Photo credit: Luke Dusenbury
Below are several new archery products I've had my eye on in 2022.
Hamskea makes an excellent rest and they have been the best selling rest we carry in the GOHUNT Gear Shop. They are packed with features, made in the US, durable and accurate; however, we do hear from time to time that they are a little bulky. The Epsilon is the answer and by all accounts they are going to be one of the hottest items for bowhunters this year. The Epsilon is much slimmer than the Trinity — almost 3/4” slimmer. One of the biggest issues with the Trinity was that there was contact between the rest and arrows if the quiver mounts close to the riser like most of the models on the market. This rest will eliminate that problem. The Epsilon still has the three ball bearings to support the carrier rod and rest fork. The vertical and horizontal adjustments both now offer micro click movement for precise adjustments. The shape of the fork/rest has been updated as well. It’s been narrowed to offer more clearance between the fork and riser. The containment cage on the Epsilon is in two pieces; you can remove the top and leave the bottom or vice versa or remove both, which is my preference. For folks who shoot Mathews bows, you can buy a Mathews approved version of the rest that mounts close to the riser and is shipped with the horizontal windage set to 13/16”, which is almost always the sweet spot for tuning a Mathews bow. It’s also available with a universal mounting bracket that can be adjusted to fit the variety of riser widths on the market. I have been using the same Trophy Taker Smackdown pro with a Pronghorn Launcher for almost eight years and this is the first rest I truly think might replace it.
The price tag on a lot of Last Chance Archery tools can be a little off putting, but the quality is really good and, truly, they make products that are going to make a difference for bowhunters in the field. The Revolution Arrow Tuner is new for 2022 and a product I am definitely buying — even at the $539 price point. With this tool, you can square your arrow and insert. It can also be used to check the straightness of the arrow. The arrow tuner has a broadhead wrench and also offers broadhead tuning where you can detect and correct any misalignment between your arrow, insert and broadhead itself. Broadhead alignment and tuning has been one of the most time consuming and potentially frustrating tasks for me over the years and, beyond the tune on the bow, nothing is as critical in getting a broadhead tipped arrow to hit its intended target. Broadhead alignment is an important step in ensuring you make a quick ethical kill in the field and, given the amount of money and time I put into hunting, I can certainly justify the cost. Last Chance makes products to last a lifetime, so the value is definitely there. Last Chance also has several other new products to add to your home shop that will make it that much easier to work on your own gear at home.
I have talked about it before, but 10 years or so ago, I had a bad case of target panic and my fix for it was to relearn the process of releasing an arrow with a hinge release. I have practiced and hunted with a hinge release ever since. I have owned several hinge releases until I landed on a Tru-ball HT Pro four-finger. I have tinkered with others over the years, but the HT Pro has been my go-to when hunting season rolls around. The new Tru-Ball Executive is similar to the HT pro except it has one feature that I’m very interested in. The head length on the Executive is micro-adjustable. You can make the neck/head length longer or shorter to fine tune your draw length. In addition, the click length and tension speed are both micro adjustable. A click is a small groove that provides a slight audible click sound as you settle into full draw and is an indicator that you can begin the process of pulling through and executing the shot. I personally prefer no click, but most people who shoot a hinge release prefer a click. This release comes in a three-finger configuration and is made of brass to add some weight in your hand. If you are interested in shooting a hinge release, this is one I would suggest looking into in 2022.
Within the archery industry, it’s been a rare occurrence when a significant new product like a sight grows from seemingly nowhere, but the new Dialed ARXOS is the exception. Dialed began leaking details via social media early this past summer and now they have a full-blown website where customers can see and design their own site now. When I say design, the ArXos has several features that customers can choose from to get a somewhat custom setup. First, they can pick the color of the sight. They offer black, earth (brown), sage and smoke (grey). After tha,t you can pick the color of the dial used to adjust the sight housing up and down for extended yardage. They have a ton of dial color options, including flo orange, flo green, white, red, blue, purple and several others. Dialed also offers the customer the ability to pick which side of the sight they want the yardage tape to be displayed. Some people like it on the inside, which is typically the way I prefer it. Others like it on the outside so they can see it as they make the adjustment on the dial. You can also pick from a .010 pin or a .019 pin size. Currently, they only have one housing, which has a primary pin and a secondary lower pin for a second aiming/reference point. My understanding is that they are working on a three pin and five pin housing as well. Housings can be easily swapped out, which is a nice feature. For example, if I were going on a spot and stalk mule deer hunt when I was more likely to get a shot just as a bedded buck stands, I might want the precise aiming point offered by double pin housing. If I am hunting rutting bull elk, I would prefer the three or five pin model so I do not have to worry about making an adjustment as a bull moves into range. It’s nice that they will offer those options and they are easily changed out.
The ARXOS is a slider site and, when you look at it, the most noticeable difference is the angle of the rail that the housing is on. Rather than the housing moving vertically up and down, this sight moves up a rail that is angled slightly forward at the top. This has been done to allow you to achieve further distances before running into vane clearance issues. The angle also reduces the dial travel to adjust yardages. One other difference is the location of the bubble level in the sight housing. Dialed has moved the bubble to the top of the housing. The reasoning behind this was to allow multi-pin shooters more space so that they can get more range. With the bubble no longer occupying that space, shooters can move pins further down and get more range out of those pins. Moving that bubble to the top may take some getting used to, but it makes sense and I think, with some time, I would get used to it.
