Scott Bestul Reviews Five 2007 Bow Models that Cost Less than $600

[1] BEAR TRUTH ($550; 800-694-9494; beararcheryproducts.com)

THE SPECS: 33" axle-to-axle length; 7" brace height; 310-314 IBO speed

THE SKINNY: Bear teamed up with the hardcore hunters from Primos to design this excellent new bow. I'm usually suspicious of the limb pockets on split-limb bows, but these are solid and lined with vibration-dampening material. The single cam is perimeter-weighted, which further reduces vibration. What's more, the modular cam adjusts to any draw length, with a small setscrew to fine-tune within fractions of an inch.

[2] BOWTECH TOMKAT ($600; 888-689-1289; bowtecharchery.com)

THE SPECS: 31¾" axle-to-axle length; 8½" brace height; 299-315 IBO speed

THE SKINNY: The same binary-cam system that helped make the Bowtech Tribute a 2006 FIELD & STREAM Best of the Best Award winner makes the Tomkat a joy to shoot. It's plenty fast, and for a short-axle bow, wonderfully forgiving. The cost looks comparatively steep, until you consider that the bow comes all dressed up and virtually ready to shoot--and I've seen street prices as low as $525.

[3] MARTIN BENGAL SUPER MAG ($419; 509-529-2554; martinarchery.com)

THE SPECS: 32" axle-to-axle length; 7" brace height; 310 IBO speed

THE SKINNY: At 4.8 pounds, the Bengal is the heaviest bow here, but to my mind, weight equals stability, which improves accuracy. Besides, for whitetail hunters who typically hang their bows, mass is almost a nonissue, and this one remains short and maneuverable. With its M-Pro single-cam system, the Bengal launches speedy arrows with very little noise or vibration.

[4] PARKER TRAILBLAZER XP ($400; 540-337-5426; parkerbows.com)

THE SPECS: 32¼" axle-to-axle length; 7½" brace height; 302 IBO speed

THE SKINNY: XP stands for "Xtreme Parallel" limbs, which contribute to minimum vibration. The new ARC cam allows for draw-length adjustability, and the new riser--which aligns riser, rest, and sight pins--makes tuning a snap. And there's a great package deal, too: For an extra C-note, the bow is fitted with a Whisker Biscuit rest, Montana Black Gold sight, Parker quiver, sling, peep sight, and String Leech silencers.

[5] PSE ROGUE NRG PLUS ($400; 520-884-9065; psearchery.com)

THE SPECS: 32" axle-to-axle length; 8 1/8" brace height; 293-301 IBO speed

THE SKINNY: Like all bows in this lineup, the Rogue is fast, in this case thanks to PSE's NRG single cam. But speed impresses me only if it comes with enough forgiveness to keep average archers accurate. With its generous brace height, this bow pulls it off. Meanwhile, the near-parallel limbs reduce vibration enough to make it a smooth shooter. Some will find the rubber grip clunky. It doesn't bother me.