2017 Bear Fortus Review

Hey guys, it's Dalton Vaughn here with Better Outdoors and in today's video we're taking you through the new Bear Fortus crossbow. Now this crossbow I've found to be really impressive for the price point. It's in that $399 price point bracket so it's one of your entry level bows, but that said, I really don't feel like it's too entry level for what it comes with and what it can do. 

It's $399.99 ready to shoot, and ready to shoot includes your XF25 Trophy Ridge scope, which is a normal 4 power, 5 reticle affair for a crossbow, pretty good scope I would say. Three of these X-Ray arrows from Trophy Ridge and they weigh 375 with a 100-grain point and they're supplied with 125-grain points and they come right in at 400 grains an arrow. And it's also got this nifty four-arrow quiver that has dual arrow grippers, so I really like that. 

Also included is your standard rope cocker affair, nothing real fancy there, you've seen them before. It really helps on draw, it takes about 50% of the load off by mechanical advantage to cock the crossbow, so that helps a lot with this crossbow here for sure. 

Something that is neat about this bow and very well worth noting is the  3XStm adjustable trigger. Now what that means is you can cock this bow in fire or in safe and it'll cock either way. It goes to safe as soon as you cock it. A little bit more safe, if you will, than some crossbows where when you cock em, they automatically go and stay in fire, so you have to adjust them. I'm not a big fan of that personally, but I do like how this is set-up.

Another really cool feature that I found on this crossbow that I've not seen on any other one is an adjustable trigger right out of the box. Now that said, this isn't a match trigger or anything, this is a crossbow, after all, but you can adjust the poundage down some to around 6 lb. and adjust it up to around 8 lb. for a little bit heavier pull. 

Now unfortunately that doesn't adjust the travel which this bow, much like all the rest of the crossbows in this category, they've got a little bit of trigger travel, but that's not a major concern. But that is definitely a cool feature, the adjustable trigger, and that is something I was very surprised to see on this crossbow and all of the other Bear offerings this year have the adjustable trigger as well.

With the 3XS trigger, you can of course adjust that as we've discussed. It's got an indicator on the back and it starts at the top for the lightest and goes to the bottom for the heaviest trigger. Really cool there, no doubt. It also has an anti-dry fire safety which is something that's normal on today's crossbows.

2017 Bear Fortus Crossbow Specs

Moving on to the specs on this one, it brags for a 350 fps rating, which I figured was going to be close, but I was a little bit surprised. This bow and just about every one of them we've got in, shot right at 360 fps with the supplied bolts, with 125-grain points. That's 360 fps with a 400-grain arrow. With a 100-grain bolt we've been speeds up to 370 and it was OK to shoot the 100-grain head on the bolts that come with this bow. That was something that I made sure I cleared up with the rep for Bear, he told me that was safe to do, so there you go guys.

Now this bow, it draws 180 lb. which is a little bit more than most crossbows in this category, I'll agree with that, but it really doesn't feel like when you draw it with a cocking device that it's that tough to draw by any means, in my opinion. 

Now something else that is of note with this crossbow, it's a little bit heavy. It comes in right at 9 lb. with the scope on it just as I'm holding it. Also, it's a little bit wider than some other models where cam-to-cam width, which is what I like to go with, cause that's the actual width of this crossbow carrying it through the woods, comes in at 23 3/4" wide. So right under 2' wide on this bow. 

Now most of your crossbows in this category will be a hair bit narrower than that. Some are 20, some are 22, so this one is a little bit wider than the others. That said, it's got a lot of speed and a lot of power. It feels like it's really made well, especially coming from Bear. I've really been excited and real happy with these so far. The string and cables, speaking of quality, look great just as much. 

We've got a few of these that we shot quite a bit and a few customers have got these bows. So far, not had any reliability issues, so I'm really happy with that, no doubt. 

