March 08, 2018
By Jon E. Silks
Bear Archery obviously gets its name from the late, great Fred Bear — that is a ton of responsibility. In addition to high-end bows, Bear maintains a commitment to what I call "keeping it real" by producing high-performance options at an affordable price that honors Fred Bear's legacy. The new Approach HC is an excellent example of this.
Bear's Approach HC is a get-it-done type of hunting rig with a cast/machined aluminum riser, modular hybrid cams, the company's signature riser-based dual string suppressors, Endura Fiber split limbs, Lock Down pockets and a two-piece, side-panel grip — all with a price tag under $450!
The Approach is outfitted with the hard-hitting H15-6 hybrid cam system, advertised to produce IBO arrow speeds up to 340 fps on a 6-inch brace height and 75 percent letoff. Note that IBO speeds are recorded with the bow set to a 30-inch draw length and 70-pound draw weight while shooting a 350-grain arrow.
Rotating cam modules can be adjusted to span the Approach's entire draw-length range from 25€‰½-30 inches, in half-inch increments. No bow press is needed to select the draw that fits you best; just be sure to also move the cable stop on each cam to the location associated with that draw length. Both modules and draw stop locations are clearly marked for positive identification. Bear employs BCY-X material for the Approach's string and cables.
Bear's Endura Fiber limbs are compression molded into a unique shape, as they start out narrow and thick at the limb pocket before flattening out to a wider profile and then going back to narrow and thick at the end where the axles are mounted. Bear matches limbs into sets based on deflection values. Approach limbs reach a past-parallel position at full draw to take advantage of the inherent benefits of this configuration — namely reduced shock, vibration and noise at the shot.
This is accomplished as the force from release is distributed in equal and opposite directions, causing the energy leftover after propelling the arrow to be cancelled out. Limb sets are available only in one configuration that features an adjustable draw weight ranging from 55-70 pounds.
Bear's Approach uses the company's pivoting Lock Down limb pocket system, which is a closed-end, full-control style pocket made from cast aluminum and finished in black. An integral, limb-locking rocker design anchors the critical pocket/limb/riser interface for added precision and accuracy.
The Approach riser has spoked upper and lower sections, custom made to manage the stresses of a system generating the kind of energy needed to propel arrows 340 fps. Casting processes allow for unique curves, thickness changes and cutouts that increase strength while eliminating unnecessary material and reducing overall mass weight.
The riser is slightly reflexed, meaning the throat of the grip is behind the pivot point of the limbs. This allows for an increased power stroke and, in turn, better speeds. The handle at the grip is rounded for comfort and is complemented on both sides with overmold panels. Riser and limbs are both film dipped in Badlands Approach camo.
Bear attacks shock, vibration and noise on several fronts. In addition to the past-parallel limb position mentioned earlier, the Approach sports Bear's dual Rock Stop string suppressors that quickly reduce string oscillation after the shot. Sonic Knots placed on the string at either end not only reduce string noise but also increase speed slightly. Shock Waves, attached to the end of each limb piece, are designed to kill vibration in the limbs.
Bear's Approach HC is first and foremost an excellent value. It performs at a level far beyond its price tag. A quick jump in the handle, average shot noise and little vibration experienced upon release are cut down noticeably with a quality stabilizer. The draw cycle, while aggressive, is consistent throughout, making it feel smooth. There is not much valley to speak of once at full draw. So, make sure you are shooting the correct draw length so you can settle comfortably into the shot.