Need to get the maximum from a shorter draw?

We know that it’s not necessary to shoot 80lbs bows to have an amazing hunt, and modern bow technology transfers an amazing amount of energy to the arrow, but as bowhunters, we are always trying to get the maximum out of our bows.

Sometimes we need it because we want to hunt bigger game, sometimes we just want to ensure a passthrough under most circumstances and sometimes we just want it for our own comfort. Regardless of your reason, the question often comes up – Which bow is “better”?

Now… that is a super loaded question, so let’s just make a few points clear:

  1. Modern bows are amazing!
  2. You can effectively hunt at low speeds and with lower pounds.
  3. Heavier arrows are more effective at getting passthru’s than higher IBO speed ratings
  4. Unless you can hit 550+ fps, string jump is always possible on an alert animal
  5. Accuracy ALWAYS trumps power.

That said… let’s get down to business!

What we wanted to know: Which bow will give a shorter draw length archer better performance (Speed, KE and Momentum) – A very fast adjustable bow or a slower rated, but single draw length optimised bow.

We decided to push to super bows against each other. Both the Mathews TX5 and the Bowtech Realm SR6 are highly rated in all reviews, but the Bowtech has an IBO of 352fps while the Mathews has a slower IBO of 345fps.

Our Setup

We tried to match the bows in draw weight close to 68lbs (The Bowtech was actually 0.2lbs higher than the Mathews) and set both the bows to 27,5″ in draw length. Both bows were tuned (centre shot, timing exact, bullet holes through paper, etc, etc) and then we shot a typical “light” arrow (Carbon Express Maxima) at 436gr through a chrono and then switched to a typical medium-heavy arrow (Easton Full Metal Jacket) at 690gr and shot that one through the chrono a few times.

From there we got to the calculators going…

Speed Results

Bowtech Realm SR6

As expected, the Bowtech Cams are optimised for it’s IBO set up at around 30″ – Don’t get me wrong, it is no slouch at shorter draws, but there is no way that the cams can run at peak performance right through the draw length range. It is just not technically possible.

Draw Weight: 67.93lbs
Draw Length: 27.5″
Arrow Speed – 436gr: 279fps
Arrow Speed – 690gr: 224fps


Mathews TX5

The Mathews TX5 with its short brace height is based on the extremely effective Triax. Its a quiet and powerful bow and a fan favourite. Changing out the draw length modules for an E-module means it can be better optimised for 27.5″ in draw length than the Bowtech, and it shows. Although it has slightly less poundage, and 7fps slower in IBO rating, the TX5 still consistently gave 5-6fps faster results at the shorter draw length.

Draw Weight: 67.73lbs
Draw Length: 27.5″
Arrow Speed – 436gr: 284fps
Arrow Speed – 690gr: 230fps

Running the Numbers

436gr CX Maxima
Bowtech SR6 vs Mathews TX5

KE  75.4 ft-lbs vs 78.1 ft-lbs

Momentum 0.540 slug-ft/s vs 0.549 slug-ft/s

690gr Easton FMJ
Bowtech SR6 vs Mathews TX5

KE  76.9 ft-lbs vs 81.1 ft-lbs

Momentum 0.686 slug-ft/s vs 0.704 slug-ft/s



Pretty much as we expected, the better optimised shorter draw length module of the Mathews just worked better than the Bowtech. Will that benefit you in any way? Probably not… With those numbers, there is pretty much nothing you can’t legally hunt in Africa. And if you needed to push the numbers up for a Buffalo or Girrafe as is legally required, both will get you there, but the Mathews will get there just a little bit easier…  

So which one should you pick?

Easy: The one you have the most confidence with!

In the end, the one that you can consistently shoot accurately at the distance you will typically be hunting at, is the one you will have the most success with. Some people will love the longer ATA of the SR6 and some people will enjoy the shorter brace of the TX5. Shoot them both and pick the one you like. You won’t be sorry!