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Thread: First Recurve Bow

  1. #1
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    First Recurve Bow

    First Traditional Bow and Accessories - suggestions

    Bow –
    Recurve or longbow? While certainly a personal preference, the grip, physical weight and balance of a modern recurve will typically lessen the learning curve over most longbows. However, whatever bow you chose must appeal to you on some gut level. If you’re not happy with it, you’re not going to want to shoot it!

    These days, I’m hard pressed to recommend anything other than an ILF rig for a new shooter. The functionality, versatility and tuneability can not be matched with any one piece or simple takedown bow. Most adult males interested in traditional archery should start in the 30 - 35# range AT THEIR DRAW LENGTH. The bow must be light enough so that the draw weight doesn’t factor into the shot sequence.

    Risers –
    The 23” Hoyt Excel ILF riser is an excellent choice for archers preferring a longer bow in the 64” – 68” range, The 21” Excel a better cruiser length bow and can be equally at home on target range or in the hunting field, lengths are between 62” and 66”.
    Any of the longer risers are more suited for dedicated target rigs.

    Limbs –
    The Samick Privilege and Sebastian Flute Axiom limbs are inexpensive and excellent
    shooting limbs. Stick to wood core limbs with fiberglass or carbon surfaces, as carbon core limbs provide no advantage to beginner or intermediate shooters. The older KAP TRex limbs are also good, but were discontinued a while back. Hoyt limbs are good shooters, but tend to be pricier, without any added benefit.

    Lancaster Archery Supply (LAS) / Trad Tech Archery (TT) is selling Samick limbs with a matte black finish, that are quite reasonable in price and possibly more aesthetically pleasing to potential traditional bow hunters. Performance is similar to the standard Samick target limbs, but they are available in higher draw weights.

    Limb length (short, medium or long) depends on draw length. Most people with or near a 28” draw should opt for a 62- 64” or longer bow for the first time out. Most ILF limbs will gain or lose 1# per inch of riser length. For example, a 40# pair of limbs rated on a 23” riser will actually weigh 42# on a 21” riser and 38# on a 25” riser.

    The Black Max limbs have been weighed / rated on a LAS/TT 17” riser and not the more standard 23” and 25” risers. Due to the difference in the angle the limbs attach to the riser, the limbs will weigh approximately the same on a 21” riser as they do on a LAS/TT 17” riser. (Yes, it can get confusing. If you have doubts about the weight, call the vendor and have them weigh the combination YOU ARE BUYING before they send it out.) You should be able to find an Excel riser and appropriate starter limbs in the $250 – 300 range with a little shopping around.

    The above bows are called “take down” bows meaning they come apart into a riser
    section and a pair of limbs. Other than the obvious advantage in transport, this design allows you to buy extra limbs when you decide you want more weight or change length, without having to buy a whole new bow.

    Vintage bows –
    Another option for new traditional archers is a vintage bow. Bows made in the late 1960’s through the early to mid 1970’s are available from some dealers, eBay and even (sometimes) garage sales. The same criteria applies: keep the weight in the mid 30# range, the length over 62” and the price as low as possible! If possible, examine the bow for cracks or glue line separations before buying.



    Strings –
    For modern ILF bows, a 14 strand D97 string of the appropriate length will handle any weight from 20# - 50# and provide perfect nock fit when used with a .020” serving and small groove “G” nocks (see below). For vintage bows, only use DACRON strings, typically a 12 strand string will be appropriate for bows in the recommended weight range. Having a spare string is also a good idea.

    Bow stringers –
    Bateman or Cartel bow stringers. Yes, you need one! Please do not string any bow by hand with the “step- through” or “push-pull” methods – for your safety and that of the bow!

    Rests –
    For modern bows with plunger holes – NAP Centershot Flipper or a rest/plunger combination.

    For vintage bows – Bear Weather rest or similar. Most vintage bows will allow you to shoot off the shelf, but for a new shooter, it adds an unnecessary complication.

    Stabilizer –
    Not really necessary on a traditional bow, but I’ve been using them so long most recurves just don’t feel right without them. A short, 4” – 6” hunting stabilizer can be bought or made.

    Bow cases –
    Several hard cases are available from Neet, Cartel, and a number of others for take down bows. One piece bows can be carried in hard or soft cases.

