Strother Vital Review
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The 2014 Strother Vital is a redesign of the Wrath SHO. With a very slightly longer riser, flatter limbs, and new cams, this rig has a 32" ATA, 7" brace height, and 335 fps IBO. It is easily adjustable and can be purchased in a variety of peak limb weights. With its sleek lines and cutouts in the riser, it is a very nice looking bow, but looks are not what you would buy it for. This bow is very nice to shoot and has plenty of punch to take down any game animal.
FinishThis bow comes in a wide array of hunting and anodized competition colors. The finish on this bow is of the utmost quality and is very durable. A test bow was inspected and there were only very minor coloration blemishes found inside a couple of the cutouts in the riser.
Risers/LimbThe riser for the Vital is a slightly longer version of the Wrath SHO riser. It is a CNC machined aluminum riser with a high radius cutout at the ends giving it a very appealing look. This riser is very sturdy and compact, and provides plenty of stability.The limbs are a split-limb design, held securely to the riser with a set of ZT Loc-n-Cradle limb pockets. They are positioned slightly flatter than most making them more parallel allowing them to be pre-loaded. The limbs come with peak draw weights of 50#, 60#, 70#, and 80#. The draw weight is easily adjusted using the limb bolt, and can be turned down approximately ten pounds from peak weight. The ZT Loc-n-Cradle limb pocket has a near-zero tolerance locking system that adds strength and integrity while ensuring consistency and confidence at every shot. The cradle is slightly shorter and positioned a little flatter and supported by a pair of Delrin blocks and provide support over the first 1/3 of the limb set. The limbs are held in place by a rod inserted through a hole in the forward end of each limb section, and through the limb pocket. The limb then goes back over the Delrin blocks which maintain separation and alignment. This pocket provides greater limb support while offering the highest integrity on the market.
Other ComponentsThe Strother Vital will be found anywhere from the shooter's back yard, to the tree stand or ground blind, to a competition range. As a basic bow package, there are no "bells and whistles" that come added to the bow. There are some companies that will sell a Ready-to-Hunt package, but the buyer must select the additional items to be added.
Eccentric SystemThis bow utilizes the Badger Cam III system. It is a two-tracked slave cam with dual limb and cable stops. This is a follow-on to the Badger and the Badger II system used by Strother, but the Badger III was designed specifically to maximize the efficiency of the Vital. The new cam is slightly larger with larger cutouts than its predecessors. This cam allows for a consistent and quiet draw cycle that is very smooth. The draw length is adjustable from 26.5" to 30" in half-inch increments by changing the modules. This can be done without a bow press and can be done in a matter of minutes. This cam setup also has a very easily adjustable dual draw stops, giving the shooter the option to make the back wall as hard or soft as they want
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThis bow is very smooth throughout the draw cycle with only a minor hump to clear at let-off. The draw builds slowly throughout the draw cycle, but does have an almost sudden" stop at the end. The overall draw cycle is very nice with a good valley and decent speed. This rig is well balanced, however, the bottom will kick slightly toward the target. There is minimal hand shock and slight vibration with average noise levels, but that is strictly with a bare bow and NO noise or vibration dampening added. A test bow was set up at 29" draw length, 60# draw weight, and shooting a 300 grain arrow, and consistently hit the 320 fps IBO.
Silencing PackageStrother operates on the premise that a bow should be built to be quiet straight from the box. Based on that philosophy, the do not add any rubber components to the string or the bow. If the shooter wishes, they can add them after the purchase. If any additional silencing gear is added, this can be an absolutely quiet rig.
GripThe bow uses a grip that incorporates two-piece torqueless side plates. The grip rounds nicely to the side plates. The smooth, round edges make this a very comfortable grip setup that fits in the hand quite nicely.
Compared to Similar Bows
The Strother Vital is very comparable to the 2016 PSE Bow Madness 32. The PSE is less than a half inch longer than the Strother, has one inch less brace height, 2.5" more draw length adjustability, and three fps slower (not a big issue). The PSE is also built by a bigger name in archery, and is a newer bow to the market and can be purchased for $600 in a bare bow package. If the buyer is torn between these two rigs, it will come down solely to whether they want a newer bow, and which one feels best to them.