Mathews Halon 5 Review
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Editors' reviewMathews claims the Halon series of bows are their hardest hitting flagship models ever. The Halon series is offered in three distinct configurations, with the Halon 5 being the speed demon of them all producing wonderful speeds up to 353 feet per second. The Halon 6 is a compact bow Mathews tends to offer with a measurement of only 30-inches axel to axel, but is also a touch on the heavy side tipping the scales at 4.5-pounds. The short 5-inch brace height may be a bit scary for some, but those wanting the most performance out of a bow are already aware of the potential trade offs of getting all the speed they can while still keeping a shootable rig. With that in mind, the Halon 5 is not a flagship bow designed for everyone. However, shooters wanting a super fast compact hunting bow backed by an industry giant, the Mathews Halon 5 is hard not to appreciate. Many hunters are demanding the fastest, most compact hunting bow they can get their hands on, and the Halon 5 is both.
FinishMathews has been an industry giant for many years, and you do not get to be in such an Elite group without having a great product to offer. The Mathews finish has been great for a while, and their own camo patterns are nice looking and useful in many different terrain types. Mathews is bringing a new camo pattern to the market this year with Lost Camo XD, which is the sequel pattern to the original Lost Camo offering seen the last several years. Joining this pattern are Lost Camo OT, Tactical, Black, and Stone. According to the bow builder portion of the Mathews website, risers are offered in each of those patterns, with the Lost Camo XD riser available with black or XD limbs, and the black riser offered with black or Lost Camo XD limbs. The riser design is a bit different than in years prior to 2016, but the dipping process is still done well and shooters will have a difficult time finding any type of blemishes with any of these choices.
RiserThe Halon 5 riser is pretty impressive with a measurement of almost 27-inches. The Halon 5 is only 30-inches axel to axel, so with a riser making up the majority of that measurement, shooters will have a very stable riser considering the short stature of the bow. The riser takes on a new pattern as Mathews decided to go away from the Geogrid riser design. The bottom of the riser also features a cage, which will add to the stability and strength of the design. Despite the compact size of the riser, the Halon 5 still weighs 4.6-pounds, which is a pretty heavy model, especially when considering the smaller size. The Halon 5 also features the shortest brace height of the Halon series measuring in at only 5-inches.For riser dampening, the Mathews Halon has a harmonic stabilizer and dampener installed from the factory. These rubber discs have an insert in the middle, which help with vibration transfer from the riser away from the shooters hand. The Dead End string stop system is also added to the lower end of the riser bringing the string to a complete stop much quicker than not using one. Without a string stop installed, the Halon 5's shorter brace height would be more prone to contacting the shooters arm or clothing after the shot. The front mounting stabilizer mounting hole is directly in line with this, and also helps transfer vibration away from the shooters hand.
GripThe Focus grip seems to be king of the Mathews grips at this point. Mathews was known from their wooden one-piece grips for a long time, but many shooters were demanding something with a lower profile. The one-piece slim grip on the Halon 6 from the factory is a nice feeling grip, but it is very minimalistic. It is basically a rectangular shaped rubber composite handle attached to the riser. The sides do feature a wooden Mathews logo insert, which is the most intricate piece of the whole grip design. This style of grip, although simplistic in nature, does help out a lot in maintaining the correct amount of pressure hand placement. Several after market companies produce different style grips for Mathews bows if shooters are interested in a different feel, but the factory option is a great one for most people.
LimbsLooking at the Halon 5, shooters are sure to notice how short the split limbs are by design. It was not too long ago, Mathews was all about the solid slim limbs, but a shift in technology and engineering from the brains at Mathews, the switch was made to offer a flagship split limb bow again for 2016. The limbs do not come with any factory installed dampeners, and most will choose to not install any after the Halon 5 purchase because of how quiet they are without anything extra added. The Halon 5 is offered in 40, 50, 60, and 70-pound draw weights, which allows virtually anyone looking for a high-end bow the ability to shoot the Halon 5.
Eccentric SystemThe No Cam from 2015 was a popular bow for many shooters based on the draw cycle it produced and the ease of tuning it offered. A crosscentric cam designed on the same concept used to create the No Cam powers the 2016 Halon bows. Instead of being a completely circular cam, engineers made part of the draw cycle more aggressive to give it some added speed without compromising the draw cycle too much. The cams also use the Advanced Vector System (AVS) concept, which allows the cam to pivot a bit on the axel to make it a bit more efficient and maintain consistent nock travel throughout the draw cycle. The cams allow a true center nock position, and ensure it through the whole shot cycle. This will lead to improved consistency in groupings downrange. In addition to this, many bows gain speed advantages by stiffening up the draw cycle, or making it more aggressive. The Halon series (5, 6, and 7) all feature the same crosscentric cam system, with the change in brace height being the difference in the advertised speed ratings. Draw lengths for the Halon 5 are available in half-inch adjustments between 24-30-inches with a let-off of either 75% or 85%.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe eccentric system is typically the most defining component of the entire bow. Shooters will generally decide to purchase a bow or move on to another based on how the cam feels while being drawn. The Crosscentric cam system powering the Halon 5 feels nice throughout the entire draw cycle. Shooters are also able to adjust the let-off by selecting either 75% or 85%. For the great speed of the bow, there is not much of a difference in regards to how the other Halon offerings draw in comparison to the Halon 5. The largest difference comes with the shorter brace height, which may or may not be felt in regards to forgiveness. The beginning of the draw cycle does not seem to take much energy to get the cams to start rolling over. As the bow is drawn, the weight is easy to control, and there are no humps at any part of the draw cycle. The last little bit of the draw features a noticeable let-off before coming into the fairly solid back wall position. The back wall has a solid feel, but there is a little give in it if shooters decide to really pull hard into the wall. At full draw, shooters do not have to fight the bow to get it to stay there. The valley is nice, and the bow holds on target without a lot of effort. After the arrow is fired, there is a bit of energy transfer to the shooting hand, but the bow stays in place well and does not have much hand shock. The 5-inch brace height may be a bit problematic in pointing out some form flaws initially, but with a little work, it should not be tough to transition to shooting a short brace height bow. Again, shooters not wanting a 5-inch brace height, always have the option to go with one of the other Halon models in the 2016 lineup.
Usage ScenariosThe Halon 5 is best suited as a hunting bow. It is compact, fast, and produces some hard thumping down range. The 4.6-pound weight of the bow may not be ideal for those in the mountains traveling miles of rough terrain each day. However, those traveling miles of terrain should be in pretty decent shape, so the added mass may not be a major concern. The Halon 5 will more than likely be seen on weekend 3D shoots with buddies, but serious tournament shooters will more than likely be drawn to something a little different.
Halon 5 vs. Halon 6
|Bow||Mathews Halon 5||Mathews Halon 6|
|Brace Height||5 "||6 "|
|AtA Length||30 "||30 "|
|Draw Length||24 " - 30 "||25 " - 31 "|
|Draw Weight||30 lbs - 70 lbs||30 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||353 fps||345 fps|
|Weight||4.6 lbs||4.55 lbs|
|Let-Off||75%, 85%||75%, 85%|
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These bows are basically identical with the only exception being the brace height between the two models. A 5-inch brace height tends to scare a lot of people, so the Mathews Halon 6 will more than likely be the most popular in the general public. However, shooters with confidence in their form, and the desire to have the most performance possible will appreciate the shootability offered with the Halon 5 from Mathews.