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Bow Reviews Gear & Accessories

10 Kit Bows For 2010

by Bill Winke   |  October 28th, 2010 0

10 All-In-One Packages With an Ideal Blend of Value and Performance…

Today’s bow market is packed with high-quality rigs. At this year’s ATA Show, I shot every bow in the demo lanes multiple times. My goal was to pick out the ones I liked best, but it was easier to remember the handful of bows I didn’t like than to select the five or six that were best.

That suggests nearly every bow company is making several quality models. Some are expensive and others fall lower down the price ladder, but they are all good. In this feature, I am going to help you find the very best value in the bow market by focusing on kit bows. These fully outfitted bows come complete with everything you need to shoot. In some cases, they even come set up to hit on target right out of the box.

Why Consider a Kit Bow?
There are several reasons to consider a kit bow. First is value. In every case, the kit bows I am reviewing here are more affordable than a similar bow that you would set up yourself.

The second reason is compatibility. You know the parts are handpicked to work together.

Third, the kit bow simplifies the process of getting set up. Many of them come pre-assembled. They essentially slide out of the box ready to shoot. You don’t have to spend time attaching all the accessories and most kit bows already have a peep sight installed and in some cases a string loop.

What To Look For
Start with the bow. The bow represents the bulk of the cost of a package, and it is also the starting point when customizing the package. You still need to focus on the basics — draw weight, draw length, draw cycle, brace height, performance and the feel of the grip. Some companies offer several different kits, so you have options here. If the kits from one company are too limited and don’t offer what you are looking for, take a look at other manufacturers. Competition is your friend.

Start by finding a bow that fits you and your goals. If you are not certain of your draw length, a simple test will help. Make a fist with your bow hand and press it against the wall. Now, while looking at the wall, have someone measure from the wall to the corner of your mouth. This will get you within about half inch either way of your ideal draw length. That is close enough that most bows will adjust for fine-tuning once you get it in hand.

Regarding draw weight, seek a maximum weight you can handle comfortably. Most average males who are relatively active can handle 60 pounds. Seniors should consider dropping down to 50 pounds. If you are young and athletic, a maximum draw weight of 70 pounds is common. The only way you will know for sure is to draw several bows until you learn your limitations.

Bows with moderate brace heights — about 7 inches — generally won’t surprise you later with a big raspberry on your wrist or with poor accuracy. This middle-of-the-road design produces a bow with a solid mix of performance and forgiveness. If you are more advanced, you can look at bows with low brace heights since your form will be evolved enough that you can benefit from the increased speed without giving up too much accuracy.

Finally, I would never buy any bow without shooting it first, and that includes kit bows. I can’t tell you where to buy the bow, but I would sure recommend starting the process at a local archery shop.

The Accessory Package
There is much variation in the quality of the accessories that come with kit bows, and that will be reflected in the price jump from bare bow to kit.

Sights: For example, let’s look at sights. You can get long, spooled or wrapped fiber optic pins that glow brightly under low-light conditions or you can get fiber pins with short filaments that do a very good job under normal light but are a bit harder to see in low light. We hunted with them for years. They worked then and they will work now. No, they are not the best, but they are functional and inexpensive. In other words, you generally aren’t getting high-end accessories with these bows, but you are getting what you need to do the job.

Most of the sights in kit bows come with three pins, and that is plenty for most whitetail, bear and turkey situations. Out West and in wide-open terrain, 4- or 5-pin sights might provide more opportunities.

Rests: Moving on to rests, most of the kits include a Whisker Biscuit, NAP QuikTune 360 Capture Rest or Octane Hostage. These full-capture rests prevent the arrow from falling off regardless of how you tilt the bow and are ideal for both novice and experienced hunters alike. Mission’s Eliminator II kit comes with Quality Archery Designs’ (QAD) Ultra-Rest drop-away rest.

Quivers and stabilizers: These bows also come with quivers and, in some cases, stabilizers. Most of these are going to be basic designs, and again that is just fine.

After all, we are striving for value here. If the goal is to create a Cadillac, we will select the accessories separately. But our goal is to find sets with simple function combined with tremendous value. And the kits really do deliver on that.

The extras: Being range-ready or hunt-ready is a great feature if you are not experienced in setting up a bow, or if you don’t have a good dealer nearby. These bows have nocking points or nocking loops attached, with peeps in the string, are already tuned and are even roughly sighted in. Several also come with a few arrows. All you have to do to begin hitting the bale at the local range is fine-tune the sight so the bow is more precisely sighted in for your exact anchor point and shooting form.

If you have experience, the field-ready feature is not a big selling point. However, if you are new to bowhunting, I would recommend a field-ready bow. It will take a lot of the stress out of the process of getting started.

