all but the recurve available in Realtree camouflage).
I stand 6-feet, 5-inches tall so have a very long draw length. This easily explains my propensity for longer axle-to-axle compounds. Bear Archery Company's Anarchy is just that, a compound stretched to provide added forgiveness and accuracy, while weighing only 3.8 pounds. To my mind its 35.25-inch axle-to-axle is the perfect balance for bowhunting (not target) shootability. It's also fast, 340 fps IBO velocities a product of the company's new Flat Top (single) Cam with 80 percent let-off - a silky-smooth system sans distracting bumps and let-off jars. It also includes past-parallel Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs, silencing Dual Arc Offset String Suppressors, 4x4 Roller Guard and Zero Tolerance Limb Pockets. In short, its long-riser/short-limb configuration and 7.25-inch brace makes it a sweet shooter.
Hoyt's Carbon Matrix is a masterpiece of space-age technology, though admittedly an expensive piece of technology (around $1,300 MSRP). The bow is 35 inches long (fitting my ideal) and weighs only 3.8 pounds. But that's not the entire picture; its Advanced Carbon Technology riser lending the bow a degree of balanced stability and vibration control not afforded most aluminum-riser bows. It's effortless to shoot and dead in the hand on release - while its new RKT Cams and moderate 6.75-inch brace propel arrows to 325 fps IBO. It does this with a draw cycle free of jarring bumps or back-wall surprises. It also holds Pro Lock X-Lite (limb) Pockets, XTS Pro Arc Limbs, Inner Race Bearing In-Line Roller Guard and Stealth Shot (string) Suppression System; all designed to make it quieter and more accurate.
I've always gotten along well with BowTech compounds but admit initial skepticism about the new, 4.3-pound Insanity CPX. It's short (32 inches axle-to-axle), with a low 6-inch brace height (normally indicating a touchy nature). Yet somehow, the Insanity manages to remain forgiving (I've shot 8-inch groups to 80 yards with mine), via its longer-than-average Center Pivot Extreme riser holding short Hardcore Preloaded Limbs. Its FLX-Guard system eliminates torque from buss cables at full draw, its Carbon Rod String Stop making it super quiet for a bow this fast. And fast is what the Insanity is all about - its Overdrive Binary Cam system blasting arrows to 355 fps IBO. Granted, for this speed you must deal with a slightly challenging draw cycle. Most markedly the bow drops into let-off somewhat abruptly - but all that speed really is addicting.
It's no secret I'm a traditional archery enthusiast, Bear Archery's new-style Takedown, at 64 inches (B riser, #3 limbs), has emerged as my favorite recurve, because its one of the smoothest yet speedy single-strings I've shot in ages - including a good number of custom models.
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