Field and Stream - - FIELD TEST -

$1,099 • math­ews­inc.com

Hunters want long axle-to-axle bows these days, right? Wait— that’s changed again, al­ready? True enough, 33- to 35-inch­ers had their days of dom­i­nance in our an­nual test of flag­ship com­pound bows, and there are still some very good ones on the mar­ket. They’re just not as good as this trim lit­tle Triax, which is just 28 inches axle to axle and has earned Best of the Best honors this sea­son. The Triax looks sim­i­lar to the Halon, which won the same ti­tle in 2016, and to the Halon 32, which took sec­ond in last year’s test. But this lat­est model is, in my opin­ion, the best of the bunch. Mathews shaved away some of the weight and bulk of the pre­vi­ous Halons, which was a com­plaint from some testers. But that’s not all to like in this bow. It’s qui­eter than any­thing we’ve ever tested and al­most to­tally free of vi­bra­tion— and that’s not just be­cause the pro staffer of the week told us so; we ver­i­fied it in sound cham­bers dur­ing a gru­el­ing test with the staff of Stress En­gi­neer­ing.

Though short, the Triax is as easy to set­tle and hold on tar­get as many longer bows. And set to IBO specs, it proved plenty fast on our chrono­graph, at 330 fps. It was also among the most ac­cu­rate and for­giv­ing bows in the 2018 lineup. It’s late Septem­ber as I write this, and I’ve been hunt­ing with this bow for a few weeks now. It’s the short­est bow I’ve ever taken afield, and it’s just un­be­liev­ably handy in a tree­stand or ground blind. The other day, I shot a doe through both lungs with it, and by golly, she fell over quick too. A week later, an­other doe made the mis­take of peer­ing up at my stand and stomp­ing her hoof at 25 yards. At the shot, she ran about 40 yards and then tipped over. “Good juju” isn’t listed in the specs of any bow I’ve seen, but this one seems to have it.


2. TENPOINT STEALTH NXT $1,499 • ten­pointcross­bows.com

There are three key things most peo­ple want in a new cross­bow: speed, ac­cu­racy, and nim­ble han­dling. That’s why those cat­e­gories are dou­ble-weighted in our an­nual test of flag­ship cross­bows. But we eval­u­ate trig­ger pull, fit and fin­ish, cock­ing ef­fort, safety, and value too. This year, after a cou­ple of tar­gets were shot out, many bolts were bro­ken, and all the scores were tal­lied, TenPoint’s Stealth NXT was the walk­a­way Best of the Best win­ner in the cross­bow cat­e­gory. It’s just 6 inches wide axle to axle when cocked and weighs 7.3 pounds with­out ac­ces­sories. It han­dles nicely, and we clocked the sup­plied 449-grain bolts at 392 fps. The bow’s av­er­age 3-shot group at 30 yards from a rest mea­sured 1.06 inches.

Year in and year out, TenPoint pro­duces some of the best cross­bows on the mar­ket, and the same goes for its ac­ces­sories, from the scope and bolts to cock­ing de­vices and cases. With the Elite ac­ces­sories pack­age (one of sev­eral avail­able), the Stealth NXT car­ries a fi­nal

MSRP only a buck shy of $1,500. I sold my first pickup truck—a four-wheel-drive that was run­ning like a top—for less money than that. But com­pared to the price of the other high-end cross­bow com­pe­ti­tion, it’s a solid buy.


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