Review of the MINI 29 (99% Let-off) Bow by Concept Archery
When we were sent the Mini 29 to Review I didn’t know much about the company or the bows they produced. I had spoken to Sales and Marketing Director Kurt Wille on a few occassions about thecompany, the bows they produced and the whole idea of 99% let-off. I probably should preclude that if you’re reading this and you fancy yourself a staunch advocate of the Pope and Young Let-off rule (65% Let-off with anything exceeding that receiving an asterick) than you may want to stop reading. Then again, this site’s free so why not continue! Most compound bows produced today offer a let-off between 65% – 80%. To our knowledge (and we scour the market daily for such knowledge) Concept Archery is the only exception to this rule. Not 10% more, but a full 19% more let-off than your “average” compound bow. Needless to say, we were very anxious to try this bow and see what it could do!
As with every product that comes to us to test, I like to give it the visual once over and check for “First Impressions”. We’ll get to that in a second. When the bow arrived, my wife received the box. The delivery guy said to her “Is this a bow?” to which my wife provided her usual “Umm, I’m not sure”. He then exclaims, “I’ve never heard of a 99% Let-off bow before!” (After seeing the sticker that they so cleverly stuck on the box). Now I probably would have stood in the doorway discussing FPS, handshock and hunting stories for a while with this dude but my wife didn’t exactly signup for that sort of stuff so I’ll overlook it. After all, I wasn’t there so I guess the moral of that story is to keep putting those stickers on the boxes Mr. Wille, you never know who’s going to notice them! On to my first impressions I removed the bow from the box and the size of this bow blew me away. This thing is small, “Mini” to be exact, so cudos on the name guys! I’ve never shot anything below a 30″ Axle to Axle before so at 29 & 1/8″ A to A, the bow appeared to be a toy in my hands. That was until I shot it!
Riser: The Mini 29 has a solid billet machined riser made from aircraft grade aluminum. It starts out at around 38 lbs of aluminum block and ends up as the 2 lb riser after machining. This one-piece construction cuts down on noise and vibration associated with the bolting together of multiple parts. The riser is covered from top to bottom in the new G1 “Next Generation” camo. We’ve reviewed bows with this camo on them before and it’s definitely a sweet pattern. The G1 camo does an excellent job of breaking the bow up in any hunting situation. We are well aware that a Whitetail is not going to notice what brand of camo you have on your bow, but when you’re spending over 6 bills, you want good looking camo and this bow has it! Other than being so small (29 1/8″ A to A) the coolest feature about this riser is the “Arrow Head” cut-outs on the top and bottom. Not only do they look cool, it’s just one more outward expression of what you’re trying to accomplish with this bow. These cut-outs scream “Hey, I’m a bowhunter, and I’m going to kill something with this here bow!” We like that attitude and make no apologies for the fact that we’re predators. Neither should your bow!
Grip: The hardwood grip on this bow looks great, despite the fact that it was a little beefy for our tastes. Kurt, at Concept Archery told us that they do have slimmer grips available however.
Limbs and Limb Pockets: The Gordon composite diamond-sanded fiberglass limbs appear to have a precision fit with the riser. Concept markets this bow as a “Parallel-limb” bow and although the limbs may not exactly appear it before the draw, they definitely end up parallel at full draw (as you can see in the picture below)
Cams: The cam design is a singular cam with a small idler wheel up top. The needle bearings allow the axle to draw on a wider surface, providing what we felt was a smooth draw. The most unique feature on this bow revolves around the cam design and it’s ability to achieve 99% let-off When drawing most bows back, you have to get over that hump of the peak draw force before you enter the “valley” and finally “settle” into the back wall. With this bow, the hump of the peak draw force is there, but there is almost no valley (in our opinion) due to the rock solid draw stop and huge let-off. Once the peak weight “drops into” or “breaks over” into the 99% let-off range, there is not very much play between back wall and peak weight. This drop-off from peak weight to 99% let-off took us a few shots to get used to. Once we did however, we felt very comfortable holding steady and releasing the arrow. In fact, it felt a little strange going back to our regular let-off bows after the Mini29. We got so used to the drop at full draw, that our regular bows seem to have more “creep” than ever before!
As mentioned, the back wall is rock solid and if anything, it’s letting the draw down that feels the most strange at first. The “break-over’ from 1% to 100% is quite abrupt so you need to be aware of that on the let-down. Since all of Concept Archery’s bows come equipped with the 99% let-off cam, you probably won’t need to let the draw down all that often. As seen in the video, I was able to hold this bow for almost 3 minutes under full draw and that was without the added adrenaline of a Whitetail standing in your sights!
All in all, once accustomed to this type of draw cycle (which doesn’t take that many shots), you’ll start to appreciate the let-off and drill those X’s.
