PSE Decree HD Review
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Editors' reviewFinally PSE has created a longer axel-to-axel multipurpose bow with legit speed that can truly do everything it is faced with. Shooting up to 342 feet per second with a 6.5-inch brace height and a 35-inch axel-to-axel length, the Decree HD is just what many PSE fan boys have wanted for a while. The HD cam system offers a tunable feel in the valley and back wall for those wanting to tweak the bow exactly how they like it. Although the Decree HD is not comparable to the Full Throttle in regards to velocity, the smooth drawing HD is well worth the few feet per second sacrifice in speed. It would be nice to have the Decree HD limbs offered in 65-pounds, but it is definitely not a deal breaker. The HD is topped off with a set of platinum strings, which will rival the best in the business making it an even better option to shoot year round in all situations.
FinishPSE finish is well done through a thorough dipping process similar to others in the industry. The PSE finish is rugged and durable, and looks pretty great as well. Since the Decree HD is designed to do everything, the finish options are available to match those wanting the bow primarily for hunting or target purposes. Those wanting the HD for primarily target archery can choose between red or blue target colors. Those interested in more of a hunting pattern will more than likely choose between Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, Skullworks, or solid Black. The factory accented red graphics, strings, grip, and cable guard adds a nice touch for each of the options although all of them can be changed to match the shooters taste with the exception of the red graphics.
RiserThe Decree HD riser is longer than most offerings from PSE in order to maintain the 35-inch axel-to-axel measurement. It was also designed to be as strong as possible utilizing what PSE calls their 3D structural riser. Although the riser is long, and the overall weight of the bow is 4.2-pounds, the riser itself seems pretty slim when holding it in hand. The cutouts are comparable to those featured on the PSE Decree and Full Throttle in the function and style as well giving the bow a familiar PSE design. Like the other X-Force style bows, the Decree HD features preloaded limbs, which gives the look a very aggressive feel. Some will love the looks of the bow and others will not. Equipped on the Decree HD is the Flex Guard, which like many other components on the HD is fully customizable and works similar to a limb in terms or adjustment. Those interested in creating less torque and a slightly different feel can tweak the flex guard and its resistance for flexing in while being drawn. Each position accounts for fletching clearance as well, so shooters can adjust to their liking with no fear of it impacting performance. The guard is also customizable by color as well if shooters are interested in a particular look.The standard string stop system has become a staple on the Proline series from PSE. This dampener is fully adjustable although most will be perfectly happy with its positioning straight out of the box. The option to be able to adjust in nice, but most shooters will not tinker with this adjustment after initially setting it. This string stop is located behind the front mounting string stop mounting hole. Additional weight off the front of the bow is common practice for almost everyone, and especially for shooters interested in the Decree HD. The location also allows for shooters to equip the bow with a side bar as well although it will have to mount from the front mounting hole. The geometry of the Decree HD leaves lots of room for counterweights and offsets to be set exactly how shooters want them based on personal preferences.
GripPSE grips are simple in design, but perform very well because of it. The 3rd Generation B.E.S.T. grip has a slim feel, and fits perfectly in the shooters hand exactly where it should for in regards to repeatable hand placement. The grip is integrated into the riser, so it is chilly in hunting situations. The rubber inserts can be swapped out for a variety of colors, but come with red inserts straight from the factory.
LimbsPSE X-Force split limbs are highly preloaded at rest, and give the bow an aggressive look overall. The split limbs are relatively thin in design and are store a lot of energy. The limbs are available in maximum draw weights of 50, 60, and 70-pounds. With the appeal of the Decree HD being a multi-purpose bow, PSE should have offered 65-pound limbs on the HD like they do on several other Pro series bows. 65-pound draw weight is a very popular weight for many shooters and it would have been nice to equip this bow with them. The limb graphics are red and help add to the aggressive look of the bow. The red accents look decent on each of the finish options offered, but some shooters have noted their dislike for red to be used on their rigs. The limb dampening bands are black from the factory, but can be swapped for a variety of colors as well.
Eccentric SystemThe HD cam is a popular engine for PSE in 2015 and they are featured on a few different rigs. The HD cam system on the Decree platform flings arrows at an impressive 342 feet per second. The Decree HD is also an option for virtually every shooter on the market for a top of the line rig as well being offered in half-inch increments between 25.5-31.5-inches. Shooters have demanded a high left off package from PSE, and they deliver with 80%. The bottom cam features a cable stop, while the top cam can be set as a cable or limb stop if shooters want more of a solid feel. The HD cam has laser engraved markings lining up with the cam adjustment holes allowing for easy tuning and draw length adjustments. Changing the draw is simple, and requires no additional modules or a separate cam. Everything needed to change the draw from the longest to the shortest measurement is included in the inner lock cam system.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe HD cam draws amazingly smooth from the start to the back wall. The end of the draw force curve is entirely customizable in terms of the feel of the back wall and the size of the valley. Out of the box, the valley is very generous, and the back wall is solid with the help of two draw stops. Although many 2015 bows are characterized as being smooth drawing, the Decree HD truly is a breeze to pull. The transitions in the draw force curve are not noticeable, and it really does feel like the draw weight is less poundage than it truly is. The 80% let-off is a great feature, and is pretty easy getting used to. The 35-inch axel-to-axel measurement does not feel too long, and would still be a great configuration for most hunting situations despite the desire for many shooters wanting something shorter and lighter. The 4.2-pounds does not feel too heavy holding on target even after fully loaded with accessories. The combination of weight and the longer axel-to-axel measurement makes the Decree HD as solid as it gets holding on target. Pin float is a natural part of archery, but the amount of float is significantly less when compared to other models. The 6.5-inch brace height is a concern for some shooters, but when combined with 342 feet per second, the arrow is still leaving the bow quickly, making the HD plenty forgiving. After the shot, there is a little vibration felt in the grip hand, but with accessories added, absolutely nothing is felt.
Usage ScenariosThe PSE Decree HD has the specifications to be used for any style archery shooters want to use it for. 3D and target archers will love the axel-to-axel length and draw cycle, and hunters will enjoy the speed and easy shooting design. The price tag is a little steep, but since the Decree HD can be used all year long, the price may be a little easier to swallow.
PSE Decree HD vs. PSE Bow Madness 34
|Bow||PSE Decree HD||PSE Bow Madness 34|
|Brace Height||6.5 "||6 "|
|AtA Length||35 "||34.25 "|
|Draw Length||25.5 " - 31.5 "||24.5 " - 30.5 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs||24.5 lbs - 30.5 lbs|
|IBO Speed||334 fps - 342 fps||334 fps - 342 fps|
|Weight||4.2 lbs||4.1 lbs|
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The PSE Decree HD and the PSE Bow Madness 34 are similar in specifications on paper. There are a few functional differences, but they also come with a price tag. The Decree HD is a Pro series bow, while the Bow Madness 34 is a Mainline series bow. Each of them are great shooters, but the HD features the Flex Guard cable slide, a more thought out riser design, and the top of the line set of America's Best Bowstrings. This all comes at a larger price tag, but more many shooters, the additional cost is well worth it. The Bow Madness 34 is by no means an inferior model, and it will perform well for a long time, but there are some notable upgrades featured on the Decree HD.