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Evaluations : Jon E. Silks
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Field Evaluation: BowTech Old Glory
By Jon E. Silks
Nov 9, 2005, 06:24

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To Field Evaluations by Jon Silks

BowTech 'Old Glory'

BowTech has made an unforgettable mark on the archery industry over the past few years with bows that are not only fast but also quiet and virtually shock free. The introduction of their revolutionary new Binary Cam System for 2005 is a good indicator of the “never rest – continuously improve” mindset that drives Bowtech’s design team.

The Patriotic bow series from BowTech includes short axle-to-axle rigs, super fast shooters and a couple bows particularly designed for a smooth draw and sweet shooting experience.

For this review we will take a close look at the 37.5” BowTech “Old Glory”, a bow intended to blend the shootability of a longer axle-to-axle configuration with the speed of the Binary Cams.

Basics

Riser: A long 26” riser is the central building block of the BowTech Old Glory. Its reflex geometry measures a healthy 4.5”. The entire form is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and includes a generous sight window cutout and 12 weight reducing cutouts along its length. Several grooves and ridges are also machined into the riser for aesthetics. One of my favorite features is a stainless steel fitting inserted below the grip for consistent and worry-free stabilizer attachment. The narrow throated grip is a laminated one-piece style with “BowTech” engraved on one side. The bow’s serial number is machined on the backside of the sight window and a BowTech logo emblem is glued into a pocket just above the window. The riser and limbs are finished with Mossy Oak Obsession camo through a film dipping process. In this process a piece of film with the camo pattern printed on it is placed flat on the surface of the water in a stainless steel tank.  The film base is dissolved by the water, which leaves only the camo pattern lying on the water’s surface. A cleaned and base coated part, in this case a riser, is lowered through the ink and into the water. The ink pattern wraps around the part creating a seamless and flawless finish. BowTech double dips every riser to ensure complete coverage. The riser is then removed, rinsed and dried before a hard protective coat is added.

 SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME??

  • The considerable 4.5” reflex geometry that is formed into this riser is a formula for speed. Each additional inch of reflex gives you that much more power stroke. The power stroke is the portion of your overall draw length that generates force. The more power stroke – the more power/speed!
  • Quality materials and quality machining makes for a quiet, strong and well formed bow. All of the cutouts equal a relatively light, 4.4 lbs, 37.5” axle-to-axle rig.
  • Great looking finish!

Cams: The big story for 2005 is BowTech’s new Binary Cam System. The design of this system is based on two components being combined and becoming one – a perfect marriage if you will. Unlike other systems that use a y-harness/buss cable and are anchored to the bow limb tips, the binary cams are attached only to one another. They function as a single unit automatically correcting for any imbalances such as limb deflection and variable cable lengths. Binary Cams are advertised to always be in absolute synchronization. A drawback with the Binary Cams was that they were draw length specific in that a new cam was needed for every ½” between 26 and 31”. However, I understand this has been changed on the 2006 model to a modular draw length system that is easy to change without the need for a bow press. An added value of the new system is the choice of two distinctively different sets of modules that allow archers to select the shooting characteristics they desire. The choice of an ultra-smooth draw (for extended practice sessions or long 3D tournaments), or a high performance speed mod (for hunting situations) or visa-a-versa, or one of each essentially giving the consumer two bows in one.) An adjustable let-off from 65 or 80% provides even more personalization.

SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME??

  • A cam system that is always in time is an absolute bonus for any of us that don’t have our own bow press.
  • The efficiency of this new system means you get more out of what you put into it.
  • Speed! The Old Glory is advertised by BowTech to reach IBO speeds between 315 and 323 fps.

Limbs/Limb Pockets: BowTech’s pivoting limb pockets are CNC machined of 6061-T6 aluminum. Because they serve as the critical interface between riser and limbs BowTech maintains super tight tolerances in this area to ensure consistency and performance of the overall system. The Old Glory’s relatively short limbs measure approximately 14.5”. Gordon’s glass composite material is blanked out and then machined to form the Glory’s straight limbs. To ensure maximum consistency and output the limbs are matched based on deflection values. Although not as parallel as some of the other models in Bowtech’s lineup the Old Glory limb configuration still produces vibration and shock reducing performance.

SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?? 

  • You would be surprised at the number of bow manufacturers that use Gordon glass composite for their limbs. It has been proven time after time for many years and has an incredible reputation. If you have shot even a few bows in your time it is almost a guarantee that you shot Gordon.
  • Vertical Force Technology, swept-back limbs work together to give you a rig with minimal shock and vibration.
  • Pivoting pockets maintain efficiency when backing off peak draw weight.

Silencing System: If you ask Bowtech what they do to silence their rigs they may tell you that they apply a “Hush Kit”. This kit is comprised of string, cable, cable guard and limb silencers made of a proprietary rubber-like compound. I would say that is true to an extent. What I mean by that is that if you were to apply the “Hush Kit” to just any bow on the market you would get “some” results. What you would not get in most cases is a bow that shoots as quietly, vibration free and shock free as the Old Glory. You see, the Bowtech silencing system is made up of an entire package that includes the Hush Kit, Binary Cam System, VFT swept-Back limbs and a well designed and balanced riser. It is the total package that makes this bow silent.

SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME??

  • A quiet bow! We all want a silent bow in the woods and the Glory delivers.
  • A bow that has virtually no hand shock or vibration is just plain fun to shoot. People who have fun shooting shoot more often. People who shoot more often generally become better shots. You get the picture – practice makes perfect!

Testing

All of my bow reviews are started the second I remove a rig from the box. From top to bottom I go over each bow with a fine-tooth comb looking for evidence of workmanship, fit, finish and good mechanics. The finishing process is mature and appears to be perfected as I could not find one bump or blemish anywhere on the Old Glory. When pressure was taken off of the strings and cables the cams moved freely. All parts were fitted well and Bowtech’s workmanship was apparent.

The Old Glory was outfitted with a QuikTune 3000 arrow rest and a string nock. Nothing else was added or taken away for testing. A 70 lb draw weight and 29” draw length were used for testing as well. The setup also included a 350-grain Carbon Express arrow for speed testing and an Easton XX78 Super Slam arrow weighing 445.98 grains for general testing.  The bow was paper tuned and tweaked for each between tests.

When first shooting the Old Glory I noticed that repeating the same grip was not always a certainty. This was only a factor when using what is sometimes called the “stop sign” grip. With this grip style more of your hand is in contact with the grip than with the straight-wristed grip. When using the straight-wristed style I had no problems with a solid and consistent grip. The rear profile (facing the string) of the Glory’s one-piece wood grip is rounded in an eccentric pattern and could be the source of my inconsistent grip. Looking at the back of the grip from the viewpoint of the bottom cam will allow you to see this. It should be noted that even with the slightly different grips there were no noticeable negative effects on my accuracy. One of the highlights of this grip is in the area of comfort. It seats well in my hand especially when shooting straight wristed.

A friend shot the Old Glory as I moved from one position to another around the bow. I came to the conclusion that no matter where you are in relation to the Old Glory when it is released – it is quiet! I had only a few other bows in the shop to compare to at the time but it is definitely one of the most silent bows on the market.

When shooting the bow myself it was obvious from the get-go that it is a well-designed bow. It is a pleasure to shoot. There is a minimal bump that can be felt in your hand, which appears to come from the bottom limb. It isn’t significant and is not accompanied by any vibration.

The aspect of performance that impressed me the most was the ultra smooth draw. It really doesn’t get much better than this in a true hunting bow. The draw curve has no abrupt changes or super steep inclines or declines. It is well rounded. The feel of the draw cycle is enough to impress by itself but to really appreciate it you have to look at the speeds generated by such a sweet drawing rig. Many times when you find a bow that draws smoothly it is sluggish and one that has a hard draw curve will give you the speed. The overall design of the Old Glory comes together at this very point – a smooth draw coupled with speed. 

