Contributors to this thread:
brace height vs. ata
I know we are all in the middle of hunting seasons, but am wondering which is more important - brace height vs. axel to axel length and why? I've read many articles on brace height and it seems a bit over rated unless you go extreme one way or another (very short 5.5 inch brace height or 7.5 inch brace height). Please let me know your thoughts. My current bow is 33 ata and 6 inch brace height....
I've owned way too many bows in the last 10 years, my current set up is a pse evo nxt 31 which is 30.5 ata and 6.5 bh, for deer hunting it feels perfect, and I shoot it as well as any of my other bows in the past including a 36" ata 8" bh bow. I actually have a pse xpedite on order for my heavy hitting elk and moose bow, its a 33ata 5.5bh bow, 5.5" is a little small but its only a warm weather bow and my draw is only 28"
The best way for me to answer this is that they are both important but much more less important than in the past. I probably would say BH is more important to me.
Important for what? Speed? Forgiveness? ATA doesn't really affect much in my opinion but it does change string angle which can greatly impact your anchor, etc. Can design, grip, riser geometry and other factors are all at least as important.
I used to be in the longer ata and longer brace camp. Now with todays bows shorter brace and ata seem to be just as shootable. I now shoot a 33in ata with 6.5 brace and love it.
To me brace height is way more important. And, for my abilities, longer is better.
Like Bowfreak said. With parallel and past parallel limb designs. ATA isn’t the important measurement anymore. The riser length is the important factor.
On older designs where the Cams/axles are further out torque impacts accuracy more on those designs.
Ask yourself why most target shooters shoot a longer A2A and not super short Brace height bows.
Of course target shooters don’t carry their bows up mountains, through brush, in blinds, in tree stands, etc. Some compromises are worth making.
My Elite Impulse 31 with a 6” brace is perfect for my style of hunting
I think a happy medium is 32-35 for hunting bows. It also depends on your draw length. The longer ata and good brace the bow will be more accurate and forgiving. What drives the bow industry is all the whitetail hunters IMO. Whitetail hunters are afraid of having a longer ata bow, because they think they'll hit the cam on something.
The short brace height is so they can squeeze more speed out of it. I have a 27" draw and currently own a 2019 Hoyt Helix with a 30.5 ata. It shoots very accurately to 90yds if I due my part. I have a 2014 Carbon Sypder Turbo 33 at a with a 5.75 brace height. That bow shoots way more consistent at 40 plus yards than the Helix.
My Revolt is 30” ATA which I love for huntability and 7”bh which I love for forgiveness. All 4 bows I’ve had were shorter ATA and I’ve shot them all well
Back in the day anything under 9" brace was critical to shoot, then it went to under 8", then to 7". Brace height doesn't really mean much anymore, most bows are using string stops. A2A will affect your string angle and create problems with head position but with the larger cams being used, a 35" bow is closer to the older 38's.
My “wheelhouse” is 33” and 6.5/7”. Really comes down to personal preference.
For me, where brace really matters is hunting in extreme cold with lots of clothes/layers on.
The quality of string materials, increased efficiency and strings stops move the arrow off of the string much sooner than older bows which makes long brace heights much less important than it was some years ago. Axle to axle lengths should be based off of your draw length, we can all get by with a short bow but most of us will be more stable with a bow a few inches longer than our draw length. It all comes down to what you want. A good compromise would be to buy one of each. :)
The shorter the BH the more likely we are to induce hand torque while drawing.
The longer the ATA the less pressure there is on the cable guard, which causes side torque on the cams.
Good form can negate hand torque. Some bows will allow us to compensate for side torque.
It's a relative question. Depending on a lot of factors. Each of us needs to prioritize based on our own strengths and weaknesses.
For mountain hunting I presently shoot a 35" A-A w/6.5" brace bow and am happy with it. Much better than 32" and 30" A-A w/7" brace height bows I had previously. And shot a 33" A-A w/7" brace fine as well prior to the shorties....29 1/4" draw on all the above.
I don't hunt (or ever shoot) with a stabilizer, probably a factor in liking longer bows, although I leave the Tight Spot on for all but very rare shots in the wind where I have time to remove it.
I shoot my current 7"-BH and 36" bow ATA much MUCH better than I EVER shot my 42" ATA 8" BH bow. And no I have no explanation for it. This new bow (in 2015) fits me literally like an extension of my body.
I like a shorter ATA (32) and a longer BH (7). Speed and maneuverability and still a forgiving shot. I agree with Kota too, it’s nice to have a longer BH when you’re wearing thick clothes.