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New Mathews 2021 V3 bow just released!

2021 Mathews V3 elk hunting

New for 2021 from Mathews Archery is their V3 line! Photo credit: Sam Sarbacher

On a summer afternoon in early August, I got a call from the home office in Las Vegas. Brady had a peculiar tone of intrigue in his voice when he said, “Something exciting arrived in the office for you. It will be here when you come down tomorrow.”

I’m always excited to see a new bow for the first time. I love archery. I love the engineering and technology that goes into every new bow that Mathews produces. I’m continually impressed with the improvements they make and this year is no exception. In the past, improvements seemed to be more singular in focus. Like when the industry chased the smooth drawing bow and then faster arrow speeds. Over the past few years, Mathews has made improvements in almost every area of the bow — every single year. They’ve worked on tunability, making the bow faster, quieter and more compact. Some of the prior improvements may seem small and inconsequential, but the 2021 flagship bow from Mathews is so much smoother, faster, more compact, more reliable and more accurate than any of my bows from only a decade ago.

New 2021 Mathews V3 31

New Mathews V3 bow antelope hunting

Antelope hunting back in August with the Mathews V3. Photo credit: Logan Summers

Today, November 17, is the launch date for their 2021 line of hunting bows! For 2021, their flagship bow is the Mathews V3 that comes in a couple of options: a 31” ATA and a 27” ATA. I received and hunted with the V3 31” version. The first thing I noticed as I pulled the bow out of the box was that I thought it was a really attractive bow. It just looks cool. The limbs are past parallel similar to some of the older speed bows. The riser is really long with a variety of cutouts and bridging.

Mathews 2021 centerguard cable containment system

Perhaps, the most noticeable change is that the cable guard appeared smaller and was coming down from the riser at an angle well above the shelf. It looks very different when you compare it to other bows where the guide comes straight back from the riser. My bow’s riser was “ambush green” in color with SITKA Subalpine camo limbs. The Zebra strings are solid flo orange, which is another neat perk of Mathews bows; you can order yours with custom colored strings and cables.

The riser has some texture to it with a matte finish. It feels great in the hand and it looks good, too. The finish has worn very well. After two months of hunting and shooting it, I have not had any issues with it flaking and the dipped camouflage limbs have not faded or smudged. None of the edges of the limbs have started to show wear. I spent a couple of days crawling through the deserts of northern Wyoming stalking antelope and, after a wipe down with a wet rag, the riser and limbs still look great. 

Specs

2021 Mathews V3 product shot

As previously stated, the ATA is 31” and it has a 6” brace height. Draw length options are available in half inch increments from 26” to 30.5”. You can change mods easily by removing two set screws per cam and installing the new mod. It can be done without a press and typically takes five minutes or less to change those out. Different mods can be purchased at your local Mathews pro shop if you need to change them. You can also choose between an 85% let-off or 80% let-off mods if you like a bit more holding weight, which I do. Once again, the V3 utilizes the SwitchWeight Technology in the cam system. What that allows you to do is change the draw weight without turning your limb bolts out. You can leave the limbs completely turned in for maximum efficiency and then change the mods to obtain the desired draw weight that you are looking for. For example, you could buy a 60 to 70 pound draw weight V3 with 65 pound draw mods. You would not have to mess with turning your limb bolts out to try to get your draw weight to 65 pounds; you leave your limbs alone and, with that set of mods, you’ll get a peak draw weight of 65 pounds. You can get 60, 65, 70 or even 75 pound draw weight mods in your draw length and, as I stated before, 80% or 85% let-off. What this means is that you can have one bow to do it all. 

If you have a September elk hunt in Colorado and you want to shoot a heavier arrow with plenty of speed, you could get a 75 pound 80% let-off mod in your draw length. Later in the year, maybe you have a Midwest whitetail hunt where the temperatures drop severely and you need a bow that is extremely easy and smooth to draw. For that situation, you might choose to use a 60 or 65 pound 85% let-off set of mods. In both cases, you never have to worry about touching your limb bolts: you get maximum efficiency and a bow for every situation.

Mathews lists the IBO speed at approximately 342 FPS (30” with a 350 grain arrow). My bow set at 68 lbs with a measured draw length of 30 1/8” is firing a 448 grain finished Gold Tip Platinum Pierce arrow at 286 FPS. The bow is fast — within one FPS of the 2020 VXR, which had an IBO of 343. When you shoot the V3, it feels fast and you can hear it when your arrows hit the target down range. As a major league scout would say about a prospective hitter: that bat (or bow in this case)...it’s got pop!

Mathews V3 hunting bow

The V3 is available in several colors for 2021, including black, stone, ambush green, SITKA SubAlpine, SITKA Elevated II, Realtree Edge, Under Armour All Season and First Lite Specter. The combinations of riser and limb colors are extensive although I personally like the ambush green with one of the camouflage limb options. 

So, what makes the V3 different from the VXR or others?

The new centerguard cable containment is a noticeable change. The angle of the guard equalizes the angle of the string for a more optimal cam timing while also providing additional vane clearance. As I stated before, this change is one of the first things I noticed. The cam timing on my V3 was very close out of the box and, once I got it set for me, the timing has remained consistent and arrow flight has been very good. 

If you look at the new riser, you can see it has extended bridging and cut-outs. Mathews states that the weight of the V3 riser has been reduced while also strengthening it in critical areas. The riser and limb configuration gives the V3 the longest riser to axle-to-axle ratio of any bow they have ever produced, which is likely the most marketable and important fact about the V3. It’s easily noticeable that the riser is very long in relation to the overall bow, which for me, is a very good thing. The V3 holds and aims well and is very stable at full draw. It’s more similar to my TRX36 target bow in the way it aims than I would have thought for a bow that is 5” shorter. It’s compact enough to fit within a ground blind or a treestand and still holds like a much longer bow. 

