Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer Review
We're big fans of Bee Stinger (and we'll explain why in a moment), and we've used a number of their stabilizers. The Hunter Xtreme is one of their standouts, and we'll discuss in detail why 1) we think it's a truly good option, and 2) why it's not perfect, and the (very few) features which (mildly) irk us.
Before we jump into our Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer review, let's start off with a quick overview and then get down and dirty:
SUMMARY: BEE STINGER SPORT HUNTER XTREME STABILIZER
The Hunter Xtreme is a great option for bowhunters looking to 1) quiet their bows down during and after the shot sequence, and 2) add some balance and gobble up some vibration. The cylindrical shape allows for the stabilizer's internal mechanisms (the Sims Internal Harmonic Dampener and De-Resonator) to function, and the removable 1-ounce discs at the stabilizer head allow for fantastic personalization.
It's not a great pick for target archers, and it's not the lightest stabilizer out there so it's probably not great for the "ultra-light" hunting crowd, but for the rest of us bowhunters who are looking for a solid stabilizer, we think this is a great option.
Bee Stinger, The Company
When we do product reviews, we always try to give a little background about the company making the product we're reviewing, and we're happy to do that with Bee Stinger, because they do something we *really* appreciate when it comes to archery/bowhunting companies: they focus on a single product, and throw all their resources at it.
Some companies try to do a bit of everything and do an *OK* job at it, but we find that the real stand-out companies use their energies/monies to focus on a single piece of equipment, and get it right.
And that's what Bee Stinger does: they focus on stabilizers and put much of their research and development into creating new ways to provide balance bows, gobble up vibration, and keep things quiet. That's a pretty hard thing to do, and there's a lot of work and physics smarts that go into it. Any old company can take a gob of rubber, roll it out into a tube, and call it a stabilizer (and some do, sadly!), but it takes a lot of effort to make a tool that actually benefits your shot.
So, to start things off, a thumbs up to Bee Stinger for maintaining quality of focus. We don't really understand why you're named Bee Stinger, but we love you guys nonetheless.
One more info tid-bit: Bee Stinger is owned be a company named Vista Outdoor LLC, which owns a number of outdoor companies and shooting companies. They actually also own Gold Tip, which makes some really fantastic arrows. So it looks like that “quality of focus” spreads to other parts of their business, as well.
So let's talk pros/cons:
Pros of the Hunter Xtreme
In our minds, there are two factors that make this stabilizer a standout:
It's Adjustable. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in the world of stabilizers, it is. It’s one of the most interesting—but also one of the most common-sense—aspects of this stabilizer: it features 1-ounce weights that you can add to the stabilizer to give it heft, or take off to make it lighter.
We love this feature, not only because every hunting bow is different—and goodness gracious, there are a lot of hunting bows out there—but because *every individual's shot cycle* is different. Adjustability is an incredible tool, and while it does mean that you'll have to take the time to set it up (and we'll talk about that in a second), it's a huge plus.
Oodles of R and D. We mentioned this briefly in our "Bee Stinger, The Company" above, but there's a lot of technology in higher-end stabilizers. The Sports Hunter Xtreme includes something called the "Sims Internal Harmonic Dampener and De-Resonator." Unless we're wrong—and we were unable to get anyone on the phone to verify this—but "Sims" is the technology owned by Limbsaver (see business description here and the small text under the Limbsaver emblem here). They also make stabilizers, and they, too, focus most of their energies on balancing and silencing bows.
Those two things—the Sims Internal Harmonic Dampener and De-Resonator—are designed to create a one-two punch: the harmonic dampener is there to minimize some of the vibration produced at the riser of the bow and transfer it to the stabilizer of the bow, and the de-resonator is there to keep things quiet.
This all happens *inside* the stabilizer, and that is, in our humble opinion, a superior design for a stabilizer. Lower-end stabilizers are usually a single piece—usually made of rubber—and the whole thing shakes like a leaf when you shoot the bow. Those types of stabilizers do, in fact, gobble up a lot of bounce and twang, but the stabilizers with internal dampeners seem to be superior.
