Bow Test: 4 Compound Bows Under $450

Marty Stubstad and Trent Kleeburger of Minnesota’s Archery Headquarters, avid hunter and 3-D competitor Tom VanDoorn, and I shot each … Continued

Marty Stubstad and Trent Kleeburger of Minnesota’s Archery Headquarters, avid hunter and 3-D competitor Tom VanDoorn, and I shot each bow extensively to test for balance, feel, fit and finish, draw cycle, vibration, and noise. We also shot each bow, maxed out and set at a 28.5-inch draw length, through a chronograph, using a 425-grain Easton Axis arrow.

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Bear Legion
The Legion was sent to us maxed out at 60 pounds (the others were tested at 70), which affected our test speed, so the IBO is a better comparison. The draw cycle was very smooth with a pleasing valley. The back wall was solid, and the slim rubber grip fit nicely in the hand. While the Dual Arc string suppressors are functional, they needed adjustment to help deaden noise, and none of us liked their looks.
The Specs:
– 30 1⁄2″ axle-to-axle
– 7″ brace height
– 250 fps tested (318 IBO)
– 80% let-off
– 4 lb.
$400

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Mission Riot
The Riot has a fit and finish that give it a pleasing elegance. The second-fastest model tested, it balanced nicely, was a pleasure to draw, and came with a premium string. Most impressive was its incredible 19- to 30-inch draw-length and 15- to 70-pound draw-weight adjustability, which make it a fantastic beginner’s bow. We dropped points, however, for a mushy back wall, some felt vibration, and a chunky grip.
The Specs:
– 31″ axle-to-axle
– 7″ brace height
– 272 fps tested (310 IBO)
– 80% let-off
– 4.3 lb.
$400;

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PSE Brute X
It was not the prettiest bow in the test, but that was our only complaint with an otherwise highly impressive bow. The Brute has a slightly more aggressive draw than the others, but it resulted in an easy win in the speed contest. Greater mass weight gave it excellent balance at full draw. The Brute was dead quiet, the slim grip was a joy, and the draw length is easily adjustable. This is a high-performance shooter.
The Specs:
– 31″ axle-to-axle
– 71⁄4″ brace height
– 283 fps tested (320 IBO)
– 75% let-off
– 5.1 lb.
$400

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Quest Rogue
The team raved about the solid back wall on the Rogue, a bow that just homes in on your anchor point every time. Its new Fluid Cam delivers a nice draw cycle and decent speed, and it allows for easy draw-length adjustments. There’s nothing fancy about the Rogue, but it’s a tough, well-built bow. Felt vibration affected its score, but this could be tweaked with a little work on the adjustable string stop.
The Specs:
– 31″ axle-to-axle
– 71⁄2″ brace height
– 266 fps (312 IBO)
– 80% let-off
– 4.2 lb.
$430

From the August, 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.