Speed was measured with an Oehler research Inc. M35 Chronograph backed up by a Pro Chrono chronograph. Averaged over 20 shots the Old Glory was measured at 306 fps. Bowtech’s birth certificate that came with the bow rated it at 300 fps with a 29” draw and 70.3 lb pull. My scales showed the test rig at 69 lbs so I adjusted it to an even 70. I also measured the draw length at 28.8” not 29”. At 70lbs and 28.8” draw the test bow came in at 303fps! Not sure where the discrepancy is but those are the numbers from my calculations. The shorter draw length was actually refreshing. Often bows will come to me between .25 and .75” too long. A speed of 303 fps fits in well with the advertised IBO speeds of 315 to 323 fps with a 30” draw.

In my opinion the  Old Glory is a fantastic all around bow. There are only two items that may need to be looked at by BowTech’s design team. The first is the grip shape for those that shoot the stop sign style (2006 target model comes with a custom Shrewd® grip) and the second is the draw specific cam configuration (changed for 2006). I almost forgot… Maybe they could engineer that small bump out that can barely be felt in the hands – on second thought, don’t change it. I need a little something there to remind me I still have a bow in my hands!

Now for the "Rating Chart"

 It is my hope that this, along with the spec sheet, will aid the reader in disseminating the mountains of influences and information concerning a bow purchase and boil it all down into a quick reference guide.  This rating chart is intended to help you investigate a single bow by reviewing its key features, and also compare it to other models you may be interested in. A rating system of "1" through "10", in ½ point increments, will be used with "1" being the lowest and "10" the highest or best. Following is a list of the bow properties that will be covered and their definitions.

Grip:  This item will be rated on its "feel" and shape in regard to the effect it has on torque and the overall enjoyment of shooting. 

Maneuverability:  This rating is self-explanatory and will be determined through various field tests, including ground blinds and treestands.  Mass weight will also be a factor. 

Speed:  The rating for this category will be based on the design and intended purpose of the bow.  For example, if the bow being tested is a youth model, it will not be expected to spit arrows out at 300+ fps.

Quality/Workmanship:  Again, self-explanatory.  This item will be based on attention to detail in the areas of machining, finish, and general mechanics. 

Shock and Vibration:  Ratings will be based on the amount of "jump" felt upon release.

Noise Level:  Noise will be rated without any noise dampening devices installed.  This will allow the test to be based solely on the bow's out-of-the-box performance.  This category is closely related to that of the shock and vibration category. 

Draw Cycle "feel": The perceived smoothness of the draw is the focus of this rating.

Shootability:  Many factors come into play here, including axle-to-axle length, brace height, and eccentrics.

Advantage: What makes this bow special? Why choose this bow over another?

Rating Chart

Category - Rating - Comments

  • Grip – 9.0 – Comfortable
  • Maneuverability 9.0 – Over 37” axle-to-axle
  • Speed 9.5 – Just about right!
  • Quality/Workmanship 10 - Excellent
  • Shock/Vibration 9.5 – So close to zero!
  • Noise Level 9.5 – Super quiet
  • Draw Cycle "feel" 10 – Can hardly be beat in a hunting bow
  • Shootability 9.5 – A true pleasure
  • Advantage 9.5 – The overall package – a fine tuned machine
  •  Average Score 9.5 - Out of possible 10
  • Total Score 85.5 - Out of possible 90

Spec Sheet

  •  Draw weights: 50,60 and 70#
  •  Draw Lengths: 26 – 31”
  •  Axle-to-axle length: 37 ½”
  •  Brace Height: 7 ¼”
  •  Mass Weight: 4 lbs. – 4 oz
  •  Let-off - Adjustable from 65% to 80%
  •  Eccentrics: Binary Cam System
  •  Advertised AMO speed: N/A
  •  Advertised IBO speed: 315 - 323 fps
  •  Available finish: Mossy Oak Obsession
  •  Cable: 24-strand BCY 452X 
  •  String: 24-strand BCY 452X
  •  Grip: 1-piece wood
  •  Riser: CNC machined 6061 T6 Aluminum
  •  Limb pockets: CNC machined 6061 T6 Aluminum
  •  Limbs: Gordon Composite Glass
  •  Cable guard: Carbon - straight
  •  MSRP: $749
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime to original owner

For More Information On This And Other BowTech Products Visit:
BowTech  

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