PSE EVO NXT 33 Review
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PSE went to work perfecting what shooters loved about the Evolve and Evoke series bows in the previous two model years to create what many argue is the best mid-range axle-to-axle bow from the PSE camp in a while. Although not explicitly stated, it seems as though comfort and shootability were at the forefront of the engineering meetings when designing the EVO NXT 33. The riser is exceptionally long for a 33-inch bow, and when combined with a long 7-inch brace height, and smooth drawing Evolve cams, the EVO NXT 33 looks amazing on paper and feels even better in hand. Unfortunately, those specs are not ideal in creating a fast shooting rig, and that is the case with an ATA/IBO rating of 322-314 feet per second. Perhaps the most confusing thing about the EVO NXT series is the speed rating. Many online reviews have the bow shooting faster than the advertised rating, but none of them have the bow underperforming. Although this seems like it should be the norm, overstating performance numbers has gotten out of control lately, and many rigs shoot significantly slower than their advertised speeds. PSE may take some shots for having such a slow advertised speed, but in reality, that number is accurate, and in many cases understated according to online reviews. If shooters are interested in something flashy to help seal the deal in buying a new NXT 33, they will be disappointed. The Evolve cam is not new, although extremely popular and customizable, and there is no new Earth shattering technology integrated into the design and literature around the bow. However, those willing to give the bow a shot, will quickly see how much there is to love about this bow for 2020.
FinishThe largest critique with PSE bows in the past is the limited offering of finishes on their bows. For 2020, there is a new offering, but the number of choices still feels like it is not enough. As always, the finish is well done, and looks great on the bow. For choices, PSE is offering First Lite Fusion for the first time ever, Mossy Oak Country, Kuiu Verde, Realtree Edge, Black, and Tan. Although this is a larger offering than previous years, it would be nice to see Gore patterns or Under Armor patterns given their popularity in the hunting community. However, the addition of First Lite Fusion is still a welcomed edition, and should be very popular for shooters in 2020.
RiserThe riser design features some of the largest changes to the flagship model when compared to the outgoing Evoke for 2019. For starters, the riser on the EVO NXT 33 is a new length of risers when compared to the axle-to-axle offerings for 2019. With that said, the riser takes up a large portion of the 33-inch dimension, and is virtually straight from limb to limb. When coupled with the Evolve cam system, the EVO NXT 33 provides a generous 7-inch brace height, which shooters will really appreciate when grouping at longer distances. The machined aluminum riser has some strategic cut outs used for making the bow as lightweight as possible while maintaining the most structural integrity as possible. The overall weight of the bare bow is 4.5-pounds, which is pretty much the standard advertised weight for a flagship aluminum riser in 2020. The caged riser design some recent models have featured is removed for 2020 as well. The overall look of the riser is far less aggressive looking than previous PSE bows. Historically, PSE has offered highly pre-stressed limbs, and bold machining on the riser giving the bow a mean appearance. The 2020 EVO lineup is much less mean looking, although that has very little to do with potential buyers making a purchase or not. Another major change to the EVO NXT 33 riser design is an added stabilizer bushing on the front of the riser, located below the standard mounting position just below the shooter's grip hand. If shooters choose this mounting location, the feel will change entirely, even when using the same stabilizer. Lowering the weight of the stabilizer will typically steady the bow faster, and allow the pin float to shrink giving the feeling of a more solid hold on target. If nothing else, it will be worth buyers to tinker a bit with the lower, front mounting location to see what happens.Things left unchanged from outgoing flagship models is the rear mounted stabilizer bushing for those wanting a back bar. The standard rear mounted string stop system is also integrated the same as it has in the past. This system works well, has easy adjustments, and helps deaden the bow after the shot. The cable containment system is also a carryover from 2019. The system features a standard cable rod, with a roller glide that allows the strings to pass through the system with minimal friction and torque on the riser.
GripThe grip on the PSE EVO NXT 33 is different than previous years. PSE is offering their flagship aluminum riser bows with a removable, one-piece grip. This grip may quickly become a fan favorite for PSE because it will be a bit warmer in cold weather hunting conditions than the aluminum riser, and offers a little larger feel than the standard PSE grip. Those with love for the old style grip will be pleased as well, because removing the overmolded grip reveals the old beloved grip shooters have grown to love. Although it is not required, for PSE to offer two options right from the factory is huge. The grip is arguably the most intimate part of the entire shooting experience, and to give shooters an option to choose what works best is a really cool feature. The standard grip has a flatter back, and a thinner feel than the black overmolded grip, but it would be silly to have two grips with the same feeling. Shooters will appreciate being able to decide what works best based on their own preference.
