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Thread: Scott Archery 'Exxus' Trigger – Comparative review: Unicorn's Exist!

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    Administrator dbjac's Avatar
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    Scott Archery 'Exxus' Trigger – Comparative review: Unicorn's Exist!

    UNICORN'S EXIST:

    Several years ago, Scott Archery began to develop a trigger (‘thumb button’) to compete in a market totally dominated by Carter at the time. Called the Ibex, it quickly earned a cult following and was very highly anticipated for many features that weren’t on offer at the time, such as its ergonomic shape, adjustable grub-screw spring tension system and highly adjustable thumb post.



    Many of the Pro’s (notably Braden Gellenthien, Darrin Christenberry) received prototype models early in development. However, production issues saw the public release date for the Ibex blow out, and after years of waiting it was termed “The Unicorn”; people kept saying it existed, but no one had actually seen it.

    Determined to break into the trigger market, Scott Archery persevered with development, and we can now say Unicorns do exist!
    At the ATA show earlier this year Scott publically released the finished outcome of years of development; the Exxus.

    It’s worth the wait. It is very different from the early Ibex prototypes we’ve seen.
    It's a beautifully slim design, with a two-toned casing either Red/Black or Camo/Black.









    I’m going to run through a few features of the release, compared to a Carter Insatiable and a STAN Shootoff (large). Hopefully it’ll help you all make informed decisions about which release you want to play around with.
    I’ll try to cover the weight, adjustability (trigger position, sensitivity, travel), as well as handle size and shape (head position, finger position) and the effects that might have on draw-length and anchor.

    WEIGHT:

    Scott Archery ‘Exxus’: 70g
    Carter Enterprises ‘Insatiable 3’: 81g
    STAN ‘Shootoff’ (Large): 87g

    So, this doesn’t really matter much, and they all feel quite nice in the hand. It’s not that the Insatiable or the Shootoff feel ‘heavy’, but you will certainly notice how ‘light’ the Scott feels in your hand. This is obviously because I’m used to the weight of the other releases.

    ADJUSTABILITY:

    Sensitivity/Travel adjustment:

    Scott Archery ‘Exxus’: High
    Carter Enterprises ‘Insatiable 3’: Low
    STAN ‘Shootoff’ (Large): High

    The Carter is the benchmark in all releases. They have been dominant for decades, and only recently have notable alternatives really begun to steal back the market share. So it’s probably best to start with this. The Carter is a huge improvement of lesser refined releases from yesteryear such as the Fletchermatic’s that some of our older readers will remember. My Insatiable 3 represents the classic Carter design, a style that has been unchanged since they implemented the ‘ITS’ system to give a little sensitivity adjustment in the form of interchangeable springs.

    When STAN released their range of releases, they huge support thanks primarily to the adjustability of their design. The Shootoff represents their most recent iteration of release design and includes an adjustable grub-screw for micro-adjustments to spring tension and travel, as well as a highly configurable thumb position similar to what was being used by Scott about the same time on the Ibex.

    The Exxus is very similar to the Shootoff, with interchangeable springs for macro-adjustments, and an adjustable grub-screw for micro adjustments to tension.

    “Crispness” comes from a balance between trigger sensitivity and trigger travel. Both the Shootoff and the Exxus can be set to have a really nice and super crisp shot. Personally, the Shootoff is actually too crisp. I find that because the release can be set to break with such little movement, I can’t apply a lot of pressure comfortably without winding in the sensitivity to coarsen the shot. I found myself winding out the travel to create a little bit of movement in the trigger or shooting too light of a spring setting just to avoid that strange sensation. I haven’t noticed that sensation with the Exxus as of yet, but it can certainly be set to have a very crisp shot. The Insatiable is difficult to set to be as crisp as the other two because you don’t have such fine control over the sensitivity settings.

    I really want to mention here that I can NEVER get two Carter releases to feel identical. I’ve tried and tried to set up a ‘backup’ trigger, but they just NEVER feel the same. One will be a little too sensitive, or not enough, one a little ‘sloppy’, or one too crisp. Something is always not quite right. And that is a HUGE drawback to me. I don’t like to feel like I’m ‘locked’ to one piece of equipment in case something happens like it gets misplaced or breaks.

    It’s safe to say that both the Shootoff and the Exxus leave the Insatiable in the dust when it comes to adjustability. But that’s to be expected, considering the Insatiable is essentially a generation older.

