For more than 140 years, Winchester has been on a ride. Some years have been smooth and others
bumpy, but the recent iteration of the iconic name licensed to Falcon Outdoors is capable of taking an
unexpected gallop through the archery business.
Winchester Archery says the extension of the name, which has been owned by the Olin Corporation for the most recent 81 of its 145 years, is natural. After all, Winchester—the Gun that Won the West—is associated with reliable outdoor equipment for hunters and shooters. So today, with offices in Secaucus, New Jersey, “Winchester Archery products are designed, tested, and Made in America by passionate bowhunters.”
Compounds and crossbows are current Winchester Archery offerings—a line-up of superior bows with plenty of bells and whistles that are affordable for the American bowhunter. In the compound line that means six bows with price points from $299 to $699—and an introductory 2013 bow priced at $399 to meet the needs of bowhunters seeking a lot of bang for their buck. “High performance,” says Tim Barber, vice president of Business Development, “without the high price tag.
“There just isn’t a down side to working with Winchester,” Barber continued. “It helps us focus on quality because we have a name to live up to, but it is a well-established brand in the outdoors. People who walk into a pro shop for the first time recognize our name.”
An example of the Winchester Archery performance/price philosophy can be seen in its line of vertical compound bows. Bows with machined aluminum risers step down incrementally from the Quicksilver 34, a fast, top-of-the-line hunter, to the Thunderbolt—an excellent starter compound capable of nearly 300 fps. (The Destiny is mechanically the same as the Thunderbolt, the difference being that instead of Next G-1 Vista camo, it is finished in Realtree Hardwoods Pink.)
Here’s a quick profile of the Quicksilver 34: 34 inches axle to axle, 343 fps, 27 to 30 inches draw length (adjustable with modules in ½-inch increments), peak draw weights of 50-60-70 pounds, 3.9 pounds mass weight, and letoff of 55 or 80 percent. The “Sudden Stop” string dampener, twin wheel cable roller, stainless hardware and speed buttons are standard. That’s a lot of bow for just $699.
The entry level for Winchester is the $299 Thunderbolt, weighing less than 2.5 pounds. Barber is proud of this highly adjustable model, which he refers to as, a “youth bow:” 17 to 30 inches in draw length and 9 to 54 pounds draw weight. “Whether you’re five or 75 you can use this bow to learn to shoot.”
For 2013, Winchester will bring the $399 Laredo into its vertical compound line. The Laredo is a price-point bow and is highly adjustable: 17 to 30 inches draw length with weights to 60 pounds and speeds to 328 fps. Winchester’s only solid limb bow, the Tracker, retails at $499. “We want to hit every price point and experience level,” Barber says. “We want everyone to have a Winchester opportunity.”
For 2013, Winchester will develop the high end of its vertical compound line as “SS” models. SS bows will have
both enhanced performance and speed. You can see these bows early in the year—either at the ATA Trade Show or a favorite distributor trade show.
“There are people who don’t have time to learn to shoot a vertical compound—much less a traditional bow—but who would love to hunt,” Barber says. “So, Winchester Archery has developed compound crossbows and vertical compounds.”
The Winchester line currently offers three adult-sized, split limb camouflaged hunting crossbows: Stallion (350 fps, 110 ft.-lbs. KE), Blaze (330 fps, 102 ft.-lbs. KE) and Bronco (315 fps, 93 ft.-lbs. KE). Each has a noise dampening cheek piece and a unique stock design for the fore-arm. These crossbows are very narrow, very lightweight, with fine trigger systems. “Anyone who spends a half-hour shooting one can sight their crossbow in and go out and hunt.”
The high-end Stallion has a anti-dry-fire built in, and an arrow retention plunger inside the trigger housing that eliminates the long finger extending over the base of the arrow which holds it on the track. It has twin (one on each side of the track) string dampeners and several scope options made for Winchester by Hawke Optics: an electronic two-color three-dot sight, 3X multi- or illuminated reticles, and a 1-4X variable.
“Regardless of your age, physical abilities, stature, or size of your pocketbook, we want Winchester to be your brand,” Barber says. “And we have seen incredible growth just in the last couple years. For 2013, we’re enhancing the cams on our crossbows to tweak arrow speeds upward. Our goal is to help dealers sell Winchester with little or no effort. If we do that, we’re succeeding.”
Contact Winchester Archery at (877) 227-9445; www.winchesterarchery.com