First question… Do you have a budget? There are plenty of really good options New under $250, or you can buy something “vintage“, or you can buy something used…
About the only difference is that if you buy something new, it will have a warranty. If you buy something used, you might get something a little prettier with a nicer finish on it. Performance-wise, there is probably not a dime‘s worth of difference…
JMO , you’ll learn faster at a lower draw weight. If you buy a 3-piece takedown, you can “upgrade” to heavier limbs without replacing the whole bow, which can save some $$$.
If you love tinkering with things, you might want to consider an ILF rig, but just the riser will cost as much as a pretty nice Samick.
And just to revisit the question of draw weight… I knew a guy who shot a compound at #80, and a #35 recurve was kicking his ass…
Worst case scenario if you go too light is you have to buy a heavier set of limbs. Worst case scenario if you go too heavy, you never figure it out and give up.
Widows are well made and marketed even better; the people who love them won’t shoot anything else and a lot of people who used to own one don’t think they’re anything special. I’ve never shot one and don’t care if I ever do....
#40 will kill any deer you hit decently; just use a good COC head and don’t go under 9 GPP. 10 might be better.
Oh, and don’t (whatever you do) buy into that crap about “instinctive“ shooting. If you don’t know where your entire arrow is pointing, you have no way of knowing why you missed your target. Honestly, I think a lot of people would be better off if they started shooting a recurve with a peep and pins, just to get their form down. Then over time they can let go of the sights in whatever order works for them. I know one guy who has recently switched from compound to shooting a recurve three-under, and he is really, really good within his point-blank range.
“Instinctive” is where you end up after you have your form fully ingrained and you don’t have to think about it in order to do it correctly. Until then, the more attention you pay to it, the sooner you will have it right.
I always get a chuckle out of people who think of it as something that they can toy around with, though… “Just shoot a couple of does“…
Take it seriously, and learn how to get within 20 or 25 yards of the animal you’re after. Non-compound bows have been getting it done for about 10,000 years, and the limiting factor in their effective range has been the User from day one.
Shooting bare-bow well is a discipline that takes focus and effort. It doesn’t “just happen”, and it is not some Mystical Gift that some are born With and some Without.
It is, however, a hell of a lot of fun!
Also can try the used market but might be more difficult to get what you want.
But recently I’ve been thinking that I sure would like to try a custom longbow from Big Jim’s Bow company........
Have fun with whatever you choose !!
Many use the throwing a baseball analogy.
Just like when throwing a ball, after many repetitions a person knows when to release the ball and at what angle. Based on how far you want it to go and what speed you are throwing.
The same with shooting “instinctive”. It’s only instinctive after thousands of shots.
Until you have burned it into the brain. It’s all about form and consistent repetition.
Keep an open mind about longbows, reflex deflex design ones, along with your traditional recurve. My current favorite is a reflex deflex designed longbow, Osage belly backed with bamboo.
I will add that the absolutely best thing you can do to get a jump start would be to take a class with Tom Clum. Incredible teacher and person.
One bow that was not mentioned is the Black Hunter bow. Made in China but very well made and you can get into it really economically. I bought a longbow for my son with 45 and 60 pound limbs for under $200 and was shocked at how well made it was and how well it shot. I customized it a bit with limb savers and antler knobs.
Rocky Mountain Specialty Gear 4298 Kipling St, Unit B Wheat Ridge CO 80033
Phone: Local - 303-421-2259 Toll Free - 877-843-5559
The Leatherwall is a good place to get more information.
Two Feathers's Link
“The same with shooting ‘instinctive’. It’s only instinctive after thousands of shots.
Until you have burned it into the brain. It’s all about form and consistent repetition.”
Exactly! All the people who say you can start there are out of their minds, and yes, that’s the much more diplomatic wording I chose upon further reflection. You don’t learn to play basketball by starting nailing a 3-point, leaping hook shots. Instinctive is where you END UP once your form is so repeatable that you don’t have to think about it anymore.
FWIW, I’m going to disagree with the people who say that you need to try out a whole bunch of different bows and find one that works exactly right for you before you can make a good decision. 30 years ago, I wanted a recurve and I bought one. 15 years later I was still shooting the same bow and very well, thank you very much, if you consider 3” wide groups at 40 yards acceptable. Between my boys and me, we are now up to eight bows in the house, and I can shoot any one of them just fine, thank you, from a #16@22” broomstick longbow to my #55 medium-wrist Recurves to a #62 deep locator R/D longbow. I know a lot of guys who have spent many thousands of dollars buying and selling custom bows, looking for The One magical, mystical Perfect Bow, and it just doesn’t exist.
That said… There’s something about a new bow that brings out the genius marksman in all of us, I think!
