Click here to see the first installment of this two-part series on hot new compound bows for 2018. In total, we review 14 flagships. Check out our first impressions below, then give them a test drive in person. Remember, bowhunting season will be here before you know it, so avoid the last-minute rush by visiting your local pro shop soon.
Xpedition’s Xcursion 7 can be customized before you ever pull it from its cardboard home. How? By choosing from Xpedition’s patent-pending XS Plus, PX3 or XP-1 single cam at the time of purchase. Of course, those who crave the type of speed Xpedition is known for will be drawn to the XS Plus, but those looking for a silky-smooth draw and undeniable forgiveness will appreciate the XP-1 Cam. Shorter draw-length archers will want the PX3.
Weighing 3.9 pounds, this bow felt great in the hand and was exceptionally balanced at full draw. Its 32.375 axle-to-axle rating makes it maneuverable, and the 7.375-inch brace height on the fitted-with-the-XP-1 Cam (7 inches on the XS Plus and PX3 cams) bow promoted forgiveness. At the shot the bow (I was firing the single-cam model) was quiet and virtually vibration free.
Offered in peak draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65 and 70 pounds, this 80 percent adjustable letoff bow comes in a number of standard riser and limb finishes as well as a number of custom finishes. Draw lengths vary depending on the cam style – Xpedition lists 28-31 inches for the XS Plus Cam and 26-27.5 inches for the PX3 Cam. No press is required when making draw-length adjustment.
For more information, visit www.xpeditionarchery.com
Ready to conform to your exact shooting style and draw length is the Dual Sync Cam Technology on Martin’s MAX-33. The Long Draw and Short Draw Helix Cams allow for up to 88-percent efficiency at every draw length in a 6-inch range, which I found to be very impressive.
Long, when it comes to today’s hunting bows, the 33.5-inch MAX-33 tips the scales at just 3.75 pounds and showcases a 6 9/16-inch brace height. For the bowhunter looking for a longer-axle-to-axle companion, this 333-fps rig is balanced, forgiving and RRAD Balanced Bow Technology promises customized tuning. The RRAD Balanced Bow Technology allows the archer to effectively distribute weight individually throughout the riser by using a light or heavy weight adjustable system.
The Long Draw option comes in no-bow-press needed lengths of 27 to 30 inches and the Short Draw option in lengths of 24 to 27 inches. Peak draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds are available, and those who opt for the Short Draw Cam can select a limb option of 35 to 50 pounds.
Finishes for the bow include a Hard Coat riser, Black limbs and Green accents.
For more information, visit www.martinarchery.com
At 4.3 pounds, the Kuma is a 33-inch axle-to-axle flamethrower. And though it’s branded with a 345-fps rating, I found the bow pleasant to shoot. The draw-cycle is a tad stiff when set at 70 pounds, but the bow is balanced, accurate and fast.
Utilizing the manufacturers Bear Cage machining technique, the rigid 1-inch thick riser has been hollowed out to give the bow an airy, stylish look, but retain durability and prevent side-to-side flex. The sleeker, smaller and lighter SonicStops dual string suppressors were designed to eliminate noise and vibration, and though I was firing the bow on an already-noisy ATA Show floor, it seemed reasonably hushed.
The BearTrap Limb Pocket combines the strength of Bear’s metal pocket with the integration of a zero-tolerance boot, and the Max PreLoad Quad Limbs evenly distribute the load across the entire limb surface to better optimize the geometry and generate an efficient shot-to-shot sequence.
Offered in draw weight ranges of 45 to 60 pounds and 55 to 70 pounds, the Kuma is draw-length adjustable between 25.5 and 30 inches. The bow is available in Badlands Approach and Iron patterns.
For more information, visit www.beararchery.com
Inspired by a legion of respected female bowhunters, the Carbon Knockout was designed for both the beginning and avid woman archer. Ready to dominate the woods, the Knockout features a lightweight carbon riser and an overall mass weight of just 3.2 pounds. Plus, fitted with Binary Cam Technology, the bow is a breeze to tune.