One other change I’ve touched on is the deflected past parallel limbs on this bow. The V3 has an ominous look at full draw — like a snake coiled to strike — but the real benefit of past parallel limbs is that it eliminates even more vibration while increasing efficiency. The V3 also has a new Nano 740 damping, which is calibrated and tuned to the specifics of the V3 to control post shot noise and vibration. The extended position of the damper also adds to a better front/back balance of the V3 at full draw. From my experience, the V3 is on par and possibly quieter than the VXR. I can’t say that, for me and my 40 year old ears that attended too many loud concerts, that there is an audible difference in the two bows, but both are very quiet. I thought the VXR was and continues to be one of the most quiet shock-free bows I have ever owned and the V3 is right there with it — plus it has the added benefits I’ve already touched on. 

The V3 also offers many of the things that I liked about the VXR, including the Silent Connect System that works with their sling and rope. It comes with the engage grip, which feels great in the hand, but you can also remove it if you prefer side plates or shooting directly off the riser. My preference is to shoot it directly off the riser, but I love that you have the ability to customize it and find a grip that feels right. Mathews has once again continued with the machined dovetail mounting system that works with their QAD drop away rest that mounts directly to the riser. The rest/riser connection is very clean in appearance and the QAD is a great cable-driven drop away rest. It’s not my personal preference, but that combo is very nice in appearance and it’s really lightweight.

Mathews 2021 V3 Bow Specs

  V3 31 Specs V3 27 Specs
Axle-to-Axle 31" 27"
Brace Height 6" 6"
Draw Weight 60, 65, 70, 75 60, 65, 70, 75
Draw Length 26" to 30.5" 25" to 29.5"
Let-Off 80 or 85% 80 or 85%
Physical Weight 4.50 lbs 4.29 lbs
IBO Rating Up to 342 FPS Up to 336 FPS
Cam Crosscentric w/
Switchweight Technology
Crosscentric w/
Switchweight Technology
MSRP $1,199 $1,199

Tuning

Setting up and tuning the V3 was a pretty simple process. After setting the nocking point perfectly centered between the cams, I set the rest at 13/16” and an arrow at a 90 degree angle to the string. My first few arrows through paper yielded a slight left paper tear and, rather than moving my rest, which I liked at the 13/16” position and the vane clearance that offers me, I simply swapped out the top hats in the cams (one side to the other) to move both cams to the left and fired another arrow. I had a perfect right to left tear at that point, but a slight tail high tear. I checked the cam timing again and found I needed one half twist to the top cam cable. After doing so, I was able to get great paper tuning results at 6’, 9’ and 12’. I then did some bareshaft shooting at 20 and 30 yards and had great results. The tuning process was similar to many bows I’ve owned and, although it took a couple small tweaks to get it there, the thing I appreciate is that with Mathews V3 I have the tools I need to tune my bow. I love the ability they offer to use the top hat or cam timing or arrow rest adjustments to get the tune I am looking for. 

I set my V3 up with a 15” Bee Stinger microhex stabilizer with 4 oz of weight and a Bee Stinger microhex 10” side bar with 10 oz of weight mounted on a Mathews Adjustable V-bar bracket. Once I set up and tuned the bow, it shot very well for me. I started with regular rounds at my local range, shooting field tips. The draw is smooth and consistent throughout. The drop into the backwall is subtle and the backwall is firm, but not hard. The V3 utilizes cable stops and not limb stops, which I prefer. At full draw the bow is easy to anchor — even at my 30” draw length. Because the riser is so long and the cams are large, the string angle is still good enough that it does not require any unnatural head movement to find a consistent anchor. 

The V3 holds really well at full draw and I found the V3 to be accurate and very easy to shoot. With some bows it feels like you have to work to shoot well. The V3 is not one of those. On shots where my focus or form was not quite where I wanted it to be, arrows still seemed to land close to the middle. 

The V3 is quiet and shockfree. Over the years, I’ve shot animals out of ground blinds with other bows and one thing I always remember about those shots is the sound of the bow going off inside that small confined space; it’s surprisingly loud, but not with the V3. This bow is shockingly quiet.

Trail Kreitzer Mathews V3 bow and Wyoming antelope

Trail's 2020 Wyoming archery antelope taken with the Mathews V3 31. Photo credit: Logan Summers

I shot my second largest antelope buck out of a blind a few weeks after I got the V3 and I distinctly recall the sound or, rather, the lack of it. The buck I shot was a mere 25 yards, the bow drew smoothly and quietly even from a sitting position with a 70-pound draw weight and delivered a perfect arrow to my intended target. Overall, it was exactly the bow that I needed for that hunt.

Watch Trail go over his impressions of the bow below


The Takeaway

Trail Kreitzer Wyoming antelope with Mathews V3 bow

Hunting bows are getting better and better every year and the V3 is proof of that. It’s compact for hunting situations, yet it holds more similarly to my target bow. The V3 is tuneable and, once set, has kept its tune. After many mornings at the range and days of crawling across the prairie and traipsing through the elk woods of Colorado, it still delivers fixed blade broadheads into the vitals out to 80+ yards. The V3 is quiet, smooth, easy to shoot and it looks cool. Whether you are a western big game hunter or a Midwest whitetail hunter or, even, someone doing both...the V3 is a fantastic hunting bow that will meet your needs. Hopefully, as you're reading this on November 17, my V3 will be in the process of helping me take another great late season Arizona bull! Contact your local Mathews pro-shop and shoot one now!

Stay tuned later this week for Brady Miller's thoughts on the longer axle-to-axle 2021 Mathews ATLAS he has been shooting this fall.

Learn more about the 2021 Mathews V3 bows here

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