Bowtech Specialist II Review

Bowtech Specialist II

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  from $895

Pros

  • 9 custom color options
  • Incorporates most of the technology available from Bowtech
  • Massive draw length range from 23-32.5-inches
  • MSRP of $799

Cons

  • Pretty minimalistic looks
  • Would be nice to have rear mounting stabilizer bushings

Video

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Editors' review

Target archery is a great way to get introduced to the sport of archery. It allows shooters to fine tune their skills, experience a bit of pressure, and perfect their ability to repeat their shot execution over and over again. However, target archery is expensive, and shooters typically need to fork over a great deal of money to get started, especially if they do not have accessories that can carry over from an older rig. Therefore, newer archers rarely get started in target archery because the price of admission is so steep! In comes the Bowtech Specialist II with the marketing tagline, "Precision more attainable than ever." What an awesome concept for Bowtech to put into play for 2020! The Specialist II is a moderately priced target bow, with an MSRP of only $799. That is correct, for less than $800 shooters can leave with an absolutely stunning target bow, in 9 target colors from one of the most technologically advanced companies in the compound bow industry. Shooters with draw lengths from 23-32.5-inches will fit into the modular based binary cam system on the Specialist II with peak draw weights of 40, 50, and 60-pounds. For anyone looking to get started in the world of competitive target archery, Bowtech may have the absolute perfect bow to consider at a price point that seems too good to be true. FinishThe patterns on the bow are flawlessly done and look amazing on the finished product. Shooters who are interested in having a target bowl often like a little pop to the colors available, and what the overall finished product will look like. For those who are interested in a little flair, the Specialist II does not disappoint. The nine distinct color options are featured on the riser and solid limbs giving the bow a uniform look.Weather shooters are looking for some thing that will catch everyone's I, or if they would like something a bit more reserved, BowTech has delivered something for everyone. Color options available include: Black, Glacier White, Caught Red Handed, Blue Me Away, Performance Blue, Hyper Green, Smoke Grey, OD Green, and Flat Dark Earth. Whether shooters are looking for something that will catch everyone's attention standing on the line, or if they would like something a bit more reserved, BowTech has delivered a solid color option for everyone.

Riser

The riser on the Specialist II looks very minimalistic in design. There are not any crazy cutouts or bridged options, just a standard old school looking reflexed riser design. The overall axle-to-axle length of the bow is a target friendly 38-inches, and the riser is the vast majority of that measurement. When combined with the binary cam system the brace height is 7 1/8 inches long offering a very solid and steady platform for target shooters in building their confidence. The overall weight of the bow is pretty acceptable as well considering how large the axle-to-axle measurement actually is. The Specialist II tips the scales at 4.5 pounds, which is a great point for shooters to start accessorizing and adding stabilizer weight to. In regards to technology, the riser has everything shooters need, and nothing they do not. The cable containment system is a standard cable slide design, which is different from the hunting lineups for Bowtech, but a bit more standard equipment in the target world. There is also a rear mounted string stop system below the grip to keep the bow as silent and shock free as possible, while bringing the string to rest after the arrow is released. There is a standard front mounting stabilizer bushing for a stabilizer to be mounted to, but the Specialist does lack a high and low mounting hole for a rear facing stabilizer. Shooters can still use a side bar mount to the front stabilizer, or they can use one of the Orbit dampening mounts to run a back bar off. The Orbit Mounts are an integrated disc weight and dampener used by Bowtech in recent years to help balance the bow out and give it the precise feel shooters are hoping to get out of their bows. The discs can be stacked or moved around to a variety of mounting holes throughout the top and bottom of the riser, and can be added to either side of the riser to fine tune the overall feel shooters ultimately are looking for.

