Everyone knows you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can tell a surprising amount about a bow by its appearance. One look at PSE’s X-Force series bows (and most other PSE bows as well), and you know you are looking at an aggressive bow. They just look mean. PSE founder Pete Shepley has always been all about high-performance bows, and PSE always has some real speed demons in its line-up. At the same time, shootability is important. The PSE Dream Season EVO, introduced last year and tweaked with a few improvements for 2012, is arguably PSE’s best shot yet at finding the optimum compromise between pure speed and shootability.
The highly pre stressed, way-past-parallel-at-rest split limbs have a lot to do with the aggressive appearance and this bow’s speed, and even the six (six!) limb band vibration dampeners, the pinwheel-style cable guard damper, and the skinny brace height suggest speed. PSE modified the hybrid cam slightly with half-inch inner module adjustments and a slightly different profile to achieve an even smoother draw cycle. Draw length can be adjusted in half-inch increments from 25 to 30 inches without pressing the bow and without the need to purchase new cams or modules. White hash marks on the cams align with the cable allowing shooters to see at a glance that the cams are properly oriented. The Centerlock limb pockets are wider and these, with the flared ends of PSE’s Planar flex riser, also contribute to the distinctive appearance of this bow series. Draw stops on each cam contribute to the very solid back wall.
The grip is super-narrow, with rubberized side panels. It’s a simple, straightforward grip that is more comfortable than it looks, and this style allows the individual shooter to use a high-, medium-, or low-wrist grip as he or she prefers, while minimizing any tendency to torque.
At 6 inches the brace height is skinny enough to maintain speed, but high enough to make for comfortable shooting and to provide some forgiveness.
The bow I tested features a flat black riser with Mossy Oak Infinity limbs and that, together with a red-and-black striped string, red D-loop, red cable guard slide, red side plates on the grip, and red inner cam modules makes for a great-looking bow. Fit and finish on the Dream Season EVO is superior.
Shooting The Bow
At 4.4 pounds, this is not a light bow. It is well-balanced, if slightly top-heavy, and comfortable to hold. For those who hunt from treestands and blinds, weight is arguably a minor factor, and there is a case to be made that a little weight in a well-balanced bow makes for a steadier hold (especially in a breeze), reduces torque, noise, and vibration, and offers some extra forgiveness. Despite an initial impression of being heavier than average, after carrying and shooting the bow a short while I found I was unaware of the weight.
The Dream Season EVO is touted as exceptionally smooth-drawing for a fast bow. I found that to be the case. It is smooth without any discernible humps or bumps, without breaking over harshly, and without the narrow valley and tendency to “grab” that some speed bows are known for. Still, the old axiom that speed isn’t free applies; the cams are fairly aggressive, and the draw cycle steep. It doesn’t stack, but is a little stiff. You will know you are pulling a fast bow.
Letoff is 75 percent and comfortable, and I suspect that shooters accustomed to 80 percent letoff would not find the holding weight of this bow objectionable. The 5 percent difference is no doubt another contributor to this bow’s speed.
This is another bow that I would not describe as dead in the hand, but there is no hand shock, little recoil, and only the slightest vibration. These are simply not issues with this bow. Noise levels are comparable to those of other current high-end bows, which is to say this is a quiet bow.
Tuning the bow was easy, and I was shooting tight groups with it as soon as it was sighted in. Forgiveness is a hard quality to measure, but my impression in the course of shooting it for several days of testing was that this bow is quite forgiving by any standard, but especially given the speeds it generates. There are faster bows in PSE’s arsenal, but any bowhunter seeking that optimum combination of high speed and shootability should give this bow a close look.
PSE Dream Season EVO Specs
Brace Height: 6 inches
Weight: 4.4 pounds
Axle-To-Axle Length: 321⁄4 inches
Speed: 345-337 fps (ATA/IBO)
Options: Draw Weights 50, 60, 70 pounds. Draw Lengths 25 to 30 inches
Finishes: Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity; Skulz Camo; Break-up Infinity limbs/Black riser; Black
Our Objective Tests (385-grain arrow)
Peak Hold (pounds): 70 65 60
Weight, Full Draw (pounds): 19 17 16
Arrow Speed (fps): 331 322 314
Kinetic Energy (foot-pounds): 94 89 84
Sound Level (decibels): 78.3 72.8 78