The Bear Archery Grizzly is one of the most storied bows in the archery world. First released in 1950, the design hasn't changed since 1964 because it's been that effective for nearly half a century. Because it's one of our all-time favorite bows, we decided to put together this full Bear Grizzly recurve review to detail what we like, what we don't, and how it stands up to other bows.
What’s Included in the Package?
The Bear Grizzly is a high-quality single-piece bow. It's geared more towards archers who know what they need and will likely get their own aftermarket accessories, so it doesn't come in an extensive package. Most importantly, you get the bow itself, consisting of the laminated maple and fiberglass limbs and riser all in one piece. You get this in a specific draw weight that you have to select ahead of time.
That said, you do get a couple of extras with this bow. Namely, the shelf includes a leather side plate and a bear hair arrow rest, great for accuracy while maintaining the traditional style. Additionally, there's a threaded bushing for an attached quiver.
Bear also gives you a basic Dacron bowstring.
Assembling the Bear Grizzly
There isn't really any assembling to do with the Bear Grizzly because it's a single-piece recurve. Even the leather side plate and bear hair arrow rest come installed.
The only assembly you'll have to do is stringing the bow. This is easier said than done since stringing a recurve requires several steps as well as a stringing device, which isn't included in the package. A stringing device attaches to both limbs and allows you to use your foot for leverage to maintain tension on the limbs while you slide on the bowstring.
Stringing the Grizzly incorrectly can be dangerous for you and the bow, so make sure you study up if this is your first time stringing a bow.
Features / Specifications
The Bear Grizzly Recurve bow is available in both left or right handed versions.
The Bear Grizzly comes in draw weights of 30 to 60 pounds in five-pound increments. It's not a takedown recurve, so you cannot change the draw weight afterward without getting an entirely new bow.
The Grizzly has an AMO length of 58 inches. AMO refers to the Archery Manufacturers Organization—which is actually now the Archery Trade Association—so the AMO length is a standardized way of measuring a traditional bow's size and is usually three inches longer than the bowstring length.
For reference, most takedown recurve models have AMO lengths between 60 and 62 inches, so the Grizzly is particularly compact.
Likely due to the small AMO length, the Grizzly's draw length is 28 inches, which is about an inch shorter than the standard for recurve bows. Everyone's draw length is different, and you can get yours measured precisely at an archery shop. However, most people can use their height to estimate it.
Your draw length is approximately your wingspan divided by 2.5, your wingspan being the distance between the tips of your middle fingers when your arms are outstretched like a T. For the majority of people, their height is pretty close to their wingspan, so just divide your height by 2.5.
Using this formula, a height of 70 inches, or 5'10", gets you a draw length of 28 inches. While this draw length probably works for people within two or three inches of this height, anyone much taller or shorter might have trouble drawing the Grizzly correctly.
Pros and Cons of the Bear Grizzly
Bear Archery was started by Fred Bear in 1933 and continues to manufacture some of the best bows in the world.
Here is a great video showing the history of Fred Bear, known as the Godfather of archery.
What We Like
Bear is one of the most respected archery brands, and the Grizzly is one of their most popular models. It's manufactured with pride and craftsmanship that translates to durability. Many archers get the Grizzly expecting it to be their lifetime bow, but even if that isn't your goal, you'll likely get many seasons out of it.
The Grizzly comes in a range of draw weights from 30 to 60 pounds. Most jurisdictions require you to have at least 40 pounds for bowhunting, so you have plenty of options that pack enough power to hunt mid-sized and big game with.
The Bear Hair Archery Rest
We love that you shoot right off the riser arrow shelf. This means you don't have to install a special arrow rest, and it maintains the traditional feel and style of the Grizzly.
The bear hair rest placed on the shelf takes this to the next level. It decreases friction and gives you much better accuracy.
Recurve bows often have loud shots, but the Grizzly is one of the quietest we've found. This is due to the quality craftsmanship as well as the Bear hair arrow rest.
A quiet shot is important, especially for recurve bows, which have slower arrow speeds than modern bows. If your quarry hears the shot, it might have enough time to startle, throwing your shot slightly off the kill zone.
It might not be the most important thing when it comes to a bow, but the Grizzly is one of the most beautiful recurves on the market. The craftsmanship is visible and looks sophisticated and traditional. It's likely to turn heads on the range.
