Lots of sweet compact choices. Notable refinements of winning designs. The year’s new hunting bows span these welcome upgrades and more.
Bowtech Realm SR6. HuntStand users will recall the 2018 Bowtech Realm took home our well-earned ScoutLook Steal award, and our only concern was that bow’s relative lack of speed. Hang on, because Bowtech was listening. The new-for-2019 Realm SR6 ($1,099) brings that same award-winning bloodline but also a welcome speed increase; the two bows weigh the same at 4.3 pounds, but the Realm SR6 is slightly longer at 32 inches axle to axle (versus the Realm’s 30 ¾ inches) and the SR6 features a shorter brace height at 6 inches, versus the 7 1/8 inches for the Realm. The big difference is that the SR6 generates up to a reported 352 fps, versus the 340 fps of the Realm. If you’re looking for high performance, the SR6, one of four in the Realm series, might be your next bow. Elite Ritual 30. Here’s another example of refining a great design. Last year the Ritual (a 33 ¼-inch bow that has now become the Ritual 33) turned a lot of serious bowhunter heads. The new-for-2019 Ritual 30 brings many of the same attributes but does it in a more-compact (30 ½-inch axle to axle) design, and as you might guess a bit lighter overall package at 4.1 pounds, versus the 4.3 pounds of the Ritual 33. A notable note: The Ritual 30 ($1,049) was, impressively, the most dead-in-hand (shock free) bow shot by Team HuntStand at the 2019 ATA Show.Mathews Vertix. Mathews was the big winner in our 2018 Bow Test, with the ultra-compact 28-inch axle-to-axle Triax taking home our Editor’s Choice award. At first glance the new-for-2019, 30-inch axle-to-axle Vertix ($1,099) is definitely reminiscent of that design, but there are some notable differences. Maybe the coolest is new Switchweight technology that allows bowhunters to change draw lengths, and peak draw weights (in five-pound increments), without changing cams. You’ll also find the Mathews Engage grip for better balance, and 3D Damping technology for reduced recoil/vibration.Bear Kuma 30. Sometimes when you take a very solid bow design and make it lighter and more compact, bowhunting magic happens. The new Kuma 30 ($899.99) appears to be a prime example, with less weight and smaller axle-to-axle than the proven Bear Kuma, another member of the exclusive, dealer-only Bear Legend Series compounds. The Kuma 30 and its hybrid cams launches arrows at a reported 345 feet per second; it’s been designed to deliver a super-smooth draw cycle while keeping speed and accuracy. With an axle-to-axle length of just 30 inches, the bow features a rigid 1-inch-thick forged riser that has been strategically “hollowed out” to lighten the load–yet still prevents side to side flex, thereby increasing accuracy.Pearson Atlas 32. Any way you slice it, compact bows hold some serious bowhunting advantages. With an axle-to-axle length of 32 ¼ inches and weighing just 4 pounds, the compact Atlas 32 and its 6.5-inch brace height is ideal for the treestand, ground blind, or your next backcountry adventure. Team HuntStand had an opportunity to shoot this neat new design at the 2019 ATA Show and we were pleasantly surprised by its balance, speed and lack of hand shock. Plenty of options for this middling-speedy (330-plus fps) design include covering draw lengths from 27.5 to 31.5 inches, and letoff from 60 to 85 percent.
Prime Logic CT3. More speed and more customizable? Those are good things. At 33 inches axle to axle and featuring a 6.5-inch brace height, Prime has designed the new Logic CT3 ($999) to deliver 335 fps, which is a welcome 5 fps faster than the 2018 Logic. You’ll also find a new riser design and limb- and cable-stop options that allow you to customize the feel of this bow’s back wall. And those who appreciate stellar fit and finish will dig the new integrated mounting system for Prime’s Sherpa quiver, as well as several new camo and finish options.Hoyt Carbon RX-3. As you might recall Team HuntStand thought the 2018 Hoyt Carbon RX-1 was an incredible bow (it took home our HuntStand Silver award in our yearly test), but you might be surprised to see that bow is no longer in the Hoyt lineup. The reason? Hoyt feels it’s been substantially upgraded by the new-for-2019 Carbon RX-3 ($1,699), a bold move that definitely caught our eye. The RX-3 offers the same 6-inch brace height but is a bit shorter (30.5 inches axle to axle) and its carbon riser is completely redesigned, although the overall mass weight (3.9 pounds) is unchanged. The RX-3 also features a new weight-forward balance designed to produce a rock-steady, reduced-vibration shot. You’ll also find a new adjustable grip, and a new sight plate that allows more-streamlined mounting of sight to riser.PSE Evoke 31. Back in 2017 the 31-inch PSE Evolve took home the ScoutLook Steal award in our annual test, and now PSE says it has taken that original sweet-shooting platform to the next level. The new-for-2019 PSE Evoke 31 ($999.99 to $1,049.99) features the company’s proven Evolve Cam System (ECS), known for its stand-out comfort and shootability with 90-percent letoff. But now PSE has engineered the ECS onto a caged riser for upgraded stiffness, strength, and a welcome infusion of speed; the Evoke 31 is being touted to deliver an impressive 342 fps. Overall weight is 4.2 pounds; the 31-inch axle-to-axle bow features a 6-inch brace height.