First Look: Mathews NO CAM HTR

mathews_htr_fMathews unveiled its 2015 bow lineup Wednesday, and the flagship NO CAM HTR was in my hands within hours.

In short, the NO CAM HTR is — hands down — the smoothest-drawing hunting bow I've ever shot, extremely stable on target and quiet upon release.

Here's why:

No Cams?

The key to this bow's performance is all-new NO CAM ST Technology, which uses two circular, concentric string tracks that allow the bowstring to travel at a constant distance from the center of rotation throughout the shot cycle. The first time you look at the NO CAM HTR, you will immediately notice the round wheels riding on the top and bottom axles, along with the two interior wheels for the cables.

In short, there are no traditional cams on this bow, which eliminates the "camming" action you feel when the bowstring transitions from rounded to flat areas. The end result is an extremely smooth draw with literally no discernible transitions; getting the string from brace height to full draw is nearly effortless.

Mathews says NO CAM ST Technology also produces straight, level nock travel for superior accuracy and is extremely efficient, which means that more energy is transferred to the arrow upon release, leaving less leftover energy to create bow noise and vibration.

Other Features

After the NO CAM ST Technology, the next thing you'll notice on the NO CAM HTR is a long, lightly reflexed riser that creates the impression of a rig that is longer than the actual 32-inch axle-to-axle length. Mathews has stayed with its popular GeoGrid riser design here, with the addition of two larger cutouts adjacent to each limb pocket. The riser also has twin Harmonic Stabilizers built in to further combat noise and vibration.

The long riser allows Mathews to use short, rigid quad limbs that are only about a foot long. The limbs reach a position well beyond parallel at full draw, and the configuration of the system creates a very narrow front-to-back profile that makes this bow easy to maneuver.

Finally, the NO CAM HTR riser is home to Mathews' Reverse Assist Roller Guard, which reduced cable friction during the draw and shot, Dead End String Stop to eliminate post-shot string oscillation and noise, and the Focus Grip for optimal hand placement and minimal torque.

The NO CAM HTR weighs 4.3 pounds, has a 6 5/8-inch brace height and can accommodate draw lengths from 24-30 inches, in half-inch increments. It's available in peak draw weights of 50, 60 or 70 pounds and has an adjustable system letoff of 65, 75 or 85 percent. The bow's IBO speed ratings are 330 fps at 65 percent letoff, 325 fps at 75 percent letoff and 321 fps at 85 percent letoff.

Finish options include Lost Camo, Lost Camo OT, Black Anthem, Black Tactical and Stone Tactical. The NO CAM HTR has a base price of $1,099.

Range Impressions

As I mentioned at the outset, the most notable feature about the NO CAM HTR, from a shootability standpoint, is the super-smooth draw cycle. This is not the fastest hunting bow on the market, but you will not struggle to draw it — a feature that will be appreciated by archers with shoulder issues or anyone who prefers smoothness over speed.

After the smooth draw, I'd rank the rock-solid back wall on the NO CAM HTR as my second-favorite aspect. The string comes to a screeching halt at full draw thanks to the Mathews Rock Mods Draw Modules that also allow for letoff customization.

Once anchored at full draw, I find the NO CAM HTR very stable on target, a feature I believe is a result of the long riser and short limbs. I personally prefer a very narrow grip on my bows, so I find the Focus Grip quite comfortable. Upon release, I feel virtually no vibration and only a slight "bump" in my hand. Shot noise is minimal.

Simply by switching my existing sight, rest and stabilizer over from my Creed XS, I was able to set up the NO CAM HTR in about 30 minutes and was shooting two-inch groups at 20 yards in short order. Accuracy was similar at 30 and 40 yards, and because the speeds of the two bows are very similar, I was able to shoot at longer ranges without even adjusting the pin gaps on my sight.

There is no doubt the new NO CAM ST Technology will generate most of the attention for this bow, but it has plenty of other features that should make it a more than capable performer no matter your choice of bowhunting quarry.

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