Now it does advertise at a 21.5" axle-to-axle width. That's kind of misleading, as I was saying before, because I like to go cam to cam, but that is the advertised width. It also has a 13 3/4" power stroke, which is the maximum distance it draws to fire on the rail. The longer power stroke you can get, the faster the bow's going to go, just like longer draw length with your compound. Pretty normal affair there, pretty cool.

Something else the Fortus has that I was surprised to see is under the front of the all-polymer stock, you've got a small Picatinny rail section. You can mount a grip, flashlight, small bipod, something like that on the front of this, and that's also where your quiver bracket mounts, which uses a Picatinny rail as well to mount that. 

So that was a pretty cool little feature, and a lot of crossbows nowadays are starting to have that. I can see some utility in that no doubt, especially for hog hunting with a flashlight, maybe a small bipod so the kids can shoot it easier, somebody that can't hold the bow up, they can brace that a little better and shoot. So pretty cool added feature and little added detail.

Of course the stock is a normal affair as well, there with all polymer, all polymer flight rail, and aluminum prod. It has two sling mounts as well. That's good. I've actually seen some crossbows that didn't have sling mounts at all, and that's kind of a mess but you already know how that is with old shotguns, old 22s, things like that. 

With that all in mind, I'm really happy with this crossbow so far. In our next part of the video here, we're going to show you the loading process, look at how the trigger feels, how the bow shoots, just in general how it feels to shoot it. We're also going to go out to 30 yds on our outdoor range, take a few shots with this, and kind of get an idea of what kind of accuracy that we're looking at out of the Fortus.

But while that's all well and good, we're also going to go to the chronograph and just see if it will indeed do what they claim it will do. Now I've seen it go at the speed they claim and up to 360. But hey, we've shot this bow quite a bit. We're going to test one that we've shot, that we've demoed, that we've played with, to see a real world accurate speed shot after you've bought it on how this bow's going to roll. After that, we'll have my final thoughts on the Bear Fortus.

Loading and Shooting the Bear Fortus

This is an extremely simple affair. We're going to run our cocking device around the back of the stock, bring it on the string. Something else I like to do is get the cocking device as short as I can to make it a little bit easier to load, even if it's a little bit tougher to put on the string. 

With that in mind, now we're going to cock it back. Just stand up with it, and it rolls on back, hits the safety. Ease off, bring your cocking device off the bow. 

Now that we've got the Fortus cocked back, ready to rock and roll, we're going to tell you about how the trigger is, how to act when you shoot, that sort of thing and due our normal review for these rigs, so here we go. 

Gonna turn the safety off here at the back, bring it up on the target. See it feels good to hold it just the normal way to freehand these dudes, cause they are a little bit heavy. I want to put my hand back here. It's got a good spot here to put your hand through. It's also got a finger guard here for the rails. That's a pretty cool feature. I can see through the scope good. 

Pull, ease on the trigger, ease on the trigger. Still....there is was. It's got a little bit of takeup you've got to pull out of and it seems to me it gets stiff as you go. 

Let me shoot for another shot. Put a little pressure, a little pressure. Feel it hit that wall, squeeze through it. Not much recoil, kind of anticipated that going off, trying to see where the trigger was for you guys. It feels as if you've got about maybe a half inch of takeup before it kind of hits a wall. It's not a real defined wall, but it hits the wall. That's where you know to let out your breath and start squeezing on through the trigger to make this dude accurate. Which, these bows are very accurate so far. 

It doesn't really kick, it doesn't really buck up any. It just shoots straight on, which of course being a crossbow it's a little on the loud side, which I don't expect hardly any crossbow to be very quite, but it's definitely a little on the loud side especially as fast as this dude is. It's loaded up for one more shot. 

Our last shot. Here we go. Squeezing on the trigger, now we're going to see what kind of...I'll hold that away to show you what kind of recoil we're looking at, if any with this thing. Very little. Barely moves. So if you've got the wife, the kids, maybe you're a little recoil-shy yourself, I don't think that's going to be much of an issue with this bow. It really doesn't feel like it wants to jump or jerk.

