Bowtech BT-X 31 Review

Bowtech BT-X 31

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Pros

  • Tons of adjustment in the cam systems without needing a press
  • Compact hunting bow with IBO rated speeds up to 350 feet per second

Cons

  • Premium bow at a premium price of $1099
  • The normal shooter may have not interest is using the cams to tweak

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Editors' review

Bowtech has done a phenomenal job offering some really useable features on the cam system powering the BTX-31 for 2016. Although The Overdrive Cams have always been known for their ability to tune well based on their solid engineering, the integration of the Powershift and Micro Sync dial create a super tunable system, which can be mostly adjusted without the need of a bow press. The performance of the BTX-31 is IBO rated according to the Bowtech website at 350 feet per second with 80% letoff and a 6 1/4-inch brace height. Shooters wanting a short axel to axel hunting bow, with interest in tweaking their own setups to perfection will love the ability of the feature packed Overdrive Binary Cam System. With five really great finish options, and a slightly different riser design for Bowtech, the BTX-31 looks as good as it shoots. At the $1099 price tag, shooters can purchase almost any compound bow on the market, so the competition against the BTX-31 is stiff. Those with some archery knowledge, or the willingness to learn how to fully utilize the cam system have a lot to love about the 2016 flagship bow from Bowtech

Finish

With archery growing in popularity, and clubs hosting more and more 3D shoots, archers continually want something that stands out from what others shooters have. Bowtech has decided to offer some unique options during the finishing process to give shooters the ability to customize or stand out a bit from the crowd by offering Kryptek Highlander and Kryptek Typhoon for the BTX-31. Shooters wanting to customize the look of their rigs with string colors or accessories will have the ability to choose between some fairly standard choices with Realtree Xtra Green, Mossy Oak Break Up Country, or BlackOps. Although five options is not a ton of choices, there really is a little something for everyone. Mossy Oak and Realtree are arguably the main camouflage patterns in the hunting industry, so to have the ability to choose either on the same bow is a pretty big deal.

Riser

The Bowtech BTX-31 riser is different in design than previous model years. With the split connecting points for attaching to the split limbs, shooters will readily identify the BTX as a Bowtech model, but the skeletal riser has a different overall design than past models. Some will love the more abstract look, and others will prefer the more aggressive defined look featured in previous years. The FLX roller guard is not new for Bowtech, but does bring a few pretty great features to the guard system helping the overall performance of the bow. For starters, the system is a roller guard system, which is debatable in regards to effectiveness when compared to a standard non-roller system. The second major technology with the FLX system is its ability to flex when drawn. The cams put a great deal of force on the cables, and ultimately on the riser. When the guard flexes, the torque on the riser is reduced, which ideally allows for a more repeatable shot. Finally, the FLX system is centered in a rubber dampener, which helps keep noise and vibration down after the bow is fired and the arrow is sent downrange.

Grip

The BTX grip is a standard Bowtech grip. The slightly tapered handle has side plates for Bowtech badging, and adds a little color to the bow. The grip itself is on the thicker side when compared to other manufacturers, but feels great in the hand and narrows quite a bit at the throat allowing it to sit nicely in the shooters hand. There are a few after market options for shooters not wanting the standard grip from Bowtech, but they are all a bit on the thick side having to mount to the larger grip area machined into the bow. Again, there is nothing wrong with the grip, or the materials, but it is different than others on the market; so shooters switching to Bowtech from another company may need some adjustment time to become more familiar with it.

Limbs

The BTX 28 and the BTX 31 feature the same Carbon Core split limbs Bowtech has used for a few model years. The limbs have standard layers, but feature a carbon core for added strength and stability. Limbs require less flexing in order to meet their peak draw weight, and the less movement limbs have, the more accurate the entire bow is. For the BTX 31, shooters do not have the 80-pound maximum limb option like the BTX-28 model offers. Instead, shooters have the option to choose 50, 60, or 70-pounds limbs.

