Bear Approach HC Review
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Every year, Bear produces bow models matched perfectly for shooters on a strict budget, or perhaps for the beginners just getting started in the world of archery. The Bear Approach HC is that kind of bow, listed at a suggested retail price of only $449, the Approach HC may be one of the best values on the bow market. Shooters get a compact 32-inch axel-to-axel, 4-pound bow, with a hybrid cam system flinging arrows 340 feet per second. Aside from the bow only being offered in two patterns, it is almost impossible to find anything wrong with this budget friendly hunting bow. Whether a shooter is new to the sport just looking to get started, or has been hunting for years and simply wanting an upgrade without the giant price tag, the Approach HC is going to win over a lot of shooters for fall.
FinishBear has always done a great job with their dipping process. The finish turns out well, and looks flawless on the riser and limbs. Historically, the Bear finishes have always lasted well under typical wear and tear as well. For the Approach HC, Bear decided to offer only two patterns, which is a bit of a bummer. However, the Realtree Edge and Badlands Approach patterns do not disappoint. The limbs are camo matched to the riser, with the branding stickers being tame and minimalistic in design. The green string color is pretty loud, which gives the rig a little tasteful flair.
RiserBear risers have a unique look, and the Approach HC is no different than the rest of the lineup. A large part of the unique riser design can be linked to the dual string suppressors Bear calls Sonicstops. The front mounting stabilizer-mounting hole will let shooters add some weight out front. With that being said, it does not line up with the bottom string stop system, which is typically the case for most riser designs. The cast/machined aluminum riser gives the bow a favorable 32-inch axel-to-axel measurement, while keeping the overall bare bow weight at an even 4.0-pounds. The bow keeps a 6-inch brace height, helping squeeze out a lilt more arrow speed. The cable containment system is a traditional cable slide, which is not surprising for a budget conscious bow.
GripThe grip on the Bear Approach HC is minimalistic like the rest of the Bear compound lineup. The grip is an integrated portion of the riser, which features a two-piece side panel grip made of rubber with the Bear block letter logo proudly displayed on the plates. The side plates do not offer much in terms of feel or comfort, but it does look better than simply having an aluminum grip. In terms of feel, the Bear grip fits well in hand and is pretty comfy. The grip has rounded edges for added comfort, but is mostly flat, which keeps the grip comfortably where it should be.
LimbsBear has two limb configurations for the Approach HC Endura fiber split limbs, with each having a 15-pound draw weight range instead of the industry standard 10-pounds. The shape of the limbs allows the weight to be well distributed throughout, also allowing extra flexibility to assist with the extra draw weight range. Shooters can choose to purchase a 45-60-pound or 55-70-pound configuration. The limbs connect to the riser with the Bear lock down pocket system, which keeps the limbs where they should throughout the entire draw cycle. Bear also equips the Endura split limbs with Shockwaves split-limb dampeners to keep things as quiet and shock free as possible.
Eccentric SystemThe Approach HC is powered by a high-performance hybrid cam system flinging arrows at an IBO rated 340 feet per second. The draw length is adjustable from 25.5-30-inches in half-inch increments, and has a rotating module to make adjustments smooth and effortless. The Bear Rockstops are adjustable limb stops, which provide a solid back wall feel pulling into the limbs instead of the cable. The 75% let off gives shooters an easier holding weight, but is not as high of a let off as some other models on the market in 2018. Overall, the hybrid cam system has a ton of features shooters have come to expect from a high-end, flagship bow. It is important to keep in mind, this is a budget friendly bow with all these shootability features, and not a flagship model.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe shootability of this bow is off the charts for a bow with a suggested retail under $450. The hybrid cam system is well designed for a smooth drawing feel combined with a very firm back wall aided by dual limb stops. The 75% let off does not follow the high let off trend offered on many bows, but the added speed is an accepted trade off for most shooters interested in the Approach HC. The draw starts off a bit stiff up front, but it transitions effortlessly through the let off into the solid back wall. This back wall is outstanding for shooters wanting a firm feel without any sponge. After the shot, the bow just sits in the shooters hand. There is no felt vibration or excessive noise, and the zippy arrow is fun to watch hitting the target. The Approach HC feels great for any bow, but when considering the price tag, it bow may be one of the best feeling budget bows on the market this year.
Usage ScenariosThis bow has some potential to be used on the 3D course, but its main purpose is a hunting bow. This rig will be most comfortable hunting, and it is designed well for this. It is fairly compact, hits the magical 4-pound bare bow mark, shoots 340 feet per second, and has an easy drawing experience for shooters. Those wanting a dedicated 3D bow will look elsewhere, but those wanting a hunting bow they can shoot with buddies on the weekends should take a hard look at the Approach HC.
Approach HC vs. Cruzer
Both of these bows have a hybrid cam system at a budget price point. The Approach HC has a more expensive price tag, but comes with dual string suppressors as well as a faster IBO rating. For those wanting the cheapest hybrid cam, the Bear Cruzer may be the best option. For those wanting a well priced bow with some high end features, it may be worth more money for shooters to go with the Approach HC.