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There is something to be said for not compromising quality, and when it comes to bows Hoyt has a solid reputation for innovative design and cutting-edge technology. There is something to be said for value and getting a lot of bang for the buck, too. All-too-recent economic woes spurred the entire industry to seek that elusive optimum intersection between a moderate price and a bow that offers the speed, shootability, and features that serious bowhunters have come to expect. The Charger is Hoyt’s current entry in that category.
A casual glance at the Charger hanging on a rack would not distinguish it from most of Hoyt’s other offerings, including the popular Spyder series bows. Same distinctive Tec Lite bridged riser, same past-parallel limb design, same Stealth Shot String Stopper, same Fuse custom strings. At 31 inches axle to axle it’s an inch longer than the Spyder 30, with the same 63⁄4-inch brace height, same light weight of 3.8 pounds, and same wide range of camo and color options.
Under the hood, so to speak, the Charger is powered by the same Multilayer Lamination Limbs and Hoyt’s famous Cam & 1/2 system. So what’s different? The Charger uses AlphaShox, as opposed to the more recently introduced AirShox. The grip is rubber instead of wood, and there is no Silent Shelf. The Charger employs a conventional cable guard slide as opposed to the in-line roller cable guard found on the Spyder Series and some other Hoyt bows. The stabilizer mount is not offset as it is on the Spyder bows. Some might say that at 325 fps, the 5-fps-slower speed of the Charger is the most significant difference, but that’s true only if you consider a difference of 5 fps to be significant—which it might be to a world-class 3-D shooter, but won’t be to any game animal on the planet.
Limbs, Layers and Alignment
The Charger is home to the ZRX Multi-Layer Lamination split limbs, which are contoured and pre-loaded using uniform stress distribution (USD) designed to eliminate potential failure areas. The past-parallel position of the limbs at full draw cause them to act in opposition to one another at the shot, significantly nullifying unused energy.
AlphaShox limb dampers are attached to each set of split limbs for even more vibration reduction. A set of Pro-Lock pivoting limb pockets provide a precise limb-to-riser interface with six, hard-locking contact points. Limb sets are vigorously tested, precisely matched based on deflection values for uniformity and are available in the following weights: 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, 55-65, 60-70 and 70-80 pounds.
Cams on the Charger, as with other bows featuring the Cam & 1/2 system, are modular and draw-length specific. One cam size covers the draw lengths from 24 inches to 261⁄2 inches, another from 27 inches to 30 inches, with different modules for each half-inch of adjustment. Changing modules does not require a press and is a simple matter of removing them with a hex wrench and replacing them with the correct size modules, then moving the draw stop on the bottom cam to the corresponding position. Peak draw weights are 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, or 80 pounds, each adjusting downward 10 pounds as desired. There are no set screws, so adjusting draw weight is a matter of turning the limb bolts, with three or four turns covering the 10-pound range. Fit and finish on the Charger is indistinguishable from that of Hoyt’s most expensive bows, which is to say faultless. There is a slight texture to the outer coat, and nothing on this bow is likely to glare or shine. The logos are understated and seemingly indelible.
Two available variations on the Charger should be mentioned. A Long Draw version covers draw lengths from 301⁄2 to 31 inches, with a 7 1⁄2-inch brace height, a mass weight of 4 pounds even, and a top published speed of 327 fps. A Fuse Accessory Package option includes a Fuse sight, quiver, and stabilizer, along with a Whisker Biscuit arrow rest and a peep sight with alignment tubing.
Shooting The Bow
Hoyt recommends a starting centershot 13⁄16 inch from the riser, so after squaring the arrow on the string in alignment with the Berger holes, I adjusted the QAD Ultra-Rest accordingly, then adjusted the timing cord. Arrow flight with field tips appeared good. I shot several arrows from 10 yards to get in the ballpark, then backed off to 20 yards and shot a couple of four-arrow groups to make final adjustments. In less than 15 minutes from that initial shot, the bow was shooting 2-inch groups at 20 yards. At 3.8 pounds the Charger qualifies as a light bow. I shoot a Spyder 30 on occasion, and not surprisingly the feel of the Charger was very similar in just about every respect, with Hoyt’s characteristic smooth draw, steady hold, and solid back wall. Nothing grabby about these cams, nor is letting down from full draw difficult. At the shot there is a very slight amount of detectable vibration. The drop-away rest clacked against the shelf slightly, but a little moleskin resolved that issue.
