First Look: Prime Rival

While Prime has been a solid contender in the last few years in our annual bow test, we've always felt they were a step or two away from greatness. Their 2015 flagship model, the Rival, may be just the boost they need to step in to the Big Time. It's a smartly designed, high-performance bow that Hurteau and I truly enjoyed shooting. What's more, it totally nailed two big trends at this year's ATA show; a longer axle-axle (35") and impressive speed (340 fps). It's not easy to combine those qualities, but Prime appears to have pulled it off with the Rival.

Specs: Brace height: 6-1/4", Mass weight: 4.3 lbs., Draw length: 26-30", draw weight 30-70# (in 10-pound increments).

Hits: Amazingly pleasant draw cycle and a solid back wall; really impressive for a bow this fast. While it won't compete with the true flame-throwers out there, 340 fps is plenty fast for most of us. The new roller guard system is tunable, and the fit and finish on the Rival truly stood out. And in a real sea-change for Prime, the grip is slim and comfortable, which our testing has proven promotes greater accuracy.

Misses: Hunters who sit in ground blinds and tight stand setups won't like this long bow. And, as with any bow with a generous valley, the Rival will be difficult to let down if you need to re-draw on a buck.

What else you need to know: There's a shorter axle-axle version available. And if you register your Rival at the time of purchase, you get a new set of strings/cables free after two years.