No compound bow’s introduction to the market was more hyped. By the time the new Bowtech Insanity was literally uncaged for the jockeying, rubber-necking, wide-eyed crowd at the 2012 ATA Show, the bow had a heap of advance billing lot to live up to.
And… it has not disappointed. For as smooth and quiet as it is, this bow is insanely fast, indeed.
For the first time, Bowtech is offering their flagship bow in two axle-to-axle lengths: the standard 32-inch Insanity CPX and the 35-inch Insanity CPXL.
If it were up to me, other companies would follow suit. Why? Because although short-and-light is handy and sells, and despite a decade of bow makers scrambling to make ever more squat and wispy bows, the fact remains that a longer, heavier bow is typically easier to shoot well and is still preferred by many knowledgeable shooters. Having the premium performance of a top-end bow in a choice of axle-to-axle lengths just makes sense.
The “CP” in “CPX” and “CPXL stands for Center Pivot, which describes one of the company’s signature technologies, in which a riser deeply forked at the ends contacts each limb creating a fulcrum the center. This acts as a brace that trues the limbs and stabilizes the riser and has been independently shown to decrease vibration and noise. What’s more, the design moves the limbs’ pivot point (typically located at the limb pockets) toward the string and almost in line with the grip, making this a far less reflexed riser than most speed bow, which mitigates torque and twist.
Both bows also feature a flexible FLX-Guard cable guard, designed to eliminate the tension otherwise put on the riser with a stiff guard when the cables travel during the draw stroke, thus improving tunability, accuracy, and forgiveness. Powered by the company’s Overdrive Binary Cam system and Hardcore limbs, both models, and especially the CPX, produce eye-popping IBO speeds.
That’s how the two Insanities are alike. But in the field and on the range, they are surprisingly different bows. The CPX has a shorter brace height, a more aggressive draw stroke, and a steeper valley, all of which contribute to its 15 fps IBO edge and make it a little trickier to shoot really well. The CPXL is easier to draw, easier to hold against the back wall, and easier to hold on target, all of which makes it a little slower but easer to shoot.
For my tests, I set up the Insanity CPX and CPXL with identical accessories and shot them side-by-side. Using the same three arrows, I took 10 three-shot groups at 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards with each bow, and then averaged the group sizes. Here are the results:
CPX @ 30: 2.77 inches
CPXL @ 30: 2.86 inches
CPX @ 40: 3.87 inches
CPXL @ 40: 3.48 inches
CPX @ 50: 5.77 inches
CPXL @ 50: 4.39 inches
CPX @ 60: 5.66 inches
CPXL @ 60: 4.39 inches
In terms of accuracy and forgiveness, there was very little difference between the two bows inside 40 yards. But beyond that, the longer, heavier bow proved more accurate. But, and this is important, that does not necessarily make it the better bow. It depends on you.
If you can handle an aggressive draw stroke and are not apt to shoot beyond 40 yards, if you will carry your bow a lot in the field (as opposed to hang it from a hook in a treestand and are a bit of a speed freak, there is every reason to favor the shorter, lighter, handier, faster CPX. As an honest critic, it causes me physical pain to rave unreservedly about anything, but for a 355-fps bow, the CPX is pretty darn smooth-shooting. On the other hand, it’s not as if the CPXL is slow. It’s a 340-fps bow that is a joy to draw and shoot. If, like me, you do most of your hunting from a treestand, where the length and weight of your bow is not a huge issue, the CPXL is tough to beat.
Insanity CPX ($999; bowtecharchery.com)
Draw Weights: 50,60,70,80
Axle to Axle: 32 inches
IBO Speed: 355 fps
Brace Height 6 inches
Weight: 4.3 pounds
Let-Off: 80 percent
Draw Weights: 50, 60, 70, 80
Axle to Axle: 35 inches
IBO Speed: 340 fps
Brace Height 7 inches
Weight: 4.4 pounds
Let-Off: 80 percent
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