With increasing numbers of bows sporting curved or flexible cable guard systems to reduce torque, I always look for indications of torque when I shoot bows that don’t employ that technology. Possibly if I were a machine I could detect the difference; I’m not, and I usually can’t, which proved true in this case.
There are several features of this bow I would point out. First, the draw range starts at a peak of 40 pounds, which is adjustable down to 30 pounds. That makes an excellent bow accessible to a lot of younger hunters. The 65-pound peak weight option is a trend that makes a lot of sense to me, since bows generally operate at peak efficiency at or close to their peak weight, and many bowhunters who are not quite comfortable at 70 pounds can shoot very comfortably at or close to 65 pounds. Finally, I mentioned earlier the fit and finish on the Charger, and the fact is that without a close inspection it’s difficult to distinguish from Hoyt’s other bows. Appearance is one of the qualities many bow manufacturers compromise to achieve the lower price of their lower-tier bows, and that certainly makes more sense than compromising on performance. At the same time, it’s nice to find an affordable bow that doesn’t scream “Affordable bow.” In the case of the Charger, that is true in terms of performance as well as appearance.
Shooting this bow is a pure joy! I have taken it over to the local range for the indoor targets at 20 yards to get it sighted in with the Fuse site, 400 grain Gold Tip Hunter XT arrows, a Scott release (Silverhorn) and set the draw weight at 60 lbs. The hardest part of learning how to shoot was holding the pin absolutely still on the target. It takes a fair bit of practice holding it on target. Of course the muscles involved in holding a bow straight take some training to create muscle memory, and some strength. This Summer I was able to take it out to the outdoor range and finish sighting in the bow at 30, 40,and 50 yards... with some adjusting to the pins I got a decent grouping on the 50 yrds. That 60 yard target sure looks small through the sights , so I am still working on that one. Definitely fun , addicting and most of all stress reducing!
HOYT CHARGER SPECS
Brace Height:………………….. 6 3⁄4 inches
Weight:……………………………… 3.8 pounds
Axle-To-Axle Length:…… 31 inches
Speed:………………………………… 325 fps
Draw lengths:………………….. 24-30 inches, module-specific in half-inch increments.
Draw weights:…………………. 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 80 pounds peak, adjustable down 10 pounds from peak.
Options:……………………………. Long Draw; Charger Fuse Package. Finishes: Realtree Xtra, Max-1, Snow, Pink; Black Out; Half and Half; Bone Collector; Vicxen; Custom Red; Custom Blue; Custom Black; Pearl White; Pink.
Suggested Retail:………….. $599 bow only
OBJECTIVE TESTS (30 Inches Draw)
Peak Hold*:………………………. 70 pounds
Weight, Full Draw*:………. 20 pounds
Arrow Weight:………………… 385 grains………….. 500 grains
Arrow @70 Pounds*:……. 314 fps ……………… 279 fps
Arrow @60 Pounds*:……. 287 fps………………. 257 fps
K.E. @70 Pounds*:………… 84.5 ft. lbs…………. 86.5 ft. lbs.
K.E. @60 Pounds*:………… 70.5 ft. lbs…………. 73.5 ft. lbs.
Hoyt is well-known for producing some of the world’s top bows year after year. Recent hits include the innovative Carbon line, Spyder Series, Vector, CRX, Maxxis and the one you still hear bowhunters talk about today, the AlphaMax.
What you may not know is that the same company with this impressive string of top-end stars also offers one of the best “bang for your buck” bows on the market—the Charger.
Hoyt’s Charger features the popular TEC LITE riser design, Charger Cam & ½, ZRX limbs, Pro-Lock limb pockets, Pro Fit grip and multi-layer lamination limbs. Parallel Split Limb technology, Alpha Shox, cable dampeners and a Stealth Shot String Suppressor all work together to tame the shot of this ultra-light budget bow.
If you have been bowhunting a while then you are well aware of the instant brand recognition afforded Hoyt through the TEC (Total Engineering Concept) riser design. The Charger is outfitted with the company’s LITE version of the TEC family, which incorporates an open format with large cutouts and a network of recessed cross bridging. The truss in this design acts as a shock absorber as it channels shot vibration away from the shooter’s hand.
Hoyt’s Charger is compatible with the Pro-Fit Grip system, which includes four grip styles that share a common mounting platform. Other riser features include a Stealth Shot string suppression system and stainless steel stabilizer mount.
The Charger is available in Realtree Xtra, Realtree Max-1, Black Out, Half & Half, Bone Collector, Vicxen, Realtree Snow and Realtree Pink finish options. Five custom target colors also are available.