Red Wing Hunter recurve (used vintage) - serial number starting with RW produced first by Wing Archery under Bob Lee (look carefully at arrow shelf facing the archer because that is where they crack if they do; not made by Head Ski or AMF Archery they came after original Wing Archery was sold)
Fred Bear Super Kodiak recurve (used vintage) - produced between 1967-1976 - serial numbers starting with K began in 1970 - bow mounted coins were flush with the wood until 1972. In late 1972 the coin was raised above the surface. Brass coin was used in 1963 to 1970 and a nickel-silver medallion was placed on the riser from 1971 to 1972. Starting at the end of 1972, a raised medallion of gold and chrome was used in all Bear bows and is still used today. The Serial Number: These bows ordinarily have, what appears to be a hand inscription on one of the limbs that gives a serial amount along with the distance and pull weight of the bow. This serial amount works very well for dating Bear Bows from 1965-1969 when the first digit of the serial amount is the year of manufacture. For example, a serial amount of 5L212 would be a 1965 Bow. Prior to 1965, the serial numbers for all Bear bows were started over every month, manufacture date for these bows approximately impossible to date by serial amount alone. The "K" series of serial numbers (for example Kz9672) were started in 1970.
Black Hunter reflex / deflex longbow model (new made in China; NOT recurve)
NOTE: I also recommend the White Feather Lark ILF riser 19 or 21 inches for $159.82 USD from http://www.alternativess.com in UK paired with two TradTech Black Max 2.0 Glass/Wood Recurve Limbs for $149.99 from www.lancasterarchery.com. Custom higher price bows are for passionate (addicted) collectors.
P.S. If you are patient, once in a while you can find a good deal, meaning under $500 on a $1000+ custom bow like I did last week with a 50#@28 Toelke Whip reflex - deflex longbow which cost me $479. Now I have to sell two bows to make room in the collection (addicted myself I am).
Of course, I’ve only been doing this for 30 years! LOL
Ford. No, wait - Chevy! No! Dodge!!
Recurves may be a shade faster, but most seem to agree that you’re talking about levels you can only prove with a chrono and a shooting machine when comparing a reflex/reflex (some call them hybrid) LB vs. a standard recurve. Super Recurves are a whole different animal. I’d kinda like to try one out, but I’m kind of afraid to because they don’t actually appeal to me with those ginormous hooks...
And because the string contacts the limb of a recurve, that creates some extra noise, which can be mitigated.
As a rule, a 1-piece longbow is lighter all-up mass weight, and a 3-piece (or whatever limb design) will weigh a lot more, which can make those more stable and easier to shoot accurately.
So this is where you can go kinda crazy trying different styles of bows, but the good news is that whatever you like, you can get one and not worry about losing a whole bunch of speed unless you’re drawn to a really old-school design. But if that’s what you really like, you’ll like that about it anyway....
The last bow I bought is a custom which was designed around a short draw length; if I were any taller I couldn’t shoot it at all because it really starts to stack right about the time I am completely at my anchor.
It’s a R/D longbow, 62” and about #62 at my draw. Honestly, the only thing I would consider changing about it is that I wish it were a two piece...
But if I did that to it, I would have zero excuses left for buying any more bows, so…
One thing to keep in mind with trad bowhunting, especially when coming from a compound background: for most of us, the goal/fun is seeing how close you can be to the animal when you shoot it, not how far away.
Disagree!.... unless you’re talking about people who’ve never shot or read the testing on a modern R/D longbow design.
One qualification on that is that if you prefer a bow with a short overall length, you have to go to a fairly specialized design like Ron La Claire’s Shrew, or you will probably be happier with a recurve, especially if you are a long DL boy.
I have not run across any problems shooting a 62 inch recurve from a tree stand (climber, with a bar/shooting rail) except on one shot that was literally straight down. Never had any problems with it at all in the Elk woods, or even out here in the east…
There is kind of a tipping point on bow length, though.... Too short, and the string will pinch your fingers against the nock; too long, and I find that I have trouble with the string making contact with my clothing across my chest My longest bow is the same height that I am, and I just start having that issue there. 2 inches shorter, and I don’t ever seem to notice it.
I have an old Browning Apollo that I bought about thirty five years ago and a warf made from a Bear Black Bear compound riser with a set of 40# Sage limbs and a set of 28# Black Max. I'm going get a still-in-the box Browning Nomad from a friend. My buddy and I have decided to shoot our spring bears with single string again this year, and I'd like to use that Nomad. I'm pretty consistent to fifteen yards using a fixed crawl, but after that I get flyers pretty regular. And just like with a compound, I tend to get really excited right at the shot at animals and can't ever remember bearing down and concentrating. Not the best routine.
I've had bows for sixty years if you count kids fibreglass. But all that experience means nothing if you've been doing it "wrong" all that time. Getting some competent instruction will be your best investment and not from somebody like me with sixty years of experience.
His Dad was taught me how it was done and let me use his tools and bow form. I still consider Gary to be one of the best, most consistent bowhunters ever.
That bow has truly been amazing. Killed critters from Argentina to Alaska, field mice to buffalo. She is the most consistent killing bow I have ever shot.