Eccentric System

The Overdrive Binary Cam System has always been a very tunable system. When paired with the rest of the BTX-31 specifications, Bowtech claims IBO rated speeds up to 350 feet per second. The 31 model offers draw lengths from 27-31-inches adjustable in half-inch increments with the rotating module. Again, the rotating mod has been a standby from Bowtech, but the ease of use and convenience factor is worth noting. The advertised ability to make tons of tuning adjustments without a press are great, but shooters will need an understanding of how to do this and what each adjustment means before tinkering to avoid a large headache. The first technology on the 2016 Overdrive Cam System is the Powershift technology. This allows shooters to choose between three separate draw force curves including a performance setting, a comfort setting, and one in between the two. Realistically, this means the BTX-31 can be set up to have three distinct draw force curves. Moving the disc does not impact the bows tune, but will impact where the arrow hits because the speed is being adjusted from one setting to the next. Although the ability to make this adjustment is very exciting, and Bowtech advertises being able to do this in the stand, anything changing the arrow flight may not be the best to tinker with while hunting.The Micro Sync Dial is another really nice feature of the binary cam system. By design, the cam system lets up and takes out the same rate on the top and bottom cam making them in sync with each other throughout the entire draw cycle. The dial is in place to easily adjust for any changes in the bow forcing the cams to get slightly out of sync with each other. An issue like cable stretching for example could cause the cams to get a bit out of sync. Shooters can simply spin the dial to one of the ten factory settings to get them back in sync with each other and shooting the best they are able to. When cams are not in sync with each other, the nock is no longer inline with the rest of the arrow, which will impact the arrow flight, especially downrange. Simply removing the screw, making the adjustment, and replacing the screw can all be done fairly quickly and without a bow press.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

Aside from the axel-to-axel measurement and the brace height, the BTX-31 can basically draw and shoot the way any shooter wants to set it up. Each of the three Powershift options are smooth, with the main difference between the first setting and the number three setting being the aggressiveness of the draw cycle. More speed has always equaled a more aggressive draw, and the BTX-31 is no different in that way.The back wall feels great holding on target, and the 80% let off is really easy to get used to. Shooters pulling the maximum draw weight of 70-pounds will only be holding 14-pounds at full draw. Just keep in mind when letting down, that 14-pounds will get heavier pretty quickly returning the string to its resting position. After the shot, the bow sits settles back on target very easily, and the arrow is speedy leaving. Perhaps the best thing about the Powershift technology is the ability to change from one setting to another without it impacting the tune of the cams. In other words, shooters can shoot all day on the number comfort setting, and hunt the next day on the performance setting, and the disc only needs to be changed from one slot to the next. Although the cams will remain tuned, it is important to consider the impact point of the arrow will be different because the speed is different. The exact different will vary significantly for each setup considering things like arrow weight, draw weight, and draw length. However, if a shooter plans to use the performance setting the majority of the time, but wants to go a little easier on the shoulders in the cold weather, a sight could be set for the comfort setting. When the draw is changed to the comfort setting, the shooter can bolt on the sight set for that slot.

Usage Scenarios

The BTX-31 is designed to be a hunting bow. The speed, strength, and size are all for shooters wanting a bow for use on game animals. Shooters will enjoy honing their skills on the range or 3D leagues, but most shooters are not going to consider the BTX-31 as a dedicated target or 3D bow.

Summary

Features are amazing to have, and help sell everything from archery and hunting equipment to new mobile devices. However, the technology is only beneficial when used. The BTX-31 has amazing adjustments and tuning options for those wanting to tinker on their bows on a regular basis to get the absolute best performance possible. The ability to do most of the adjustments without a bow press makes the technology even more appealing. However, the majority of shooters are not interested in infinitely tuning a bow, and arguably those shooters wanting to tweak already own a press. Again, the BTX-31 cam system has awesome features, and will make tuning the bow much easier when used properly. When you remove the easily tunable cam system, the hard-hitting, compact BTX-31 is still a really nice hunting bow! For those able to spend the flagship premium price of $1099, the BTX-31 will not disappoint. However, purchasing a bow because you can easily tinker with it may be problematic for some shooters without the proper knowledge to make the necessary adjustments to improve the bow's performance.




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