2017 5 weight shootout

2017 5-Weight Shootout

by Logan Brown

 

The 2017 5-weight Shootout will be the fourth one in which I’ve participated, and I love doing them for several reasons.  One reason is I love seeing how all the new rods stack up to the rods that have been out for a while.  I also feel extremely lucky to be a part of these shootouts, and the knowledge I’ve gained from participating in them is extremely valuable in my day-to-day work here at the shop.  The most rewarding aspect for me, in applying this knowledge, is being able to help an angler pick the perfect rod.  Whether it is the G. Loomis NRX-LP, the R.L. Winston BIIIx or the Echo Base.  There is a rod on this list for everyone.  My hope is that I can help you select the perfect rod, given your budget and the fishing you enjoy. 

 

 Logan Browns performance only

 

1.  G. Loomis NRX-LP    49.5 out of 50

G. Loomis NRX LP

G. Loomis NRX LP

 

 

 

The G. Loomis NRX is still my favorite all around five-weight rod.  Time and time again the NRX-LP proves to be the best.  Its power in the butt and mid sections, along with its soft tip, make the NRX-LP a pleasure to cast and fish.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 20 out of 20

Perfect 20 out of 20, every time.  I was able to make accurate, smooth, delicate casts with extreme consistency.  In my mind nothing beats the G. Loomis NRX-LP at these in-close distances.

Performance at 45 feet: 20 out of 20

The NRX-LP still scores a perfect 20 out of 20.  The G. Loomis NRX-LP is the only rod that gets perfect scores for both 45 feet and 25 feet.

Performance at 70 feet: 9.5 out of 10

The NRX-LP was a very strong rod at long distances.  Every year in this Shootout I am able to throw a few rods at 70 feet that have good accuracy, and the NRX-LP does that.

 

 

 

2.  Scott Radian       49 out of 50

Scott Radian

Scott Radian

 

The Scott Radian has to be one of the most attractive rods on the market today.  The craftsmanship is absolutely superb. One feature I really liked is the measuring marks on the side of the rod.  A nice way to quickly size up your catch.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 19.5 out of 20

The Scott Radian is a great rod at this distance.  Not quite as consistent as the NRX-LP but extremely close.  Great feel too.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 19.5 out of 20

 At 45 feet there is only one word, “MONEY!”

 

Performance at 70 feet: 10 out of 10

This was one of my favorite rods at 70 feet.  I was surprised it was able to form the tight loops as well as it did, considering the softer tip.

 

 

 

 

3.(tie) Thomas & Thomas Avantt    47.5 out of 50

T&T Avantt

T&T Avantt

 

A new rod for the Shootout this year, the Thomas & Thomas Avantt is an excellent addition to the T&T line-up.  The things I liked about this rod, aside from the wonderful performance, was the attractive color and top of the line craftsmanship.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

25 feet was not the best distance for this rod, with its stiffness, but still quite good.  It did have a fair amount of feel, and was able to deliver delicate presentations at 25 feet.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 20 out of 20

This is where the Avantt surpassed the majority of the other rods.  It was deadly accurate, powerful and smooth.     

 

Performance at 70 feet: 9.5 out of 10

The Avantt’s power is a huge advantage when making longer casts up to 70 feet.  I really liked the Avantt at these longer distances.

 

 

 

3. (tie) G. Loomis Asquith   47.5 out of 50

G. Loomis Asquith

G. Loomis Asquith

 

The G. Loomis Asquith is leading the pack in the next generation of fly rods.  I believe the future of high-end fly rods comes with a $1000 price tag.  This is definitely a top of the line rod upon close examination.  The craftsmanship is superb and the overall look of the rod is absolutely stunning.  The Asquith is a faster action rod, incredibly light in the hand and performed well at all distances.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The G. Loomis Asquith is a faster, stiffer rod so it wasn’t the best rod at 25 feet.  It was still ultra light in the hand, which I think, helps faster rods in close.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 19.5 out of 20

45 feet was the best performing distance for the Asquith.  It was tracking great and I was able to repeatedly hit the plate.

Performance at 70 feet: 9.5 out of 10

The Asquith was also among the best rods at 70 feet.  It has a ton of power behind it.

 

 

 

3. (tie) Orvis Helios 2 – Covert    47.5 out of 50

Orvis H2 Covert

Orvis H2 Covert

 

The new Covert model of the Orvis Helios 2 is a “murdered out” machine - all black everything!   I really like this rod and aside from aesthetics not much has changed performance wise, and that’s great.  The H2 is still one of my favorite fly rods on the market in all weights, but especially the five.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 19.5 out of 20

The H2 has always been one of the best rods at 25 feet and in, and this still holds true today.  It is nearly perfect at 25 feet.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 19 out of 20

At 45 feet this rod performs extremely well; I absolutely love the feel of this rod and I am casting ultra tight loops with good accuracy.

