Win and Win RCX17 40#@28" 62"
There is in my opinion a rather untapped and under represented segment in the traditional bow market. There are a number of low cost starter type bows available from large manufacturers, companies like Samik and Ragim produce some excellent bows in this class and we have reviewed a few here. There are then the expensive high performance bows, Black Widow, Border, Grizzly Stik and numerous other smaller producers making high quality bows from all sorts of space age materials. But what that means is that if you prefer to shoot a traditional bow your options are something in the £100-200 range or then a massive jump up to £900+ especially if you are located outside of the United States when you add on shipping and import taxes. The only current player in that mid market is Hoyt with their range of traditional take down recurves, the Game Master II and Buffalo. Well that was the case, until now as we see Win and Win producing their first bow aimed at the traditional market.
Win and Win's first entry in to the market was via the Qarbon Nano, produced on behalf of and marketed by Grizzly Stik of Alaska, we reviewed the bow a couple of years ago and were impressed with both the performance and the build quality. One can only imagine that the experience prompted Win and Win to come up with their own offering.
I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review the bow by Andrew Lehane, who as another bow aficionado has always been kind and trusting enough to lend us a bow or two.
The first thing to say is the bow is a "kit" bow, you purchase the limbs and the riser as a package. There are an impressive number of options as the bow is available in left or right hand (obviously), three lengths of 58", 60" and 62", black or camo colours and a choice of seven limb weights from 35# up to 65#. The bow on test was 62" in length with 40# limbs and in black, and I must say it looks very impressive indeed in that format, the riser is constructed from cross-carbon and has a nice carbon weave matt finish, the limbs also have a carbon look and come complete with a number of decals including a rather funky shield logo. It is very light in the hand with a mass weight of just 2.5lbs and balances well when held at full draw.
The riser comes with a few additions, a berger hole for fitting of a button or elevated rest, I should say that many of the publicity photos available on the web do not show this but it is there and for me that is a massive plus point. Aesthetically this bow is not really in the traditional mode of wood laminations and so a berger hole is not out of place at all. Up front there is also a fitting for a stabiliser rob, I personally prefer not to shoot with one, but adding one does make the bow feel a little more stable and balanced in the hand. The standard grip is medium but is also interchangeable with other Win and Win grips, so if you prefer something different there is the option to customise at a later date.
The limbs are fully recurved and very sleek, fitting is by ILF however it's a little different to most as the riser has a limb pocket block where the upper part of the ILF fitting sits. This makes it feel a little more solid when clicking the limbs in place when compared to other ILF fittings I have used on target style bows, you don't get that tell-tale rattle when the bow is unstrung which gives you a little more confidence that the limbs are correctly in place. The addition of ILF is a boon as it means you can in theory replace either the riser or limbs with something a little different if you fancy. The other advantage with ILF is that the limbs are adjustable for weight at +/-5lbs and also for tiller if you wanted to adjust for shooting three fingers under. The construction of the limb is carbon nano tube, the same as used on the Qarbon Nano bows, this is sandwiched between wood and then a carbon weave top finish which makes the bow look very striking. The build quality on the bow is second to none, which is something you would expect from such a large company as Win and Win. One final word on the looks, the ILF limb bolts come with added graphics which look very cool indeed.
As with most bows from a mass producer the bow comes in a nice looking carry bag, with internal coverings for both limbs and riser. A nice touch in my opinion as you don't want to spoil those good looks.
So the big question is how does it shoot, after drooling over it for far too long it was off to the woods to find out. I decided to use a nice set of light wood arrows and a set of Easton Bloodline carbons. I was using a button and elevated rest, although you can shoot straight off the shelf. On drawing the bow it was smooth and consistent through the draw, but feels the full 40# when at anchor, that's not really a negative just that the limbs feel primed and read to go. It took me a few targets to get in to the speed of the bow, it's more than fast enough, but certainly slower than it's stable mate, the Qarbon nano or other very top line bows, however it was very consistent in the shot and so once adjustments were made I was getting nice tight groups even at a longer distance.
I was concerned the lightness of the bow might make it a little twitchy, but this was not the case and proved to be very stable in the hand. I personally like some weight in a riser, but this really wasn't an issue and I think anybody switching from a one piece bow would feel comfortable shooting this, which is not always the case when switching to a take down. The balance in the shot was also good with no excessive movement, I tend not to shot with any sort of stabilisation so this for me was important, as previously mentioned it has the bushings for a rod or stabiliser so I'm sure it would be even more stable with something sticking out the front.
There was almost no shock in the riser either, I tend to find there never is with top line bows, however the further you drop down the price range the bigger the problems become in that department. Most bows can be made to shoot far better than the standard set up, but it was nice to see this shoot well without messing around with the bracing height, which incidentally was set to the manufacturers recommended seven inches.
The bow also coped really well with both the heavier wood and carbon arrows, with no noticeable difference in the shot when switching between the two. Both arrows weights were well within safe limits and while I would never recommend shooting something too light the limb construction seems exceptionally solid.
The bow sits comfortably in the price bracket it's aimed at, the Hoyt Buffalo and new Hoyt Tiburon are both a similar price and while I haven't shot the latter the RCX17 performs just as well as the Buffalo but has the added benefit of being much lighter in the hand and for me a sweeter shooting bow. However equally don't expect miracles, at around £600 for both riser and limbs this is very much a kit bow, made to a price and for me won't compete in terms of performance with the top traditional bows or with the very top target based limbs, that's not to dismiss it at all, for the price it is an excellent bow.
Features & Design
Light, amazing to look at and packed with technology with fancy logos to match.
Plenty of bang for your buck, it's not up there with the very best, but neither is the price.
Value for Money
It's not by any means cheap, but it is very good value and for me there need to be more bows in this price range with this build quality.
If you're looking for the fastest bow in the world look elsewhere: if you want sweet shooting ability for an affordable price this one is a winner. More than a match for the alternatives on the market.