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Bow Test 2012: Best New Compound Hunting Bows

Bow Test 2012: Best New Compound Hunting Bows

Outdoor Life is known for running one of the toughest and most detailed bow tests in the industry.
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from fletch14me wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I like looking at these bow tests at a later date. Over the last 6 months I shot and hunted with the Hoyt, the Mathews and the BowTech. Shot each extensively. Hands down the BowTech was the best by far.

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from zedd wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I reverse calculated the mass of the arrow based on the given velocities and ke (which the article gave in accuracy to 1 significant figure, i.e., .1 etc). The Ma (Mass of arrow) for the first 6 bows were 334.7 grains, 340.6 gr., 335.4 gr., 339.6 gr., 337.9 gr., and 333.4 gr.. Obviously different arrows were used for the shootout. If different arrows were used for the shootout, it stands to reason to wonder at the type of shaft, fletch, and arrowhead that was different, all contributions to ballistic coefficients and leading to different down range numbers. Crappy article. While it stands to reason one would use the arrow best fitted for the bow in terms of maximizing accuracy, velocity, penetration, personal preference, etc., it does not lead one to get anything but the most generic indication of potential from the highlighted bow. It also does not reflect well on the bow evaluators.

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from JM wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

To build on Waltonian Archer's comment,
When buying a bow you basically want it to be like a blind test. Ignore the makers name, and any advertisement you have seen. Pick the one that feels and shoots the best for you. I'm sure many people would pass on the "Hoyt Vector 32" and pick a $300 bow instead.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Waltonian Archer wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I have to agree with PAboneDoc. Just give us the scientific facts and leave the personal opinion out of the tests. Let the consumer decide whats best for them. When you do that surprising things happen. I can remember a "blind shoot test" that was done so the shooters didnt know what bow they were shooting and a Bear came in 2nd. Then I remember the "experts" bashing Bear for the first string stop. The next year everyone had a string stop on their bows. As for the Strother Wrath, I can say this is their "Bowhunter" bow, not their speed bow. I was very impressed with this bow. Find a dealer and shoot one. You'll be impressed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Widgeon wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

These numbers just don't add up, as has been stated by others before me, if a 350 grain arrow was used. What was your test arrow? Was the same arrow shot from every bow? Were all the bows properly tuned to the arrow? Using KE/20 is fine and dandy to show KE at impact, but it doesn't change the ranking of the bows. If the arrow has the proper dynamic spine and is tuned correctly to the bow, the KE ranking at point blank will be the same as at 20 yards.

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from PAboneDoc wrote 1 year 52 weeks ago

Facts are facts and tests are tests. Take the other variables out of it and rank them accordingly. Let the consumer judge the other factors. I don't have a decibel meter in my house or a chronograph. That is what I rely on OL to provide. It happens every year with the rifle tests too.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from njschneider wrote 1 year 52 weeks ago

Everyone is asking about KE of the arrow, faster is not always better. Yes it is more forgiving as it leaves the bow and if you hunt out west you want a flat shooting bow, but I have found that once I climb over the 300 fps mark that I become less accurate and loose KE/penetration because the arrow is coming out at such a force that not all the energy stays behind the arrow and passes through the arrow. Energy transfers differently through a 30 inch arrow then it does through a lead bullet. I found my sweet spot at 295 fps and a 62 pound draw weight. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy fast shooting bows because 340 fps is bare bow once you even add a peep sight it reduces the fps. Adding a peep sight, certain rests, even a release shortens your draw length and reduces your fps.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Still wrote 2 years 18 hours ago

One way that bows deliver more kinetic energy is reduction of torque in the bow. The torque energy delivered to the Arrow will over time reduce the KE at the target. See if you can find slow motion video of arrows in flight you will see that energy is delivered horizontal and vertical. IE F.L.X system from Bowtech/Diamond.

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from bwensel wrote 2 years 18 hours ago

I would have to agree with Kevin on this one. I'm a bit confused on your Kinetic Energy calculation. It is a simple formula but your results don't make any sense. Mass is constant correct? Meaning you used the same arrow, same fletching, etc...to ensure consistent results. That leaves velocity. Your results show bows that have a slower speed, with higher Kinetic Energy...that’s just not mathematically possible. Can you explain how that happens as well as how you are calculating a 20 yard KE? Do you have a chrono set up at 20 yards to get the 20 yard Velocity? Clarification would be great. Look forward to hearing the details.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kevin Reese wrote 2 years 20 hours ago

I will apologize in advance. I am a black and white sort of guy in most cases. KE is a sum of a hard and fast mathematical equation, correct? If the formula for KE is Mass x Velocity Squared / 450240 = ft. lbs. of KE, and we are using the same arrow weight (mass) for all testing, isn't the only variable velocity? Why then would a slower arrow produce more KE than a faster arrow if the mass is the same? What other variables existed in your testing to arrive at the order in which you presented your rankings? It just doesn't make sense to me but then again I'm also not a scientist. Can you share testing details so that we better understand this surprise in the rankings?

