The Bear Encounter (299.99), that is. I am testing new compound bows for under $300 and in doing so have found myself shocked–shocked I tell you–at how good this bargain-basement model is. An honest-to-goodness pleasure to shoot, the Encounter is quiet and damned accurate.

In this video, I shoot it head-to-head at 30 yards with a far-more-expensive model that I really like for it’s forgiveness. Of the two groups you see, the tighter, second group came from the Encounter. That was not typical; the other bow outshot the Encounter in most subsequent groups–but not by much. For such a short (30.5 axle-axle), light (3.7 pounds) bow, it’s a real shooter.

If you want to drop $900 on a top-end bow, I don’t blame you one bit. Among other things, you’ll almost certainly get more speed (the Encounter is just 310 IBO). But it must be said that there’s not a whole lot you’ll be able to do with it, from a hunting perspective, that you can’t do with this $300 Bear. It is a fantastic bargain.