Bear BR 33 Review
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Editors' reviewThe Bear Archery BR 33 is a comfort bow to counter the faster Escape. Clocking in at only 330 feet per second, the BR 33 is not overly fast, but it is a nice option for shooters that want something a little easier to draw. Combined with a 7-inch brace height, a touch over 33-inch axel-to-axel measurement, and 80% let off, the BR 33 despite the slower speeds really is a hard hitting, easy drawing shooter. As a premium flagship model, the BR 33 does have a larger price tag at $999, but it is a top of the line model, which is a pretty comparable price for a bow leading the way for a big name company like Bear Archery. It is great marketing for Bear to offer a less aggressive bow with similar features to their speed demon model for 2016, and the shootability of the BR 33 is going to win a lot of shooters over to Bear Archery for the upcoming season because of it.
FinishThe BR 33 has a few finish options available, each giving a little different look, but all well done. The dipping process leaves the riser fully covered in the chosen pattern, and gives a solid finished look to the bow. The Realtree Xtra Green is a popular pattern for Bear, and the BR 33 model gets matching limbs for this pattern as well. Shooters not wanting the full camo look can choose between Olive, Sand, and Shadow, which all come with black limbs. The Bear Archery logo accompanies the orange BR 33 markings on the limbs, which help complete the design and feel of the bow. The Olive and Sand color choices are unique looking, and will sure to be different than what many shooters opt for at the local range. For that reason, they should be fairly popular choices with shooters wanting something just a little different than typical archery finishes.
RiserThe BR 33 takes on a pretty typical Bear riser design with the riser widening at the top and bottom where the string stop systems are installed. This design helps add a little to the stability and strength of the riser, and also allows a place for the string stop system to fit. It also assists with distributing the limb loads more evenly lessening the stress on the riser at any one given point. The resulting look has become a characteristic design for the company as well. On the front of the riser near this widened section, the BR 33 riser has rubber inserts fitting in the 7075 machined aluminum to help aide with dampening vibrations and making the bow more quiet.
GripThe BR 33 comes equipped like other Bear Archery bows with a solid one-piece composite grip. It is held to the riser with a screw on each side of the handle, which makes it easily removable for those wanting to shoot right off the riser instead. Bear has designed the grip area to be comfortable enough to use without the one-piece grip screwed on for someone wanting a smaller grip feel, or sideplates can be installed as well. The grip is often the first thing potential buyers comment on, even before drawing the bow. Bear deciding to offer three separate grip options on the same model is a great design because it offers a little something for all shooters, regardless of their preference. Most will be perfectly content to use the factory installed grip option, but the ability to change them around is a really great design feature.
LimbsThe Bear BR 33 has a 25-pound draw weight range for its split limbs offered in two different configurations. The first option is a 45- 60-pound offering, and the second choice is 55-70-pounds. It is nice to have more than 10-pounds of adjustment, but it is also a nice option when companies offer a 65-pound max limbs since that is the draw weight many shooters prefer. Regardless, the draw weight should fit what many shooters pull when considering those interested in BR 33 to begin with.
The limb pockets are black regardless of the finish choice chosen, and securely hold the limbs in place throughout the draw cycle. There are several contact points, which keep the limbs in place a bit better, and the pivoting action is also reinforced to prevent any accuracy impacting movement. Overall, the design works, and does not take away from the bow design at all.
Eccentric SystemThe BR 33 is powered by the EAZ hybrid cam system, which is focused on creating a smooth drawing draw force curve. Although the easy drawing cam design was the priority, the 80% let off cam system still produces a fair amount of speed clocking in at an IBO measured 330 feet per second. Bear has also kept with the simple rotating module system, which makes it easy for shooters and dealers not needing to swap out cams or separate modules if the draw length needs to be adjusted. The modules and stops are easily adjusted and can be done without the need for a bow press, which makes it easy for shooters to tinker a bit on their own set ups. Sticking with the industry standard half-inch draw length adjustments, the BR 33 from 27-inches all the way out to 32-inches. Offering a draw length that long allows those shooters another choice of high-end bows to choose from in a selective group.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe EAZ cam is a smooth drawing system first and foremost. This is evident in just looking at the cams themselves. They are almost perfectly circular in shape, and the hybrid cams are the same on the top and bottom. The draw weight increases gradually, and is not difficult to get started at any draw weight. After reaching peak weight, it levels off a bit, and then transitions into the 80% let-off and solid back wall. The valley is fairly pleasant with the less aggressive cam EAZ system, and the bow is comfortable to let down if necessary. The 4.2-pound bow is a bit on the heavy side in regards to paper specifications, but in the hand, it balances well and does not feel heavy even with added accessories. While holding on target, the pin float is pretty minimal, which also may be caused by the overall mass of the bow. After the shot, the bow stays on target pretty easily to help with the shot sequence follow through. It is also pretty dead in the hand, which could contribute to the added string stops and dampeners in the riser, or could be partially caused by a slower speed and slightly less performance. Either way, the bow sits on target after the shot, and has almost no hand shock to report.
Usage ScenariosBear does not make straight target bows, but the BR 33 could be used as one if a shooter wanted to do everything with one bow. The BR 33 is a designed hunting bow, and will do a great job in the field. However, local 3D shoots are even an indoor spot league should not be an issue for this model.
Bear BR 33 vs. Bear Escape
|Bow||Bear BR 33||Bear Escape|
|Brace Height||7 "||6 "|
|AtA Length||33.25 "||32 "|
|Draw Length||27 " - 32 "||25.5 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||45 lbs - 70 lbs||45 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||330 fps||350 fps|
|Weight||4.2 lbs||4.0 lbs|
| Where to buy |
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These bows are not really marketed toward the same types of shooters, but they do feature similar specifications and technology aside from the cam systems. The Bear Escape is the faster of the two models with an IBO rating of 350 feet per second, with the BR 33 a bit slower at 330 feet per second. Aside from the cams and therefore the draw cycle, these two bows are going to be on many shooters list of bows to try out. Speed bows versus comfort bows generally end up being a personal preference decision, and the choice between these two flagship models will be no different.