Kindest regards.

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from chipD wrote 2 years 4 days ago

I just read the new bow test, and I have to wonder about order placement, I have to question the Heli-M at number #2. I can't put my finger on how a bow that is the loudest, not the fastest, or hardest hitting ends up #2? The fact that it is the loudest would also suggest that it would also have shot vibration. The problem with sound is it is the effect of vibration moving air around the source of vibration. You can not have sound without vibration. I would think a 950 dollar bow would be quiet and have minimal vibration to gain such a high ranking.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ftothfadd wrote 2 years 4 days ago

As far as KE is concerned, fair comparison would demand using identical arrows for each bow. Indeed, I believe these bows were tested using IBO standards, so all arrows should have weighed 350 grains. Hencevthe question is still out there: how did a bow shooting an arrow with a higher v0 become slower at v20 than a bow with a slower v0. Again, assuming identical arrows that is the only way how the lower KE20 can be generated by a higher v0 bow compated to a lower v0 bow. Explanation from the testers?

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from x2hunt wrote 2 years 4 days ago

@ huntfishtrap.. I couldn’t agree more but I was in the archery shop just yesterday shopping for a bow for my daughter and it seems all the bows are creeping up to the $800 range, that being said my decision to purchase my last bow was based partly by the odl 2009 bow review and I must say I couldn’t be happier..

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from BaboosicBomb wrote 2 years 4 days ago

Hey! Newcomer from F&S here.

ftothfadd: More weight equals more air resistance, and even though speed is multiplied twice in the equation, weight still matters more. Would you rather have a volley ball at 5 miles an hour hit you, or a bolling ball at 3?

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from huntfishtrap wrote 2 years 5 days ago

I know I've said this about your rifle/shotgun/bow tests before, but I wish you would include a few more reasonably priced models. Only two bows under $750 this time? Apparently the head honchos at OL have forgotten, or have never known, what a significant sum $800 or $900 is for most working-class folks, who supposedly make up the bulk of OL's readers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josh Giannino wrote 2 years 5 days ago

whats with all the black colored bows, just seems to much like competition bows, I hunt from above, not from a ground blind.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from marksman wrote 2 years 5 days ago

SOOOO.........Why are most of these bows being marketed as smooth and vibration free, yet the vast majority are bristling with a multitude of vibration reduction devices imbedded into the risers and limbs.

Lets play the what if game. What would the results be if all those devices were removed from the bows before testing????? Just a thought.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ftothfadd wrote 2 years 5 days ago

Dear Dr. Kuhn,

Just a quick question which puzzles me. I believe the kinetic energy of an arrow equals 1/2m x v^2 therefore I find it rather surprising that the bow with the fastest arrow did not turn in the greatest kinetic energy (KE). I would assume that the arrows used to establish the KE were identical for all bows so the only remaining variable should be speed. I would appreciate some explanation why an arrow leaving a bow at a faster speed sheds speed so much faster than another one starting slower, so that by 20m distance it will actually become slower than the one starting at a slower speed..
Was the KE measured at 20m or was it calculated using speed measurement at 20yds?
If it is indeed the case that the originally faster arrow sheds speed so much faster than the slower starting one, then one would assume that the faster arrow failed to stabilize probably because the spine or something else was improperly chosen.
What are your thoughts??
Thank you for your answer in advance,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Keith Schlaudecker wrote 2 years 5 days ago

"I'm glad to see that the "usual" bow brands weren't used in this test such as ALWAYS having Hoyt,and Martin or Matthews always top of the line."

Couldnt agree more "Officerdom1987".

I swear these publications are paid off by the big boys to promote their products.

Would like to see an unbiased opinion. OLF and F&S play the politics.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from officerdom1987 wrote 2 years 5 days ago

I'm glad to see that the "usual" bow brands weren't used in this test such as ALWAYS having Hoyt,and Martin or Matthews always top of the line. Good to see Misson and Parker are still putting out great bows. (I wish that Golden Eagle bows were still around). One thing I am noticing though is that almost 50% of these arrow chuckers seem like competition bows instead of something I wanna carry to the woods. I'd rather have a bow with a little mud on it than a fresh coat of armor-all on the limbs...

