The long awaited HBX release from T.R.U. Ball finally arrived and I was able to pick it apart, look at how it was desiged, manufactured, adjusted, and finally how it shot. I have a love-hate relationship with this release, but I will say it’s a good design and I personally believe it will be a great release for a lot of shooters. Which shooters though? Well, read on to find out.
Let’s start first with how it was designed. The HBX is, from my opinion, a hybrid release. It’s a combination of a trigger type release and a back tension release. It works off a pivot that is set up in the middle of the release at the bottom of the handle. The outter fingers of the release, when depressed, activate this release to allow the inner sear and mechanism to trip. This is what releases the hook from the d-loop and allows the release to fire. The release is put together with two shells, an overlapping upper and lower section. The first portion consists of the index finger area, left side of the release head, and lower portion of the finger bed area. This second portion rides above the lower portion where the middle and ring finger beds are as well as the right side of the release head that houses the hooking device and adjustment screw for setting the speed of the release and whether it has a click or not. To aide in adjustability, this release has a hole machined in the lower portion of the outside finger beds that can house a 4 or 15 pound spring. This spring butts up against the upper portion of the finger beds and gives resistance to the release when hinged apart to activate. At the bottom of this article I will have sample photos showing some of the inner workings and pictures that haven’t been released by T.R.U. Ball.
Now to the part everyone probably wants to read about, what I thought of the release when I shot it. Before I get to that I want to explain why I believe you will either love this release or hate it based on the way you set up and execute your shot. There are two different types of hinge shooters. Those that draw the bow back with all of the pressure on the thumb peg and index finger and those that use a percentage of the pressure spread throughout the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. The first group will have their release set really hot because they rely on it swiveling off the index as they let go of the thumb peg, or loosen the thumb up some allowing the release to rotate. The second group will use a manipulation method of some sort after releasing the thumb from the peg or pull through their shot using their back muscles.
If you’re in the first group, go out and buy this release. Now! It’s designed just for you. The reason I say this is because generally those that shoot in the manner of the first group will notice they have hang ups because of their index finger. This is because they have no weight pre set on the outside of the release and rely on the index finger to fire the release. So, with the HBX you have this problem taken out of the equation. You can just lightly put the pressure against the outter fingers like you normally would and it’ll hinge the release apart to cause it to fire without worry of what your index finger does. In fact, if you keep pressure against the index finger this release works better.
However, if you’re in the second group like me, this release just won’t work for you. You can not put the amount of pressure onto the outside fingers like you are used to doing without the release firing. For this reason, I have a love hate releationship with this release. I love the design and the function of it. However, I feel like there are some areas that can be improved on to make it better for a wider range of shooters. I feel like there is a need for additional springs that allow pressure that can be applied to the release handle. I also feel that there needs to be more movement/adjustability added into this release as well. I like my T.R.U. Ball HBC to be set cold, where I can put weight onto all three fingers and the thumb peg as I draw, then release the thumb peg as I go to anchor. Then I like to put some effort into execution so that I have an aggressive shot. I feel like with a heavier spring I could draw the HBX with a better distribution of weight across my fingers, and if the adjustability was there I could have it set colder and everything with this release would work better for me. But at the same time, I look at the HBX and think it just wasn’t designed for a shooter like myself in mind. That’s why they have the HBC in their line-up.
Is this a magical release that will make every archer shoot scores they’ve never seen before? No. But no release is like that. What it is though, is a very well designed and niche release. This will be great for a lot of shooters, because I feel there are more in the first group of hinge shooters than the second. The HBX is a great option for hinge shooters to try out. And that’s really all releases are about. Finding the release that fits perfectly in your hand and the one that allows you to execute your style of shot the best.
I recently talked with a fellow ArcheryTalk member, squid013, about updates on the HBX to help with some inconsistencies, as well as extending some customization to the feel of your release. There’s been some of the HBX releases that have come out where people mention they are too fast or too slow and Chris has worked up a way to help in both situations.
For a release that is set too fast and you’re wanting a way to add some tension needed to fire it, Chris has came up with a way to put in a heavier spring where the standard sear spring is to aide in giving a firmer feel to the release and require more effort to break the sear/hook. What he found was that by taking a 15 pound spring you would find in the handle of the release, you could have a HBX that required more effort on your part to operate. The sear spring is the one in the head of the release, in between the body and the sear. Shown here with the two springs woven together.
Here is an example of the springs. You can purchase additional springs from T.R.U. Ball.
Now for the opposite problem, for those that have a HBX that requires too much effort, Chris found that taking Teflon Based REM Oil and putting a drop on the sear itself that the release reacted much hotter and smoother for action. He also confirmed this by talking with a member at T.R.U. Ball and they recommended the same product.
Hope this can help people along if they are having any issues and thank you Chris for the information you gave to me on the HBX so that I can update my article!