I decided that I wanted to try shooting a different bow this year. I have such a curiosity and excitement with archery technology and products that I can’t help but want to try everything I can get my hands on. So far, I’ve always shot Hoyt, and they’ve been great bows, but there are so many manufacturers making great products, I thought it would be a good idea to see how another one felt.
Archery is a growing sport, and within the hunting community, I think bowhunting is also increasing in popularity. You get longer seasons as a bowhunter, a different kind of challenge, and there’s a passion among bowhunters that is just unrivalled by any other activity I’ve ever experienced. For those people getting into archery, it can be daunting trying to make heads and tails of riser designs, cam designs, accessories, arrow selection, and the technical specifications of speed, weight, axle-to-axle length, brace height, and kinetic energy.
I posted about my previous Hoyt Charger setup and some basics about why I chose the accessories I did for that setup, so here is a review of my new bow and some reflection on how and why I made the decision this time around.
I just purchased the brand new 2016 Prime Rize. In terms of specs, the Rize has a redesigned PCXL parallel cam system, the brand new 82X aluminum riser, it’s 33″ axle-to-axle (ATA), 6.75″ brace height, weighs 4.3 pounds, shoots an IBO speed of 335 feet per second (fps), and my bow has a peak draw weight of 70 pounds.
Ok, so for those who don’t necessarily know what all of this means, head over to my Introduction to Archery post for some background on the terminology.
To set up how I came to choose the Prime Rize, these are the main factors I consider when choosing a bow, in order of importance to me:
1. Balance/stability (at full draw and on release)
3. Back wall
6. Draw cycle
Some of these overlap, and some I would probably rate equally important. Generally speaking, I’m looking for a bow that I feel confident shooting every single time. It needs to sit in my hand like it belongs there – before, during, and after the shot.
When I put all those considerations together, I decided on the Prime Rize. Prime’s parallel cam system is supposed to make their bows extremely efficient and reliable to tune.
The limb stops are designed to give a super solid back wall (for people familiar with Elite bows, this is about what a Prime feels like). The aluminum they use for the risers are designed to give an extremely stiff riser, providing both stability and silence on release.
So let’s go through my list of priorities and see how the Rize is looking so far. I’ll jump around my list a bit because it makes more sense to go in order of shot sequence.
Let’s start with the long list of pros…
My first few shots felt amazing. Drawing this bow at 70 pounds felt more like others I’ve drawn at 60 pounds. With the limb stops, it sits at that back wall like there is literally a wall behind my back arm. Some people will cringe at this thought, but I’m really liking it. If I want to hold the bow drawn for any length of time, I want to be able to really squeeze my shoulder blades back and hold the bow there without any movement – I don’t want it to feel spongy or like it’s pulling forward. Other bows will use cable stops, which use the cables to hold the cams at full draw rather than the limbs. This just gives a different feel when holding the bow at full draw, and it really comes down to personal preference.
A note on draw cycle that will certainly be at the top of other people’s lists: I’m not too concerned with having the smoothest drawing bow. When I draw a bow, I’m pulling back a string that will shoot a projectile close to 300 fps with 70 pounds of force. I don’t mind feeling that. I mean, comfort is always nice, but I just personally don’t mind more aggressive cams that I need to power through a bit to get drawn (don’t confuse this with being physically incapable of drawing the bow, which is just a recipe for injury and damaged equipment). As long as I am physically strong enough to get the bow drawn while still holding the pin on target, I’m happy. This would be the difference, for example, between a Hoyt turbo cam, that is very aggressive, and the famous Mathews solo cams, that are well known for their smooth draws.
On release, there’s so little movement, it’s unbelievable. I never felt like the bow was jumping at all; it is completely dead in hand – also making it extremely quiet (the other people in the shop even commented on this). This feeling is a hard one to describe, but anyone who has done some shooting knows the difference between a bow that jumps and one that just seems to slide from full draw to the shot. The Rize sits in my hand really comfortably, and settles right in at full draw.