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from Keith Schlaudecker wrote 2 years 5 days ago

"I'm glad to see that the "usual" bow brands weren't used in this test such as ALWAYS having Hoyt,and Martin or Matthews always top of the line."

Couldnt agree more "Officerdom1987".

I swear these publications are paid off by the big boys to promote their products.

Would like to see an unbiased opinion. OLF and F&S play the politics.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from officerdom1987 wrote 2 years 5 days ago

I'm glad to see that the "usual" bow brands weren't used in this test such as ALWAYS having Hoyt,and Martin or Matthews always top of the line. Good to see Misson and Parker are still putting out great bows. (I wish that Golden Eagle bows were still around). One thing I am noticing though is that almost 50% of these arrow chuckers seem like competition bows instead of something I wanna carry to the woods. I'd rather have a bow with a little mud on it than a fresh coat of armor-all on the limbs...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from marksman wrote 2 years 5 days ago

SOOOO.........Why are most of these bows being marketed as smooth and vibration free, yet the vast majority are bristling with a multitude of vibration reduction devices imbedded into the risers and limbs.

Lets play the what if game. What would the results be if all those devices were removed from the bows before testing????? Just a thought.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josh Giannino wrote 2 years 5 days ago

whats with all the black colored bows, just seems to much like competition bows, I hunt from above, not from a ground blind.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chipD wrote 2 years 4 days ago

I just read the new bow test, and I have to wonder about order placement, I have to question the Heli-M at number #2. I can't put my finger on how a bow that is the loudest, not the fastest, or hardest hitting ends up #2? The fact that it is the loudest would also suggest that it would also have shot vibration. The problem with sound is it is the effect of vibration moving air around the source of vibration. You can not have sound without vibration. I would think a 950 dollar bow would be quiet and have minimal vibration to gain such a high ranking.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 2 years 5 days ago

I know I've said this about your rifle/shotgun/bow tests before, but I wish you would include a few more reasonably priced models. Only two bows under $750 this time? Apparently the head honchos at OL have forgotten, or have never known, what a significant sum $800 or $900 is for most working-class folks, who supposedly make up the bulk of OL's readers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Waltonian Archer wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I have to agree with PAboneDoc. Just give us the scientific facts and leave the personal opinion out of the tests. Let the consumer decide whats best for them. When you do that surprising things happen. I can remember a "blind shoot test" that was done so the shooters didnt know what bow they were shooting and a Bear came in 2nd. Then I remember the "experts" bashing Bear for the first string stop. The next year everyone had a string stop on their bows. As for the Strother Wrath, I can say this is their "Bowhunter" bow, not their speed bow. I was very impressed with this bow. Find a dealer and shoot one. You'll be impressed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

To build on Waltonian Archer's comment,
When buying a bow you basically want it to be like a blind test. Ignore the makers name, and any advertisement you have seen. Pick the one that feels and shoots the best for you. I'm sure many people would pass on the "Hoyt Vector 32" and pick a $300 bow instead.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from zedd wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I reverse calculated the mass of the arrow based on the given velocities and ke (which the article gave in accuracy to 1 significant figure, i.e., .1 etc). The Ma (Mass of arrow) for the first 6 bows were 334.7 grains, 340.6 gr., 335.4 gr., 339.6 gr., 337.9 gr., and 333.4 gr.. Obviously different arrows were used for the shootout. If different arrows were used for the shootout, it stands to reason to wonder at the type of shaft, fletch, and arrowhead that was different, all contributions to ballistic coefficients and leading to different down range numbers. Crappy article. While it stands to reason one would use the arrow best fitted for the bow in terms of maximizing accuracy, velocity, penetration, personal preference, etc., it does not lead one to get anything but the most generic indication of potential from the highlighted bow. It also does not reflect well on the bow evaluators.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ftothfadd wrote 2 years 5 days ago

Dear Dr. Kuhn,

Just a quick question which puzzles me. I believe the kinetic energy of an arrow equals 1/2m x v^2 therefore I find it rather surprising that the bow with the fastest arrow did not turn in the greatest kinetic energy (KE). I would assume that the arrows used to establish the KE were identical for all bows so the only remaining variable should be speed. I would appreciate some explanation why an arrow leaving a bow at a faster speed sheds speed so much faster than another one starting slower, so that by 20m distance it will actually become slower than the one starting at a slower speed..
Was the KE measured at 20m or was it calculated using speed measurement at 20yds?
If it is indeed the case that the originally faster arrow sheds speed so much faster than the slower starting one, then one would assume that the faster arrow failed to stabilize probably because the spine or something else was improperly chosen.
What are your thoughts??
Thank you for your answer in advance,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BaboosicBomb wrote 2 years 4 days ago

