After hunting season, most hardcore bowhunters get ready for winter leagues to keep their skills sharp. While I fall into that group, I also patiently wait for all the new bow manufacturers to release their 2012 line. Year in and year out, it seems that the top manufacturers leave us asking, "Can they really out do what they did this past year?”
When I found out I was going to get to test out the new Mathews Helim, I knew it was going to be interesting. I had never shot a Mathews bow before and was excited to get a chance to see what everyone is always talking about.
I’d seen some ads about the Helim and knew it was going to be fairly small and lightweight. Even still, when I pulled this bow out of the box, I was blown away by how compact and lightweight it really was. It’s definitely everything they advertised it to be.
I was eager to get it set up and see just what it could do. First thing I did was put on a rest and D-loop so I could get a feel for the draw cycle. When I pulled it back, I was pleasantly surprised at how incredibly smooth it was. Mathews attests this to their Reverse Assist Roller Guard and the extremely advanced cam technology…when they say it has a smooth draw, they’re not lying.
I have a 28-inch draw and the bow proved to be exactly the length they said it was. Often times, it seems that 28 inches on one bow may be different than 28 inches on another. After drawing it a few times, I decided to shoot a few arrows through the paper to get it tuned. Again, it surprised me with how fast I was able to tune this bow. So I strapped on a sight and headed out to do some shooting.
I decided to test the bow "Idaho Style”, by standing out in the fresh snow on a midwinter afternoon. I could’ve gone to the shop, but the weather was too nice and I thought it would be a nice break from the winter blues. I started my shooting session like I always do with a new bow, at about five feet with my eyes closed. I always seem to get a better feel for the bow if I’m not worried about where the arrows are hitting. The surprise element of shooting with your eyes closed really allows you to feel the mechanics of the bow.
It had been a while since I shot a single-cam bow and this bow’s solid back wall was a very nice feature. For a bow with a fairly short axle-to-axle length, 30 inches, and a weight of only 3.5 lbs, it was fairly dead in the hand when I shot it, with not much "kick” to it. Now that I had a feel for the bow, I decided to back up and let the sight in begin.
With just a couple minor pin adjustments, I was stacking arrows on top of one another. I stood outside for nearly an hour doing what I love, shooting a well-tuned bow. With guns, they always seem to talk about out-of-the-box accuracy. For only having this bow out of the box for an hour, I’d say that phrase fits.
Overall I was impressed with the Helim, as this is one well-built piece of equipment. However, like with anything, there were a few things that I wasn’t 100% sold on. The bow seems like it wants to tip forward in your hand after the shot breaks. Obviously a different stabilizer or adding some weight in the right places to balance the bow could fix this. The only other thing that I really didn’t care for was the grip. I know Mathews has slimmed the grip down from their older designs, but I would still like to see it smaller.
That being said, this bow has several nice features that are sure to be very appealing to many people. It was a pleasure to shoot and it has the speed and lightweight features that today’s bow-savvy guys are after. If you’re in the market for a new bow this fall, I’d definitely give the Mathews Helim a look.