Getting To The Kits
In this next section, I am going to dissect 10 of the kit bows on the market today. I am sure I have missed a few, but I did strive to cover those best suited for bowhunting. Your local dealer may have a few more options that are custom packages at his or her shop, and that is also a good way to go — buying a custom kit from a local dealer. So, here we go; let’s take a look.


BEAR STRIKE
Here is a bow geared toward maximum value. The Strike without accessories sells for $400. With a full “Ready to Hunt” package, the Strike sells for just $100 more at $500. I’ll get to the accessories in a bit. First, I want to touch on the bow itself.

The Strike is a single-cam model with two string suppressors — one above and one below the grip section. This does a great job of stopping the string
uniformly, without creating any whiplash effect, and eliminating string vibration. The Strike features a self-grip (no side panels) for the narrowest possible handhold.

Bear Archery and Trophy Ridge are both owned by Escalade Sports, so Bear has access to a very good line of accessories for their three kit bows. The Strike features a Whisker Biscuit, 5-pin fiber optic sight, peep sight, quiver, stabilizer, sling and loop — all from the Trophy Ridge line. These high-quality accessories add only $100 to the price of the bow.

Cam System: Perimeter-weighted, Inner Cam (single-cam system)
Brace Height: 7 3⁄4 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 30 inches
Letoff: 80 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: 302-310 fps
Finish: Realtree APG
Accessories Included: Trophy Ridge products: Whisker Biscuit,5-pin sight, quiver, stabilizer, sling, string loop, peep sight
MSRP: $500
Web Site: www.beararcheryproducts.com

For the next bow, please visit page 3


BOWTECH SNIPER
From the standpoint of value, the Sniper is very similar to the PSE Brute LT. It is priced right at the same number as the PSE “Field Ready” version at $649. Here’s what you get:

The Sniper is a solid performing bow with a forgiving design. It will produce an IBO speed rating of 304-312 fps with a 7 3⁄4-inch brace height. It is 34 1⁄8 inches long and adjusts in draw length all the way up to 32 inches. The Sniper carries BowTech’s sophisticated Binary Cam system, which is essentially a combination of the best parts of single-cam designs combined with the best parts of two-cam designs. It features nothing notably different or special compared to top-of-the-line bows from BowTech, but it is a really good, solid bow — an excellent value.

The kit includes a 4-arrow quiver, a basic 3-pin sight, a Hostage rest, a four-inch stabilizer, a wrist sling and a peep sight. It has everything you need to shoot — right out of the box.

Cam System: Binary Cam
Brace Height: 7 3⁄4 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 34 1⁄8 inches
Letoff: 65-80 percent, adjustable
Advertised IBO Speed: 304-312 fps
Finish: Realtree Hardwoods Green HD, Black Ops
Accessories Included: 4-arrow quiver, 3-pin sight, Hostage rest, stabilizer, wrist sling, peep sight
MSRP: $649
Web Site: www.bowtecharchery.com

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DARTON PRO600 ULTRALITE
Darton’s PRO600 UltraLite features their smooth drawing DualSync Cam system, which helps launch arrows up to 310 fps IBO. It offers draw lengths from 25-30 inches and requires no bow press for draw length adjustments. Plus, it comes with a full set of draw length modules. Other notables include 80-percent letoff and a positive limb draw stop for consistent anchoring.

The PRO600 UltraLite package includes a TruGlo 3-pin sight, Bear Claw 5-arrow quiver and a Hostage full-capture rest. The kit sells for $550.

Cam System: DualSync Cam System
Brace Height: 7 1⁄2 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 31 3⁄8 inches
Letoff: 80 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: 307-310 fps
Finish: Realtree Hardwoods Green HD, Shadow Black and Candy Apple Red
Accessories Included: TruGlo 3-pin sight, Bear Claw quiver, Hostage rest
MSRP: $550
Web Site: www.dartonarchery.com

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DIAMOND ROCK 2.0
BowTech also makes the Diamond bow line, so you can expect the same features on many of the Diamond bows that you find on the BowTech models. Small details make a difference to me, and both the BowTech Sniper and Diamond Rock 2.0 have very solid draw stops that end the draw with a wall. This permits consistent shooting because you hit the same anchor point for each shot. The Sniper and Rock also both have string suppressors, so the string won’t come forward and whack your wrist. It also reduces bow noise by killing string vibration.

The Rock 2.0 is a single-cam bow with mostly parallel limbs. While that is not a technical term, the description does give some indication of the geometry of the bow. Parallel limbs reduce recoil in the bow and that makes the shot feel better upon release. So, there is a small difference here between Diamond’s top line models and the Rock 2.0. That may be a small downside (it won’t affect performance or even accuracy, just the feel of the shot), but there is also a very nice upside — the price. This package has a suggested retail price of $549.

For that, you get a basic 3-pin fiber optic sight, the Hostage capture-style rest, 4-arrow Twist-Lock Quiver, a braided wrist sling and a rubber tube peep sight.