 

Performance at 70 feet: 9 out of 10

At 70 feet the Orvis Helios 2 was still a superb rod.  It had the power to deliver, but I wasn’t getting the same accuracy as I was with the Thomas & Thomas Avantt or the Hardy Wraith.

 

 

6.  Hardy Zephrus       47.5 out of 50

Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

 

Rounding out my top 6 is the Hardy Zephrus.  The Zephrus is an all around killer.  It performed great for me at all distances. I really like the metallic green color of the blank, matched with the green wood reel seat insert.  The cosmetics and craftsmanship are first-rate.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 19 out of 20

The Hardy Zephrus was an excellent rod in close.  I liked the NRX-LP and the Scott Radian slightly better at 25 feet than the Zephrus, because of their softer tips.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 19 out of 20

The Zephrus is ultra-smooth at 45 feet and formed some nice loops for me.

 

Performance at 70 feet: 9 out of 10

For me, the accuracy at 70 feet was good but I preferred the stiffer and more powerful Hardy Wraith at 70 feet.

 

 

 

7.  Hardy Wraith      46 out of 50

Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

 

The Wraith is Hardy’s faster action rod, with a lot more stiffness than the Zephrus.  I was surprised at how well I liked this rod considering its action profile, with a stiffer tip than I usually prefer.  The Wraith has a pleasant matte black finish with glossy highlights, a finish we are seeing more of these days.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

The Wraith lacks the feel to make it a great rod at closer distances. 

 

Performance at 45 feet: 19 out of 20

At 45 feet the Hardy Wraith really started to sing.  It has an insane amount of power that is evident the moment you start peeling out line.

 

Performance at 70 feet: 10 out of 10

The Hardy Wraith was perfection at 70 feet.  It’s the only rod in the Shootout that allowed me to deliver accurate casts to the 70-foot plate, practically every time.

 

8.  Loop Opti Stream    45.5 out of 50

Loop Opti Stream

Loop Opti Stream

 

The Loop Opti Stream has been one of our best selling mid-priced rods in the shop.  The rod is incredibly light in the hand.  I really like the modern look and European aesthetics of the Loop rods. They may not be as popular here in the US as they are overseas, but they have a core group of really good anglers backing their brand (Loop Army), so you know you are purchasing a quality product tested and fished by serious anglers.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The light swing weight made this rod feel very good at 25 feet.  This was my favorite distance for this rod.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The Loop Opti Stream still was performing very well at 45 feet.  I love how light in the hand this rod feels.

 

Performance at 70 feet: 8.5 out of 20

I was forced to work for it at 70 feet.  The Loop Opti Stream had the power to get it out there, but it wasn’t as accurate as many of my top rods.

 

 

9.  Douglas Sky       45 out of 50

Douglas Sky

Douglas Sky

 

 

The Douglas Sky was one rod I thought could have won this year’s Shootout.  It is definitely one of the best 6-weights on the market, but I didn’t feel that way about the five-weight.  For some reason it lacked that special something, which the 6-weight has.  It still put in a great performance, and is a rod I would highly recommend to someone looking for one of the best performing 5-weights that doesn’t exceed $700.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

The Douglas Sky was a good rod in close.  It has the feel to make delicate presentations and was also very accurate.

 

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The Douglas Sky performed even better at 45 feet.  This is the Sky’s sweet spot.  It was an extremely smooth casting rod at this distance.

 

Performance at 70 feet: 8.5 out of 10

I was able to make consistent casts at 70 feet, but the accuracy was not quite as good as with the better rods.

 

 

10.  Orvis Recon       44.5 out of 50

Orvis Recon

Orvis Recon

 

The Orvis Recon is an absolute killer complement to the Helios II.  I also really like the look of the Recon.  It’s got a nice metallic olive color, with subtle chartreuse highlights in the logo.  It felt a little stiffer than the Helios II, but this is not always a bad thing.  If you are a Helios II fan and are looking for a good back-up rod or a good nymph stick, the Recon would be a great choice.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes: 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

This is a good rod in close.  Its slightly stiffer tip hurts a little, but it can still perform.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 out of 20

45 feet is the Recon’s best distance.   The Recon loaded very well and I was able to time my casts perfectly.

Performance at 70 feet: 8 out of 10

The Recon was still good at 70 feet.  I was able to make good, accurate casts to the plate at 70 feet.

