This year they mated those innovations to create a pair of long-riser, short limbed twin sisters: The Strike and Reliant, which differ only slightly in height (axle-to-axle length) and weight. As a tree stand and ground blind hunter who prefers the tight-quarter accommodations of a shorter bow, I chose the slightly more diminutive Strike to evaluate in this bow test.
The Same, But Different
For the Strike's solid limbs, Jennings retained their patented technology, using a design once found only in high-performance jets and racecars, they incorporate multiple layers of carbon fiber for enduring strength and torque resistance. However, they shortened the limbs and lengthened the riser on this design for greater shock reduction.
The limbs are anchored in a "zero tolerance," polyurethane pocket and precision-machined limb cups to prevent movement and further reduce noise. The longer riser then has more mass to absorb what little vibration remains.
The Strike also features Jennings' revolutionary j-REV balanced single cam system. Unlike many highly eccentric high-speed hard cams, the j-Rev is perfectly balanced so it rotates smoothly on the axle in perfect balance with a large idler wheel. According to Jennings product manager Scott Alread, the combined result is a super-smooth and consistent draw, with still further reduction of shock and noise at the shot. I decided to put those claims to the test.
On the Range
For me, nothing instills confidence like accuracy (how close something comes to an expected outcome). Ordinarily, my first shot out of a new bow is from 10 or 15 feet--just to make sure I'm "on paper." I felt pretty confident with my setup so I took my first shot from 25 yards. It hit low--about two inches low! My second shot tore fletching on the first arrow, and my third broke a nock. I adjusted for the low group and my next six-shot group was about the size of a snuff can lid.
While the bow's accuracy was note-worthy (to say the least), I was even more impressed with its precision (the closeness of repeated measurements). When I graph a bow, I typically take the average of 12 shots. Ordinarily, those shots vary within a range of eight to 10 fps (four or five fps above or below the mean), though a greater range is not unusual. Of the first six shots I took with the Strike, all but one were exactly the same speed: 264 fps. The fifth was 263 fps. The average for all 12 shots was 264.15 fps. Seven of 12 were exactly 264, and only one shot varied more than one fps from the mean (268).
Considering my setup, those speeds were impressive in and of themselves. The Strike has an IBO rating of 316. At 63 pounds of pull with a 28-inch draw length, I was shooting 28.5-inch Gold Tip XT Hunter 5575 arrows with 100-grain field tips. Converting to IBO parameters would put my bow at around 300 fps. That's darn close to the advertised IBO speed, and pretty darn fast overall.
The Strike was also smooth on the draw; but that's a very subjective variable. To test Alread's claims of an improved j-REV shooting platform, and provide a more objective standard, I did a side-by-side comparison of the Strike and last year's CK 3.4R. He was right. I'm not sure how, but they made the 2006 version of the j-Rev system much smoother to draw. It's also smoother to shoot. Hand shock was negligible and noise was on the low end of the scale.
While all the Strike's features were impressive, its most surprising asset just might be the price. This bow has all the features of many other top-shelf long-riser, parallel-limb, high speed bows, but at a price even the average or novice archery hunter can afford.
RELATED ARTICLE: SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Escalade Sports, Dept. PB, 817 Maxwell Avenue, Evansville, IN 47711; (812) 467-1200; www.escaladesports.com
Draw Weights: 50 to 60 and 60 to 70 pounds
Draw Lengths: 26 to 30 inches
Riser: Machined Aluminum
Limbs: Compression molded carbon fiber
Mass Weight: 4.6 pounds
Grip: Two-piece wood
Brace Height: 7 5/8 inches
Axle-To-Axle Length: 31.5 inches
Finish: New Mossy Oak Break-Up
Advertised IBO Speed: 305 fps
Suggested Retail Price: $399
Comments: Unbeatable value
The UPSHOT CRAFTSMANSHIP GRIP ERGONOMICS FINISH DRAW CYCLE Precise and Simple yet Handsome; Surprisingly sturdy. comfortable. wheels and smooth for a limb pockets high-speed cam. are matte- finished. RECOIL SHOT NOISE NOTES Unnoticeable. Very good. This bow shows that Jennings is still at the top of their game.