    Arrows –
    Start with aluminum arrows. Even the Easton Blues are acceptable, if you can deal with blue arrows. Any xx75 grade aluminum shaft is fine. Typically traditional shooters use screw in points of 100 – 125 grains on aluminum arrows.

    Quiver –
    Personal choice. Almost any side, hip or back quiver will work. Consider one with an accessory pocket to carry things like extra nocks, strings etc…

    Tabs (finger protection) –
    For target oriented shooters – Cavalier/AAE. The tab size is based on the width, not the length.

    For bow hunting archers – SAM (Super Archery Mitt) currently sold by Martin archery. It has an unusual design, but is the most (finger) protective one out there.

    There are a number of other tabs on the market, from Saunders, Neet, etc., and most are usable for new shooters; avoid tabs with “hair” layers. Their durability isn’t great.

    I would avoid “gloves” for new shooters. While they seem simpler, they can make the release trickier and finding the right size may be problematic. For more experienced shooters, it becomes a matter of preference.

    Arm guard – Any one you like, just keep it simple! (Yes, you’ll need one.)

    Accessories –
    Nocking points, bow squares, etc. can be fabricated from some household items or borrowed from the local range or club.

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”


  2. #2
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    Thanks for this thread

  3. #3
    this is almost exactly the info i was seeking when I came here. thank you for posting. Being so new to trad the more I learn the more I find out I do not know. thanks for posting. this is a slow process for me but I am hoping to purchase a recurve within the next couple months.

  4. #4
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    Great post! Thanks

  5. #5
    I appreciate the effort you made by posting this particular thread up. I'm getting back into the sport of archery, and considering taking up competitive shooting as well. I'm shooting the Martin Jaguar in my sig, which I will have to get legal for these matches, but should be a starting point if nothing else. You basically explained with the riser/limb selection portion of that thread, what has taken me a couple hours of searching AT to find, and would have led to a different purchase than the Jaguar.

    One thing I don't see mentioned in the thread is sights, however? Was that due to most hunting recurves not having the holes drilled, or due these matches not allow for the use of a sight? I realize it may seems like a fools question, but I'd appreciate your thoughts on sights with this type of bow, or lack thereof.
    Staff Shooter for Dead Center Archery, ProLine Bowstrings Field Staff, IBO Member
    Bear Anarchy APG (Hunting/3D): 70# DW(62#@27.75") QAD Ultra Rest HD, G5 Peep, HHA OL-5519 Sight, Apex Quiver, Dead Center Archery Stabs 10" Main 8" Side.
    Bear Anarchy Shadow (Target): 60# DW(53#@27.75") QAD Ultra Hunter Rest, G5 Peep, Sword Titan Sight (.010" 4x lens), Dead Center Archery Stabs 24" Main, 12" Side

  6. #6
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    colo -

    That was because it was a starter list for "traditional archery".

    I have a separate list more geared for Olympic types.

    All of my "trad" students learn how to use a sight sooner or later, even if it;s just a match stick or fletch taped to the back of the bow. Likewise, all of my Olympic shooters learn how shoot instinctively before going to a sight.

    For Olympic shooters, the choices are pretty straight forward; for trad types, not so much, since the type of bow and amount of time (and money) you want to spend on a sight do factor in.

    Are you planning on using a sight on the Jag?

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  7. #7
    I have a 5 pin hunting sight on the Jaguar currently. I have a new hunting compound, so I am considering Olympic style shooting with the Jaguar (something different and see where it goes). Yes, I've always shot with a sight, eventually I will pick up a regulation sight and see what happens.

    If your students learn instinctive first, perhaps I should do the same. Eventually, I'll be upgrading bows, should I enjoy the challenge provided.
    Staff Shooter for Dead Center Archery, ProLine Bowstrings Field Staff, IBO Member
    Bear Anarchy APG (Hunting/3D): 70# DW(62#@27.75") QAD Ultra Rest HD, G5 Peep, HHA OL-5519 Sight, Apex Quiver, Dead Center Archery Stabs 10" Main 8" Side.
    Bear Anarchy Shadow (Target): 60# DW(53#@27.75") QAD Ultra Hunter Rest, G5 Peep, Sword Titan Sight (.010" 4x lens), Dead Center Archery Stabs 24" Main, 12" Side

  8. #8
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    colo -

    My Olympic guys (and gals) go through an instinctive/barebow phase before I introduce sights. It lets them explore their eye hand co-ordination and gives me a window into how their brains work. Some take to that type of shooting quicker than others and some really struggle with it. It's all part of the bigger picture for both the student and the instructor. I would gibe that type of shooting at close range first, under some kind of instruction, if possible.

