By Shane Chuning
The Sportsman’s News team gets a chance to test a lot of different gear each and every month and the items that really rise to the top get put on the schedule for our “Pros Pick” column. Since we only do 12 publications a year, we reserve these spots for some of the very best products that come across our desk. The 2011 Bear Carnage is just that type of product.
This is a very unique looking bow with its’ Dual Arc Offset String Suppressors and makes this unit easily recognizable from a distance. Our test model bow was a 70 pound bow set at a 29” draw length. We equipped the bow with a Whisker Biscuit rest and a 7-pin sight by Trophy Ridge. This exact setup is what I would personally use for a hunting setup in our western states. Our testing arrow is my exact hunting setup and is a 27” raw shaft carbon arrow (Easton A/C/C) and 100 grain field point which makes a total arrow weight of 401 grains.
When setting up the bow, the pre-loaded limbs required a little bit different attachment on the bow press, but wasn’t something that we couldn’t work with and the bow shop at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse will handle this for you at setup anyway. The only time this would be of concern is when installing a peep or changing strings, so it isn’t a concern, but did justify mentioning for the do- it-yourself archer.
This is a single cam bow which means that once your draw length is set, you don’t need to worry about your cams going out of time. This situation does provide for a longer bowstring and is more susceptible to string stretch, but our testing didn’t reveal any string stretch throughout our entire testing period of well over 5,000 shots.
This bow is 32” axle to axle with a 7.25” brace height which makes it very forgiving for a short axle to axle bow. The slim grip, common on many target bows provides for a great feel at full draw and makes it easy to get the bow to sit well into the pocket of your hand. This allowed the bow to sit very level in the hand without any sort of torque. This is a great setup for someone wanting to practice at long range (100 yards plus).
Our test bow was set at 70 pounds which is exactly what
it drew when bottomed out, but if you would prefer a lighter poundage, you can get this model in 50 or 60 pound settings as well. It also comes in various draw lengths from 25.5” out to 30.5” with the use of modules and it doesn’t require a bow press to change. It is very common for bow manufactures to have their bows bottom out at 2-4 pounds heavier than quoted to get more speed, but that wasn’t the case with this setup. This bow has an 80% let off advertised, which means that your hold weight is 20% of the maximum draw weight. The test model at full draw had a hold weight of 14.8, making it 79% let off.
This bow was extremely easy to tune and an even bigger pleasure to shoot. Traditionally, most single cam bows have a more spongy feeling back wall when you are at full draw. The Carnage is much more solid and makes for holding the bow at full draw extremely easy. The entire draw cycle is very smooth from start to finish with a good valley. The bow kicks out from the bottom just slightly, but this felt recoil was totally eliminated once a stabilizer was installed. The bow shows very minimal hand vibration after the shot as well.
Everyone seems to be extremely concerned about speed when purchasing a bow these days. Speed isn’t what kills; it is a well placed shot that will always get the job done. The Carnage has an advertised IBO speed of “Up To” 345 FPS. We found that to be quite a play on words from a marketing standpoint. For those of you not familiar with archery jargon, IBO is a rating standard so that all bows can be compared equally. This specific rating is based on how fast a 70 pound draw weight bow with a 30” draw length will launch a 350 grain arrow. Our test model was significantly less than the advertised maximum speed. We tested both an IBO arrow (350 grains) and my hunting arrow discussed earlier and found that our calculated IBO speed on this bow is closer to 320 fps than 345. However, it still pushed that hunting setup downrange at 295 fps. That is still very fast and provides enough kinetic energy to hunt and successfully harvest any North American big game animal with a well placed shot.
The one other place that this bow showed a difference in what was advertised was total bow weight. It has an advertised weight of 4.0 pounds and it tested out at 4.5 pounds. This was a significant difference, but I do believe that the added weight makes this bow extremely easy to hold on target and also reduced recoil. Fully set up with arrow, quiver, sight and stabilizer, it was still below 6.5 pounds which is about what your standard hunting rifle weighs in at raw.
This is one of the more expensive bows carried at Sportsman’s Warehouse with an MSRP of $849.00, but I will guarantee that you won’t need a new bow for many years to come. The Carnage is a first class piece of equipment and is up to any challenge you can throw at it. We have been testing this bow for several months and it has proven to be one of the best bows available.
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