Elite Archery Judge

Elite Archery Judge

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Elite Archery is in its second year of business under Elite Outdoors ownership. The company emphasizes that, while they build bows with great speed, they are NOT in the speed race. Rather, they continue to focus on creating ultra smooth-drawing rigs with little recoil or vibration. Speed is just a bonus in the Elite design model.

Elite captured the enthusiastic attention of many archers last year with the GT500 and hopes to continue that energy in 2010 with the new Judge. The Judge sports an all-new modular two-track binary cam system, parallel five-layer laminated limbs, LimbSaver String Decelerator, two-piece wood grip, pivoting limb pockets and LimbSaver Ultra Quads.

Simply Smooth
Elite's popular Two-Track Binary Cam system (Revolution Cam) received a welcome upgrade for 2010 with a full set of modules that cover draw lengths from 26-30 inches, in half-inch increments. Pro shops can easily accommodate their customers' draw-length needs simply by stocking a set of modules instead of separate cams for each length. Draw stops on each cam allow archers to fine-tune the feel at the end of the draw cycle from a solid wall to a forgiving valley.

The simplicity of this system is found in the number of tracks (string/cable grooves) it takes to get the job done -- two. One track is used for the string and the other guides both cables. The let-out and take-up cables share a section of the same track for a portion of the draw cycle. With the two-track system, Elite is able to keep the cable load close to the center of the axle, which is near the middle of the limb forks. Balancing the load this way greatly reduces twist in the limbs.

When you hear someone refer to cam lean, they are basically talking about a symptom of the core problem -- limb twist. A leaning cam introduces torque and reduces efficiency. A two-track system also requires less material to manufacture (6061-T6 aluminum in this case), which results in a lighter overall mass weight.

Both cams ride on sealed ball bearings and stainless steel axles for less friction and increased efficiency. System letoff is advertised at 80 percent. The attached draw force curve demonstrates exactly what I found at the range -- fairly aggressive with smooth transitions to and from the peak plateau.

Assault On Noise
Elite employs several features to combat vibration and noise. A metal rear stabilizer mount provides a base for the LimbSaver String Decelerator. The Decelerator uses LimbSaver's patented Break-Away Technology to stop the string at a slower rate compared to designs that bring it to an abrupt stop. This allows the nock to leave the string while still on a level track. A string stop also reduces the chances of wrist slap that can really take the fun out of shooting!

Further diminishing noise and vibration is a set of Solid Limb Ultra Quad LimbSavers, which incorporate NAVCOM technology. Ultra Quads are advertised to reduce noise by as much as 20 db and vibration up to 80 percent. Perhaps the most effective noise and vibration reducer on the Judge is the parallel position of its five-layer laminated Barnsdale limbs.

Limbs that reach a parallel position at full draw distribute the force from release in equal and opposite directions. This causes the leftover energy after propelling the arrow to be cancelled out as the limbs act in opposition to one another. A bow that incorporates this technology has significantly less shock, vibration and noise than a similar bow with upright limbs.

In testing, the Judge was quiet, with the majority of what little noise was present coming from the string. A set of household rubber bands tied to the string quieted the Judge even more.

Gripping Comfort
I consider Elite's grips among the best in the industry, because they have succeeded in combining functionality with comfort. The grip slopes gently forward from bottom to top as it relates to the vertical line of the bow, creating a stress-free cradle for the shooter's hand. Two laminated wood side plates and surrounding handle material are blended and contoured for a smooth transition.

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