LimbsPSE has laid the limbs back much more on the 2020 EVO NXT than any of their previous model bows to give them a more parallel design. From an engineering standpoint, this keeps the entire system more silent after the shot, with less vibration transferred to the shooter. This is easily recognized as well considering how quiet and vibration free the EVO NXT 33 is after the shot. This also gives the cam a slightly different position, which has smoothed out an already impressive feeling draw cycle. The split limbs offer ten turns of adjustment, and are available in maximum draw weights of 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pounds. Some shooters are going to be stoked for PSE to offer 80-pound limbs, and with the 90% let-off the Evolve cams are capable of, that still has a holding weight well below what many shooters are used to.The limbs pockets, although angled differently, are still the tried and true wedge lock pocket design. This system securely fastens the split limbs to the riser in a super tight tolerance position so there is absolutely no variance in the limb performance. This limb pocket configuration, along with the factory installed dampeners make the EVO NXT 33 one of the most dead in hand bows PSE has ever produced.
Eccentric SystemThe Evolve cam gets the nod again as the cam of choice for the EVO NXT flagship hunting bow lineup, and for good reason. This cam is one of the most proven systems in all of archery, and has been featured on high end hunting and target models for years. The cam system is highly adjustable to meet specific shooter's needs, and performs extremely well with a large range of arrow setups. On the EVO NXT 33 platform, the Evolve Cam System has a draw length range of 26.5-32-inches on a rotating module, which is capable of half-inch increments. Aside from a large draw length range, the cams also have a high let-off and a low let-off module for fine tuning the draw to match each shooter's preference. The high let-off mods features let-off of 80, 85, or 90%, while the low let-off module is 65, 70, or 75%. This really allows shooters to choose a comfortable holding weight and a valley they are comfortable with. A lot of models have an adjustable let-off range, but it would be difficult to find another cam as adjustable as the Evolve system. The performance rating for the EVO NXT 33 is an ATA/IBO rating of 322-314 feet per second. These speeds are not fast, which is odd to see a PSE bow with such a slow performance rating. This is also a bit confusing because several online reviews are claiming the bow easily meets, and often exceeds the speed rating PSE is claiming. So PSE is either banking on shooters being pleasantly surprised by how quick their perceived bow is, or they are wanting to advertise realistic numbers. However, many forum posts discussing the EVO NXT 33 cite the slower speed rating, which may turn shooters off from even giving the bow a test shot.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThis is arguably the most sought after PSE hunting bow specification-wise to hit the market for several years. The 33-inch axle-to-axle measurement is a great compromise of a longer riser, while still being compact enough to perform in tight hunting situations. This measurement also gives shooters an opportunity to use this bow for just about any kind of shooting they want to.The Evolve cam has all kinds of adjustment, and can basically feel however shooters would like it to feel. The draw weight is easy to manage no matter which let-off setting shooters choose. The weight stacks up quickly, holds for a bit, and smoothly transitions into the valley and back wall. The back wall feels solid, but is not as firm as a bow with dual limb stops. However, shooters will need to pull pretty hard before feeling any sort of give on the back wall. As mentioned already, the let-off adjustment on the Evolve Cam System is truly special. Giving shooters so many options, which are easily adjusted, and allowing them to choose a holding weight that works best is a feature people really appreciate. After the shot, the EVO NXT 33 is the quietest, most dead in hand bow PSE has made. PSE has never been known for having loud, vibration filled rigs, but the NXT 33 feels amazing after the shot. Everything about the NXT 33 is premium, and shooters really owe it to themselves to give this bow an honest look if they want a mid-length hunting bow for 2020.
Usage ScenariosAt first glance, the EVO NXT 33 looks like a great hunting bow, and it will serve shooters well as a hunting bow. However, the engineered forgiveness, and shootability, in addition to the longer riser may allow shooters to take this bow into competitive 3D shooting as well. With the right accessories, the EVO NXT could function well as a multi-purpose bow. However, it seems like the main design with the NXT 33 was hunting.
PSE EVO NXT 33 vs. PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1
|Bow||PSE EVO NXT 33||PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1|
|Brace Height||7 "||6.125 "|
|AtA Length||33 "||32.125 "|
|Draw Length||26.5 " - 32 "||25 " - 30.5 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 80 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||314 fps - 322 fps||324 fps - 332 fps|
|Weight||4.5 lbs||3.5 lbs|
|Let-Off||80% - 90%||80% - 90%|
|Where to buy|
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These two PSE models are in the mid-length hunting bow segment and share a lot of the same desirable traits shooters look for in a hunting bow. These two models share some important specifications, and one bow does not necessarily stand out as the obvious winner. The largest difference between these two rigs in the riser; with the PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 having a carbon riser and a larger price tag. For shooters set on a carbon bow, or those on a budget, the decision is easy; however, for those interested in a hunting bow, the specifications of each are enticing. Ultimately, the decision for many people will be budget, but those willing to give each bow an honest shot will definitely be happy they chose the best bow for them instead of wondering if they made the wrong choice by not giving the other bow an honest test. The EVO NXT 33 will have a better chance of serving as a multipurpose bow if shooters have an interest in doing more than hunting.