Hoyt Gamemaster 2 45#@28"
I never have shot the Gamemaster 1 but assume this, the Gamemaster 2 it to be an improvement on the first version. For me there were several unusual features to this bow, the first is the metal riser, I don't have a huge lot of experience with them, most bows I shoot are very much in the conservative Trad camp with a wooden riser so I was intrigued how a metal handle would feel. Especially novel was all the funky cut away sections and the suitcase handle style "extra" bit protruding to the rear.
Again, contrary to the more usual "custom" bowyer made fare we generally shoot here at AR this bow is very much a mass produced item, in addition to all this was the fact that this bow was fitted with a Cavalier Free Flyte plunger button and elevated arrow rest, most bows we shoot are off the shelf shooters. I was worried that shooting off a rest and so far from the top of my hand might cause me issues but to be honest I never noticed once I was shooting.
As far as looks go, I wasn't offended but neither was I cooing over it's "modern" appearance, you no doubt will make up your own mind as to weather the bow has any looks one way or the other. having been less than inspired in the looks department I had put the bow to one side several times with the thought of reviewing it " later" when I wasn't going out to enjoy myself.
The day came when I was going to be doing some testing of other things and the Gamemaster was brought along in case I should have time or not really care if I hit stuff... I tell you all this because the bow really had not grabbed me and made me want to shoot it, recurve bows have to work hard to get my attention and the funky metal riser wasn't screaming "hold me - caress me" like some bows do.
Whilst putting a few other bows over the Chrono I eventually put together this Hoyt and sent some arrows down the range, having given the bow no thought and with no expectation, I really had picked it up and shot it with an open mind... I always try to let the bow do the talking and let it tell me about itself but never the less quite often you can find yourself expecting something from a bow or second guessing how it might shoot.
Once again the bow had not offended me, it drew pleasantly enough, the speed shown on the Chrono looked quite handy. Although the draw felt smooth it felt a little more than the 45# that the markings had told me it was. Sure enough when I weighed this on my Easton digital scales it showed almost 48# at 28". There was however some noise not just the distinct boing and rattle of the limbs but also a zizz and fuzziness in the riser and some vibration.
I find recurve bows can be like that, most of the Longbows or Hybrids I have shot are quite straightforward, there may be a little handshock present occasionally but not generally anything rattling about after the shot or any noise at all, being unaccustomed to it, I take exception to it.
Whilst checking all the parts that might cause such a noise I noticed that the string was pretty fat, fat by my standards is anything over 10 strands, it also had some of those cats whisker silencers tied on to it - I don't really care too much for those either, it wasn't just the string anyway that was causing the irritation it seemed more like the whole set up..
So far it sounds like the bow had not welcomed me in to it's web, but that wasn't quite true, there was something about the feel and balance that actually felt quite nice. I decided to head off from the Chrono station and shoot a few 3D's. The wooden arrows I had with me were suited to another bow but would be fairly close, I expected them to be a tad stiff and when I took my first 3 shots at a Hare I missed with each by 4 inches to the left. despite all the noise after each shot the bow seemed quite stable.
At this point I would normally start looking for a different arrow, change the brace height or or some way of reducing the strike plate, when presented with a weak arrow I have on occasion even resorted to picking up bits of twig and stuffing it behind the leather or velcro strike plate to get a better tune. This bow though was fitted with a plunger button, what joy these little devices are ! and on a bow that is cut way past centre they really come in to their own. I had already stepped away from my norn with the metal riser so the button was just another step rather than the partaking of some forbidden fruit. I can totally see why folks would love them, 3 more arrows had me tuned for spine and the Hare got what was coming to him.
By now the bow had got my interest, the brace was set at 7 3/4" which although within the recommended limit seemed high to me, of course it is a recurve and things are different with a recurve - the minimum suggested is 7 1/2". I didn't like the string so resolved to see what I could do with a new one.
Back in the workshop I put together a slinky looking pink and yellow 10 strand string from 8125 with loops padded out to 16 strands. At 7 1/2" it wasn't bad, still some noise but a little better, I had a brief foray up to 8" but there was no improvement. I happened to have some spider silencers in a box so fished them out and rather than mess about I put all 4 on the string, after a little play the brace had come down to 7 1/4" and there was improvement in the shot and the noise and vibration. The bow feels pretty good but I had a good hard look at it almost regretting not having padded the loops out to 18 strands - the thing is that any more than 16 at the loops and the string starts to look ungainly, if I could get it a little quieter this would be a very nice bow to shoot. A quick scrabble about and a reel of Velcro appeared, a couple of inches at either end under where the string runs along the limbs and the bow was now sniper quiet, in fact the bow was shooting so well I reduced the brace to just 7 1/8" with no detriment to the shot. It's that little pressure button again, being able to fool around with the spine also gives you a little wriggle room with the brace height. Now the arrows were coming out like missiles, just the flat, dull dead thud upon release, virtually no noise in the riser, only if I shoot with my eyes closed can I detect the merest whisper of an echo of the memory of the vibration.
During all this messing I have noticed that the bow shoots very accurately, I say the bow rather than me because it is so easy to point and so very stable. In terms of weight the bow is 2# 11oz and although the grip is quite small I find it very comfortable. Talking of the grip, it is in fact detachable so I am guessing that there are alternate fittings that can be attached via the Allen bolt which secures it. A quick check on the Hoyt website shows a range of grip styles which even include wood ( a sop to uncompromising traditionalists ) and a low or high wrist option.
From having no view on this bow based on it's looks I now find I like it very much based on it's shooting characteristics, the incredible level of forgiveness and it's more than passable performance figures.
I even find now that with all the silencers and new string I can see past the un natural looks and feel that we have bonded.445gn 9.88gn/# 178 fps500gn 11.11gn/# 168 fps530gn 11.77gn/# 164 fps565gn 12.55gn/# 160 fps
Features & Design
For me the design shouted.... er.. nothing, I was completely underwhelmed by it's looks. The addition of the pressure button however really captured me, now strictly speaking the button isn't part of the bow and this could just as easily be a shelf shooter along with all the tuning shenanigans that this causes- had this been the case I might not have persevered to retune it and discover what a super bow it can be.
Plenty, despite the weight being a little more than marked this shoots more than respectable speeds.
Value for Money
This I guess depends on what you paid, I have seen this for sale in the UK for £430 which is a significant sum. On the other hand I have seen them go for quite a low price second hand which would make them a real bargain, if you see one cheap grab it. Even at proper money this is a very sweet shooting bow.
It's not a custom bow, but new it does approach custom prices, however that is not where and how this bow should be judged. It is in the shooting that this bow excels. Smooth to draw, comfortable to hold, put in some work and she will quieten down very nicely, she shoots hard enough with a range of arrows and without doubt the biggest plus is the forgiving nature and effortless stability that this bow offers, the more I shoot it, the more I want to shoot it. I bought this bow as it happened to turn up when I had a pocket full of notes looking for a new home - the price was such that I figured I could move it along if I didn't care for it. Instead I will be keeping it and shooting it.