2013 Hoyt Carbon Matrix G3
Max-1 Camo , 70 lb. Limbs, 35 inch ATA, 31 in DL, 80% Let Off, RKT Cams, 327 FPS ATA
First a little background info: In February of 2012 I replaced my Mathews Reezen 6.5 with a Hoyt Vector 35. The Mathews never fit me especially well but when I bought it in 2010, it was a definite step up from the Bear I had been shooting.
The Hoyt was my choice after many test shots, much research, and a lot of saving and head scratching. The day I was going to buy it, the G5 rep was at the shop with the new Prime bows. I shot the Hoyt side by side with the Centroid and had to go home without a bow. The Prime made me reconsider for awhile. Ultimately I settled on the Vector 35. At the time the carbon bows didn’t seem worth the 400 additional dollars. I was thrilled with my Vector, and still am, but it wasn’t long before I knew I had to have a carbon. Either way, I was sold on Hoyt.
In May of 2012 I started helping out part-time at the better of the two local bow shops. Tuning bows was mostly what I was hired to do, and a lot of Hoyt carbons came in. The more I worked on them, the more I appreciated them. In December I had made up mind and had to order a new Matrix G3. A few weeks later my bow was delivered. My Vector had set the bar pretty high but I knew this carbon bow would not disappoint. I set it up with a new QAD HDX Ultra rest and a custom MT Black Gold multi-pin ascent slider sight (review on that to come later). I removed the grip (I prefer to shoot off the riser) and set the center shot at 13/16ths, put 2 twists in the left side of the split yoke and tied on a D-loop. The first shot tore a decent hole in the paper and with a few more twists and tweaks it was shooting quite well.
I have been shooting it for about 2 months now, set at 31 inches and 71.5 pounds. The RKT cams are the same as my Vector, which I really liked once I got used to them. Though compared to the Mathews, they are an entirely different animal. It tuned very easily and holds very solid with a 12 inch stabilizer and my TightSpot quiver. My arrows are Victory VAP V1 300’s that weigh 419 grains and I am getting 308 fps over my ProChrono Digital.
I like the semi-aggressive RKT cam draw curve and have gotten used to the shallow valley over the last year. The draw is remarkably smooth for the performance at the shot. For the speeds I am getting, it does not feel rough on the draw at all. It certainly stacks weight plenty quickly, but the RKT cam and a half draws very smooth. It also lets down much easier than I would have thought. Hoyt calls this ErgoDraw since they have to have a clever name for everything good about a bow anymore. Front to back balance is very good but side to side was actually a little disappointing. When Hoyt first started making the Carbon Element (the shorter ATA carbon bow) they built it with an offset stabilizer bushing. They began building all of their bows this way, including my Vector, so I was kind of expecting it on my new bow. Apparently they are using the original design and molds for the Matrix so it has an inline bushing. For me it makes sense to offset some weight to counter my quiver and sight so I had to make an offset bar to thread my stabilizer into. Once that was done, it balanced just like I wanted.
The technology of the Hoyt bows is impressive for sure. From the hollow carbon-tube riser, to the laminated limbs and the roller guard, Hoyt is very innovative. The warranty is excellent, should you need it and Hoyt customer service is fantastic. These durable, reliable bows rarely have issues, but if they do, they’ll be there. The fit and finish is also very good. I cannot say the finish is flawless, but I have been accused of having an eye for detail and sometimes I notice minor flaws that any normal person would not think twice about. The only major change to the 2013 G3 is that it is equipped with AirShox. The limb vibration dampeners no longer ride on the limbs. They hover away from the limbs at full draw and the limbs come to meet them on the shot. I am curious how they will hold up though. The little rubber fingers on the AirShox really take a beating. They do seem to soak up some noise, however, and coupled with the carbon riser and a decent stabilizer, the G3 shoots very quiet and with almost no hand shock whatsoever. In fact hand shock is a poor term for the recoil of the G3. Something about the way it’s built make the shot so dead in hand that it more a gentle thud than a sudden jump. One other thing Hoyt does differently, that I think makes a huge difference, is the grip position. Most bows are built with the nocking point in the exact center putting the grip below the flight path and leaving more weight above the grip. This is why so many bows feel so top heavy. Hoyt puts the throat of the grip at the center, from bottom to top, of the riser as they have discovered it makes for a much more stable shooting platform. I must agree, with a 35 inch ATA bow, which I feel adds to the stability and makes long range shooting much more consistent.
The last thing I will mention is the FUSE string. Hoyt bows come with a very good BCY material bowstring and cables. The FUSE strings a couple years back were not all that impressive but they have gotten that figured out and gotten to where they are definitely making quality strings. That said, I always order a Winner’s Choice string when I get a new bow. The factory string will be shot in by the time the custom one is delivered and then I have the original to keep as a backup. In any case, the string that comes on a Hoyt is very usable and of high quality.
Overall I am very pleased with the 2013 Matrix. With the grip removed, it feels like an extension of my arm. It is very fast considering how smoothly it comes to full draw and is also very quiet. I really hope the AirShox hold up. I like the design for a limb dampener, but the rubber fingers could be in trouble with a lot of spring shooting. I also wish Hoyt would have built in an offset for the stabilizer but I know a “long” 35 inch ATA bow is more likely to be set up with V-Bars so the centered bushing makes sense. The Matrix is a super-stable long range bow as well as an X-breaker for precision accuracy on close-in shooting. My bows are set up to hunt. I shoot thousands of arrows a year at various targets all in preparation for placing a broadhead through the lungs of a critter. The Hoyt line of bows, while excellent on the range for drilling targets, make even better hunting rigs for putting holes in things that taste better than paper.
(8/18/13) Updated Content:
A few months back I reviewed the Hoyt Carbon Matrix G3 in detail. I mentioned a concern or two and decided to update that review. The primary concern I had was whether the New-For-2013 AirShox limb dampeners would hold up. I have put those fears to rest. After a long hot summer of pounding targets, there is absolutely no sign of wear or abuse on the AirShox. I have destroyed more than a handful of String Bats but the rubber fingers that the limbs hammer on every shot look brand new.
Everything about the G3 is up to standard for a Hoyt bow. Nothing has come loose and it has held its tune all year. I check it periodically by shooting through paper and other than a half twist in the buss cable as the Winners Choice string settled, I have changed nothing. Every bolt, bushing, module, screw, etc. is exactly where it was this spring when the bow came out of the box. How much more durable could it be?
Well, that's not entirely true...I did switch arrows. I started shooting with the Victory VAP V1 and mid-summer decided to switch. Now my Matrix launches Carbon Express Maxima Blue Streak 350's. I guess I just wanted to see how much speed I could wring out of my setup. And to be honest, the VAPs insert/outserts were giving me fits. Almost every practice session yielded bent inserts and I was only shooting bag targets; more on that later. The new arrows come in at 398 grains total weight and my bow is still at 31 inches and 71.5 pounds. My ProChrono consistently registers 318 fps.
The Blue Streaks definitely don't penetrate like the VAPs but they still deliver plenty of energy and way more than enough penetration. I have always used a 415 grain Maxima Hunter in the past and the energy profile for the Blue Streaks is almost identical at any reasonable hunting range. I guess I will see what happens. The Maxima Hunters never let me down.
I knew the Matrix would be a tough bow and with my concerns for the AirShox eased I can honestly say that, for me anyway, Hoyt builds excellent hunting bows. One week from now I will be on my way home from an early season Montana Pronghorn Antelope hunt. Hopefully I will get a chance to let my Matrix prove itself in the field. If all goes well, I will be reviewing the new Rage Hypodermic as soon as I get my antelope wrapped and in the freezer.