Darton DS-3800 Review – Compound Bow Inspection

Compound Bow

Draw Weight

Draw Length

Brace Height

IBO Speed


AtA Length / Weight

Darton DS-3800

Darton DS-3800

See Today's Price on Cabelas

40. 50, 60, and 70 lbs.25" - 31"6"

How To Choose Arrows
345 to 350 FPS80 percent33.8125" / 4.1 lbs.

- Dual cams and low brace height generate extra fast arrow velocities
- A high velocity means a flatter arrow trajectory and more kinetic energy
- A high arrow velocity also helps to compensate for misjudgments in target distance
- A wide range of draw lengths enables it to accommodate different archers
- The 80 percent let-off makes it easy to hold at full draw
- May be too long to suite some archers
- May be too heavy for some archers
Compare prices across top hunting gear sellers

The Darton DS-3800 at a Glance

darton-ds-2Welcome to our Darton DS-3800 compound bow review. Darton calls the DS-3800 “a muscle bow with manners” and, in my opinion, that describes this bow perfectly! With an axle-to-axle length of almost 34 inches and a mildly reflexed riser combined with the smooth draw cycle, wide valley, and dampened shooting characteristics, the Darton DS-3800 is a very smooth and forgiving bow to shoot. However, with an IBO speed of 345 fps to 350 fps, it is perfectly at home both on the target range and in the field.

Darton DS-3800 Package Contents & Assembly

Unfortunately, the Darton DS-3800 is not offered with an accessory package. Thus, you will need to outfit the bow yourself with your choice of sights, arrow rest, and stabilizer plus wrist sling and D-loop if you use them.

The Darton DS-3800 Eccentric System (cams)

The Darton DS-3800 features a dual-sync hybrid cam system with hard cams and a unique, dual-sync, yoke in order to achieve its amazingly high IBO speed and yet, even so, it is amazingly smooth to draw and shoot. In fact, a look at the force/draw curve reveals that the draw weight rises sharply to the peak draw weight within the first six inches of draw length and then remains constant over an extended peak until it hits the valley where it then drops off sharply to the holding weight just exactly as you would expect from a pair of hard cams. Yet, it doesn’t feel like a hard cam when you draw it!

Shooting Speed of the Darton DS-3800

According to Darton, the DS-3800 has an advertised IBO speed of 345 fps to 350 fps which was unheard of just a few years ago. However, even though it is relatively fast compared to most modern compound bows, it is not the fastest bow on the market. But, it does generate plenty of speed for both 3D competition shoots and for hunting. In fact, in my opinion, this bow absolutely excels as a hunting bow provided that you don’t mind the longer axle-to-axle length and the slightly heavy weight.

  • 350 grain arrows
  • 70 lbs. draw weight
  • 30″ draw length

Of course, the less the draw weight, the shorter the draw length, and/or the heavier the arrow, the less velocity your bow will generate. Therefore, actual arrow speed may not match that of the published IBO speed. Therefore, please follow this link to learn more about what speeds to actually expect.

Kinetic Energy (KE) of the Darton DS-3800 Compound Bow

As mentioned above, the kinetic energy of the Darton DS-3800 will vary significantly depending on your draw weight and draw length. But, here are some close estimates of what levels of kinetic energy to expect from a few different parameters:

  • 70 lbs. / 31″ draw / 350 grain arrows: 95.2 ft-lbs KE
  • 70 lbs. / 31″ draw / 425 grain arrows: 115.6 ft-lbs KE

Please note: the values listed above are measured immediately in front of the riser. Thus, in order to determine the DS-3800’s kinetic energy levels at different distances, you will need to subtract approximately 1.8 ft-lbs. for every 10 yards of distance from your target.

The Bow’s Draw Cycle

As I mentioned previously, the Darton DS-3800 has an amazingly smooth draw cycle for a compound bow with hard cams. Also, I like the fact that it reaches its peak draw weight early in the draw cycle and drops off into a generous valley with 80 percent let-off. Thus, it is and amazingly easy bow to draw and is amazingly smooth to shoot which, of couse, contributes to its extreme accuracy.

