PSE Xpression Review
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Editors' reviewPSE target shooters have been primarily shooting the Dominator for the last several years without many changes to the target scene for PSE. There have been longer axel to axel bows introduced by PSE, which would work well standing on the tournament line, but a fully designed target bow has been a while coming from the PSE camp. The 2016 Xpression is a nice target bow offering, which keeps some great features about the beloved Dominator, but also changes and updates some technology as well. For serious target shooters, the Xpression Wedge Lock adjustments combined with the DM cam system adjustments will allow shooters the ability to set the bow perfectly for them right down to how they hold the bow. The shoot through riser design is unique in that it is reflexed on one side, and deflexed on the other. This helps with the rigidity of the riser adding some strength, but also adds a lot to the overall design and cool factor of the bow as well. Obviously, shooters attempting to win tournaments, money, and bragging rights shooting a bow are not entirely interested in how cool a bow looks, but when great looks pair with great shooting and lots of adjustability, it makes it really hard for shooters to turn down. The performance of the small cams in addition to the 40-inch axel to axel measurement really give shooters a perfect specification target bow on paper. Shooters able to spend the $1399 on a fully redesigned tournament bow should try out an Xpression from the PSE lineup.
FinishThe PSE Xpression is a bow designed to stand on the line and punch the center X ring. As such, it comes from the factory with some fairly standard target bow color options. The Xpression can be deliverd from the factory in five colors including: Platinum, Pearl White, Black, Blue, Red, and Blue. Each of the target finishes has a nice glossy look on the final product, and they really look sharp. Shooters generally have the ability to choose accessory colors and string options to add even more flavor to their target bows, so these color choices are great starting spots for shooters to begin the process of making their target models as flashy as they desire. The Xpression colors look awesome, and the bow riser is a bit unconventional, so there is already a bit of flash straight out of the box.
RiserThe Xpression riser is nothing like the rest of the PSE lineup in regards to how it looks compared to other PSE models, or what they have done in the past. The unique design is sure to make it more appealing to some shooters, although their may be other shooters not interested simply based on the looks of the riser alone. Either way, the Xpression is sure to stand out on the line at tournaments. The overall weight of the bow is 4.9-pounds, which by many standards is a touch heavy, especially considering the amount of weight required after adding target stabilizers and accessories. However, most target shooters want a bow on the heavy side for stabilization anyways, so it may not be a big deal, and quite possibly could cause shooters to ease up on the weight added to the stabilizers. The fully redesigned riser is created out of 7075-forged aluminum alloy, which is going to be a strong and rigid material to start out with. The riser does stick with the shoot through riser design similar to the Dominator. However, it features the forged asymmetric shoot through design, which means one side of the riser is reflexed while the other is deflexed. Down below the shelf, there is a cage where the stabilizers are mounted as well, which also features an asymmetric design opposite of the top. In other words, where the top section is reflexed, the bottom is deflexed, and the top deflexed section has a reflexed portion below it. This gives a great deal of strength to the riser in regards to torque, but also gives the bow a unique twisted riser look shooters will more than likely love or hate. There are also three separate sight mounting holes on the riser so shooters can choose the best initial height for their sight and particular set up without needing to adjust the sight as much. For target shooters, there needs to be a variety of options for shooters to mount their stabilizers. This is such a personal preference with how shooters desire to maintain and set up their weight, almost every shooter shoots a different configuration. PSE understands this, and has offered the traditional front mounting stabilizer hole in addition to a rear mounting location as well. Using different stabilizers mounting brackets, shooters have the ability to shoot virtually any configuration they choose.The new Flexslide 2 Cable slide is more of a traditional cable slide system based on its function and not having a roller system. There are no moving parts, and that helps with eliminating stress points and places which could be suspect to additional stress causing cracks or wear on the system. The Flexslide 2 is a more simple design, but it also makes the bow look cheaper than models with the other style guards. The Backstop 3 string stop system was a two piece shaft, which had the ability to move in and out by adjusting the screw and moving the pieces together or apart. These screws could come lose from time to time, which added to some rattling of the string stop and perhaps some more noise and vibration. Performance of the bow was not impacted; it was just annoying to have to tighten the screws after getting the stop set in place. The 4th generation has eliminated that, by adding the in and out adjustment to the stop itself. Instead of adjusting the rod, shooters will simply adjust the dampener by loosening and tightening that instead. It is possible for this screw to become loose as well, but the one-piece design should be a bit less problematic than the previous generations.There is a lot packed in to the newly designed riser, but each of the technologies used are in place to improve the overall shooter experience with the Xpression in hand. With so much on the line in target shooting, PSE understands the importance of making shooters extremely comfortable with their equipment, and all the things integrated into the riser design is evident of that.
GripThe Asymmetric Raptor grip is the grip of choice for the 2016 Xpression. PSE has historically offered a thin grip on all of their bow models, so regardless of which bow you shoot, the grip will be the same. This has changed recently, and there are several grips offered across the lineup in various sizes. Each of the grips are integrated into the riser, but the width and feel can change from bow to bow. The Asymmetric Raptor grip has a wider feel than many older PSE models. It is still relatively simple in design and shape, but the width is noticeably thicker than the B.E.S.T. grip many are used to from PSE.
