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Deer Gear Review: Why I Like the PSE DNA Bow

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June 17, 2013

Deer Gear Review: Why I Like the PSE DNA Bow

By Scott Bestul

Hurteau and I were just discussing the results of our 2013 Bow Test. We can’t divulge the results here, as they’ll appear in the August and September issues of the magazine. But I can reveal this much: PSE, one of the country’s top bowmakers, will not be thrilled about where their flagship bow, the DNA, finished in our rankings. Truth be known, I’m not jumping for joy either; I feel the DNA should have finished higher.

And that’s fine. We had a panel of four testers, and when you have a panel, you’ll have some disagreement. It was, I believe, the most thorough and fair test we’ve ever done; it was full of lively discussion, whole-hearted agreement, and some good-natured arguing. I wouldn’t change a thing about the process, but the results—no surprise—didn’t perfectly reflect my own opinions.

As for the PSE DNA, none of us particularly liked its utter lack of valley, but two of the testers absolutely clobbered the bow for it. At full draw, the DNA feels like it’s pulling your string arm forward, like it wants to launch the arrow before you’re ready. To shoot it well, they argued, you have to really concentrate on staying against the back, but that’s not where you want your focus when you’ve got a big buck under your stand.

It’s a compelling argument, but I think they’re wrong.
 
And the proof was in the downrange target. Everyone shot this bow well. One of the testers who dropped the bow for its lack of valley was pounding 1-inch groups at 40 yards with it. Indeed, I’d argue that the DNA makes you a better shot because the bow demands that you shoot perfect form. The proper way to shoot a compound is to “break it apart,” pushing away with your bow arm and pulling back with your release hand. The DNA forces you to do that; otherwise it will jump forward on you. And when you’ve got a bow that’s pleasant to shoot in other aspects—the DNA has superb balance, a mild draw cycle for a speed bow, is dead in the hand, and has a wonderful grip—that short valley actually improves accuracy. It was also our fastest bow.

I understand where part of the team is coming from because I used to hate a short valley, too. Then a friend (an excellent shot and competitive 3-D shooter) convinced me to shoot a PSE EVO for three weeks last summer. “Just give it a chance,” Tom said, “and I bet you’ll shoot very well once that short valley feels normal to you.” He was absolutely right. I ended up shooting the EVO so wonderfully that I hunted with it last fall, and used it to kill one of my nicest whitetails.

Here’s what that experience taught me: A bow with a long valley may be more comfortable to shoot, but it also allows you to creep ahead, and that can destroy accuracy. Plus, a bow with a long valley will almost certainly be slower because of its less-aggressive cams. I’m far from a speed freak, but I’ve learned that 30 fps can improve accuracy and allow me to shoot a heavier arrow, which results in better penetration. You—like many, many bowhunters, including some very experience ones—may think you hate a short valley.  But if you want to shoot better, I suggest you try one.

Comments (3)

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from ENO wrote 43 weeks 3 days ago

Scott...I have to agree with you. I haven't shot the DNA. It is on my list for sure. My friends like a particular manufacturer that makes a bow with a deep valley, smooth draw, comfortable grip, light weight and short axle to axle. All of those features are great for comfort but they also take away a "tiny bit" of accuracy. My current bow is by a different manufacturer and it is the exact opposite of the above. It is also a tack driver (which my friends always comment on at the 3-D course). For me I want a quiet bow, that's fast and accurate. I can deal with the rest.

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from wisc14 wrote 43 weeks 2 days ago

very informative bow review. so many reviews on bows these days read like an advertistement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dwayne moore wrote 5 weeks 1 day ago

I bought the DNA for my 13 year old son and he is shooting 2" groups at 40 yards. Within 9 arrows we had the DNA sighted in and shooting 12 rings within 10 minutes at 20 yards and within 20 arrows my son shot his first "ROBIN HOOD" I myself have always loved to shoot a shallow valley bow because I feel it is a lot more accurate. And the speed of this bow is absolutely amazing, speed is definitely not an issue with this bow.if you haven't shot this bow I would really recommend you pick one up and shoot it but take you checkbook with you because you will end up leaving with it. Yes, it is that great of a bow. QUIET, FAST AND DEADLY ACCURATE!!!!

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from wisc14 wrote 43 weeks 2 days ago

very informative bow review. so many reviews on bows these days read like an advertistement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 43 weeks 3 days ago

Scott...I have to agree with you. I haven't shot the DNA. It is on my list for sure. My friends like a particular manufacturer that makes a bow with a deep valley, smooth draw, comfortable grip, light weight and short axle to axle. All of those features are great for comfort but they also take away a "tiny bit" of accuracy. My current bow is by a different manufacturer and it is the exact opposite of the above. It is also a tack driver (which my friends always comment on at the 3-D course). For me I want a quiet bow, that's fast and accurate. I can deal with the rest.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dwayne moore wrote 5 weeks 1 day ago

I bought the DNA for my 13 year old son and he is shooting 2" groups at 40 yards. Within 9 arrows we had the DNA sighted in and shooting 12 rings within 10 minutes at 20 yards and within 20 arrows my son shot his first "ROBIN HOOD" I myself have always loved to shoot a shallow valley bow because I feel it is a lot more accurate. And the speed of this bow is absolutely amazing, speed is definitely not an issue with this bow.if you haven't shot this bow I would really recommend you pick one up and shoot it but take you checkbook with you because you will end up leaving with it. Yes, it is that great of a bow. QUIET, FAST AND DEADLY ACCURATE!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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