BOW REPORT

By: Joe Bell

From: Bow&Arrow Hunting Magazine

The Martin Firecat

MARTIN FIRECAT PRO-X

Super-fast, lightweight and exceptionally quiet, this bow could be archery’s best value going.

While attending the annual archery trade show last January in Indianapolis, I came across a lot of folks who were talking about certain new products. One of the most raved-about items—based on value and quality— was the Martin Firecat Pro-X.

Given the case, I immediately felt the urgency to go hold and shoot some arrows through this bow. I did, and, just like the others, I came away pretty darn impressed. The bow felt very smooth to draw, and shot vibration and noise was minimal, if that. The overall performance was great. Here’s a quick rundown of this bow’s most impressive qualities.

IT’S FAST

Arrow speed is still an eye-catcher for many archery goers looking for a new bow. The Firecat puts out striking numbers. In fact, this bow is about as fast as they come in a 7-inch brace height. Advertised claims are around 340-fps IBO speed! Now that’s smokin’ fast.

From what I can tell, most of the speed is delivered by Martin’s new C.A.T. Hybrid Cam system, a fairly aggressive system. I must admit, I felt the “aggressiveness” while drawing the bow; most of the drawing force “loads up” toward the back end of the cycle just before dropping into the valley. However, after shooting the bow several times, this area of the cycle was less and less of a distraction, and the draw valley felt great—not too short and with a very solid wall.

I must add, there’s smoothness to this draw one must experience to appreciate. I would imagine this could be attributed to the quality of the cams’ bearings. Martin uses their own precision-made Speed Bearings, which are sealed, and allow the system to maintain peak performance, no matter the weather and conditions. The bearings effectively eliminate uneven drag and keep lubrication in and dirt out.

The cam system is totally adjustable by way of swiveling draw-length modules. Each screw position offers 1/2-inch draw-length change, and is simply done by removing and reattaching two small Allen screws on each cam. You can do this without the use of a bow press, allowing you to dial-in optimum fit with absolute ease.

GREAT SPECS

Martin’s engineers placed high importance on this bow’s speed, but they also focused heavily on other desirable specs wanted by the masses. Bows with roughly 33-inch axle lengths seem most sought after, and the Firecat measures exactly that. Also, brace heights of around 7 inches are most favorable in terms of combining speed with shootability. Again, the lighter risers, so a fully outfitted bow with a bow quiver, a stabilizer, a sight, and other accessories, doesn’t become a ton of weight to lug around in the woods. Complete setups weighing more than 8 pounds or so are no longer desirable to many. Again, at just over 3 1/2 pounds, the Firecat is on par with the lightest 33-inch bows we know of. In terms of desirable specs, the Firecat has it all.

UNIQUE FEATURES

The Firecat is loaded with great features, from the best in sound-eliminating accessories, to options that make this bow more versatile and functional for each specific archer.

Let’s start with the bow’s grip. Only a few manufacturers offer various grip systems, recognizing that every archer may prefer something different, which I agree with 100 percent.

The Firecat’s grip choices include the basic Thermal Grip, which is comprised of rubber-like material for warmth and comfort. The Thermal V Grip is the “warmest and quietest grip” offered by Martin. It’s made up of Omega V vibration-dampening material (for the front and side areas of the grip) and a thin, leather palm cover. The Thermal Elite, the one I prefer, is made up of walnut sideplates and natural leather on the palm.

To attack shot noise and vibration, Martin decks out the Firecat with a myriad of accessories. The bow’s unique Vibration Escape Module (V.E.M.) arrow shelf eliminates the need of fleece while attacking vibration in one critical place—at the center of the riser and near the arrow rest. A “flare” is found along the outer made up of Omega V dampening material, is very sleek and functional.

Integrated into the Firecat’s riser you’ll find two grayish rubber buttons, which are additional V.E.M. dampers comprised of the same effective Omega V material. Again, this is one additional area to further suppress the Firecat’s shot noise.

You’ll also find Sims Ultra Limbsavers pre-mounted on each limb. Shooting the Firecat is some experience; ultra smooth and quiet, it is a testament to the bow’s complete vibration system at work.

Other great features include quality Coreflex bow limbs (made up of tension and compression laminates), which are mounted to the bow using a solid seven-alignment system. Martin touts how they don’t use plastic hardware in their limb systems, relying only on stainless steel pivots that align the limb perfectly to the limb cup. The cup is then aligned with the utmost precision to the riser using two precision polished stainless steel pins. According to Martin, the system is by far the most precision-based limb-attachment concept in the world.

To eliminate unwanted bow weight without jeopardizing precision, quality and durability, Martin added the new Roto Limb Cup for 2008.

INCREDIBLE VALUE

Perhaps the best feature found in the Firecat is its price. It’s loaded with Martin’s highest-end features, yet it’s priced at only $600 retail, which is middle-of-the-road for a bow of its awesome caliber.

Like the most expensive bows out vibration-accessory package, and pre-stretched custom-quality Helix bowstrings (BCY fibers, which are pre-stretched before, during and after adding end servings).

Shoot the Firecat Pro-X and decide for yourself. I’m sure you’ll agree— with this bow, what’s not to like?

BOTTOM LINE:

With your first few shots, you’ll get a sense ofthis bow’s prowess; it’s super quiet, fast, andemits great handling capability before and

during the shot.

SPECIFICATIONS
Model: Firecat Pro-XManufacturer: Martin Archery, Dept. BAH, 3134W. Hwy. 12, Walla Walla, WA 99362; (509) 529-

2554; www.martinarchery.com.

Peak Draw weights: 50 to 70 pounds

Draw lengths: 26 to 30 inches

Axle-to-axle length: 33 inches

Limbs: solid, Coreflex

Riser: machined-aluminum

Grip: integrated, rubber sideplates/leather palm

Eccentrics: C.A.T. Hybrid Duo Cam

Brace Height: 7 inches

Mass Weight: 3.6 pounds

Advertised IBO speed: 340 fps

Suggested Retail: $600, approx.

Color: Realtree All-Purpose Green

PERFORMANCE RATINGS

True Speed: 287 fps, 27.5-inch draw, 70 pounds,brass nockset, Easton Super Slim 400 w/100-grainpoint, Blazer vanes—total arrow weight: 380 grains.

NOTABLE HIGHLIGHTS:

? Vibration-dampening accessories found

throughout the bow

? Three grip choices allow the bow to fit any

archer’s tastes

? Full 7-inch brace height and 33-inch axle length

offer great shootability

? C.A.T. Hybrid Duo Cam system is smoking-fast,

yet offers easy draw-length adjustability to optimize

fit and feel; great hard-wall feel

www.martinarchery.com