Hoyt Gamemaster 2 45#@28"

Reviewed By Steve

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I never have shot the Gamemaster 1 but assume this, the Gamemaster 2 it to be an improvement on the first version. For me there were several unusual features to this bow, the first is the metal riser, I don't have a huge lot of experience with them, most bows I shoot are very much in the conservative Trad camp with a wooden riser so I was intrigued how a metal handle would feel. Especially novel was all the funky cut away sections and the suitcase handle style "extra" bit protruding to the rear.

Again, contrary to the more usual "custom" bowyer made fare we generally shoot here at AR this bow is very much a mass produced item, in addition to all this was the fact that this bow was fitted with a Cavalier Free Flyte plunger button and elevated arrow rest, most bows we shoot are off the shelf shooters. I was worried that shooting off a rest and so far from the top of my hand might cause me issues but to be honest I never noticed once I was shooting.

Hoyt Gamemaster 2

As far as looks go, I wasn't offended but neither was I cooing over it's "modern" appearance, you no doubt will make up your own mind as to weather the bow has any looks one way or the other. having been less than inspired in the looks department I had put the bow to one side several times with the thought of reviewing it " later" when I wasn't going out to enjoy myself.

Hoyt Gamemaster 2The day came when I was going to be doing some testing of other things and the Gamemaster was brought along in case I should have time or not really care if I hit stuff... I tell you all this because the bow really had not grabbed me and made me want to shoot it, recurve bows have to work hard to get my attention and the funky metal riser wasn't screaming "hold me - caress me" like some bows do.

Whilst putting a few other bows over the Chrono I eventually put together this Hoyt and sent some arrows down the range, having given the bow no thought and with no expectation, I really had picked it up and shot it with an open mind... I always try to let the bow do the talking and let it tell me about itself but never the less quite often you can find yourself expecting something from a bow or second guessing how it might shoot.

Once again the bow had not offended me, it drew pleasantly enough, the speed shown on the Chrono looked quite handy. Although the draw felt smooth it felt a little more than the 45# that the markings had told me it was. Sure enough when I weighed this on my Easton digital scales it showed almost 48# at 28". There was however some noise not just the distinct boing and rattle of the limbs but also a zizz and fuzziness in the riser and some vibration.

I find recurve bows can be like that, most of the Longbows or Hybrids I have shot are quite straightforward,  there may be a little handshock present occasionally but not generally anything rattling about after the shot or any noise at all, being unaccustomed to it, I take exception to it.

Hoyt Gamemaster 2Hoyt Gamemaster 2Whilst checking all the parts that might cause such a noise I noticed that the string was pretty fat, fat by my standards is anything over 10 strands, it also had some of those cats whisker silencers tied on to it - I don't really care too much for those either, it wasn't just the string anyway that was causing the irritation it seemed more like the whole set up..

So far it sounds like the bow had not welcomed me in to it's web, but that wasn't quite true, there was something about the feel and balance that actually felt quite nice. I decided to head off from the Chrono station and shoot a few 3D's. The wooden arrows I had with me were suited to another bow but would be fairly close, I expected them to be a tad stiff and when I took my first 3 shots at a Hare I missed with each by 4 inches to the left. despite all the noise after each shot the bow seemed quite stable.

At this point I would normally start looking for a different arrow, change the brace height or or some way of reducing the strike plate, when presented with a weak arrow I have on occasion even resorted to picking up bits of twig and stuffing it behind the leather or velcro strike plate to get a better tune. This bow though was fitted with a plunger button, what joy these little devices are ! and on a bow that is cut way past centre they really come in to their own. I had already stepped away from my norn with the metal riser so the button was just another step rather than the partaking of some forbidden fruit. I can totally see why folks would love them, 3 more arrows had me tuned for spine and the Hare got what was coming to him.

By now the bow had got my interest, the brace was set at 7 3/4" which although within the recommended limit seemed high to me, of course it is a recurve and things are different with a recurve  - the minimum suggested is 7 1/2". I didn't like the string so resolved to see what I could do with a new one.

Back in the workshop I put together a slinky looking pink and yellow 10 strand string from 8125 with loops padded out to 16 strands. At 7 1/2" it wasn't bad, still some noise but a little better, I had a brief foray up to 8" but there was no improvement. I happened to have some spider silencers in a box so fished them out and rather than mess about I put all 4 on the string, after a little play the brace had come down to 7 1/4" and there was improvement in the shot and the noise and vibration. The bow feels pretty good but I had a good hard look at it almost regretting not having padded the loops out to 18 strands - the thing is that any more than 16 at the loops and the string starts to look ungainly, if I could get it a little quieter this would be a very nice bow to shoot. A quick scrabble about and a reel of Velcro appeared, a couple of inches at either end under where the string runs along the limbs and the bow was now sniper quiet, in fact the bow was shooting so well I reduced the brace to just 7 1/8" with no detriment to the shot. It's that little pressure button again, being able to fool around with the spine also gives you a little wriggle room with the brace height. Now the arrows were coming out like missiles, just the flat, dull dead thud upon release, virtually no noise in the riser, only if I shoot with my eyes closed can I detect the merest whisper of an echo of the memory of the vibration.

Hoyt Gamemaster

During all this messing I have noticed that the bow shoots very accurately, I say the bow rather than me because it is so easy to point and so very stable. In terms of weight the bow is 2# 11oz and although the grip is quite small I find it very comfortable. Talking of the grip, it is in fact detachable so I am guessing that there are alternate fittings that can be attached via the Allen bolt which secures it. A quick check on the Hoyt website shows a range of grip styles which even include wood ( a sop to uncompromising traditionalists ) and a low or high wrist option.

