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Compound Bow Review: Xpedition Smoke

The Smoke is a no-apologies, short-brace-height velocity bow that just about gained our 2022 Flagship Bow Check. It has a hybrid cam system that’s draw-length particular and remarkably environment friendly. It was, actually, probably the most environment friendly bow of the take a look at at 86.8% (and truly, one of the crucial environment friendly bows we’ve ever examined). It additionally gained our velocity take a look at—and it did it with half an inch of draw size tied behind its again.

For our take a look at, we ask producers to ship in bows set to a 28-inch draw size, and Xpedition assured us that they’d finished precisely that, per AMO specification. Nonetheless, our measurements put it at 27.5 inches (with no possibility to regulate it). And but, even with that handicap, the Smoke fired arrows at 3 fps sooner than some other bow.

Xpedition Smoke Specs

Xpedition Archery
  • Check Pace: 324 fps. (by way of our chronograph, at 60 kilos of draw weight and 28 inches of draw size; see “How We Check” beneath)
  • Marketed ATA Pace: 370 fps
  • Axle-to-Axle Size: 32 inches
  • Brace Top: 5.375 inches
  • Weight: 5 kilos, 4 ounces
  • Effectivity: 86.8%
  • Ultimate Rating: 94 (out of 100)

The Smoke had a remarkably clean draw cycle, given its spectacular velocity, and it was constant from begin to end. Tester Danny Hinton and I each, actually, pegged it as our favourite draw cycle of take a look at. Zach Bell, the third member of our take a look at panel, didn’t prefer it as a lot because of the shallow valley that made it a contact jumpy at full draw. That’s why we common such issues out.

The Smoke was a great shooter, too. We averaged 1.23-inch teams with it. It completed center of the pack for each (lack of) vibration and noise. I hunted with the Smoke for a pair days final deer season, and within the stand I did discover it to be somewhat large and top-heavy. Finally, all of us agreed that within the classes of dealing with, steadiness, and grip, in addition to match and end, it wasn’t fairly on par with another bows within the take a look at, significantly the 2 that edged it out for first and second place. Nonetheless, because it completed inside some extent and a half of the winner however prices $750 much less, the quickest bow of the yr additionally will get our hands-down vote because the Greatest Worth flagship bow of 2022. Because the Smoke is a limited-edition mannequin, you should work out your draw size and order yours quickly. Talking of which, remember that its cam system is draw-length particular, so be sure to get your draw size proper earlier than you order.

Who Ought to Purchase the Xpedition Smoke?

For the cash, the Smoke was the most effective bow of our take a look at, and that alone is sufficient to get the eye of many bowhunters. However it’s a specialised rig; not everybody desires a sub-6-inch brace top, and a few shooters may really feel confined by the mounted draw size. It provides up somewhat in dealing with, too, particularly in comparison with the Mathews V3X.

However the tradeoff is efficiency, and let’s be actual—a 32-inch bow is much from a membership. Most grownup bowhunters don’t must mess with their bow’s draw size, as soon as they know that it’s set correctly. And although it’s change into considerably retro to confess you want a quick bow (a fad that’s sure to alter, once more, with advertising tendencies), the reality is a velocity bow that you could shoot rather well is a large benefit within the subject. It helps you to shoot a heavy searching arrow sooner, which equates to a flatter trajectory and higher penetration on critters. As velocity bows go, the Smoke is among the finest we’ve ever examined.  

How We Examined the Xpedition Smoke

photo of a man testing a compound bow
An engineer at Stress Engineering Options ready to fireside a bow in a sound-proof room to measure noise. Will Brantley

The Xpedition Smoke was a part of the annual F&S Bow Check, which befell on the Stress Engineering Services lab in Mason, Ohio, and on my farm in southwestern Kentucky, the place we wrung each bow out and pitted them head-to-head. Our take a look at panel included the engineers in Stress’s Outside Division, in addition to myself; former pro-shop proprietor and bow technician Danny Hinton; and Zach Bell, a critical bowhunter and goal shooter. We scored every bow on a 100-point scale within the following classes, within the following methods:

Accuracy and Forgiveness: 20 Factors

This class is probably the most time-consuming a part of our course of, but in addition an important. Our Accuracy and Forgiveness take a look at takes the common of 5, three-shot teams per bow from a panel of three shooters. The entire bows we take a look at will shoot higher than any of us can, individually. The concept right here is to note tendencies that make some bows inherently simpler (or harder) to group with. This yr’s take a look at was performed indoors at 25 yards over the course of three days utilizing searching spec Carbon Specific Maxima Crimson arrows, HHA sights, and peep sights put in.

