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Longbow/Recurve Info

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by BP_, Aug 26, 2020.

  1. BP_

    BP_ Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2015
    I used to shoot a compound, but several years ago I gave it up and sold off everything bow related. Now I find myself itching for something in the traditional realm.

    I used to shoot 60lbs limbs with a 29.5” draw length. I don’t know how that translates to traditional.

    What is the difference/benefit/drawback to a takedown vs a one piece bow?

    What is the difference/benefit/drawback between real wood and synthetic material?

    Just trying to learn. Where should I start? I’d like to stay in the $400-500 range, all inclusive and ready to shoot. If possible. I don’t know if I can even get a good quality (used) setup for that price or not.

    Thanks in advance for the help :thumbsup::thumbsup:
  2. bdmicarta

    bdmicarta Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    There is a big difference between a stick bow and a compound. If you had a 60# compound then depending on model and so forth you might have been holding around 30# at full draw. With a stick bow you will be holding the full draw weight at full draw, so you probably want to start with less weight. You'll have to try a few bows in a store to see what weight you think is right for you. Stock bows have draw weight measured at 28" draw length, you will gain a little bit by drawing to 29.5" so the bow will have to be a little bit less than what you want to be holding.

    With draw length of 29.5" you need a fairly long stick bow. Years ago hunting stick bows could be fairly short but a short bow doesn't work well for a long draw length.

    A takedown bow will be more expensive because it is more complicated to make, but it is also easier to carry. A takedown will let you buy additional limbs with different weight in case you want one draw weight for target or practice and another draw weight for hunting.

    The more expensive takedown bows will typically have metal handle risers. I don't know that there is a problem with quality of an all wood bow, I know that Hoyt's first takedown recurve was all wood and then their second model had a magnesium alloy riser. I still have one of those. A bow with all fiberglass limbs is not as efficient as good limbs with wood core, and the most efficient limbs will have carbon fiber on the outside plies.

    You said longbow or recurve- the recurve is more efficient and can be shorter. People choose depending on how traditional they want to be. I would guess if you want to use sights and stabilizers for accuracy then you would like a recurve, if you want to be really traditional and shoot barebow then you would like a longbow.
    BP_ likes this.
  3. BP_

    BP_ Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2015
    Thanks for the information. Based on that, I would say I am probably best suited for a recurve. Maybe something in the 40-45lb range? I’m not sure if that’s stepping down enough or not. How much weight is reasonably needed for hunting in North America?

    Unfortunately, there aren’t really places to test any traditional archery equipment that I’m aware of around me, so I’ll have to try things as I can afford them and figure out which setup works best.

    When it comes to takedown vs one piece, is there a noticeable difference in the way they shoot? I understand the advantage of being able to take it apart and carry/transport a smaller package, but is there any advantage beyond that?

    Thanks again. That was pretty comprehensive :thumbsup::thumbsup:
  4. bdmicarta

    bdmicarta Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    I've known people who hunted with 45# recurve bows.

    I don't think there is a big difference except that takedown bows can weigh more in terms of gravity weight.
    BP_ likes this.
  5. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Well, like bdmicarta said, if you get a takedown bow, you can adjust the weight of your bow with different limbs. You'll eventually need them anyways.

    Figure out what you want to do with the bow. If you just want to target shoot and pursue Zen in the Art of Archery, that's one thing.

    But if you want to hunt with it, there are game laws that will determine the minimum draw weight legal for your bow.

    Ask around, perhaps there are folks in your area who have a recurve or two that they'd be willing to let you try out. Archery folk are like knife folk!

    Get a good string! Some recurves come with a "standard" or crap string. You want one that will endure your initial onslaught of arrows.

    Way back in the day there was this super duper bow called the "Rhino Bow". Let me know if you run into one.

    Enjoy, and remember... steal from the rich and give to the poor.
    BP_ likes this.
  6. Blackcloud


    Dec 20, 2019
    My suggestion is call Dan Toelke of Montana Bows. He is a walking encyclopedia of information on bows. Makes world class recurves and longbows. Just tell him you are interested in shooting traditional and need some good guidance. He may have some used bows in stock. Tell him old Plenty Coups sent yah:D! t is worth the call!!!! 406-253-4949.
    Keoneloa and BP_ like this.
  7. GWashington1732

    GWashington1732 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 20, 2009
    My current bow is an Old Mountain Edge takedown. I have the 35lb limbs. It's been a pretty good bow for $150.
    BP_ likes this.
  8. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    If the bow is for recreational shooting, I would suggest 45lb max and maybe something in the 35-40lb range on a recurve. I still have my old 40 and 45 lb recurve bows. Haven't used them in years.

    If the intended use is for hunting, 45 lb minimum. Growing up, 40lb draw weight was the minimum for hunting. That was in PA. I was a teen.

    Others have explained the different feel versus a compound bow.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
    BP_ likes this.
  9. Mossyhorn

    Mossyhorn Enlightened Rogue Gold Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I've owned many longbows and recurves in my time. You'll find that your draw length will be shorter than with a compound bow. Your 29 1/2" draw will likely be an inch or so less. The difference in grip design account for much of the change in actual draw length. You also lean forward a bit when shooting a stickbow.