Prime’s “ghost grip” is essentially just a super thin, low profile grip that is slightly textured, but no rubber or wood. I’m used to Hoyt’s rubber and wood grips, so this was a bit different for me, but I am enjoying it. One thing I noticed is that if there was any moisture on my hand (sweat, rain, etc.), it did make the grip feel a bit less secure in my hand; however, in terms of feeling the bow sitting right in my hand, I am really enjoying the thin grip.
I can’t fully comment on tuning yet because I just haven’t put enough shots through the bow to see how the strings and cables will settle in and how the bow will maintain tuning. Consistency/tuning are extremely important to me. I need to know that I can trust my bow to be shooting exactly the same with every shot. This way, I know that any inconsistencies and errors are mine. I have personally found that Hoyt bows can be a bit time consuming and a little tricky to tune. Don’t get me wrong, they are incredible bows and perform very well; but I have found they need a lot of attention to get the arrows shooting just perfect through paper and with broadheads. So I want a bow that I am confident will stay in tune and will be shooting the same in the field as it was in the shop.
What I can say is that I felt pretty confident shooting it right out of the box. Prime cycles their bows 100 times and then retunes them before they leave the factory, so much of the stretching in the strings and cables should already be done. The parallel cam system is intended to eliminate the issue of cam lean (when the cams are canted to one side as a result of different tension on the cables), so I’ll have to see how that goes after I get a hundred arrows or so out of the bow, and update then.
Binary cam bows can sometimes be a bit notorious for addressing cam lean issues, so this will be a big test for the parallel cam system.
The other aspect to tuning that I worry about is cam timing (ensuring the cams are moving together and in sync). I contacted Prime right away and asked them to send me any instructions they have on addressing cam timing, and they replied with these materials within hours. The adjustments seem to be really straight-forward, and the cams have markings on them that can be used to ensure they are in the same position at rest. This means that you can measure cam timing with the bow at rest, which is great. What I can say is that I installed the rest and nock point based on the manufacture specifications, and it took one small rest adjustment to get the bow shooting bullet holes through paper. So in terms of paper tuning, it was great.
If I have to identify a con…
One thing I will say is that I hope I never have to let the bow down from full draw. I had to do this twice while setting the bow up, and it was very uncomfortable. The flip side of a really nice back wall is that you almost have to push the string forward to let it down, and when those cams roll over, it’s very uncomfortable on the shoulder. Having said that, I can probably count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve actually let a bow down without shooting, so I don’t expect this to be a big issue.
And a con that has become a pro…
One of my initial hesitations with moving to Prime was the weight of the bows. When I first shot a Prime a couple years ago, I noticed immediately how heavy it was, and it really turned me off. They have definitely addressed this in the last couple years. The Rize is certainly a manageable weight, even after I installed my stabilizer and other accessories. It also just feels like a really solid piece of equipment. There’s a more qualitative impression you get when you pick up a bow about its durability, and the Rize sure seems like a workhorse.
A note on speed…
Speed is one of the most hotly debated topics in archery and bowhunting. I’ve discussed the issue of speed in another post about arrow selection, so I’m not going to go into it in detail here, but I will give the specs on what I’m getting for speed. When I shot a couple arrows through a chronograph, I was getting an average speed of 289 fps with my Easton Axis arrows. My arrows are in a 340 spine, weighing 9.5 gpi, so at 28.5″ long they come in at 414 grains total weight. This gives me 77 foot pounds of KE out of the Rize, a number I’m definitely happy with.
All in all, I think it’s a great bow so far. I need to do a lot more shooting and of course get it into the field for some hunting, but I’m happy with it. I would definitely encourage everyone to check these bows out and give them a try. At the end of the day, choose your bow based on what feels right. Don’t buy a bow you don’t think you will be confident with in the field. Read through some other reviews (here’s another great review of the Rize as well) and see what people like about their equipment. There are many variables and considerations, so it’s important to get some bows in your hands and see what is most important to you and then decide which bow suits your preferences the best.
Questions about this bow or setup? Feedback or suggestions about this review? Leave them in the comments section and I’ll definitely address them!