Bear Empire Review
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Editors' reviewThe 2013 Bear Empire is a great bow that has been has been in the shadows of the Motive 6 and 7 this year. Bear engineering is continuing to impress as they have been recently with their come back toward the higher end of the archery market. The Empire has not fallen short, what so ever, of the pattern Bear has been following. The manufacturer is claiming and putting a lot of emphasis on consumers' requests and suggestions for bow engineering. This bow is Bear's flagship single cam bow that is comfortable to shoot with virtually no recoil. It is quite possibly Bear's best "hunting" bow with about everything the hunter can ask for.
FinishThere are several color options for the Empire that include Realtree APG, Shadow Series (black), Realtree APG Snow/black, red/black, and green/black. The camouflage colors are flat in finish. The red and green colors seem to have a bit of a semi-gloss finish. At this time there have not been any reports of flaking or chipping on any of these finishes. All of these color options look great and the Realtree APG Snow looks awesome.
Riser/LimbsThere is an all new riser on the Empire that measures 32" axel to axel. It is 3.25" shorter than the Anarchy and is .2 lbs. heavier weighing 4lbs. Bear kept the dual string suppressors integrated into the riser that they are know for. It appears to have a wider look and is appealing to the eye. As with nearly all bows now it has a stabilizer bushing that is stainless steel.
The Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs on this bow appear to be the limbs of choice for Bear in 2013. They are found on the rest of their high end bows also. The limbs are connected to the riser with the Zero Tolerance Limb Pockets. These connecters provide an interference fit between the limb, the boot, and the pocket which kills any shift of the limb in the pocket.
GripThe grip on the Empire has two options. It has a thin neck and comes with a mold over rubber grip that can be removed for the second option of a panel grip that is underneath it. The rubber mold has a better feel and it also has a big Bear trademark emblem that catches the eye. It is warmer on the hand in the cold outdoors and also has a thicker feel. There is no torque noticed and it feels like its balanced out well.
String SuppressorsThe dual offset string suppressors that Bear is known for have a unique look and do their job extremely well. They are adjustable and can be perfectly fitted to your shooting style. They have set of rubber vibration dampening boots to soften the contact made with the string and the suppressors. These dual suppressors do an excellent job of sound and vibration dampening along with giving the bow a cool look.
Eccentric SystemThe Bear Empire has the all new S13 single cam. It has a rotating module so all draw length adjustments can be made without a bow press or any other modules. The bow adjusts in .5" increments from 24" to 31". It has 80% let off and is available in 50, 60, and 70 lb. draw weights. The IBO is rated at 330 fps. This speed seems to be accurate. Coming from a single cam bow its speed is great.
Draw Cycle/Shoot AbilityThis bow has a good feeling draw without that stiff feeling. Torque is not noticed and it seems very well balanced when drawn. It has a huge valley and it has plenty of room to move without it jumping back forward. The Empire is dead in the hand at the shot. The back wall is good and solid. It could use a stabilizer although it is already balanced well with very little vibration due to the string suppressors. The bow is also whisper quiet. The 4x4 Roller Guard aids in its smoothness and it has 8 steel ball bearings to do so. It also keeps the cables working their proper way.
Silencing PackageThis bow is nice and quiet without any shock. The majority of this silence is the result of the dual string suppressors dampening the sound and vibration. The string does not have anything added for silencing which would also slow it down if it did. The Zero Tolerance Limb Pockets also assist in silencing the bow by eliminating movement.
|Bow||Bear Empire||Bear Motive 6||Bear Motive 7|
|Brace Height||7 "||6 "||7 "|
|AtA Length||32 "||32 "||32 "|
|Draw Length||24 " - 31 "||25.5 " - 30 "||26.5 " - 31 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||330 fps||350 fps||340 fps|
|Weight||4.0 lbs||4.0 lbs||4.0 lbs|
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The Bear Empire is just another quality bow that Bear has added to their line up that keeps becoming more well rounded and solid. Although it may not be considered their "best" bow by most it is mostly because of the way Bear has marketed the Bear Motive 6 and Bear Motive 7. It is their best "hunting" bow and has many similarities to the Anarchy. Although it is over 3" shorter than the Anarchy they are both high speed single cam bows. The Anarchy does have a slightly smoother draw, but they are both silky smooth. The Empire has the new style riser and has an MSRP of $849.99 which is $50 less than the Anarchy. However, this is still a pretty high price for Bear at this time when compared to other manufacturers that have been at the high end of the archery market for many years.