By Mark Kenyon:

Since I began shooting a compound bow, almost 15 years ago, I’ve been shooting Carbon Express arrows. In the beginning it was just by chance that I picked up a CX arrow at Gander Mountain, but it’s no coincidence that I’m still shooting that same brand today. Time and time again I’ve been impressed with their arrows, and they’ve never let me down once in the field. It’s for that reason that I’m sharing today’s article/s with you.

I recently was sent a few updates on Carbon Express’s new lines of arrows for 2013 and I decided they were worth sharing with you today because of my trust in CX arrows, and because of the in-depth nature of these updates. Below you’ll see the full scoop on both the Carbon Express Maxima RED arrows and the Carbon Express  PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme, compiled by two terrific bowhunters Bob Humphrey and Patrick Meitin . If you’re currently set on arrows, this may not be the article for you, but hopefully for the group of you that is on the hunt for a new option, you’ll find this valuable.

I’ll be shooting the Maxima REDs and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on their performance throughout the fall! Until then, read on and shoot straight! – MK

CX Maxima RED

By Bob Humphrey

Football aficionados know the significance of the red zone.  It’s the most important part  of the football field.  Control the red zone and you control the game.  Unlike a football field, the most critical part of an arrow shaft is in the middle.  That’s why the folks at Carbon Express refer to the middle of their new Maxima RED arrows as the “RED ZONE.”  And they’ve figured out a way to manage dynamic arrow spine there, and put you in control of the game.


The nock, shaft and broadhead represent something of a “holey” trinity of bowhunting, holey in this case referring to how close you come to putting successive arrows in the same hole.

The more you control these variables, the better you shoot, and the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  And it’s probably fair to say that of the three, the shaft is the most important variable.


Consistency is the ultimate goal of those who shoot, and make arrows.  Greater consistency in materials and construction produces greater consistency in results, which is essentially the definition of precision.  It also leads to increased accuracy.

The Carbon Express design and engineering team has always gone to great lengths to ensure their arrows are consistent, and as a result, your shooting is more accurate.  They use some of the most sophisticated equipment in the industry for manufacturing and testing their arrows for straightness, weight and static spine (the relative stiffness of a shaft).  Tighter tolerances in all three produce greater precision and accuracy.  In short, you shoot better.

It is sometimes said, in sports and in business that getting to the top is tough, but staying there is tougher.  Carbon Express has long held a position among the leaders in terms of arrow straightness and weight consistency, but they’ve never been content to rest on their laurels.  Still unsatisfied with the results, they recently decided it was time to look elsewhere, at dynamic spine, to build a better arrow.

If there’s a holy trinity, there’s also an “un-holey” trinity of arrow performance: Archer’s Paradox, Oscillation and Planning.

Archer’s paradox refers to the phenomenon where an arrow does not travel precisely in the direction it is pointed when the bowstring is released.  At release, there is a sudden and explosive transfer of energy from the bowstring to the arrow, which causes the shaft to bend, or flex.  The relative stiffness – how much it flexes – is referred to as dynamic spine.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The shaft first bends one way, then the other, and continues to bend or oscillate as it flies, until it eventually recovers and flies straight.  The greater and more prolonged the oscillation, the less stable the flight, and the less accurate the shot.

At the front of this flying arrow shaft is a broadhead, the blades of which act like “wings,” causing it to plane.  They also exaggerate the effects of arrow flexing and oscillation in flight, which reduces accuracy and increases the time and effort required for tuning.  The quicker and more effectively you can control these factors, the more precise and accurate the shot.

Until now, dynamic spine was managed by giving careful consideration to all the following variables:

            1) Arrow shaft material, length, diameter and wall thickness

            2) Fletching weight, angle, shape and clearance

            3) Nock weight, fit and – as we’ve learned more recently – precision;

            4) Point weight and style and

            5) Arrow rest type and positioning.

If only there was an easier way to manage dynamic spine.

A New Wave

You can’t alter the laws of physics, and therefore archer’s paradox.  However, the engineers at Carbon Express discovered a way to use physics against archer’s paradox.  By restricting the dynamic spine flexing to the center of the shaft – the RED ZONE – instead of on the ends (like most arrows), they produced a shaft that oscillates less than other arrows.  As a result, the arrow recovers from archer’s paradox oscillation – becomes stable – more quickly and thus produces dramatically improved accuracy, especially when shooting a broadhead.  It also de-emphasizes the importance of the other variables.  The Maxima® RED™ manages dynamic spine so well, it only requires two spine sizes to match bows from 40-92 pound of draw weight.


