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Author Topic: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic  (Read 384 times)

Online Charlie Lamb

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Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« on: August 11, 2004, 08:10:00 PM »
Gamemaster Classic Bow Test  

I was walking up the mountain trail, wisps of early morning fog still drifted across the lake below, when a shrill whistle snapped me to attention. A rockchuck had me pegged and was telling the entire mountainside that I was there.
He no sooner gave his shrill warning, than he retreated to the safety of a nearby granite crevice.
I knew full well that more than likely he would duck for cover and reappear in a minute or two. Dodging behind the closest boulder, I nocked an arrow and approached his hiding spot from an angle different than where he would be looking for me.
As I closed the distance to fifteen yards, I peeked carefully around another boulder. There he was! With just his head showing and knowing that he wasn’t likely to show much more of himself, I slowly raised my bow.
It came up, dead steady and light as a feather in my hand. As I drew the bow to anchor it’s weight came on steady and smooth. The arrow slid soundlessly the last couple of inches to my anchor over the feather rest that came on the bow and I leveled it at the diminutive target in front of me.
With blazing speed the Snuffer tipped arrow sliced forward, clipping the chuck across the top of his head. He slid lifelessly back into the crevice. I held the bow up for a moment, admiring its simple beauty. It’s black backing of fiberglass and white belly glass hid the precisely ground maple laminations underneath. It was a departure from the clear glass that has become the standard of today’s bowyers, but hidden in the simplicity of the limb’s appearance was the complex formula and mastery of legendary bowyer Jack Howard.
Also hidden in the bow’s riser of black phenolic (actually it’s Jack’s own formula molded, shaped and jet black) and richly colored Vermillion was a steel stiffening rod... another stroke of the bowyers mastery.
As I retrieved my quarry I thought about the events and the time that had transpired before I’d come to this place, on this mountain, with this bow.

Almost half a century had passed since I first saw a Howard Gamemaster in a magazine. Oh how I’d longed for that bow. A bow that was shown in pictures with its maker and a group of arrows in the bulls eye of a target.... All touching.
Or in the photos of monster mule deer bucks, giant bull elk and beautiful pronghorn antelope that accompanied the articles written by Jack Howard, Doug Kittredge, or Jim Dougherty.
Most often, Jack had posted himself on the side of a mountain in some picture book scene and waited while watching his intended quarry for days before making his move and delivering a single fatal arrow from his beloved Gamemaster with deadly efficiency.

Fate is often unkind to the dreams of a young man and so it was that the years passed with no Gamemaster of my own. There were the college years and a small, unpopular war to be fought. Marriage, family and career bit off a chunk of life and still no Gamemaster. Finally in my retirement, children grown and with children of their own, it came to my attention that the Gamemaster was still being made. Could it be?  Indeed it was!!

Through friends in archery I was able to contact the old bowyer and hero of my youth. After some correspondence, I found myself awaiting the arrival of my very own Gamemaster.

While waiting for it to arrive I pondered my decision to have one after all these years. Would it live up this old man’s expectations? Or would it fail to meet a young man’s dreams. Could the motivation be hero worship? Almost surely that was a factor. Only time and the bow in hand would tell.

When the UPS guy walked up to the door with a long cardboard box under his arm, I felt like a kid at Christmas. This was going to be cool.... way cool!! I cut away the tape, which secured the box, and slowing pulled the bow from the box. It was safely hidden in it’s own fleece sock.
As the bow slid from the sock, I thrilled at its simple beauty. Black fiberglass back and white belly glass with the distinctive Howard logo.
The Black composition and vermilion riser glistened under it’s carefully sprayed finish. I could hardly wait to string it and head for the sand pile out behind the house. First I had a few details to attend to.

I’ve never had a hard time tuning a bow. Most of the numbers... arrow spine, nocking point height, brace, have always fallen within certain parameters for me. I expected no less from the Gamemaster Classic.
My great surprise was in the small instruction card I received with the bow. It said to set the brace at 6 1/8” to 6 3/4”. That’s a quarter inch spread if you’re having trouble with the fractions. I settled on the lower setting and immediately got great arrow flight with a number of arrow spines. The nocking point was set at 1/4” and was perfect there.
Bow tuned.