LimbsThe Xpression limbs are available in 50, 60, and 70-pounds maximum draw weights, which are fairly standard for target bow. It would be nice for PSE to offer 65-pound maximum limbs, since that seems to be a popular choice in their hunting lineup. However, with shooters working to fine tune their bows by making some adjustments in the draw weight, which can impact the draw length a bit, the overall draw weight is not as important as it can be for some hunters. The split limbs are wider, which should help eliminate some cam lean or torque. The limb bolts feature 13 turn maximum limb bolts, which will provide a bit more than the standard 10-pounds of adjustment off the maximum draw weight of the limbs tightened all the way down.
The Wedge Lock System pockets are also a fresh design to the compound tournament bows for PSE. The wedge sits against the limbs, and can be adjusted to keep the fit and tolerances tight. The limbs are also able to move left to right to help perfect the overall tune of the bow. PSE Olympic recurve bows have used an adjustable pocket for a while, but the compound side of the company has not seen this technology. It is important to understand a minor adjustment will actually make a giant difference on the tune of the bow. PSE does have the pocket marked for easy referencing on how much the limbs have been moved, but it is possible for shooters to leave this adjustment alone and simply tune normally adjusting the rest and maintaining good shooting form. Again, it is not necessarily a new technology for PSE, but is new on a compound. However, shooters can get a proper tune without moving the limb system if they desire to do that.
Eccentric SystemThe Drive Medium (DM) hybrid cam system was chosen for the 2016 Xpression. The draw length has a great deal of adjustability in regards to the draw length ranging from 26-31.5-inches and is offered with 65% or 75% let off module options. Many target shooters prefer less let-off on their bows as well to create a little more tension on the back wall when manipulating their release to get a surprise release. Adjusting the draw length is as simple as moving the rotating module on the bottom cam, and does not require the need for a bow press. With the DM cam system being a hybrid cam, the top wheel is just for the string and cable to rotate on. There is no adjustment there other than the ability to set the limb stop post if shooters are interested in using one. Unlike the draw length module, the limb stop does not have a set location based on draw length. Instead, shooters will just slide the post along the track and set up to the optimum location based on the draw cycle and where the cams reach full draw. For shooters not wanting a solid back wall, there is a string stop on the bottom cam, which can be used without the top wheel limb stop. The Drive Medium cams are ATA/IBO speed rated for 316-308 feet per second with paired with a 7 1/8- inch brace height. For shooters used to seeing hunting bow speed numbers, this speed does not seem too fast, and to be honest its not. However, when considering the use of the Xpression where shooters will know the exact distance of the paper spot target, speed is not necessarily as critical as it is shooting un-marked distances or a variety of differences.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe Xpression is a target bow, which means it is not too fast, is fairly simple to draw, and has a long frame. The 40-inch axel-to-axel measurement, over 7-inch brace height, and slower speeds of 316 feet per second make it a bow worth looking into for winter target leagues though. The draw cycle is extremely smooth with the hybrid cam system, string angle is nice, and the ability to choose between 65% and 75% let-off is always appreciated on a target bow to get the back end feel shooter prefer. There can be a little give on the back wall with the use of the single string stop, or the back wall can be firmed up with the use of the optional limb stop on the top cam, which is fully adjustable for shooters to play around with. The bow does feel a bit heavy in hand at 4.9-pounds, but will have stabilizer weight added to it anyways to get it set where shooters prefer the weight to be more a more steady hold on the spot. The release of the arrow is nice, and the bow does stay on target very easily. Overall, it is a dream to shoot, and performs as advertised for a target rig.
Usage ScenariosThe 40-inch axel-to-axel measurement is a great design for standing on the line shooting paper. As a spot shooter, the PSE Xpression has a great deal to offer shooters wanting to perfect their tournament archery game. As a 3D bow, some shooters may find the 40-inche axel-to-axel measurement too long, and may opt for the shorter Xpression 3D instead. However, there may not be enough difference between the two for shooters to justify the additional $1400 for a slightly shorter bow model. The Xpression is for serious target archers, and is designed with them in mind.
PSE Xpression vs. PSE Dominator
|Brace Height||7.125 "|
|AtA Length||40 "|
|Draw Length||26 " - 31.5 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 60 lbs|
|IBO Speed||308 fps - 316 fps|
| Where to buy |
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The Xpression is the replacement for the PSE Dominator model PSE has been using for several years. Both bows feature a similar frame and performance, but the Xpression does feature some more built in adjustment enhancing the tune of the bow overall. The Xpression is a bow for serious target competitors, and the newly designed riser helps it stand out on the line as well. The Xpression also gets an upgraded price to an MSRP of $1399, but many PSE fan boys will gladly pay the extra to have the technology and shootability offered on the 2016 Xpression.