The Maxima RED is extremely forgiving because of the way it’s built.  Carbon Express uses proprietary manufacturing techniques, different types of carbon and a new, hi-tech carbon design to build the shaft.  Stiffer ends contain the arrow’s flex to “RED ZONE”™® when launched and throughout its flight.  The process also produces superior spine consistency with matched weight of each arrow in a boxed set.

But Wait… There’s More

In case the above is not enough to convince you, Maxima RED arrows are also loaded with other features, some of which are already familiar to Carbon Express shooters.

LaunchPad Precision Nocks – Designed in concert with development of the Maxima RED, they provide precise contact points for controlled arrow release, an aligned nock barrel for truer arrow flight and have a concentric design to center the nock in the arrow shaft for more consistent performance.

Performance Blazer Vanes – Addressing the effects of dynamic spine allows the use of lighter, shorter vanes, which further enhances speed and accuracy.

Diamond Weave Finish – The Carbon Express patented outer layer process uses 100 percent diamond weave carbon for improved stiffness and spine consistency.

BuffTuff® – This super strong outer finish enhances toughness while reducing friction and noise.

K-360º – Carbon Express’ patented process integrates 100% low modular carbon weave into the outer layer of an arrow for excellent strength and spine consistency

BullDog™ Nock Collar – Created with aircraft-grade aluminum, the BullDog nock collar was specifically designed to form-fit over the back end of the arrow shaft to protect it from nock-end impact damage.

Tolerance – Carbon Express laser-checks arrow spines and arrow straightness of 0.0001 of an inch to ensure each set meets their rigorous standards.  And unlike most manufacturers, Carbon Express straightness tolerances are maximum measurements, not averages.  Straightness of +/- 0.0025″ Max. and a weight tolerance of ” 1.0 grains place the Maxima RED at the top of its class.


When the game is close you need an edge.  Carbon Express has figured out a way to manage dynamic arrow spine, confining it to the “RED ZONE,” making their new Maxima RED arrows a real game changer that will help you score big this season.

For more information visit the Carbon Express website.

Carbon Express PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme

By Patrick Meitin

The superiority of low-diameter carbon hunting arrows is something more bowhunters each season are beginning to discover.  Die-hard bowhunters have learned low-profile arrows aid penetration on big game substantially, while easily standing up to crushing bone hits or prolonged stump-shooting and small-game-hunting abuse.  These are nail-tough arrows providing confidence that, say, a dreaded shoulder or heavily-quartered hit resulting from an animal “jumping the string” or otherwise spinning to the thump of a bowstring will provide higher odds of a broadhead perforating vitals and resulting in a quick, humane kill.  And better yet, extensive testing has shown the PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme provides accuracy on par with Carbon Express standbys such as the Maxima Hunter.

New Bowhunting Standard     

Lighter, standard-diameter carbon shafting such as the Maxima Blue Streak and Maxima Red certainly hold a rock-solid place in our sport for the average archer, but when bowhunters contemplate the most tenacious big-game animals out there, such as 900-pound bull elk or 300-pound corn-fed whitetail bucks — or when simply looking for the toughest, quietest arrow around — today they usually look to low-diameter arrow designs.  As a consequence low-diameter arrows have emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments of the hunting-arrow industry.

Smaller outside diameters automatically result in thicker shaft walls to help create desired deflections (PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme shaft walls are twice as thick as standard PileDriver .244-inch inside diameter shafts, for instance).  As a consequence of these thicker walls and concentrated mass, these are hunting arrows that are slightly heavier than average standard-diameter arrows.  Bowhunters have begun to view this design as a huge bowhunting advantage – even those archers still obsessed with speed.  Low-diameter arrows drive deeper because of this increased mass combined with reduced surface area and less resulting friction, but also create quieter shots by more efficiently harnessing more of today’s high-energy bows’ available power.  They also happen to be less susceptible to side-wind drift on longer shots in open, windswept bowhunting settings.

Much of the widespread acceptance of low-diameter shafts stems from those faster, more efficient compound bow designs mentioned above.  In short, we now have speed to burn, so why not use an arrow carrying more downrange energy while maintaining arrow speeds we’ve found perfectly acceptable for the past several years?   These are advantages that help real bowhunters in real-world bowhunting situations make their shots more deadly.

