Mathews V3X 29 Arc Summary

The Mathews CrossCentric series is the most winning bow design of the last decade. Starting with Halon 2016, these bows have won the annual F&S Bow test every year, but in 2017, when they finished in second place. The V3X lost our 2022 test win by just half a point, but if you were to argue that this is the best hunting model of the series yet, I could not argue. I used it myself to shoot a nice 8-point shot in Tennessee the next day after we removed it.

Mathews V3X

Mathews V3X Specifications

  • Test speed: 315 fps (via our chronograph, with 60 pounds of drawing weight and 28 inches of traction length; see “How to test it” below)
  • IBO Advertising Speed: 340 fps
  • Length from shaft to shaft: 29 inches
  • Holder height: 6 inches
  • Weight: 4 pounds, 14 ounces
  • Efficiency: 80.9%
  • Final result: 95 (of 100)

Mathews V3X 29 Test Performance

The V3X is almost identical to last year’s V3 in terms of performance. With a 29-inch axle shaft, it was the shortest bow we tested this year, but also more accurate. Tester Zach Bell rated the average ¾ inch groups with it, and as a panel, our average group was 1.04 inches. The V3X was also the quietest bow we tested this year, but it ended up a few times down the list in the vibration category. That, along with being slower than the winning model Hoyt, was really the only hurdle – if you can call it that.

Compared to the latest flagship models from Mathews, the V3X is more notable for its exceptional accessory systems. Its Stay Afield system, for example, uses a range of in-camera devices and a short thread that allows you to press the bow on the field, no traditional bow pressing required (you have to wrap the limb bolts a few turns first). Of all the home tuning systems I have seen in recent years, this one is the simplest and, for most archers, the most practical. Most hunters are not adjusting their camera tilt. Almost all of us, at some point, need to move a thread of yarn to adjust a visual view.

photo of Mathews V3X
A close-up view of the Bridge Lock system, which allows you to mount the view in the middle of the riser. Mathews

The V3X also has a Bridge Lock sight system, which allows you to mount your gaze in the middle of the riser instead of on its side, and the riser itself comes attached for an Integrate-style dart support. The LowPro vibration system is also the most compact curve I have ever tried. However, if you are setting up your new bow, be warned: The 6-arrow fixed-position bow, like the one that came with our test bow, is exactly that – adjusted. If you’re like me and prefer to detach your cuckoo at the base, use the 5-arrow portable option instead.

Who should buy Mathews V3X?

It’s no secret that some archers are loyal to the brand and like to upgrade their compound to the next new thing every year or two. If you are a Mathews shooter with a V3 already in hand, the V3X will not offer much performance improvements or improved shooting experience. But the accessory package makes it more agile and more convenient on the ground. And if you’re shooting a Mathews that is a few years old, know that this one (along with improved accessory systems) may be a little quieter and easier to shoot than its predecessors. Having shot extensively with the V3X with accessory, I can tell you that Mathews has built another prominent bow around the CrossCentric system. From top to bottom, it’s a great configuration that is both extremely accurate, smooth and easy to shoot, but also compact and fast. I would make a great white-tailed deer with a heartbeat, but it would be the same as at home in the woods of deer or mule deer that haunt.

How we tested the V3X and other new composite bows

photo of a man testing a composite bow
An engineer at Stress Engineering Solutions prepares to drop an arc into a soundproof room to measure noise. Will Brantley

The Mathews V3X was part of the annual F&S Bow test, which took place at the Stress Engineering Services lab in Mason, Ohio, and on my farm in southwest Kentucky, where we squeezed each bow and placed it face to face. Our testing panel included engineers in the Outdoor Stress Division, as well as me; former shop owner and archery technician, Danny Hinton; and Zach Bell, a serious archer and target hunter. We scored each arc on a 100-point scale in the following categories, in the following ways:

Accuracy and forgiveness: 20 points

This category is the longest part of our process, but also the most important. Our accuracy and forgiveness test takes the average of five groups with three archery strokes from a three-shot panel. All the bows we test will shoot better than any of us, individually. The idea here is to notice tendencies that make some arches essentially easier (or harder) to group. This year’s test was conducted indoors at 25 yards over three days using the Carbon Express Maxima Red Arrow hunting specifications, HHA footage and installed eavesdropping footage.

Speed: 20 points

Each bow is set at 28 inches and 60 pounds (IBO advertised specifications would be from bows set at 30 inches and 70 pounds, but 5 darts darts per kilogram of equal length bring you closer). Arches that did not meet the specifications were adjusted if possible. Once done, we prepared some 300-grain IBO-specific darts, which were used to measure speed (average three shots through my chronograph). At 30 inches, you can assume an additional 20 fps. or so is added to the speed measurement. We also use a mustache biscuit break and with that, you can assume a loss of around 5 fps. So by offsetting the shorter traction length and rest, and you can assume an extra 15 fps, give or take, added to our published speeds.

Draw cycle: 20 points

This is our only double subjective category. It is an appreciation of how comfortable a bow is to draw, hold, and shoot — important things to know both on paper and when fully stuck in a deer stand. For this category, we are evaluating the comfort of the overall cycle, the valley, and the rear wall, and then comparing what we think we feel with the attractive force curves defined in Stress Engineering.

Noise (absence): 10 points

At Stress Engineering in Mason, Ohio, a soundproof chamber is used to measure the noise of each arc, again, using the 300-grain IBO-specified arrow.

Vibration (absence): 10 points

Another measurement taken in Stress Engineering, this one with an accelerator mounted on the arch stabilizer gate.

Fit and Finish: 10 points

This is a subjective category that not only evaluates what a bow looks like (some are sharper than others), but also how well it fits together. We are checking for things like toolbars and defects at the end. It is rare for us to drop more than one or two points in this category for a flag bow.

Balance, handling and capture: 10 points

How does a bow feel in the hand and up in a tree? Is it easy and useful, or cumbersome and cumbersome? In full draw, does catching a good form of shooting facilitate or hinder it? Worst of all, does digging in the hand and cause pain (we’ve all seen it before). Is the bow easy to hold on to the target? Does it tilt or roll this way or that way after release? This is a subjective category and we take all of these things into account when assigning a point.

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