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Evaluations : Dave Conrad
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Field Evaluation: Fletcher Flathead Release
By Dave Conrad
Jun 13, 2006, 00:27

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Dave Conrad


Jim Fletcher has been an innovator in the archery industry for over 45 years.  This year is no different with the introduction of the new Flathead release.  This compact release measures just under two inches, but don’t let that fool you.  It is engineered with precision that rivals any finger style release on the market today and comes with the features Jim Fletcher Archery is known for. (Web Site:  Jim Fletcher Archery)

Initial inspection of the Flathead revealed a squared design featuring an anodized greenish black camouflaged scheme.  The only indication of the name or manufacturer was the Fletcher nameplate stamped into the leather wrist strap.  The makeup of the release head is rather unique, yet bears the familiar Fletcher design.  The Flathead is very lightweight thanks to the materials and miniature design.  The simple buckle strap, thin padding and manageable leather combined with the v-shaped design doesn’t cut into the wrist and provides a very comfortable fit.    

 

This small package is designed with a lot of flexibility, especially in two areas, providing a custom fit and feel.  These areas are two very important and critical ingredients for success.  The correct fit for the trigger is adjusted by a length strap that connects the release to the buckle strap.  By loosening and then retightening compression loops within the strap you can configure it for the right length.  I like the trigger to just barely fit into the first joint of my index finger.  Now that I have the length adjusted correctly I can then adjust the weight or resistance needed to trigger the release.  This is accomplished by advancing or retracting a hex screw located opposite the trigger in the frame.  Advancing it reduces the length of pull while retracting it requires more travel and finger pressure to fire the release.  Within a few minutes of experimenting I was able to find the correct sensitivity for my liking.

The trigger assembly is centered within the release and features a self locking inset latch design.  What interests me is the easy way the Flathead clips onto the string or loop.  Simply advance the release onto the string or string loop and it loads quickly and effortlessly.  No more fumbling with holding the release open and then pushing the trigger forward to load.  The fluid motion of the four hinge point action automatically locks onto the string.  Simple yet very effective!

The forward design of the trigger will aid in diminishing returns of draw length.  Many releases on the market today set the trigger well back within the design.  This not only robs the archer of draw length but can also make anchoring very cumbersome.  Most archers prefer the trigger as close to the string as possible.  The distance between the string set and the trigger is approximately ¼” making for a very reasonable anchor set.

I was eager to put the Flathead through its paces.  My bow of choice for testing was a 2005 Bowtech Allegiance set at 70 lbs.  The first part of the testing was to see how effectively the release clipped onto a bow loop.  The opening of the Flathead is of a somewhat narrow design.  The rounded and curved edges of the jaw doesn’t put any undue pressure or stress on the string.  As mentioned earlier just advance the string into the opening and the simple pressure of the string on the backside of the jaw will lock the string onto the Flathead.  I tried several different means of drawing the bow, from an abrupt jerk to a smooth continuous pull and the Flathead performed perfectly.  Once at full draw I tried several letdowns but still the Flathead wouldn’t release it grip on the string.

At full draw I settled the pin on the target and knowingly started applying pressure to my finger.  Surprisingly the release let go of the string with the slightest of pressure.  The first time it was a surprise as I didn’t expect the release to be so “pure”.  Time and time again this scenario was repeated as the little release just let go of the captive string with the slightest of pressure.  Now playing with the adjustment with heavier tension could make the compact release be a downright “meany”.   The hex screw being a simple design would react just as I thought when adjusted toward the extremes.  But it always came back to my comfort zone within a few twists.

Design 4.5 of 5.0

For a compact release the Flathead is a big hit.  It retains the draw length and the feel is comfortable.  The buckle design would be better if replaced with a Velcro strap.  It can give the archer a wider range of comfort. The adjustment of the trigger and length of pull are very accommodating with the design and I feel cannot be improved for its compact design.

Quality 5 of 5

The Flathead comprised of minimum parts showed quality throughout.

Value 5 of 5

With the features listed above this product is worth its weight and should last for many seasons.

The Flathead while small and compact can accomplish anything an archer would want whether in the field or on the range. 

For more from Jim Fletcher Archery

 

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