Bear Archery Charge Ready-to-Hunt (RTH) Bow Review

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While Bear Archery got its start with traditional bows, today the company has expanded to compound bows offering a variety of modern configurations. For this review we are going to be taking a look at the Bear Charge in what they call a Ready-To-Hunt (RTH) package. The idea behind RTH is that the bow should be as close as possible to having everything you need to hit the field and start practicing. A packaged bow that comes with a variety of accessories used to be unheard of years ago, but over the last 7-10 years has become steadily more popular, especially with those just getting into bow hunting.

Fred Bear and the company he started, Bear Archery, is an undeniable icon in the history of modern bowhunting. Today vintage Bear Archery products command a premium and are sought after by collectors. This is striking because Bear Archery was and has always been focused on delivering a good value for its customer. Today that tradition is carried on by Escalade Sports, the owner of Bear Archery and Trophy Ridge.

The current Bear lineup includes everything from a compact/youth bow, such as the Apprentice, to their flagship Carnage that features the latest in bow technology. The Charge is an entry level bow that retails at $299 for just the bow and $399 for a complete RTH package. The RTH package includes Trophy Ridge accessories such as a 3 pin fiber optic sight, quiver, stabilizer, bow sling, string loop, peep sight, and a whisker biscuit.

The Charge is available in three peak pull weights: 50, 60, and 70 pounds and can be reduced 10 pounds each. All bows have an 80% left with a soft wall (no hard wall stop on the cam). Draw length adjustment is generous moving from 26" to 30" in half inch increments without using a bow press. The Charge has a 30" axle-to-axle making it a release only bow with a forgiving 7.75 brace height. Given the relatively long brace height the Charge still turns in a respectable IBO speed of 305fps.

The Charge uses a solo cam design that can be adjusted for draw length without a press.

Back side of the lower cam.

The Charge is only available in Realtree APG; however the fit and finish is excellent. The camo dip job on our review bow is complete with little to no blemishes. The limb pockets appear to be painted with a scratch resistant epoxy.

Bear builds their own limbs using a fiberglass/resin compression method. The limbs on the Charge are split with a characteristic flair closer to the cam. Like most other newer parallel limb style bows, the Charge limbs come with a few caveats. First Bear Archery warns against mounting any dampening accessories more than 2 inches away from the limb pocket. Mounting more than 2 inches away from the limb pocket can damage the limbs creating a dangerous bow and voids the warranty.

The Charge uses a split limb design with flared limbs. Be sure
to put any limb dampeners within two inches of the limb pocket.

The other caveat has really hit home with any modern parallel limb bow. Bear warns against using any older style bow press when working on the Charge that does not explicitly place the press compression on the tip of the limb near the cam holes in the limb. Several presses from Apple Archery work as well as the Sure-Loc X-press as long as you use the correct adapter wheel. Be warned there are stories of techs that didn't use the correct press and screwed up the bow, such as this youtube video that has been around for a few years.

The sight that comes with the Charge is a Trophy Ridge Punisher 3 pin site. Each pin is manually adjustable and the entire sight is adjustable for elevation and windage. While the sight is tapped for a sight light, it is not included with the bow, just like the retail version of the Punisher 3. The sight includes a level which is a nice feature for an entry level bow. If you want to upgrade the sight, it could be done cheaply by simply purchasing and adding on the sight light and a few pins.

View through the sight, the level is a nice bonus.

Front view of the Punisher 3 sight. The fiber optics pins are
fairly bright, but considerably dimmer than a wrapped fiber optic sight.

The included whisker biscuit is the newer Trophy Ridge Quick Shot. The Quick Shot is Trophy Ridge's entry level whisker biscuit but it is adjustable for windage and is reversible so it can be switched for left hand shooting if you should decide to sell the biscuit or give it to a left hand shooter. Whisker biscuits are not universally loved because they are less accurate than other types of rests available on the market; however their ease of use and ability to retain the arrow is a big plus for many hunters.

Trophy Ridge Quick Shot whisker biscuit.

The quiver shipped with the bow is a Trophy Ridge's "6 Shooter" quiver that as you might guess holds six arrows. The quiver locks into an attachment on the side of the Punisher sight. The locking is achieved with a simple throw lever that holds the quiver tight. Taking it off is as simple as throwing the lever. The Charge has slots to mount and upgrade to a two piece Trophy Ridge Arrow Cage 2 quiver if a two piece quiver is preferred.

Trophy Ridge Six Shoot Quiver.

The quick release locking lever on the quiver.

The stabilizer is a Trophy Ridge Shockstop Lite which includes a wrist strap. Nothing fancy here but the stabilizer gets the job done and the wrist strap is an added bonus.

The included silencer and wrist strap combo.

There are a few things left to the new purchaser of a Charge bow. The first is a release, the release loop is already tied on to the bow string, any basic release will work. The other is serving in the peep, some large retailers will most likely not serve in the peep for you. Note that not serving in the peep isn't a great idea because the basic serving tends to slide around and the peep eventually pops out or moves out of sighting position. If you're not able to serve in your peep, take it to somebody that can. While you're at it, you can also pick up some arrows and assure that the draw length is correctly set for your optimal length of pull.

String loop ready for a release!

Basic peep with simple serving. Make sure to completely serve
in the peep when you have it adjusted to your eye height.

The charge lacks few vibration dampeners which would help to quiet the string down some. You could add some stringer whiskers to the string and some Limbsavers to the limbs but be careful where you place them on the limbs as was mentioned above. If reducing the string noise is absolutely critical, you may want to step up to the Bear Strike which comes with two string suppressors at an additional cost of $100 for the package or plain bow. There is a lot to like about the Bear Charge and if you're considering an entry level bow for hunting this fall it would make a great first bow.

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numbnutz's picture

Great review. The bow I

Great review. The bow I bought a few years ago was a PSE ready-to-shoot package. The gear that came on was pretty junky but it was enough to get me started. The set up was pretty easy. All I really had to do was sight it in and that didn't take very long. Since the I have put some upgrades on it like a new sight, new peep, new rest new stabelizer(thats the only thing that didn't come with package). I like the bow over all, but next time I will buy a bare bow and have my pro shop set it up for me. Great article, thanks for all the info.

ndemiter's picture

good review! the only thing i

good review!

the only thing i am really still curious about is the amount of weight rearward on the bow. do you need a big stabalizer to keep it leveled out? it looks like the riser, limbs and cams are all solid, quality items.

i think i'd like to shoot one of these. i've been thinking about a matthews, but i'm not sure if it's worth its price tag or not. if i can shoot a bow half the price almost as well, it's worth it to go with a cheaper bow because they will have about the same life expectancy. (or, i'll get tired of it and want to upgrade after a few years anyways!)

WishIWasHunting's picture

It is good to see an archery

It is good to see an archery product review on BGH.  This was well-written and informative.  Thanks!

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