Bow Review: Elite Ritual 35

Elite has staked its reputation on the smooth shootability of its bows, and the Ritual 35 can only enhance that reputation.

Bow Review: Elite Ritual 35
Elite Ritual 35
Elite Ritual 35

With the recent introduction of the Ritual 35, Elite’s Ritual series is a trio. It began with the 2018 introduction of the Ritual 33, soon followed by the Ritual 30, now rounded out with the Ritual 35. At approximately 35-inches axle-to-axle, the Ritual 35 is relatively long for a compound hunting bow by current standards. Whether it is defying the trend toward more compact bows, or even reflecting a turnaround in hunter preferences, only time will tell.

There is a lot to be said for compact bows. They’re maneuverable in a treestand, easier to draw in a ground blind, and nimble on a spot-and-stalk that might require running, crawling, or shooting from awkward positions. All else being equal, they’re lighter. But though you might hear it less often, there is something to be said for longer bows, as well. There is a reason, after all, target shooters prefer them. Want to extend your range? You’ll find it easier with a longer bow. Less inclined to cant, more forgiving, and some would insist steadier at full draw, they tend to be a little quieter and more dead in the hand (again, all else being equal).

Elite’s double-cage riser is by now familiar to most bowhunters and the risers on all the Ritual series bows are similar, with only slight differences in the cutouts — attributable mostly to the differences in length. The risers feature two sets of sight mounting holes to accommodate different sights or individual shooting forms, as well as openings to accommodate various accessories. A threaded opening on the back of the riser opposite and well below the stabilizer allows for adding stabilizers or weights to perfect balance. The cams are Elite’s Two Track Cam System, a modular system that is not yoked. Fine-tuning is achieved with Elite’s Linear Tunable Roller on the cable guard system, which essentially enables shooters to adjust for fletching clearance as well as move the cables in or out slightly to tweak for right or left tears. These cams feature limb stops which come to rest against a tongue on the underside of the top and bottom split limbs to achieve Elite’s famously rigid back wall. Letoff is typically set at 90 percent from the factory, adjustable down to 75 percent, though this adjustment will affect draw length slightly. Finally, the grip is a narrow, slick sideplate-style grip. Every bow maker claims ergonomic grips, but this grip — at least for my hands — is as comfortable as any I’ve encountered.

Generally this segment of the report ends with some references to fit and finish, and sometimes general appearance. And frankly, since we test mostly (though not exclusively) flagship bows, the fit and finish is almost always excellent. Elite bows might take fit and finish to another level, though. The Realtree Edge camo on the riser of the test bow really popped. There is not a missed spot, an overlap, a blurred line, or a distortion to be found. All the many threaded (and unthreaded) openings are perfect, with no detectable burrs, machining marks, or other imperfections. Logos are tastefully understated, the brown Winner’s Choice strings complement the camo pattern, and the wood sideplates on the grip dress the bow up nicely. The black limbs and cams contrast sharply with the riser, with white and blue matching logos on the top and bottom split limbs. All in all — subjective as this observation may be — this is one fine-looking bow.

Shooting the Elite Ritual 35

The bow readily accommodated our standard accessories: QAD Ultra-Rest, TruGlo sight and stabilizer, .25-inch G5 Metapeep, and a D-loop. Limb bolts, as has always been the case with Elite bows, were snug but turned smoothly with no sticking or chattering. Paper tuning with an unfletched arrow took a matter of minutes.

At 4.4 pounds this 35-inch bow cannot be called a lightweight. Speaking subjectively, it feels lighter, possibly because it’s well balanced, or maybe because the length creates an expectation of more weight. The previously-mentioned grip is comfortable for any shooter who likes a narrow grip. Elite has staked its reputation on the smooth shootability of its bows, and the Ritual 35 can only enhance that reputation. Elite designers boast of an efficiency rating in the upper 80s percentile, which is remarkable, and which would explain the relatively fast speed attained with such a smooth draw cycle. And though a published speed of 336 fps does not put the Ritual in the barnburner speed category, I would point out that as tested most bows do not get that close to their published speeds for various technical reasons. Some come closer than others, though, and accounting for differences in arrow weight as well as the speed that is lost with the use of peep sights and D-loops, the published speeds of the Ritual appear to be spot on.

Shooters looking for lighter or more compact bows might look to the Ritual 30 or 33, but any bowhunter who puts a premium on shootability and who appreciates the advantages of a moderately longer bow is going to be impressed with the Ritual 35.

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