Mathews Z7 Xtreme Review

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Editors’ review

The Mathews Z7 Xtreme is a high quality and great shooting bow from the Z7 series launched by Mathews in 2010. When it comes to shootability, the Xtreme feels almost exactly the same as the original Z7. However, a few interesting changes were introduced by the Mathews design team for this bow.

Riser

Limbs

Limbs-to-riser connection

Grip

Eccentric system

Powering the Z7 Xtreme to reported IBO speeds reaching 330 fps is the very efficient and smooth ZX performance system. This eccentric system has been specifically designed to sit between very easy drawing bows (Mathews DXT or Mathews Switchback) and fast single cam bows like Mathews Reezen 6.5. In other words, while this cam is very smooth, it is also a bit stiffer to draw compared to some other super easy drawing Mathews rigs. But at the same time, it’s much faster. While the new ZX cam is very similar to the last year’s Z7 Cam – it has a slightly different form and is not interchangeable with the 2010 version. With pretty much the same shootability characteristics, the new ZX cam is reported to be more efficient compared to the 2010 Z7 cam.

Draw cycle / Shootability

The draw cycle on the Xtreme is very smooth but a little bit stiff (this is a pretty fast rig, so speed should come from somewhere). While many shooters like the draw cycle on the bow, some people will have to get used to its slightly stiffer (but still very smooth) draw cycle. When it comes to release, this bow is reported to be extremely quiet. With a very efficient silencing package, the Z7 Extreme is as quiet as the original Z7 and is considered to be one of the quietest bows out there.

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Silencing package

The Mathews Z7 Xtreme comes with an impressive silencing package including many proven components designed in the past. All these technologies work together to deliver quiet shots with minimal vibration. First of all, the SE5 Composite limbs help to eliminate vibration due to the parallel design and proven technologies. Secondly, a number of other components further reduce unwanted noise and vibration. Let’s take a closer look at the silencing package the Z7 Xtreme is equipped with:

  • Dead End String Stop reduces the noise coming from the string. This string stop is exactly the same as the one the 2010 Mathews Z7 comes with. What that means is the Xtreme will be as effective as the Z7 in suppressing vibration coming from the string
  • String Suppressors and String Grub help to eliminate string vibration making for a quieter shot
  • Reverse Assist Roller Guard reduces friction and delivers a smoother draw cycle. This is the same roller guard as the one on the 2010 Mathews Z7
  • Harmonic Damping System and Harmonic Stabilizer effectively absorb vibration in the riser. These silencing technologies have been used on many Mathews bows for years and proved to be very efficient in eliminating vibration.
  • Monkey Tails serve to eliminate noise and vibration coming from string and cable. Each Z7 Xtreme bow is equipped with 3 monkey tails (as opposed to 4 monkey tails on the 2010 Z7 version)

Overall, this silencing package is very effective and makes the Z7 Xtreme a very quiet shooting bow with minimal vibration on the shot.

Ideal for tree-stand or blind hunting

Measuring 28 inches from axle-to-axle, the new Mathewx Z7 Xtreme is a very maneuverable bow. Admittedly, this is one of the best tree-stand or blind hunting bows in 2011. While this rig is not ideal for long draw length shooters due to the sharp string angle, the short-to-medium draw archers should really enjoy hunting with this bow due to its compact design, fast IBO speeds, and extreme quietness.

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Mathews Z7 Xtreme Tactical

The Z7 Xtreme Tactical is a slight modification of the standard Z7 Xtreme. When it comes to shootability, the two bows are nearly identical. First of all, there are no structural differences: the Tactical is all black and comes with carbon fiber limbs (the same SE5 Composite limbs as on the standard Xtreme). The only difference that affects shootability is the new torqueless Focus grip the Tactical is equipped with. In addition, the Tactical is more expensive (by approximately $150). So, it really is a matter of personal preference and budget: if you want a black Z7 Xtreme with carbon fiber limbs and a better grip (and don’t mind spending more money) go with the Tactical. Otherwise, you may want to save budget and get the standard Z7 Xtreme which is as good as the Tactical in terms of shootability.

Mathews Z7 Xtreme vs. original Mathews Z7

While the new Xtreme bow is designed using the same technologies as the original Mathews Z7, there are a few differences between the two. First of all, the new Z7 Xtreme has been designed to be more compact: with 28″ from axle to axle, it is 2 inches shorter than the original Z7. Also, the Xtreme has a slightly more forgiving brace height (7 3/8″ inches compared to 7″ on the standard Z7). So, it is even more forgiving than the original Z7 but as a result it is also a little bit slower (330 fps compared to 332 fps for the original Z7 bow). The majority of shooters agree that these two rigs are almost identical in terms of shootabilty. They are very fast, smooth to draw, and quiet on the shot. Many experts say the new Z7 Xtreme is going to be as popular as the original Z7 especially for those hunters who enjoy shooting compact bows. In terms of the look, the new riser has a slightly different grid pattern, but is as strong and lightweight as the original one. Overall, if you are a longer draw length shooter the original Mathews Z7 or even Mathews Z9 would probably fit you better. On the other hand, if you like shooting short bows, the Z7 Xtreme is a very good choice.

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Summary

To summarize, the Mathews Z7 Xtreme is a very compact and high quality bow with the same impressive shootability characteristics as the original Z7. While the eccentric system is cam specific, each cam is optimized to deliver the best possible performance. Although it’s a little bit stiff to draw compared to the easiest drawing bows, the draw cycle on the Z7 Xtreme is very smooth and the bow is pretty fast for a single cam rig. With a very forgiving brace height and efficient cam system, this is a high performing rig from draw to release. Also, the Z7 Xtreme is outfitted with a high quality silencing package, making it very quiet bow with little hand shock and vibration. While it’s shorter AtA length may not suit some long draw length shooters (because of the sharp string angle), this rig will be ideal for short-to-medium draw length archers who enjoy shooting shorter bows or need a great rig for tree-stand or blind hunting.

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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 >>