    Trigger Adjustment:

    Scott Archery ‘Exxus’: High
    Carter Enterprises ‘Insatiable 3’: Low
    STAN ‘Shootoff’ (Large): High

    The Insatiable makes use of a simple rotating eccentric thumb post to provide a little adjustment of the trigger position. It’s not necessarily bad, because you’ll get used to a position and shoot just fine, but it doesn’t offer a lot in the way of flexibility of choices.

    Both the Shootoff and Exxus use a slotted fastening system that allows a post to pivot giving about 120 degrees or more of movement of the post. Attached to the post is a pretty conventional thumb post which can swivel 360 degrees. This provides adjustability in positioning of the thumb post in several planes and you’re almost guaranteed to find a comfortable position. The Shootoff differs slightly to the others in the positioning of the thumb post relative to the handle, much deeper into the base of the thumb.

    SIZE & SHAPE:

    I’ve traced the releases keeping the index and middle finger positions the same to show the relative differences. The Blue outline is the Insatiable. The Green is the Shootoff. And the Red is the Exxus. The dot in each trace is where each release locates the d-loop.



    I’ve got the large Shootoff, it’s available in other sizes, but this one is similar to the Insatiable and the Exxus.

    They are all obviously different shapes, as each brand tries to create their own image. However, the Exxus and Insatiable are very close in terms of finger position while the Shootoff is quite different. You'll notice that the Exxus is much, much slimmer than the other releases. It's really very elegant.

    The head positions for the Insatiable and the Exxus are similar, however, the Exxus has a shorter head, so it’s possible that you’ll need to lengthen the D-loop a little bit to keep the same anchor. I haven’t noticed this yet, but I honestly haven’t shot the Exxus much at all. It’s worth pointing out that this is my main gripe with the Shootoff. Not only does it have a shorter head position, but it also locates the string closer to your middle finger. It was necessary for me to adjust my peep-height to keep a comfortable anchor with this release, which prevented me from swapping between my BT and other triggers.

    Because it doesn't really fit anywhere else in this review, I'll mention the finish. While the Insatiable and Shootoff are anodized and polished, the Exxus has a non-slip and wear resistant 'titanium coating'. It's not a rough finish, but its not super polished like the other releases, it feels like it should provide consistent hand position in difficult weather, preventing slip from rain or sweat. This was acutally a big issue I had with my Insatiable in Antalya, the sweat made it pretty slippery, which often lead to me tensing up my hand more than normal and that can effect your release consistency.

    IN SUMMARY:

    The Exxus is really, really nice. It is like a combination of the adjustability of the STAN Shootoff and the comfort of the Carter Insatiable. I’m really looking forward to getting a few more hours behind the Exxus to see if it is as good as I hope, or if some peculiarities begin to present themselves.

    I’ve tried every release made to try and find a ‘modernised’ release that I enjoy shooting and that performs as well as my Carter. I’ve shot Truballs, Carters (even other Instatiables...), Stans, heck I even shot some strange pneumatic thing. But I always come back to the very same Insatiable 3 that I’ve shot since 2005. I’ve eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Exxus, and now it’s here!

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    Much better review than I could have written, and I've had my release for around 2 weeks or so!.

    thanks for the great post.

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    Jonathan Wong chylld's Avatar
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    awesome review derek! extremely thorough and the size/shape tracing is very useful. wish there was such a database for all releases, it can be hard to tell at times which size is a good fit, especially since 'large' in one brand may be the equivalent of 'small' in another.

    i had an afternoon to play with the exxus. although i only shoot hinge now, i did spend many months with a Carter Target 3+ and i much prefer the feel and finish of the exxus. it just feels like a far more premium product, especially when you fire it. it's like the 'thud' when you close a bmw/mercedes door, compared to the clang/rattle you get with a tired/old rustbucket. the trigger position was also perfect straight out of the box - with the release sitting across the middle pads of each finger, the trigger fell into my thumb joint perfectly, and i still had plenty of adjustment left every which way.

    there are a few niggles i couldn't iron out though. first is that if the jaw doesn't stay open after a shot, it's quite hard to open it back up. it isn't loose enough to shake open (like the target 3+) and it's a bit too flat to open with friction i.e. putting a finger on it and trying to 'pull' it across. the cocking lever is quite hard to push in, and there also isn't much positive feedback click when you close the jaw after cocking it. at least 2 or 3 times i thought it was locked when it actually wasn't so it popped right open as soon as i brought my bow up.

