Prime Black 3 Compound Bow Review

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New for 2020 from Prime Archery is the Black 3 compound bow. The Prime Black 3 is a phenomenally engineered bow and lands right in the sweet spot when it comes to ATA length, brace height and speed. It also has a few key improvements compared to it’s predecessors making it arguably the best bow of 2020. Let’s take a deep look at the Prime Black 3 by G5/Prime Archery.

prime black 3Prime Black 3 Specs

  • IBO Speed: 337 FPS
  • ATA (Axle to Axle): 33″
  • Brace Height: 6 1/2″
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs.
  • Draw Weights: 40, 50, 60, 65, and 70 lbs.
  • Draw Lengths: 25.5″-31″
  • Let Off up to 65 – 90%

In a year in which we have seen great advancements across the archery industry, Prime did not disappoint. The advertised specs are impressive and more importantly, accurate. The advertised measurements and speeds are not inflated and that honesty is what makes Prime bows a favorite amongst serious archers.

The axle to axle length is a comfortable 33 inches which is a great balance between speed and forgiveness. The resulting string angle allows for comfortable anchoring in comparison to shorter axle to axle bows.

The brace height is in the middle of speed and forgiveness which results in a very respectable IBO speed of 337. Versatility is a major selling point of the Black 3 thanks to the Roto Cam System which allows for a wide range of draw lengths. The Roto cam is truly a game changer.

Lets look at the Roto Cam System and the other outstanding features of the Prime Black 3.

Features of the Prime Black 3

Roto Cam System

No more draw length specific cams.. LET ME REPEAT, NO MORE DRAW LENGTH SPECIFIC CAMS! The Roto Cam System does it all.

roto cam system

The Roto Cam System is a self contained rotating mod that allows you to adjust the draw length in 1/2 inch increments from 25.5″ to 31″. The cam system uses Prime’s patented Parallel Cam Technology and offers a customizable let-off that ranges from 65-90%. The different sized cams are an engineering marvel that allow equal string payout which is a must with the center grip technology which is delivered by the riser.

The Riser

Made of 82X aluminum and complimented by the swerve design, the riser is super strong and light weight. The center grip or centergy technology, puts the grip of the bow in the physical center of the riser making rock steady holds easy to achieve. The Black 3’s riser really minimizes bow torque/lateral nock travel which is aided by another great feature, the cable guard.

swerve riser

Compression Axle Technology

The axle pins of the Roto Cams are a compression system that is a breeze to work with. Simply unscrew the retaining screw/cap and remove the axle pin. This system allows for zero play in the limb/cam construction. The compression axle technology increases the longevity of the bearings ensuring maximum performance for many years.

compression axle technology

The Flexis AR

The Flexis AR aids an already strong riser in resisting bow torque. When a bow is being drawn and peak weight is reached, the cables want to straighten. Static cable guards are just an extension of the riser and result in massive bow torque amounts. Not the AR Flexis cable guard. It swings in during the draw cycle, releasing side pressure on itself. The result is top of the industry, practically non-existent bow torque. When lateral nock travel is minimized, a wider variety of arrow spines can be shot without additional adjustments. Although kind of an unsung hero, the Flexis AR is one of our favorite features of this bow. For a great look at this in slow motion, check out the Bow Shop Bible app.

flexis ar

The Performance of the Prime Black 3

Lets put this bow through the ringer and see how it does!

Draw Length Accuracy

The wide range of draw lengths are pretty accurate for the Roto Cam system. There is a catch though; the let-off adjustment slot. No matter what numbered position the mod is in, you have a huge window of adjustment for let-off. This allows you to achieve a wide range of combinations for multiple mod settings. For example, you can have the mod in the #3 setting and get a 30 inch draw but as you increase or decrease the cable stop, as your let-off changes, so does the draw length. It is ideal to have a draw board and scale to assist you when fine tuning your final settings.

Draw Force Map

The draw cycle of the Black 3 is similar to Prime bows of previous years. It gets to the maximum draw weight and rides it for quite a while. It’s a middle of the pack draw cycle; not the smoothest and far from the harshest.

draw force map

Speed Test

At 30 inches of draw length and 70 pounds of draw weight, our 350 grain arrow came in at 322 FPS. This is 15 feet per second slower than the advertised 337 FPS but that is probably due to added weight on the string. Overall, we think it should have been 5 feet per second faster than our recorded results but it is on par or exceeds results with other flagship bows of 2020.

black 3 speed

Tuning Test

Like the Prime bows of the past, the tunability of the Black 3 is a strong point. Primes have been know for their almost non-existent bow torque which results in very little (if any) lateral nock travel during the shot. This allows the Black 3 to shoot a variety of arrow spines without compromising arrow flight.

Once the bow is in spec, rest is set at 7/8 of an inch off the riser, the arrow is centered on the berger hole and the timing marks are all inline, you shouldn’t have any issues. If you do experience a slight left or right tear, you have to get a set of shims from your Prime dealer.

The Prime shims come in 3 sizes and should address any imperfection you’re experiencing through paper. If they don’t get it 100%, you can make up the rest with your arrow rest.

prime shims

Final Thoughts on the Prime Black 3

The Prime Black 3 is a great bow and should be considered one of the best bows of 2020. It has comfortable, forgiving specs and still delivers on speed. The center grip tech of the bow gives it a rock steady hold compared to the competition. The Roto Cam System is the major improvement with this lineup but unlike a growing number of its competitors, you still have to press and adjust shims to dial arrow flight in (if needed). We expect Prime to follow suit and resolve this issue next year. With that being said, the Prime Black 3 is still probably one of, if not the best engineered bow for 2020. For more information on the Prime Black 3, visit https://www.g5prime.com/.

Prime Black 3 Scores
  • Overall Design/Engineering
  • Draw Cycle
  • Measured Speed and Draw Length vs Advertised
  • Adjustability
  • Tunability
4.3

Summary

The Prime Black 3 is a strong contender for best bow of 2020. Practically zero lateral and vertical nock travel along with superior construction components makes this bow one to try if you’re in the market for a new bow.

Pros

  • Super adjustable draw length
  • Adjustable let-off
  • Practically zero nock travel
  • Rock solid hold
  • Reputable company that gives you replacement strings after 2 years free of charge

Cons

  • Rides peak weight longer during draw than competitors
  • Does not offer a way to adjust cam location without a bow press
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About Author

Corey is an avid bowhunter, archer and outdoor writer. He has been hunting since 1982 and started his passion with bowhunting in 1991. His focus is to help others involved in the sport of archery and to compete professionally in indoor, 3D and field archery.

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