Last year I decided that I wanted to get back into archery. As a child I have fond memories of the sport but life got busy and archery fell by the wayside. Here I was, more than a decade later, not knowing where to begin with the new bow technology.
I did some reading, shopped around, and shot the Mission Craze by Mathews. The massive adjustability was a big selling point to me and I knew that when it was time to upgrade, I could pass that bow down to my daughter or one of my nieces or nephews. Liking the way it handled, I made the purchase and started shooting.
After shooting my Craze for about a year, I decided that I wanted to take things to the next level. My 3 year old daughter showed an interest in the sport and made comments that she wanted Mommy to come out to the archery club with us. I was able to set my daughter up with a bow but my wife was going to be difficult.
This year has been very tough for us financially and I had a tough decision to make. Would I start saving money and purchase my wife a new bow of her own, knowing that her hectic schedule was going to make trips to the archery range few and far between, or would I upgrade my own bow and pass the Craze on down the line to my wife?
My wife and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that it was probably better for me to upgrade my bow and pass down the Craze. This would get me into a bigger and faster bow while freeing up my old bow. If my wife caught on and wanted to shoot, the bow had plenty of adjustability for her. If it didn’t work out, I had a backup bow or one that someone else could use to shoot with my daughter and I.
Once the decision was made to upgrade my bow, the difficult part began. With a limited budget, how would I get the best bang for my buck? Would I be better suited trying to find a closeout deal on a new bow or would I be better off buying something used? Both options came with their own sets of pros and cons. Ultimately, I decided to go with a used bow and began searching.
Finding a Used Bow
Before I sat down and started shopping for a used bow, I laid out some criteria. I needed a bow that could pull double duty as both a Target Bow and a Hunting Bow. I wanted something that would shoot flatter than my Craze at just over 300 fps (IBO Rating) while being somewhat forgiving. Lastly, going the used route meant that I would need to setup and tune the bow. I wanted something that I could work on, on my own, relatively easily.
Once my criteria were laid out, I began putting together a list of potential bows. I started off with the big names in the industry; PSE, Mathews, and Hoyt. The market is saturated with their product so I knew that I could probably get a better deal on one of those than the smaller brands.
The more research I did, the more I learned about similar bows by smaller brands. I put together a second list which included bows from Obsession, New Breed, Elite, and Strother.
When both of my lists were compiled I began reading up on specific models from the past 3 to 4 years and narrowed down my selection. Before long I had a single list of bows that I would keep an eye out for on the Archery Talk Classifieds. When a bow I was interested in popped up, I checked the price and looked over photos.
On a number of occasions, bows were either priced out of my budget or they were sold before I had time to contact the seller. I was beginning to think finding a bow for me was an impossible task and I may need to revaluate things. That is when I stumbled onto a 2011 Elite Pulse.
The Elite Pulse is a speed bow with a 6 inch brace height. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for (I was concerned the short brace height would make it unforgiving) but the price and photos looked good. I did some research on the bow and contacted the seller. We exchanged messages, back and forth, and I was able to get the bare bow for a little less than he was asking. This gave me a little wiggle room for finding an arrow rest and sight.
Shooting The Elite Pulse
The seller of my Elite Pulse was a great guy to deal with and I couldn’t have been happier with the transaction. With a little money left in my budget, I now had to select both an arrow rest and sight. Again, this bow needed to pull double duty so I needed equipment that would perform for both target archery and hunting.
I found a good deal on an AEE DOA Drop-Away Rest, which was in like-new condition. I was leaning towards using either a QAD or Code Red rest but the price on the DOA was right and reviews were good. At this point my budget was nearly exhausted and I would need to skimp a little on a sight.
I wanted to go with a HHA Optimizer Lite Ultra but coming in at over $200 new, that sight was out of the question. My second choice was an HHA Optimizer Lite. The difference between the two is in their adjustment, one uses a dial and the other uses a less accurate slider. Unfortunately, even a used HHA Optimizer Lite was out of my budget.
I wound up going with the same site that is on my Mission Craze, a Trophy Ridge Hitman 5 Micro. Even though the sight isn’t an expensive one, the pins are bright and I’ve had good luck with it. The 5 pin setup seemed like a good compromise for the money and would serve me well in both target archery and hunting.
Once everything arrived, I began bolting the accessories onto my 2011 Elite Pulse. I spent some time setting up my equipment as outlined in the Nuts & Bolts of Archery Guide and was shooting pretty well in short order. I walked through the Field Course at Stowe Archers and was thrilled with my new setup.
My Biggest Issue
There is only one problem that I’ve come across with my Elite Pulse and it really has nothing to do with the way it shoots. When people ask what type of bow I shoot, they usually get a confused look on their face after I tell them. Elite is a small brand (with a fantastic warranty – which covers the bow and not the original purchaser) and many people haven’t heard of them.
That should all change in the coming months. Elite has picked up pro shooters Levi Morgan and Darrin Christenberry, both big names in the industry. With Elite making aggressive moves into Target Archery, it shouldn’t take long for the brand to become more commonplace.
It isn’t saying much but, I like to think that #imadetheswitch before it was cool.