2015's Top Compound Bows

posted on March 12, 2015

Whether you’re after blazing speed or sheer forgiveness, the New Year is off to a GREAT start as this baker’s dozen of bow companies launches some of the best hunting bows yet.

Bear Archery
The devil is in the details as Bear Archery launches the Arena Series. It dubs the lightweight, 335-fps Arena 30 “the most lethal bear in the stand,” thanks to a 6-1/2-inch brace height that it says puts you in the sweet spot between speed and forgiveness without sacrificing either. The new H15 Hybrid cam system ensures an easier draw cycle and easier letdown, and rubber riser inserts absorb vibration and sound. Bear’s Hinge Guard reduces lateral torque as you shoot it, and the removable rubber grip provides for two grip options. It sports a 6.5-inch brace height with draw lengths from 25.5-30 inches and draw weights at 50, 60 and 70 pounds. The Arena 34 offers four additional inches of forgiveness but retains the 6-1/2-inch brace height for that blend of sped, comfort and forgiveness (MSRP: $899). The 3.2-pound, 295-fps Bounty women’s bow covers draw lengths 23 ½-27 inches and draw weights of 40 and 50 pounds. Its rotating FH2 Hybrid Cam System is optimized for shorter draw lengths and the grip design eliminates hand torque. It comes with a RTH (Ready To Hunt) package, including a Trophy Ridge Whisker biscuit, 4-pin sight, stabilizer, sling and quiver plus a peep sight and nock loop. MSRP: $599.


Bowtech Archery
Bowtech Archery announces its biggest launch in company history as it unveils two new hunting bows—the Prodigy and the Boss—featuring innovative PowerShift Technology to cover every shooter and season. Just remove the setscrew on the cam-mounted PowerDisk, loosen the remaining two screws then slide the disk to choose between three levels: Performance (sheer speed and power), Classic (power with a smooth draw) and Comfort (effortless draw). The 32-inch axle-to-axle Prodigy launches arrows at up to 343 fps, sports OverDrive Binary Cams and has a forgiving 7-inch brace height. Draw lengths range from 25-30 ½ inches with draw weight options in 50, 60 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $1,099). Long-draw bowhunters will want to check out the new Boss. Touted as bigger, badder and bolder, this 36-inch axle-to-axle, 4.6-pound bow covers draw lengths from 26 ½-32 inches and propels arrows at 333 fps. Like the Prodigy, it has a 7-inch brace height and is available in draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $1,149). If you’re in the market for a women’s bow, the Eva Shockey Signature Series features PowerShift FlipDisk Technology, which offers two settings by simply taking out the disk and flipping it. At 31 ½ inches axle-to-axle, it sports a lightweight carbon riser, blue cams, draw lengths from 22 ½ -28 ½ inches and draw weights in 40, 50 and 60 pounds. All three new bows feature FLX-Guard technology so as the bow is drawn, the FLX-Guard flexes inward to absorb cable guard torque and keep it from being transferred to the riser.


Darton Archery
Darton Archery unveils the short, fast and quiet DS-700SD. The DualSync cam bow, powered by an updated version of the company’s efficient DualSync Hi-Performance Cam system, is designed to eliminate cam lean. The bow offers draw-length adjustments from 24-28 inches in half-inch increments and draw weights including 40, 50, 60 and 70 pounds. The 30-inch axle-to-axle model for many will be the go-to bow for tight spaces. At 4 pounds, the bow has a 7-inch brace height and speeds up to 335 fps (MSRP: $766). Also new, Darton’s short, 28-1/2-inch axle-to-axle Recruit was designed with young hunter and shooter “recruits” in mind, though the bow will suit anyone in search of a small, lightweight bow. At 3.1 pounds, the Recruit features an adjustable draw length of 21 1/2-27 inches, a forgiving 6 ¾-inch brace height and two adjustable peak weight ranges: 25-35 pounds and 35-50 pounds. It sports a low-mount Bowstring Suppression System designed to eliminate string noise and vibration and comes with a four-arrow quiver, a Copper John Saxon sight and a rest (MSRP: $482).


Diamond Archery
Diamond Archery says when you unveil something good, there’s only one thing left to do: Make it even better. So Diamond improved on its new-for-2014 Infinite Edge and launched the Infinite Edge Pro. Versatility is the name of the game on this one as the new version offers draw length options from 13 to 31 inches—great for bowhunters with longer draws—and a redesigned cam system that makes for an even smoother draw cycle and a solid back wall and a stabilizer for added balance. At 31 ½ inches axle-to-axle, the bow has a 7-inch brace height, launches arrows at 310 fps and weighs just 3.2 pounds. As for draw weight, you’re more than covered considering it can be adjusted from 5 to 70 pounds. For more good news, this bow is ready to shoot right out of the box, thanks to the Boondocks package, which provides a 3-pin Tundra sight, Hostage XL arrow rest, Octane quiver and stabilizer, peep sight, string loop and wrist sling (MSRP: $399).