    lastly i found it slightly uncomfortable as it is quite thin - i'm used to the fat curviness of the scott black holes. some grip tape would fix that up very quickly though (i also needed to put some on my target 3+)

    overall if i was to get a trigger, it would definitely be an exxus as it's the only trigger i've been able to perform surprise shots with. build and finish is superb and even with the above minor caveats i'd have no problems recommending one. (not that i need to since they're selling out so fast)

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    Quote Originally Posted by chylld View Post
    awesome review derek! extremely thorough and the size/shape tracing is very useful. wish there was such a database for all releases, it can be hard to tell at times which size is a good fit, especially since 'large' in one brand may be the equivalent of 'small' in another.
    Agreed! For those of us that don't have reliable archery shops nearby, we have to rely on testing out releases owned by shooting mates, travelling to stores interstate, or buying sight-unseen online. A database would be a great help.

    It would also be helpful for comparing the position of head & d-loop relative to finger positions, which just can't be done unless you can hold them in your hand. I've got two great releases, but can't swap between the two without changing peep height and anchor. I also have small hands, and have had some trouble finding releases that suit. A database would be ideal.

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    3rd Class Brown Hornet's Avatar
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    Great review buddy....that's probably the best review I have seen on a release ever.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Administrator dbjac's Avatar
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    I've had a little time with this bad boy now, so I can give a bit of a follow up.

    I really like the Scott Exxus.
    I can adjust sensitivy without adjusting the trigger travel. With the Carter you put the spring in, then the only easy adjustment you can make to fine tune it is with trigger travel, which can give a strange sensation if find you need a lot of travel, or it will leave you shooting a release that is too sensitive or too firm to operate cleanly. With the Exxus, you crank down the travel and then wind in the sensitivity adjustment until you can operate it confidently. This is similar to the Shootoff, but the Exxus has a more conventional and familiar handle shape and trigger position, so it was an easy swap from the Insatiable.
    Now I have a nice crisp trigger that is comfortable like my Carter, but that I can fine tune until I can make a confident shot, without spending ages finding a good spring or customising one on the bench grinder. I am also pretty sure I can make two of these releases similar enough to have a nice backup.

    I did have to lengthen my d-loop by about 4mm due to the difference in head length. It wasn't really noticeable at first, but after a while I was a bit uncomfortable.
    The anchor was still felt good, it was solid. But I found myself pulling shots to the left. For me this rings alarm bells right away as it is usually indicative of too much tension in my bow arm, or too short in draw (which creates the tension and other issues).
    From the outlines I developed for the releases I knew about how much I'd have to change the length. Of course it felt a little long for a short time, but you have to wait it out with that sort of a change as so much of it is proprioceptive sensation, you have to let your body get used to it again.


    I'd like to explain how I think is best to approach setting up a release like the Exxus (or the Shootoff).
    (NOTE: If you have an ITS Carter like my Insatiable, don't mess with this too much. You'll find yourself chasing your tail around with spring changes and travel adjustments and you'll never be happy with your release again.)

    Set the travel:
    The first step is to set the trigger travel.
    Travel is bad news, if you feel like you're moving the trigger, you're opening the door for some nasty habits to creep in down the track (if they're not there already).
    On all three of the triggers I reviewed, the travel is adjusted via a screw which essentially moves the trigger further in the direction of activation. It will do so until it is beyond the point to make the release fire. Obviously you need to be able to cock the trigger, so the secret is to ride the line close to the point of firing without going beyond it.
    To achieve this you need to cock the release and crank the screw down until the release fires, then back it out about 1/4 of a turn so that the release can operate. This will set the release to have very little travel before activating. Once you're used to setting them up you can afford to play around with setting it even closer to the point of firing.

    Set the sensitivity:
    The first thing you're probably going to notice after taking all the travel out is how much this has changed the sensitivity. You're now applying your force over a smaller distance, so the release is going to feel like it's much more sensitive.
    But don't worry, we can change this on the STAN and Scott trigger quite easily with the sensitivity adjustment grub-screw. Now you can start to see the difficulty with the ITS Carters that require a complete spring change.
    Set your trigger quite heavy and go out to a reasonably tough distance. I like 50m because it forces you to focus on aiming more than most distances, and aiming is what causes most people to slow down too much or become unsettled in their shot.
    Shoot a bit here, progressively lightening up the release until you get to the point where you can comfortably and firmly place your thumb on the post without firing, and pull through the shot confidently and purposefully.

    Re-evaluate:
    Just go back and double check your travel after each sensitivity adjustment to make sure the sensitivity change hasn't pushed it over the edge, or created more unwanted travel.
    Last edited by dbjac; 2nd May 2013 at 02:38 PM.

