Mathews Halon 6 Review
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Editors' reviewThe Mathews Halon is offered in 2016 with three separate configurations. The nuts and bolts of each of the variations are identical, with the major difference of each being the brace height and the speed rating for each model. The Halon 6 is the middle model featuring a 6-inch brace height, arrow speeds up to 345 feet per second, and a 40-pound draw weight range based on four different limb configurations. The Halon 6 shoots well, draws smoothly, and performs great for a short axel-to-axel rig. Longer draw archers need not worry about the compact design either, because the giant crosscentric cams give the bow an almost 35-inch top of cam to bottom of cam measurement. The Halon 6 is a heavy bow tipping the scales at 4.5-pounds right out of the box, which may be a bit on the heavy side for a hunting bow of only 30-inches axel to axel. The MSRP is what one would expect to pay for a top of the line flagship model from a big brand like Mathews, but $1098 may still be too much for some to manage. The first impressions of the Halon 6 have been overwhelmingly positive, which means it should be considered an option for those wanting a new hunting bow. However, some real time with the bow and how it feels is advised before signing on the line to bring the bow home.
FinishMathews finish has always been applied well, and does look nice. The past riser geometries have featured a variety of cutouts and sharp edges, which were covered flawlessly. The 2016 Halon 6 does look slightly different than the Geogrid technology, but the cutouts are still a challenge to properly coat. On the models viewed, everything looked great - in black and camo. The Halon is offered in a total of five finish options: black, black tactical, stone tactical, Lost OT, and a brand new Lost XD. The newly designed Lost XD looks to be a bit lighter than the former Lost camo option, and has great definition up close, which helps add to the overall look of the bow in the hand. Overall, the finish is a huge bonus, which looks nice and should be durable for normal wear and tear shooters will put on it. The five options are greatly appreciated, and adding new strings and colored dampeners can give the bow a truly customized feel.
RiserThe riser of any bow is an extremely important component leading to the overall feel of the shot in regards to holding on target, accuracy, and how the bow feels after the arrow is released. For the first time in several years, Mathews has decided to move away from the Geogrid riser, which may be one of the most hot button issues in Mathews history between those liking the design or hating how it looks. The idea behind the structural integrity was sound, but the waffle pattern created as a result was not always the most loved look. The new cutouts still have a geometric design, but are also noticeably different than the past look. The Halon 6 riser is really long for a 30-inch axel to axel bow measuring in at just under 27-inches. A newer feature on the hunting design of Mathews bows is a dual bridge look, which measures almost an inch and a half in width at these spots located on the top and bottom of the riser. The TRG target bows had a similar bridge in 2015, and other manufacturers have a similar design to stiffen the riser and create a more stable platform. Again, the function is sound, and the bridge will help the performance the way engineers intended, but this all adds additional weight to the already heavy Halon frame. Although many target shooters are drawn to heavier rigs, typically hunters prefer lighter bows for packing with them. Obviously, the desired weight of a bow comes down to personal preference, but generally speaking bow hunters favor lighter rigs, especially if they have plans of packing longer distances. With that being said, a few ounces in additional weight will more than likely not be the deciding factor for a shooter not to purchase the Halon 6. Another familiar look for a Mathews riser is the integration of the Harmonic Dampener and the Harmonic Stabilizer located next to the limb pockets. As in the past, these help reduce noise and vibration transferred to the riser after the arrow is fired. The black rubber inserts can be swapped out for a variety of colors as well for shooters wanting a bit more custom look, which is a nice touch as well. A stationary rear facing Dead End String Stop rounds out the riser dampening on the Halon 6.
GripThe days of the wide walnut Mathews grip seem to have ended. The newly shaped flat back grip features a wooden inlay to stay true to Mathews heritage, which does a great job adding some sophistication to the look of the bow. Most bow features are subjective based on what the shooter prefers. The grip may be the most intimate connection shooters have to a bow, and may not even know it unless the grip does not fit in hand very well. The flat back grip produced by Mathews has a nice solid feel and is fairly thin. For some shooters used to a bit wider handle, the grip may take a while to get used to. However, after a short adjustment period, the new style grip should go a long ways in improving accuracy.