Elite Archery
Elite not only says it makes “the world’s most shootable” bow, but it backs up its claim by telling bowhunters to take the “shootability challenge” and find out for themselves, starting with the new-for-2015 Synergy. Elite’s efficient two-track system permits engineers to focus on the overall shooting experience instead of merely chasing speed. At 33.5 inches axle-to-axle, the Synergy is the happy medium between last year’s Energy 32 and 35, providing stability and maneuverability for those tight treestand and ground-blind shots. Elite’s Riser Cage design allows for balanced energy distribution to the “bomb-proof” limbs and two-track cams. The 4.4 pound bow has a brace height of 7-3/8 inches, attains speeds up to 325 fps, and is available in draw lengths of 27-31 inches and weights of 50, 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds. Its new Pro Kote durable, chip-resistant, non-reflective protective finish is applied to its bow cams, modules, cable rods and limb pockets and is bowhunter friendly by absorbing light. A solid back wall ensures consistency as you draw and high let-off means more comfort and a steadier aim once you’re there. It’s forgiving because it even permits some creep before trying to jump out of your hand, and the two-piece wooden grip simply feels good (MSRP: $949).


G5’s Prime lineup includes the must-see Rival and Ion, which offer three key elements for accuracy: balance through Prime’s new PCXL Parallel Cam System Technology with a let-off adjustment up to 85 percent; strength through a 7000 series aluminum riser dubbed the strongest in the industry; and control, thanks to the Flexis AR tunable flexing roller guard engineered to relieve stress off the cables to reduce torque. Last but not least, the new Ghost Grip feels great in the hand as the soft, molded side plates offer smooth fitting contours. The 35-inch axle-to-axle, 4.3-pound Rival has a 6-1/4-inch brace height and launches arrows at 340 fps to cover you from trophies to targets, enabling let-off adjustments from 65 and 85 percent (MSRP: $999). The lightweight, maneuverable 31-inch Prime Ion is “positively charged” for bowhunters whether hunting in small ground blinds or in thick-woods treestands. G5’s “compact killer” weighs 3.9 pounds, has a brace height of 7-1/4 inches and a speed of 330 fps. Both the Rival and Ion are available in draw lengths from 26-30 inches and draw weights from 30-70 pounds (MSRP: $999).


Hoyt Archery
Hoyt knows serious bowhunters need serious equipment. Enter its Nitrum Series of bows dubbed the company’s “vibration-killing hunting machines.” Available in three configurations—the Nitrum 30, 34 and Turbo—the bows feature Hoyt’s aluminum Offset Riser technology that eliminates vibration and noise, and the new ZT (Zero Torque) Cable Guard System that neutralizes torque. The ZT cable guard’s flexible, reverse-mounted arm directs cable-induced torque in the opposite direction as the cables pivot while drawing the bow. This aids tuning and makes for better broadhead flight. As you’d guess, the 3.9-pound Nitrum 30 and 4.2-pound Nitrum 34 measure 30 and 34 inches, respectively, and sport 6 ¾-inch brace heights. The Nitrum 30 launches arrows at 332 fps—2 fps faster than the 34-inch model’s 330 fps. For speed demons the Nitrum Turbo is Hoyt’s fastest bow yet, boasting 350 fps a 6-inch brace height and a weight of 4.2 pounds (MSRP: $1,149). For Carbon Spyder fans, Hoyt’s Carbon Spyder ZT Series features a hollow carbon tube design, Hoyt’s Cam and ½ and the new ZT (Zero Torque) Cable Guard system. Like the Nitrum bows, Cardon Spyder ZTs are available in 30- and 34-inch models with 6 ¾-inch brace heights and a 33-inch Turbo option with a brace height of 6 inches. Bow speeds are 332, 330 and 350 fps, respectively (MSRP: $1,499).


