Mathews Chill X Review

mathews chill xI want to start by saying that there is no such thing as a bad bow nowadays.  The technology gap has effectively been closed and just about every manufacturer makes a solid product.  People are fiercely brand loyal and just about any conversation about bows will quickly will devolve into an uneducated brand bashing.  Everyone is after the same thing.  That being a comfortable bow that they can shoot accurately and confidently.  By confining yourself to a certain brand of bow you rob yourself of offerings by other companies that might suit your style a little better.  The only way to truly get the right bow for you is to remove all preconceived notions and shoot everything out there.  I switched from a Hoyt this year and you’re about ready to find out why I’m glad I did.  That being said, let’s get down to business.

The Chill X is Mathews’ newest bow for 2014.  This dual cam offering is a longer version of the popular Chill R.  Sporting a 35 inch axle to axle length with a 7 inch brace height, the Chill X is a good choice for someone who wants a bow that pulls double duty as a hunting rig and something that can shoot 3d as well.

The biggest thing that sticks out about this bow is the 35 inch ATA length.  I’ve shot short bows for the past several years and really thought nothing of it.  It wasn’t until I shot the Chill X that I realized how much those extra inches make a difference.  It is noticeably more stable than the shorter bows and at long distance that makes the difference between a hit and a miss.  Having a rock solid hold on something increases accuracy as well as confidence.  As far as it being too long to hunt with, as I’ve heard some say, that is complete b.s.  Bows with an ATA of 32 inches and shorter didn’t come around in mass until a few years ago.  Before then, people didn’t have much trouble maneuvering longer bows and they still don’t.  I seriously doubt I will ever go back to a bow with an ATA shorter than 35 inches.

The draw cycle on the Chill X is smooth.  Very smooth.  Again the ATA length comes into play allowing for a smoother draw cycle than what you would get from a shorter bow.  Utilizing Mathews’ proprietary Rock Mod system the back wall is very solid due to a cam stop the previous versions of the McPhearson Monster didn’t have.  Allowing for either 75% or 85% let off, the Rock Mods also allow an easy change in draw length.

The DYAD AVS cam.  The counterweight contributes to the dead in hand feel.  The cam stop that gives the rock solid back wall can be seen about and inch and half below the axle.

The DYAD AVS cam. The counterweight contributes to the dead in hand feel. The cam stop that gives the rock solid back wall can be seen about and inch and half below the axle.

One thing that really set the Chill X apart from other bows I’ve shot recently is there is no shock upon pulling the trigger.  It is about as dead in hand as you can get.  This is partly due to the perimeter counter weight on the cams.  When the limbs fire forward, the counterweights go in the opposite direction and thus deaden the shot.  There is simply no shock when you pull the trigger of the release and it really makes a bow sling unnecessary.

Now comes the one thing I don’t really care for.  The grip.  The Chill X has a very thin, minimal grip.  It is basically like holding the riser where the grip should be.  There is nothing to fill up your hand.  The reasoning behind this is sound, however.  The fatter the grip, the more apt you are to torque the bow.  This is fine, but the thin rubber grip rubbed a blister on the inside of my thumb .  I’m starting to get used to it and I’ll just have to toughen up.

Thin rubber grip on the Chill X

Thin rubber grip on the Chill X

I almost neglected to put anything about speed in this write up.  All bows are fast.  It’s just that simple.  But I did get to shoot this one through a chronograph so it’s worth mentioning.  The bow is rated at up to 336 fps with 75% let off.  It is worth mentioning here how bow manufacturers come up with their speed figures.  They use a 30 inch draw length and shoot the lightest arrow out of the heaviest draw weight available.  Shooting a 380 grain hunting set up I normally use, I was able to get an average of 284 fps with a 29 inch draw length at 70 pounds with 85% let off.  That is plenty fast enough.

So in summary, what is the Chill X boiled down to bare bones?  It is a bow that veers away from the popular trends now seen in the archery industry.  A 35 inch ATA with a 7 inch brace height make it very stable and very forgiving.  The Rock Mod system gives an incredibly solid back wall and the ability to easily change draw lengths.  It has a really dead in hand feel with no jump upon pulling the release trigger.  Most importantly, it is butter smooth and easy to shoot.  That’s really all we’re after and why I’ll be shooting the Chill X for the foreseeable future. They’re available in Lost Camo, Black, and my personal favorite, Desert Tan.  $1099 Retail.  Check out Mathewsinc.com to find a dealer and go shoot one to see for yourself.

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