Bear Archery Sonoma Review – a Recurve Bow Inspection


LengthBow WeightDraw WeightTakedown?
Bear Archery Sonoma Recurve Bow

Bear Archery Sonoma Recurve Bow

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60 inchesUnspecified

How to: choose arrows, draw weight, and tune your recurve
40 to 45 lbs.Yes

- Inexpensive, but high quality
- Takedown design
- Lightweight and quiet
- Doesn’t accept any accessories
- Made in China
- Might be too heavy draw weight for youth
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Bear Archery is well known for their excellent compound bows, but they also manufacture a few models of recurves that are quite outstanding. The Bear Archery Sonoma is a bit different from their usual fare, though, as it is one of their few bows that is manufactured in China and then sold in the United States. Let’s take a look at this Chinese-made bow, and see if it stands up to the Bear Archery name.

What’s Included In The Box?

When you unbox the Bear Archery Sonoma, you’ll find the bare essentials needed to get started. In the package, you’ll find:

  • The Bear Archery Sonoma, including riser and limbs
  • Assembly hardware
  • Carpet arrow shelf
  • Bow string

Unfortunately, there is no bowstringer or Allen wrench included. If you’re going to assemble the bow yourself, rather than have a bow technician do it for you, you should invest in a set of Allen wrenches and a bowstringer. It makes the whole process much less painless and much safer.

Is The Bear Archery Sonoma Challenging To Assemble?

The instructions that come with the Bear Sonoma are a bit vague and difficult to understand, but assembling the bow is pretty simple. You just align the limbs in the limb pockets, and then tighten them down using the included bolts and the Allen wrench you purchased after reading my warning in the prior section. Then, you’re ready to string your bow, preferably using a bow stringer.

What Accessories Can I Use With This Bow?

Unfortunately, even though this bow is designed with beginners in mind, it is not predrilled for accessories like a stabilizer, sight, or Berger button. I’m pretty confused by that, since this is marketed as a “Youth Bow,” but it is what it is. You should, however, follow our steps to tuning a recurve bow, so you get your nocking points set and install string silencers, if you want them, before you begin shooting.

Is The Sonoma Accurate And Powerful?

Bear-Archery-SonomaThe Bear Archery Sonoma is available in right-handed models only with draw weights of either 40# or 45#. This is usually more than enough power for target and hunting purposes, and some younger archers might find it difficult to draw such a heavyweight bow. In my eyes, the sizing and draw weight of this bow makes it good for teenagers who are just getting into bowhunting, but I’ve even seen a few pre-teens able to pull the bow. Whatever your case my be, you should check out our guide on selecting the right draw weight for your use.

Accuracy is where it’s at, and this bow has it. You should be able to readily shoot 2-inch groupings from 20 yards and beyond, even if you’re a beginner to archery. I was able to maintain those same 2-inch groupings out to 50 yards with this recurve bow, a pretty impressive feat for a bow that doesn’t accept a sight.

Can I Use This Recurve Bow For Hunting?

If venison is your meat of choice, the Bear Archery Sonoma is perfectly suited to bring it home. The 60″ length is perfect for moving and winding through brush and woods, and the bow swings about with ease in the tree stand. The weight comes in at under three pounds, by my reckoning (Bear Archery doesn’t say), so you should be able to carry the recurve all day long without getting tired.

Will Beginners Be Able To Learn On The Bear Archery Sonoma?

Bear Archery advertises the Sonoma as a youth bow, which would hint at being applicable for beginners. However, the bow doesn’t accept any accessories, like a sight, stabilizer, or Berger button. I’d say that if you’re a beginner under expert tutelage, this will make for a great starter bow. You’ll learn the proper techniques of instinctive shooting, and as long as someone is watching to make sure you get your posture right, you’ll be in good shape. The bow is pretty forgiving of poor stance and technique, but I’m still hesitant to say you can pick up this bow all on your own and learn the skills. If you choose this bow, make sure you’re getting good instruction on proper archery skills and techniques.

What Are The Best Arrows To Use With The Bow?

This is always a challenging question, since different purposes call for different arrows. If you want to get it right, make sure you check out our guide on arrow selection to pick out the right arrows for your use.

How Durable Are The Limbs And Riser On The Recurve?

The Bear Archery Sonoma is made with a compressed wood riser and multi-laminate limbs, including fiberglass. It seems to be pretty rugged, especially since it’s designed for youth archers who are sometimes more exuberant than they are skilled. I’ve had mine for a couple of years, had some pretty enthusiastic teenagers use and abuse it, and it’s never failed to deliver 2-inch groupings for me. The limbs are pretty resistant to limb twist, but make sure you take the bow down and store it disassembled between uses.

What Strings Will Fit This Recurve Bow?

The Bear Archery Sonoma comes with a Dacron B–50 bow string, and the limb tips are not reinforced. So, you won’t be using FastFlight or Flemish twist strings on this bow, but any Dacron string should work out perfectly for you.

Is It Heavy?

This particular bow doesn’t come with any specifications that tell its overall weight, but I’d put it at under three pounds. It’s not the lightest takedown recurve I’ve ever carried, but it’s still pretty close. I’ve found myself able to carry this bow for hours without any problems, and the teens who have practiced and taken this bow hunting have reported the same.

How Quiet Is The Bow?

When you’re hunting deer, you want your bow to be nice and quiet. The Bear Archery Sonoma is far from the quietest bow I’ve used, but it’s still quiet enough to take down a deer from 30 yards. Installing vibration reducers and string silencers makes the bow close to silent, so I guess I can’t complain about the noise factor. There’s also very little vibration to begin with, and almost no string snap.

Recurve Bow Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the Bear Archery Sonoma. If your teenage archer already has some experience with archery, or if they’re going to be under the instruction of someone with plenty of knowledge and skill, this is a great bow to begin the sport of bowhunting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t accept accessories, so if those are important to you, you should look elsewhere.

Take a look at Today's price on the Bear Archery Sonoma Recurve Bow if you’re interested in buying.


Add a Comment
  1. I just bought this bow for myself from bass pro. I’m about 5’10 and pull a 28in draw. I shouldn’t have any problems with the draw cycle on this bow should I? I couldn’t beat the price, only bought this because the Samick sage was on back order 😣. I’m relatively new to recurve shooting and plan on taking it hunting this coming now season if I’m seasoned by then.

  2. You state to disassemble the bow between use.
    I can see not leaving it strung, but why do you recommend it to be Disassembled between shooting?

  3. I was all set to buy one until I saw that it’s made in china. For just under $200 I can find a very nice vintage bow, a real Bear on the big auction site.

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