 

 

11.  Loop Cross SX        44 out of 50

Loop Cross SX

Loop Cross SX

 

The Loop Cross SX is a new rod for our 2017 Shootout.  It is light in the hand, and I liked its great feel. I preferred the six-weight model that won our 6-weight Shootout, and this 5-weight is a very nice casting rod.  The reel seat on this Loop rod is an unusual European style. I’m more a fan of skeleton seats with a wooden insert, but this one certainly is different, setting it apart from other rods, a feature many anglers may like.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 out of 20

The Loop Cross SX has a slightly stiffer tip, which made it just OK at 25 feet.  It was smooth and accurate but you really had to punch it in there.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 out of 20

This is where the Cross SX was best.  I was able to hit the plate with consistency.

Performance at 70 feet: 8 out of 10

The power of the Cross SX helped me make repeated casts out to 70 feet.  This rod would be a perfect 5-weight for Puget Sound cutties, with its faster action and all-water reel seat.

 

12.   Sage X      43.5 out of 50

Sage X

Sage X

 

The Sage X is hot off the press from Sage.  This rod has classic Sage craftsmanship and its blank reminds me of the ONE.  Its softer tip and faster action are, however, an improvement from the ONE.  The X performed well at all distances but was noticeably better at short distances than the older ONE.

  

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

The Sage X performed much better than the Sage ONE at 25 feet.  The softer tip really helped the feel of this rod and I was able to make delicate and accurate presentations.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 out of 20

The Sage X felt just as good at 45 feet as it did at 25 feet.  It tracked well and was extremely smooth. 

Performance at 70 feet: 7.5 out of 10

I made several casts with the Sage X that were close to the 70-foot plate.  At these long distances I preferred the older Sage ONE, but overall I think the X is a better rod.  

 

 

13.   St. Croix Legend Elite        43.5 out of 50

St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix Legend Elite

 

After all these years the St. Croix Legend Elite still continues to impress me.  It is an incredible trout rod for the money.   It reminds me a lot of the NRX-LP, but with slightly more power.  This rod is one that has stood the test of time, and has remained one of the premier rods in St. Croix’s lineup; other rod companies can’t seem to keep good rods in their line for more than a year or two.  This rod is built in at St. Croix’s plant in Park Falls, Wisconsin. 

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17.5 out of 20

The stiffness of the St. Croix hurt its performance scores in close.  It still had decent accuracy at the closer distances. 

Performance at 45 feet:  18.5 out of 20

At 45 feet and longer, the St. Croix Legend Elite felt much like the NRX-LP, but its accuracy was somewhat more inconsistent.

Performance at 70 feet:  7.5 out of 10

The Legend Elite has good power, giving it the ability to make casts up to 70 feet.

 

 

14. (tie)  R.L. Winston BIIIx      43 out of 50

R.L. Winston BIIIx

R.L. Winston BIIIx

 

The R.L. Winston BIIIx is my favorite rod in the Winston line.  The BIIIx has the classic Winston look and feel, and its craftsmanship is some of the finest on the market.  Other small batch rod companies are able to match this, but no one can match it on the scale that Winston does.  The Winston rods are built with care in Twin Bridges, Montana.  

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  19 out of 20

Closer distances are the bread and butter for the BIIIx.  It has the perfect amount of feel to present a fly delicately and accurately.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20

The BIIIx is super smooth at 45 feet.  It wasn’t deadly accurate but I enjoyed casting it at 45 feet.

Performance at 70 feet: 6 out of 10

For me the BIIIx was just too soft.  It isn’t made for longer distances.

 

 

14. (tie)  R.L. Winston Air     43 out of 50

R.L. Winston Air

R.L. Winston Air

 

R.L. Winston Air is a great addition to the Winston lineup.  It has a classic Winston feel but is made with their new SuperSilica™ resin.  Winston claims this adds “higher responsiveness for optimum presentation.”   When casting the Air this is very apparent.  I’d love to fish this rod on the water to confirm the delicate presentation I was feeling.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the Air’s power and long-range ability, but its shorter distance performance and presentation were very good.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

The Air is an in-close master. Twenty-five feet is a great distance for this rod.  It screams classic Winston.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 out of 20

The Air was still performing very well at 45 feet.  This rod has an amazing amount of dampening and is super smooth when cast.  It retains its softness without being “noodle-y.”

Performance at 70 feet: 7 out of 10

Like any Winston, 70 feet is not the intended distance for this rod.  I did like it better at longer distances than the BIIIx.

