Mathews V3X 29 Compound Bow Review

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Mathews V3X 29 Compound Bow Review

The Mathews CrossCentric series is the winningest bow design of the past decade. Starting with the 2016 Halon, these bows have won the ann

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The Mathews CrossCentric series is the winningest bow design of the past decade. Starting with the 2016 Halon, these bows have won the annual F&S Bow Test every year but 2017, when they finished runner-up. The V3X missed winning our 2022 test by just a half-point, but if you were to argue that this is the best hunting model of the series yet, I couldn’t argue. I used it myself to shoot a nice 8-pointer in Tennessee the very next day after we unboxed it.

Mathews V3X Specs

  • Test Speed: 315 fps (through our chronograph, at 60 pounds of draw weight and 28 inches of draw length; see “How We Test” below)
  • Advertised IBO Speed: 340 fps
  • Axle-to-Axle Length: 29 inches
  • Brace Height: 6 inches
  • Weight: 4 pounds, 14 ounces
  • Efficiency: 80.9%
  • Final Score: 95 (out of 100)

Mathews V3X 29 Test Performance

The V3X is nearly identical to last year’s V3, in terms of performance. At 29 inches axle-to-axle, it was the shortest bow we tested this year, but also the most accurate. Tester Zach Bell averaged ¾-inch groups with it, and as a panel, our average group was 1.04 inches. The V3X was also the quietest bow we tested this year, but it finished a few bows down the list in the vibration category. That, along with it being slower than the winning Hoyt model, was really its only stumble—if you can call it that.

Compared to recent flagship models from Mathews, the V3X is most notable for its outstanding accessory systems. Its Stay Afield System, for example, uses a series of fixtures on the cams and a short string that allows you to press the bow in the field, no traditional bow press required (you do need to back the limb bolts out a few turns first). For all the at-home tuning systems that I’ve seen in the past few years, this one is the simplest and, for most bowhunters, the most practical. Most hunters aren’t adjusting their own cam lean. Just about all of us have, at some point, needed to move a string strand to straighten up a peep sight.

photo of Mathews V3X
A close-up view of the Bridge Lock system, which allows you do mount you sight to the middle of the riser. Mathews

The V3X also has a Bridge Lock sight system, which allows you to mount your sight into the middle of the riser instead on the side of it, and the riser itsself comes dovetailed for an Integrate-style arrow rest. The LowPro quiver system is the most compact quiver I’ve tried, too. If you’re setting up your new bow, though, be forewarned: The fixed-position 6-arrow quiver, like the one that came with our test bow, is just that—fixed. If you’re like me and prefer to detach your quiver in the stand, go with the removable 5-arrow option instead.

Who Should Buy the Mathews V3X?

It’s no secret some bowhunters are brand loyal and like to upgrade their compound to the next new thing every year or two. If you’re a Mathews shooter with a V3 already in hand, the V3X won’t provide much of a performance upgrade or enhanced shooting experience. But the accessory package does make it more nimble and convenient in the field. And if you’re shooting a Mathews that’s a few years old, know that this one (along with the improved accessory systems) might be a little quieter and easier to shoot than its predecessors. Having hunted extensively with the accessorized V3X, I can tell you that Mathews has built another standout bow around the CrossCentric system. Top to bottom, it’s a great setup that is at once crazy accurate, quiet, and easy to shoot, but also compact and fast. I’d make it a go-to whitetail bow in a heartbeat, but it’d be equally at home in the elk woods or stalking mule deer.

