Patrick Huston reviews the top-end recurve sight from the Axcel stable
Recently I have just purchased a Land Rover Discovery 2. This is the old model (it’s actually from 2001). I bought this car because it is rugged, utilitarian and pretty much capable to withstand anything you throw at it.
Frankly, I would say the same about the new Axcel Achieve XP. This thing is built to withstand a battering.
There are two features that you will spot on the new Achieve XP quite quickly. First off they have made the extension bar out of a solid, multi directional ultra-high-modulus carbon weave.
This makes it noticeably stiffer than any of their previous models. You can see for yourself by grabbing the sight and trying to twist it, and comparing that to an older Axcel (although maybe not at a tournament – the owner might complain a bit!).
The next thing, which I feel is one of the best features of the sight is the Wedge-Lock system. Basically there is a knob (with three handles, so easy to grip tightly) which compresses a wedge down against the side of the extension bar.
This is class, I really like it. The wedge provides a large surface area of contact against the extension bar which really, really locks it down. At the Rome World Series the Axcel people showed me a little demonstration where the back edge of the sight mount can actually bend slightly from the force you can out through the wedge lock.
To sum up: this means your sight is NOT going to move! I have had issues in the past with the sight bar coming loose, and needless to say, always at inopportune moments, because I couldn’t tighten the knob hard enough.
This is not an issue any more. The second feature that the mounting systems boasts is a spring-loaded ball bearing. This means you get a positive click as you select the extension position that you desire. Very helpful for distance changes to make sure you are in just the right spot.
Moving on to the elevation track: with this model Axcel have skimmed down the sight track which will give just a little less wind drift. They use Teflon sliders which self-lubricate so it’s important to remember: don’t ever oil them!
The track features heavy duty grip knobs for elevation and windage adjustment. These knobs are appealing to the eye and provide a solid grip.
Previous models of the Achieve had issues with the lockdown mechanism coming loose or even failing entirely. This is remedied perfectly on the XP by using a click-in locking mechanism.
Both knobs have a small latch which easily slides into place and locks the adjustment knobs. This is a very handy feature for preventing you chasing arrows with the sight or overcompensating.
Each of the knobs have a ball bearing providing a sharp click for each adjustment as well as boasting zero backlash. Backlash is something I only recently discovered; basically when you change direction of the knob it can take a click or two to begin the thread moving the desired direction, this can cause no movement of the block and then over-correction; a problem eliminated on the XP.
Now when we move to looking at the sight block itself, we have probably my favourite feature. The windage adjustment range is HUGE! I have done full scale tuning, poundage, centreshot and button tension adjustments and not had to actually adjust the sight pin position.
The windage range means low poundage archers have enough adjustment to compensate for just about any wind conditions.
If I did need to adjust the left/right position of the pin though, an imperial hex key slots into the front of the sight pin sleeve and loosens it. A particularly nice feature about the sleeve lock is that it remains perfectly in place even when you remove the sight pin entirely.
Speaking of removing sight pins (and also for packing away) if you want to change over to a different sight pin simply loosen the quick change knob, and the dovetail system loosens allowing you to slide out the sight pin and sleeve out to replace it with a spare one.
I can change between my Spigarelli dot pin and my Beiter open ring in literally seconds.
Aesthetically, the Axcel Achieve XP looks the part. It has strong lines, aggressive knurling on the knobs, a slick elevation rail design and a funky looking knob in the mounting block.
There is a range of colours available: black, red, orange, green, gold and purple. Both the elevation rail and the knob on the wedge lock have these vibrant colours so you can be sure of a very pretty piece of kit for your bow!
All in all, the Axcel Achieve XP is probably the most functional sight I have worked with in my career. Obviously the function of the sight is to hold the sight pin of your choice totally still shot to shot, while providing you with fine and accurate adjustment.
The wedge lock holds the sight more tightly to the bow than any competitor. The ultra-high-modulus bar keeps the rail steadier than ever. The adjustment knobs provide accurate adjustment, with foolproof lock down capabilities.
The sight pin mount can be changed over incredibly quickly to your desired aperture, and best of all, the windage adjustment gives you more than enough range for any conditions.
Patrick Huston is an Axcel sponsored archer. For more information, go to truball.com