By Shane Chuning
Getting ready for a fall archery tag? Here are some of our top picks for new tackle that will help you have a successful hunt and a full freezer.
Bear Archery Threat
Bear Archery has been putting together some solid bows the last few years. I especially took note when they introduced their own Hybrid Cam back in 2013. These Hybrid cams have proven to be complete performers competing right there with some of the others out there on the market. They have even refined theirs better than some, giving you excellent tunability throughout the different draw length. Some of their competitors I feel are not as consistent with the rotating mods but Bear Archery has nailed this part, making tuning a breeze.
Let’s spend a little time and go through the Bear Archery Threat. This bow comes with a 330 IBO rating; 6.25” brace height and an axle to axle measurement of 32.25 inches. The mass weight is sitting right at 4 pounds bare bow. It covers a range of different draw lengths from 25-30 inches with a set of rotating mods, making it easy to make adjustments if need be. The Threat is offered in draw weights 50#-60# and 60#-70#.
Their ES Hybrid Cams produce great efficiency while maintaining a smooth draw cycle all the way back to full draw. Since they introduced their first Hybrid Cam system, they have had very manageable cam lean engineered into them. The Bear Archery Threat at a mid-range price point is proving to be no different than some of their upper end price point bows. This paves the way for clean nock travel and a very friendly bow to tune.
This particular one was sent to us set at 29 inches in draw length and peak draw weight coming in at 70 pounds. It was also set up with Bear Archery’s RTH (Ready to Hunt Package) which includes a Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit, Trophy Ridge 4 pin sight, Trophy Ridge Stabilizer and sling, Trophy Ridge 5 arrow quiver, peep sight and D loop. This bow tuned right up after a few minor adjustments. One was to nock height, which I had to adjust to nock level. While the other, being pre lean on the top cam, needed a few twists to the right side yoke and it was shooting bareshafts with fletched in no time at all at 20 yards. They do have engraved marks to use as references on top and bottom cams and these proved to be very close to spot on, for cam synch. With a 29” draw and a draw weight of 70# it was sending a 357 grain arrow down range at 318 fps, which is right on par with their 330 IBO speed rating.
The draw cycle is a consistent pull all the way back and locks in pretty well at full draw. Factory strings keep on getting better and appear to be holding up very well. Their String Suppressor material looks to have a little change as well for this year and seems to be an improvement in material. Grip comfort has been a mainstay and I see no change there.
The Bear Archery Threat with the Ready to Hunt package is priced at 599.99 and quite the workhorse. With that price point, you get a very friendly tunable bow that will give you all the accuracy you need to put plenty of meat in the freezer this upcoming season.
Diamond Archery Deploy SB
Bowtech is continuing to impress me this year across the board, even in their Diamond line of bows. This year’s Diamond Deploy SB is proving to be one of those that caught my attention. This is a carbon riser Binary Cam bow that will compete with the best of them. The first thing you will notice right off the bat is the overall mass weight, or lack thereof. The carbon riser gives this bow a very light feel, coming in at 3.2 pounds but still maintains great stability at full draw. This would make for a great backcountry bow with its overall axle to axle length of 31.5 inches. It makes it very friendly in the weight and maneuverability department on the long pack in trips.
The bow we tested came in at 28.5” draw and peaked out at 70.5 pounds. They are offered in draw length ranging from 26”-30.5” with draw weights from 50, 60 and 70 pounds. The camo pattern on this one was the Mossy Oak Break-Up Country which appeared to be crisp and clear with clean lines throughout. I would say definitely better than some of their competitors with the carbon risers. The aero-space inspired carbon riser gives the Deploy SB its strength and durability to handle the toughest of tasks in the field, with a very nice feel to the 3.2 pound overall weight.
The Binary cams on this one are proving to be exceptional performers as well. This one at 28.5” draw and peaking out at 70.5 pounds is sending an arrow down range that comes in at 357 grains, to the speeds of 318 fps. This puts it over its IBO rating of about 10 fps. The draw cycle is smooth and consistent throughout and is proving to be efficient at delivering arrows down range at those speeds. I found the grip comfortable and repeatable as I was slapping bareshafts right with fletched arrows at 20 yards. The bareshafts were very repeatable on entry with fletched arrows and one of the keys to making those long range groups come together.
The overall tuning process was a breeze and made for a quite friendly tunable bow with very little effort. I found the reference marks on the cams for cam synch to get you in the ballpark and then fine tune from there. My end results to clean up vertical nock travel were still within reason of the engraved marks but not exact from top to bottom. These are good to use as references, once all fine tuning has been done to see how well your tune is holding true. For nock height, I found the best results with nocking point a hair high and centershot measurement right in between 3/4” and 13/16. This puts your arrow running true with your front stabilizer; this also makes it parallel with your riser for a quick reference to get you started in the right direction. The one limb stop makes for a very nice backwall and still gives you great adjustability when syncing the cams. When bows have two limb stops you then have to constantly readjust to get them hitting at the same time. It’s all personal preference with a Binary Cam, but one stop is sufficient and makes pulling through your shot extremely repeatable. Here’s a tip on syncing cams; when adding or taking out a twist in the cables make sure you recheck your nock height each and every time you make an adjustment. Any time you twist or untwist the cables it will change your nock height so you will want to reassess that so the tuning process goes smooth.
Overall impression of the Diamond Deploy SB has taken me by surprise. I felt this bow has a lot to offer at a very good price point for a carbon riser. The overall balance, shoot ability, smooth draw and ease of tune made it a joy to setup and test out. On top of that, being an overachiever on speeds was a pleasant bonus I was not expecting. Definitely worth the look if your in the market for a new bow.