    Now, you might get some responses that the Jag isn't you best option for Olympic shooting, and well it's not, but as long as you can handle the weight (and holding 40# is A LOT for that type of shooting) you can get some of the basics down with it.

    A few suggestions, if that's the road you think you're heading down: loose 4 of the pins on the sight. You won't need them, it just clutters up your sight picture. Loose the peep sight. First, it's just nit allowed in Olympic shooting and second, possibly more important it "may" take away from your development of a solid anchor.

    Just a few thoughts to further confuse the issue

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  9. #9
    Viper1- Let me thank you for all the feedback.

    I am debating which way to go at the moment, but I may enjoy the challenge of that style of shooting.
    So basically, I drop to a pin on the Jag, remove the peep, and get a target stab and I'd be ready to at least start down that road.
    Judging by your posts, I'll take it you are an archery instructor/coach, would you mind if I touch base with ya through AT here?

    I will consider lighter limbs, by the way you inbox is full, else I'd be in touch via PM.
    Staff Shooter for Dead Center Archery, ProLine Bowstrings Field Staff, IBO Member
    Bear Anarchy APG (Hunting/3D): 70# DW(62#@27.75") QAD Ultra Rest HD, G5 Peep, HHA OL-5519 Sight, Apex Quiver, Dead Center Archery Stabs 10" Main 8" Side.
    Bear Anarchy Shadow (Target): 60# DW(53#@27.75") QAD Ultra Hunter Rest, G5 Peep, Sword Titan Sight (.010" 4x lens), Dead Center Archery Stabs 24" Main, 12" Side

  10. #10
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    colo -

    Thanks for the heads up on the PMs, unfortunately the box fills up quickly.
    Sent you a PM.

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  11. #11
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    You saved everybody on this board from getting "another one of those threads".

    Thanks for the info, I've searched this site for a few days now looking for exactly what you've posted.

    Unfortunately, I bought a bow before I found AT. 40# PSE stalker. I think it will still be ok. I know, at the least, I can 'make it right' by following your guy's advice on here.

  12. #12
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    Nova -

    Thanks buddy, but based on the stuff in the main trad forum, a lot of folks are seeing it here.

    TTT as they say...

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  13. #13
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    Great thread for newbies like me, thanks.

  14. #14
    Just wanted to bump this due to sheer helpfulness for a complete newb like me. Thanks for the great post!

  15. #15
    should i use feathers or what?

  16. #16
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    buff -

    With an elevated rest, you can use either, but feathers (3" to 5") are usually safer for new shooters. Left or right wing doesn't matter amd aat this stage, neither does the shape (parabolic or shield).

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  17. #17
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    Guys -

    Seeing as we're getting new guys looking for information on target work instead of hunting, here's the "Olympic" version of the cheat sheet.

    Equipment check list for a new Olympic shooter
    Revised 03/12

    Bow –

    These days, I’m hard pressed to recommend anything other than an ILF rig. The functionality,
    versatility and tuneability cannot be matched with any one piece or simple takedown bow. Most
    adult males should start in the 30# or less range AT THEIR DRAW LENGTH. Female archers
    should generally begin in the 20 – 22# range, again, at their draw length.

    Risers –
    The 23” Hoyt Excel ILF riser is an excellent choice if a lightweight single beam riser is
    desired. The 21” Excel is better suited for young archers or archers with a short draw
    lengths.

    The 25” Hoyt Eclipse is a larger, heavier, “TEC” or braced riser. Unfortunately, Hoyt discontinued
    the Eclipse in 2011, but it is still available through some dealers and on the used market.
    The 25” Hoyt Horizon was introduced in 2011 and is basically a longer version of the
    Excel with lateral limb adjustments and a removable clicker plate.
    The KAP T-Rex riser and Samick Candidate are less expensive alternatives, but it’s my
    opinion that they do not have the same feeling or ease of use as the Hoyt risers. New risers from
    Sebastien Flute have gotten excellent reviews, but the grip may be uncomfortable for some
    shooters.

