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Bow Report: Martin Bengal Pro

The Bengal Pro is one of four Martin Pro Series bows. Though it boasts several new and unique components, it shares the eye-catching widely flared riser that is common to several of Martin’s offerings, including the Cougar Pro and the Crossfire Pro. Also common to these and some other Martin bows are the highly reflexed design, sharp limb take-off angle, and past parallel limb construction. The four “floating” Vibration Vortex VEM’s suspended in pairs at either end of the riser not only distinguish the Bengal Pro at a glance, but provide an extra measure of vibration and noise suppression.

A bigger and more important distinguishing factor is Martin’s new Fury XT Single Cam, which Martin describes as “crazy adjustable.” The Bengal Pro is the only Pro series bow to offer this cam, though it is offered on several of Martin’s Gold Series bows. This cam allows draw weight adjustments from 70 pounds down to 35. By backing out the limb bolts in the traditional manner, draw weight can be reduced by up to 15 pounds, so that from 70 pounds the bow can be reduced to a 55-pound draw weight.

Martin Bengal ProAdditionally, the cam includes a -10 post and a -20 post. Pressing the bow and moving the cable end loop from the standard post to the -10 post reduces the draw weight from 70 to 60 pounds, and from there the bolts can be backed out from maximum to achieve a 45-pound draw weight. Moving to the -20 post establishes a maximum draw weight of 50 pounds, adjustable back down to 35 pounds. Draw length can be adjusted without a press from 24 inches out to 30.5 inches by removing two hex head module screws and rotating the module to the desired setting.

Changing the maximum draw weight from 70 to 60 or 50 pounds does decrease draw length by as much as two inches. That should not pose a problem for most shooters, since (especially at the lowest weights) lower draw weight is often associated with a smaller frame and shorter draw length. Reducing draw weight does slightly decrease the bow’s efficiency, but that is not really an issue since the same can be said of any bow. High-end speed for the Bengal Pro is a published 330 fps; not a barn-burner, but then this bow wasn’t intended to set speed records, and anything approaching 330 fps IBO is a more than respectable speed for hunting.

The PowerTough limbs are another new feature, and Martin touts them as the toughest limb Martin has yet developed. A weight of 3.8 pounds puts the Bengal Pro slightly on the lighter side of the weight spectrum, but excellent balance makes it seem lighter than it is. Axle to axle, it’s 31 inches with a friendly 7-inch brace height and 80 percent letoff.

An integrated fully adjustable draw stop enables not only precise draw length adjustment, but allows shooters to enjoy the smooth-drawing qualities of a single-cam bow with the kind of solid back wall that single cams often lack. HammerHead strings (made with Gore-Tex fiber) are a very high-end feature of this bow; shooters are rightly skeptical of claims that a given string “eliminates” creep and peep rotation, but today’s best strings have certainly reduced it to a minimal level.

Shooters who favor narrow grips will appreciate the comfortable Saddleback Thermal Grip. Though I normally prefer a slick, as opposed to “sticky,” grip, in this case the grip is sufficiently narrow that the “thermal” part of the grip does not seem to increase any tendency toward shooter-induced torque. It no doubt reduces heat loss in cold weather while probably also reducing any perceived hand shock or vibration.

The easy-to-adjust string stop is useful; any string stop is likely to need adjustment over time to function optimally, but not all are easy to adjust. The Silent Hunter Arrow Shelf, made from the same noise-reducing material as the VEM silencers, is another welcome feature.

Shooting The Bow

The Bengal Pro balances very nicely in the hand—an important quality for many shooters, less so for others. I found it to be very solid on aiming, partly because the precisely adjustable draw stop makes it easy to attain the perfect draw length. Though I prefer narrow grips, some narrow grips are uncomfortable at full draw. This grip is very comfortable. The bow draws very smoothly all the way through the cycle, with a slight, but not unpleasant bump at the very end dropping into a narrow valley. (Though the valley could change depending on how the draw stop is adjusted.) The 80 percent letoff makes it easy to hold this bow for a long time at full draw, should the need arise.

At the shot the bow is very quiet, popping slightly forward in a loose grip with no discernible torque. There is a very slight tuning fork sensation upon release, more noticeable with a tight (which is to say improper) grip; this might be reduced with a heavier stabilizer, but in any case it is not at all unpleasant, and some shooters might not even detect it, depending on their grip and the stabilizer used.

Tuning was straightforward and easy enough. Virtually all bows are potentially accurate, but I found this one to be more forgiving than most, especially compared to the super speedsters. At around $450, this is a very comfortable, very smooth-shooting bow. The Bengal Pro offers more than adequate speed and a number of high-end features that will enhance Martin’s reputation as a producer of quality bows at affordable prices.

Martin Bengal Pro

Martin Bengal Pro Specs

Letoff:........................................ 80%

Brace Height:......................... 7 inches

Draw Length:.......................... 24 to 30.5 inches

Draw Weight:......................... 35 to 70 pounds

Weight:...................................... 3.8 pounds

Axle-to-Axle Length:.......... 31 inches

Speed:......................................... 330 fps (IBO)

Options:..................................... G1 Vista Camo, Bonz Camo, Skulz Camo, Black Carbon, Crimson Red, Cloaked Cams

Suggested Retail:................. $450

Our Objective Tests

Peak Hold (Pounds)*:................................... 70

Weight At Full Draw (Pounds)*:............. 16

Arrow weight........................ 385 grains........ 500 grains

arrow @ 70 pounds:............. 319 fps............. 288 fps

arrow @ 60 pounds:............. 294 fps............. 264 fps

Sound LEVEL (DBA):................. 72.5.................. 68

 

* Rounded to nearest half-pound

 

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