Ross CR334 Review
Editors' reviewWhen Ross Archery was founded in 2004 the archery world quickly realized Ross did not fit the typical template for the "new archery company". Many new companies are so quick to get their first bow on the market that their inital bows are not manufactured to the same high standards that the proven, time-tested companies do. From the start Ross has set the bar high making sure that each and every bow meets the highest standards. This is definitely true of their CR334, which shoots and performs like a bow that has been on the market for years. Bill Krenz of "Inside Archery" magazine describes their first line of bows as "It's as though a new car company made a Mercedez-Benz with their very first try."
RiserThe CR334 features a long machined-aluminum riser with 16 cut-outs. Utilizing a long riser in combination with short parallel limbs allows for a compact design while enhancing stability and accuracy. The cut-outs not only decorate this sleek, sweeping riser but also function to add strength where needed and to remove weight, helping to keep the overall bow as light weight as possible. This riser also features a large sight window so the shooter can see the entire target and a shelf guard allowing more arrow/fletching clearance. Additionally the shelf guard will protect the archer's bowhand from a broadhead if an arrow were to fall off the rest.
Limb PocketsThe limbs on today's high performance bows hold a lot of energy at full draw and when released this energy can result in limb pocket movement and component vibration. To combat this Ross implements a pocket locking feature into their pivoting limb pockets. This allows the shooter to lock the pockets into place after draw weight adjustments have been made, in turn, dampening vibration and minimizing movement.
LimbsThe CR334 boasts parallel limbs which have become very popular in the last few years. While the parallel limbs allows a bow to be much more compact while maintaining accuracy and looks much more stream lined than older rigs, they also have made vast improvements in the overall functionality and efficiency of the bows they are used on. The upright limb configuration of older model bows created a forward movement (jump) when released because all energy moved forward on both limbs which induced a lot of vibration and was at least partially responsible for some inaccurate shooting. Today the parallel limbs oppose each other when the string is released. This equal but opposite reaction results in vibration and noise being cancelled out, not to mention creating the "dead in the hand" feel after the shot.
GripThe two piece laminated grip is designed for repeatability, torque reduction, and accuracy. Because the grip has a flat back, is slim in its throat and angled perfectly this grip does what it is designed to do and reeks of forgiveness.
Quality Bow StringsSo many archery manufacturers use low quality stings to keep costs down on their bows. These low end strings and cables can stretch and fray, decreasing accuracy and increasing noise and vibration. Ross, however, takes advantage to the high end strings and cables from Winners Choice which are guaranteed to do none of the above for the life of the string and cables.
Eccentric SystemThe single cam modular eccentric system used on the CR334 flings arrows at an IBO speed of 305 fps. This speed is pretty average but the advantages to the single cam system include an incredibly smooth draw, easy tuning, and no timing issues. Additionally, the single cam system used here is a modular cam. To make draw length adjustments (26-31.5 inches), no bow press is required, only an allen wrench to remove two screws, and the correct module to replace the one you are removing. The cam comes with 80% let-off but is also available in a 65% let-off model which will help smooth out the draw cycle even more and increase arrow speed by a few fps.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe draw cycle on this rig could be described as silky smooth from start to finish with a very small valley just before hitting a pretty solid back wall. The valley is hardly noticeable and if ordered with the optional 65% let-off, the valley will almost cease to exist. This rig also takes advantage of a long forgiving brace height of 7 3/4 inches to help improve accuracy even further.
Silencing PackageRoss incorporates Limbsaver String Leeches and Ultra Limbsavers into each CR334 to help dampen any vibration and noise not absorbed by the bow itself. These bows are built so well, there is no need for the use of numerous silencing and dampening components because the stiff riser, well designed limb pockets and parallel limbs take care of most noise and vibration produced on their own. However, adding the Limbsaver products does leave this rig surprisingly quiet.
Ross CR334 vs. Mathews Switchback XT
At the time the CR334 was newly marketed the Mathews Switchback XT hit the market. Over the years many archers have compared the two. Draw cycle and shootability seem to be very much the same although some shooters say the CR334 has a smoother draw than the Mathews Switchback XT. Many shooters prefer the Ross grip over the Mathews, which can be a bit wide but is still quite comfortable. Additionally, Ross bows come from the factory with Winner's Choice strings on them while the Switchback uses Barracuda strings, which, at the time, didn't receive a lot of great feedback from shooters. Outside of the strings, both companies use the highest quality materials and engineering to manufacture their bows but the Mathews is priced $100-$200 over the Ross. However, between the two, most archers still chose the Mathews because the company has proven that they will be around to back up their product, while Ross is still a relatively new company.
|Bow||Ross CR334||Mathews Switchback XT|
|Brace Height||7.75 "||7.5 "|
|AtA Length||34 "||31 "|
|Draw Length||26 " - 31 "||25 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 80 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||305 fps||315 fps|
|Weight||4.0 lbs||4.25 lbs|
|Let-Off||65% or 80%||65% or 80%|
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