December 07, 2017
By Jon E. Silks
Xpedition Archery is rooted in an aerospace engineering company highly respected in its field with nearly 50 years of experience and technological depth. That's not a bad platform for the 2017 Xplorer SS.
Xpedition packs the 30-inch axle-to-axle rig with power in the form of the company's XS Plus and PX3 cam systems. While compact in size, this bow is advertised to spit arrows out at 355 fps with a 6€‰1„8-inch brace height. The Xplorer's hybrid cam design features dual adjustable draw stops for a custom feel in the form of letoff, draw length and valley. Cams rotate on centerless ground and hardened stainless axles with flange bearings on the cams. Eccentrics and modules are machined from a block of 6061 T6 aluminum and then black anodized for a tough finish.
The PX3 base cam covers draw lengths from 25-26€‰1„2 inches, while the XS Plus version finishes the job, providing adjustments from 27-30 inches. Both include half-inch increment modules. System letoff is advertised at 80 percent (adjustable). The Xplorer SS is geared up with a string and two cables made with BCY 8190 Lightning Bowstrings, which are advertised to reduce peep rotation through their bundle-building process. Speed Nocks are strategically placed to both increase speed and reduce oscillation and noise.
A quick glance at the Xplorer SS reveals that the bow's split limbs are at least at a parallel position, if not beyond, before the bow is ever drawn. This pre-loading results in more stored energy, which should translate into increased arrow velocity. It is also designed to minimize horizontal movement. The past-parallel limb position at full draw effectively reduces shock, vibration and noise.
Limbs, which measure 12€‰1„4 inches long, are matched into sets based on deflection values and are available in peak draw weights of 45, 55, 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds, with approximately 10 pounds of downward adjustment. Xpedition also custom shims each set to maximize cam and limb reaction throughout the draw cycle and shot. The limb control and alignment system (limb pocket) is a minimalist's dream, as it utilizes little material to get the job done.
A Bridge to Stability
Xpedition shows off its aerospace and machining experience in the Xplorer's X Bridge technology, which uses a thin X-pattern bridge at the top and bottom of the riser to connect the front and back surfaces of the riser structure. Xpedition configured the bridge so each leg of the X is on a different plane, intended to reduce weight, add rigidity and reduce vibration by interrupting the phase and frequency as it passes through the X. The result is a lightweight bow that acts like a heavy bow in terms of achieving a dead-in-the-hand shooting experience.
Other features and technologies call the riser home, including the machined aluminum Angled Torque Reducing cable-containment system, which is mounted to the outside of the sight window. The ATR is static, eliminating potentially problematic moving parts, while also shaped to reduce side-loaded torque during the draw cycle and shot. Xpedition's Torqueless Side Plate grip, Limbsaver
String Stop and stabilizer mounting insert complete the riser.
The Xplorer SS is a compact powerhouse that earns good marks across the board. Its short axle-to-axle length makes it highly maneuverable. At the shot, there is very little kick, followed by a lasting, low-level vibration that was absolutely killed by my go-to stabilizer.
Given the speed rating, I was expecting a harsher draw cycle and more noise from the Xplorer SS, but it was actually quite smooth and better than average in noise level. Although I think the grip could benefit from a couple tweaks, it is still comfortable and functional. Xpedition can consider this rig a win.