Mission Maniac Review

Mission Maniac

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  • Wide range of draw length and weight
  • Easily adjusted without the use of a press
  • Proven design characteristics
  • Good value


  • IBO rating would be considered Slow by today's standards


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Editors' review

Ruggedly and effectively designed, the Maniac by Mission Archery incorporates many of the proven technologies that have made their parent company Mathews a household name in Bowhunting circles. Stepping away from the conventional thought that faster is better, Mission has defined the Maniac by its absolute adjustability and comfort.


Not cutting any corners on looks, the finish on the Mission Maniac was up to par with its higher priced cousins from Mathews Inc. Dressed limb to limb in Lost Camo, there were no noticeable blemishes or folds in the camo, nor machine marks anywhere on the Riser or Eccentrics. Mathews is well known for their ability to provide quality to the consumer, and (Mission Archery) being a Mathews Brand, is held to that same high standard. The look of the Maniac has transitioned only slightly from its original offering to its latest form. Depending on the year it was produced, the finish options included 3 different Mathews Brand Lost Camo's, and a host of custom target colors.


The riser section, like most of today's hunting bows is a fully machined reflex riser. Reflex meaning the pivot point of the limb is forward of the pivot point of the grip, allowing for a longer power stroke. Keeping in mind that UN-extravagant does not mean ineffective, the cutouts are reminiscent of previous Mathews designs. Wildly successful in past models, the large trademark cutouts keep the mass weight of the bow down while adding resistance and stability to torsional loads on the riser.

The limbs on the Maniac are a slightly updated version of the very popular solid billet limb seen on some previous years models. Not quite as parallel as some newer styles, the shining aspect of the limb is secondary dwell at the limb fork. This allows each side of the fork of the limb to flex more and forgive some of the uneven limb load as the bow is drawn. This means that the uneven pressure on either side of the fork isn't forced into the bottom of the forked cut, a leading cause of solid limb failures. Simply put, this fork design allows the limb to flex more like a split limb, which in a solid limb is a good thing. The limbs themselves conveniently and solidly fit into an injected molded V lock limb pocket, another design feature carried over from past Mathews hunting bows and still currently used in one form or another on some target models. Even tho the pocket is molded, using a synthetic material cuts manufacturing costs, and keeps the design durable and functional.


In years past the grip has been about the only point of contention when a Mathews/Mission bow was mentioned. Some people loved it, while others hated it. The grip on the Maniac is a simple, rugged composite grip. Its slim in the throat to reduce torque and contoured with a slight palm swell to help keep the shooters hand in a natural relaxed position. Modeled after the popular Mathews Slim line grip, the surface has a light texture aiding in quick and positive hand placement. Available as a special order option, a walnut grip adds a bit of class and warmth to the bow, at an added cost of course.


The cam system is where the Maniac really shines. The Mission Variable Length (VL2) cam boasts an impressive 7" of draw length adjustment (22"-30"), without changing draw length modules and without the use of a bow press. Quick adjustments can be made to fit nearly anybody by removing the single set screw, rotating the modules to the desired length, and replacing the screw in the appropriate setting. Another neat feature of this cam system is its ability to manipulate the draw weight as well. Having 20+ pounds of built in adjustment with the limb bolts, as you shorten the length of draw, the weight swings as low as 35 pounds on the shortest setting of 22". With peak weights offered as low as 50 pounds, this bow can easily be adjusted as low as 20 pounds to accommodate nearly anybody. Let off, depending on module setting will average out around 75% or better.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

Keeping with the idea that the cam system was designed for comfort and ultimate adjustability, the Maniac has an impressively smooth draw cycle. It builds smoothly from brace to peak and lets off evenly to a wide and comfortable valley. No sudden drop into the valley and if you relax a little bit at full draw it won't yank your arm out of its socket. Refreshing characteristics in today's world of aggressive speed bows. However, the wall on the cam is a bit soft, but well within the compromises made for this cam. The Maniac isn't a barn burner, and actually falls a little below what is considered average for speeds, but has a respectable speed rating of up to 310 fps and as mentioned earlier an average let off of 75%. Considering what it was designed to do, these are excellent numbers.

On the release the bow was reasonably quiet and vibe free. The parallel limb design helps, but so does the not overly aggressive nature of the cam. It may not produce as much energy as other systems, but it is otherwise just as efficient, releasing upwards of 93% of its stored energy back into the arrow...Properly timed and tuned nothing more than a small hunting stabilizer would be needed to tame any residual shot vibration or kick one might experience.

Strings/Silencing Package

Strings have come a long way in recent years, and bow manufacturers have been taking note of advances made by the many custom string manufacturers. The Zebra Hybrid string that comes installed on the Maniac is as quality a stock string as you will find from any manufacturer. Not quite up to par with some custom offerings, they are far better than they have been in the past and peep twist and creep issues seem to be minimal. With regular care and maintenance they should last for quite some time.

Stock silencing features on the Maniac include proprietary D-amplifier string silencers resembling a bell on either end of the string located near the cam bodies. Attached to the limb forks are Mathews trademark string suppressors. Not as visually appealing as higher end versions, they are still very functional and aside from the almost parallel function of the limbs, is probably the single biggest factor in keeping this bow quiet. Simple and effective.

Comparison with other models

Comparing the Maniac to other bows is tricky. The feature that really separates this bow from the rest of the pack is the unique VL2 cam system. Where the majority of bows are designed and built with performance in mind, Mission utilizes this cam system in various forms to define a series of bows in their line that are built specifically to be comfortable and uber adjustable. If forced to compare to more mainstream designs, the Maniac may underwhelm some with its speed. It just plain won't be as fast as the majority of bows being offered today, but you would be hard pressed to find a bow as comfortable to draw, and that offers as much adjustment.


The Maniac is a well built, solid offering from Mission. Suited for a wide range of archers, a popular 31" length, 7" brace height and a lifetime warranty make this bow a winner, and a fairly good value for the money. Incorporating some older, yet proven design ideas allows Mission to offer the bow at a modest $449.00 price point, while the new cam system gives the bow a level of adjustment not previously available. If you are a hard core bowhunter, and looking for pure performance with no compromises, this bow probably isn't on your list. However, if your situation dictates the need for something with ultimate comfort and mega adjustability, then the Mission Maniac is definitely a bow worth a first, and perhaps second look.

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