Hoyt Axius Ultra Review
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The 2020 release of the Hoyt Axius Ultra has a lot of people excited about the latest and greatest equipment coming from Hoyt. The longer 34-inch axle-to-axle hunting bow is coupled with a forgiving 6 3/4-inch brace height and produces an ATA speed rating of up to 334 feet per second. The aluminum riser tips the scales at an advertised bare bow weight of 4.6-pounds, which is where most aluminum bows have ended up so far in 2020. The rotating module is offered in two base cams ranging from 27-32-inches, with half-inch increments available. The back wall was firmed up for this model year, which will make some shooters very happy. Hoyt also offers the bow from 30-80-pounds with six different limb configurations to give just about anyone on the market for a new bow the option to choose the Axius Ultra. Unfortunately, there has been some negative reaction to Hoyt not upgrading enough to justify purchasing a new bow. Although there is a limited number of upgrades, shooters who know what they are looking for will understand the changes made are significant and make the bow feel different than the outgoing Hoyt model. Perhaps the worst part about the 2020 Hoyt Axius Ultra is the new price of $1249. This makes the Hoyt aluminum hunting bow the most expensive aluminum hunting bow on the market for 2020 from the major companies. For some diehard Hoyt shooters, the price will not be as much of a deal, but when there are so many amazing hunting bows offered in 2020, the Axius Ultra needs to be a whole lot better for shooters to justify the higher price point. The Axius Ultra will make an amazing hunting bow, and may even double for some as a 3D rig, but the price Hoyt is asking will price them out of the market for some potential buyers.
FinishThe available finish options for Hoyt are pretty impressive. They have a ton of different camo patterns all of which look amazing. Unfortunately, the number of target colors for 2020 is limited, but they all still look great. The worst part about having a ton of options, is that a less popular pattern may be more difficult to find in a particular shop, which means it would have to be ordered and shooters will need to wait for it to be mailed from Hoyt. For hunting options, shooters can opt for Black Out, Storm, Realtree Edge, Kuiu Verde 2.0, Under Armour Forest, Subapline, or Elevated II. Shooters can also mix and match the limb colors with the Black Out and Storm riser if they would rather have a more custom look. In addition to this, Hoyt is still offering the Bone Collector and Keep Hammering special edition bows for shooters wanting to support their favorite industry hunter. For shooters wanting less of a hunting look, and more of a target bow design, Hoyt is offering Black Out riser with White, Blue, or Red limbs. Any of the finish options are going to look great, and are well well applied with no seams or noticeable thin spots.
RiserThe 2020 Axius Ultra gets another redesigned aluminum riser, but the function and main points of engineering remain the same as previous model years. The Axius Ultra weighs in at a bare bow weight of 4.6-pounds, which is about the norm for aluminum risers this model year. Back in the day, the magic number for an aluminum riser was the 4-pound mark. However, there are aluminum hunting bows in recent years heavier than the 5-pounds mark. The best part of the Axius Ultra riser design is the balance of the bow before accessories are added. The bow just sits in the shooter's hand, without wanting to tip side to side, or feeling top heavy. The grip is placed in a great spot, and the engineers managed to distribute the weight of the bow evenly around that point for a completely balanced feel all around. They have a brand new integrated rest design for 2020, which allows the QAD Integrate rest to be added to the dovetail mounting system. This mounting system is more streamlined than the bolting method on the side of the riser. Unfortunately, it only works with the QAD Integrate Rest at the moment, so shooters will be limited to the QAD Integrate rest in order to use the Integrate design. The normal mounting holes still allows shooters to shoot any style of rest they want. Hoyt engineers stick with the Total Engineering Concept (TEC) riser design, which they have used for what seems like forever. With the bridged riser design, Hoyt is able to beef up the stability and strength of the riser, without adding girth to the grip area. This allows for a super stable platform, without compromising how the grip is shaped. The Hoyt standard for strength is a minimum of 1,500 dry fires on a riser before a riser design is even considered for production, which is pretty impressive to say the least. For Hoyt to spend so much time building a riser they have total confidence in says a lot for how well this rig will perform under normal shooting conditions. The Axius Ultra also gets some tried and true riser technology featured on previous models as well. The Stealthshot String dampening system is an adjustable, rear mounted string stop system to keep the strong off shooter's clothes and bow arm after the shot. To further help with noise and vibration reduction, Hoyt also keeps the Shock pods dampeners on the bottom of the riser as well. These shock absorbers take the vibration from the bow, and remove them by allowing the dampeners to cancel out anything left over after the arrow leaves the string. Hoyt also integrates a rear mounting stabilizer bushing allowing shooters to customize the accessories they add, if they choose to go with a back bar. The stationary roller cable guard is also used for 2020. The new cams allow for the roller to be fixed to one position instead of sliding on a rod as in past years. This system proved to be a solid idea for 2019, and is carried over to the 2020 models as well. Although there is not much new to the industry technology integrated into the Axius Ultra, everything has been refined over the years to be the absolute best available from Hoyt right now. Shooters should have complete confidence in their equipment, and engineers at Hoyt go above and beyond expectations in delivering an aluminum riser designed to meet all the demands a hunter requires from their equipment.
