If you have spent much time checking out the hottest selling bows on the market or thumbing through your favorite bowhunting magazine, then you are likely quite familiar with PSE. This iconic bow manufacturer has been a mainstay in the archery industry since its founding by Pete Shepley in 1971.
One important note: we tested the bow in real life. Yes – We went and actually send some arrows downrange. The following is a comprehensive look at what we found to be true of the PSE Stinger MAX in the form of features and functionality
PSE was a pioneer in early compound bow technology and has even held a number of patents on many of the features that we, as archers, have come to love about today’s modern compound bows.
In recent years, PSE has gained significant notoriety for producing some of the fastest bows on the market.
Of the company’s sizable compound bow lineup, few models have received as much fanfare as the Stinger MAX. Though certainly not one of PSE’s fastest bows, the Stinger MAX carries a reputation for being extremely user-friendly, forgiving, and smooth shooting.
I recently received the chance to put the PSE Stinger MAX through its paces at the range, and was naturally quite excited to do so. The following is what I found of note during my experience.
At a Glance
Prior to this review, I had heard a significant amount of positive feedback regarding the Stinger MAX.
Many touted it as being one of the easiest bows to shoot on the market, as well as being quite accurate and smooth shooting.
This piqued my curiosity, as many of today’s bows have sacrificed much in the way of shootability, in exchange for blazing-fast IBO speeds.
By studying the Stinger MAX’s specifications, it was easy to see why this positive feedback would have merit.
The bow’s 7” brace height is quite generous, which is typically indicative of a bow that is very forgiving in nature.
Upon first handling the PSE Stinger MAX, I was quite impressed. The combination of the bow’s black limbs and camo riser was visually striking, and the riser’s cutouts were distributed in a way that added additional visual appeal.
The Stinger MAX also carried a somewhat aggressive look, thanks in large part to its robust cam, which has become a signature of PSE’s bows in recent years.
I also quickly noted just how lightweight the Stinger MAX felt in the hand. Weighing in at only 3.8 pounds, this bow is easily held and feels very balanced overall.
The bow’s weight is evenly distributed across its length, without any natural forward or rearward lean.
PSE Archery Stinger MAX Specifications
- Draw Length: 21 ½”- 30”
- Draw Weight: 55-70 lbs.
- Speed: 304-312 FPS
- Brace Height: 7”
- Axle To Axle: 30”
- Effective Let-Off: 80%
- Mass Weight 3.8 lbs.
Several key technical talking points exist regarding the PSE Stinger MAX’s functionality and specifications. One such point of note is that regarding the bow’s compact size.
With an axle-to-axle measurement of only 30”, the PSE Stinger MAX is ideally suited for hunting in tight confines, such as that of a ground blind or well-concealed hanging treestand.
The Stinger Max features a maximum IBO speed of 312 FPS. While you would be hard-pressed to refer to this bow as lightning fast, it is plenty quick enough for use when hunting or taking part in any form of target archery.
By today’s standards, these arrow speeds would fall within the realm of what could be considered moderate.
As previously mentioned, the Stinger MAX utilizes a 7” brace height, which offers significant value in the realm of forgiveness and shootability.
While this bow is ideal for archers of all experience levels, newcomers to compound archery will find substantial benefit in this bow’s generous brace height.
If the Stinger MAX had one downfall, it would be that it lacks the same significant level of adjustability that has become relatively common among many of today’s best compound bow (read.. PSE Uprising Hands-On Review).
While the Stinger’s 21 ½”- 30” draw length range is not restrictive by any means, some smaller framed youth archers might experience minor fitment issues.
Likewise, the Stinger Max is rather subdued in its range of draw weight adjustment.
With a minimum draw weight of 55 pounds, it is rather unlikely that children will be capable of pulling this bow to full draw. However, adult archers are unlikely to encounter any difficulty whatsoever.
After taking the time to set the bow’s draw length as needed, it was time to hit the range. Upon pulling back the Stinger MAX’s bowstring, I made immediate note of how smooth the bow’s draw cycle was.
The transition into the valley was gradual, starting off initially at peak draw weight, before becoming easier to draw with every successive inch of pull.
Upon reaching full draw, two facts became evident. The first of which was that the Stinger MAX features a rock-solid back wall, which is a characteristic that I am very fond of because of its bearing on consistency and long-term accuracy.
The second factor that became evident was that it takes very little force to hold the Stinger MAX at full draw. Much of this can be attributed to the bow’s respectable 80% let-off value.
I can honestly say that one of the most impressive characteristics of the Stinger MAX is how crisp its release truly is. The bow shoots smoothly and quietly, without any notable amount of hand shock (read.. New! PSE Archery Brute NXT RTS Bow).
It was also hard to believe that the Stinger Max is only rated at an IBO speed of 312 FPS, as the bow certainly seems to fire arrows at a much quicker speed than specified.