From having no view on this bow based on it's looks I now find I like it very much based on it's shooting characteristics, the incredible level of forgiveness and it's more than passable performance figures.

I even find now that with all the silencers and new string I can see past the un natural looks and feel that we have bonded.

445gn      9.88gn/#       178 fps
500gn      11.11gn/#      168 fps
530gn      11.77gn/#      164 fps
565gn      12.55gn/#      160 fps

Rating  
   
Features & Design

For me the design shouted.... er.. nothing, I was completely underwhelmed by it's looks. The addition of the pressure button however really captured me, now strictly speaking the button isn't part of the bow and this could just as easily be a shelf shooter along with all the tuning shenanigans that this causes- had this been the case I might not have persevered to retune it and discover what a super bow it can be.

Performance
Plenty, despite the weight being a little more than marked this shoots more than respectable speeds.
Value for Money
This I guess depends on what you paid, I have seen this for sale in the UK for £430 which is a significant sum. On the other hand I have seen them go for quite a low price second hand which would make them a real bargain, if you see one cheap grab it. Even at proper money this is a very sweet shooting bow.
Overall
It's not a custom bow, but new it does approach custom prices, however that is not where and how this bow should be judged. It is in the shooting that this bow excels. Smooth to draw, comfortable to hold, put in some work and she will quieten down very nicely, she shoots hard enough with a range of arrows and without doubt the biggest plus is the forgiving nature and effortless stability that this bow offers, the more I shoot it, the more I want to shoot it. I bought this bow as it happened to turn up when I had a pocket full of notes looking for a new home - the price was such that I figured I could move it along if I didn't care for it. Instead I will be keeping it and shooting it.

 


Your Comments

Tell us what you think, do you agree with the review or have something to add?


  • Posted by: Stevee on May 6, 18:08

    As for the looks, I always quite liked it. It looks as though it’s something Batman might have over his shoulder. I too shot quite a few arrows off this bow in it’s untuned state and to be honest, I found it a bit of a horror! Felt and sounded like a bunch of old bedsprings being chucked out of a window. Subsequently shot arrows from it after Steve had given it a right old tune up and was completely amazed at the difference! Time well spent tuning one of these, is exactly that! Creates a completely different animal.


  • Posted by: Darren Chaplin on May 27, 00:26

    Steve, Have owned a very simlar bow to thus one, the Hoyt Tiburon, for 2 years after buying it 2nd hand for £190 from a local club member. Have to say I agree with most of the comments re the looks (!?!?),
    the noise (Mine is nicknamed “The Zonger”), the shootability (Easily the most forgiving bow I own).
    Have changed my string for an endless loop made from 8125 , this did much to quieten the bow, with 2 small cat whisker silencers, but will try some velcro or fake calf hair as you mentioned. I have mine set up for “Off the Shelf” Using a Bear Hair cover tucked under the grip at the belly end of the shelf and the leather strike plate built out underneath with half an oval bicycle tube patch. Look forward to your review of the Hoyt Buffalo, which having tried it is (I reckon) at least as good as the Tiburon.

    Regards.

    Darren.


  • Posted by: Charlie D on Nov 10, 14:48

    Steve, great article. I have the same bow, but still am getting some noise from the NAC flipper rest I have installed. Do you know if the Cavalier rest required special milling? I have only one hole in my riser and some folks tell me I can’t use a fancy plunger rest like that. Wish I could get a bit more detail out of that top picture. Thanks again. Charlie


  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Nov 10, 15:30

    Charlie…. you have mail……..


  • Posted by: Joshua on Oct 2, 23:27

    Great writeup! I have a Gamemaster 2 and I’m trying to quiet it down. When I received it from Hoyt I had a very loud pop sound like two wooden rods popping together. Hoyt recommended to me a brace height of 8-8 1/2. I’m now at 8 1/4 which quieted it down. Then we switched to a 58” Dacron which hushed the bow tremendously but still a not “hunting quiet”. Finally we put 2117 arrows with 125gn heads which gives the bow a very soft “thud” sound on release. Again, quiet but I can’t help to feel it could be better. I’m shooting off the shelf and using wool puff balls. (Not into the cat whiskers) You have brace at 7 1/8? What’s the length of your string? What else could you recommend to make this bow silent?


  • Posted by: Tony Hawkins on Dec 20, 21:49

    I to have a Gamemaster 2, I am using a stick on arrow rest a a brush button to good effect and have quietened my bow with stick on limbsavers and the velcro patches seen in the article as well as a wrist sling and a compound style stubby ‘whatsit’ on the front. It has not been plain sailing as I bought the bow with 50lb limbs which turned out to be too heavy for accuracy and am now down to 40lbs which is way better. I did however manage to wreck a set of limbs, possibly by shooting too light an arrow (this is a hunting bow after all), now using Heritage 90s and am loving it and giving the compound boys and girls a run for their money!


  • Posted by: Stevie J on Dec 24, 17:02

    Steve, very useful article.
    I shoot Hunting Tackle, so wood arrows. I have had a Gamemaster 1 for about five years. I don’t use a button. I shoot off the shelf. I too found the original Hoyt string too fat and have gone for a 14 strand with good results. Will try your Velcro tip as I still find the bow a bit twangy. I too lowered the bracing height to 71/4” with good results. Soon I shall go for a GAmeMaster II, for no other reason than it is good to have a backup. Many thanks. Stevie J


  • Posted by: FloS on Jan 3, 21:51

    I bought it this year and I’m just fascinated by it. It´s my first own bow, and I like how it looks, how it feels, hof ir performs.

    Of course reaching up from 30lbs training bows to the 40lbs Gamemaster came as a… challenge, but still after 4*36 arrows i got back to aiming instead of just cocentrating on draw and release ;)


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