Sporting a 6.75-inch brace height and draw-length adjustable between 22.5 and 27 inches without the need of a bow press, this rig is sure to fit most lady archers. Though I couldn’t quite settle in to my draw length, I will say the bow at 30-inches axle-to-axle felt great in the hand, was maneuverable and incredibly smooth to draw.
As far as flare, this bow has it in spades. The model I looked over was Black with almost metallic, turquoise-blue cams and accents in the limb-bolt area. Max speed for the Knockout is 302 fps, and the bow is offered in peak draw weights of 40, 50 and 60 pounds. Finish options include Micro Carbon and Mossy Oak Breakup Country.
For more information, visit www.diamondarchery.com
Designed around the concept of in-the-field maneuverability, Parker’s latest vertical incarnation, the Poison 30, measures, of course, 30-iches axle-to-axle and boasts a 330-fps speed rating. The T2 Cam System and extreme parallel limb design with up to 90 percent letoff seemed smooth, and at the shot the bow was generally hushed. I did detect a small amount of hand vibration, but the pair of Split Limb Bowjax Dampeners and Riser Bowjax Dampeners soaked up most of it. The adjustable draw stops gave the 4.9 pound bow a solid back wall, and the two-piece G10 Grip felt great in the hand.
Made in the USA and branded with a lifetime warranty, the Poison 30 is available in 50-60 and 60-70 draw weight options. Draw lengths come at 27, 28, 29 and 30 inches, and the included String Suppressor is easily tunable. Other notable features include the integrated wrist sling, speed nocks and titanium two color Stone Mountain Strings. The fully machined aluminum riser is cloaked in Kryptek Highlander.
For more information, visit www.parkerbows.com
A bow that comes with a set of five modules to cover draw lengths from 26 to 31 inches, the 4.3-pound Thrive was built with the bowhunter in mind. The Stabilite riser consists of stronger, lighter and sure-to-produce-less flex 82X aluminum.
At 33.75-inches axle-to-axle, the 7-inch brace height Thrive with its angled flat-backed grip felt great in the hand, and its at-full-draw-balance was undeniable. Those who crave a longer axle-to-axle bow are going to love the Thrive. I also tip my hat to the Flux Cams. They are silky smooth and a big reason this rig can hit a respectable speed rating of 328 fps.
The patented Flexis AR adjustable roller guard allows the shooter to choose where the cables lay, based on fletching height and personal preference. Available draw weights are 50, 60, and 70 pounds, and finish options include Realtree Edge, Tactical Tan, Black, Gray Riser with Optifade Elevated II limbs or Green Optifade Subalpine limbs. All about shootability and durability, the made-in-the-USA Quest Thrive is a lot of bow for $650. (A ready to shoot package is available for an extra $100.)
For more information, visit www.questbowhunting.com
Fitted with a new Dual Synch Equalizer Cam System, Darton’s latest flagship, the Spectra-e, isn’t the “muscle bow with manners” that the 3800 was. Instead, Darton, for 2018 at least, is leaning toward the enhanced shootability genre.
The Dual Synch Equalizer produced a pleasant draw cycle, and at the shot the bow just feels fast. Topping out at a respectable 335 fps, the cam system boasts adjustable draw length and limb stops to provide a solid back wall and insure proper shooter fit. Another benefit to the Dual Synch system is that the split yokes and cables are anchored outside the limbs, meaning accuracy-robbing cam lean is virtually eliminated. I was only able to put a few arrows through the Spectra-e, but have spoken to several archers that are loving the downrange accuracy they are achieving.
Available finishes on the 32.75-inch axle-to-axle Spectra-e include Highlander, Typhon, Carbon Black, as well as Soft Touch Red, Green, Blue and White. Draw length is adjustable from 25 to 31 inches, and peak draw weights of 40, 50, 60 and 70 pounds are available on this 6-inch brace height bow.
For more information, visit www.dartonarchery.com