    There are a number of older (discontinued) Hoyt risers on the used market as well. The
    venerable Gold Medalist is one example. Even high-end risers from a few years ago may be
    available at prices comparable to new entry level pieces.

    Limbs –
    Most of my new shooters use the Samick Privilege and Sebastien Flute Axiom or Premium limbs.
    They will shoot as well as the higher priced limbs for new and intermediate level shooters.
    The Hoyt limbs are decent shooters, but pricey compared to the Samick and Flute limbs. The
    older Hoyt limbs (Gold Medalist, Carbon Plus, and FX limbs) are very serviceable as well. Stick to
    wood core limbs with fiberglass or carbon surfaces, as carbon core limbs provide no advantage to
    beginning or intermediate shooters.

    Limb length (short, medium or long) depends on draw length.
    Most people with a 28” draw should opt for a 66” – 68” bow for the first time out.
    Archers with draw lengths under 26” should consider short limbs, and those with a draw length
    over 29” might need long limbs on a 25” riser. The same recommendations hold for a 23” riser,
    with the understanding that the overall length will be 2” shorter and 2# heavier than listed for a
    25” riser.

    Vintage wood riser target bows from Hoyt, Bear, Wing, Ben Pearson, etc., can be viable
    alternatives for new target archers, but upgrading to an ILF rig will be required sooner or later.

    Strings –

    A 14 strand D97 of the appropriate length will handle any weight from 20# - 50# and provide
    perfect nock fit when used with a .020” serving and small groove “G” nocks (see below). Having a
    spare string is also good idea.

    If a vintage target bow is being used, use ONLY DACRON strings; 12 strands is optimal for all
    typical weight ranges.

    Bow stringers –

    Bateman or Cartel bow stringer.

    Rests –
    Best – Cavalier/AAE Champion II. It’s fully adjustable and bulletproof. (These were recently
    discontinued by AAE, but may still be available through some distributors.)
    The ARE Magnetic Flipper is excellent, but pricey.
    Budget – WW / KAP Magnetic Partner rest. The newer rests from Win & Win/Flute and Fivics are
    very serviceable, but the arm height adjustment feature, if present, may be less than 100%
    reliable. The venerable plastic Hoyt Pro or Super Rest for $2.50 is still an option and is usually
    supplied with most Hoyt risers.

    Plungers –
    Best – Cavalier/AAE Master Plunger or Shibuya DX. The shorter plungers will work on most
    applications.
    Budget – Cartel Super plunger

    Slings –

    A cord type WRIST sling is preferable, as it is the most convenient and foolproof, but finger or
    bow slings can be used initially.

    Stabilizers –

    Cartel X-Pert or Midas approx. 28” – 30” long. Buy or fabricate extra end weights. Stabilizers
    have gotten very expensive in the last few years. Since they only are an extension tube to hold an
    end weight, you can do very well on eBay searching for old style tapered aluminum stabilizers.

    Sights –
    Do NOT scrimp on a sight! A good sight should last as long as your bow.
    Best – Sure-Loc Contender-X. Sights from Shibuya or Cartel in the $200 – $250 range are very
    serviceable as well. Again, if your budget is tight, don’t forget the used market.

    Sight Apertures –

    While most sights come with apertures, most are less than optimal. More user-friendly apertures
    can be obtained from your local hardware store by combining nylon spacers and a 3” 8-32
    threaded rod. I prefer an inside diameter of 3/8” – 1/2” for new shooters.

    Clickers –
    Should not be used by new shooters, but you will need one later on.
    Best – Beiter Clicker (Standard .025” thickness works for most people.)
    Budget – Cartel Clicker
    Special case – In the event that longer than standard arrows are necessary, sight-mounted
    clickers such as the Cavalier/AAE or Cartel Magnetic clicker can be used.

    Bow cases –

    Several hard cases are available from Neet, SKB, Aurora and Cartel, as well as soft cases/duffel
    bag type cases from Cartel, Hoyt, etc. Models range from about $50 to over $300. If you plan on
    traveling with your bow, you may need one that is airline approved.

