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Like many who saw Mathews new line unveiled, my first impression was "really,
is what you have to offer: spinoffs from the previous years bows?!" Needless to say I was pretty disappointed with the company whose mantra was "innovation". But, I resisted posting anything until I actually had the chance to shoot the new line-up, which is what I did today. Mathews were set at 70# and 28" draw. Hoyts set at 65# and 28.5" draw. I should preface this post by saying that I have a penchant for longer ata bows, due to severity of string angle and stability. When I first saw the XS my impression was that this was just another bow catering to the Eastern U.S. tree stand hunter, and not us Western guys who mix it up with mostly spot and stalk methods. In other words, this was just another version of the Z7 Extreme. Now that I have had the chance to shoot the bow, I can honestly say I was the least impressed with this one. I shot the XS, Chill R, Hoyt Carbon Spyder 30 and Faktor 30 all side-by-side. However, I did group very well with the XS, with little to no tuning done prior to walking into the shop and sending arrows downrange. However, it seemed to be very jumpy and spongy, with a large break just right before you get to the valley, which made for an awkward draw cycle. This bow may work for some, just not me. On the other hand, the Chill R was an absolute dream to shoot. I owned an original 2013 Chill which I traded in for a Spyder. Like stated before, after I saw the specs I was leery Mathews had only altered a few specs and tried to market the Chill R as a "new bow". Well, I can tell you with just a few minor tweaks to the brace height for more speed and long axle-to-axle for more stability, this bow was hands down my favorite amongst the four I shot side-by-side. The decrease in brace height and accuracy/stability problems it might present was non-existent. Held tremendous on target, was very fast (something Mathews isn't necessarily known for), and had absolutely no hand shock. Overall, this bow gets an A+ from me. I still have yet to shoot the Faktor Turbo before I decide which bow will be accompanying me in 2014, but as it stands right now, the Chill R is the leader going into the clubhouse. Moral of the story, before you pass judgment onto Mathews new line, go shoot the bows; you may be pleasantly surprised like I was.
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