Diamond Edge SB-1
When looking for a bow to suit anyone’s needs, look no further than the new release of Diamond Archery’s Edge SB-1. This bow has so much adjustability, a smooth draw, good speeds, all in a very stout package. It is a great choice for those new into the sport, whether you’re a boy, girl, man or woman, this bow will not disappoint and will be something you can grow with for quite some time.
One of the first things I noticed upon first grabbing the bow was the grip. Man, they cut no corners here and made this thing to fit like a glove, giving you exceptional comfort. The next thing was the odd looking limb pockets. However, when realizing all the adjustability available with very easy to use reference marks, you realize how well and thought out they really are.
The draw cycle was exceptionally smooth and consistent throughout and boasts an IBO speed rating of 318 fps. This particular bow was set up at 28.5” draw and peak weight coming in at 72.5#. This setup was sending arrows down range very well and only needed a minor tweak to my nock height setting to have it going perfect in no time. Diamond Archery has included engraved marks on these cams to use as reference points when tuning. I found them to be very close in my specs to deliver the best performance. Using a 357 grain arrow I was coming in with speeds right at 308.9 fps with my 28.5” draw at 72.5 pounds. This put calculated speeds right on par with its 318 fps rating. Centershot on this particular bow was sitting right about 1 inch and this cleaned up the lateral nock travel very well. It did not take long at all to have this 100 percent tuned right out of the box.
The performance is definitely there and for someone looking at bow options for the long haul, this would be one to consider. You could literally start out at a 15 inches of draw length at 7 pounds and then grow all the way to 30 inches in draw length at 70 pounds. The comfort, dependability, reliability and performance are all there in this little package. The Edge SB-1 comes ready with a R.A.K. custom sight (Apex Gear three-pin), Octane Hostage Max rest, 5-inch Octane stabilizer, Octane Deadlock Lite quiver, comfort wrist sling, a carbon peep and a BCY string loop. With the overall appearance, you get a feel for a very stout and sturdy platform that would last a lifetime. With that said, it has a comfortable feel and not heavy at all, coming in at 3.6 pounds. Bow string quality has even gotten better on these RAK package models and servings have stayed relatively tight, throughout the testing of the SB-1. With the way the cables corkscrew around the cable track to accommodate the large range of draw length I thought this may be one area of concern. However, this area proved to hold up very well, so I give props for not cutting corners and keeping quality up on this great budget friendly bow to suit anyone’s needs.
My overall impression of the Diamond SB-1 was, WOW! What a sweet little package that I wish was offered when I was a kid. Talk about a bow that is ready to go, with unlimited adjustability, it doesn’t get much better than that.
G5 Quest AMP
The very first impression that comes to mind with G5 bows is the toughest and best finish in the business. Their DURAFUSE FINISH is incredibly tough and image quality is second to none. Then the very next thing I noticed is the Hybrid cam. Seems like others are jumping in on their own hybrid cam modifications since the hybrid cam patents have expired. The first mental note was the addition of limb stops that added to the more widely noted cable stops. Hybrid cams are known for their cable stops and are still widely used in that fashion today. There are a couple of companies that have added limb stops to the Hybrid cam system but I am still not sold on this added feature.
G5 Quest AMP specs:
- Axle to Axle 32”
- Brace Height 7”
- Weight 3.9 pounds
- Draw length range 26.5”- 31”
- Draw weight range 40#, 50#, 60#, 70#
- Standard finishes Realtree Xtra / Black
- BCY 452X strings and cables
- RAD (Rotating adjustable cam)
- New Stabilite Riser
The G5 Quest AMP I set up had a Trophy Taker Smackdown Pro rest, AXT 4 pin Slider sight, Gold Tip Pro Hunter 300’s with Blazer vanes and 100 grain fieldpoints. This particular setup resulted in perfect bareshaft and fletched flight but was a little finicky; I will discuss this a little more. The specs were 29” draw, 70 pounds peak weight, with a 406 grain arrow at 303 fps; putting this particular bow at a 338 IBO speed equivalent calculation. The G5 Quest AMP is advertised at a 340 IBO so it is right there, give or take a couple feet per second.
The first thing you will notice is the smooth drawing cam with a very solid backwall, due to the limb stop verses the more traditional cable stops. Now when it comes to tuning these Hybrid cam limb stop bows, which are fairly new to the market, I have noticed they can be finicky. This is probably due to throwing one more thing into the mix. When you incorporate a limb stop you are also adding uneven loads on the limbs at full draw to a Hybrid Cam System that is not traditionally known for additional loads in those specific locations. This being the case, along with the location of the limb stops when using a limb tip style press, can be a little more time consuming when attempting to fine tune your setup. My end goal was still accomplished when my bareshafts were flying perfect with fletched at 20 yards.
The settings that yielded the best results were, nock height level, centershot 13/16, the dots on cams were a very close reference for cam synch, pre lean when putting an arrow on the left side of the top cam projected down to nocking point was just starting to intersect the aim string at nocking point. These settings are a very good starting base to start your tuning process from and should put you very close out of the gate.
The G5 Quest AMP is fairly quiet and has very minimal vibe. I did notice the buss cable starting to get serving separation within the first 100 shots. Just something to look for that might create some cosmetic or possible wear issues down the road.
Overall impression was top notch finish, best in the business, smooth draw and firm backwall. On the down side, a little finicky on the fine tuning for the technical guys but perfect end results none the less.