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Evaluations : Jason Balazs
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Fred Bear Instinct
By Jason Balazs
Jul 20, 2006, 07:10

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To Jason Balazs web site Blazin Arrows.

When I was young, I was given a fiberglass recurve bow that was made by Fred Bear.   I never did shoot at much with it, but that was not the bows fault. You see, I think I lost the arrows that came with it; the same day I got it.  Although I never had any arrows, I would still tote it up the mountains of Colorado, looking for a stick that would substitute.  My grandfather had given me that bow, and I still have it today.  Yet, even with the scratches and nicks that a kid growing up in the "Wild West" could put on it, my kids still shoot it in the back yard and it performs just like it should.

Over the last ten years the archery industry has gone from one extreme to another.  The process of "keep up or get out of the way" really applies in today's industry. If there is an archery company that does not want to conform to what the hunters want, then the profits of that company plummet.  Bear archery has conformed and made the transition into the 21st century.  One thing that Bear Archery has done is, implemented 21st century technology and quality, but only attached a 20th century price tag. 


The new Fred bear bows are made with vertical limb technology. This allows the bow to have a longer riser.  The Instinct's riser is 22 inches and made from machined aluminum, which adds strength and speed.
There are 9 cutouts that reduce the overall weight of the whole bow, which has the mass weight of 4.1 pounds.   
The brace height of the Instinct is 7 inches.  Another great thing about the new vertical limb bows is the extended brace height.  This makes the shorter bows more forgiving and easier to shoot.
The grip is a two-part grip that also includes a grip material to ensure that your hand does not move. 
The Instinct is outfitted with compression molded quad limbs that are solid and give very little.  That is what is great with the new vertical limb bows on the market.  With little to no limb travel the manufactures can make their limbs more rigid for increased speed, yet there is not an increase in vibration or shock.


The Perimeter Weighted Single Cam System adds speed along with a smooth draw.  The weighted cam increases your strings speed, which increases the arrow speed and nock-down power.  The cams have modules that let you increase or decrease your draw length, but the let-off is capped at 75%.  


Every Bear bow comes with factory installed Simms vibration laboratory limb savers and string-leach set.  Simms is the number one vibration dampener on the market and it goes to show that when you put two quality items together, nothing but a good thing can happen.


Testing was done outside at distances from 10 to 20 yards.  First thing I did was put the bow in my press made by Archery Custom Extremes.  After loosening the string and installing a peep sight, I moved the bow to my R. S. bow-vice leveling system to install the rest.  This bow-vise has made my life easier when it comes to setting up a bow for shooting.  After installing a whisker biscuit and tuning it using the levels that come with the R. S. System, I was ready to shoot.

The bow was sent with the draw length set at 29" and poundage at 68. When drawing the Instinct, it was smooth throughout and once you reach the wall, it does not give anymore. When you are at full draw with this bow, you can feel the power that it harnesses.  I attribute this to the short axel-to-axel length of 31". With a 29" draw I am almost drawing the length of the bow back.  This gives you a real feel of control and allows the bow to rest firmly in your hand.

Now it was time for the speed test.  First I wanted to shoot an arrow that was as close to the IBO weight of 350 grains. I cut my arrows to 28 inches using my Apple Archery Arrow cut off saw. After installing the inserts I weighed all my arrows using a pocket scale. After weighing all my arrows I pulled out three that weighed 360 grains with field points. I shot all three arrows through my Chronograph made by Competition Electronics and found my speed to be 262 FPS. I thought to myself, "Wow that was fast and this is with using a Whisker Biscuit rest." Now I wanted to see how it performed with a little heavier arrow, so I bumped up my field point weight to 125 grain. Now my arrow weighed 385 and I shot three more times. The outcome was still good with the average speed of 255 FPS.  While shooting, the noise level was very quiet. I think we can contribute this to the SIMS vibration dampeners that came factory-installed on the bow.

When I shoot a bow I am very critical of how the grip feels in my hand.  I usually install a custom grip on all of my hunting bows.  Most grips on the newer bows are just to skinny, which results in torque or improper hand placement. The Instincts grip is perfect for my hand. It is like the case of the three little Bears, neither to skinny nor to fat, but just right.  On the back of the grip is a "non-skid" type of gripping tape.  This does not allow your hand to slip at all and gives you that perfect placement, every time.

Category - Rating - Comments
  • Grip - 10 - Like holding nothing very natural
  • Maneuverability - 9.8 -31" Perfect for stalking or blind hunting.
  • Speed - 9.0 - Nice and fast
  • Quality/Workmanship -9.5 - Great construction and quality
  • Shock/Vibration - 9 - Even shooting without a stabilizer there was little jump
  • Noise Level - 9.5 - Not much at all
  • Draw - 9.7 - Easy draw with a solid wall
  • Shootability -9.7 -  When at full draw you feel at one with the bow.
  • Over all impression - 9.7 - Highly recommended!
  • Affordability - 10+  - The Instinct has 2006 quality but the price is that from 10 years ago.
Total Score - 95.9 - Out of possible 100


I was very impressed with the quality that Bear Archery has put into their newer bows.  I am a true believer in the vertical limb technology and can honestly say it increases your speed with out adding the shock. Bear has brought us a product that is as good as the best bows on the market, yet they have given it a price tag from a bow 10 years it's junior. For right around 400 dollars you can reach amazing speeds with out sacrificing brace height or added noise and for that,  they have my thumbs up!!

2006 Fred Bear Instinct Specs:
  • Brace height- 7 "
  • Draw Length - 26" - 31"
  • Draw weight - 50, 60, 70
  • Axle to Axle - 31"
  • Mass Weight- 4.1 lbs
  • Let Off - 75%
  • IBO Speed - 305 fps
  • MSRP - $399.00

For the entire Line: The Fred Bear Legend

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