All of that can add up to more accuracy, better groupings, and if you're bowhunting, a quick harvest.
With all that said, though, the Xtreme is not perfect. So let's look at...
Cons of the Hunter Xtreme
We’ll start with a familiar one…
It's Adjustable! Yes, we just went on a long ramble about how it's sooooooo great that you can shoot, see how your bow performs, shoot again, and see how your bow performs, then shoot again x100 and see how your bow performs. We love that sort of thing, and we can happily whittle away an entire afternoon doing so, but we realize: that's not for everyone. In fact, that would drive some people absolutely nuts.
If you're the kind of person who likes gear-out-of-the-box, we'd suggest you look for another stabilizer. The Windjammer Bow Stabilizer is a similar option. We like this one more, in the grand scheme of things, but the Windjammer doesn't require all the tweaking that this one does.
It's Not Light. The Xtreme is not the lightest stabilizer out there, and if you're spot-and-stalk hunting, it can add some noticeable weight to you bow—especially after a long jaunt over the mountains and through the woods. For all the guff we give rubber stabilizers, that's one advantage that they have over higher-end stabilizers—they're usually a lot lighter.
That Yellow Logo! Big, bright, loud—come on, guys! We're trying to hide ourselves in the forest here! Not a dealbreaker, but something that occasionally irks us.
Some Usage Tips If You're Interested
If you do find yourself going with this model as your stabilizer, we'd politely provide the following advice:
Keep Track of Those Weights. They can get lost, and if you're in the habit of lending out your bow, make sure you check to make sure they're all there when you get your bow back. We're not sure if replacements are sold, you definitely want to keep track of those.
Re-Calibrate. We, as archers and bowhunters, tend to forget that our own personal shot cycles change over time. We get stronger/weaker, heavier/lighter, taller/shorter(!), etc. And, on top of all of that, our bows change a little as well—limbs loosen up, bow strings extend a bit, etc. Every couple of months, it can hurt to take one of the discs out and see if makes things better/worse.
Recognize Common Problems. The most common issues, in our experience, is:
1) You feel like the sight is pulling you down, in which you may want to remove a few discs, as your stabilizer may be too heavy;
2) Your sight wobbles up and down, in which case it can make sense to add a little bit more weight at the center stabilizer; and
3) If your sight has a bubble to show when you're level and you're having difficulty keeping that bubble centered, a side stabilizer (like the Stabilizer Kit, which we'll mention in a second) may help.
The Bee Sting Stabilizer Kit
This is a "next-level" tool when it comes to stabilizers, and we thought we'd mention it here, because it seems like many people don't know about it. It utilizes the same physics to provide stability to the shot process, but it's a little less "obvious" than a stabilizer—and it's certainly an extra step—but a lot of folks swear by it. It is:
The Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer Kit. These are similar, in theory, to the V-bars/back-bars you'd see on a target bow. This kind of setup is a mainstay of Olympic target archers and other competitors who are shooting long. They provide a counter-balance to detract from some of that side-to-side motion, and if you're looking to do some long-distance shooting, they can be a great tool (and we think they're a fantastic fit for bowhunters in the Western United States, who are aiming at far-off targets).
The down side to it is, yes, you'll need to do a loooooooooooot more testing and tweaking, but it can provide a lot of extra "shot inertia," where your bow remains unshaken during arrow release.
Wrapping Up the Sport Hunter Xtreme
We're big fans of Bee Sting, and if you're a bow hunter, we think this can be a powerful tool when adjusted correctly. We don't recommend it for target archers (target archers would be better served by a traditional long-length stabilizer with V-bars), and we also don't recommend it for folks who want a ready-out-of-the-box option (the model is highly adjustable, and there's a fair amount of testing involved to get the stabilizer set up right).
For everybody else—and particularly bowhunters—we recommend it highly. The Sims Internal Harmonic Dampener and De-Resonator can add a lot of balance to your shot, and that can translate into better accuracy.
OK, that about wraps it up for us. Good luck, have fun, and be safe!