Report on my new Firecat 360
Amongst my Alien X, Warthog and several other bows, I've always had a soft spot for my 09 Moab and at the end of the day, it was without doubt my 'go to' bow. The Moab of course, is basically a single cam version of the Firecat, as is the Firecat 360 the single cam version of the Firecat 400. Anyway, 10 days ago I took delivery of a new 2011 Firecat 360.
First impressions are important and I was immediately impressed with the new riser design, kind of similar to my Alien in some ways. The new string/cable were also impressive, as was the finish. I picked it up and was surprised with the radically changed grip. It felt weird initially, but fast forward to now and I like it, the bow holds extremely well. I did however remove the single piece of stick on leather that was on the palm side of the grip, as it only lasted a few dozen shots before it began moving and scrunching up. I replaced the leather with some of my own, (back and front) and glued it on with epoxy. It now feels sensational and is rock solid.
I put on a rest and loop and took it outside for a shoot. I was particularly interested to see how the new TRG/SOS performed It was maxed out at 73#(put it on the scale), so I nocked an arrow and drew back. It was smooth, very similar to my Moab, and held very steady. Using instinctive method, I released and the arrow slammed into the edge of the gold at 20 yards.
The hand shock was barely noticeable, less than the Moab, but it was a bit noisy. I fired 5 more arrows and was pleased to see them group into a fist sized pattern, but the noise was quite a few DBs more than the Moab. I noted that the string at rest, was touching the SOS and thought that may have something to do with it. Remember also, I was shooting a bare bow with no silencers etc.
A hundred or so shots later, I tuned it and was getting bullet holes after not much effort (it tuned very easily) Also, at this stage I had glued on the leather grips. Additionally, I fitted it with Limbsavers and attached whiskers to the string as well as experimenting with the positioning of the SOS. It didn't seem to matter where I set it in relation to the string, the noise remained. Fortunately, the silencers reduced the volume some, but it was still slightly louder than the Moab. I must admit that I am a bit fussy when it comes to noise, so to most it likely would not be an issue.
I conducted an arrow speed test and at 70#, 29" DL and 414gr arrow, I averaged 278 fps, so based on those figures, IBO would come in at around 310fps. I'm sure I could squeeze a bit more out of it by stripping off all the additives, but I'm more than happy with what I'm getting.
Now, to an important bit. I noticed that the section of string passing over the TRG was beginning to fray a little, but the problem was not evident on the bus cable. The TRG was smooth as and showed no sign of wear, but the string was definitely fraying. To remedy this, I immediately served the area on the string that was being damaged.
This was not a good idea, as when I drew the bow, the serving made a scraping sound when it passed over the TRG. Additionally, the noise level increased and I lost 5 fps in speed. Not good, so off came the serving.
I had noticed that the bus cable was NOT fraying and thought that it may be due to the fact that it contained more twists than the string. Anyway I put more twists in the string and obviously had to compensate by adding half as many twists to the bus cable. In addition to the twists, I really applied a lot of wax to the portion of string/cable that passed over the TRG.
Well, several hundred shots later, I'm pleased to say that the problem is solved, no more fraying! I should also add that I adjusted the TRG so that the string and cable passes over it squarely.
In conclusion, I'd like to say that up to this point in time, I believe the changes Martin have made, are IMO considerable improvements and you simply would not find a better product for the money spent.
Finally, I have a feeling that my Firecat 360 is in line to be my new 'go to bow' for 2011!