Cam System: Single cam
Brace Height: 7 1⁄4 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 31 5⁄8 inches
Letoff: 65-80 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: 310-318 fps
Finish: Realtree Hardwoods
Accessories Included: Backwoods Accessory Package — 3-pin sight, 4-arrow quiver, Hostage rest, braided wrist sling, tube peep sight
MSRP: $549
Web Site: www.diamondarchery.com

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HOYT TURBOHAWK
If I blindfolded you and handed you an AlphaMax to shoot and then handed you a TurboHawk, you would have a hard time telling the difference. The TurboHawk is one of the best values in archery because it essentially has the performance and feel of a top line bow but at a lower price. It has the XTR Cam & 1⁄2 system, laminated parallel limbs, an IBO speed rating of 320 fps with a 7 1⁄4-inch brace height. It is 32 inches long. These are all good numbers and good features.

Hoyt combines the TurboHawk with various accessories to create three different packages. The East Package, designed with whitetail hunters in mind, has a 3-pin TruGlo sight, quick-detach Fuse Ventera quiver, Whisker Biscuit rest, Fuse Enduro stabilizer, TruGlo peep and a wrist sling. The West Package includes the same accessories with the exception of the sight and quiver. It comes with a TruGlo 5-pin sight and Hoyt DuraLite two-piece quiver. The P5 Package also includes the same items as the East Package except for the quiver. The P5 comes with a quick-detach TruGlo quiver. The East and West packages run $779, while the P5 package costs $709. That is a lot of bow with some great options for a reasonable total price.

Cam System: XTR Cam & 1⁄2
Brace Height: 7 1⁄4 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 75 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: 320 fps
Finish: Realtree APG, Black Out, Half & Half, Bone Collector
Accessories Included: 3- or 5-pin TruGlo sight, Whisker Biscuit, quiver (different for each package), Fuse Enduro Stabilizer, peep sight, wrist sling
MSRP: $709-$779(depending on accessory package)
Web Site: www.hoyt.com

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MARTIN BENGAL
One of the fastest of the kit bows is the Martin Bengal. The Bengal produces an IBO speed rating of 315-320 fps with a 7-inch brace height and Martin’s Acu-Trak single cam. This is a full-featured bow with Martin’s custom string (the Double Helix Bowstring), parallel limbs and sealed bearings on the cam and idler. The Bengal is 32 1⁄4 inches long.

The Bengal Kit features an Apex sight, NAP QuikTune 360 Capture Rest, bow-mounted quiver, peep sight and nock set. It is ready to shoot for $540.

If you are looking for ridiculous value and don’t need a high-end bow, consider Martin’s Threshold from the Adventure Series. This is a single-cam design that achieves an IBO speed of 305 fps with a 7 1⁄2-inch brace height. It features a Wildman bow quiver, two Wildman arrows, fiber optic Striker sight and a Wildman Spring Away rest. I hope you are sitting down, because this will blow you away. Martin has this complete kit on its Web site for $230! I am not sure how that is even possible.

Cam System: Acu-Trak single cam
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 32 1⁄4 inches
Letoff: 80 percent, adjustable
Advertised IBO Speed: 315-320 fps
Finish: Next G1 camo, Hunter Black, Crimson and Titanium
Accessories Included: Apex sight, NAP QuikTune 360 Capture Rest, quiver, peep, nock set
MSRP: $550
Web Site: www.martinarchery.com

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MISSION ELIMINATOR II
Mission’s Eliminator II Bowhunter Kit is full of value. The accessories are top shelf on a bow that will handle any hunting situation. Keep in mind that Mathews makes the Mission line. So, if you can believe in the quality of a Mathews bow, you can just as easily believe in the quality of a Mission. Mathews created Mission as a lower price point bow line without some of the most updated bells and whistles found on Mathews bows. So, it benefits from the lessons learned from a huge bow company but with a hunter-friendly price tag.

The Eliminator II is a highly maneuverable (30 1⁄4 inches axle-to-axle), high-quality bow that delivers IBO speeds up to 319 fps with a forgiving, 7 1⁄8-inch brace height. The average retail price for a fully equipped Eliminator II with the Bowhunter Kit is just $648, but it comes with some big-league accessories. It features a QAD Ultra-Rest, Alpine Bear Claw quiver, TruGlo Brite-Site Xtreme 5-pin sight, TruBlock Mini Stabilizer and a Paradox Braided Sling. This is technically not a field ready bow, since you will have to assemble the accessories. They come separate. But the accessory package is as strong as any I have found on the market. It is a good bow, but with the accessories you get here, it becomes a great hunting machine and, just as importantly, a great value.

