Giving You This Average Hunter’s Best Bows Of The ATA 2014
I had the recent pleasure of attending the 2014 Archery Trade Association Show (ATA) in Nashville this past week which housed pretty much all the new archery and hunting items to hit the market this year. This is the show where all the hunting manufacturers are trying to show their new products to all the retail stores and sales reps and get those contracts signed. That means everything is there to test out.
One of my goals for going to this show was to try out all the new 2014 bows there and also shoot some older models. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a brand new bow mainly because I have not been a fan of the direction bow manufacturers have gone these last several years. There was a time when you could draw back a bow and hold it forever while doing backflips. I can’t do that myself but it would be cool to see, but you get my point. When I draw a bow back up in a tree, I like to be able to hold it, swing around the tree, re-position myself and do everything while still having the bow in full draw if needed. With the target bow dead stop setup all the bow manufacturers went to years ago, you can’t do that. So personally I was never happy with anything new to the market. Until this year.
First off, I should add a short disclaimer. I do not shoot for, work for, staff on or even own any of the bows on this list. I don’t even own a bow that the manufacturer was at the show which kinda disappointed me. None of these manufacturers have influenced this list what so ever. I will never tell anyone to purchase a certain bow but only to try them all. This list is based on my personal shooting style and may not agree with most. I am a hunter, not a tournament shooter. I prefer a bow that I enjoy shooting and don’t care if I can shoot a dime at 80 yards. I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time on each bow, so this review is quick.
During this time, I was able to shoot 37 compound bows from 14 different manufacturers. Some of the key items I was looking for were ease of draw, ease of hold, after shock and balance. With ease of draw, I want a consistent draw with no humps in the middle and I don’t want a 70# bow that feels like 100# drawing it back. The ease of hold should be just that. I hate the hard wall with no valley. The bows that try and rip your arm off if you move a hair don’t do me any good in the tree. That’s fine for the tournament, not in the woods. Too much shock on the shot just means noise to me. I don’t want to have to add a bunch of rubber whatever all over the bow to keep it quiet. Then there is the fall forward after the shot. I never did understand that. I know a lot of shooters force that because they think its right. To me it just means they are gripping the bow to tight and squeezing on the shot. I want a bow that doesn’t move after the shot. It should stay exactly where it was or fall backwards when I pulled the trigger or let loose of the string.
The Top List
This year the name of the game besides FAST was adjustability. Pretty much all the dual cam bows came with the ability to make quick and easy adjustments from draw length to draw stop. Which opens the doors to possibly changing how any of these bows shoot and handle for each individual shooter.
To me, nobody stood out more than Martin Archery. With the history of the company over the last couple years almost to the point of not being with us anymore. To reinventing themselves almost from scratch and basing there designs on comfort and bows that are simply a joy to shoot. The other I was really impressed with was Hoyt. I was very impressed with the draw style of there bows with the preload on front end. It made a huge difference for me and it shows they are listening to some of the complaints of the past.
Complete List of Bows Tested
|Elite Energy 35||Newbreed Genetics 33||Hoyt Faktor 34|
|Elite Energy 32||Newbreed Eclipse 35||Hoyt Turbo|
|Elite Tour||Expedition Eccentric||Hoyt Carbon|
|G5 Radical Youth||Expedition XR76||Bowtech 360|
|G5 Quest Drive||Expedition Exterra||Bowtech Overdrive|
|G5 Quest Roque||Limbsaver Photon||PSE Full Throttle|
|G5 Prime 31||Martin Alien Nitro||PSE DNA SP|
|G5 Prime 35||Martin Nemesis Nitro||PSE Drive LT|
|G5 Prime 33 Alloy||Ross Headhunter||PSE Preen|
|Windchester Blindside||Ross XD||Bear Agenda 6|
|Winchester Blackhorse||Darton DS4514||Bear Agenda 7|
|Strother Vital||Darton 3914|
|Strother Rush||Darton 3814|