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Product Reviews

Hoyt Rampage XT [PRODUCT REVIEW]

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BOW SPECIFICATIONS

FPS (ATA) 323

Axle-to-Axle 32″

Mass Weight 4 lbs.

Wheel Fuel Cam

Brace Height 7″

Limbs XTS Pro ARC

Draw Lengths 24.5-30″

Draw Weight 40-80#

PROS: Quiet, maneuverable in tight quarters, smooth drawing, silent shelf, roller guard, string stopper, offset stabilizer.

CONS: None. For the price point of this bow, it’s easily the best in its class.

MSRP$649

FEATURES

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.

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Product Reviews

Glider Gloves for Bowhunting Deer [PRODUCT REVIEW]

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PROS: touch screen smartphones (tested on iPhone) function with high degree of accuracy, comfortable lightweight material, long cuffs, 10 finger touch screen capability

CONS: fit was slightly off, fingers were a bit short on my pair, not durable enough for use as an active hunting glove, grip material on glove palm creates torque on the bow hand

MSRP: $24.99

Last season I was contacted by Glider Gloves to field test a pair of their Urban Style Touchscreen Gloves. I had previously reviewed a pair of similar gloves by a company called A glove so I welcomed the chance to review these.

Compared to the Agloves, these gloves were higher quality and had a much longer cuff which is something I always look for in a hunting glove. As social media becomes a larger part of hunting and a growing part of NYBowhunter.com I welcomed the chance to be able to easily send updated to my Facebook fans from the tree stand. The Glider Gloves made it easy to text and check email while keeping my hands warm and concealed from the eyes of any nearby whitetail deer.

One thing bowhunters should note is the gloves have a grip on the palm. Some bowhunters, including myself, prefer not to have any grip on their gloves as it helps create torque which lead to less accurate shooting.

These gloves are great at what they were designed to do – be a comfortable touchscreen glove. However, for hunting purposes, you have to remember what these gloves were designed to do. If you plan on wearing these in the field and climbing up to your tree stand day in and day out you’ll rip through these knit gloves in about a month. If you want these gloves to last as a hunting glove you’re better off waiting until you’re settled in the stand before putting them on so there’s less wear and tear on the gloves.

Overall, I’d recommend these gloves if you’re looking for a true touch screen glove. They’re way nicer to use than similar hunting gloves with a silver pad on the pointer finger and thumb. Just remember, they’re not made for hunting, so don’t expect them to last you for several seasons if you’re rough with them.

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Product Reviews

Fuse Mossy Oak Rugged iPhone Case [PRODUCT REVIEW]

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Last spring I was contacted by Paul at Fuse to try out a new case they had for the iPhone called the Mossy Oak Rugged Orange iPhone 4/4S Shell Case. It combined my two favorite colors – hunter orange and camo – so I gave the case a try.

The case is made up of an inner soft rubber case that acts as a shock absorber and a rigid polycarbonate frame on the out side for added protection.

What I really liked about this case was the fact that it wasn’t covered in a sticky rubber like some of my other iPhone cases so it didn’t pull my pocket out of my pants every time I reached for my phone. Another nice feature is the size of the case, it’s not oversized so you still feel like you have a slim smartphone.

My only complaint about the case was that it didn’t come with a screen protector. It wasn’t hard to find a stick on screen protector online, but it would have been nice if the case included one for 360 degree protection.

This iPhone case travelled with me on scouting missions, spring turkey hunts and fall deer hunts. I really liked the phone case and never had any issues with it coming apart on me, in fact I was really impressed on how well it stayed together. One of my previous cases from another manufacturer used to come apart all the time, but the Fuse case just stayed together.

So how did the case hold up? My phone survived a few drops off of the counter top in my kitchen, it slipped out of my hand and dropped on the floor outside several times and I dropped it in the woods more times than I care to remember, but the case took the brunt of all of the hits and the phone didn’t get a scratch. Had I dropped the phone out of the tree stand it would have been a different story, I think only a fully enclosed phone case would really protect in the event of a 20 foot fall (which I’ve done with a previous case and my phone survived).

Overall this is a quality case for the iPhone. Add a clear antiglare screen protector and you’re set. If you’re looking for a stylish phone case give the Fuse Mossy Oak Rugged iPhone Case a try.

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Product Reviews

Bowtech Releases its First Carbon Riser Bow the Carbon Knight

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Bowtech Archery has released it’s first carbon riser bow – the Carbon Knight. Following the lead of Hoyt with the Carbon Matrix back in 2010, the new Carbon Knight from Bowtech weighs in at just 3.2 pounds (compared to 3.6 pounds for Hoyt’s Carbon Element G3).

Most manufacturers launch their new bows in the early fall (Bowtech usually launches their new bows at the ATA Show), but this one was “just too good to hold any longer,” says Samuel Coalson, Director of Marketing for Bowtech.

The Carbon Knight is said to have a smooth draw and plenty of speed at 330 feet per second. The Carbon Knight features Bowtech’s binary cam design, the Knight Riser constructed from durable carbon, a 7-inch brace height for forgiveness and a 32-inch axle-to-axle length. Draw lengths range from 26.5″ to 30.5″ and draw weights from 50 to 70 pounds in ten pound increments.

The bow is available in Black Ops and retails for $849 (Hoyt’s carbon bows are in the $1,200 range).

The new Carbon Knight definitely looks like an interesting bow and it’s a bow I’d like to try out and compare to some of the other carbon bows currently on the market. If you get a chance to shoot one leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

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