From my experience, the PSE Stinger MAX lived up to its reputation for being an extremely forgiving and easy to shoot bow.
Within minutes of hitting the range, I was able to tightly group arrows at 20 yards. The Stinger MAX seemed to exhibit accuracy beyond that which is common of many bows available on today’s market.
PROS and CONS
- Rock-Solid Backwall
- How crisp its release is
- Smooth Draw Cycle
- Comes with a bunch of accessories
- With 312 FPS, not the fastest bow
- Quiver Mount and Cam-Lock Design Can Be Cumbersome
- Not ultra-adjustable
The PSE Stinger MAX is offered to consumers as a package bow, meaning that it comes fully outfitted with several accessories carefully chosen by PSE.
This package includes a Sierra Micro 5 Pin Sight, Phantom Drop-Away arrow rest, Torment Quiver, Recon 6″ Stabilizer, Mongoose Peep, and a nocking loop.
Because the Stinger Max comes pre-equipped with a full line of accessories, it is possible to head to the stand or range almost immediately after making your purchase.
Within this accessory package, the use of a drop-away arrow rest offers immense value. A drop-away arrow rest enhances accuracy by minimizing the amount of rest to arrow contact which takes place during the shot.
The use of such a rest is quite uncommon to see in conjunction with a bow package and serves as a bonus which many consumers will be happy to see included.
The Stinger MAX’s Sierra Micro 5 Pin sight is also a nice addition. The sight’s small diameter pins allow for precise aiming, yet are still adequately sized for easy visibility.
The use of 5 pins also allows archers to aim with consistency, even at the outer extent of their effective shooting range.
How Does The PSE Stinger Max Compare to Other Bows
|PSE Stinger MAX||med/high||312||80%||21.5″ – 30″||70lbs||7″||3.8lbs||L/R|
|BOW||Price||IBO (fps)||Let-Off||Draw Length||Max. Draw Weight||Brace Height||Bow Mass Weight||Hands|
|Bear Paradox||medium||330||80%||23.5" - 30.5"||70lbs||6.25"||4.3lbs||L/R|
|Bear Divergent EKO||med/high||338||90%||26" - 30"||70lbs||6.5"||4.1lbs||L/R|
|Bear Cruzer G2||medium||315||70%||12" - 30"||70lbs||6.5"||3lbs||L/R|
|PSE Uprising||medium||302||70%||14" - 30"||70lbs||6.625"||3.2lbs||L/R|
|Diamond Deploy SB||medium||330||80%||26" - 30.5"||70lbs||6.75"||3.2lbs||L/R|
|Blackout Epic||medium||340||90%||26" - 30"||70lbs||6"||4.1lbs||L/R|
|PSE Stinger MAX||medium||312||80%||21.5" - 30"||70lbs||7"||3.8lbs||L/R|
|Diamond Edge 320||medium||320||85%||15" - 31"||70lbs||7.25"||3.6lbs||L/R|
|Diamond Edge Pro||medium||310||80%||13" - 31"||70lbs||7"||3.2lbs||L/R|
|Diamond Prism||medium||295||80%||18" - 30"||55lbs||7"||3.2lbs||L/R|
|Predator Raptor||low||315||75%||24.5" - 31"||70lbs||7.5"||3.8lbs||L/R|
|PSE Brute NXT||medium||328||80%||22.5" - 30"||70lbs||6.5"||3.7lbs||L/R|
|Diamond Provider||medium||310||80%||25.5" - 31"||70lbs||7.5"||3.3lbs||L/R|
If one were to judge the PSE Stinger MAX solely on its specifications, it is likely that they would not be outwardly impressed. However, in this case, these figures do not tell the entire story.
The Stinger MAX is truly a bow that must be shot to fully appreciate. This bow draws smoothly, holds almost effortlessly at full draw, and offers one of the crispest releases that I have ever experienced.
The one major downside to the PSE Stinger MAX is that it does not stack up well in the realm of versatility when compared to many of today’s ultra-adjustable compounds (read.. Infinite Edge Pro our test)
This bow is likely not the best choice for children. However, most adult archers will find the PSE Stinger MAX to be a joy to shoot.
also read.. Best Beginner Compound Bow
I would urge any archer that is looking for a great all-around bow, at a moderate price point, to check out the PSE Stinger MAX.
I feel that this bow is a great value, and offers a level of shootability that is often difficult to find in the era of ultra-fast speed bows.
Check out our other post “top-notch compound bows” of 2021
Special thanks to the staff at Cabela´s of Bowling Green, Kentucky, for allowing us the use of their bows, and range, for test and review purposes. Cabela´s was acquired by Bass Pro Shop in 2016, and now operates as a branch of the company, with retail locations nationwide.
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