Noise Levels and Vibration

Like most modern compound bows, the Darton DS-3800 is a very quite bow to shoot due to its many innovations such as pre-loaded, parallel, quad limbs combined with Darton’s proprietary PTR (Progressive Torque Reduction) cable guard (which bends slightly as the bow is drawn to reduce torque on the riser) combined with their BNSS (Bow Noise Separation System) which serves to both sharply separate the knock from the sting and to eliminate string vibration.

Using the Darton DS-3800 for Hunting

darton-ds-3The Darton DS-3800 is an excellent hunting bow due its smooth draw and release, extra fast arrow velocity, and extreme accuracy. But, it is especially well suited for those hunters (like myself) who prefer a somewhat longer and heavier compound bow for use when stalking game such as Feral Hogs because the extra weight helps to steady the bow when you are breathing deeply and your heart is pounding and the extra length makes it a bit more forgiving to shoot. However, it may ultimately prove to be a bit too long for those hunters who prefer to hunt from a tree stand or ground blind.
Please note that depending on the size of game animals you plan to hunt, you’re arrows will need to deliver enough kinetic energy to fully penetrate the animal’s body cavity. Thus, the following Easton chart will show you what levels of kinetic energy are required to humanely hunt various species of game animals:

Kinetic Energy:You Can Hunt:
< 25 ft-lbsSmall Game (groundhog, rabbit, wild turkey)
25-41 ft-lbsMedium Game (Antelope, Whitetail deer)
42-65 ft-lbsLarge Game (black bear, wild boar, elk)
> 65 ft-lbsLargest Game (Grizzly bear, Cape buffalo, Musk Ox, African elephant)

Consult our “Kinetic Energy” section above to figure out how much KE to expect depending on the settings of your DS-3800.

Limbs, Riser, & Grip

The Darton DS-3800 features a machined aluminum riser made from aircraft grade aluminum and is finished with a rubberized, soft touch, finish that is designed to provide a positive grip and to reduce noise. Also, it features Darton’s PPLP (Pivoting Positive Limb Pockets) limb pockets and pre-loaded, parallel, EET (Efficient Energy Transfer) quad limbs combined with Dual Sync cams and a Dual Sync yoke system which serves to virtually eliminate cam lean. Plus, it also features Darton’s PTR (Progressive Torque Reduction) cable guard which bends as the bow is drawn to reduce torque on the riser combined with a BNSS (Bow Noise Separation System) which is essentially the same type of string dampener featured on other compound bows but, in this case, it is mounted on the end of the cable guard instead of on the end of a separate arm.

Value for the Money

As is to be expected from a top-of-the line compound bow, the Darton DS-3800 is not cheap! However, as the old adage says, “you get what you pay for”. Thus, when you consider the level of technology incorporated into the Darton DS-3800 combined with its smooth draw and release, its significantly reduced noise level, and its extreme accuracy, it is actually a very good value for the money. Thus, I would feel comfortable recommending this bow to my hunting buddies.

Darton DS-3800 Compound Bow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our Darton DS-3800 compound bow review. As I mentioned above, I really like this bow due to its many innovations, its elegantly designed riser, its smooth draw and release, its lack of noise and vibration, and its accuracy as well as its extra fast IBO speed. Furthermore, I also really like the EET quad limb system combined with the PPLP limb pockets, the Dual Sync cam system, and the Dual Sync yoke system. Also, although it may be a bit too long for those hunters who prefer to hunt from a tree stand or ground blind, I find it to be the perfect bow for stalking game since the extra length makes it easy to shoot accurately. Thus, although Darton bows are not commonly considered to be among the “big three” compound bow manufacturers, it is nonetheless a very well designed and well constructed bow. See Cabela's current price and customer reviews on the Darton DS-3800 if you’re interested.

Best Compound Bow Source © 2013 - 2016