Drive-Thru Hunting Arrows

Carbon Express has placed itself at the forefront of the low-diameter hunting-arrow wave with the all-new, aptly-named PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme, a.k.a. PTX.  Expanding on the success of standard .244-diameter, heavyweight PileDriver hunting arrows, this is a .203-inch inside-diameter (“A-Nock”) diameter shaft with thick, bulletproof, all-carbon walls and proven Carbon Express quality construction that makes it the toughest in its class.  To further enhance PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme performance as it directly relates to big game bowhunting, all are equipped with innovative PTX Half-Out Inserts.  PileDriver PTX are offered in 250 (.390-inch static deflection) and 350 (.330-inch deflection) spines weighing 9.36 and 10.32 grains per inch, respectively, to cover the needs of the average bowhunter today.

Unlike other small-diameter hunting arrows, the ultra-slim profile works in conjunction with the all-new PTX Half-Out Insert to increase accuracy by reducing the impact of crosswind drift, and maximizing downrange energy delivery for deadly big-game performance.  This PTX Half-Out Insert is a key component of the new PileDriver PTX Extreme Small Diameter Hunting Arrow’s overall design.  The 44-grain PTX half-out insert is made of high-grade carbon steel to carry more mass, delivering up to four times more Kinetic energy than conventional aluminum inserts and twice the momentum as even other steel micro-diameter inserts.  No more need to add weights or additional inserts behind the primary insert to boost F.O.C., broadhead stability and penetration potential.  The universal-fit 32 TPI (Threads Per Inch) configuration also allows you to continue using your favorite brand fixed-blade or mechanical broadheads and field tips or those you already own.

Improved F.O.C., or Front Of Center balance, holds many real-world advantages.  On release, energy is transferred from the bow limbs and cams, into the bowstring, and ultimately through the nock and into the arrow.  As the arrow travels forward after string separation, that energy travels up the shaft like an electric current.  By the time the nock clears the riser 100 percent of the arrow’s energy is carried by the point.  Increasing front-end weight translates into a more efficient hunting arrow; one that is more stabile in flight, carries more downrange energy and penetrates much deeper through big game.  High F.O.C. essentially pulls the trailing arrow along, meaning a sloppy release or slight deflection during flight has much less affect on accuracy, making it more forgiving and less prone to wild deflections after clipping a light twig, for instance.  This leverage effect also helps the hunting arrow crack through bone and push through hide, stomach matter (on heavily-quartering shots) and muscle, the heavier forward mass literally dragging the arrow through the animal during penetration.  Added forgiveness and stop-for-nothing penetration all add up to more meat in the freezer and more trophies on the wall.

Carbon Express Quality Thru-Out

PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme shafts come from the factory wearing exclusive lightweight but stable 2-inch NRG-2 performance vanes, allowing maximum velocity without sacrificing broadhead accuracy.  They closely mirror the most popular high-profile, short-length “broadhead” vanes of our day for an excellent balance of speed and stabilization.  The battle-tested, proprietary TCX Nock (fitted to several past Carbon Express models) provides a consistent transfer of energy, clean string separation shot after shot, and a streamlined profile that all add up to help deliver Carbon Express’ promise that you will Shoot BetterTM.

Like other Carbon Express hunting arrows the PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme is manufactured using exclusive processes and employing exclusive carbon construction methods, all designed to produce shafts with top-drawer spine consistency around their entire axis and precisely matched weight in each 6- or 12-shaft boxed set.  Each PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme shaft is laser inspected for straightness to 1/10,000 of an inch to assure each arrow meets Carbon Express’ exacting standards.  Hence, the +/- .004-inch straightness tolerances of the PileDriver PTX are a guaranteed maximum, unlike some manufacturer’s average which allows for a wider range of straightness deviances.  Each six- or 12-arrow PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme set is also sorted by weight to assure +/- 2 grains maximum deviation.

The PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme assures bowhunting stealth with a high-polish finish that is not only quiet across any arrow rest, but also easier to extract from high-density foam targets.  This also provides a slicker interface while passing through big game animals for increased penetration.  Exclusive Carbon Express 2-inch NRG-2 performance vanes also minimize flight noise for less string jumping after release, stabilizing even fixed-blade broadheads with a minimal sacrifice of F.O.C. balance.

The all-new PileDriver Pass Thru Extreme is made for serious bowhunters, whether taking on a tough Rocky Mountain bull elk or Far North bruin, or looking for a quieter shot as insurance against good shots gone bad via a string jump on a backyard whitetail.  Carbon Express proves yet again that it is dedicated to continuous product and technology innovation, a can-do attitude that has put the company on the leading edge of product technology and marketplace trends bowhunters can use to make their precious time afield more profitable and enjoyable.  Carbon Express accomplishes this by helping every bowhunter, regardless of skill level, “Shoot BetterTM”.