Martin Archery
For 2015, Martin Archery unveiled more than a dozen new lightweight hunting and target bows. The hunting bow lineup features new limbs, cams and risers. First up is the 330-fps Hawk. Engineers took Martin’s flagship Nemesis and overhauled it, adding a bridged riser for a rigid, strong platform; fast, smooth and easy-to-draw Ghost 2.0 cams; and 7th generation limbs. The Premier Series bow is available in draw lengths from 26 ½-31 inches and draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds with a 7 1/4inch riser, the 36 ½-inch axle-to-axle Hawk sports something else quite clever: chameleon camo. With black on top and camo on the bottom, bowhunters will blend into their surroundings, whether in the treestand or blind (MSRP: $949). Speed and accuracy fans can check out the compact, 32-inch, 340 fps Premier Series Thrasher combining speed and forgiveness with a brace height just over 7 inches in draw lengths of 26-30 ½ inches and 50-, 60- and 70-pound draw weights (MSRP: $799). If you want a longer bow, the 35 ½-inch axle-to-axle Vulture hits speeds of 335 fps and has a 6 ¾-inch brace height (MSRP: $899). But I think the Performance Series Lithium LTD and Krypton stole Martin’s show and here’s why. At 345 fps, the Lithium LTD is Martin’s fastest bow yet but delivers the accuracy of a target bow—and at a fair price. It weighs just 3.8 pounds, sports a 6 ½-inch riser and offers draw lengths from 26-30 ½ inches and draw weights from 50-70 pounds (MSRP: $649). For more good value, the Krypton—designed to fit just about any archer with draw lengths from 17-30 inches—and the Krypton SE women’s bow launch arrows at 315 fps, measure 31 inches and weigh only 3.2 pounds. (MSRP: $299).


Mathews Archery
The new NO CAM HTR bow from Mathews is not just easy to shoot: It’s easy to shoot well, thanks to round and concentric string tracks that ensure a super-smooth draw cycle and straight, level nock travel for accuracy. At 32 inches axle-to-axle, the NO CAM HTR operates with shorter, more rigid quad limbs, a less reflexed riser, twin Harmonic Stabilizers and Mathew’s popular Focus Grip. RockMods come standard on the NO CAM HTR and are available in 65, 75 and 85 percent let-off. The 4.3-pound bow attains 330 fps, sports a brace height of 6-5/8 and offers a smooth draw in lengths from 24-30 inches, including half sizes, and draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds. Female bowhunters can check out the accuracy and feel of the women’s version—the NO CAM ST—that now headlines its “Women’s Bows” page. If cams are more your style, check out the dual-cam McPherson Series Monster Wake delivering sheer speed at 355 fps at 75 percent let-off (352 fps at 85 percent let-off). Speedsters will gravitate to the smooth-shooting, 35-inch axle-to-axle bow with its mere 5-inch brace height. It weighs in at 5.38 pounds and is available in draw lengths from 25-30 inches and draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 70, and 80 pounds (MSRP: $1699). Last but not least, Solocam fans have a quality bang-for-less-bucks option: the compact, 30-inch, lightweight Z2. This agile bow has a 7-inch brace height, a Focus Grip and a Reverse Assist Roller Guard for a smooth draw that launches arrows at 330 fps. Draw lengths go from 25-30 inches with draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $849).


Obsession Bows
Obsession Bows fuels our obsessionwith an array of new bowhunting models featuring the Fusion Cam with PerFX DS system designed to deliver both smoothness and speed and eliminate cam lean at full draw. First up is the Delta Six Special Ops Edition, a vibration-free, two-track bow engineered to deliver both smoothness and speed. The 344 fps, 28 9/16-inch axle-to-axle model weighs exactly 4 pounds and has a 6-inch brace height and draw lengths of 25 ½-29 inches and draw weights of 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds. Chasing speed? Then take things up a notch like many ATA Show attendees did by going for the 356-fps Fusion 6. The 32 ¼-inch axle-to-axle bow is Obsession’s fastest, most advanced bow yet and has a “gracious valley,” meaning when you’re at full draw and start to relax, you have ample distance for the string to go forward if your draw arm inadvertently creeps. A rock-hard wall is the finishing touch. It also has a 6-inch brace height and is available in draw lengths of 26 ½-30 inches and draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds. The new Fusion 7 sports a brace height of 7 inches and drops speed a bit to 346 fps (MSRP for each: $999). For Obsession’s smoothest, high-performance speed bow, try the 32-inch, split-limb Evolution that fires arrows at 350 fps and still feels light in the hand but with a 6-inch brace height demands good form. It has dual stops with comfy letoffs to aid accuracy along with an anti-torque cable guard and a slim and sleek torque-free grip. The Evolution Cam II offers the PerFX System interchangeable draw length mods in ½-inch increments. Draw lengths go from 23 ½ to 30 inches with draw weights including 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $899). Last but not least, Obsession says the Phoenix is the smoothest-drawing bow you’ll ever shoot, thanks to an effortless draw cycle and easy let-down. It hits speeds of 340 fps, has a 7-inch brace height, draw lengths from 24 ½-31 inches and draw weights also including 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $899).