 

 

16. (tie)  Mystic Reaper        42.5 out of 50

Mystic Reaper

Mystic Reaper

 

 

It has been several years since it was introduced, but I still love the Mystic Reaper.  The classic western trout rod look is something that never gets old.  The Reaper is a great dry fly rod.  A good fishing buddy of mine has fished this rod hard for many years and it has proven itself time and time again to be an excellent 5-weight.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  18 out of 20

At 25 feet the Mystic has a great feel.  It is very accurate and its softer tip produces wonderful feel at closer distances.

Performance at 45 feet:  17.5 out of 20

I really love the Reaper at 45 feet.  This rod is a great dry -dropper rod.  I use the Mystic on a regular basis and it performs great at mid-range distances.

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

At 70 feet the Reaper struggled more than the Fenwick Aetos.  This is not a great rod at long distance.  

 

 

16. (tie)   Douglas DXF        42.5 out of 50

Douglas DXF

Douglas DXF

 

During the past year I have become much more familiar with the Douglas line-up.  The DXF is a great mid-priced rod that has been in their line-up for a few years now and still gets our vote as one of the very best mid-priced rods.  It is an attractive rod with a matte finish, glossy wraps, and good craftsmanship. The performance was also very good.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17.5 out of 20

At 25 feet the Douglas DXF was able to make consistently accurate casts, but it was better at mid-distance.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20

If the DXF has a sweet spot it would be at the mid-distances. I really enjoy how this rod performs at 35-45 feet.

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

Long distances were not the strong suit for the DXF.  It cast easily at this distance, but the accuracy suffered.

 

 

16. (tie) Fenwick Aetos        42.5 out of 50

Fenwick Aetos

Fenwick Aetos

 

The Fenwick Aetos is still our best rod under $200.  It has an incredibly light swing weight (8.9 oz.).  Nothing in this price class really comes close to feeling as light as the Aetos.  The performance is surprisingly good at all distances for such an inexpensive rod. 

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17 out of 20

The Fenwick Aetos performed well at 25 feet.  I liked its medium fast action.  For me, the Reaper was a little more accurate in close. 

Performance at 45 feet:  18.5 out of 20

At 45 feet the Fenwick Aetos was extremely smooth and well balanced.  It’s got plenty of power and good feel in the tip, making it a very pleasant rod at 45 feet.  

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

One of the few rods that felt good to me at all distances.  It had plenty of power to reach out long but this is a better short to mid-range rod. 

 

19. (tie)  Edge Alpha by Gary Loomis  42 out of 50

Edge Alpha

Edge Alpha

 

The Edge Alpha by Gary premiered in this Shootout and was new on the market this year.  It is a nice casting rod with plenty of backbone.  It has a classic Gary Loomis flat, un-finished look, much like the old Loomis GLX.  This was a strong rod that performed better at mid to long distances.  A welcome addition to the Shootout.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  16 out of 20

25 feet was the Alpha’s weakest suit.  Its stiffness and lack of feel hurt the Edge more than anything at short distances.  It reminded me of the stiff BVK in close.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20

The Alpha’s was doing much better at 45 feet.  This is where this rod excelled.  Good smooth power.

Performance at 70 feet:  8 out of 10

At 70 feet the Alpha’s has plenty of power to get it done, and I was able to accurately hit the plate several times, but rods like the Loomis Asquith and the T&T Avantt were far better.  

 

 

19. (tie)  Echo Base       42 out of 50

Echo Base

Echo Base

 

The Echo Base is a serious rod with a ridiculously low price tag.  I love the fact that Echo has given us such a good rod at an incredibly low price.  This makes fly fishing more accessible to the public.  I strongly recommend this rod to anyone who has an interest in fly-fishing and wants to get started, or anyone who needs a backup rod.  (Editor’s note:  compare with George’s comments on how a better rod makes you a better caster).

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17 out of 20

The Echo Base is good at 25 feet.  I was able to get this rod to do what I wanted it to do but I felt that the Reaper was better.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20

Still getting it done.  I could feel the rod load well, and it delivered the indicator to the plate with pretty good accuracy.

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

I was able to make powerful, long casts that reached the plate, but only with moderate accuracy.  Still, the Echo Base surprised me with its decent performance.

 

 

21. (tie) Beulah Guide Series II         41.5 out of 50

Beulah Guide Series II

Beulah Guide Series II

 

The Beulah Guide Series II has a classic western trout rod feel.  It is smooth and seemed to be best at shorter distances.  It reminds me of the Mystic Reaper with slightly less backbone.  If dry fly fishing is your game, this would be a killer rod for the quiver.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  18 out of 20

I really love the Beulah Guide Series II in close. It was extremely accurate and delicate.  Exactly what you are looking for in a good dry fly rod. 

