We recently received a portable bow press from Nite Hawk archery and couldn’t wait to try it out. It came packaged in a rather inconspicuous box that didn’t give a hint of what was inside, especially given how light the package was.
Once we opened the box, the bow press was packaged in a plastic bag that had been heat pressed to keep the items in proper position. It only took a few seconds to open it up and lay it out on the table to take a closer look.
Materials and Design
The Nite Hawk Portable Bow Press is constructed from lightweight aluminum, but designed in such a way that it has a very solid feel. The braces for the limb tips are set up as two pieces that connect using built in screws that you can easily hand tighten to secure to the limbs. It is a nice touch that the parts that make up the braces are attached together with a small cord to ensure they aren’t lost when not in use.
It utilizes a turnbuckle system to compress the bow which gives a slow and steady method of compressing, allowing you to to ensure everything is moving as it should be with no surprises. The turnbuckle is large enough to be easy to grab and is made from a material that does not slip in your hand.
The two end braces are attached via a piece of nylon webbing that isn’t too thick, but certainly thick enough to handle the stress of compressing a compound crossbow up to 200#!
Ease of Use
When you first look at the Nite Hawk Portable Bow Press, you might feel a bit overwhelmed at all of the parts, especially if you are unfamiliar with bow presses. We would strongly recommend you take a few moments and visit Nite Hawk’s website where they have an excellent instructional video. You can click the link: http://nitehawkarchery.com/My_Homepage_Files/Page1.html
The written instructions that are included are a bit hard to follow, but become very clear once you watch the video. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a million!
To use the bow press, you need to first make sure that the turnbuckle is unscrewed a good amount to allow for plenty of travel to compress the bow limbs. Once you do that, you simply attach the braces to each limb tip, pull tight on the webbing to tighten it up and you are ready to go. We know that sounds over simplified, and it is a little, but it really isn’t as difficult as you might think.
To attach the braces to the limb tips, you just place the brace along the outside of the limb, and attach the mounting bracket to it from inside the limbs. This is done by a set of screws that are permanently attached to the bracket which go over the top and bottom of the limb and attach into the brace. Then you just tighten them snugly against the limb and you are ready to go. Again…watch the video!
Once everything was attached, we used the turnbuckle to compress the crossbow. Keep in mind that before you apply tension to the strap, the braces will tend to swivel a bit off the limbs…this goes away as soon as tension is applied. Our test crossbow had a 185# draw weight, and the portable bow press handled it with complete ease. It was truly only necessary to use one hand to turn the turnbuckle and fully compress the crossbow. It takes quite a few turns to fully compress, but with the ease of each turn, it was no issue at all.
Once compressed, we were able to change out the string without issue. At no time during any of the work we performed did the crossbow ever feel like it wanted to release or that there was any issue with the press.
After the work we wanted to do was done, we simply turned the turnbuckle in the opposite direction until there was slight tension on the string. At that point we were able to inspect everything to ensure it was all seated properly, then released the bow press fully, detached the braces, and we were ready to go.
The Nite Hawk Portable Bow Press seems like it is too lightweight to get the job done, but that simply is not true. It is a very capable bow press that had no issues with compressing our test crossbow. It felt solid throughout the compression and decompression process, and its slow and steady compression ensured it remained well seated and didn’t give us a nasty surprise. It was very easy to turn and only took a few minutes to set up.
The Nite Hawk press is lightweight and small enough that it is an item that any hunter that uses a compound crossbow should keep in their field bag, along with a spare string and cables. Given the cost of fuel and the time involved in driving to hunting locations, this is an investment well worth it to ensure a frayed string or cable never ruins your hunt.