Grip

The grip available on the Specialists II is the Clutch Performance Grip, which is carried over from the hunting lineup. This grip is a modular based grip design, which allows shooters to choose the most comfortable thickness and profile to fit their hand and shooting style. The modular grip can also be swapped out for a variety of colors including black, red, green, and brown. Unfortunately, the low profile clutch grip is the only one that comes standard in the box with the Specialist II. Shooters interested in trying out the other options will need to purchase those separately which is a giant bummer. It would be nice for BowTech to include each of the modular options in the box even if it does cost a bit more initially. All of the grips have a flat back with some rounded edges, which makes it a perfect feel in the hand for most archers. Having the ability to choose the thickness is a really great option, and one more companies should consider incorporating into their grip designs considering how personal a grip's feeling is to each shooter.

Limbs

The limb design strays a bit from what BowTech has produced in the hunting lineup for the last several years. The Specialist II is outfitted with a solid limb instead of the split limb technology, which helps add to the minimalist design of the Specialist II overall. Shooters have the option for a maximum draw weight of 40, 50, or 60 pounds. Although it may not be the most popular option for target archers, 70-pound limbs are missing from the lineup in addition to the 65-pound max limbs, which seems to be a sweet spot for many shooters. However, the majority of target archers will be happy with the options available. The pockets swoop the limbs down a bit, which is a little different than the more parallel design of the other BowTech models. This is not a bad design feature, just a bit different than what is a bit more popular across the rest of the lineup.

Eccentric System

The cam system for the Specialist II is a Binary Cam System, with rotating modular adjustments from 23-32.5-inches. These half-inch adjustments are easy to make, and will make the bow available to just about everyone on the market for a target bow. The Binary Cam is what BowTech has always done very well, so there should be no hesitation in the quality and shootability offered whatsoever. Speeds are pretty great as well, with an advertised IBO rating of 320 feet per second. The technology of the Binary Cam is pretty simplistic on paper, and executed to perfection in practice by BowTech engineers. Both cams are perfectly symmetrical to each other, and timed to function the exact same as the bow is drawn. This design allows for perfect nock travel as the arrow makes its way through the draw cycle, and after the arrow is released, the nock again can move forward without the top or bottom causing a different reaction getting a different arrow flight. This system is great for target archers, is easy to tune, and stays timed and in sync really well within the platform.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

Target archery tends to incorporate a great deal of tweaks and tinkering in order for shooters to get the exact feeling and performance they would like. Although the Specialist II has a few less areas to tinker with than other rigs on the market, the bow itself performs amazingly well! The draw cycle is buttery smooth, giving shooters an effortless draw cycle. The hold on target is steady and the pin float is virtually nothing without accessories are even added. Shooters will be able to mess around with stabilizer lengths and weights and have the pin absolutely still on target with this platform. After the shot, the arrow is sent down range. There is a bit of vibration, but that is to be expected with a 38-inch bow. The grip is comfortable, and shooters have the option to swap it out for something they may like even a bit more than what comes stock. This bow is a dream to shoot! When loaded up with the appropriate target accessories, shooters will immediately experience a confidence boost in their abilities as an archer.

Usage Scenarios

The Specialist II is a target bow, which will be a great option for spot shooting or 3D archery. Some feel the pricepoint of the bow makes it more marketable to newer target archery shooters, and although that does appeal to new target archers, this bow is a great offering for anyone wanting a new target bow. Those brand new to the sport, or those just wanting to upgrade from last year, the BowTech Specialist II is worth a serious consideration for any compound tournament shooter.

Summary

The BowTech Specialist II can be summed up in one word: unbelievable. Everything about the bow is amazing! It shoots great, feels great, blanances well, and instills a great deal of confidence for anyone spending time with it. Perhaps the best part about the Specialist II is the price, with a suggested retail of only $799. If this bow was competitively priced over $1000, it would still have folks interested even though some other models may have more technology or customization. However, priced at $799, this bow should have all kinds of fans for 2020. Shooters can be upset there is not a top and bottom stabilizer mounting hole off the rear of the riser, and they can be disappointed the bow is too classic looking for them with the absence of cages or bridges, or a shoot through style riser. However, all of those potential concerns disappear after shooting the first arrow down range. This bow is legit, and for $799, the Specialist II may be the next value in all of target archery!

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