Bow Report By Bill Krenz
The Liberty I is an amazing bow. It’s space-age, high-tech and unquestionably far out. Its axle-to-axle length is a
good eight inches shorter than the length of my normal hunting arrows. Yet, surprisingly, the Liberty I shoots
amazingly well. I must admit that I was surprised at just how fast and accurate the Liberty I performs. But on top
of all that, the Liberty I is just plain cool.
One friend called it the coolest bow he’d ever shot. That sums up the Liberty I better than more words ever could.
KEY SELLING POINTS
At just 20.5 inches axle-to-axle, the Liberty I is a compound bow venturing off into uncharted but exciting
territory. Think about just how short that is. It’s the length of three dollar bills and two quarters laid end to end. It’
s five four-inch vanes. It’s just a bit taller than a LaCrosse rubber boot. It’s compact with a capital “C.” It’s bold to
the point of being almost electrifying. Hang one up in any archery shop in the country and I guarantee it will be
the topic of conversation.
“My intent was to create a very small, lightweight hunting package,” says Howard Winther, the bow’s designer
and manufacturer. “I wanted a bow that I could hook onto my backpack and not even feel it as I hiked along. I was
looking for a bow that would fit into the corner of my car truck and carry anywhere.”
The heart of the Liberty I design is its phantom shoot-through riser. The riser and limb pockets combined only
measure a bit over four inches in height. From profile, it’s almost as if a riser doesn’t exist. When you get behind
the bow to shoot it, however, the true nature of the Liberty I’s riser emerges and a generous 2.5-inch wide shoot-
through gap becomes evident. That gap is artfully curved and ruggedly designed.
By almost totally eliminating the length and mass of a conventional compound bow riser, the Liberty I is
rendered astonishingly short and amazingly light in weight. On my scale, the Liberty I weighed just 2.3 pounds.
Blend 20.5 inches in length with 2.3 pounds and you have a compound bow that carries like no full-power
compound bow you have ever picked up. Strap it onto your daypack (or maybe even put it inside a bigger pack),
hook it to your belt or just carry it in your hand. The Liberty I rides like it’s not there.
Balanced Split-Cam Design
Perfectly complementing the bow’s shoot-through riser design is its split cam design. In effect, each
skeletonized cam is over an inch wide. That extra width creates a balanced spread between the bow’s two sets
of cables that is over 1.5 inches wide at the bow’s center. An arrow is nocked and shot between those sets of
metal cable, as well as between the bow’s limbs and through the bow’s riser. It’s a riser-limb-eccentric system
with excellent balance.
Erogometric Angled Cushion Grip
To keep the inside cable set from hitting your bow arm, The Liberty I features a well-shaped grip that’s angled at
a pleasing twenty-nine degrees. That angle moves your bow arm out, as well as comfortably positioning your
bow hand. I shot the Liberty I without an armguard and never experienced a problem.
The Liberty I sports an aggressive eccentric system that delivers surprising arrow speed. See the Real
Performance chart. Because of its ultra-short length, string angle at full draw is acute with the Liberty I. That
means that a D-loop is a must and a special peep is also needed. I used a camo cord D-Loop tied in place and an
index-finger caliper release with excellent results. I also used a tethered peep sight designed specifically for the
Liberty I and available from Liberty Archery. That special peep sight is available in three hole-sizes.
Because of the nature of the bow, Liberty Archery suggests that a total-containment arrow rest or a total-
containment drop-away rest be used with the Liberty I. I used a standard Whisker Biscuit arrow rest and it
worked perfectly. Built into the front of my sample Liberty I was a Vital Bow Gear three-pin fiber optic sight. It’s a
light, tough sight that works like a charm with the Liberty I. A bowquiver-mounting bracket is also cleverly
integrated into the bow’s diminutive riser.
The acute full-draw string angle took a bit of getting used to as it related to my usual anchor point, but in short
order I was drilling softball-sized groups at 40 yards on a windy day. The Liberty I shoots.
CLOSING THE SALE
This ultra-short, ultra-light hunting bow really is cool, and I’d present it to customers just that way. The Liberty I
measures an ultra-short 20.5 inches axle to axle and weighs just a bit over two pounds. Hand it to most
customers and they’ll immediately recognize the handling and carrying benefits. It’s also a bow that shoots with
surprising speed and accuracy.
|As the gigantic bull stared over his shoulder
towards us at 40 yards, the hunter buried his
arrow through the ribs on the quartering shot,
stopping the broadhead on the off-side
shoulder’s hide- almost 4 feet of cutting. The
bull made very short yardage across the
prairie and died. Conservatively the bull
weighed between 1750 and 1900 pounds.
Brad had killed the second largest buffalo
bull any of my hunters had ever taken.
When Howard Winther initially came up with
the idea of developing a bow compact
enough to be easily carried at all times in the
corner of his car trunk, the task was met by
his Engineering experience. Confident
enough in his ability to meet the expectations
of bow hunters, he sent out 30 complimentary
units to bow shops around the world and took
their feedback to polish up any challenges
the L1 may have had in design. Having now
taken care of every concern expressed,
Howard sent me a retail bow to put through
my extensive field test. The results were not
only interestingly stunning; the actual
shooting was simply a pleasure. Here is how
I found the L-1 to be in my Field Test.
The 2.3-pound mass weight of the bow was
amazingly. Yet, despite preconceptions, the
short ‘axle-to-axle’, large dynamic cam swing,
and the lack of ballast in the hand produced
no problems- which one might easily have
expected in the shooting this tiny package.