NOTE: The let-off can be adjusted by putting the bow in a bow press, and rotating the bottom axle (in the cam). The V notch would then be facing out/away from the riser and it would be at 80% let-off.
Speed: We got pretty good speed out of this bow (Set at 70lb Max and 29 inch draw) with our 400 grain hunting arrows. The bow comes standard with only 1 Limbsaver string leech on the top portion of the string. Kurt at Concept Archery told us that the reason they sell the bow like this is to preserve some speed. Sure enough, when we tested the bow with 1 vs. 2 string leeches, we got the following results:
Speed of Mini 29 with 1 string Leech = 278/279 fps
Speed of Mini 29 with 2 string Leeches = 275 fps
* You can make your own determination as to whether you value speed over some perceived string noise for 3 or 4 fps, but we could not discern any noise difference between shots with 1 or 2 string leeches.
Handshock / Vibration / and Noise at the shot: The Mini 29 comes with a set of Limbsaver Ultras on the Limbs, 1 string leech at the top of the string (which we’ve already covered), a virgin Teflon cable slide and a Limbsaver cable guard dampener. These features significantly cut down the vibration that comes from the shot but we threw on the S-Coil Stabilizer to round out the Limbsaver accessories on this bow. As you can see (and hear) in our video, this bow is pretty quiet on the shot and we would not hesitate to take this bow into the woods this fall.
Future Offerrings: Concept is working on a new for 2009. It’s called “The Believer” and will be targeted towards Christian archers. The riser will feature Christian fish symbols as cut outs, 3 crosses engraved above the shelf, and will also be decorated in God’s Country Camo. This bow will also be available in G1 Camo as well as with and without the religious style riser cut-outs. The bow is similiar to the Mini29, but will be at a longer ATA (somewhere around 33-34″). I would say that this bow company is living up to its name since this new bow idea is definitely a great “Concept”.
LIFETIME WARRANTY: All Concept Archery bows come with a lifetime warranty to the original owner on non-wearable parts. It’s been our experience from speaking to Kurt and the boys at Concept that they will indeed take care of you if you encounter any issues with your bow; something that we hold in high regard here at Heritage Hunters.
Summary: If you do a lot of your hunting from a ground blind or hike the mountains on those long stalks, you’ll want to take a look at this bow. It’s compact nature makes the Mini 29 extremely maneuverable in the blind and treestand as well as easy to carry on those long hikes to and from the stand. The grip of this bow could be a little slimmer but that’s our personal preference. Furthermore, if your shoulder is giving you trouble at full draw, you may want to consider the let-off capabilities of Concept Archery. What it all boils down to with us is the question of “Would we hunt with this bow?” The answer is a definite YES and we thank the guys at Concept Archery for allowing us to test this unique piece of equipment.
Our Marks on the Mini 29 by Concept Archery
Workmanship: 4.5 out of 5
The quality components (solid piece riser and needle bearings for example) put this bow in the “Top of the Line” category.
Balance: 4.5 out of 5
The bow balances well in the hand even with the slightly chunky grip. We’d still like to test it out with the slimmer wood grip however.
Draw Cycle: 4.5 out of 5
I actually got accustomed to the draw on this Little dude. The draw is very smooth for letting off a full 99%. Once you get it back, the wall is extremely solid and your other shoulder will give out before your draw shoulder will on this bow.
Noise / Handshock: 4.5 out of 5
I actually thought this bow was going to have more handshock than it did. After coming off of testing the Limbsaver zone (which had zero handshock), this bow held it’s own and then some.
Speed: 4 out of 5
When you take into account the fact that you’re holding 1% of the draw weight at full draw, the speed we got out of this bow was very good with a relatively heavy hunting arrow!
Overall Value: 4.5 out of 5
As we’ve stated before, the 2 attributes of this bow that is going to make it hard to beat are the Let-off value and the size (29 1/8″ ATA). If I was going on a spot and stalk hunt, or doing some ground blind hunting this fall, this is the first bow I’d consider.
For more pictures on this bow and some forum discussion: CLICK HERE
For More information on this bow or others from Concept Archery, visit: www.conceptarchery.comï¿½
“Till next time, get out there and practice….We all know you need it!”
Accessories Used in Testing:
HHA 1 Pin Brushfire Sight: http://www.hhasports.com/sights/brushfire.htm
S-coil stabilizer www.simsvibrationlab.com/Products/Archery/S_Coil_Stabilizer.aspx
G5 Meta Peep www.g5outdoors.com/#sec_metaline
Firenock Lighted Nocks www.firenock.com/index.htm
ProChrono Digital PAL Chronograph
Ozcrest Custom Wraps: www.ozarchery.com
Victory Arrows: http://www.victoryarchery.com/
Covert Hunting Blinds: http://www.coverthunting.com/