Hoyt introduced its first carbon marvel, the Carbon Matrix, in 2010, and it was a clear win for this legendary compound bow maker. For this reason, more carbon models followed. Some Hoyt Nation favorites included the Carbon Element and Carbon Defiant. In recent years, however, a new carbon line has emerged.
Dubbed the RX line, this series of bows, which first launched with the creation of the RX-1 in 2018, continues to impress. For 2021, the RX-5 is available in a standard 30-inch axle-to-axle model and a 34-inch axle-to-axle Ultra.
On the brink of whitetail season, I was pumped to see Hoyt’s 30-inch axle-to-axle RX-5 emerge from the box. I prefer a longer axle-to-axle bow when it comes to Western big game, but when hunting whitetails from treestands and ground blinds, a shorter, more maneuverable bow is my go-to.
At $1,699, Hoyt designed this bow with some racy eye appeal. The rig, from top to bottom, is dead sexy. There were no nicks or dings, and when I placed my hand into the bow’s REDWRX XACT grip (more on this later), it was apparent we were going to be friends from the get-go.
Set up was a breeze. The limb bolts turned like butter—no popping or chattering—indicating a perfect marriage to the riser. Accessories mounted easily. There were no screw holes or attachment points that needed cleaning.
A new-for-2021 engine, the HBX Cam System covers the bow’s full draw-length range via a pair of modules. One module covers draw lengths from 25 to 28 inches and the other from 28½ to 30 inches. This allows the archer to make finite adjustments in half-inch draw-length increments by simply loosing a pair of T15 screws—two on the top cam and two on the bottom—and rotating the module. Draw length settings are labeled on the bow’s upper left split limb, and each letter (A-K) on the No. 2 module option coincides with a specific draw-length measurement. My draw length is 29½ inches, so I needed the letter B to show in the module window. I appreciate this type of adjustment simplicity.
Another win with this cam system is how elementary it is to change the RX-5’s two let-off settings. The bow arrived set at 85 percent let-off, but I opted to change that setting to 80 percent for testing and hunting. A T15 screwdriver head and a simple slide of the let-off setting from 85 to 80 percent was all that was required.
My first shot through paper was perfect up and down, and only a slight nock left tear needed remedy. A small movement of the rest toward the riser (right-handed bow) cleaned up the tear. I really must applaud the Quality Archery Designs (QAD) Integrate Rest Mounting system included on the RX-5. A new-school technology that replaces the bow’s Berger hole with a vertical dovetail, the Integrate Mounting system allows for a QAD Integrate MX drop-away rest to mount to the face of the riser. This design prevents rotation and locks down the rest with a tight, two-point locking system, and by eliminating the rest’s mounting bar, the package is lightweight and streamlined.
With the bow paper-tuned, I stepped back to 20 yards and fired a three-shot group. The HBX Cam System draws like silk, even at max draw weight, and the small rubberized pads located on the top and bottom modules contact the RX-5’s up cable to create a beautiful back wall. I like a back wall with a bit of valley I can pull into. As the bow transitioned from peak weight to let-off—a very smooth changeover—I could crawl into my anchor and push and pull into the shot.
For a 30-inch axle-to-axle bow, this rig sits at full draw like a well-trained Labrador. Upping balance is the included In-Line Short Stop 2.25-inch stabilizer. Hoyt lowered the center of gravity by moving the stabilizer position lower on the riser, just above the bottom limb pocket. A lower center of gravity boosts the effectiveness of the Short Stop stabilizer. The attachment point sits much farther forward on the carbon riser, allowing the Short Stop to function more like a 6-inch stabilizer. Of course, you can use the stabilizer of your choosing, and Hoyt included a second, more traditional attachment point, but I found the Short Stop to be plenty effective. Hoyt also added an SL Sidebar attachment point for those looking to add additional stabilization.
At the shot, the bow is whisper quiet. The RX-5’s noise- and vibration-killing combo (Shock Pods and Stealth Shot string stop) is money. Shooting a heavy arrow added to the stealth, and it’s unlikely even the cagiest whitetail in the woods will duck the RX-5. My Easton 4MM FMJ (478.8 grains) proved a perfect partner for this powerful yet silent vertical assassin.
Accuracy, at distances close and far, was remarkable. I applaud the thin throat and flat back of the REDWRX XACT grip, and the perfect marriage of the hollow carbon-tube riser design, limb system and HBX Cams make the RX-5 a tack driver. From distances of 20 to 80 yards, my three-arrow groups were solid. If I did my job and let the release fire the bow, the RX-5 did its job. This accuracy proved true with field points, mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads.
Speed was impressive. Set at 29½ inches of draw length and 69.54 pounds of draw weight, the RX-5 powered my 4MM FMJs at 281 fps. That fps rating blended with arrow weight provided a kinetic energy rating of 83.97 ft.-lbs.—more than enough energy to blow through any big-game critter in North America and abroad.
Hoyt has set a new bar with the RX-5. I’ve shot and tested every RX model this bow manufacturer has put out over the years, and this one trumps them all when it comes to overall shootability, stealth and that oh-so-good feel.
• Type: dual-cam compound bow
• Riser: carbon
• Limbs: split
• Cam(s): HBX Cam System; 80-85% let-off
• Grip: REDWRX XACT
• String: Fuse
• Axle-to-Axle Length: 30"
• Brace Height: 6¼"
• Draw Weights (lbs.): 30-40, 50-60, 55-65, 60-70, 70-80
• Draw Length: 25"-28", 28.5"-30"
• IBO Speed Rating: 342 fps
• Overall Weight: 4.4 lbs.
• Finish: Buckskin, Wilderness, Realtree Edge, Kuiu Verde 2.0, Gore Optifade Subalpine, Gore Optifade Elevated II, Blackout
• Accessories: QAD Integrate Rest Mounting System; In-Line Sight mount; Short Stop stabilizer
• MSRP: $1,699; hoyt.com