I hate selling bows.. what I actually mean is that I hate the feeling I get after having sold a bow, suddenly I remember all the reasons I bought it in the first place, when I purchase a new bow ( or a second hand one ) I tend to look for the positives, if I truly dislike it then I move it on straight away, the fact that I keep a bow for any length of time usually means I enjoy it at some level. Therefore the feelings I get when I sell a bow that has been around for a while are a mixture of loss that I may never find a bow that will take it's particular place... and a sensation of anxiousness that I may have made a terrible mistake..
I have been feeling that way for the last few weeks... I sold a little bow that I hardly ever shot any more but had shot for some while a few years ago, it was 40# and shot as sweet and as hard as a 40#'er ever shot, I didn't feel like I might have made a mistake... I knew it !!
So when I saw this little 40# Martin X-200 come up for sale at a bargain price I thought I had better have it, maybe it would fill the boots of the bow I betrayed and go some way to salve my angst.
I am not sure where the Martin X-200 is pitched in terms of marketing, at $460 it isn't a budget bow but neither is it into the territory usually commanded by the Custom market, most often, especially here in the UK you find bows in the £90- £150 budget range and then a price gap until £450 ish where you expect to find quality and performance ( that's not to say you can't find both of those in the budget priced bows, as we have discovered in previous reviews )
However £325 ish is not an insubstantial sum. In the UK this is a hard bow to find but it gets rave reviews in the States. To my eye it is nothing to look at, the styling is somewhat generic and it looks like a 70's throwback, what do I know ?, maybe it is a bow from the 70's that time just forgot.. the Shedua riser doesn't look particularly fetching and black glass covering the Maple laminations doesn't enhance that impression... you may feel different..
As I said it was something of a deal for me given it's new price, it had obviously been shot only a little as it was in very good condition - upon stringing it up and shooting it I was assaulted by a horrific noise and vibration... the brace was set at 7" and was obviously not right..
Back in the workshop I made a new string and installed half a cat's whisker at each end, the string itself was 8125. The Martin advertises itself as having strengthened tips for modern material so there seemed no reason to not use some and I didn't bother to pad the loops as I wanted to see if I could get away without, in any case at $460 it should accept more that a Dacron string.
Martin recommend a brace of 8" however after some pfaffing about finding the right brace I settled on a tad over 7 3/4", and the addition of some velcro on the limb tips she started to shoot with very mice manners indeed, gone was the noise, gone was the vibration and the zizz through the riser, what was left was a jolly nice shooting experience. It is often possible to get away with a little on the brace when using the right arrow, for me it is essential that the right arrow is a tapered one, obviously the lower you can get that brace then the better cast you will get and a nice little increase in speed... form too will affect how low you can go and to an extent your fletch configuration ( cock feather in, can often help with both nock point and brace height ), here with a little careful tuning I was able to "save" a 1/4" on brace.
If the bow looks a little old fashioned then perhaps that is because it is a tried and trusted design and after all if something works then why change it ? One reason the bow may get such solid support is that it is made in the USA and Americans are very patriotic when it comes to stuff made at home, for one reason stuff made in America is generally of a very high standard ( I happen to love the way Americans will not put up with shoddy manufacture, American manufacturers know this and so that "made in the USA" stamp is quite a selling point ) it used to be like this in England, I remember the 1970's campaign to "buy British" and I also recall my Uncles telling me that buying foreign usually meant cheap rubbish... times have certainly changed, almost nothing is now made in England and to be fair a large portion of the manufactured goods now sold here are of an incredible standard, despite being made in China or Malaysia even electronic devices hardly ever go wrong... anyway I digress... the point is "Made in America" still means something and I suspect home audiences are prepared to pay a premium for that, European consumers have a vast array of budget kit available to them, from European and far Eastern markets and perhaps that's why these bows are harder to source here.
It's always tricky for a reviewer to accurately describe a bow that is much lighter in weight than one normally shoots. This is the case here, I am unlikely to be "blown away" by the performance of a mid priced bow that draws 10# less than the thousand dollar bow I currently use - but, I am very impressed with the controllability of 40# and the way that allows me to really get the most from the bow in terms of accuracy... and this bow is very accurate, which probably translates more as consistency.
So it fulfils all the criteria in terms of handling that an archer would want but what about performance in terms of speed...
12 shots off fingers at 28" with the top and bottom 2 junked and the rest averaged.. wood arrows with 5" feathers450gn 11.25gn/# 165fps475gn 11.87gn/# 160fps515gn 12.87gn/# 155 fps
Now, those are some impressive gn/# speeds for a bow that looks like one your granddad might have shot back in the day.. at 8gn/# this little baby will really kick 'em out harder than the marked 40# would lead you to suspect. I didn't think I would enjoy this bow as much as I did, it surprised me in a pleasant way.
Features & Design
An old one but a good one, it does give the air of a dependable and solid bow, there isn't too much of the flash Harry about it...
Its' a nice bow all round, enough speed so you can't complain, a dependable cast and predictable shot.
Value for Money
I had originally figured this to be a little over priced, but, it does everything you would want from a mid priced bow, it will no doubt give years of service and it is underwritten by the "Made in the USA" stamp, backed up by Martin customer service, peace of mind and it does qualify as a top of the range ... budget bow
Sadly it won't replace the feelings I had for the little bow I sold but I won't be selling this one anytime soon.....