Newcomer Winchester Archery debuted last year and impressed us out of the gate with six bows that were very solid performers over a wide range of prices. This year Winchester continues to impress with two additional bows boasting some cutting-edge technology. With an IBO speed of 350 fps, the brand new Lightning is screaming-fast. We could say it’s a smooth-shooting bow for its speed, but the fact is it’s a smooth-shooting bow for any speed. It’s also extremely quiet and nicely balanced. Vibration, depending on grip and the stabilizer used, is detectable but very slight, and the back wall, while not quite as rock-solid as last year’s models, is firm enough. The Lightning is built around Winchester’s new 4Trac SS Cam, which features dual let-outs and a self-centering splitter ring to virtually eliminate cam lean. That design, together with a self-centering adjustable roller guard, also reduces torque. Two different modules take the draw length from 25 to 30 inches in half-inch increments and can be changed or rotated for more precise adjustments without pressing the bow. A smaller, but otherwise identical cam is available for draw lengths of 25 to 27 inches. Also new is the lack of limb bolts—draw weights are adjusted precisely using a hex wrench and a turnbuckle positioned between riser ends and limb pockets. Three complete turns of the turnbuckles can reduce each 50-, 60-, or 70-pound bow by 16 pounds. Mass weight is 4 pounds, brace height is 6 inches, and axle-to-axle is 32.5 inches. Available in Proveil Reaper Woods Pattern, the Lightning’s suggested retail price is $950.
For the still-growing numbers of women bowhunters Winchester offers the Minx, featuring the same 4Trac SS cam design as found on the Lightning, in draw lengths starting at 24.5 to 26.5 inches in a small cam size and 27 to 29 inches in a large cam. Weighing in at a very comfortable 3.4 pounds, the Minx offers a generous 7-inch brace height and a very respectable 300 fps at 26.5 inches The Minx also boasts the same stainless steel hardware, directional venting to direct vibration toward the stabilizer, and Speedsters speed nocks to boost speed while silencing the string, as found on all Winchester bows. It’s available in Proveil Reaper Woods Pattern and carries a suggested retail price of $700.