While I was hoping to get this done quite a bit earlier, due to some bows arriving a little later than expected my 2022 hunting bow shootout has been delayed until now.

The contenders, listed in the order I received them, are the Mathews V3X 29, Prime Inline 3, Elite Envision, PSE EVO XF 33, and Hoyt RX-7 Ultra.

Yes, I understand that not every bow is represented here. I did reach out to some other manufacturers that chose not to send a bow over for testing, but these guys get a lot of requests and can’t say yes to everybody. I also don’t have the time to take on many more bows than this. I have a regular job and do these reviews in my spare time, which is not always abundant.

It should also be mentioned that any opinions expressed in this article and video are mine and mine alone. A lot of this is subjective and you may have different opinions. That is perfectly OK. Feel free to tell me about them in the comments.

Now onto the shootout, which I have broken down into several different categories - each with a winner and each affecting the final choice for my bow of the year winner.


Draw Cycle

I always like to start off with draw cycle, because if you can’t shoot your bow comfortably…you probably won’t want to shoot it very often.

A while back I put a video together talking about the draw cycle of each of my test bows, so I won’t go into too much detail here. I will say that all five bows are fairly close here, as none are what I’d call true speed bow. That being said, the Elite Envision takes the top spot for me. It’s a dead easy draw that does not feel like I’m pulling 70 pounds. And as the very knowledgeable Elite pro Nathan Brooks pointed out to me, my test bow has Elite’s hardest drawing mod installed.

The Prime Inline 3 and Mathews V3X 29 finished just behind the Elite. Both offer super linear draw cycles with no dump into the valley.

Speed
Hat Elbow Bow Sports Recreation


Next we will look at speed. I set up all the bows to be as close to 30 inches of draw length and 70 pounds of draw weight as possible and shot each with a 350-grain Gold Tip Platinum Pierce arrow and a heavier 477-grain Gold Tip AirStrike arrow. And here the Mathews V3X 29 is the winner. It shot the lighter arrow an average of 330 feet per second and the heavier arrow at 289 feet per second.

The PSE EVO XF 33 was just behind at 328 feet per second, followed by the Hoyt RX-7 Ultra at 322, the Prime Inline 3 at 319, and the Elite Envision at 318 feet per second.

Stability & Accuracy

Bow Compound bow Shoulder Arrow Hat


Another key category is stability and accuracy and realistically, every bow I test can shoot better than I can. However, in my testing the top bow for me this year was the Hoyt RX-7 Ultra. That bow holds incredibly well at full draw and it always seems to find the middle when I do my job right.

The rest of the bows are not far behind the Hoyt. I’d probably give second place to the Prime Inline 3, but it is an awfully close race. These are all excellent shooters, as you’d expect from flagship-level bows.

Noise & Vibration

Next up is Noise & Vibration and this is a category that Mathews has dominated for the past several years. I was fully expecting the same this time around, but the Hoyt RX-7 Ultra was every bit as good. I was stunned with how little vibration the RX-7 provide after the shot. I shot it back-to-back with the Mathews V3X for quite a while to try and pick a winner, but I really can’t. It’s a tie at the top as far as I’m concerned between Hoyt and Mathews.

The PSE EVO XF 33 edged out the Prime and Elite offerings for third, but I’m not sure how big a difference I felt between the three. I can say with confidence that this is the quietest group of bows I’ve ever shot.

Grip

Plant Bicycle Bicycle frame Bicycle tire Bicycle handlebar


The next category is grip and I’m a simple man when it comes to this. I like a flat grip that is not so wide that it doesn’t fit properly in my hand and not too narrow that it is uncomfortably. Only one bow checked all those boxes and that was the Elite Envision. For my money, this is a perfect grip. The softer grips on the other four bows might be a bit more comfortable and warmer in the cold, but they can’t match the Envision for repeatability. At least for me.

Tunability

My next category is tuning and I’m happy to report that none of the bows I tested this year gave me any major issues here. Still, I’m going to give top marks to the Elite Envision. Elite’s S.E.T. technology allows you to fine-tune your arrow flight without ever having to touch a bow press. It’s as simple as turning a screw to change the cam position, allowing you to get perfect arrow flight with nothing but an Allen wrench. What more can you ask for?

Fit and Finish

Plant Terrestrial plant Fence Groundcover Grass


Fit and finish is not exactly a hugely important category to me. So long as a bow is comfortable to shoot, accurate and tunable, I’m easy. But when you spend more than $1000 on a bow, you want it to look good. The good news is there are no losers here. All five bows have held up well. If I have to pick a winner, I’d say it’s a toss up between the Prime Inline 3 and the Hoyt RX-7 Ultra. Both bows are absolutely flawless after my testing. But honestly, any of these bows could finish on top of this category.

Price and Value

Price and value is up next. Picking a winner is a challenge, as three of the bows share the Elite, Prime, and Mathews all share the same price tag. If I had to pick a winner, I’d give the edge to the Elite…mostly due to the S.E.T. technology. Being able to tune your bow from anywhere without a bow press is a huge deal and Elite lets you do that.

Prime probably finishes second due to the free replacement strings every two years, while Mathews grabs the #3 spot.

PSE sits in fourth, as it costs $200 more than the others at $1300. Finally, the Hoyt RX-7 Ultra with its $1800 price tag finishes fifth. That awesome carbon riser definitely comes with a cost penalty.

Conclusion

Plant Plant community Tree Bicycle part Grass


Well that’s it. Now comes the hard part where I have to pick a winner. Personally, I would be very happy to take any of these bows in the woods with me. I really enjoyed shooting all of them.

Quite frankly, I’m a little bit torn between the Hoyt RX-7 Ultra and the Elite Envision. The S.E.T. technology of the Elite is outstanding, but I love how well the RX-7 shoots for me and it’s so freaking quiet and vibration free. Ultimately, I can’t overlook the $700 price difference, so I’ll give the nod to the Elite Envision. It has the best draw cycle of the bunch, tunes incredibly easily, and has my favorite grip. That’s enough to give it the crown this year.