Field Evaluation: ‘Saberlock’ Bow Case

Article by Keith Dunlap (Field Evaluator) – Feb 21, 2010
Edited by Stanley Holtsclaw – April 26, 2017


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[EDITOR’S NOTE – it appears that this item may no longer be available and I found no similar items currently available from Vanguard. Please consider other alternatives for protecting your bow while traveling, you can find alternate products for sale at Amazon. This post will be updated if additional information becomes available.]

Vanguard has provided high-quality photo & video accessories (tripods, monopods, ball heads, camera bags and cases), hunting accessories (archery bow cases, gun cases and gun pods/shooting sticks) and sporting optics (binoculars and spotting scopes) for 24 years. They have a diverse lineup of products to meet the needs of hunters, photographers, birdwatchers, and more.

This evaluation features the new Saberlock bow case from Vanguard. Modeled after Vanguards popular GDS 6200 Series bow cases, the Saberlock boasts all of the same features with a one-inch expanded height and sized to fit the radical riser designs of today’s bows. Saberlock is “hardcore” bow protection that includes four tie-down straps inside, a thick foam interior padding, and a secure foam section for holding up to 12 arrows. Vanguard boasts that this case is tough on the outside, too, made of solid polyethylene with a 600D polyester inlay. Security is not an issue with the Saberlock, as it includes a numeric key lock, two additional key locks on the latches and padlock holders on each of the four.

The new Saberlock bow case from Vanguard.

– Initial Inspection –

When I received the package containing the Saberlock bow case from Vanguard, I immediately went to work giving it a thorough examination inside and out. I noticed right away that this case was heavy duty and much nicer than the cases I have used over the years. All parts were in perfect working order, and I found no quality defects in workmanship, fit and finish. The lock, hinges, and latches worked perfectly, and I give this bow case the thumbs up for quality.

As mentioned earlier, the shell of the Saberlock is made from solid polyethylene plastic, with a 600D polyester inlay. What is 600D polyester, you ask? I’ll tell you…the ‘D’ stands for the word ‘Denier’, which is a measure of the fineness of material. Specifically, Denier refers to the weight (in grams) of 9,000 meters of the fiber from which the material is made. Okay, what does this mean? It means that the higher the ‘D’ value, the stronger and more durable the material.With a 600D polyester inlay, the Saberlock should provide years of durable use while protecting my valuable bows.

Plenty of room for just about any bow, release, tools, parts, and a dozen arrows.

The interior of the Saberlock contains dense, thick foam padding (egg carton type),including a 30” x 6 ½” section for tools, parts, your release, etc. There is also a section with foam slots that will hold up to a dozen arrows.

The entire bow case has a 1” thick foam padding around the inside perimeter, and there is a 2” thick foam pad on the top and bottom to protect the contents of the case. The foam padding is glued into place, except for the section that lifts out to reveal a storage area for your release and other items. There are four Velcro tie-down straps in the case that are securely fastened to the shell of the case with two rivets for each strap.

There are four black plastic “feet” located on the bottom of the Saberlock that provide stability when the case is in the upright position. There are three hinges on the bottom of the case that seem heavy duty enough to survive the airline industry’s abuse, but it seems to me that a longer continuous hinge would enhance the durability of the Saberlock. A word about luggage abuse…it’s a crime that we pay as much as we do to fly these days, including having to pay extra for our luggage on many airlines…only to have the airline personnel inflict their seemingly intentional physical abuse of our bow and gun cases. I have not traveled for a hunt without having sustained at least some damage to my bow or gun case. I think they do it on purpose when they know the contents of the case (its shape gives it away!).

Now…if you work for the airline industry and you are one of the RARE folks to take care of the luggage we entrust to you, my hats off to you. But, the vast majority of my travel experiences with my bows or guns have not been without incidence. Enough about that (I feel better now).

Padded section for up to 12 arrows – holds arrows securely in place.

The security features of the Saberlock include a numeric keylock, four latches that accept optional padlocks, two of which have additional key locks. The case includes two keys for the numeric key lock and two keys for the latches with locks. For an added measure of security, I always place a combination cable lock around the entire bow case and run it through the handle of the case.

One at a time, I placed each bow that I own, from youth models to my own collection to confirm that fit was good for each. I have compound bows with traditional limbs to extreme (more than) parallel limbs. With an inside dimension of 18 3/8” x 40”, the Saberlock should accommodate most any compound bow on the market today. The largest bow I placed inside the case had an axle to axle measurement of 37”,and it had plenty of room to spare. Each bow I tried fit nicely inside the case, and the Velcro tie-downs did a nice job holding the bows in place while I shook the case to test for bow-protection. A dozen arrows fit nicely inside the case, and held firm while I continued to shake and jar the Saberlock. I tried to replicate the same type of abuse that the airlines inflict upon our bows, without damaging the exterior of the bow case. With my bow and six arrows inside, I threw the case several times onto my concrete garage floor with some thin rubber matting to prevent scratches (I did not want to intentionally scratch the case, it’s too nice!). The Saberlock held up very well and its contents were intact when I opened the case.

Storage compartment for your release, parts, tools, etc.

– Conclusion –

The Saberlock from Vanguard is a great bow case…one that I would be more than comfortable using with my “beloved” bow on one of my annual bowhunting excursions to Menard County, Illinois. We spend a lot of money on our bows, and we cannot afford to throw caution to the wind when choosing a bow case to protect our investment when we travel to hunt. I have had several bad experiences (as most have) with the airline industry destroying my bow and gun cases, so I am eager to try the Saberlock on my next hunting trip. I will provide an update to this evaluation when I do.

Good quality latches (4 of them) with padlock holders for added security.

Specifications as tested:

  • Inside Dimensions(inch): 40 x 18 3/8 x 7
  • Outside Dimensions(inch): 42 1/2 x 20 3/4 x 7 3/4
  • Weight(lbs): 17.41
  • Main body material: polyethylene with a 600D polyester inlay
  • Finish/Camo Pattern: camo
  • Warranty: 5 year limited
  • Suggested Retail: NO LONGER AVAILABLE
  • [CLICK HERE to check alternative products available at Amazon]

Pros: good quality, seems durable, plenty of padding inside, secure (key lock plus four padlocks can be used)

Cons: one continuous hinge would improve durability in my opinion

Don’t forget to check out more posts by Keith Dunlap, or to learn more about Vanguard and the products they offer – shop current Vanguard products on Amazon, visit vanguardworld.com online, or check our sister site, BowList.net, for more Bowhunting Case related links.