While most bow companies include in their line-up one or more bows aimed at the budget-minded hunter, BowTech sister company Diamond is among the few companies whose mission is to provide high-quality, moderately priced bows. Being neither the least nor most expensive bow in the Diamond line-up makes the Core sort of a value bow among value bows. It’s a lightweight, conventional single-cam bow with an aluminum riser and cams, along with E-glass composite limbs. While the materials are not cutting-edge, they’re time-tested in terms of durability and reliability. At the same time, the relatively parallel limbs, the moderately reflexed riser, solid limb pockets, light weight, a compact axle-to-axle length of 31 inches, a generous 71⁄4-inch brace height, and a narrow, ergonomic grip makes this bow similar in design to most of the high-end compound bows currently on the market.
One way manufacturers try to provide more value for the money is by marketing bows that come with accessories included, more or less ready to shoot right out of the box. As part of Diamond’s R.A.K. (Ready, Aim, Kill) series, the Core comes factory-tuned with a 3-Pin Apex Sight, Octane Hijack Arrow Rest, Octane DeadLock Lite Quiver, Comfort Wrist Sling, Alloy Peep, BCY String Loop, and a 5-inch Ultra-Lite Octane Stabilizer.
Among the design features the Core shares with other Diamond bows (and some BowTech bows as well) is the rotating module, which allows draw range adjustments over a 6-inch range without changing cams or modules, or without the need for a bow press. The Carbon Rod String Stop is another feature the Core has in common with other Diamond and BowTech bows. And though it is a minor feature, I also like the hash marks on the cam that show at a glance if the cam is properly oriented. Another welcome feature is the hand-guard (for lack of a better term) portion of the grip that extends above the shelf, reducing the likelihood of an accident along with the distraction of worrying about broadhead-tipped arrows an inch or two away from my shooting hand.
The Core’s draw weight makes it unusually versatile, covering a 30-pound range from 40 out to 70 pounds. With more and more bow companies issuing dire warnings about the consequences of backing limb bolts out too far, I like the bolt inspection holes in this and other Diamond and BowTech bows. If you can see the limb bolts in the hole, you’re safe. A related feature on this bow is the ability to relax the limbs by carefully backing the limb bolts out five or six turns from the point at which the tip of the limb bolt is visible in the bolt inspection hole in the riser. This enables strings to be changed or peeps to be installed without a press—a capability that cannot only reduce the need for visits to a pro shop, but can save a hunt.
To insure that we are always comparing apples to apples, every bow is fitted prior to testing with identical accessories including a QAD Ultra DX drop-away rest, a TruGlo Extreme Series sight, a TruGlo Deadenator XS stabilizer, a G5 Meta-peep 1⁄4-inch Hunter Peep Sight, and a D-loop. The first thing I did with the bow, after noting the very good fit and finish, was to remove all the R.A.K. accessories except the sling and the string loop, and replace them with our standard accessories.
Arguably the most noticeable thing about this bow is its mass weight of 3.2 pounds. That is lighter than any of the high-end compound bows touted for the super light weight of their cutting-edge materials or design. Theoretically, all else being equal, more weight equals a quieter, more forgiving bow. All else is rarely equal, though, and in my experience hunters who become accustomed to a light bow are seldom happy going back to a heavier bow. Lighter weight is clearly a trend in compound bows, and that being the case the light weight of this “value bow” puts it ahead of the trend.
Since I removed most of the accessories from the bow, I was not able to test the factory tuning. And maybe because I tune a lot of bows, I appreciate things that make tuning easier. Finding centershot on the Core is simply a matter of nocking the arrow and adjusting the rest so the arrow is parallel to the riser. When the distance from the front of the riser to the arrow equals the distance from the back of the riser to the arrow, you are at approximate centershot. Not every shooter achieves the best results with true centershot, but this is usually a good starting point.
In an era when manufacturers are competing to make even the fastest bows smooth-drawing, the Core is exceptionally smooth-drawing. Granted, this is not a speed bow, though at a top speed of 313 fps it is more than adequate for a hunting bow. As the draw force curve indicates, the Core comes to full draw without a perceivable hitch or bump. The valley is comfortably wide, and at the shot the bow is very quiet with little or no vibration. Bows marketed as high-value bows or exceptionally versatile bows are often touted as being excellent beginner or entry-level bows, and that makes sense for more than one reason. Still, it’s hard to imagine that any bowhunter who places a priority on features such as proven materials, contemporary design, light weight, easy tuning, a smooth draw, and a quiet shot would not be happy with the Core. Marketing strategies aside, the fact is a good bow is a good bow is a good bow. This is a good bow.