Xpedition Archery; Xcentric 7
For my day job I work with engineers and highly technical people. I respect the way they think and analyze data. I am fortunate to live in Alaska, and as such conversations typically end up leading to outdoor adventures. One of these discussions led to an excited outburst, on a co-worker’s new bow. He touted the clean, precise lines, and aerospace roots from which his new found treasure evolved. It was a comment I heard several times over the following months. When engineers praise precise machining, it’s worth paying attention to.
I mentally noted the brand name and filed it away. Over time that brand name continued to hit my radar. Xpedition Archery had grown from a small seed in my mind, to a dedicated research effort. I spent some time on the web, and came away impressed with what I found. I was excited to note that Full Curl Archery, here in Anchorage, AK was a dealer. During a few range trips I was drawn to the bows and admired them from a distance. The bow I was shooting at the time is a great bow, so I was content to admire from a distance.
In early March of 2015, Full Curl had a bow in stock that fit me, so of course I had to demo it. I walked away impressed. I’ve shot my current bow manufacturer since 2010 and was drawn to the bow because of the draw, grip, and overall performance. The Xcetnric 7 I drew back was pure joy. The draw on my current bow is a hard pull with a deep valley, followed by a solid back wall. The draw on the Xcentric 7 had a longer, but smoother initial pull, a decent valley, and a solid back wall. The difference was that the initial pull was not as hard, but the strength portion of the draw was a little longer, yet somehow felt easier to pull. Additionally the bow was light in the hand, with little to no hand shock. Ever better the IBO speed is in the top tier of the industry. A guy could drop his draw weight and still maintain a relatively high speed, a key factor to consider for a hardworking, remote, backpack hunter.
When I shot the bow at Full Curl, the staff member who helped me with the demo excitedly told me about the Perfexion he had just ordered. He is a pilot and former team shooter for another brand. He marvelled at how well the bow is built and is convinced that precise manufacturing and quality engineering have created a winning combination. Stories like this are not driven by gear giveaways, but by people who become believers through shooting, and then buying.
I wanted to find out more so I reached out to Xpedition and asked some questions. In the process I connected with Blake Davis, National Sales Manager, and was able to interview him. Below is a synopsis of the information I gleamed.
Xpedition Archery is the subsidiary of Applied Engineering, a respected aerospace part machining company, located in Yankton, South Dakota. About a decade ago Applied started looking to diversify its portfolio. A large portion of its employees are archery junkies / bow hunters, and the idea to machine parts for the bow industry evolved. As employees, and the industry, began to admire the high quality parts, machined from aerospace technology machinery, a desire to create an in-house bow was born.
A Cooperative effort between Kevin Strother and Xpedition led to the 2013 line of bows that marked the first entry into the consumer market for Xpedition Archery. Applied currently dedicates 6 of their 54 machines to the production of Archery parts. This makes Xpedition a unique player in a crowded bow marketplace. They are in a sense, an engineering powerhouse that is able to maintain complete control of the manufacturing process. The only products not made in house are limbs and strings. This allows for precision, functionality, and purpose to be integrated into every step of the build. The end goal is to be the best hunting bow on the market, a self-recognized lofty goal. Their low volume, high precision manufacturing process allows their products to speak for themselves. This is not a hobby business, but rather a unique partnership that provides Xpedition access to highly precise machinery, and talented resources.
Blake told me his views on customer service, but it’s what customers say that matters. Blake’s view is that Xpedition offers a premium product, and thus they must offer premium customer service, not only to the consumer, but to their dealers. I took some time and checked around the net. From what I can tell feedback is rock solid, and they are active on Facebook, Twitter, and on the forums, responding to questions and concerns. Like with any company, one can always find a few disgruntled buyers, but this seems to be rare.
Xpedition’s warranty is fairly standard. Lifetime to the original buyer, with online registration. A warranty is only good if the company is still standing. Xpedition’s alliance with Applied Engineering creates a diversified strategy focussed on long term success. They are in the game, and want to stay there. Xpedition intends to be a dealer only product, but with dealers in over 40 states, and eleven full time sales reps, finding a bow is getting easier.
One thing that sets Xpedition Archery apart from other manufacturers is the fact that Xpedition is essentially a “semi-custom” bow manufacturer. When Xpedition receives the order, the bow is set at the specific draw length, on a draw board. Then the cams are custom shimmed and laser aligned so everything is set exactly the way it should be. Every bow that leaves Xpedition’s factory is made specifically for the individual customer and fully tested before it’s shipped! Xpedition offers any Realtree Pattern as a custom option, Xtra is standard. They also offer any Moonshine Camo pattern, Muddy Girl is Standard, along with a several solid color riser options and a carbon fiber limb option.
Xpedition Archery: The Excentric 7
Most of my hunts are DIY, backpack hunts. As such I asked Blake to recommend an Xpedition bow for this use. In his opinion the Xcentric 7, the same bow I demo’d, is an ideal bow for the backpack hunter. It’s forgiving, with a 7” brace height, and the high IBO speed allows the hunter to drop 5-10lbs from his current draw weight, yet still be faster than most current setups. After a hard climb pursuing a trophy, having a few pounds less to draw is a good benefit to pocket. If you are stubborn, and don’t want to give up draw weight, the Xcentric 7 will most likely shoot faster, and thus flatter, than most of what is out there, all with the forgiveness a 7” brace brings.
My bow took longer than expected to arrive, thanks to increased demand for Xpedition products. I have enjoyed getting the bow tuned up and dialled in, and can’t say enough good things about the staff at Full Curl Archery. They tuned my bow to my rest, aligned my peep, helped dial in my 20yd pin, and ensured that my sight’s 3rd Axis was aligned. Through this process I met another member of Full Curl’s excellent staff, who has a shooter’s contract with Xpedition. His expertise and experience, particularly with Xpedition, was helpful and just one more data point in my increasing list of those who love these bows.
My Xcentric 7 weighs in at 5.9lbs (QAD HDX Rest, Black Gold Ascent Slider w/ Surge head, and a Trophy Taker Stabilizer). I have a 29” draw length and the bow is set at a 65lb draw weight. Once I get familiar with the bow I will turn up the draw weight a bit and create my sight tape. I am shooting 28” Easton Deep Six Injections (330 Spine) and plan to use Slick Trick Magnum 100gr BHs. Arrows end up around 460grs, a decent weight for hunting Alaska. The more I use this bow, the more I like it.
If you want to learn more check out Xpedition’s Blog, http://xpeditionarchery.com/blog/
Xpedition is active on Facebook and Twitter, so reach out, “xplore”, and perhaps you too will claim #ishootxpedition.
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