Bowtech General Review

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Editors’ review

The Bowtech General was added to the Bowtech 2008 lineup. With an ATA just over 31″, an 8 1/4″ brace height, and a 315 fps IBO, this rig was quiet and was a premier hunting bow. Because of limb problems, Bowtech issued a voluntary recall on all the bows and replaced the limbs, and discontinued making the bow. The General is still one of the best bows ever designed by Bowtech. This bow is slower than todays speed bows, but should be a consideration if the shooter is looking to make a purchase. Since the limbs have been replaced, the only reason not to purchase this rig is because you feel you have to have the newest bow on the market.

Finish

This rig was designed with the Realtree Hardwood Green In-Velvet coating. Archers order this rig in Realtree APG HD, Advantage MAX-4, Mossy Oak Obsession, Mossy Oak Treestand, or Mossy Oak Brush. This finish is still used today and provides a rubber-like feel and enhances the vibration dampening properties of the bow.

Risers/Limb

This rig came with a fully machined forged riser providing strength and stability. The riser also has a short pivoting leg at each end which provides the center point for the pivoting limb. This “leg” provides some movement along the limb to aid in maximum bend for shooting stability. The limbs for this bow are a 12″ center pivoting split-limb system that are machined out of a unidirectional fiberglass. This particular material is known for its strength and durability, making it perfect for bow limbs. There is virtually no limb pockets. The limbs are secured to the riser and use a pivot point where the riser supports the limb at a midway point. This provides additional limb stability and allows the limb to bend more from the midpoint out to the cam. This design helps the bow generate more power while dissipating the shock throughout the rest of the bow. This bow also used Vertical Force Technology, which was introduced in 2002 and basically meant parallel limbs. It was not long before other bow manufacturer realized that Bowtech was onto something revolutionary. The General was only one of the Bowtech rigs that boasted this technology.

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Other Components

This bow came with BCY 452X strings, a Short Stop integrated string stop, roller guard cable guard, center pivot limb pockets, and a hush kit. As this rig is no longer in the Bowtech lineup, if the archer is looking to purchase one, it will be used. This means that it will most likely have a host of add-on components.

Eccentric System

This rig used the Center Track Binary Cam System. This cam system generated the speed produced by the General. This cam system not only provided excellent speed for 2008, but also was able to provide that speed without creating any bow torque. The General boasted an IBO of 315 fps. A test bow, straight out of the box, setup for 70# draw weight, 29″ draw length, and shooting a 360 grain arrow chrono’d at 285 fps. Although not right on IBO, but very close. Draw length can be adjusted by changing the draw modules. The modules will allow for adjustments in 1/2″ increments. When changing the draw length of the General, it is necessary to adjust the draw stop as well. Adjusting the stop post will allow for additional draw length adjustments in 1/16″ increments. It is also very important that the shooter not try to adjust the draw stop while at full draw.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

Pretty smooth draw throughout the cycle to a solid back wall. At full draw, there is no bow creep. However, if the shooter must let off the shot, they should use caution. The shooter will have only about two inches of movement toward letdown, and then the bow will pull with a lot of force and accidental release is a real possibility. It is very difficult to hold on to.The draw weight of this rig is based on the peak weight of the limbs, and adjustability of up to 10# from there. The limbs come in weights of 50#, 60#, and 70#. Any adjustment from there is done simply by loosening the limb bolts. The archer must be careful not to loosen the limb bolts too much. This rig was a very shootable, quiet, and accurate bow, but limb problems caused Bowtech to voluntarily recall the bow to repair the issues. Bowtech eventually discontinued this rig. If an archer can find a General on the used market, they should be wary and have the bow checked out prior to purchase to ensure the repairs have been completed. Any authorized Bowtech Dealer can perform this inspection.

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Silencing Package

This rig is quiet out of the box. The slightly heavier riser, the In-Velvet finish, the string stop, and the hush kit make this bow very quiet. Even when shooting a light arrow (at or near IBO) there is almost no noise from this bow.

Comparisons

The Bowtech General can be compared to the Bowtech 101st Airborne. Even with the limb problems the General had before the recall, it was still one of the best overall bows ever designed by the guys at Bowtech. The 101st, although a good bow in its own rights, was never a flagship quality rig. The 101st is an overall bigger bow with five more inches ATA. The brace height of the 101st is slightly shorter at 7 3/16″ instead of the 8 1/4″ of the General. The 101st also offers an additional 20 fps than the General, but does not compare when it comes to quietness, smoothness, and accuracy. Since neither of these bows are in the current Bowtech lineup, they both must be purchased used. Because of this, the shooter can definitely find either one of these bows in a price range that they are comfortable paying. The limb issues encountered by the General have been corrected, but the purchaser would be advised to have it checked out to be sure. Although this issue has been corrected, the General still carries the stigma of limb problems that some just can’t get over.

Usage Scenarios

This rig was designed specifically as a hunting rig. It will fit well on a target course or a 3D range, but make no mistake, it is a hunting bow. When originally designed, the designers at Bowtech were looking for a rig that was fast, quiet, and smooth. They found this in the General, and it was their flagship bow in 2008. With an IBO of 315 fps, this rig is fast enough, and is quiet enough to fit any hunting situation.

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Value

When this bow first hit the market, it sold for around $849. They can be found used today for as low as $250. Although this rig was involved in a voluntary recall by Bowtech, the limb problems that caused the recall should have been fixed. If you can find a Bowtech General and the limbs have been replaced, this rig is a very good bow to purchase. There still are very few bows that are as quiet as this bow, although there are quite a few that are faster.

Summary

The guys at Bowtech were looking to create a rig for the hunter that was fast, quiet, and smooth. They eventually came up with the General. This bow not only met the call, but did so with no vibration or noise. With an ATA of just over 31″ and a brace height of 8 1/4″, this bow is accurate, fast, and consistent. The Center Track Binary Cam system provides a smooth draw and an IBO of 315. This is about 15 fps slower than the average bow today, but in 2008, it was respectableThis rig is adjustable as well with a draw length range of 26″ – 30″ in 1/2″ increments, and a draw weight range of 40# – 70#. The limbs are the primary determinate for the draw weight with the weight being adjustable to 10# below peak weight of the limbs. This rig was added to the 2008 lineup, but shortly into the year Bowtech voluntarily recalled the bow as it had received 255 work orders for defective limbs. Although they recalled all the bows and replaced the limbs, the damage had been done and they discontinued the bow. The shooter can still find them for sale online. The limb issues should have been corrected, making this a very good bow to have in your arsenal. The shooter would be advised to have the bow inspected by an authorized Bowtech dealer prior to purchasing the bow just to make sure it didn’t slip through the cracks when the recall took place.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>