    Arrows –
    Best – Easton Platinum Plus arrows with NIBB points and small groove “G” nocks, and 3”
    feathers. X7 arrows offer few advantages, unless the size you need isn’t available in the Platinum
    Plus line.
    Budget – Easton Blues or Jazz arrows with glue-in target points, 1/4” glue-on nocks, and 3”
    feathers.

    Quiver –
    Personal choice The Neet target quiver is a long-time standard and very economical. Offerings
    from Cartel and Hoyt/Easton are optional but can be pricey.

    Tabs –
    Cavalier/AAE Elite – Sorry, no options on this one. The tab size is based on the width, not the
    length.

    Arm guard –
    Any one you like, just keep it simple! (Yes, you’ll need one.)

    Chest Protector –
    Yes, you will need one sooner or later. Neet makes a very affordable one and the Easton version
    is quite popular; and no, one size does not fit all!

    Accessories –

    Nocking points, bow squares, string wax, etc. can be purchased or fabricated from household
    items or borrowed from the local range or club.

    Coach –
    Probably the most important thing a new (or experienced) shooter will need.


    Viper1 out
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  18. #18
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    Thanks for that!
    "Don't retreat, just reload!" Sara Palin

  19. #19
    Newbies listen well to Viper and buy his book. "Shooting the Stickbow."

  20. #20
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    what does ILF mean?
    "The history of the bow and arrow is the history of mankind" -Fred Bear

  21. #21
    Hey, all. I'm new to the forum and new to archery. I had some experiences in high school and liked it but just recently took an interest in getting involved. I'd like to start with target shooting. I've ordered Viper1's book as it looks like a good place to start from reading some of the info on the forum, here.

    My question: I'm 6'7". I believe this will give me a draw length of around 31.6". From what I've read, so far, this means I'll need a longer bow. But realistically, what length should I be considering?

    I'm in the Chicago area. As it will mean at least a 40 minute to an hour trip to any dealer I drive to, I'd like to be as informed as possible--maybe even call ahead to make sure they carry stock that will be appropriate.

    I'm considering a takedown recurve as a first bow. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Keith

  22. #22
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    Keith -

    I have/have had a few students in the 6.5" range. If you have a relatively proportioned build, your draw length will be well over that. Won't know for sure until your start and your from begins to solidify. read: expand. 32" - 34" would not be unreasonable.

    A 70" ILF bow (25" riser with long limbs) is really where you have to start. Later on, more options will open up, depending on what you want to ultimately do.

    With generalizations, most bows will gain about 2# per inch over the rated weight at 28". So a 30# @ 28" bow will be 38# at 32" and 42# at 34".

    First step has to be a determination of your actual draw length and that HAS TO BE DONE with a very light weight draw check bow and graduated arrow, by some one who knows how to do the test correctly. . Once you have that info, we can talk about draw weights more efficiently. You bigger problem will most likely be arrows, and you're initial set will most likely be slightly over spined. again we can talk more about that after your DL is measured, not calculated.

    BTW - if you go to a shop that uses a wall chart or calculator, walk out.

    You're asking good questions and your concerns are real, but not insurmountable.
    Going through the first 3 - 4 chapters in the book, will give you pretty good foundation, if I do say so myself,

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  23. #23
    Wow. An incredibly quick and thoughtful response from the author of the book. I appreciate that. I ordered your book through Amazon. They're back-ordered with a 1-3 week ship date. They usually don't take as long as they post and since I have Amazon Prime, I decided to be patient. I am looking forward to the read.

    I had a feeling my height might get in the way. It's not the first time and won't be the last. It's an advantage until you're buying clothes, repairing plumbing, driving sports cars...and now...apparently...buying a bow.

    Anyone have a line on a trustworthy dealer in the Chicago area who could help get me started?

    Keith

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Pennsylvania
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    Thanks for the info!

  25. #25

    vs. polaris?

    Great post. Many thanks for this. (I just ordered the book from Amazon.)

    Why do you recommend the Hoyt Excel over something like the Samick Polaris for a newbie shooter? It seems like the Polaris is pretty highly regarded and could give a newbie shooter a chance to try out the sport at about a third of the cost of the Hoyt. I'm genuinely curious about what attributes make the Hoyt a better riser, especially for us newbies.

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