By Shane Chuning
With summer here and in full swing, I wanted to touch bases on some products to put on the list for this upcoming archery season. You do not want to be a last-minute shopper still looking for items, never really having a chance to get to know the equipment. This will leave you unprepared, which then leads to unsuccessful hunts due to an unfamiliarity with the equipment. Let’s be a little proactive this year and look at some items worth checking out as we go through the archery product hit list for this year.
First off is a couple of bows worth noting that won’t break the bank, but still give you great performance and accuracy down range. The is a true performer that even exceeds its IBO speed rating and is a breeze to tune, with plenty of adjustability in a hybrid cam system. This bow holds on target great and I was shooting excellent groups out to 60-80 yards in no time at all.
Specification on the Epix are:
- ATA/IBO speed rating 340-332 fps
- Brace height 6-inches
- Only offered in a right-hand model
- Axle-to-Axle is 32 inches
- Let-off is rated at 80%
- Draw length ranges from 24”- 30”
- Draw weight is offered in 60- and 70-pound limbs
- Mass weight 4.0 lbs
- Max limb bolt turns- 13
- Color is offered in Black, Country and Skullworks 2
Next, we have the Bear Archery Vital Impact Timber II, which is a Sportsman’s Warehouse exclusive, sporting the MAX-1 camo pattern. They made this an all-around complete package and a very easy drawing bow in its single cam design. With a single cam design, you still have a split harness for the ease of fine tuning lateral nock travel. A feature worth noting is the offset stabilizer to counter balance the weight of a full quiver. This makes it easier to keep your 2nd axis steady on your level and gives you faster shot execution. Bear Archery didn’t stop there and included a 5-pin Trophy Ridge sight and the Kill Shot Whisker Biscuit rest. Also, included in this great value is a 5 Spot Black Quiver and Radical Tube peep sight. An excellent value for someone looking for a ready to hunt package that doesn’t break the bank.
Specifications on the Bear Archery Vital Impact Timber II are:
- Cam System: S-7 Draw Dial
- Speed: 320 fps
- Mass Weight: 4-pounds
- Brace Height: 6 3/4 “
- Axle-to-Axle: 31 1/8”
- Draw Length: 23-30”
- Let Off: 80%
A couple of my favorite fixed blade broadheads that have been a mainstay for me personally are the G5 Strikers, Slick Tricks and the Wac’ems. There is so much stuff online with broadhead testing into metal plates, washer and dryers, etc, but do we really need that to be honest. I’m all for a strong broadhead, but I feel some of this is way overkill.
Now we have some broadheads that are sold in a three pack for $100. I’m not out to kill a steel plate or washer and dryer, so I just find it hard to swallow, forking over a hundred plus dollars for three broadheads. Recently, I went out on a limb and purchased some upper-end broadheads for $70, which was stretching it for me. Well low and behold, they didn’t even spin true, so I plan on returning them. With all that said, I feel that the $30-$40 range will more than get the job done and not break the bank doing so. The G5 Strikers, Slick Tricks and Wac’ems have always spun true for me with zero issues, not to mention the numerous elk and deer kills I have successfully made with them. If you’re not shooting these broadheads and looking for a change, these are definitely worth looking into this year.
This brings us to Expandable Broadheads which can be a little controversial for many. Some feel they have missed opportunities on kills due to expandable’s failing on the shot. I have used my fair share of them with excellent results and can only account for one time when one did not open. Now, this could have been my error and I really can’t say for certain. They are expandable’s and there are moving and semi-locking parts that come into play. There is probably a small percentage of failures due to them. With that said, I still wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.
Some of their benefits are the large wound channels for ease of tracking game. Another would be windy conditions due to their fieldpoint characteristics, giving you less wind resistance down range. The ones worth considering if you’re in the market that I have used and tested personally are the G5 T3’s, Rage Hypodermics, New Archery Product Spitfires and the Grim Reapers. Due to certain conditions in the field, I will generally always have a couple of expandable’s in my quiver for those windy days, giving me more pin-point accuracy under certain conditions. These are well worth the look this year if you’re on the fence about trying some.
I have used quite a few releases over the years and it is hard to pry me away from a good old Scott Archery wrist release. These have been a mainstay for me, with years of trouble free use. Probably my favorite release to date has been the Scott Sabertooth. It pains me that they no longer make these and I know I will be shopping for a new model eventually, since I lost my back-up Scott Sabertooth. I am one that always keeps two on me at all times, as I would hate to be caught in a pinch when out in the field. Whether that is simply losing one or due to a malfunction, it is always nice to have a backup with you. Different releases can give you different points of impact, so I recommend when purchasing a backup to always keep two of the same around. I alternate the two throughout the year to insure the same amount of stretch and fit feel the same from one to another.
This year Scott Archery came out with a couple of models that would be worth checking out, giving you many years of reliable and repeatable use. New for 2017 is the hook style release, the Talon. The Talon gives you 100% hook clearance – creating extreme accuracy and tunability. The single sear driven, inline design of the Talon release reduces string loop torque. Another one worth noting and new for 2107 is the Echo. This one has my attention and may just replace my Scott Sabertooth. The Hyper Jaw design is the next in a long line of meaningful innovations from Scott. At first look it has the appearance of a single caliper, but they function independently in perfect synchronization with one another. This removes any lateral torque that may come from inconsistencies in shooting form. It has a wide range of adjustment options and is sure to be a winner for 2017.
I always tell guys and gals to not skimp on arrows. There is a difference when it comes to quality arrows. These differences are magnified once you start screwing a broadhead on the tip come hunting season.
The grade of an arrow can make a big difference and when you pick those with tighter tolerances, you will have far less headaches when tuning. There are lots of choices out there in arrow selections nowadays. I have tried quite a few different brands—just about everyone on the market—and that still leads me back to the top three every time. For me personally, you can’t go wrong in your selection when sticking with Easton, Gold Tip and Carbon Express.
First off is my personal favorite, Easton arrows. These are the micro Diameter Shafts in the Injexions
and my go-to arrows the last few years, the Hexx/DaTorch arrows. For a micro diameter shaft, the Injexions win out for me in tolerance, consistency and toughness. With that said, I have moved back to more of your standard insert arrows, as I feel they still give you the most durability over the long haul. For a light wall shaft, it doesn’t get much tougher than the Hexx and DaTorch by Easton. These have been very consistent in tolerances and durability. They are still my personal choice again this year for 3D and a hunting arrow.
Gold Tip has been a mainstay in the industry as well, known for their toughness and durability. That has not changed over the years, with their all carbon design bringing you years of excellent performance. The traditional Pro Hunters are still my preferred choice when shooting Gold Tips. I find the quality and consistency still on par with what I am looking for. On the lighter GPI thin walled shafts, the Velocity’s are still a great option, giving you plenty of customization when wanting an arrow with a higher front of center (FOC). On the micro diameter side of things, I feel the consistency has slipped some and would like to see their options here produce the same tolerances as their standard diameter shafts.
Carbon Express has been another top player for years when shopping for
arrows. This year they came out with a couple of new small diameter options, the Maxima Red SD’s and the Predator XSD’s. The Maxima Red SD’s are more of an upper-end price point and have great tolerances. The Predator XDS’s are
more your mid-price point arrows. Although these are not as tight tolerance wise, the consistency is still there when choosing a Carbon Express arrow. With their Red Zone technology, I find they tend to recover extremely fast when tuning. This is handy for those that don’t have the luxury of indexing their arrows. You won’t go wrong with even more choices by Carbon Express this year if you’re in the market for some new arrows.