GripThe 2020 grip gets carried over from the 2019 lineup, which is great because it had a popular response. Shooters are easily able to get the Hoyt one-piece grip into proper placement on the bow, and the thickness and shape of the grip feels just about perfect as well. The plastic grip looks and feels a bit less premium than the previous wooden grips, but the shape and comfort are still top notch. The carbon grip series features a moveable grip to support tuning issues based on individual hand torque. However, the aluminum risers do not have this feature integrated into the riser. Overall, the grip has proven to be a popular shape, which is easy to adjust and get used to.
LimbsThe Axius Ultra has a draw weight range of 30-80-pounds with six different limb configurations. The split limbs are perfect for the larger ZTR cam system, and will withstand anything hunters will throw at them. For peak draw weights, the Axius Ultra has 40. 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pound limbs available. Virtually any shooter on the market for a flagship hunting model will find a limb configuration they want with the Hoyt offerings. The limb pockets remain the same for 2020, which is fine because they are a great design and work exactly as designed. Hoyt adds a set of split limb dampeners on the Axius Ultra right out of the box, which can be swapped out for a different color if shooters choose to change out the black later on for a more personalized look.
Eccentric SystemHoyt has designed a new ZTR cam system to power the 2020 hunting lineup. When paired with the longer 6 3/4-inch brace height on the Axius Ultra, the ATA speed rating shoots up to 334 feet per second. This speed is not overpoweringly fast, but it does allow shooters enough performance to take down big game animals quickly and ethically. The ZTR cam system also accommodates a large range of shooters by offering two base cams. The number one cam is adjustable in half-inch increments from 27-30-inches, and the number two cam ranges from 30-32-inches. Draw length adjustments are made through a rotating cam module, which is redesigned for 2020 to incorporate the draw stop system. Hoyt claims the new ZTR cam is the smoothest drawing cam, featuring the firmest back wall, and quietest arrow release they have ever created. The cable stop system puts almost a full inch of tension on the control cable, instead of a tiny peg holding the back wall for shooters, which has firmed up the feel a great deal. Shooters will still notice a difference between the cable stop versus a limb stop bow, but the new cable stop system has firmed up the back wall quite a bit.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe new feel of the ZTR cams will be a welcomed change for many shooters. The transitions in the draw cycle of the ZTR cams are ultra smooth. The peak draw weight comes early in the draw cycle, and although the draw is characterized by many shooters as a stiff drawing cam, the transition to the valley, and ultimately the back wall are as smooth as can be. Smooth is over used in the archery world when describing the draw cycle of cam systems, but it is absolutely the correct descriptor. The back wall is firmer than any other Hoyt back wall in recent years, which will be well received for some, but maybe not for all. On target, the balance of the bare bow feels perfect. The pin float is almost non-existent as well, which should lead to shooters grouping tighter at long distances. After the shot, the Axius Ultra has some vibration, but no one will be shooting the Axius Ultra without at least some added accessories, so that vibration will be eliminated. The cams created a very silent arrow release, and Hoyt's claim of the ZTR cams being the quietest cams they have produced seems to be accurate. Overall, the Axius Ultra draws and holds like a dream. The stiffer draw cycle is not necessarily a bad thing, but some shooters may prefer a different feeling draw cycle for their hunting bow.
Usage ScenariosThe Axius Ultra is designed with a hunter in mind. Hoyt is marketing the Ultra lineup for shooters needing a more stable platform, specifically those hunting out West in the mountains. However, 34-inches is still fairly compact for most tree stand hunters in the Midwest also. Although Hoyt has 3D and target specific models, the Axius Ultra will also perform well in either of those applications. It may not be a popular choice for straight up target shooters, but hunters wanting to practice on the 3D range will have no problem with the accuracy and shootability of the Axius Ultra.
Hoyt Axius Ultra vs. Hoyt RX-4 Ultra
|Bow||Hoyt Axius Ultra||Hoyt REDWRX Carbon RX-4 Ultra|
|Brace Height||6.75 "||6.75 "|
|AtA Length||34 "||34 "|
|Draw Length||27 " - 32 "||27 " - 32 "|
|Draw Weight||30 lbs - 80 lbs||30 lbs - 80 lbs|
|IBO Speed||334 fps||334 fps|
|Weight||4.6 lbs||4.1 lbs|
|Where to buy|
Best prices online
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Hoyt has produced an aluminum and carbon riser with identical specifications for years, and 2020 is no different. However, this year may be the year with the least amount of difference between the carbon and aluminum risers. Back in the day, the carbon risers were significantly lighter, but this year the carbon bow is only 1/2 -pound lighter than the aluminum bow. The price is perhaps the largest difference between the two bows this year. The Axius Ultra has a suggested retail price of $1249, while the Hoyt REDWRX Carbon RX-4 Ultra has a suggested price of $1749. Both prices are getting to the point of insanity, especially when they are each more expensive than their respective competitors. However, with the carbon riser being so expensive, many previously choosing the carbon model may find it more difficult to spend the money on one given the larger cost again this year. Both models are great hunting bows, with very minimal difference between them.