With all that in mind, so far, so good. Feels good to shoot, the trigger pull is acceptable in my opinion especially for what this is designed for. 

And now let's head outside to our outdoor range at 30 yds and see what the Fortus is capable of outdoors. 

Bear Fortus on the Range - Accuracy Test

Hey guys, we're moving on to our accuracy portion of this test. We're going to shoot a five-arrow group at 30 yds. We've got a regular, official-size Vegas face. We want to see what kind of score we can shoot with this Fortus crossbow. So here we go with our first shot. 

Hey guys, here is our real world results using the Bear Fortus crossbow, shooting at 30 yds and we're shooting it of course off a Caldwell FieldPod and it appears that we have a 46 out of 50 point possible score at 30 yds with this bow. Depending on how you score your Vegas targets, but for this test, we're 46/50. We have two 10s, and they're in the X. We also have two 9s, and an 8. 

So pretty impressed with those kinds of numbers here at 30 yds straight out of the box. I haven't tampered with this bow to make it any better. I haven't went through and hand-selected arrows to make them any better. I just picked five arrows out of all the bows we had just at random, brought em out here, I haven't even weighed them, just so you know how this bow is going to perform in the real world just like in all of our other videos. 

So now with the accuracy test all out of the way and there's your results, let's move over to the chronograph back in the shop and see what kind of numbers we've got.

Bear Fortus Chronograph Test

Hi guys, fresh and back from our outdoor testing of the Fortus. I'm going to shoot this thing through the chronograph, shoot three arrows. These are the same arrows, some of them that we used from the 30 yd test. So here are your real world numbers after shooting this bow and using this bow a little bit to see what kind of number she's going to put out. Here we go. 

355 fps on the first shot.

Shot number two. 359 fps. Pretty impressive on that one.

Now for shot number three. 357 fps. Pretty impressive numbers on the Bear Fortus.

Bear Fortus Final Thoughts

Final thoughts on the Bear Fortus: this is a fantastic bow for a $399 price point bow. It comes with plenty of features, plenty of extras there. You've got three arrows of course, the scope, cocking rope, all those good things which are an industry norm now and all from Bear Archery which has been making bows forever. They used to make the old Jennings crossbows as well, and things have changed a lot since Jennings crossbows, no doubt, for Bear Archery.

This is definitely going to be a really good crossbow for the money. I think you're going to be well pleased when you do shoot these bows. I think longevity's going to be good on these bows. We've shot our samples quite a bit, got a few of them out in the field, have no complaints so far with these bows. I'm happy with how it shoots and our 46/50 on our 3-spot at 30 yds, I can dig that for sure. 

This bow is definitely going to be in the woods for quite a few people in our area very soon. 

We appreciate y'all watching. We hope that we portrayed this bow in the most neutral, realistic light possible because I don't want to see one of these bows get overhyped or overdone and say this is the best bow, you've got to have two of them and all this and it turns out to be a flop. Honestly, I feel like this is going to be a really good bow, and really worth your time to look at and check out, especially being made by Bear, which means a pretty big deal.

Check us out on Facebook at Better Outdoors Archery & Bowhunting, find us on our website at www.betteroutdoors.net or give us a call to ask questions about your Fortus that you've bought or about ordering one or anything in particular with these bows. We're a Bear and PSE dealer. We're a top 100 PSE dealer in our region as well. 

Check us out there, give us a call at 870-475-DEER. We'll be happy to answer some questions and get one of these headed your way. We appreciate everybody watching. As always, thanks everybody!


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  • Arnold Hauger

    I used this Bear crossbow last year.A buck came in at 25 yds in front of my ground blind broadside.
    A 100 grain Rage did the number.
    He crashed under 50yds
    This is one bad crossbow.I love it.

  • Ricky Warren

    Looking for a bearx fortus A6FRTBK180 firing string

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