Bear Apprentice 2 Review
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The 2013 Bear Apprentice II makes for the perfect "first bow" for any youngster. The range of draw lengths and weights is huge. If desired most children could shoot this bow throughout their whole childhood and, depending on their size, through their teens. At some of the higher draw weights it is plenty to hunt large game with when a child is old enough to do so. This is a reliable bow and Bear customer service is more than willing to help if problems arise. It is a comfortable bow to shoot with good speed. It is quick and easy to adjust for a growing youth and some small framed beginning adults.
FinishThe Apprentice II is available in two different color options. With them being somewhat gender specific it comes in Realtree APG and pink camouflage to satisfy boys and girls both. They are both matte like in texture with no gloss to them. Both of these colors look good on this kids bow. This finish seems to be quite solid and there hasn't been any complaints of flaking or easily dinging.
Riser/LimbsThere is an axel to axel measurement of 27.5" on this bow. It is nice and short for small framed children shooting it. Along with being compact it is light weighing in at only 2.9lbs. Some of the archers may feel more stable with a heavier bow, but it can always be added with a proper stabilizer that is comfortable for the shooter. The riser has a good look to it that is consistent with many other bows in Bear's line up. It comes with a stabilizer bushing that is standard on most compound bows these days. There is not a string stop on this model.The Apprentice II has split limbs entitled Bear Flared Quad Limbs. It has a brace height of 6.125". Although this seems somewhat of a short brace height for a youth it produces good power at all draw lengths. The limbs are held in place to the riser with Zero-Tolerance Limb Pockets. There is some hand shock on this bow, but it could probably be reduced with a stabilizer.
GripThe grip on the bow is only small side plates that say "Bear" on them. There really isn't much for an actual grip other than the riser its self. It is not anything special, but does well at balancing in the hand. It feels nice and solid without wanting to torque. The grip is fairly thin and should fit small hands well. It would be a little chilly on cold hunts without any rubber around the metal riser.
String SuppressersThe Apprentice II does not have a string stop that comes standard on the bow. It isn't needed for the lower or middle range draw weights of the bow. However, it could help reduce some of the twang with the higher draw weights.
Eccentric SystemThe dual cam bow comes equipped with Bear's Dual Rotating Modular Cam System. These rotating modules enable it to adjust from 15" to 27" in draw length. This draw range is gigantic and could fit any child, most teens, and some adults. It can be adjusted in 1" increments and does not require a bow press or more parts purchased to make the adjustment. This makes very convenient and quick for owners or parents as kids grow. The Apprentice II's 70% let off is quite generous for a bow in this category. The draw weight adjusts from 15lbs. to 60lbs. There is a different minimum and maximum draw weight increasing with each increase in draw length. This works out perfectly for growth. The IBO speed is 265fps at a 27" draw and 60lbs. of draw weight and a 300 grain arrow.
Draw Cycle/Shoot AbilityThe Apprentice II has a comfortable draw cycle with the hill at the beginning of the draw. It feels nice and locked in at the back of the draw and there is a little recoil at the shot. It seems to have a good feeling valley without wanting to jump away unexpectedly. This is a definite positive aspect for a youth bow. The back wall feels good by not being too soft, and not too hard for a beginner bow. Although it feels nicely balanced at full draw a stabilizer would still not hurt the balance and would reduce recoil at the shot for those archers that can handle the extra weight. It has a slide type cable guard that is on a rod that is carbon. It does what it is intended to do, but it isn't as smooth as today's roller type cable guards.
Silencing PackageAlthough this isn't the quietest bow in its class it still doesn't produce a lot of noise at all. It doesn't have any silencers, but the string stop does help to prevent vibration and some of the noise. It seems to be enough for this youth bow when it comes to silencing it at the shot.
|Bow||Bear Apprentice 2||Bear Outbreak|
|Brace Height||6.125 "||7.25 "|
|AtA Length||27.5 "||29.25 "|
|Draw Length||15 " - 27 "||16 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||15 lbs - 60 lbs||15 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||265 fps||308 fps|
|Weight||2.9 lbs||3.5 lbs|
|Where to buy|
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The Bear Apprentice II is a step below the Bear Outbreak in their line of bows. The riser is a different design on the Outbreak. It has a range of draw weights and lengths that go a little higher than the Apprentice II at 70lbs. and 30" so in turn its IBO speed is higher at 308fps. They both have dual cams with the Dual Rotating Modular Cam System. The Apprentice II is 2.25" shorter ATA. The Outbreak is .6lbs. heavier than the Apprentice II. If a child is closer to the middle of the range for the Apprentice II, with lots of growing left to do, then the Outbreak may be the better choice. The MSRP of the Outbreak is $299.99 for the bare bow and the MSRP of the Apprentice II is $279.99 for a ready to hunt package.