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With archery seasons fast-approaching (or already open) it’s time to finish up the results of our annual bow test. For details of how the test is conducted, see the original post. Early next week we’ll feature the Top Five bows–a “best of the class”–in a single roundup of the elite bows of 2011.

But this post is devoted to the 6th place winner…

Bear “Carnage”



Price: $849
Weight:** 4 lbs. 12 oz. **

Length:** 32″ axle-to-axle

Speed: 345 fps (IBO) 288 fps (our test: 29-1/4″, 437gr. Carbon Express Aramid arrow. 28.5 draw length, 70lbs)

Comments/Notes:** The Carnage is Bear’s high-performance bow for the year, and continues this reputable company’s high standing in our annual test. Armed with Bear’s new “Skeleton Cam ™” and beyond-parallel “Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs”, the Carnage boasts admirable speed for a single-cam bow. Bear also lengthened and lightened the Carnage riser, which is available in “Shadow” (black) or Realtree APG ™ camo. Brace height is 7.25″, which should add forgiveness. Available draw weights peak at 50, 60, and 70 pounds, and draw lengths are available from 25-1/2″ to 30-1/2″. Let-off is 80%. **

Hits:** Every tester gave the Carnage high marks for its lack of felt vibration and noise; this bow is simply a pleasure to shoot. We also liked the Bear’s slim, one-piece grip, which helped balance the Carnage nicely in your hand. The Carnage also flung an exceedingly quick arrow for a single-cam bow.

Misses: One tester knocked a few points off the Carnage for its draw cycle, another awarded a demerit for fit and finish. These were minor quibbles…But this test is so competitive, it only takes a couple points to drop a few places.
Takeaway:** I’ve conducted the bow test for four years now, and every year the Bear entry moves up a notch or two; one of my testers commented “these guys are just inches away from the big time”…And I couldn’t agree more. The Carnage is a fine bow packed with a lot of improvements, and one any hunter would be happy to shoot.