July 27, 2011
Countdown to F&S’s Best of the Best Bows #10
By Scott Bestul
Well we’re finally at the Top 10 Bows submitted for our annual Bow Test. As I noted in my review of the last bow, we’re looking at some truly fine shooting equipment from here on out. The 10th place bow was easily the fastest bow of the test, and many speed freaks could argue that it’s their favorite. I could see why…But rarely does one quality push a bow to the top of this elite company. Let’s take a look at Bow #10.
For details of how the test is conducted, see the original post . 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 newstands.
This week we’ll continue the countdown with:
Bow #10: Darton “DS 3800” (dartonarchery.com)
- Price: $829
- Weight: 4 lbs. 12 oz.
- Length: 33-3/4” axle-to-axle
- Speed: 345 fps (IBO); 297 fps (our test: 28.5-inch draw length, 70lbs draw weight, and shooting a 437gr. Carbon Express Aramid arrow.)
Comments/Notes: The DS3800 is Darton’s signature bow for the year. It features DualSync™ cams that first came out in 2009. Draw lengths available from 25”-31”, and the brace height is 6”. Effective letoff is 80%. This is a split-limb bow built around a tough, attractive aluminum riser. New for this year is Darton’s PTR (Progressive Torque Reduction) cable guard rod that allows for greater vane clearance. Available in Realtree™ camo or black.
Hits: For the third year in a row, a Darton bow won the speed test, hands-down. For shooters who demand a quick arrow, the DS3800 deserves a serious look. Darton also deserves major kudos for the dead-solid back wall on this bow, and the team felt the draw cycle was much improved over previous entries.
Misses: Speed comes with a price, and vibration and noise were noticeable on the DS3800. This could be tamed with some work, but my testers felt a bow this spendy shouldn’t require a lot of help.
The Takeaway: Darton has called the DS3800 “a muscle bow with manners,” which is a largely-accurate description. One of my more critical testers described it as “the best Darton ever” and he didn’t get much argument. I’ve always appreciated the clean, simple lines and fine craftsmanship of Darton bows. If they’d sacrifice a few fps for smoothness, Darton bows could easily threaten the top spot in this test.