The Maxima Hunter is one of Carbon Express’s premier arrows and a staple for many hunters. These arrows and shafts have long been known for their tight tolerances and overall great performance. However, the latest version of the Maxima Hunter has stirred up some controversy with its claims of Dual-Spine Weight Forward technology. Read along as Archery Report analyzes this arrow, the manufacturer’s claims and see how they fare!
For comparison, Archery Report previously reviewed the Carbon Express Maxima Blue Streak arrows and shafts.
For an explanation of how all measurements for this review are made, see the following article:
Carbon Express Maxima Hunter: Models, Price and Availability
The Maxima Hunters come either as bare shafts or pre-fletched with Bohning Blazer or Norway Fusion vanes.
All versions come with inserts, nocks and Bulldog Nock Collars (even with the added weight, I really like these and they have saved many an arrow.)
|Size||Weight||Spine||Spine Tolerance||Outside Diameter||Straightness||Weight Tolerance|
|250||8.0 gr./in.||0.417||+/- .0025?||0.295||+/- .0025?||+/- 1.0 grains|
|350||8.9 gr./in.||0.337||+/- .0025?||0.297||+/- .0025?||+/- 1.0 grains|
|450||9.7 gr./in.||0.298||+/- .0025?||0.303||+/- .0025?||+/- 1.0 grains|
At the time of publishing this review, the average price for a dozen shafts was around $150 and for fletched arrows $170.
Maxima Hunters come coated with the BuffTuff camouflage finish that covers the arrow from the front edge to within 9 1/8″ of the back end. The pattern is Mossy Oak Treestand and is not a paint or decal, but rather some type of special wrap.
Carbon Express Maxima Hunter: Weight Consistency
The actual weights for the dozen Maxima Hunter shafts under test are as follows for uncut shafts:
For this dozen shafts, the weight tolerance is to +/- 0.7 grains; the manufacturer stated tolerance is +/- 1.0 grains. These shafts fall well within the weight tolerance. The average grains per inch of the uncut shafts is 8.71″ however that is over the entire shaft length, part of which includes the BuffTuff camo coating that adds some weight to the shaft. More on this further down.
Carbon Express Maxima Hunter: Straightness
The stated specification for straightness on the shafts is +/- .0025″ for a total span of .005″
Every arrow of this dozen fell within specifications on straightness. These arrows do not disappoint in their ability to have a high tolerance on straightness.
Carbon Express Maxima Hunter: Spine Consistency
Carbon Express’s spec for spine for the Maxima Hunters is +/- 0.002″ for a span of +/- .004″
|Shaft #||Label||2||Opp Label||4||Total|
There was a total difference of 0.004″ and a range of +/- 0.0014″ across all of the dozen shafts; with the exception of shaft number 4 which definitely showed some extra stiffness through one plane. Both sides 2 and 4 (opposite each other) showed an excess stiffness. I measured this shaft multiple times with nearly the same results every time. However, when shooting the shaft it grouped with the others out to 60 yards with no noticeable inaccuracy.
Weight Forward Dual Spine Technology
According to the Carbon Express webpage:
Dual Spine Weight Forward technology is a breakthrough in arrow design that delivers unparalleled accuracy and performance. The fusion of two different carbon materials creates 2 spines in 1 arrow, resulting in rapid recovery and guidance control.
There has been a lot of questions and some controversy over exactly what this means. In order to have a complete review, let’s take an in-depth look and some measurements of these shafts.
The shafts have very definite and distinct patterns of weave on the front and back of the arrow: (these photographs are of the Blue Streak shafts since the Maxima Hunters are partially coated with the BuffTuff camo that obscures the front carbon weave pattern.)
The back of the shafts have a much larger weave pattern that is about 9 1/8″ long from the back. Maxima Hunter shafts are coated with the BuffTuff camo to within 9 1/8″ from the back, with a label that covers both the transition of weave patterns and the BuffTuff. In theory the front section should weight more per inch than the back.
Careful measurements resulted in the sections with the camouflage weigh approximately 8.91 grains per inch (exactly as stated for the manufacturer’s specs) and the bare section 8.24 grains per inch with the label contributing a nearly negligible amount.
