The archery industry is special. Each year, manufacturers are expected to wow consumers by unleashing at least one, if not several, new flagship bows. It’s a ritual — one consumers look forward to. Hoyt has hit another grand slam by unleashing four new flagships that deserve attention.
by Jace Bauserman
New bow launches are fun. Hype happens, and then a few days or a few months later, the veil is lifted on new models. Sometimes, new-for-the-year bows live up to the pre-built hype. Other times, they don’t.
In traditional Hoyt fashion, the Alpha X comes in a pair of flagships in axle-to-axle lengths of 30 and 33 inches. The Carbon RX-8 measures 30 inches between the axles. However, Hoyt also gives long axle-to-axle lovers the Carbon RX-8 Ultra, a bow with an axle-to-axle measurement of 34.688 inches.
The bow that arrived on my doorstep was Hoyt’s 33-inch axle-to-axle Alpha X. Traditionally, when I write bow reviews, I dub this section First Impressions. I’m changing that up. As noted, Hoyt never disappoints, and I decided to jump right to the new features Hoyt engineers went to great lengths to provide.
The first new-for-2024 feature that made me crack a broad smile is the all-new HBX Xact Cam. I have always struggled with my draw length. Depending on the bow’s design, I teeter back and forth at draw lengths of 28.5 and 29 inches. Often, 29 inches feels too long, and 28.5 inches feels too short. My remedy has been tinkering with my D-loop, but my draw length has never felt perfect.
Hoyt changed that. The HBX Xact Cam allows draw-length adjustments in 1/4-inch increments across three modules. For the first time in my bowhunting career, my draw length is set at 28.75 inches, which feels incredible. Hoyt knows that custom precision makes all the difference, and the Alpha X delivers it in spades.
Also impressive on the HBX Xact Cam is the ability to set your let-off to 75, 80, or 85 percent. This allows the archer to fine-tune their holding weight Plus, Hoyt took the HBX Xact Cam even further by enabling the archer to select the feel of their back wall. Hoyt calls the two settings Hard and Xtra Hard. Some archers prefer a solid back wall, and others prefer a slightly softer back wall, and this cam lets you customize that wall to your liking. Also, please don’t overlook the integrated kickstand, which works in concert with Hoyt’s original and new Go-Stix 2.0. I was thrilled when I saw this added innovation. I love the Go-Stix, but despise exposing the bottom of my lower cam and string to the ground. The integrated kickstand protects your lower cam and string from excess wear and tear.
Yes, There’s More
Hoyt gave an already excellent riser a 2024 upgrade. New and advanced measurement analysis techniques allowed Hoyt engineers to boost the overall performance of the Alpha X riser. The riser tunnels on the top and bottom are longer and more offset. Hoyt accomplished this by removing material from these locations and adding it to other areas to increase the bow’s lateral and forward stiffness, reducing vibration and allowing the riser to work in concert with the cam and limb system.
I don’t get hung up on looks. Overall performance trumps aesthetics, but I’ll take it if I can have a sexy-looking rig that puts arrows on the mark and is durable and quiet.
The 6-3/8-inch brace height Alpha X 33 is stunning. It’s sleek and maneuverable, and I cheer Hoyt’s new Tombstone color. Match your Alpha X 33 in Tombstone with a Pro Series Stabilizer and Superlite Quiver in the same color, and you’ll have the sweetest-looking bow in the woods.
Sound and Vibration
I’ve always praised the quiet nature of Hoyt bows, and for 2024, stealth is better than ever. Hoyt jerked its limb dampeners, reducing weight and creating a more comprehensive, stable limb platform. The limbs work in perfect harmony with the cams, riser, etc., to give the Alpha X a stealth shot. I will dive more into the church-mouse nature of this bow momentarily, but for now, know that I brand the Alpha X Hoyt’s quietest and most vibration-free bow to date. Testing by Hoyt shows the Alpha X provides shooters with an 18 percent reduction in vibration and a 25 percent reduction in sound.
Another new noise squelcher and vibration killer is the WireWRX Bow Strings and Holeshot V2 Silencers. Hoyt added these devices to the string — above the bottom cam and below the top cam — to reduce string vibration up to 25 percent.
