By Scott Bestul
I just got done testing 14 brand-new bows for Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best” awards program. I’ll be announcing the winner of the test in the September issue of the magazine. Meanwhile, I thought you’d like to see the runner ups. So every week from now until September, I’ll be posting reviews of the test bows, counting them down from #14 to #1 and revealing the winner here shortly after the September issue hits mail boxes and newsstands.
The Test: For the third year in a row our test was held at Archery Headquarters in Rochester, Minn., one of the Midwest’s top pro shops. My testing team included shop owner, Marty Stubstad; bow technician and tournament pro, Trent Kleeberger; veteran bowhunter and 3-D shooter, Tom VanDoorn; and me. We fitted each bow with a Whisker Biscuit arrow rest, weighed it, then shot it through a chronograph using a Carbon Express Aramid arrow that weighed 437 grains and was 29-1/4 inches long (this will explain why our arrow speeds won’t match the IBO speeds advertised by the manufacturers). Then we spent hours on the range, testing each bow for noise, hand shock, balance and grip, back wall, draw cycle, fit and finish and overall shootability. Bows were rated on a scale of 1-10 (10=perfect) in each category, and the scores were totaled to determine rank. This week we’ll begin the countdown with: