2019 Hoyt Carbon RX-3 Ultra Compound Bow Review: A Joy to Test

Smooth, dependable, and consistent — that’s the story behind Hoyt’s newest carbon-riser marvel, the RX-3 Ultra compound bow.

Hoyt has been the carbon king since 2010. The launch of its axle-to-axle Carbon Matrix 35 dropped jaws. The riser looked like Medusa’s hair: a number of hollow carbon tubes twisted together. The design proved effective. It was strong and balanced, and it provided a warm-to-the-touch grip. The bow measured 35 inches axle to axle, with a 7¼-inch brace height and speeds up to 318 fps.

Since the Matrix, Hoyt has launched a number of carbon wonders. Each model offers new technologies, and Hoyt fans wait for these new bows like a kid waits for Christmas.

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Enter the 2019 Carbon RX-3 Ultra, one of GearJunkie’s Best Bows of 2019. This bow is the latest in the manufacturer’s uber-popular REDWRX line. The Carbon RX-3 Ultra measures 34 inches between the axles, sports a 6¾-inch brace height, and weighs 4.1 pounds.

The rig is capable of speeds up to 334 fps. Peak draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80 pounds are available. The ZT Pro Cams come in draw-length ranges of 27-30 and 29-32 inches, and the brand offers the bow in a number of camo and target color options.

Hoyt also offers the bow in standard RX-3 and RX-3 Turbo editions. These bows offer the same technologies but with different overall weight, axle-to-axle length, and speed.

Out of the Box: 2019 Hoyt Carbon Compound Bow2019 Hoyt Carbon RX-3 Ultra Compound Bow

The RX-3 Ultra screams Hoyt. The carbon riser, featuring over 50 individual carbon components, is a stunner. The bow has great cosmetic appeal, and my initial inspection found no scratches, dings, or obvious damage.

I immediately took notice of the Shock Pods. These vibration- and noise-killers are fitted into the bottom section of the riser where it melts into the limb pocket. I also noticed the grip, which is new. It’s an adjustable system (more on this later). My initial impression of the grip was good. The throat is narrow, and the sides flare out a bit, but the grip isn’t overly thick or at all uncomfortable.

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The ZT Pro Cams, set at 29.5 inches, were easy to adjust. Hoyt has placed a chart on the inner top limb that tells you exactly what letter (A through G on this bow) you need to set your cams at based on your draw length. Each letter corresponds with a draw-length measurement. It’s a user-friendly system, and I was able to make my adjustment without a bow press.

My bow arrived with a 65-pound draw-weight rating. My Easton digital scale showed it to be 66.2. I left it right there.

Initial Setup

For the sake of testing, I turned the limb bolts; they didn’t talk back to me. Riser-to-limb marriage was perfect. The bow pressed easily, and the installation of my peep and drop-away cord was simple.

The Hoyt accepted my accessories with ease. I appreciated the padded shelf, which silences the noise of a dropping rest arm. There is no need for felt or moleskin. Sight screws turned without hassle, and the offset stabilizer mounting hole accepted my Trophy Ridge stabilizer.

2019 Hoyt Carbon Compound Bow: First Impressions

2019 Hoyt Carbon RX-3 Ultra Compound Bow

My first few shots through paper showed a tear that was nock-low and nock-right. I had enough clearance to drop my rest down toward the shelf. Then, I moved it away from my riser, which quickly cleaned up the tear. Had rest clearance been an issue, I would have simply moved my nock-point up. (These adjustments are for right-handed shooters.)

A pair of draw-stop pegs on the ZT Pro Cams contact the inner cable at full draw. The cams were timed perfectly. The back wall isn’t spongy, but it isn’t rock hard, either. Shooters who favor a cable-stop feel as opposed to a limb-stop feel will like this back wall. At the shot, the bow is quiet. And although I do detect a slight buzz in my bow hand, it’s minute.

Draw weight builds rapidly early in the cycle, and though not abrupt, the transition to letoff comes quickly. It didn’t take long in my backyard range to have fletched and bare shafts impacting the same 1-inch dot at a distance of 20 yards. With its smooth nature and longer axle-to-axle length, the bow is a blast to shoot.

This Hoyt Bow Is Smooth!

2019 Hoyt Carbon RX-3 Ultra Compound Bow

Set at a draw length of 29 inches and a draw weight of 66.1 pounds, the RX-3 powered my 415-grain Easton Axis 5MM shafts at 268 fps. That’s a far cry from Hoyt’s advertised 334fps rating, yes. Remember, though, that the 334fps rating was from a bow set at maximum poundage, maximum draw length, and a lighter arrow shaft. I have no doubt the speed is possible.

Even inside my local archery pro shop, the bow proved quiet. And, man, is it smooth. The more I shot it, the more I liked the draw cycle, and the ZT Pro Cams give the rig an element of silk I appreciated. At the shot, the arrow is just gone!

Stretch It Out

Archery target

With my Hoyt RX-3 tuned and our relationship growing, I wanted to stretch the yardage. From distances of 20 to 120 yards, this bow produced. It’s accurate and promises downrange consistency. I credit much of this to the bow’s stiff carbon riser, perfectly engineered limb pockets, powerful cams, and a roller-guide system that reduces friction and torque. The customizable grip also plays a part in accuracy.

The more I shot the bow, the more accurate I got. I tinkered with the single Allen head screw in the new adjustable grip. It’s easy: Simply insert a 1/8-inch Allen wrench and turn. This allows you to manipulate the grip left and right. A perfect grip reduces torque and builds accuracy. Plus, I did find the flat-backed grip extremely comfortable. My last 120-yard group before putting the bow in the Hooter Shooter had a circumference of just under 6 inches.

Testing out of the Hooter Shooter drove shafts into the same hole over and over again. The wind was calm, and I didn’t dare shoot groups even out to the tested distance of 120 yards.

One Gripe With the Hoyt Carbon Compound Bow

It’s hard to file a complaint against any of today’s top-end bows. My only one with the RX-3 Ultra is aimed at the FUSE strings and cables. Are they bad? No. Are they an amazing custom string? No. Twice, I did have to press my bow and turn my string to realign my peep with my housing. After that second alignment, the peep has stayed put.

Hoyt Tough

2019 Hoyt Carbon RX-3 Ultra Compound Bow

In a world driven by bow accuracy, it’s easy to overlook dependability. Hoyt has a reputation for producing bows as strong as the German Tiger tank. This bow follows suit.

During testing, I carried it attached to my pack, letting it bounce along while I ran. I pulled it up into treestands and lowered it, and twice I accidentally let my rope out too much and bounced the bottom cam. But the Ultra’s accuracy never suffered.

This bow was a joy to test, and I have no doubt about its ability to fulfill all of your bowhunting dreams. You can get the 2019 Carbon RX-3 Ultra now for $1,699.