No torque, no surge, and almost perfectly
comfortable in the hand- almost. My personal
peccadillo is "any" feel in a bow riser, and
upon the shot I had a very slight sensation of
vibration in my palm. I screwed on a short
Sims Limb-Saver stabilizer into the mounting
hole and the L-1 became an extension of my
arm. Simply dead-calm. As is suggested, I
held my arrows in a belt quiver, minimum
weight being one of the prime reasons the
Liberty 1 was developed- this despite the fact
there is a bracket on the riser for the
attachment of a bow mounted quiver. I found
the bracket unnecessary, yet was obviously
included for those hunters who just can’t get
beyond the bow/quiver joinery.
|Field Test Report by Frank "Medicine
Wolf" Springer as reported in Western
Outdoor News, and Oregon Bowhunter
COMPACT DEATH- LIBERTY ONE FIELD
When my hunter, Brad Mandarich told me
he had a ‘special bow’ that he hoped to kill
his buffalo with, I was unconcerned- until he
pulled it out of his backpack. Yes, out of a
backpack! Axle to axle- the 20-1/2 inch
Liberty 1 bow from Liberty Archery of Santa
Clara, California, at first glance appeared
ludicrous, and I thought his request might
have been a bit of a joke. Despite 51 years
of experience with ‘longer’ bow hunting, I slid
back into my guides boots, put my
somewhat jaded attitude aside, and
requested to see his ‘pre-hunt’ target shoot.
Brad pushed a standard length carbon shaft
through the arrowrest, and drew back the ‘L-
1’. I winced as the limbs arced back to a tip-
to-tip spread of 14 inches. My trepidation
rapidly dissolved as I observed the hunter
quietly shoot arrow after arrow into the X-
ring on the laminated Block - each 125gr.
Broadhead cutting deeply and rocking the
target with more than necessary kinetic
Brad explained that he instantly fell in love
with the bow when he saw it while on Safari
in South Africa, and purchased it. He also
related that he wanted to be the first to kill
an American buffalo with the L-1, which
would be the largest animal killed with the
bow to date. In just hours that dream came
|As the field test was being conducted in the middle of
winter, with the temperature hovering in the ‘teens’ I was
dressed in heavy coat. NO arm guard was necessary. The
soft composite handle is set at 29 degrees from the riser
and coupled with the shoot-through cables to the quad-
limbs, string interference was near impossible. This angle
provided a more natural ergonomic position for the elbow,
which, coupled with the lightweight of the bow and minimal
‘holding draw’, provided little arm fatigue over a long
period of shooting. The 85% let-off reduced the 70 pound
bow pull to just 10 pounds at full draw. Doubtless, the next
big bull elk that holds up with his vital area behind a tree is
going to loose out in the waiting game over his eventual
step into the clear. Holding the bow at full draw for an
incredibly long time was just "no sweat".
The two large cams roll over at the extreme end of the
draw, and wind enough steel aircraft cable to easily
provide for my 29-inch arrow length. However, the
compact bow necessitates an incredibly sharp string
angle. For this reason a string-loop and release is a must.
If you try to pull the bow back with ‘fingers’ you will find a
nasty pinch when the cams roll over, and you will dry-fire
this bow into rubble. NO FINGERS! As well, due to the
same factors, a totally encompassing arrow rest is
necessary. Several are manufactured for "long" bows that
will work well on the L-1. The field test bow came with a
Carolina Archery Whisker Biscuitä in place, and it worked
Although I am not fond of peep options, due to most low-
light factors, using this bow with one of the larger "hole"
peeps provided, and its fiber optic site, was actually quite
acceptable; even in dark conditions.
Accuracy with this tiny killer was incomprehensible. Simply
put, a bow this short shooting such tight groups, "out of
the box" was amazing. Across the board, when having a
panel of some professional bow hunters shoot the L-1,
their comments on its release production were- "Cool".
"Crazy", "Holy Cow"! Amazement 1 may more
appropriately have been the better choice for this bow’s
Noise? This bow produces volume like a Stealth Fighter.
The game will only know this bow is in the woods when
the ‘death’ begins. I don’t know if anyone makes a quieter
hunting bow. With the standard production ‘jacks’ on the
cables, and a single Sims String Leech, the only whisper I
could locate was from the retraction of rubber tube on the
Speed- possibly the most overrated maximum in a hunting
bow- but I must admit it as a super selling point. Using a
ProChrono I shot the Liberty 1 while comparative shooting
three of the fastest bows marketed. All have produced
stable speeds across the chronograph during moderate to
hot weather; so a benchmark for these bows had been
previously established, finding them to produce speeds
comparable to their advertised IBO ratings. Interestingly I
found across the board feet-per-second (fps) losses to be
substantial during the cold weather field test. Averaged,
each bow shot 40 to 45-fps slower than during extensive
hot weather shoots. Given this proven loss, the 265-fps
+/- 1-fps readings for the Liberty 1showed the bow to be
relative to its advertised 309 fps IBO. This test was done
hunting-weight carbon shafts of seriously heavier mass
than IBO standards. During my field test I found the
Liberty 1 to produce somewhat less fps than the
advertised "fastest bow manufactured" from the
benchmark group- yet far faster than the other test bows,
and more than any hunter would need- even in far-below-
Handling the bow in brush, treestand, and ground blind
was excellent. It is the only bow short enough so as not to
force the hunter to ‘ground seat’, kneel or scrunch up to
keep from hitting the roof of any blind.
On my Field Test report card the Liberty 1 receives these
A+ in shooting comfort. A+ in quietness. A in arrow speed.
A+ in accuracy. The convenience of the small package,
both size and weight, will be a superior benefit under any
hunting situation. I’ve already witnessed its effectiveness
on America’s largest animal. There is no doubt of how
deadly it will be on anything else.
Contact Howard Winther and Liberty Archery at 408-983-
1127 or visit his web site at- www.Libertyarchery.com
Think a good thought- Frank Medicine Wolf Springer
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