Hey! Newcomer from F&S here.

ftothfadd: More weight equals more air resistance, and even though speed is multiplied twice in the equation, weight still matters more. Would you rather have a volley ball at 5 miles an hour hit you, or a bolling ball at 3?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from x2hunt wrote 2 years 4 days ago

@ huntfishtrap.. I couldn’t agree more but I was in the archery shop just yesterday shopping for a bow for my daughter and it seems all the bows are creeping up to the $800 range, that being said my decision to purchase my last bow was based partly by the odl 2009 bow review and I must say I couldn’t be happier..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ftothfadd wrote 2 years 4 days ago

As far as KE is concerned, fair comparison would demand using identical arrows for each bow. Indeed, I believe these bows were tested using IBO standards, so all arrows should have weighed 350 grains. Hencevthe question is still out there: how did a bow shooting an arrow with a higher v0 become slower at v20 than a bow with a slower v0. Again, assuming identical arrows that is the only way how the lower KE20 can be generated by a higher v0 bow compated to a lower v0 bow. Explanation from the testers?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kevin Reese wrote 2 years 20 hours ago

I will apologize in advance. I am a black and white sort of guy in most cases. KE is a sum of a hard and fast mathematical equation, correct? If the formula for KE is Mass x Velocity Squared / 450240 = ft. lbs. of KE, and we are using the same arrow weight (mass) for all testing, isn't the only variable velocity? Why then would a slower arrow produce more KE than a faster arrow if the mass is the same? What other variables existed in your testing to arrive at the order in which you presented your rankings? It just doesn't make sense to me but then again I'm also not a scientist. Can you share testing details so that we better understand this surprise in the rankings?

Kindest regards.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Still wrote 2 years 18 hours ago

One way that bows deliver more kinetic energy is reduction of torque in the bow. The torque energy delivered to the Arrow will over time reduce the KE at the target. See if you can find slow motion video of arrows in flight you will see that energy is delivered horizontal and vertical. IE F.L.X system from Bowtech/Diamond.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Widgeon wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

These numbers just don't add up, as has been stated by others before me, if a 350 grain arrow was used. What was your test arrow? Was the same arrow shot from every bow? Were all the bows properly tuned to the arrow? Using KE/20 is fine and dandy to show KE at impact, but it doesn't change the ranking of the bows. If the arrow has the proper dynamic spine and is tuned correctly to the bow, the KE ranking at point blank will be the same as at 20 yards.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fletch14me wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I like looking at these bow tests at a later date. Over the last 6 months I shot and hunted with the Hoyt, the Mathews and the BowTech. Shot each extensively. Hands down the BowTech was the best by far.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bwensel wrote 2 years 18 hours ago

I would have to agree with Kevin on this one. I'm a bit confused on your Kinetic Energy calculation. It is a simple formula but your results don't make any sense. Mass is constant correct? Meaning you used the same arrow, same fletching, etc...to ensure consistent results. That leaves velocity. Your results show bows that have a slower speed, with higher Kinetic Energy...that’s just not mathematically possible. Can you explain how that happens as well as how you are calculating a 20 yard KE? Do you have a chrono set up at 20 yards to get the 20 yard Velocity? Clarification would be great. Look forward to hearing the details.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PAboneDoc wrote 1 year 52 weeks ago

Facts are facts and tests are tests. Take the other variables out of it and rank them accordingly. Let the consumer judge the other factors. I don't have a decibel meter in my house or a chronograph. That is what I rely on OL to provide. It happens every year with the rifle tests too.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from njschneider wrote 1 year 52 weeks ago

Everyone is asking about KE of the arrow, faster is not always better. Yes it is more forgiving as it leaves the bow and if you hunt out west you want a flat shooting bow, but I have found that once I climb over the 300 fps mark that I become less accurate and loose KE/penetration because the arrow is coming out at such a force that not all the energy stays behind the arrow and passes through the arrow. Energy transfers differently through a 30 inch arrow then it does through a lead bullet. I found my sweet spot at 295 fps and a 62 pound draw weight. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy fast shooting bows because 340 fps is bare bow once you even add a peep sight it reduces the fps. Adding a peep sight, certain rests, even a release shortens your draw length and reduces your fps.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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