Man, I have a tough job. The assignment: Travel to the annual Archery Trade Association (ATA) trade show in Columbus, Ohio, and spend two and a half days trolling the aisles looking at all the hot new products designed to help you become a better bow shot and bowhunter. It’s rough, but I managed to get ‘er done.
My job was to ferret out the top hunting bow from each manufacturer and give you a brief overview. Naturally, many companies introduced several new bows, which makes selecting the “best” one a bit like asking a man, “Who is the best quarterback in football, Tom Brady or Drew Brees?” Of course, the right answer is “Both could play for me anytime! It’s just a matter of personal preference, but you could not go wrong with either guy.”
In this series I have listed the manufacturers alphabetically, not necessarily in the order in which I personally liked one bow over another. Here’s part one of our exclusive two-part series.
Alpine Archery Silverado Limited Edition: A cool feature of this bow is the Velocitric Hybrid Cams with a locking mechanism that enables shooters to relax the string for adjustments of peep sight installation and removal without a bow press. It just looks hot with its black, powder-coated riser, brown components and Mossy Oak Infinity camouflage-finished limbs. The bow is 31-inches axle-to-axle, weighs less than 4 pounds, and has a 7 ¼-inch brace height, adjustable draw lengths from 27 to 30 inches and an IBO speed rating of 330 fps. MSRP: $599
APA Innovations Mamba M6: Based in Biggar, Saskatchewan, APA builds very interesting hunting compounds. It is the only company that builds a nock wrench, broadhead wrench and carbide sharpener right into the bow’s riser, and its “Fang Riser” features a small hook on the top portion of the riser designed to allow the bow to be hung directly from a tree limb. But perhaps more interesting is the Cam Lock system that allows you to change out the bowstring and cables without the use of a bow press. The 32 ¼- dual cam Mamba M6 features 6 1/8-inch brace height, APA’s new HE (High Efficiency) 3 stage limbs, weighs 3.8 pounds and carries a blistering IBO speed rating of 355 fps. MSRP: $899
Bear Archery Anarchy: One of the fastest bows available this year comes from one of the country’s oldest bow makers. The new, 35 ¼-inch, single-cam Anarchy features the company’s new Flat Top Cam, which, when I shot it on the practice range, impressed me with both its smooth draw cycle and solid back wall, as well as a 7 ¼-inch brace height that makes it easy to shoot accurately. Bear has added a new customizable grip, 4X4 Roller Guard, Dual Arc offset String Suppressors and Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs. The Anarchy has a mass weight of 3.8 pounds, and an IBO speed rating of 340 fps. It has 80 percent let-off and can be adjusted from 25- to 31 ½-inch draw lengths. MSRP: $899
BowTech Insanity CPX: BowTech has established a reputation as a very innovative bow maker, and with the Insanity CPX the company unveiled a new flagship bow that combines the top features from two of its more popular high-performance bows—the Destroyer and the Invasion CPX—to “unleash the insanity.” When I shot this bow it was as stable and recoilless a bow as I have shot in a long time despite its high-performance features. The 32-inch dual cam Insanity CPX comes in draw weights from 50 to 80 pounds, has a mass weight of 4.3 pounds, 80 percent let-off, 6-inch brace height and IBO speed rating of 355 fps. There is also a CPXL version that’s 35 inches axle-to-axle with IBO rating of 340 fps and 7-inch brace height. MSRP: $999
Darton Archery DS 3900: New to the Darton lineup for 2012 is the DS-3900, a compact version of the Darton Flagship DS-3800, but uniquely different in many ways. The DS-3900 has a new, lighter riser equipped with EET Laminated Quad Limbs to power the latest design DualSync Cams—a unique Darton cam design that includes a second let-out groove on each cam that anchors the opposite end of each power cable instead of anchoring it to the axle—for both maximum speed and efficiency. A compact 32 7/8-inch axle-to-axle, the DS-3900 has a comfortable, well-balanced feel in the hand. The DS-3900 features an aggressive draw cycle and super low 5-inch brace height, weighs 3.9 pounds, has draw length adjustments from 24 to 30 inches, an 80 percent let-off and draw weights from 40 to 70 pounds. IBO speed rating is 355 fps. MSRP: $950
Elite Archery Answer: Elite Archery has been in business seven years now, and has become known for smooth-drawing speed bows. The Answer is no exception. This 33 ½-inch axle-to-axle bow weighs 4.1 pounds, and its most impressive feature is the new redesigned twin track cam with two module options. The Smooth Mod is easy to draw with an IBO speed rating of 330 fps, while the Speed Mod is a bit more harsh to draw and shoot but offers another 10 fps to the speed rating. Modules are available from 27 to 30 inches in ½-inch increments, and draw weights from 50 to 80 pounds. MSRP: $870
G5 Prime Series: G5 is best known for its Montec broadheads, but its bows have also earned the company some loyal shooters. The Prime series attacks a problem that many in archery have been discussing for some time—cam lean, which describes cams that slightly lean one way or the other when the bow is drawn, and is something that can affect both consistency and accuracy. G5’s Parallel Cam Technology balances the load equally on both sides of the cam, which both eliminates this issue and reduces horizontal nock travel. The hot bow in this line for 2012 is the Shift, which weighs just 3.5 pounds and is only 30 inches axle-to-axle. Also featured are forged 7000 T6 aluminum riser, C-1 Laminated Limbs, a TI-Glide Titanium Flexing Cable Guard System, draw lengths between 26 to 30 inches, 7-inch brace height, Gore Fiber String & Cables and an IBO speed rating of 333 fps. MSRP: $999 (Pictured above: Centroid Model)