Hoyt Gamemaster II Review

Bow Name

LengthBow WeightDraw WeightTakedown?
Hoyt Gamemaster II

Hoyt Gamemaster II review

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62"2.9 lbs.

How to: choose arrows, draw weight, and tune your recurve
40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.Yes

- Light-weight, super-slim and durable riser
- As stable and accurate as mass-produced recurve bows get
- Forgiving of form mistakes from a beginner’s perspective
- No hand torque or vibration (with the right tuning)
- Grip is detachable/replaceable
- Take-down construction
- VERY fast
- Not everyone likes the appearance of the TEC riser
Also recommended: Best HOYT BowsCompare prices across top hunting gear sellers

Hoyt Gamemaster 2 Package Contents

Welcome to my Hoyt Gamemaster II review. This beautiful hunting recurve bow came in a package that includes the following items:

  • The Gamemaster II itself
  • Riser with detachable grip
  • Recurve limbs with bolts
  • Quality Flemish string (14 strand)
  • Hoyt’s paded recurve bow case
  • Printed owner’s manual
  • Hoyt’s warranty card

If this is your first recurve, I recommend getting a bow stringer and a nock point as well.

Assembling The Bow

Since this bow is a take-down, you will need to attach the limbs using the included hex bolts and a key. Make sure not to tighten the limbs too much – just snug enough so that the limbs don’t move, but not so snug that you have a tough time removing the bolts later. You will also need to string the bow before you can start shooting.

How Accurate And Fast Is The Gamemaster II?

Hoyt Gamemaster IIHoyt has never released an inferior product to my knowledge, and the Gamemaster 2 is no exception. This bow features the exceptionally durable and ultra-slim TEC riser, which absorbs vibration and eliminates bow-hand torque like no other riser I’ve used, hence resulting in a very stable and accurate shot. The recommended brace height is 7″ to 8″, which is very forgiving of form mistakes and helps prevent string wrist slap. The grip also deserves a mention – a very ergonomic and well-polished design, no palm blisters or feelings of discomfort at full draw. All your energy can be focused on hitting the target rather than making sure you can hold the bow comfortably.

As far as speed goes, the design of the limbs and quality string included do a tremendous job at making sure all the energy stored within the limbs gets transferred to the arrow, with almost no residual energy to speak of.  I have the 45 lbs. version, and it shoots so fast I actually gasped the first time I shot it, even though I’ve handled many a 45# recurve before. If speed is what you’re after, the Gamemaster 2 will NOT disappoint you.

Is This Recurve Bow Suitable For Hunting?

Hoyt Gamemaster II2I consider this bow one of my personal “holy trinity” of hunting bows, the other two being the Hoyt Buffalo and Bear Grizzly. The riser is exceptionally slim and sturdy, making the bow very easy to maneuver in the woods and/or a tree stand. Due to the quality of the string included and low-vibration, highly efficient design of the limbs and riser, the bow delivers enough kinetic energy to harvest any game you choose to go after.

Using my 45# version and expandable broad heads, I achieved a full arrow pass-through on an elk from a good 35 yards away. Cape buffalo and even Grizzly bear are well within this bow’s reach as well, although you’ll need a 50-55 lbs. version for those really big animals. The bow will also withstand all sorts of weathers thanks to the materials use and the coating.

Is This Bow Good For Target Practice?

Just because the bow is so perfect for hunting doesn’t mean it can’t be used for target practice and 3D shooting. In fact, the design of the Gamemaster II mimics that of Hoyt’s competitions bows. Since it’s so:

  • Very stable and accurate
  • Smooth to draw and fast
  • Comfortable to hold
  • With zero side-to-side swaying of the limbs during release
  • Light-weight

It makes for an absolutely fantastic practice recurve, even for competition use and for targets as far as 60+ yards away.

Is The Hoyt Gamemaster II Suitable For Beginners?

Hoyt Gamemaster II3This bow is a fantastic choice for both beginners and advanced archers. Beginners will enjoy it because:

  • High brace height makes learning shooting technique easy and non-stressful.
  • Quality handle means you can focus your attention on what matters – stance, form – rather than being distracted by anuncomfortable grip.
  • Pretty much non-existent vibration takes the bow out of the equation when aiming. In other words, the bow’s mechanics anddesign will not interfere with your aim, allowing you to pitch arrows consistently and properly assess your skill level and forminconsistencies.
  • It’s light weight makes it relatively easy to hold for prolonged hours without fatiguing the muscles, which comes inhandy during those long practice sessions at the range.