PSE Archery
PSE Archery has been busy, starting with the Bow Madness Series for single-cam purists. The 30-inch model attains speeds of 330 fps with a 6 ½-inch brace height is available from 23 1/3-30-inch draw lengths at draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $499). The 32- and 34-inch versions launch arrows at 340 and 342 fps, respectively (MSRP: $599 and $699, respectively). The 33-inch axle-to-axle, 335 fps, 4.1-pound Source HD (Hyper Drive cam) is a Pro Series bow with a 7-inch brace height, draw weights from 25 ½ to 31 ½ inches and draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $699). But what seemed to draw even more attention at the PSE booth was the Premonition HD. Compact for the blind at just over 30 inches axle-to-axle, the bow sports the new center-pull-style HD Cam and hits speeds up to 345 fps. The bow has a 6 ¼-inch brace height, offers 80 percent letoff, draw weights from 24-30 inches and draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds (MSRP: $599). For women, the Premonition HD Stiletto sports draw lengths from 24-30 inches with draw weights of 40 and 50 pounds. Combining longer axle-to-axle length with a smooth draw and high let-off is the 35-inch Dream Season Decree HD, a 345 fps speed bow that won’t pull your arm off when you’re trying to stay at full draw. At 4.2 pounds, the smooth-draw bow has a 6 ½-inch brace height and a new 3-D structural riser that makes speed easy to handle. The Decree is a smaller version at about 31 ½ inches axle-to-axle that hits speeds of 355 fps at only 3.8 pounds (MSRP: $949). For larger statured hunters, the Freak SP measures 38 inches axle-to-axle and offers draw lengths from 27 ½-33 inches and draw weights from 60-80 pounds (MSRP: $949). The Fever One Pro is an affordably-priced, single-cam option with a 7-inch brace height and draw lengths from 18 ½-29 inches and draw weights from 40-70 pounds (MSRP: $399), while the smooth Drive LT two-cam option sports draw weights from 25 ½-31 inches and draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds.


Winchester Archery
New to Winchester Archery for 2015 are twin 31-inch axle-to-axle bows: the Varmint and the ladies’ bow, the Minx, both available in draw lengths from 24-30 ½ inches. Draw weights can be set to 60 and 70 pounds on the Varmint and 50 to 60 on the Minx. Draw weights also can be backed down a full 16 pounds in just three revolutions using the Pro Link Pocket System, which eliminates the use of a limb bolt while suppressing limb shock. (MSRP: $799 each). During their shooting event at the ATA Show, it was interesting to see the number of longer-draw hunters also checking out the new 36-inch axle-to-axle Thoroughbred. Though initially designed with target archers in mind, bowhunters are treated to draw weights from 28-31 inches, a smooth draw cycle and a solid back wall. At 4.64 pounds, this “dead-in-the-hand” bow shoots vibration-free at 325 fps, has a 7 ¼-inch brace height and draw weights of 60-70 pounds (MSRP: $899).


Xpedition Archery
Last year Xpedition Archery dangled quite the carrot, inviting bowhunters to “Xperience perfection” by checking out its new dual-cam 352-fps Xcentric. It already revised the bow for 2015, starting with its XS hybrid cam that attains 80 percent let-off at all draw lengths. It also streamlined the ATR cable guard to simplify tuning, reduce friction and increase speed, creating an even smoother draw cycle and an extra 2 fps (MSRP: $949). It then revised the Xcentric SD (Short Draw version), featuring the new PX² cam. Now the cam module, which determines draw length, can be removed and changed as needed to alter draw lengths without using a press. Both models cover draw lengths from 25-27 1/2 inches and draw weights from 40-70 pounds. Single-cam hunters can check out the Xcentric 6S and 7S (with 6-inch and 7-inch brace heights, respectively) sporting the refined X-1 cam that combines easier tuning and a smoother draw cycle. (MSRP: $949 each).In keeping with how "X" marks the spot at Xpeditition, the company is drumming up headlines with the new Perfexion—spelled, of course, with an “X.” This precision bow is smooth and fast at 337 fps, measures 36 inches axle-to-axle and offers a generous brace height of just over 7 inches (MSRP: $1049).



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