ATA 2017: Best New Bows
January 10, 2017
There is no product category at the Archery Trade Association show that causes the same buzz as bows. It makes sense, of course, because without the bows we wouldn't have much use for the rest of the products.
It's more than that, however.
Bow companies have the tendency to earn a level of loyalty among their customers that is different than the other categories (except maybe broadheads). We are passionate about our hunting rigs, and because of that, the demands on bow companies are heavy.
Fortunately, they rarely disappoint. And even more fortunately, 2017 is no exception to that rule. Following are nine of the best new bows and latest offerings from today's top manufacturers.
Mathews Halon 32
Mathews has taken their insanely popular Halon lineup and made it even more appealing thanks to the Halon 32, which is offered in three brace heights - five-, six- and seven-inch. The six-inch model ($1099) is capable of generating arrow speeds up to 343fps, weighs a shade under 4.75 pounds, and employs the CROSSCENTRIC cam. This innovative cam design allows partially concentric string payout and utilizes AVS technology to produce an awesome draw cycle and a high degree of shot-to-shot accuracy.
Bear Archery Moment
It's pretty hard to beat a Bear these days, which is clearly evidenced by the release of their 32-inch Moment ($900). This bows weighs four pounds even, is designed with a six-inch brace height, and can send arrows downrange at up to 340fps. To ensure that it will also lay arrows into your targets in nock-busting groups, the Moment utilizes the lateral-torque reducing Hinge Guard. Since the Moment comes out of the Bear lineup, you can guarantee it's one of the quietest bows out there thanks to its dual string stops. Draw lengths of 25 to 30 inches, and draw weights of 45 to 70 pounds are available.
Bowtech Reign 6
If you ever get the chance to walk the aisles at the ATA show and happen to see massive amounts of people flocking to a booth you know one of two things — either a very attractive hunting show host is signing photos of herself somewhere, or Bowtech is unveiling their new rig. This year's Reign 6 ($1049) is certainly a crowd-drawer with its 350fps arrow speeds and loads of technology like the PowerShift Flip Disc, Micro Sync, and OverDrive Binary Cams. This 4.3-pound flagship is also designed with Outrigger offset weights to ensure perfect balance when fully accessorized. Available in peak draw weights of 50, 60, and 70 pounds and draw lengths anywhere from 25 to 31 inches.
Cabela's Fortitude Compound Bow Package
When industry-powerhouse Cabela's sought out a bow manufacturer to partner up with for their signature line, they chose Bowtech for many, many reasons. I could explain them, or you could go to your nearest store and shoot the new 32-inch Fortitude, which employs a Synchronized Binary Cam system to ensure flawless nock travel and the expected accuracy that goes with it. With a retail price of only $600, this may be one of the best deals on the market considering the bow is sold complete with a three-pin sight, Octane Hostage Max rest, quiver, rope sling, stabilizer, nock loop and even a carbon peep.
Diamond Edge Sonar
Bowfishing is crazy popular right now, thanks in large part to the bows that are now available including the brand new Edge Sonar ($499) from Diamond Archery. This 33-inch bow will fit nearly anyone thanks to its draw weight range of five to 55 pounds, and draw length range of 18 to 30 inches. Sold as a package, the Edge Sonar includes an AMS Wave Rest, AMS Retriever Pro Reel, AMS White Chaos Arrow, and orange finger savers. In other words, the Edge Sonar package contains everything you need to reap serious hell on any rough fish you may encounters this soft-water season.
Hoyt Pro Defiant
It's hard to pick what to like best about the new Hoyt Pro Defiant ($1099), but personally it has to be the way the bow has been designed to increase the axle-to-axle length at full draw through a redesign of the DFX cams and the UltraFlex limbs. What this accomplishes is to allows shooters to adopt a more relaxed shooting posture through a flatter string angle, which also happens to bring your peep directly to your eye. All of this results in the most enjoyable-to-shoot bow Hoyt has ever churned out, which makes it even easier to hit bulls-eyes and elk vitals. The 4.2-pound Pro Defiant measures 30.5 inches, is available in draw weights from 30 to 80 pounds (draw lengths of 24 to 30 inches), and is capable of achieving arrow speeds in excess of 330fps.
Obsession Hemorrhage DE
Obsession Bows are well known for their smooth draw cycles and solid back walls. These are the cornerstones of a quality shooting experience. This trend is alive and well in their 2017 offerings with the 30-inch Hemorrahage DE ($999) leading up the pack. This four-pound bow is a shooter's dream with its seven-inch brace height, 340fps arrow speeds, and wide range of draw length (25 to 31 inches) and draw weight choices (40 to 80 pounds). A huge variety of standard or custom finishes and string colors are available for this flagship.
Every year I look forward to Prime's new release because I know it will be insanely accurate. This year's Centergy ($1200) promises more of the same with its Center Balanced Targeting System that is anchored by the 82X aluminum riser. This riser sports a new feature called the "Swerve", which is a strategically designed curve in the riser that helps eliminate lateral movement during the draw cycle. In simple terms, that means you'll hit more bulls-eyes with it (and of course, deer lungs and hearts). The 33-inch Centergy can fire arrows downrange at 333fps, weighs 4.3 pounds, and is available in draw weights of 40 to 80 pounds and draw lengths of 24.5 to 31 inches.
PSE Carbon Air 32 ECS
The first thing you'll notice about PSE's Carbon Air 32 ECS ($1500) is that it weighs only 3.3 pounds. The second thing you'll notice is that the draw cycle is crazy smooth with a solid back wall and a 90-percent letoff, which means at full draw you're able to stay comfortable for as long as you want. There are benefits to that on the range, of course, but where that will shine the most is in the field when bucks and bulls refuse to operate on anyone's schedule but their own. The Carbon Air 32 ECS can generate arrow speeds up to 342fps, measures 31.5 inches between axles, and is available in draw lengths from 24.5 to 30 inches and draw weights of 60 or 70 pounds.