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Archery Arrows & Broadheads Bow Reviews Christian Berg: Stuck In The Rut Gear & Accessories NAW+

Backyard Bow Speed Test: Hoyt Carbon Element and Prime Shift

by Christian Berg   |  March 12th, 2012 4

Sunday was such a beautiful day here in Pennsylvania that I just couldn’t resist spending some time outside enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. Although spring doesn’t officially start until the 20th, I consider yesterday the “unofficial” start of the season. Anyhow, since I have just recently set up two new bows for 2012, I figured that in addition to shooting, I’d also break out my Easton Professional Chronograph and see what kind of speed I’m getting out of my Hoyt Carbon Element RKT and Prime Shift LR.


















I shoot 60-pound bows and keep the limb bolts bottomed. Sometimes that will give you 61 or 62 pounds, depending on the bow. However, my digital scale shows that both the Carbon Element and the Shift are just a hair under 60 at about 59.8 pounds. And while the handheld draw scale I use is not calibrated for “official” testing, it’s good enough to say that both of these bows were right where they were supposed to be and within an ounce or two of another another in peak draw weight.

I also shoot 29 inches in draw length. That’s where the Carbon Element is set, while the Shift is set at 28.5 inches. I just did that because I wanted to try a bow this year at 28.5 and see what it felt like. So, the Carbon Element has a half-inch draw-length advantage over the Shift.

From these two bows, I shot the same Gold Tip Velocity Pro 400 arrows, fletched with Bohning custom crests and 2-inch Norway Fusion vanes. With 100-grain fieldpoints, the finished weight of my arrows is 366 grains.

To test the speed of each bow, I shot 10 arrows through the Easton Pro Chrono, which automatically averages the results, as you can see in the photos. For reference purposes, I will also provide the manufacturers’ advertised IBO/ATA speed ratings for these bows along with my own results.  IBO/ATA speed is measured using a 350-grain arrow, 30-inch draw length and 70-pound draw weight. Since most archers use arrows that are heavier than 350 grains, have draw lengths shorter than 30 inches and pull fewer than 70 pounds, it is always interesting to see how the “real world” speeds of bows compare to the advertised speeds.

Now, onto the results:

Carbon Element RKT

The Carbon Element RKT has an advertised ATA/IBO speed rating of 330 feet per second.

My personal speed test — at 29 inches and 60 pounds, with a 366-grain arrow — revealed an average arrow velocity of 290.2 fps.

Kinetic energy: 68.46 foot-pounds

Prime Shift LR

The Shift LR has an advertised ATA/IBO speed rating of 332 feet per second.

My personal speed test — at 28.5 inches and 60 pounds, with a 366-grain arrow — revealed an average arrow velocity of 285.5 fps.

Kinetic energy: 66.26 foot-pounds

The Bottom Line: Considering the Carbon Element’s half-inch draw-length advantage, I’d consider the results of my speed test pretty much a dead heat between these bows. The Carbon Element was 1.6 percent faster and generated 3.2 percent more kinetic energy. But again, with a half-inch longer draw, that makes perfect sense. Remember, both bows have essentially the same advertised IBO speed (330 fps for the Carbon Element and 332 fps for the Shift). Unless one of the companies was fudging the results, logic would say they should should about the same speed, all other things being equal. And that’s what I found to be the case.

And, for what it’s worth, I find both of these high-end bows to be sweet shooters, and I’m looking forward to doing some hunting with both of them in the year ahead.

  • Straight Stick

    Yeah, so now that you shot them — which one would you buy/hunt with? We want to know your subjective review/recommendation since most of us can't afford to try both. That's what I want to know.

  • Christian Berg

    The bottom line is I think both bows are excellent, and I WILL be hunting with both of them in the year ahead. Asking someone about the best bow is a lot like asking about their favorite food. There are a lot of good bows out there, and lots of great tings to eat, too. My favorite may not turn out to be your favorite. That's why I always recommend that people pick out the bows they are interested in and then visit pro shops to shoot them before they make a buying decision.

    Between these two bows, I would give a slight edge to the Carbon Element, just based on personal feel. The carbon riser on the Carbon Element is tough to beat when it comes to dampening noise and vibration. Yet at the same time, I am very impressed with the Parallel Cam system on the Prime, which helps the bow shoot an extremely consistent arrow.

    Finally, as you noted, cost is always a concern. You need to keep in mind the Carbon Element costs $300 more than the Shift ($1,299 vs. $999). That's why I again stress the need to shoot any bow you are thinking about buying before you plop your cash on the pro shop counter. What one person is willing to pay more for might not be a big deal to the next customer.

  • jarett royce

    i recently bought a $330 Diamond Razor Edge put a whisker Biscuit on it and With the gold tip velocity hunters,a 60 pound draw weight,and a 27 in. draw. that bow is extremely accurate and dependable i have shot in the rain,snow,freezing temperatures and sunshine that bow is rugged and dependable. so for me a $1300 bow is just about what your getting in $330 need to pay that much for a bow

  • John ODonnell

    We all can afford to shoot them. Any good pro shop selling either bow will be sure to have one set up for a demo. The question should be, How do we afford to buy one? I have a four year old Alpha Max that shoots just fine and its paid for. Its tried and true and has many hunts and kills credited to it.

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