Once the bow was set up, I began a series of shooting and chronograph tests to determine the best arrow for the bow and get an idea of its speed. Force draw was also worked out to see how the bow drew out to a 30” draw.
My initial impression of the bow was that it got stiff toward the end of the draw. It didn’t turn out that way in reality.

My friend Jack Millet had sent me his own Gamemaster Jet to find out what it would do and how it compared to the Classic, so I will post those figures also for the comparison.

Here are the draw weight numbers.

Gamemaster Classic (64“) ... 56# @ 28”
                                             59# @ 29”
                                             62# @ 30”
Gamemaster Jet (66”)       ... 56# @ 28”
                                             58# @ 29”
                                             60# @ 30“
Sky Hawk T.D. (62”) *    ... 56# @ 28”
                                             59# @ 29”
                                             61# @30”
                                                                     * Chosen for a “control” bow in the tests


All shots through the chronograph were done by hand and at my full draw of 30”

The arrows I chose to shoot through the chrono were as follows...


1. Carbonwood 4000 w/ 125 gr. steel adapter and 125 gr. field point.
    Weight... 570 grains
     
2. Carbonwood 4000 w/ 45 gr. aluminum adapter and 125 gr. field point.
    Weight... 460 grains.

3. 2216 Easton aluminum w/ aluminum adapter and 125 gr. field point.
     Weight... 550 grains

4. 2114 Easton aluminum w/ aluminum adapter and 125 grain field point.

Here are the results of the chronograph testing. The speed is the product of averaging ten shots and throwing out the highest reading and the lowest.

Jack Howard Gamemaster Classic
Arrow #1... 183 FPS

            #2...193 FPS

            #3...188 FPS

            #4...191 FPS

Jack Howard Gamemaster Jet

Arrow #1...180 FPS

           #2...190 FPS

           #3...182 FPS

            #4...188 FPS


Sky Hawk

Arrow #1...175 FPS

            #2...191 FPS

            #3...184 FPS  

Draw what conclusions you will from these tests. I am aware that the numbers could be different from one chronograph to the next so all numbers should be considered for comparison sake only.

In that comparison I was pleased with the overall speed of both Howard bows and particularly impressed with the force draw of the Jet model. That’s one smooth drawing bow.

I had picked my old Sky Hawk as a control in the tests. I knew it had good speed and that it would take a “good” bow to beat it.  The difference in weight couldn’t be helped and in the end only proved to accentuate the speed of the Howard bows.

All in all I find that the speed of the Howard bows is great, but is exceeded by their “shootability”. Each bow sets solid in the hand on release and are both very forgiving in their shooting characteristics.

With minimum silencers the Gamemaster Classic was as silent as any bow I’ve shot.

It’s interesting that the string supplied with all Howard bows is not the standard Dacron string that other manufacturer’s might use. Neither is it fast flight or one of the newer “steel” string materials.
What it is, is a string material that Jack found clear back in the 1950’s. He selected this material for it’s characteristic stretch... that’s right, it stretches more than Dacron. This flies in the face of what most consider makes an efficient string these days.
As a matter of fact, Jack claims that the string material he uses contributes to the speed of the bow and it’s smooth shooting characteristics.
I’ll be doing some testing of this material in a future article and expect the best from it.

The Gamemaster Classsic is a bow ahead of its time. With minimal recurve, broad limbs, special formula composition riser and imbedded steel reinforcing rod for added strength, the bow not only lives up to the claims of it’s maker, in my book it exceeds them.

I guess it’s just right that the Howard bows are hard to get a hold of. Jack has been trying to retire for some time now and only makes them on a limited basis. I’m told that he has discontinued the Jet model all together.

Someone out there is missing a bet in not picking up Jack’s business. These are as good a bow as you will ever see or shoot... I’m one who thinks they are better.
Hunt Sharp

Charlie

Offline W. H. Bill Fuller

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2004, 08:46:00 PM »
Thanks for the testing and report.  I've long known of Jack and his bows but unfortunately have not ever shot one.  I used to order items from him back in the '70's and got my first elk call from him.  I'll probably have to get a used Howard bow in the future, if I had the bucks I would buy his outfit but that is just a pipe dream for now.  Thanks...and I tip my hat to Jack.
Bow shootin' 51 years & still counting.
MT Bowhunters Assoc. Life Member

Offline Roughcountry

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2004, 12:44:00 AM »
Thanks for the great report Charlie. I just love it when a product of any kind stands the real test of time. My hats off to Mister Howard. I am a firm beliver in the saying , If it ain't broke don't fix it. Hope I get to shoot one someday.

