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ZXT Bow Review

November 4, 2012 - Bowhunting.com's Steve Flores

When you are the largest bow manufacturer in the world all eyes are on you. Consequently, each year loyal Mathews shooters, as well as everyone else in the archery world, eagerly awaits the arrival of the new bow lineup. This year is no exception. And with the release of 3 new models for 2013, Mathews Inc. is sure to cover a wide array of performance desires. One bow that will take on the task of pleasing shooters is the all new ZXT. If you’ve been happy with what has come out of Sparta, WI over the last few years then you are going to love this bow. In a nut shell, Mathews has taken what is arguably their top two best-selling bows of all time, the Z7 Extreme and the Helim , and combined them into one bow….the all new ZXT.

Features

While a longer brace height adds forgiveness it also slows arrow speed. However, at 326 fps IBO, I can’t think of any animal in North America that would be immune to that type of “bad” medicine.

Built on the Helim platform, the ZXT carriers the familiar Grid Loc riser design as well as some other familiar traits from its predecessors. The Reverse Assist Roller Guard is a nice blend of the straight forward look from the Helim and the sweeping “bridged” pattern found on the Z-series line of bows. The cut-outs on the ZXT roller-guard arm not only reduce weight, but add an aesthetic quality that somewhat match the layout of the bow’s riser. In addition, the sleek and slender Dead End String Stop likens to the appearance of past offerings, but with a slightly new “step-down” design to the rubber section that contacts the bowstring.
Of course, all of the technologies that have propelled Mathews to the forefront of bow design can also be found on the ZXT. These include: Dual String Suppressors and Monkey Tails to squelch bowstring noise, a Harmonic Damper located on the top of the riser and the Harmonic Damper Light on the bottom (which reduces overall weight while virtually eliminating post-shot bow/riser vibration), a String Grub for increased speed and performance, and Spherelock, SE6 Composite Limbs that are literally “beyond” parallel while at rest. All of these features add up to a shooting experience that is exclusive to Mathews bows.
Powering this bow is the new ZX cam; a derivative of the Z-series cam system. Those familiar with this cam design will appreciate the speed that it produces without the need for a harsh draw-cycle to do so. Launching arrows at 326 fps IBO, the ZXT can handle any big-game animal that comes within range of your treestand or groundblind, yet doesn’t require “Herculean” effort or strain in order to reach full draw during the moment of truth. And, with a 28 inch ATA (axle to axle) length, you’re sure to have plenty of room to maneuver into position for that perfect shot.

Test Drive
Shooting the ZXT for the first time felt very familiar; like slipping on my favorite pair of hunting boots. The smooth, comfortable draw cycle, quiet shot, and apparent lack of vibration is what I have come to expect from Mathews. It is why I fell in love with their products so many years ago. My experience can be credited to the features listed above as well as the past-parallel limb design, the ZX cam and the Reverse Assist Roller Guard; all of which add a level of “smoothness” and vibration-free performance that is hard to match.
Without a doubt, the ZXT will be a welcome alternative to other bow designs that, despite boasting extreme speeds, typically force the shooter to suffer all of the “negatives” so often associated with fast arrow flight: i.e. short brace height, increased post-shot noise and vibration and an unpleasant draw-cycle…..just to name a few.

Precision Shooter
Accuracy with the ZXT was exceptional. This is achieved largely due to the overall geometry of the bow as well as its very forgiving 7 3/8” brace height. In simplest terms, a shorter brace height shortens the time the arrow is actually on the bowstring, thus, shortening the time I have to screw things up before the arrow is released. In any case, shot after shot resulted in the same outcome….nail-driving precision.

Few will argue that archery is 90% mental. Likewise, there is no question that “shooting confidence” goes a long way to increasing your performance in the field. When you combine the overall design of the ZXT with the increased conviction that you can close the deal when the opportunity presents itself, what you have is a deadly combination that is sure to result in more filed tags and smiling “trophy” shots.

Conclusion
It isn’t easy to continually raise the bar on bow design. And, while some may feel that the forward momentum has begun to slow down within the industry as a whole, I am hesitant to agree; especially when it comes to bows that are being produced by Mathews. In my opinion, once you have achieved the overall perfect design, which I feel they did long ago, then time and effort can be applied to “perfecting” the perfect design. That is exactly what Matt McPherson and all of the employees at Mathews Inc. continue to do, day after day, year after year. Unsurprisingly, 2013 looks to be no different.

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