Bow Report: Prime Rival

Intentionally blurring the line between hunting bow and competition bow, the Rival retains Prime’s distinctive Parallel Cam system, significantly redesigned for 2015.
Bow Report: Prime Rival

Intentionally blurring the line between hunting bow and competition bow, the Rival retains Prime’s distinctive Parallel Cam system, significantly redesigned for 2015. It also showcases some entirely new features as well, including an improved riser, the torque-reducing Flexis-AR cable guard system that can be adjusted to provide optimal fletching clearance and the new Ghost Grip.

The Parallel Cam system is designed with two cams on each axle. The strings from each pair are yoked a few inches from the cams to a single string. Such a system offers several advantages, including the fact that the string is centered on the long axis of the bow, which simplifies tuning and, in theory at least, improves horizontal nock travel. Such a system also virtually eliminates cam lean and reduces torque. This design, together with Prime’s extra-wide solid limbs, makes for a very stable shooting platform. What’s new about the system is that the PCXL cams offer easily adjustable letoff from 65 percent all the way out to 85 percent. The 65-percent letoff offers maximum speed (an impressive 340 fps IBO), while the 85-percent letoff promises maximum comfort at a slight cost to speed. The adjustment is accomplished by moving the draw stop in or out. The draw lengths are cam specific in 1⁄2-inch increments.Prime_Rival

Also adjustable is the new Flexis-AR cable guard system. Any cable guard introduces tension on one side of the long axis, increasing the potential for torque. The trick is to provide adequate fletching clearance with minimal tension. The Flexis-AR system flexes as the bow is drawn to reduce torque; in addition, it can easily be tuned to provide the minimum fletching clearance needed, further eliminating torque.

The 7000 series riser has been tweaked as well. Still touted by Prime as the strongest in the industry, it’s billed as a little lighter than that on last year’s Alloy, though the geometry appears to be identical.

Finally, the Ghost Grip is new for 2015. It’s a narrow, side-plate-type grip, but the Rival comes standard with an additional rubber-molded Ultra Fit full grip that is easily attached for shooters who prefer a wider or warmer grip.

Fit and finish were excellent on the bow tested and passed my scratch test. Gray LimbSavers matched gray cams and limb pockets for a subtle contrast with the Realtree Xtra camo pattern on limbs and riser, which is to say the Rival is a great-looking bow.

Shooting the Bow

Setting up and tuning the Rival is very straightforward and easy. Out of the package the test bow was slightly over 70 pounds, so I backed it down. Set screws must be loosened before turning the limb bolts, then re-tightened. The limb bolts were a little stiff but turned smoothly with no chattering. Prime recommends starting center shot at a typical 13⁄16 inch from the riser, but they also include reference points on the Ultra Fit grip which are much more precise than trying to measure. Just line up the string with the reference points, put the tip of a nocked arrow in line with the string and you might find you need no further adjustments.

While virtually all bows are accurate as evidenced by bow-shooting machines such as the Hooter Shooter, some bows are easier to shoot accurately than are others. I can’t think of a bow to which that statement is more applicable than the Prime Rival – it’s rock solid at full draw. The draw is smooth, and those last few inches, especially at the higher letoffs, practically pull themselves. Draw stops on each cam ensure a solid back wall and make it easy to tweak the draw length to perfection, though these adjustments will result in slight changes in letoff. The shot is quiet, and, even without the stabilizer I use for testing, there is no hand shock or real vibration, especially with the Ultra Fit grip in place.

At 35 inches axle to axle the Rival is not exactly a compact bow, but there are many advantages to longer bows, including increased stability and more forgiveness, especially at longer ranges. There’s a reason target bows tend to be longer, and as I stated at the beginning of this report, the Prime is a bow that blurs the line between hunting and target bows. This bow is a real shooter, in addition to generating impressive speeds. My guess is that a lot of bowhunters who try out the Rival are going to decide that a hunting bow with some of the best qualities of a target bow is a product that makes a lot of sense.

Prime Rival Specs


Brace Height:………………6.25 inches

Weight:…………………….. 4.3 pounds (approximate)

Axle-To-Axle Length:…….. 35 inches

Speed:……………………… 340 fps

Draw Lengths:…………….. 26 to 30 inches, cam specific in half-inch increments

Draw Weights:…..………… 40, 50, 60 and 70 pound peak, adjustable down 10 pounds from peak

Options:…………………… Realtree Xtra, Blackout, Gamma Green, Red Hot, Ice Blue, GORE Optifade Open Country

Suggested Retail:………… $999-$1,049

Objective Tests  (30 Inches Draw)

Peak Hold*:…………………70 pounds

Weight, Full Draw*:………13 pounds

*Rounded to nearest half-pound

At 70-Pound Draw Weight

Arrow Weight Speed @ Launch Speed @ 20 Yards  K.E. @ Launch K.E. @ 20 Yards
385 grains 300 fps 288 fps 77 ft. lbs.
71 ft. lbs.  
500 grains 268 fps 260 fps 79.5 ft. lbs. 75 ft. lbs. 

At 60-Pound Draw Weight

Arrow Weight Speed @ Launch Speed @ 20 Yards K.E. @ Launch K.E. @ 20 Yards Sound Level
385 grains 287 fps  277 fps 70.5 ft. lbs. 65.5 ft. lbs.   57 dBA
500 grains 257 fps  252 fps 73.5 ft. lbs. 70.5 ft. lbs. 46.5 dBA



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