Cam System: Perimeter weighted single cam
Brace Height: 7 1⁄8 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 30 1⁄4 inches
Letoff: 80 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: Up to 319 fps
Finish: Realtree Max-4 HD
Accessories Included: QAD Ultra-Rest, Alpine Bear Claw quiver, TruGlo 5-pin sight, TruBlock Mini Stabilizer, Paradox Braided Sling
MSRP: $648
Web Site: www.missionarchery.com

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PSE BRUTE LT
This top line PSE bow comes Ready to Shoot for $528 and Field Ready for $650. I will touch on the differences in a second. Both packages start with the Brute LT, a solid, single-cam bow utilizing PSE’s NI cam. In and of itself, this doesn’t tell you much. However, looking deeper into the specs you will find a very forgiving bow with an 8 1⁄8-inch brace height that is 32 inches long. It produces good performance with an IBO speed rating of 300-308 fps.

Ready to Shoot means the bow comes with basic accessories installed. The bow is tested and tuned and, well, it is ready to shoot with a Mongoose Peep and nocking loop on the string. It features a basic, 3-pin Aries sight with external light. This one doesn’t have spooled or wrapped filaments. It also comes with a Mongoose quiver and Whisker Biscuit QS rest installed.

The Field Ready package takes the Ready to Shoot package and adds four Carbon Force arrows, a Tru-Fire Hurricane release, a FlexTech stabilizer, a braided wrist strap and a quality soft bow case. For the money, it is very hard to beat the Field Ready package. Add a month or two spent practicing and sighting in and you truly are ready to hunt.

Cam System: NI single cam
Brace Height: 8 1⁄8 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 32 inches
Letoff: 65 or 80 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: 300-308 fps
Finish: Mossy Oak Treestand
Accessories Included: “Ready to Shoot” kit has bow-mounted accessories; “Field Ready” kit also includes arrows, release aid, bow case
MSRP: $528, Ready to Shoot, $650, Field Ready
Web Sit
e:
www.pse-archery.com

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REDHEAD TOXIK
RedHead is the in-house hunting brand from Bass Pro Shops. If you see RedHead, it is actually available through Bass Pro. Bass Pro doesn’t make its own bows, but rather relies on established companies within the archery industry. The 2010 Toxik is actually made by BowTech. This is a single-cam bow with parallel limbs. The IBO speed rating is 311 fps with a forgiving 7-inch brace height. The Toxik measures a moderate 32 5⁄8 inches long between the axles. One notable feature is the two-piece wood grip, which has been engineered to minimize hand torque and boost accuracy.

The Toxik Kit consists of a 3-pin fiber optic sight, Hostage full-capture arrow rest, 5-arrow quiver and wrist sling. The catalog price is $600. That is a very good value when you compare it to many of the top of the line bows on the market today that sell for much more without any accessories.

Cam System: Single cam
Brace Height: 7 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 32 5⁄8 inches
Letoff: 80 percent, adjustable to 65
Advertised IBO Speed: 311 fps
Finish: Realtree Hardwoods Green HD
Accessories Included: 3-pin sight, Hostage capture-style rest, 5-arrow quiver, wrist sling
MSRP: $600
Web Site: www.basspro.com

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QUEST HAMMERQuest’s most economical bow is the Hammer. It is a single-cam bow with a conventional cable guard system (not the I-Glide found on other Quest bows) and a string suppressor. It features IBO speeds of 312-315 fps with a forgiving 7 1⁄4-inch brace height. That would have been chart-topping performance just a few short years ago, so it is not like this affordable bow lacks zip. It is a solid bow and at a suggested retail price of $399, it is a great value. However, when we add the accessory package, it becomes even deadlier.

Quest pulls accessories from a number of companies to ensure this bow is not only functional and reliable, but also affordable. The rest is a Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit QS. The sight is a Cobra Custom 5-pin model called the Mini-Stealth. The Hammer package also features an Alpine Bear Claw 5-arrow quiver and a 1⁄4-inch Meta Peep from G5. The suggested retail price for this combination is $530.

Cam System: Single cam
Brace Height: 7 1⁄4 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 33 inches
Letoff: 80 percent
Advertised IBO Speed: 312-315 fps
Finish: Realtree AP, GFade Durafuse
Accessories Included: 1⁄4 -inch Meta Peep, Whisker Biscuit QS, Alpine 5-arrow Bear Claw quiver, Cobra Mini-Stealth 5-pin sight
MSRP: $530
Web Site: www.questbowhuting.com

Related posts:

  1. Great Bows 2010
  2. Why Are Some Bows Faster? – December/January 2010
  3. Five First Bows
  4. Seven Bows For 2011
  5. Sight-In Strategies – August 2010
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Related posts:

  1. Great Bows 2010
  2. Why Are Some Bows Faster? – December/January 2010
  3. Five First Bows
  4. Seven Bows For 2011
  5. Sight-In Strategies – August 2010
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