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Bow Report: Mission Ballistic

The logo reads “Mission by Mathews.” Every company has a mission, and Mission’s mission is to produce high-quality bows at lower prices. They achieve this in a time-tested fashion: They borrow some design features and some cutting-edge technology from a sister company (Mathews), and they reduce costs by cutting a few corners in ways that have the least effect on performance.

Driving the Ballistic is the same aggressively smooth AVS dual-cam system that Mathews developed for the McPherson series of bows, and at 330 fps it generates roughly the same speed as Mathews’ popular new Chill. Every cam system has its strength and, arguably, its downside. In years past the strength of dual-cam systems was high speed; the downside was timing issues caused by string creep. When the two cams became unsynchronized all sorts of bad things happened, beginning with poor nock travel and erratic arrow flight. Thanks to the development of modern string materials, this problem has been greatly reduced if not eliminated; the best strings tend to creep slightly when initially installed, then after 25 to 100 shots, “settle in” to a point beyond which, if they’re not abused, any additional creep will be insignificant. The Zebra hybrid string employed on the Ballistic is a very good factory string.

Mission BallisitcAt the same time, the AVS cam (AVS stands for Advanced Vectoring System) features  loops on the ends of each harness that attach to a wheel on either side of each cam. The wheels are on bearings around the axles. They are not centered, so as they rotate when the bow is drawn, the center moves away from the front to the rear of the axles, which stores additional energy for more speed while simultaneously increasing letoff. It’s an ingenious design.

The cams are modular, with draw lengths running from 26 inches to 30 inches in half-inch increments. Changing draw length requires replacing the modules, a simple procedure that anyone can do without pressing the bow. Draw weight on the Ballistic is wider than is typical, running from 50 to 70 pounds. Twenty pounds of adjustability is probably neither an advantage nor a disadvantage to an experienced bowhunter, but that versatility can be a definite advantage for young or beginning shooters, whose optimum draw weight is likely to increase with growth or conditioning. Draw weight changes are achieved in the conventional manner by simply tightening or loosening the limb bolts. In the case of the Ballistic, each turn of the limb bolts equals three to four pounds of draw weight, so six full turns will cover the full range of 20 pounds. The Mission owner’s manual warns in bold print against loosening the limb bolts more than six turns.

String grubs and the carbon Dead End string stop are time-tested and effective, if not cutting-edge features common to Mathews and Mission bows. The Ballistic’s limbs are familiar parallel-split quad limbs, and the riser is extruded, as opposed to forged. The cable guard features a standard straight carbon cable guard rod, and the grip is a somewhat soft, relatively wide composite material. Cosmetically, the bow looks great with excellent fit and finish. The orange string, cables, and vectoring wheels contrast nicely with the black cams and the camo limbs and riser, though some shooters might feel the removable composite grip detracts slightly from the appearance. Similarly, the limb pockets are a composite material that, while undoubtedly strong enough, detracts a little from the bow’s otherwise sleek lines.

Shooting The Bow

Setting up the bow with our standard accessories was simple enough, and I encountered no difficulties in the process. I squared the arrow on the rest and eyeballed for centershot. I found I needed to move the rest slightly outside what appeared to me to be centershot, but after a few minutes of tweaking was getting bullet holes through paper with an unfletched arrow.

At about 4.2 pounds, the Ballistic is neither heavy nor super-light by today’s standards. The draw stroke is comfortably smooth, especially considering the aggressiveness of the AVS cams and the speeds this bow generates. Mushy back walls are unusual these days, and the Ballistic has a firm back wall that is consistent with that of most current bows on the market. At proper draw length it holds steadily on target. It is reasonably quiet out of the box, and no doubt could be even more so with a couple of limb dampeners. I did not experience noticeable torque or hand shock. With a stabilizer, there is a very slight tuning fork sensation after the shot.

The grip is not one that I would choose for my own use; it’s wide, soft, sticky, and not particularly ergonomic. I tend to prefer grips that are narrow, slick, and contoured to fit my hand. On the plus side, I’m sure it’s relatively warm in cold weather, and certainly some shooters prefer wide grips. In any case, the grip is removable and can be easily replaced with an aftermarket grip. The riser edges are a little sharp for shooting this bow without the grip in place, but electrician’s tape could resolve that issue.

Overall, the Ballistic is consistent with Mission’s corporate philosophy of producing high-performance bows at a significantly lower price point. For less than $500 the Ballistic is a bow that compares favorably in performance to many bows selling for nearly twice the price.

Mission Ballisitc

MISSION BALLISTIC SPECS

Letoff:.................................................. 80%

Brace Height:................................... 7 inches

Weight:................................................ 4.18 pounds

Axle-To-Axle Length:.................. 30.5 inches

Speed:................................................... 330 fps

Draw lengths:................................... 26 to 30 inches, module-specific in half-inch increments.

Draw weights:.................................. 50 to 70 pounds.

Options:.............................................. Lost Camo AT or Black finishes. Accessory packages including Basic, Bow Hunter, and Pro Hunter.

Suggested Retail:.......................... $499 bow only

OBJECTIVE TESTS  (30 Inches Draw)

Peak Hold*:........................................ 70 pounds

Weight, Full Draw*:...................... 13 pounds

Arrow Weight:................................. 385 grains............... 500 grains

Arrow @70 Pounds*:................... 311 fps.................... 274fps

Arrow @60 Pounds*:................... 283 fps.................... 257 fps

K.E. @70 Pounds*:........................ 82.60 ft. lbs........... 83.27 ft. lbs.

K.E. @60 Pounds*:........................ 68.40 ft. lbs........... 73.25 ft. lbs.

Sound Level @60 Pounds:......... 58.3 dBA................. 46.9 dBA

*Rounded to nearest half-pound

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