With the difference in gpi between the forward section covered with BuffTuff and the back section that is partially bare, there should be a net FOC (Front of Center) on the bare shafts. Using my balance block I found the exact balance point on a bare shaft to be exactly 16 9/16″ from the back of the shafts. With a total length of 32 7/16″, we can plug these numbers into the ArcheryCalculator.com FOC Calculator and find a net FOC of 1.06%. This does show that there is a built in FOC, or in Carbon Express’s terms “Weight Forward” in the bare shafts.
The spine testing for the different sections of the shafts was done in the identical way that I measured the spine for the Blue Streaks with nearly identical results. From the Blue Streak review I quote:
“The Dual Spine testing was much more difficult. In order to test the front vs. the rear spine, the normal span of 28″ and a 1.94 lb. weight could not be used. At first I tried using a 14″ span on the front and rear, but could not detect a definite difference. I believe that was mostly due to the fact that the rear section of the arrow only has just over 9″ of different weave. Next I tried measuring with the 6″ sections, but the deflection caused by the 1.94 lb. weight was minimal, though I did see a small difference.
I ended up taking the shaft portion to my work and using some specialized deflection equipment to do more testing. In the end I was able to confirm my findings on the 6″ sections with my personal equipment. The difference I ended up with across all test methods was about 2.2% difference, with the back being stiffer. Unfortunately it’s impossible to put that into “arrow spine” terms because it’s not possible to measure across 28″ and use the proper weight. I would like to have a full arrow of each of the different weaves for testing, but I don’t think that’s possible!”
With the Maxima Hunters I found approximately a 2.3% difference in spine between the front and back sections. It’s possible the BuffTuff contributes something to the stiffness as well, but is impossible for me to prove one way or the other. Regardless, there is a measurable difference in spine from front to back, thus the “Dual Spine” that Carbon Express claims.
Shooting the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrows
To test the arrows under shooting conditions I cut the shafts to 29 1/2″ and fletched them with two black and two red mini-Fusion vanes. Black and red happens to match the shafts themselves as well as my Hoyt Vector Turbo so the combination looks rather spiffy if I do say so myself. To this combination I added the standard Carbon Express insert and a 125 grain field point. This results in a 425 grain arrow with just under 15% FOC.
The arrows easily tuned to the bow at 63 lbs. After initial tuning I increased the bow draw weight to 70 lbs and retested the tuning with excellent results.
After several hundred shots I have found that they all group well and have held up under some tough conditions. The local range in my hometown has a few target butts that have been somewhat shot out and on more than one occasion I have shot right through the bale and into the rocky hillside behind. Thus far all of the arrows have held up and there has been no damage.
Shooting the Maxima Hunters at longer ranges, out to 70 yards, has shown that they group very well and are on par with the Blue Streaks that I have been using for a longer time. Both the Maximan Hunters and Blue Streaks have been excellent for accuracy, at least surpassing what I am capable of shooting.
Over the many shots, I was unable to notice any degradation in the camouflage pattern. The BuffTuff coating has thus far lived up to its name. When freshly cut before squaring the shafts, it is possible to see that the BuffTuff looks almost fabric-like under high magnification. Whatever it is, it is quite tough and durable, even thwarting my attacks with several solvents.
These arrows have proven to be great shooters and hold very tight tolerances with the exception of the one arrow that was slightly stiffer. My analysis has shown that the controversy over whether or not these shafts are “Dual Spine Weight Forward” is for naught because the shafts are definitely both. While the difference in spine is not huge and the weight forward is only 1% for bare shafts, but they definitely both exist. The added FOC is welcome in most cases and will help with gaining a higher FOC especially when using a lighter point or broadhead. Unfortunately I can’t speak as to how much or if the Dual Spine helps in stability. We’ll leave that for another day when I am able to procure a quality high-speed camera.
The final word is that these are excellent arrows that hold tight to their specifications (with one minor exception) and will make for a good, mid-weight hunting arrow. They are a bit on the high side for price, but generally speaking you do get what you pay for.