Looking to relaunch his one-time interest in bowhunting, a friend of mine, who still primarily hunts using firearms, began shopping around for a new bow, but he was shocked at the cost of many of the models he found. Indeed, there are more than a few today that run in excess of $1,200; roughly the cost of a high-end rifle or top-quality semi-auto shotgun. In fact, a darn good gun, topped with a decent scope, can be had for less.
Fortunately for my friend, some affordable bows still can still be too. And not just “you-get-what-you-pay-for” cheaply made models, but some that deliver blistering speeds and premier features from more expensive models in their respective company’s line-up. Following are seven options that won’t bust your bank account, but will have you shooting with the speed, ease and precision the industry’s top-of-the-line bows delivered just a couple of years ago. Hey, those bows killed plenty of deer. These certainly will as well.
A new bow for 2012 is the Riot from Mission, which the bargain bow branch of Mathews. Like some of the parent outfit’s pricier bows, the Riot delivers superb quality and speed but for a much more reasonable cost for the average hunter. Launching arrows at a still smoking 310 fps, the Riot boasts a number of impressive features such as D-Amplifier silencers and suppressors and a Dead End String Stop, Zebra Hybrid strings and dual adjustable cams.
Draw length can be adjusted from a short 19 inches to an ape-armed 30, and the draw weight can be adjusted from an amazing 15 pounds up to the standard big-game thumping 70 pounds.
The Riot tips the scales at a feathery 4.3 pounds and measures 31 inches axle to axle. Brace height comes in at 7 inches, and a comfortable 80 let-off is achieved at full draw. The camo finish is a Lost Camo AT pattern. ($400, missionarchery.com)
High-end features abound on this bow that security will let you stroll out of the store door with if you can plunk down a mere $549. The single-cam Outlaw from Diamond, a bow company owned by and infused with the technology created by archer favorite BowTech, delivers an IBO speed of 330 fps. The bow has a 7-inch brace height and measures 32 inches in length.
Draw speeds are adjustable from 50 to 70 pounds. Throttle Cam Tech is a completely adjustable rotating draw length module. Draw length is adjustable through a range of four inches between 26.5 inches and 31.5 inches. The Outlaw comes R.A.K. (Ready. Aim. Kill.) equipped for shooting right out of the box including components such as a sight, quiver, stabilizer, rest, string loop, wrist sling and alloy peep. Invelvet Armor protects the bow from the elements while making it actually soft to the touch and warmer in the hand in cold weather. ($549, diamondarchery.com)
Created and billed as the popular Strike model’s “faster, smoother brother,” the Legion is a super-short axle-to-axle bow that measures a tight 30.5 inches and launches arrows at an impressive 318 fps. The cam has been redesigned from the Strike’s to deliver a smoother draw and higher arrow speeds, while the grip has been reconfigured to minimize hand torque-a frequent source of poor shots. Dual Arc Offset String Suppressors limit vibration and the bow is strung with quality Contra-Band Strings.
The Legion weighs 4 pounds; the draw weight can be adjusted to 50, 60 or 70 pounds; and the draw length can be tweaked to stretch between 26 inches to 31 inches-all delivering 80 percent let-off. Available in Realtree APG. For $100 more than the base bow price, you can get Bear’s RTH package, which includes components such as a pin sight, rest, peep, nock loop, quiver and more. ($400; beararcheryproducts.com)
PSE Brute HP
PSE was among the pioneers of the compound bow and with the Brute HP, the company proves it remains a leader in both quality and value. The Brute HP ships with a 29-inch draw setting, but is adjustable from 25 inches to 30 with a simple inner module adjustment.
Draw weights are adjustable as well between 60 pounds and 70 pounds and depending on settings, attained speeds are between 312 and 320 fps. The additional tale of the tape reveals a 7-inch brace height, 33 ½ axle-to-axle length, 4.2 pound weight and 75 percent achieved let-off. Available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity. ($400; pse-archery.com)
Top-end Hoyt features in a model that is almost half the price of top-of-the-line Hoyt bows can be had in the ProHawk. Featuring the company’s popular TEC riser paired with slim, yet extremely strong parallel split limbs, the ProHawk is capable of delivering speeds of 305 fps.
This 4-pound bow is adjustable from 20 pounds to 60, has a 7 ¼-inch brace height and is a nicely compact 32 inches for shots from treestand or blind. Draw length is adjustable from 23.5 inches to 30 inches making for a great option for shooters of all sizes-and budgets! Available in Realtree AP, Max1 or black finishes for hunters; red, blue, black, white and even pink for competitive shooters. ($600; hoyt.com)
Redhead’s Blackout Bow Package appeared for the first time in the Bass Pro company’s line-up in 2011 and provided bowhunters with an out-of-the-box, ready-to-shoot quality hunting package. The Blackout bow is a smooth shooting model with a 7-inch brace height and compact axle-to-axle length of 32 inches.
Additional features include a cam design from Redhead that is new for 2011, limb mounting bearing assemblies and a fully machined riser. The total package includes needed components such as a Hostage Pro rest, a 3-pin sight, a 7-inch Octane stabilizer, a one-piece Diamond 5-arrow quiver, peep sight and a sling. ($600; bassproshops.com)
A super compact, super fast bow does not have to cost a lot as Martin is quick to prove with their Exile.
At only 30.25 inches overall length, the Exile features durable PowerTough Limbs; a slim, CNC-machined solid block aluminum riser with Saddleback Thermal grip for a warm, easy grip in any weather; Torque Reducing Cable Guard (TRG); Hammerhead bowstrings; the smooth, vibration reducing Acu-Trak Cam; the Roto Cup Pivoting Limb System; a Quick-Lock stabilizer mount and much more.
Speeds of up to 320 fps are attainable and draw weights adjustable to 50, 60, 70 pounds. Weight is 3.4 pounds and brace height is 7.25 inches. Let-off is 80 percent. ($361; martinarchery.com)