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    J Mamo Big Fella SA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbjac View Post
    I've had a little time with this bad boy now, so I can give a bit of a follow up.

    I really like the Scott Exxus.
    I can adjust sensitivy without adjusting the trigger travel. With the Carter you put the spring in, then the only easy adjustment you can make to fine tune it is with trigger travel, which can give a strange sensation if find you need a lot of travel, or it will leave you shooting a release that is too sensitive or too firm to operate cleanly. With the Exxus, you crank down the travel and then wind in the sensitivity adjustment until you can operate it confidently. This is similar to the Shootoff, but the Exxus has a more conventional and familiar handle shape and trigger position, so it was an easy swap from the Insatiable.
    Now I have a nice crisp trigger that is comfortable like my Carter, but that I can fine tune until I can make a confident shot, without spending ages finding a good spring or customising one on the bench grinder. I am also pretty sure I can make two of these releases similar enough to have a nice backup.

    I did have to lengthen my d-loop by about 4mm due to the difference in head length. It wasn't really noticeable at first, but after a while I was a bit uncomfortable.
    The anchor was still felt good, it was solid. But I found myself pulling shots to the left. For me this rings alarm bells right away as it is usually indicative of too much tension in my bow arm, or too short in draw (which creates the tension and other issues).
    From the outlines I developed for the releases I knew about how much I'd have to change the length. Of course it felt a little long for a short time, but you have to wait it out with that sort of a change as so much of it is proprioceptive sensation, you have to let your body get used to it again.


    I'd like to explain how I think is best to approach setting up a release like the Exxus (or the Shootoff).
    (NOTE: If you have an ITS Carter like my Insatiable, don't mess with this too much. You'll find yourself chasing your tail around with spring changes and travel adjustments and you'll never be happy with your release again.)

    Set the travel:
    The first step is to set the trigger travel.
    Travel is bad news, if you feel like you're moving the trigger, you're opening the door for some nasty habits to creep in down the track (if they're not there already).
    On all three of the triggers I reviewed, the travel is adjusted via a screw which essentially moves the trigger further in the direction of activation. It will do so until it is beyond the point to make the release fire. Obviously you need to be able to cock the trigger, so the secret is to ride the line close to the point of firing without going beyond it.
    To achieve this you need to cock the release and crank the screw down until the release fires, then back it out about 1/4 of a turn so that the release can operate. This will set the release to have very little travel before activating. Once you're used to setting them up you can afford to play around with setting it even closer to the point of firing.

    Set the sensitivity:
    The first thing you're probably going to notice after taking all the travel out is how much this has changed the sensitivity. You're now applying your force over a smaller distance, so the release is going to feel like it's much more sensitive.
    But don't worry, we can change this on the STAN and Scott trigger quite easily with the sensitivity adjustment grub-screw. Now you can start to see the difficulty with the ITS Carters that require a complete spring change.
    Set your trigger quite heavy and go out to a reasonably tough distance. I like 50m because it forces you to focus on aiming more than most distances, and aiming is what causes most people to slow down too much or become unsettled in their shot.
    Shoot a bit here, progressively lightening up the release until you get to the point where you can comfortably and firmly place your thumb on the post without firing, and pull through the shot confidently and purposefully.

    Re-evaluate:
    Just go back and double check your travel after each sensitivity adjustment to make sure the sensitivity change hasn't pushed it over the edge, or created more unwanted travel.

    Great work once again!! Very thorough.
    Cheers

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    I'm really loving mine. It performed brilliantly over in New Zealand at PRFACs. Nothing has moved on it after close to a month of shooting it and is still as crisp as it was when I first set it up. The only thing I did notice is the jaw on my camo one opens and closes a lot more freely than my red one does.
    Abbey Archery Shooting Team

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    Administrator dbjac's Avatar
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    I don't have a camo one to compare, but mine is good. I certainly don't notice any problem with it.

    I read if you have issues adjusting the sensitivity screw you should try loosening the case screw slightly and then re-tightening it. Maybe you could try having a play with the screw near the hook.

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    I love this release so much that I'm scared to mess with it, but my overwhelming sense of curiosity seeing whether I can get it feeling even "better" has me wanting to try.

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    Administrator dbjac's Avatar
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    Buy another one to play with

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    so after having the exxus for a bit are you still inlove with it? I am having a tough time getting the trigger weight set. always seems to light even with the stiffest spring cranked down. wondering if a carter spring will fit

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