If you’re a beginner and the bow fits your budget, I highly recommend giving it a go. If you’re looking for something cheaper though, here’s a list of affordable beginner recurve bows.

Does This Recurve Accept Accessories?

Absolutely! I didn’t install any, but the bow is drilled and ready to accept a stabilizer, a recurve bow sight, or an arrow quiver. Personally I prefer shooting without any accessories, but this is of course a matter of taste.

Arrows For The Gamemaster II

The type of arrows you should use will depend on:

  • What draw weight you get
  • Your draw length
  • Your purposes (hunting or target practice)

Please read our guide to choosing arrows for a recurve bow, it will help you make a decision.

Is This Bow Comfortable To Hold?

I find it to be one of the most comfortable recurve bows I’ve ever shot. Both the grip and the design of the riser contribute towards that. No part of the handle digs into the palm at full draw, blisters won’t be a problem, and the handle even manages to stay somewhat warm, helping you in somewhat colder weather conditions.

Additionally, the grip can be detached, which means you can replace it for another one from Hoyt’s line of bow grips. It attaches to the riser via a regular Allen bolt.

Materials And Durability (Riser, Limbs)

The limbs have a wooden core and are fairly short, and are attached to the riser using one hex bolt each. Keep in mind that the limbs’ real weight is actually slightly higher than advertised: so if you get a 45# version, you’re actually getting closer to 47-48 lbs.

The bridged ultra-light TEC riser is what gives this bow the distinctive look it has. This metal riser is both exceptionally light-weight and incredibly durable. The bridged design contributes towards reducing vibration and minimizing grip torque. As mentioned earlier, the handle on the riser can be unscrewed, so you can replace it for a differently-shaped handle if you need to. This riser is in fact so tough that it can withstand up to 1,000 instances of dry firing without any damage occurring (just please don’t try this at home, as the limbs won’t survive it).

What String Fits The Hoyt Gamemaster II?

Any string will fit just fine. The limbs are reinforced to accept FastFlight strings, and the package already includes a Flemish FF string (14 strand) – one of the most durable and fastest strings you can have on a recurve bow. You’ll likely be able to shoot at least 17000-20000 arrows before you even need to consider buying a replacement string. When you do decide to buy one though, remember it has to fit the length of the Gamemaster II (62″).

Is The Gamemaster II a Heavy Bow?

This bow weighs roughly 2.9 lbs. without any accessories installed. Considering there are many recurve bows that weigh 3.2 lbs. or more, I’d say this one is pretty light-weight or,  in a worst case scenario, average in weight. Thanks to the unique design of the riser though, this weight is distributed very evenly across the length of the entire bow, making it feel even lighter than it actually is.

How Loud Is The Gamemaster 2?

Even when shooting the bow bare, it’s one of the quietest recurves I’ve shot in a while, though you’ll hear somewhat of a “buzz” after each shot.  You can of course get some extra string silencers or a bow stabilizer, but I really don’t feel it’s necessary on the Gamemaster II.  There’s a hidden advantage here for the hunter by the way:

Other bows that weigh around 2.9 lbs. will usually be loud enough that you will need to add some accessories if you want it to be quiet. After installing a stabilizer, hush kit, string silencers and other dampeners, suddenly the bow weighs 3.5 lbs. rather than 2.9. The Gamemaster II is very quiet without any accessories, so the advertised 2.9 lbs. weight is all you really need to carry.

Note: if your bow sounds loud at first, play around with the brace height until you get it to quiet down. See Part 1 of our bow tuning guide for more help. If you still feel it’s not quiet enough for your tastes, consider replacing the string for one with a lower number of strands (maybe 12 or even 10  strands).

Hoyt GameMaster 2 Recurve Bow Review – Summary

I hope this review was helpful. This is a fantastic recurve bow for hunters of all skill levels, but its design makes it more than adequate for serious target shooting an 3D practice sessions as well. The only reason you would not get this bow is if you didn’t like its appearance – otherwise it’s a very solid buy and excellent value for the money. See Today's Amazon.com price on the GameMaster II.

1 Comment

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  1. Ive got a GM 2 and completely agree with your review; this is one sweet shooting bow. The one thing I disagree with is the stock string, which I think is the weak link in all Hoyt hunting recurves. I ditched the fat, loud stock string in favor of a 10 strand FF flemish on both my GM 2 and Dorado and performance dramatically increased while noise dropped.

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