Xpedition Smoke Outcomes

The entire testers shot the Smoke effectively. It end tied for second, simply behind the Mathews V3X, in Accuracy and Forgiveness, with a rating of 19 out of 20.

Pace: 20 Factors

Every bow is about to twenty-eight inches and 60 kilos (marketed IBO specs could be from bows set at 30 inches and 70 kilos, however 5 grains of arrow weight per pound of draw size will get you shut). Bows that didn’t arrive to spec have been adjusted if attainable. That finished, we ready a pair IBO-spec, 300-grain arrows that have been used for measuring velocity (a median of three photographs by way of my chronograph). At 30 inches, you might assume one other 20 fps. or so added to the rate measurement. We additionally use a Whisker Biscuit relaxation and with that, you might assume a lack of about 5 fps. So, compensating for the shorter draw size and the remaining, and you’ll assume an additional 15 fps, give or take, added on to our revealed speeds.

Xpedition Smoke Outcomes

The Smoke ran away with the velocity take a look at, registering a median arrow velocity of 324 fps with the specs above (and an marketed IBO ranking of 370.) The one bow that was shut the Smoke in velocity was Hoyt RX-7, which was 3 fps behind it at 321, and the subsequent closest bow was 315. It scored an ideal 20 out of 20.

Draw Cycle: 20 Factors

That is our solely double-weighted subjective class. It’s an analysis of how comfy a bow is to attract, maintain, and shoot—necessary issues to know each on paper and when caught at full attract a deer stand. For this class, we’re evaluating the consolation of the general cycle, the valley, and the again wall, after which evaluating what we predict we really feel to the draw drive curves mapped out at Stress Engineering.

Xpedition Smoke Outcomes

It’s actually spectacular that the quickest bow within the take a look at additionally tied for the most effective draw cycle. If it weren’t for a considerably shallow valley, it could have gotten an ideal rating. As is, it acquired a 19.5 out of 20, tied with the Hoyt and barely higher than each the Mathews and Elite.

Noise (lack of): 10 Factors

At Stress Engineering in Mason, Ohio, a sound-proof chamber is used to measure noise of every bow, once more, utilizing the IBO-spec 300-grain arrow.

Xpedition Smoke Outcomes

Once more, for such a quick bow, the Smoke is fairly quiet. It scored a 9 out of 10 within the class.

Vibration (lack of): 10 Factors

One other measurement taken at Stress Engineering, this one with an accelerometer mounted to the bow’s stabilizer port.

Xpedition Smoke Outcomes

This was the Smoke’s greatest stumble. It scored and eight.5 out of 10.

Match and End: 10 Factors

This can be a subjective class that not solely assesses how a bow seems to be (some are sharper than others), however how effectively it’s put collectively. We’re checking for issues like software marks and blemishes within the end. It’s uncommon that we deduct greater than some extent or two on this class for a flagship bow.

Expedition Smoke Outcomes

The Smoke is a handsome bow, however not fairly the equal of some others. It scored a 9.5 out of 10.

Steadiness, Dealing with, and Grip: 10 Factors 

How does a bow really feel within the hand and up in a tree? Is it gentle and useful, or heavy and cumbersome? At full draw, does the grip facilitate good capturing type, or does it get in the way in which? Worst of all, does it dig into the hand and trigger ache (we’ve seen all of it earlier than). Is the bow straightforward to carry on course? Does it tip or flip this fashion or that upon launch? This can be a subjective class, and we take all of these items into consideration when assigning a rating. 

Expedition Smoke Outcomes

That is one other place the place the Smoke stumbled somewhat, scoring an 8.5 out of 10. We discovered it a tad cumbersome and somewhat top-heavy. But when pure efficiency is what you’re after, this can be a very spectacular bow, at a value that’s lower than most flagship fashions.

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