How We Tested the V3X and Other New Compound Bows

photo of a man testing a compound bow
An engineer at Stress Engineering Solutions prepares to fire a bow in a sound-proof room to measure noise. Will Brantley

The Mathews V3X was part of the annual F&S Bow Test, which took place at the Stress Engineering Services lab in Mason, Ohio, and on my farm in southwestern Kentucky, where we wrung every bow out and pitted them head-to-head. Our test panel included the engineers in Stress’s Outdoor Division, as well as myself; former pro-shop owner and bow technician Danny Hinton; and Zach Bell, an serious bowhunter and target shooter. We scored each bow on a 100-point scale in the following categories, in the following ways:

Accuracy and Forgiveness: 20 Points

This category is the most time-consuming part of our process, but also the most important. Our Accuracy and Forgiveness test takes the average of five, three-shot groups per bow from a panel of three shooters. All of the bows we test will shoot better than any of us can, individually. The idea here is to notice trends that make some bows inherently easier (or more difficult) to group with. This year’s test was conducted indoors at 25 yards over the course of three days using hunting spec Carbon Express Maxima Red arrows, HHA sights, and peep sights installed.

V3X Results

The V3X was the most accurate bow in our test, notching a perfect score of 20 out of 20. This was particularly impressive given the bows relatively short axle-to-axle length. It means you can have a really handy hunting bow, without giving up one bit accuracy.

Speed: 20 Points

Each bow is set to 28 inches and 60 pounds (advertised IBO specs would be from bows set at 30 inches and 70 pounds, but 5 grains of arrow weight per pound of draw length gets you close). Bows that didn’t arrive to spec were adjusted if possible. That done, we prepared a couple IBO-spec, 300-grain arrows that were used for measuring speed (an average of three shots through my chronograph). At 30 inches, you could assume another 20 fps. or so added to the velocity measurement. We also use a Whisker Biscuit rest and with that, you could assume a loss of about 5 fps. So, compensating for the shorter draw length and the rest, and you can assume an extra 15 fps, give or take, added on to our published speeds.

V3X Results

The V3X scored 18 out of 20 in this category. Two bows, the Expedition Smoke and Hoyt RX-7 were a bit faster, but the V3X is still has plenty of get-up-and-go, tying for third in this test category.

Draw Cycle: 20 Points

This is our only double-weighted subjective category. It’s an evaluation of how comfortable a bow is to draw, hold, and shoot—important things to know both on paper and when stuck at full draw in a deer stand. For this category, we’re evaluating the comfort of the overall cycle, the valley, and the back wall, and then comparing what we think we feel to the draw force curves mapped out at Stress Engineering.

V3X Results

The CrossCentric Cam system is well-known for delivering a smooth draw cycle. The V3X missed the overall top spot in this category by just half a point. One tester did, in fact, rank it as the best. The bottom line is that the V3X is yet another very smooth-shooting flagship bow from Mathews.

Noise (lack of): 10 Points

At Stress Engineering in Mason, Ohio, a sound-proof chamber is used to measure noise of each bow, again, using the IBO-spec 300-grain arrow.

V3X Results

The V3X was the quietest bow in the test, with a perfect score on 10 out of 10.

Vibration (lack of): 10 Points

Another measurement taken at Stress Engineering, this one with an accelerometer mounted to the bow’s stabilizer port.

V3X Results

With an 8 out of 10, this was the V3X’s lowest score in any category, though the bow still ranked middle-of-the-pack.

Fit and Finish: 10 Points

This is a subjective category that not only assesses how a bow looks (some are sharper than others), but how well it’s put together. We’re checking for things like tool marks and blemishes in the finish. It’s rare that we deduct more than a point or two in this category for a flagship bow.

V3X Results

Mathews has always nailed the fit-and-finish category, and this year was no exception. The V3X earned a perfect score of 10 out of 10.

Balance, Handling, and Grip: 10 Points 

How does a bow feel in the hand and up in a tree? Is it light and handy, or heavy and cumbersome? At full draw, does the grip facilitate good shooting form, or does it get in the way? Worst of all, does it dig into the hand and cause pain (we’ve seen it all before). Is the bow easy to hold on target? Does it tip or flip this way or that upon release? This is a subjective category, and we take all of these things into consideration when assigning a score. 

V3X Results

The V3X was only a half point shy of a perfect score in this category and finished second overall. Being fairly short, the bow is easy to maneuver in the field, and it balances nicely, getting on target quickly and locking in well.

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