Bowler Ratings


Bowler ratings are from 1 to 10 in order of Stroker (ST), Tweener (TW), Cranker (CR)

General Info

Reviewed:July 2011
Coverstock Specs
Name:Max-Hook Hybrid
Type:Reactive Hybrid
Box Finish:800 / 1000 / 2000 / 2000 Abralon
Color:Red / Black / Silver
Core Specs
Int. Diff:0.000

For details on our standard test layouts, please click here.

The Arson is a new hybrid cover addition for Hammer. It looks to replace the Hardcore line of bowling balls from last season. This ball offers more movement through the entire lane, especially in the back end, compared to the Brawl. To achieve this Hammer went with a new half solid/half pearl hybrid cover that creates more traction from start to finish.

While we found a decent look on the heavy pattern with the layouts we used, the ball really showed its stuff on our medium test pattern. All three testers were impressed with the added traction in the oil without sacrificing hook potential at the back end. While all three testers were playing slightly deeper than they would usually, all enjoyed the free wheel they had with the Arson at the box finish. We added Powerhouse Factory Finish Polish to all three balls to see how different our reaction would be on the medium pattern. The change in finish gave us more skid through the front and a sharper, more defined breakpoint down lane.

It is no surprise that Cranker and Tweener had the best looks on the heavy pattern because of their higher rev rates. We changed the surface of Stroker’s test ball in order for it to get to the pocket with sufficient power. The adjustment we made was taking the cover down from the 2000 grit Abralon box to 1000 Abralon. With stronger layouts we are confident we could have had just as good a reaction on the wet pattern as the medium.

Our dry lane condition was simply too short for a ball this strong. We again added Powerhouse Factory Finish Polish. It gave us added length, but it also made the ball too strong at the breakpoint.

The reaction this ball gave us on the sport pattern was above average for a ball as strong as this. The Arson has the right combination of power and control for this pattern compared to other strong balls that hook too early and do not have the energy to carry on this flatter oil pattern.

Performance Ratings

The dull finish keeps this ball from over-hooking at the breakpoint. When polished, the Arson has a much sharper move when it leaves the oil pattern.
Even with the 2000 Abralon finish, the pearl parts of the cover will push further down the lane than a pure solid coverstock. The Max-Hook Hybrid is a very versatile coverstock and takes to surface adjustments terrifically.
Back End17
The strong midlane reaction is what enables this ball to recover as well as it does. The hybrid cover combines the control at the breakpoint with enough pop when it gets out of the pattern.
Total Hook52
Bowlers can expect to see more hook from the Arson than from last season’s release at this price point, the Hardcore Brawl. The added motion in the back end is where most users will see the extra hook.


The coverstock blend is the thing that stands out to us about the Arson. A large amount of total hook with a strong back end movement is a reaction missing from symmetrical Hammer releases.


Friction in the first 30 feet of the lane will cause the Arson to use up too much energy and labor down lane. Polish will be the remedy for the Arson to glide past the early hook.

Overall Summary

The Arson is the first ball marketed as a Hybrid reactive coverstock for Hammer. The Arson will be a ball to turn to when the Taboo is too strong for the lane conditions.

Hammer Arson Comparisons

Click below to see a comparison table of each pair of bowling balls shown:

To compare the Hammer Arson to any other bowling ball(s), please use our Bowling Ball Comparison tool.

The BTM Ball Testing Team

About The BTM Ball Testing Team

The BTM Ball Testing Team is led by Eric Martinez. Our team of three testers has thrown and reviewed hundreds of bowling balls for Bowling This Month. When not testing balls for BTM, Eric owns and operates University Pro Shop in San Antonio, TX and he is an avid competitive bowler. Click here to learn more about how we test and review bowling balls.