We like the brown maple finish in particular, but you also have the option of Shedua. This might actually be a better choice for camouflage purposes if you hunt in an area with minimal forest cover during the season.
What We Don’t Like
Short Draw Length
The 28-inch draw length isn't super short, but it's a little less than the 29 inches you'd get with most recurve bows. 28 inches is good for the vast majority of men, but those over six feet tall or under 5'8" may have trouble. Similarly, it's too big for many women and most children.
Only One Bushings for Accessories
The Bear Grizzly only has one threaded bushing that you can use for an attached quiver. However, there aren't any for helpful hunting accessories like sights, stabilizers and mechanical rests.
If you're interested in the Grizzly, you likely lean towards a more traditional style of archery and don't use these accessories anyway. Still, it's something to keep in mind.
You Can't Upgrade the Bowstring
The Grizzly is a traditional bow with a design that hasn't changed in decades. It's designed to take Dacron bowstrings, which are good, but there are higher-quality materials available these days. Unfortunately, these materials could damage the Grizzly's limbs, so you'll have to stick with Dacron.
Bear Grizzly Quality
It's hard to find a riser with better quality than the Grizzly's. Made of hard maple, it's durable but lightweight, the entire bow weighing just around two pounds. As a bonus, it looks beautiful too.
The limbs are laminated with clear maple and backed with fiberglass. This provides strength and consistent tension, better for accuracy over many seasons. As a single-piece recurve, the limbs are combined seamlessly with the riser for even more consistency.
The Grizzly's grip is ergonomic and easy to hold for the majority of archers. It gives you stability and helps you get into the correct archery form.
The Bear Grizzly comes with a Dacron bowstring. Dacron is a great material for bowstrings. It resists stretch, so the power and tension is more consistent over time.
Nevertheless, we wish that the Grizzly accepted modern strings like FastFlight strings that are even more tough and consistent. However, the Grizzly has a traditional design and only takes Dacron material, one of its biggest downsides.
RELATED: When To Replace A Bow String
Is the Bear Grizzly Good for Beginners?
The Bear Grizzly is a good recurve bow for beginners, especially if you get it with a lower draw weight near 30 pounds. It's highly accurate and very consistent, so it's good for learning to aim.
However, you should keep in mind that it's a high-quality model designed to be used repeatedly for many seasons. It's not necessarily a bow that you'd learn your form on and then trade up to something else. In other words, we'd recommend going with the Grizzly if you're a beginner but are sure you're going to be practicing archery for a long time.
Is the Bear Grizzly Good for Kids?
The Grizzly is good for youth who can handle the 28-inch draw weight, usually teenagers who are nearly fully grown. It's probably too large and powerful for smaller kids, though, who should opt for a child-specific model.
RELATED: Best Youth Recurve Bow
Is the Bear Grizzly Good for Hunting?
The Bear Archery Grizzly is one of the best recurve bows for hunting. Not only is it available with draw weight up to 60 pounds, which is more than enough to hunt game like whitetail deer, but it's consistently accurate and quiet thanks to the well-crafted limbs and bear hair arrow rest.
RELATED: Bear Super Kodiak Review
For a more affordable recurve bow for hunting check out our SAS Courage Review.
The Bear Grizzly vs the Samick Sage
While the Samick Sage is a great affordable takedown model for beginners who want to work their way up or casual hobbyists, we think the Grizzly is a better choice for serious archers who love traditional archery and plan to shoot a lot. While the Sage allows you to conveniently change out the limbs, the Grizzly has better craftsmanship and consistency.
The Bear Grizzly vs the Southwest Archery Spyder
The Spyder is a great bow for beginners who are still learning accuracy but want to hunt in the future, primarily due to its large range of draw weights that you can take advantage of thanks to the takedown design. However, there's no doubt in our minds that the Grizzly is a higher-quality bow and the better option for serious archers and bowhunters.
Wrapping Up the Bear Grizzly Recurve Review
The Bear Archery Grizzly is a beautifully crafted bow designed for archers and bowhunters who love their hobby and plan to go shooting a lot. With a durable maple riser, it's likely to last you season after season and provide consistent and accurate shots even with high amounts of power.
RELATED: How To Choose A Recurve
Get out your archery target and see what a pleasure the Bear Grizzly Recurve Bow is to shoot.
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