Tru Ball Max Hunter Review
We've been looking forward to discussing this bow release, because it’s a very interesting model. It's got a one-of-a-kind design—which we'll explain below—and it's a nice alternative to some of the more popular versions that have been on the market for a while.
So here it is! Our Tru Ball Max Hunter review. Let's start with a quick overview, and then go through the details:
SUMMARY: TRU BALL MAX HUNTER 3
With its press-forward trigger mechanism, the Hunter is a unique little fella, and we think it can be a great pick if you'd like to get away from traditional thumb releases, but don't want to switch to a wrist release and deal with the issues those bring. It's adjustable—and easy to adjust, too!—and the 360-degree swivel head is a nice design feature. It's not for everyone—some people find the press-forward feature a little odd, and you may need to be careful if you're a bowhunter and you like a highly sensitive trigger—but that's for you to decide. We find it to be a very capable model, and one we like a lot.
Now let's dive in...
Max Hunter Features: What We Like
The Max Hunter has a lot of the same features as another solid offering from Tru Ball, the Tru Ball Max Pro, but it differs in some very important ways. The stand-out feature of the Max Hunter is...
It Has a Press-Forward Thumb Trigger
If you're new to the world of bow releases, here's what that means:
On most hand-held bow releases, the mechanism by which you release your arrow is a thumb barrel, which you *pull backwards* when you're ready to shoot. We've seen hundreds of hand-held bow releases at this point, and on almost every one of them, that barrel-style trigger is the norm. The Spot Hogg Whipper Snapper is a good example of that—it features a big, round wheel that you pull back when you're ready to let one fly (and you can read our Spot Hogg Whipper Snapper review here).
The trigger mechanism on the Max Hunter, however, is attached to the actual handle of the release, and you give it a little nudge forward with your inside of your thumb when it's go-time. For those of you who find it weird or awkward to pull a barrel backwards, this can be a very nice alternative. It can be great for target shooting because it can utilize some of the "surprise" element that hinge releases feature, and it can be good for hunters, who may find it awkward to use a thumb barrel when it's "go-time" (especially if you're using gloves).
So that's the stand-out feature of the Max Hunter—that push-forward trigger mechanism. As far as we know, it's one of the few models on the market that has that feature, so if you're looking for an alternative to the thumb trigger release, this is the one we'd recommend.
(affiliate link in image)
It's Actually Easy to Adjust!
This is the other fantastic feature of this bow release: it's actually simple to adjust! You just get a hex wrench and twist the easy-to-find screw on the thumb trigger itself. Easy peasy.
On so many models, you need to search high and low for the adjustability screws—and very often they're hidden *behind* the trigger, like they are on the Tru Fire Edge bow release, so you need to pull the trigger to actually find the screw—and good luck figuring that out if you didn’t already know it. Then, once you find the adjustability screws, you have to figure out how to actually adjust them. It can be torturous.
With the Max Hunter, you turn the screw clockwise to make the trigger more sensitive, and turn it counter-clockwise to make it less sensitive. Wallah, done, awesome.
Check out the video from the fantastic Mr. PJ Reilly of Lancaster Archery for how to adjust the sensitivity of the trigger (skip to 1:25 for the exact spot):
OK, so those two things—the press-forward thumb trigger and the easy of adjustability—are the real features of the Max Hunter. The next bunch of features are, as we mentioned, very similar to the Tru Ball Max Pro bow release. They're good things; they're just very similar.
It Features a 360-Degree Swivel
While it would be nice to imagine that we all pull the draw string back perfectly and without torqueing it, that's not usually the case—and even high-performing archers tend to exhibit some rotational movement of their wrists during a draw. The 360-swivel is a nice feature, because it essentially nullifies any torque on your D-loop / bow string during the draw, because it spins to match the motion of your wrist as you pull the bow string back.
That's not really an exotic feature—lots of bow releases have it, and you’ll find it on most high-performing archery releases—but it's pretty crucial, so it's nice to see.
The Caliper Jaws Close Automatically
This isn't the fanciest feature in the world, but it's good to have: after a shot, the jaws of the caliper close, so you don't have to worry about re-setting them. Most mid-range/deluxe bow releases have that functionality—but plenty of basic models don't—so it's also nice to see. That "auto-close" function also lets you attach the release to the D-loop on your bow string, so you keep it there and use your hands freely, and the release will be waiting there when you're ready to shoot.
The calipers are also designed to be silent, which is a must-have for bowhunters. It's not really that important to target archers, but for bow hunters, it's a huge priority—it can be wildly frustrating to find game, get a lock on it, and then have it dart away because your gear gave you away.
It's also nice, by the way, that it's a caliper release. There are plenty of folks who have fallen out of love with caliper releases and now opt for a hook release or a closed-hook release (like the Tru Ball Fang Bow Release), but calipers have done right by a lot of folks over the years, and we find the recent trend of dismissing them as "old-school" is kind of silly. We've always found caliper releases to work just fine (provided, of course, things are tuned correctly, and you're using a good model).
It's Made in Camo but Also in Black
Here's why that's noteworthy: usually, whenever you see an archery product that features some kind of camo, it's a message to bowhunters: "Hey! This one is for you!" While there probably are plenty of target archers who like camo, camo is—and this is a bit of an understatement—a pretty important pattern to bowhunters.
(And, as if we needed another clue—it's named the "Hunter," so we're comfortable saying it's designed with hunters in mind.)
With that said, it's also offered in black, which is nice option, and surprisingly, when we see the Max Hunter at the range, it's usually in the black pattern. So—very smart on Tru Ball's part. Many archery companies get a little camo-obsessed, and forget that people very often want non-camo options.
It's Got Grooves Inside the Finger Spots
This isn't a huge deal, but it's a nice little design feature: small horizontal grooves inside the fingers of the bow release, that provide a little more grip. That can provide a little more stability, especially if you're shooting without gloves.
Features That Are “So-So”
While we think this is a one-a-kind model with a unique design, there are one or two things people may not like about it. They include...
The Press-Forward Thumb Trigger!
Yes, you are correct: above, we mentioned what a unique and fantastic design the Max Hunter has, what with its press-forward thumb trigger. But... well, some people may not like that! After all, there's probably a reason why the majority of hand-held bow releases made are thumb-barrel versions.
So, here's why some people may not like it:
1) The trigger contours much of the back of the handle. That's a lot of acreage, and if you like that thumb barrels are out of the way—meaning, you can draw and be certain that you won't graze / trigger the thumb barrel—this may not be a perfect fit for you, because there is definitely the chance that you could graze the back of the handle during the draw if you’re not careful; and
2) Some people think that the push-forward motion feels odd. This is probably true for folks who rifle hunt—the idea of pushing a trigger forward may feel a little weird. This is a matter of personal taste, because there are plenty of folks who find using a thumb barrel weird and counter-intuitive.
The Head That Holds the Calipers is a Little Wide
This is true on the Tru Ball Max Pro, as well—if you look at the part of the device that actually holds the calipers, it's a little broad. That can feel like a little much between your fingers, and on other models, it's a little bit thinner.
This isn't a huge deal, but if you're very specific about the "feel" of your gear, it may be something to consider. We usually recommend the Tru Fire Edge (affiliate link) if you think that'll be an issue for you (but note, that release has the traditional thumb barrel, and not the press-forward trigger that the Max Hunter features).
That's It for This Fella
Alright, that’s it for our Max Hunter review! It’s a very unique design, and if you’re tired of thumb barrels—and goodness gracious, we’re tired of typing out the words “thumb barrels”—this is what we’d recommend.
We hope this helps—good luck, God bless, and have fun!