Offline PAPALAPIN

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2004, 09:48:00 PM »
Like Charlie, I used to drool over the ads for the GAMEMASTERs in ARCHERY MAGAZINE as a teenager, never thinkin I would ever have one.  I now have 4 Gamemaster JETS and one Howard hunter.  I also have one of the original GAMEMASTERS.  I don't have a newer CLASSIC yet.  Maybe someday.  With a rosewood riser, the JET is the most beautiful bow I have ever seen, and the best shooter. Jack Guaranteed me that my JET would be the fastest bow I ever shot.  It is!  I find it interesting that it took another Jack Howard bow (Charlies Classic) to beat its speed.

As far as a I am concerned, there are the Jack Howard bows, and then there are other bows.  If you ever have a chance to get one, new or used, don't pass up the chance.  You will not be sorry

JACK MILLET - TEAM GAMEMASTER
JACK MILLET-TBG,TGMM Family of the Bow


"Don't worry about tomorrow.  If the sun doesn't come up in the morning, we will play in the dark" - ME

The most important part of your hunting setup is the broadhead.  The rest is just the delivery system.

Offline PAPALAPIN

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2004, 03:14:00 PM »
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JACK MILLET-TBG,TGMM Family of the Bow


"Don't worry about tomorrow.  If the sun doesn't come up in the morning, we will play in the dark" - ME

The most important part of your hunting setup is the broadhead.  The rest is just the delivery system.

Offline Ric O'Shay

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2004, 11:07:00 AM »
My Classic arrived two days ago and I couldn't be more pleased or impressed. The grip at first seemed a little uncomfortable, but that was because I fought the way it was designed for hand placement. After adjusting the way I wanted to grip the bow everything seemed to fall into place. Including each and every arrow that flew from it. The raised feather rest took a few shots to get used to as the arrows hit about 6" above where I thought they should. After about 15 to 20 shots I adjusted to the bow and at 20 yards I consistently placed 3 out of 3 arrows inside a 6oz paper cup.
The question I keep asking myself is "Why didn't I get a Jack Howard bow 40 years ago?"
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.   - Thomas Jefferson

Online Bill Turner

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2004, 11:57:00 AM »
Yesterday my travels took me to Ric O'Shay's office where I was introduced to his newly arrived Jack Howard bow. Being relatively new to the traditional world I was unfamilier with this bowyer. The Classic is truly a work of art and boy does it shoot. Now if I can only figure out a way to talk my buddy Ric O'Shay out of it. Can't see me shooting for bows with him any time soon.

Offline PAPALAPIN

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2005, 05:10:00 PM »
SO WHEN ARE WE GONNA SEE CARBON CLASSIC REVIEWS?
JACK MILLET-TBG,TGMM Family of the Bow


"Don't worry about tomorrow.  If the sun doesn't come up in the morning, we will play in the dark" - ME

The most important part of your hunting setup is the broadhead.  The rest is just the delivery system.

Online Charlie Lamb

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2005, 09:25:00 PM »
Soon! Very soon!! I'd really like to shoot something with it first. That may have to wait.
Hunt Sharp

Charlie

Offline PAPALAPIN

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2005, 07:42:00 AM »
Finally gotmy CLASSIC and it is everything CHARLIE says it is, and more.
JACK MILLET-TBG,TGMM Family of the Bow


"Don't worry about tomorrow.  If the sun doesn't come up in the morning, we will play in the dark" - ME

The most important part of your hunting setup is the broadhead.  The rest is just the delivery system.

Offline Phil Magistro

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2005, 09:48:00 AM »
Charlie, is the review of the Carbon Classic ready yet?
"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."    - Oscar Wilde

Offline PAPALAPIN

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2005, 02:41:00 PM »
CHARLLIIIEEEEE  HELLLOOOOOOO

Anybody home.
JACK MILLET-TBG,TGMM Family of the Bow


"Don't worry about tomorrow.  If the sun doesn't come up in the morning, we will play in the dark" - ME

The most important part of your hunting setup is the broadhead.  The rest is just the delivery system.

Offline bluecat

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Re: Testing the Howard Gamemaster Classic
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2006, 06:58:00 PM »
ttt

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