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Need Help Identifying Fred Bear Kodiak

Fred Bear Kodiak Recurve

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#1 CrazyHorse

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 11:27 PM

Good Morning:
I recently inherited a Fred Bear recurve from a good ol friend of mine. I have done some research to attempt to date this bow, but need some expertise in narrowing down the year of manufacture. Here is what I have found so far:
  • Serial Number - ADX 148, with the A above the DX 148 (see pic), 60", 54#
  • Silk Screen - '1953 Patent' screen, Grayling, Michigan (this dates the bow 1956 to 1972, I believe)
  • Medallion - This bow does not have a medallion (pre 1959, if I'm not mistaking)
  • Photo Evidence - I have a photo, dated 1959, showing my friend with the first Black Bear he shot in the Beartooth Mountains in Montana, holding this bow.
In my humble opinion that dates the bow to somewhere between 1956 and 1959. I heard that there were a few early 59's that made it into production without the medallions, but they are rare. Also, despite having searched through every pic I can find for that era, I cannot find a bow with this grip configuration. (see pics)
Am I on the right track here? Does anyone have any ideas?
Hoka Hey from the mountains of Montana
CH
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#2 TerryfromAR

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:40 AM

From the reading I've done I think you may just have an Early '59 Kodiak Special..... Hard to say for sure, but just the info I've found this morning would suggest that. This is the best link I found for the dating info. You can read it and see what you think.
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#3 Jeremiah

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:52 AM

First, nice bow. Second, I would say that your educated guess of '56 to '59 is good. Unfortunately, short of contacting BEAR directly and hoping that they may know (highly unlikely), the chances of narrowing it further is slim. Frankly, a three to four year window is good for a pre-medallion BEAR recurve given the ambiguous serial sequencing.

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#4 CrazyHorse

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:04 PM

Thanks guys, I appreciate the info. Any ideas on the odd grip configuration? I have pretty normal size hands and this grip feels very small to me. Just haven't seen anything that resembles it.
Thanks,
CH

#5 Jeremiah

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

Some of the older BEAR recurves (Kodiak, Super Kodiak, Kodiak Mag, etc.) did have tighter grips.

Good Example:

Posted Image


That said, yours is definitely tighter than I've seen before.
Have you considered the possibility that the darker wood area along the back of the bow might have actually been added after purchase at some point?

Here's a '59, I believe, that looks very similar to what yours would look like without the dark wood section along the back of the grip and sight window.

Posted Image

Note the original leather grip wrap. If I remember right, almost all early Kodiak's had them. I'm not sure I can see how it would have even fit on a grip shaped like yours. Just a hunch.

Regardless, this is a nice bow. If the limbs aren't twisted and it is in as good a shape as it appears in the photos, I'd bet it still shoots as well as it did the day it was made. (Or, would look nice over a mantle.) I wish I could still draw a bow. I'd love to own and hunt with one of these. (I've been "downgraded" - First to a 50# compound and then to a crossbow. I'm thankful to God for weapons that afford me the ability to still get out there. But, it's definitely not the same to me.) So, thanks for sharing. Post up "old stuff" any time. :D

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