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Darton Archery has successfully navigated the archery business for more than 50 years. During that time, they have brought many innovative ideas to the market, including one of their biggest, the Hybrid Cam System, which was introduced back in the late '90s. It revolutionized the design of eccentrics and still exists in various forms today.
In my opinion, Darton brings their best bow ever to the 2009 market in the Pro 3500S. Features include the CPS-G2 Cams, reflexed riser, molded rubber grip, parallel Gordon Glass limbs, a silencing package and a finish choice of either Realtree's Hardwoods Green HD camo or all black.
Speed and Power
While not everyone is hung up on speed, it's easy to appreciate the advantage of a flat-shooting bow when it comes to range estimation and penetration. Darton advertises the Pro 3500's IBO speed at 338-343 fps. That is fast. Their patented CPS-G2 2€‰ 1/2 Cam system is behind these speeds and is the latest in a long line of improvements to their popular hybrid cam technology.
The term "2€‰ 1/2 Cam" comes from an additional groove on each cam, which increases the groove count by half. Darton's design of their new G2 was intended to minimize or eliminate issues related to synchronization and timing by tying the Pro 3500's cables to a rotating groove on the cam. This makes it virtually impossible for them to work independently, thereby allowing the cams to be out of optimum "tune" while still retaining shootability.
Draw lengths are available from 25-30 inches, in half-inch increments, through a modular system that does not require a bow press to adjust. Cams ride on heat-treated steel axles with stainless steel ball bearings, and the system produces an effective letoff of 75 percent.
A useful bow performance indicator is found in Darton's patented Tuning Mark System. There are two engraved lines per cam within which the cables should be positioned while the bow is at rest. Cables that lay outside the lines either need to be lengthened or shortened to get back to optimal tune. Want to ensure your rig is in top working condition? Simply make sure the Pro 3500's cables are within the tuning marks and the axle-to-axle measurement is 33€‰13„16 inches and you are good to go.
For the Pro 3500S, Darton uses two molded rubber side panels coupled with rounded edges and smooth contours machined into the riser to complete the grip package. The rubber material on the Pro 3500 is somewhat harder than what I remember from older models. This should help the archer achieve a more consistent hand position at full draw and also cause less performance-robbing hand torque. I consider the Darton grip to be one of the most comfortable on the market.
Darton's Best To Date
The Pro 3500 is, in my estimation, Darton's most shock- and vibration-free adult bow to date. That becomes particularly significant considering the speed generated. Several factors/features are the predominant contributors, including parallel limbs, Darton's Bowstring Noise Suppression System and Sims LimbSavers.
As compared to a bow with upright limbs, a bow that incorporates parallel limb technology has significantly reduced shock, vibration and noise. Limbs are made of a Gordon Composite E-Glass core and laminated S-Glass skins. The Gordon material is machined to tight tolerances in length, width and thickness before being joined with the skins. Skins are placed on the compression and tension sides of the limb.
Editor's Note: Our standardized High Grade testing includes the use of the same equipment and test methods. All bows are tested with a draw length of 29 inches and a draw weight of 65 pounds. Speed tests are conducted with two different arrow weights — 375 grains and 425 grains. For more detailed information on the testing parameters, go to www.bowhuntingmag.com and click on "Bow Testing Parameters."