This year Hoyt introduced the Rampage series of bows, entering a new price point and blowing away the competition. After shooting the Rampage XT, I actually think Hoyt might have outdone themselves on this one. Think of the Rampage XT as a CRX with a cast-magnesium riser – it’s that good. Shoot the two bows side-by-side, as I did, and you’ll agree.
At 32″ axle-to-axle you’ll find this bow right at home in a pop-up blind or tucked 20 feet up in a gnarly oak tree. The Rampage XT is easy to maneuver and a pleasure to shoot.
Thanks in part to a newly designed cast-magnesium riser, Hoyt was able to offer this bow at a price-point that it previously missed. Just because the price was trimmed, doesn’t mean the features were. The Rampage XT has all the features of Hoyt’s top of the line bow – the CRX. It’s the perfect bow for anyone who wants the features of a top of the line bow without the price-tag.
The only physical differences between the Rampage XT and the CRX is riser (cast-magnesium vs. machined aluminum) and a weight difference of 0.05 pounds (I don’t even know if it’s possible for a human to feel a difference of five-hundredths of a pound).
Cast-magnesium risers shoot just as well as machined aluminum risers and may even be a bit better at absorbing vibration of the bow – I didn’t notice any vibration while shooting the Rampage XT. The riser on the Rampage XT is thicker than the CRX’s riser which gives the bow a different feel.
The Rampage XT comes standard with Hoyt’s Pro-Fit 180 grip to give it the same feel as the other bows in it’s line-up. The Pro-Fit 180 grip is made from a thermo plastic elastomer which reduces vibration and provides a warm feel on cold morning hunts. To me, the grip has a soft feel, and while it’s not super thin, it does have a thin enough throat which I like for consistent hand placement and a torqueless shot. With the Pro-Fit system you can switch out the grip on your Hoyt to fit your style which I really like. The Pro-Fit Custom Grips include: black wooden side plates, standard black wooden grip, high wrist wooden grip, and brown, white and pink 180 grips.
There will be many happy Hoyt fans when they see that changes were finally made to the string stopper. This year Hoyt used a softer material for its string stopper and got rid of the groove down the middle. The new string stopper with its flat face and softer material make it quieter than its predecessor and also allows it to better absorb energy from the string.
Hoyt outfitted the Rampage XT with the new Fuel Cam and XTS Pro ARC limbs. This is the perfect combo for the Rampage XT.
One of the noticeable differences on the new Fuel cam is a larger draw stop peg and a brown anodized finish instead of last year’s black finish on the XTR cams.
The Rampage XT accepts 2-piece quivers like it’s machined aluminum counterparts. This is a plus for those who like to hunt with their quiver fixed to their bow.
Another welcomed feature on the Rampage XT is Hoyt’s silent shelf, a molded rubber insert that eliminates any sound from the arrow should it come in contact with the riser shelf. This also prevents any unwanted noise from drop away rests that come in contact with the riser shelf.
To make enhance the feel of the draw on the Rampage XT, Hoyt put it’s roller guard on the bow which reduces friction on the cables.
One feature that will really be appreciated on the Rampage XT is the offset stabilizer mount which helps keep the bow balanced when fully rigged for hunting.
SHOOTING THE RAMPAGE XT
Shooting the Rampage XT is a pleasant surprise. I picked up the Rampage XT expecting it to shoot like a mid-ranged bow – decent, but lacking refinement. I couldn’t have been more wrong and was surprised when I realized the Rampage XT shoots just like a high-end bow.
It’s a beefier bow compared to the other bows in Hoyt’s 2011 line-up, but is still easy to take afield at just four pounds.
The Rampage XT I tested was set at 70 pounds and had a 29″ draw. As you draw the bow back, the weight steadily builds until you reach the valley and drop off to a solid wall. The cam has a harsher draw cycle than I like, but is acceptable, and doesn’t take away from the shootability of this bow.
At full draw, the Pro ARC Limbs are past parallel distributing energy evenly and eliminating hot spots found on solid limbs. Like all Hoyt limbs, these are build in-house at Hoyt’s factory in Salt Lake City, Utah and put through the 1,000 dry fire test. The 5-layer laminated limbs store a massive amount of energy giving your arrow more speed and kinetic energy down range. As an added benefit, the past parallel limbs also cancel vibration leaving the bow dead in your hand. Some of Hoyt’s past limbs were known to splinter on the side of the limb. It does not hinder the performance of the bow, it’s more cosmetic, but Hoyt backs their limb and will replace them if this occurs. The new Pro ARC Limbs have supposedly remedied the problem.
Hoyt hit the ball out of the park with the Rampage XT and it will be a sure winner in 2011. If Hoyt was previously out of your price range, you’ll want to give the new Rampage XT a try. It’s clearly the best in its class.