    Most traditional bows are made from fiberglass laminations and a wood core. There are all wood self bows that are also available. I made the mistake of shooting heavy bows when I was young. My hunting bow was a longbow that pulled 73 pounds at my draw length. The fact that I now have some shoulder and elbow problems, is not surprising. A 45# bow is a good starting point. The benefit of a take down bow is that some manufactures offer additional limbs of different draw weights.

    I'd recommend finding an archery shop that has traditional bows that you can try out. There are some good books out there as well. There's a magic about shooting a traditional bow instinctively, and watching an arrow fly true to it's mark. I'm sure you'll find it fascinating.
    BP_ likes this.
  10. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I tend to agree unless you you use the kiss type draw point that is common with compound bow shooters. It has been years since I shot either bow. I shot totally instinctively. I would be willing to bet that I could still hit a paper plate sized target at 20 yds today even after years of not even holding a bow. I noticed that usually you parked the bows after hunting season and got them out in the summer for practice. I shot just about as good after 6 months of not even drawing a the bow. I don't know and I may be all wrong with the many years passing and not shooting. College pretty much ended my archery shooting phase of my life.

    Don't think I would have even considered a 70 lb draw bow unless I was hunting moose or bear. They simply aren't fun to shoot (the bows).

    I would be happy to sell you either of my bows. They have always been stored indoors and flat. Don't know if the wood laminate or fiberglass gets brittle with age? Compound bows were a newly introduced thing when I quite shooting. Both are right handed bows.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
    BP_ likes this.
  11. BP_

    BP_ Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2015
    Thank you for the contact info! That’s huge. I looked him up and he knows his stuff, that’s for sure. I appreciate that :thumbsup:

    I appreciate the response, and the offer :) I’ll shoot you a message later this morning :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Thanks for the replies. Not really knowing anything about traditional, plus coming off shooting a compound, this was a really big help. I knew it was “different,” but didn’t realize how much different the shooting really is. :cool::thumbsup:
  12. Mossyhorn

    Mossyhorn Enlightened Rogue Gold Member

    Dec 6, 2009

    My first hunting recurve was a Browning Drake Flightmaster pulling 55#. Back at that time there was a movement to heavy pulling bows. I shot my bows year round. I'd be out in the yard shooting with deep snow on the ground. The trick to shooting heavy bows was to shoot several arrows every day before and during hunting season. The only bow that brought me a bit of discomfort, was a Howard Hill Redman longbow pulling 70#. The hand shock was incredible no matter how you set the brace height.
  13. heresthedeal


    Oct 3, 2010
    No idea where you are in the country, nobody pits that on here anymore, so, Google traditional archery shoot in your area.

    Go there, hang out, odds are there's a club close.
    You mention that you want to start shooting traditional, you'll be dragging home some equipment.
    That's the best way to do it, no bow shops around anymore for traditional archery.
    Good luck and wear a glove and a brace or you'll be dragging home a set of blisters and a sore forearm.
    Good luck, and look up, three rivers archery
  14. bdmicarta

    bdmicarta Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    A heavy bow will separate the men from the boys for sure. Even when I was shooting a lot I couldn't do more than about 60#. Of course all we did was target archery where you hold while you aim. We shot clickers too which requires a lot of control. For indoor shooting I shot 34# at my draw length and that was a good compromise between being able to hold accurately while you work the clicker vs. enough weight to get a good release. Using fingers anything below 25-30# holding weight it was hard to get a good release. I had to practice constantly to shoot like that, if I stopped for a few months or more it took a lot of shooting to get back into form. If I stopped for 6 months then started again I could shoot for a month or more and it was awful, then one day it would click and I'd be back in form. When we were competing we would shoot 40-70 arrows at least 4 nights a week. People who shoot instinctive, and especially people who are just hunting, seem to pull the bow and shoot almost immediately, no holding while they aim. We were shooting olympic-style archery which required a lot of precision so we had to hold and aim. I've been around a good number of people where of olympic caliber and a lot of them shot up to about 45# at their draw weight because olympic competition back then went up to 90 meters, and some of the top competitors were not big musular people but they shot enough to have the muscles to hold and control that weight.

    I think newer equipment with compounds and release aids changed all that. Even though the first compounds invented had just 2 wheels, the most popular models sold had 4 wheels and had less let-off, maybe 30%. It was awhile before 2-wheel compounds took over and had 50% letoff. So people shooting targets might only be holding 25# at full draw, which is easier to do while you aim. And at the same time a lot of people were switching to release aids so now you could pick up a bow after not shooting for months and still be able to do reasonably well with it. I was going to get my old recurve out and do some practice for target archery season this year but my wife told me I wouldn't have time because of all of her home improvmenet projects she had planned, then covid happened and killed the season anyway. I'm planning to try again next spring, knowing that I'll have to spend a couple of months in the backyard to build up to it.

    I liked shooting a compound and release but I was not good enough against the competition to make it fun. I shot my compound with fingers and I was good enough against the usual competition to do well in local field archery matches. I don't own a compound anymore, just my old recurve, so if I get back into field archery I'll start with it.

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