Two of three photos on my office walls depict Fred Bear. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Papa Bear myself, I still consider him one of my heroes and hold a special place in my heart for equipment that bears his name.
Fred became an archery legend by pushing the limits both of technology and through his feats afield. Fred Bear products were always no nonsense, hard-core, bowhunting gear directed at the average man or woman for a price they could afford and with the quality that hunters demand.
The company Fred created has gone through some rocky years in the recent past, but like a professional sports team, sometimes it requires tearing down and rebuilding from the ground up. Fred Bear Outdoors has gone through such tough times and has emerged proudly with the new Fred Bear SQ32.
The SQ32 is a parallel limb design and the Quad limbs attach to a long, sleek looking riser, which is film dipped in Realtree High Definition camo. When I review bows the grip is the first thing that pops out at me, but to be honest, the SQ32 with the Realtree camo and dark, hunter green eccentrics and limbs pockets screams out for an attention getting — WOW!
Those who choose bowhunting have to worry about being heard. The synchronized cam system is plenty quiet, but to complete the package Fred Bear has thoughtfully provided a factory installed Sims LimbSavers and String Leeches to reduce vibration and noise.
The SQ32 derives its’ name from two main features. I’m sure that you guessed the 32.5-inch axle-to-axle length as the last part of the name hints at. The SQ refers to the parallel limb design offering short, straight, compression-molded quad limbs that are synchronized together and are in part responsible for the SQ32’s 310 fps IBO speed rating.
Fred Bear now offers a revolutionary new cam-and-a-half system, the S1.5 Synchronized Hybrid Cam System. However, unlike the rest of the industry, the SQ32 matched cam-and-a-half system is synchronized for maximum accuracy and performance. The S1.5 Synchronized Hybrid Cam System features a full five inches of draw length adjustment and can be adjusted by few quick turns of the Allen screw in the module. The SQ32’s letoff can be adjusted the same way to 65- or 75-percent.
Even with the short length of the SQ32 the design still incorporates a long riser/short, parallel limb design. This maximizes the power delivered from the limbs and effectively reduces/cancels recoil and vibration as the two limbs move in opposite directions.
The grip on the SQ32 is a little meatier than I would prefer and measures about an inch at the throat, but widens toward the bottom of the grip. The wood side plates provide an accuracy-inducing square shaped grip that makes it easy to position your hand in the same spot shot after shot. The back of the riser, between the wood side plates, comes covered with a piece of leather to be appreciated when shooting on a hot summery day or frosty fall morning.
Fred Bear seems rather quiet about the limb pockets, but a quick visual shows that they are definitely onto something there. The Quad Limbs have a block fitted between them for spacing. There is also plastic “gaskets” on all sides of the limb where it fits into the pocket. I’m sure that this is to ensure that the limb fits perfectly into the pocket to promote stability and accuracy. The reason being, the straighter the limb is to the pocket, the truer the line, the limb/string/arrow all travel.
At the range the bow shot even better than I had originally guessed. The cams rolled over to a shallow valley and solid wall. The 7.5-inch brace height was more than sufficient to hook up a drop away rest that was cable operated by a tether tied through the cable. Vibration and noise were minimal, but noticeably reduced with an active stabilizer attached.