Countdown to F&S's Best of the Best Bows #14

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:

Bow #14: Rytera "Seeker" (rytera.com)
Price: $899
Weight: 5 lbs. 12 oz.
Length: 33" axle-to-axle
Speed: 290 fps.

Comments/Notes: The dual-cam Seeker sports an innovative design, which places the grip in front of the riser. Interestingly, this allows adjustment of the bow's brace height from 5-1/2 to 8 inches. The grip angle is also adjustable. Dual carbon stabilizers are placed at the top and bottom of the riser.

Hits: The Seeker was very fast, tying for 3rd in the speed category. It had a nice back wall and decent draw cycle for such a fast bow.
Misses: While the team was split on the Seeker's hand shock (two felt it was decent, two hated it), no one liked the Seeker's balance or grip, which could have been a function of the riser design. We also felt the Seeker was loud, likely a function of the short brace height (we tested it at the factory setting of 5-1/2 inches).

The Takeaway: The Rytera is an attention-grabbing bow; the unique design alone insures that. The 3-plus inches of brace height adjustment is totally unique, and though it placed low on our list, this bow has some promising innovations. For shooters who demand a fast arrow and appreciate slick engineering, the Rytera is worth a look.