Performance at 45 feet:  17 out of 20

The Guide Series II was still exceptionally smooth at 45 feet.  I was losing some accuracy but what the rod lacked in that department it made up for in smoothness.

Performance at 70 feet:  6.5 out of 10

I was unable to accurately hit the plate but, at 70 feet, this should not be the intention of this rod.

 

 

 

21. (tie) Beulah Platinum    41.5 out of 50

Beulah Platinum

Beulah Platinum

 

The Beulah Platinum seems to be a better dry fly rod than anything else.  The Platinum did seem slightly heavier than the Guide Series II, but both are great rods for in-close, dry fly presentations.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  18.5 out of 20

This is the Beulah Platinum’s bread and butter.  I was able to make accurate and delicate casts at 25 feet. 

Performance at 45 feet:  17 out of 20

The Platinum was still very good at 45 feet, but was less accurate than the Aetos at mid-distance.

Performance at 70 feet:  6 out of 10

I wasn’t able to get very close to plate at 70 feet with the Platinum.  I did get it to go a few times, but this, too, is not a rod to fish at longer distances.

 

 

21. (tie) Sage Pulse         41.5 out of 50

Sage Pulse

Sage Pulse

 

The Sage Pulse is a nice mid-priced rod from Sage.  I actually really liked the color of the Pulse.  I know some people are turned off by the bright colors that Sage uses but I have grown to enjoy them.  You know exactly what stick someone is throwing when you see some those colors “pop” in the sunlight.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17 out of 20

The Pulse is a stiff rod, which hurt its performance at 25 feet.

Performance at 45 feet:  17.5 out of 20

At 45 feet the Sage Pulse was better, and felt nice and smooth.  It tracked well, and felt like it would be a great all around 5-weight.

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

The Pulse was able to make casts up to 70 feet, but I felt the Sage X was much better long.

 

 

21. (tie) Livingston Rod Co. YS Fast    41.5 out of 50

Livingston Rod Company

Livingston Rod Company

 

The Livingston Rod Company is a new, local rod company.  It’s a one-man operation that has specialized in fiberglass rods in the past, but their new graphite rods have fine performance, and their craftsmanship is second to none. We don’t have many rods on the rack that are built this well and with as much care. 

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  16.5 out of 20

The faster action and stiffness of this rod hurt its performance scores in close.  It was a very light rod and I did enjoy its overall action.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20
45 feet is where I really enjoyed this rod.  It would be great hopper rod fishing out of a drift boat.  I think the medium distances are this rod’s bread and butter.
 

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

I was able to go long with it, but it was not as accurate as other rods like the Thomas & Thomas or the Scott Radian.

 

 

25. (tie) Scott Flex       41 out of 50

Scott Felx

Scott Felx

 

The Scott Flex is a newer, mid-priced offering from Scott.  I was not overly impressed with the Flex, compared to the Radian.  The Flex has the classic Scott un-sanded look, which is one feature I do really like. I liked the action of the Radian much better with its softer tip.  The stiffer tip of the Flex and more moderate action didn’t give me much feel or accuracy, especially in close.  Otherwise it is a solid 5-weight.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17 out of 20

At 25 feet the Scott Flex was struggling to make delicate presentations.

Performance at 45 feet:  17 out of 20

The Scott Flex was doing much better at 45 feet.  This was the Scott Flex’s sweet spot.  It had a good balance of power and accuracy at this distance.

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

I was able to reach the plate at 70 feet but not with much accuracy.

 

 

25. (tie) TFO BVK        41 out of 50

Temple Fork Outfitters BVK

Temple Fork Outfitters BVK

 

The BVK dropped several spots for me this year based on the change of our point scale, (since 70 feet is now 10 points instead of 20).  This is a very stiff, heavy rod, and as such not good at short distances. It is far better however, at longer distances, for fishing heavier nymph rigs, and fishing streamers.  The BVK was best for me at 70 feet because of its fast action and stiffness.  If you want a powerful 5-weight that won’t break the bank, the TFO is a good rod to consider.

 

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  15.5 out of 20

The BVK’s stiffness does not lend itself to closer distances.  It’s almost impossible to make delicate presentations, and I had very little feel.   To get any accuracy at 25 feet you have to force it, and then you sacrifice all of your presentation. 

Performance at 45 feet:  17.5 out of 20

Increasing the distance really helped the BVK’s performance.  Now I was able to load the rod much more easily, and found a better balance of accuracy and presentation.

Performance at 70 feet:  8 out of 10

This is where the BVK was getting it done.  Its faster action and stiffness really helped its performance at longer distances.