Issue: May/June 2012
Horton Archery’s new Fury packs a ton of technology in a compact design.
One shot and one arrow. That’s all it took for Gregg Ritz to take down a 400-pound black bear with a Horton Archery crossbow while hunting in Vancouver Island last summer. Ritz was a devoted customer long before he became CEO of the nation’s oldest crossbow maker in 2009.
“Horton Manufacturing [as it was known] pioneered the sport of crossbow hunting, so to me they were the legacy product,” Ritz says.
So when Ritz heard Horton was filing for bankruptcy, he purchased the company. His first order of business was to move the manufacturing from a plant in Changzhou, China, back to the United States. “Being on site to answer the phone and hear feedback from the field was one thing that we felt couldn’t be done in China,” Ritz says.
The Changzhou plant closed last September and returned about 25 jobs to Kent. Today, Horton Archery’s products are manufactured entirely in America, including the company’s new Fury model, which debuted in April. “We just said, ‘We want to go build the fastest, quietest, most compact, coolest-looking crossbow in the marketplace that we’re proud to put the Horton name on,’ ” says Ritz.
Here’s a look at how Horton did it.
|1. Recoil pads: These custom-fit rubber pads — available in half-inch, standard one-inch and one-and-a-half-inch sizes — slide on the back of the bow and allow users of varying sizes and ages to adjust the length of pull (the measurement between the butt of the stock to the trigger well) to produce greater shooting accuracy.
||3. Viper X strings: Using a spun-gel fiber that’s 15 times stronger than steel on a weight-to-weight basis, the strings are handmade 10 minutes from Horton Archery’s headquarters. Strings stretch over time, but Viper X strings are pre-stretched to ensure accurate shooting for longer periods.
|5. Cams: Larger pulleys work alongside the limbs, the riser and the strings to propel the arrow at about 360 feet per second. “You want all of that energy and the dynamics of the limbs unfolding and the cam rotation to deliver the maximum energy, because that’s where you get your speed from,” he says.
|2. Plunger: Launched on the Fury this year, this system uses a spring pressurized rubber ball to hold the arrow in place when cocked, and silences the vibrations caused by the former metal finger device. “You don’t want any noise, because a deer can react faster than an arrow takes to get to its target,” says Ritz.
|4. Reverse draw
technology: By facing the limbs forward, the bow becomes more compact. In addition, by placing the limbs in the middle where the user holds the bow instead of at the end, it silences vibrations that used to travel down the barrel. “It’s quieter, it’s more balanced, it’s more compact,” says Ritz.
|6. Sight bridge: Made from a single piece of machined aluminum, it eliminates any wiggle or shifting created in multipiece designs. “What creates the accuracy is the alignment of your scope to your barrel,” says Ritz. “If you can align and lock in place with one unit, you’re going to gain a lot better accuracy and consistency in the bow.”
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