Trail’s top picks from the 2021 virtual ATA show
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has rolled into 2021 and with it, the annual in-person Archery Trade Association (ATA) show was canceled. The ATA held a virtual show, but by and large, many newly released products within the archery industry went somewhat unnoticed. I’m also hearing that companies will continue to release products into the spring and summer months. With that, we wanted to put together a quick review of what we consider a few of the most intriguing archery products for 2021.
I’ve owned and hunted with sights from all the top companies; Spot Hogg, Black Gold, CBE, and Axcel but I keep returning to Axcel. I love the function, the weight, and for me they have always been reliable. One of my favorite things about Axcel is that they continue to improve on their designs and for 2021 they have once again released a new line of sights. The Landslyde is Axcel’s new slider sight, and it offers a pile of awesome new features.
The Landslyde has an extended elevation adjustment which accommodates a wider variety of set-ups. It also includes 8 metal sight metal tapes with 16 settings for weatherproof accuracy. No longer do you have to worry about your sight tape getting wet and falling off. A Quick-Adjust Knob turns smoothly moving along an all-new rail system for precision adjustments. It also has a press-to-move rapid adjustment where you can rapidly move the sight up or down without having to turn the knob at all. The Landslyde also features two adjustable red yardage indicators for use as a reference with a second aiming point. Another feature I really like is that the Landslyde has a quick change thumb screw that allows you to exchange scopes without a tool. This means I can shoot a single pin sight and quickly remove it to install a five pin Accustat II scope without any tools. Add in the new adjustable dead stop which allows me to set the “home” 20 yard position and return back to it with ease.
The Landslyde is ambidextrous, is lighter than older Accutouch models, and is available in a variety of options. You can buy the Landslyde with the 6” carbon bar in a 5 pin, 3 pin, or single pin option. It’s also available in a direct mount, again with all three scope options, 5, 3 and single pin. The Landslide is also available for the new Hoyt Picatinny Rail front riser mount system.
Axcel continues to improve on their designs and solve problems. Of all the products I’ve looked at for 2021, the Landslyde is the one I am most excited about.
Easton Axis arrows have been popular among western big game hunters for many years but new for 2021, Easton is releasing a 4mm Axis arrow they are calling the “Long range”. The 4mm Axis is a micro-diameter shaft that bucks the wind better over longer distances and enhances target penetration. One feature of the Long Range Axis arrows that I like is the new included 4mm 50 grain aluminum half-out outserts. The outsert will boost strength and FOC, making it an excellent choice for western big game hunters. The Axis 4mm is available in 250, 300, 340 and 400 spines, weighing in at 9.8 GPI, 9.3 GPI, 8.3 GPI and 7.4 GPI respectively. There will also be two grades available; match grade and regular. The straightness of the Match Grade is +/- .001”. The regular version of the 4mm Axis is +/- .003”.
If you are looking for a new hunting arrow we would highly suggest the Easton 4mm Axis Long Range. I did some calculations and a finished arrow for me would be about 450 grains with a 12-13% FOC. Personally, this checks the boxes for me and one I would definitely consider.
I like companies that continue to develop and produce what I feel are high-quality, reliable, and innovative products. One of those companies I have been following along with for several years is Shrewd archery and this year they have introduced a new hunting stabilizer line called the Vantage Series. The Vantage comes in three lengths, 12”, 9” and 7”. It’s built from a proprietary sts carbon blend that features an internal taper resulting in a very rigid lightweight bar. They also have HiLo dampers that work with the carbon design to reduce high and low-frequency vibrations.
Besides the technology and design, the Vantage Series stabilizers look great. They are available in black, olive drab green, forge grey, desert tan and a custom Chris Bee colorway which is a black/yellow combo. Each stabilizer comes with two 1 ounce weights and the HiLo S and HiLo T dampers. You can also add weights for a custom fit and feel and better aiming. If you are looking for a new stabilizer or front bar/back bar setup, I would highly recommend the Vantage series from Shrewd Archery.
Every year there are a bunch of new broadheads that come to market and Slick Trick is a company I always keep an eye on to see what they have up their sleeve. For 2021 they are offering a couple new heads, one of which I believe is going to be a great option for elk hunters. That head is the SS3, a machined single-piece three-blade broadhead that is said to leave a slug-like hole for maximum devastation. The SS3 has a short compact design with a total cutting diameter of 1 ⅛”. It should fly very well and penetrate even better. Given the solid steel one-piece construction, it should be a heavy duty durable broadhead.
A second option from Slick Trick is the Assailant which is a fixed/expandable hybrid head. Hybrid heads are built to offer the best of both worlds; easy to tune field point flight as well as cut on contact and penetration. The Assailant is built on the ViperTrick chisel tip with 1 ¾ “ expandable blades and a set of fixed ⅞” bleeder blades. Total cutting diameter is 2 ⅝”. The Assailant should be a very accurate head that offers the best of both worlds. I’m excited to put this head through some testing this spring.
Hamskea Archery has a solid reputation for building tight tolerance technical arrow rests and accessories. Following on the heels of the Hybrid Hunter Pro and Trinity rests, Hamskea is introducing their new Primer rest for 2021. The Primer is the most economical rest that Hamskea offers at $129.99 and is built from CNC machined quality components. It has 2 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, a quiet over-molded arrow containment bracket, and can be set up for top or bottom limb activation. Likely one of the most intriguing innovations of the Primer is the Rebound Dampener. This dampener is tied into the limb/rest drop away activation cord and helps to mitigate the shock that is transferred from the limb to the rest during the shot and prevents the wear that could eventually lead to failure. The Primer is also Hamskea’s lightest option, weighing in at 3.6 ounces. Bowhunters looking for a pile of features and reliability in a rest with great value should check the new Primer rest from Hamskea.
TightSpot's revolutionized quiver design with a streamlining tight to the riser fit that reduced the torque/lean that other quivers added to the off-side of the bow. In 2021, TightSpot is offering the Pivot 2.5 Quiver that is the most adjustable 2-piece quiver on the market. You can get a customized fit with triple-axis adjustment; in/out, up/down, and forward/back. The Pivot 2.5 is lightweight weighing in at only 9 ounces with hardware and is built from carbon fiber rods and aluminum pivots for durability. Once again, the Pivot 2.5 fits tight to the riser and holds arrows tight with the adjustable arrow wedge, regardless of the diameter. This is a lightweight, highly adjustable quiver that’s designed to fit tight against the riser to reduce torque.
It seems that a lot of bowhunters are looking for ways to improve their shot process and deal with target panic issues. Most bowhunters utilize a wrist strap index finger release and there have been very few options if they wanted to switch to a tension activated release of the same style. There have been a few, including the Carter Backstrap and the TruFire Thrufire, but new for 2021 Tru Ball has released the X-Tension R/T.
The X-Tension R/T release offers two ways to activate the release, pull through and relax tension. To shoot as a pull-through style shot, you can set the release at 5 lbs over your holding weight, hold the trigger and thumb lever in as you draw that serves as safety, and then release those and use back tension to pull through and activate the shot.
To shoot it relaxed tension style, set the X-Tension R/T five lbs less than your holding weight at full draw, draw the bow with the thumb and index finger tension levers tightly depressed throughout the drawing of the bow and when anchored slowly relax pressure evenly on the thumb and index finger tension levers and the release will fire.
In addition to the innovative activation methods, it also offers a rotating tri-hook system so that as you fire one arrow the next hook has rotated into the fire position. This makes the X-Tension R/T easy and quick to load in case you require a follow up shot.
Whether you are looking for a new hunting release or a release to help you retrain and improve your shot process, this is definitely a release you should check out.