LimbsShooters seeing the Halon for the first time are sure to notice the change in limb design for 2016. The limbs are a shorter and wider version of what they used to look like on past Mathews models, which make the cams look even bigger. After getting away from the surprise of the new look, it is clear these limbs are built to store energy despite their new appearance. The Halon 6 is offered in 40, 50, 60, and 70-pound maximum limbs, and can be cranked down about 10-pounds below the maximum poundage. Although these configurations will work for a large majority of shooters, it would be cool to see a 65-pound maximum draw weight, and perhaps an 80-pound limb offering. With the proper setup, a 70-pound bow will supply the kinetic energy needed for just about any big game animal, but some shooters able to pull higher poundage may like the option to do so.
Eccentric SystemThe energy supplier for the Halon 6 is a newly designed Crosscentric cam, which combines both of the cam systems Mathews offers into one. The No Cam is a concentric system, offering a completely round wheel on the top and bottom, which pair perfectly with each other throughout the entire draw cycle. The Crosscentric cam also incorporates the AVS design used on the Monster series bows, which allows for better nock travel even though the cams are not completely circular in shape. On the Halon 6, the IBO rating is up to 345 feet per second. Shooters can also choose between a 75% or 85% let off. Draw lengths are available from 25-31-inches, and can be adjusted in half-inch increments. To help the feel of the back wall, each cam features a draw stop as well, which makes the hold on target sturdy and the back wall solid.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilitySo how do the giant cams. Long riser, and short limbs feel? Pretty great actually. The beginning of the draw cycle has a pretty significant load up to peak weight, which many prefer because that is where the body is typically the strongest to properly manage the draw cycle. From there, the weight gradually decreases until the let off and back wall. The dual stops firms up the back wall a great deal, and the bow holds very well on target because of this. The extra weight is not very noticeable, and the bow feels fairly balanced, which of course can be tweaked with a variety of accessories. Hunters typically like the ability to relax a bit at full draw in case they have to pause their shot execution for some reason, and the Halon valley allows shooters to do that. The cams offer a slight creep off the draw stops, and is manageable to bring back to full draw without the string snapping forward too harshly to control. The feel after the shot is pretty dead in the hand, and fairly quiet as well. Most shooters do not feel it is as silent as the No Cam from 2015, but it is producing a lot more speed as well. Overall, the shot is comfortable, and the performance is adequate. It is also nice to be able to choose between 75% and 85% modules for shooters to get the best feel for their situation. The bow does not really feel like a shorter axel-to-axel bow, which is a bonus as well.
Usage ScenariosThe Halon 6 is a hunting bow. Some shooters will use it as a target or 3D bow, but the Halon was designed to be a hunter, which it should do very well. The weight may not be well liked by some at first, but the feel of the shot may be all shooters need for convincing.
Halon 6 vs. Chill R
|Bow||Mathews Halon 6||Mathews Chill R|
|Brace Height||6 "||6.125 "|
|AtA Length||30 "||33 "|
|Draw Length||25 " - 31 "||23 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||30 lbs - 70 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||345 fps||342 fps|
|Weight||4.55 lbs||3.95 lbs|
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These two bows are comparable in the Mathews line up, mostly because those interested in one may find the other appealing as well. Both bows are performance driven hunting bows at heart with the ability to shoot a little bit competitively. The Mathews Halon 6 is more compact than the Chill R, but the Halon's riser is longer and cams are a bit bigger, which means they will not feel as different as the specifications may indicate. The performance of the two cams are similar in regards to speed ratings, but the draw cycle may lean a bit towards the Halon in regards to comfort. With that being said, the Mathews Chill R is a bit older, and may be found for a better price than the brand new Halon, which may be the deciding factor for some. Both bows are great shooter, with some comparable traits that draw new buyers towards them.