The ARXOS comes mounted on a 5” dovetail sight bar, has adjustable second and third axis, micro adjustable windage, and is constructed of 6061 aluminum for durability. There is a lot to like about this new sight, especially for western big game hunters. Currently, Dialed is offering direct sale only from their website with orders expecting to ship summer of this year. It also works well with the new Bridge-Lock Mathews sight mounting system in the 2022 V3X bows. I am likely going to wait until a five pin housing is offered, but the ARXOS is definitely on the short list of new products I’m excited about this year. Note: it's best to jump on their website if you want to see what this bowsight looks like!
The Mathews V3X has been my favorite hunting bow I have ever owned. The combination of the 33” axle to axle, Bridge-Lock sight mount, and the overall balance of the bow just suits me. In addition to being an accurate and enjoyable bow to shoot, Mathews has added a great new feature to the V3X bows that allows bowhunters to easily remove and replace strings or cables in the field. Several years ago, I remember a hunting buddy accidentally touched a cable with a broadhead and almost cleanly severed it. He didn’t dare draw the bow back or shoot it and the only option was to hike out, drive the three hours to a pro shop and have them replace the cable. He lost almost two days of hunting due to that mishap, which is why this new Stay Afield System is so fantastic.
It’s a really simple system, composed of a cable with loops at both ends and only weighs a ½ ounce. The top and bottom cam on the V3X bows each have a tab on the internal portion that allows the user to attach the SAS cable and then relax and remove either the string or either cable. It’s essentially an emergency bow press that can be used in the field. With the SAS, an allen wrench to back your limbs out four turns and a backup set of strings, you have everything you need to completely replace and tune a damaged string or cable in the field. Having played with it, it’s super simple and easy to use and, if the V3X wasn’t sweet enough, the SAS is just one more feature that has me sold on the new Mathews 2022 bow.
We have had a lot of success selling STAN releases in the GOHUNT gear shop and it’s with good reason: they make a high quality release packed with features. For 2022, they have several new releases, including a series called the Onnex. The Onnex is offered as a thumb trigger, a resistance or a hinge release. All three models have the exact same handle shape and feel. This would allow you (if you wanted to invest the money) to buy a resistance or hinge release for training and practice and a thumb trigger activated release for hunting. A lot of bowhunters like to have a trigger for hunting, but also like to train with a hinge or resistance release to learn and reinforce proper shot execution. One feature of the hinge version of the Onnex is that it comes with a safety of sorts. The thumb peg can be compressed as you draw the bow and, by doing so, will ensure that the release will not fire. After you reach full draw, you release the thumb peg and pull through the shot to activate the release with tension. The Onnex releases come with three- and four-finger configurations so you can play with those and find the preferred fit and feel for you. The tension and travel is also fully adjustable with these releases. I’d expect the quality of the Onnex releases to be on par with every other release I have owned from STAN, which has been very very good. STAN also has two new index finger releases called the StrikeX and SoleX. More on those when details become available!
The Long Range Precision arrow/broadhead system from TAC Vanes is an intriguing new option for bowhunters in 2022. There is a lot that goes into the system, but the cliff notes version is that hunters will be able to buy a set of Gold Tip Platinum Pierce arrows that are squared, spine aligned, arrow wraps installed and pre-fletched with either three or four configuration TAC driver shield cut vanes. That’s all great, but in addition, the arrows will have a broadhead pin system. A stainless steel pin will be glued into the business end of the arrow and a Swhacker #261 expandable broadhead will screw onto that insert/pin directly. The end result should yield a tuned, tight tolerance arrow/broadhead setup that is both accurate and tough right out of the box. Currently, I don’t know specs of the insert/broadhead weight or the cost, but the entire system looks impressive. I like building my own arrows and I don’t see that ever changing, but for hunters who just want a great setup without having to deal with all the equipment required and the time it takes to build arrows, this could be a premium option. The LRP definitely piques my interest and I am interested to see where it goes.
Easton has a few new arrows for this year, most notably the 4mm FMJ and the Sonic 6.0. The Full Metal Jacket arrows are well known and many western big game hunters like them for the metal/carbon construction. In essence, you get the carbon core with a 7075 alloy metal jacket. The potential benefit is that you get an extremely straight arrow due to the metal wrap and the durability provided by a carbon core. The FMJ is not new, but this year it is being offered in a 4mm size, which is smaller than previously offered. The 4mm FMJ is a bit heavier than most carbon arrows and, with the half-out insert options, bowhunters can build a heavy duty high FOC arrow that will penetrate even better with the 4mm diameter.
The other interesting arrow is the Sonic 6.0. The Sonic is a 100% carbon 6mm shaft built to offer bowhunters a little more speed. The 340 spine options weigh in at 7.9 grains per inch while the 300 is 8.8 GPI. They also offer a 250 spine at 9.5 GPI.
I have not been a fan of the metal/carbon arrows in the past due to the fact that, over time, the metal can bend, resulting in a less than perfect arrow. I prefer an all carbon arrow, but that is subjective and there are thousands of bowhunters who swear by the FMJs for big game. It’s easy to see the potential benefits and the 4mm option is going to make these even more attractive.
We are excited to say that we are now carrying a full line of Black Eagle Arrows in the GOHUNT Gear Shop. If you're in the market for new arrows, definitely check them out. Several of our staff members have been using them for a very long time with great results.
There are many more new products for 2022 and now is the time to start evaluating your equipment and make an upgrade. We will have many new additions to the GOHUNT Gear Shop throughout the coming months so watch for those. Some of the products listed above you’ll notice are not available through our site and are only available through direct sale or pro shops. In saying that, we still think it’s important to highlight and cover the products we are most intrigued with. If you want to see some of these in our gear shop, reach out to the companies and let them know you want to see the GOHUNT Gear Shop carry them!