I have assembled many Hoyt bows in my day, and the Alpha X 33 fell together like a dream. The drop cord slot Hoyt added last year allowed easy attachment of my new-for-2024 QAD Integrate MX2 rest. The new features of QAD’s Integrate MX2, like color-customized rubber launcher dampers, Berger hole dampeners, and a newly designed launcher and capture bar, add to the shootability and ultra-quiet nature of the bow.
Using the Integrate System, I skipped mounting my rest to the Berger hole, inserted QAD’s color-customizable rubber Berger hole plug, and, as I’ve done for the past several years, mounted my Integrate rest to the back of the bow’s riser via the dovetail slits.
Draw length adjustments are easy via module screws and a lettered system. For example, my Alpha X 33 arrived with a draw length of 29 inches. On the upper left limb, Hoyt’s draw-length sticker told me that the letter E was 29 inches and the letter F was 28.5 inches. I moved the module to the lower-case letter e and achieved a set draw length of 28.75 inches.
Selecting letoff is simple, as is choosing your back wall setting. To change the letoff, loosen the single letoff screw and move the letoff arm, which also rotates with the cam and contacts the bow’s inner cable. To change from a Hard (H) back wall to an Xtra Hard (HX) back wall, remove the letoff arm, rotate it, and reinsert the screw. Remember, any adjustments from draw length to letoff to the back wall that you do to one cam; you must do to the other.
I went to work with my D-loop, peep sight, and Spot-Hogg Fast Eddie MRT Triple Stack attached. Before going to the paper tuner or tinkering, I got 50 shots through the bow at close range.
The draw cycle is solid. I dropped my 70-pound draw weight to 67.2 pounds. The transition to let off was a tad abrupt; it didn’t raise any alarms, and after 20 arrows, the cycle felt excellent.
I experimented with both the Hard and Xtra Hard back wall settings. I preferred the Hard. A valley is important to me, and I like to pull into my cable. I love the bow’s valley, and at 33 inches between the axles, this bow sits like a rock in the hand. I have written articles about 33 inches being the supreme draw length for a compound bow — not too short or long. This bow feels balanced, light, and maneuverable at 4.75 pounds (bare weight).
When the release is triggered, it’s pure stick-and-string harmony. Noise is zero, as is residual bow vibration. The Alpha X 33 is ultra-quiet, and because it’s shock-free, it is a blast to shoot.
Tuning & Accuracy
With my Alpha X 33 shot in, I moved to the paper tuner. I was pleased to see only a tail-high tear and a slight left tear. My second arrow was close to perfect after moving my Integrate MX2 a few micro-clicks right and a few micro-clicks up. I made minor tweaks, and the third arrow produced a perfect paper tear.
As of this writing, I have over 270 arrows through the Alpha X 33. It’s as accurate as the day is long — I’m shooting consistent sub-3-inch groups at 80 yards using only Hoyt’s Short Stop Stabilizer. I credit this to the bow’s overall build and the fact that because it’s so quiet and vibration-free, I can focus on shooting an excellent arrow each time I draw back.
Speed & Draw Weight
I’m not a speed demon, but I will take speed if a bow is balanced, forgiving, and accurate. Speed that doesn’t come at a cost is a win.
My 407-grain 4mm Easton Axis Long Range arrows produced an average three-shot arrow fps rating of 294. That’s at a draw length of 28.75 inches and a draw weight of 67.22 pounds. Impressive! That fps rating, combined with the arrow’s weight of 407 grains, produces 78.04-foot pounds of kinetic energy. That’s enough to put down any big game animal in North America and beyond.
Every year, the question for every bowhunter is: Do I need to buy a new flagship bow? I don’t believe the answer to that question every year is yes. However, the Alpha X 33 crosses every checkmark off the list. If you’re new to the bowhunting world, this is the bow for you. If you’re a seasoned veteran wondering if this year is the year you upgrade to a new flagship, this is the bow for you. And, if you’re a bowhunter who loves buying a new flagship every year but is wondering if this is the year to skip, the answer is no. The Hoyt Alpha X 33 may be Hoyt’s best aluminum build ever.