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Thread: Beginner... Recurve or Compound

  1. #1
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    Beginner... Recurve or Compound

    Hey everyone,

    I'm a beginner and I'm going to be buying my first bow soon. I was wondering if someone could point me to the benefits of either starting with a recurve or compound. Everyone I've asked so far says it doesn't really matter what you start on, but I still don't buy it.



    Also, how do I know what makes a good bow? Manufacturers like Hoyt have soooo many bows in their line, it's hard for a beginner to tell.. Thanks!


  2. #2
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    Hi nhgaudreau,

    Well, I'm pretty new to the sport of archery myself. In fact, I took it up several years ago and am picking it up again now for the first time in a long time. I never got really good at it (not many archers in my area, especially if you're shooting recurve, and it's not easy teaching yourself!), but having shot both recurve and compound, I think I can sort of give my take here, especially since we're in a similar boat.

    With compound, you can adjust to shooting a much higher weight than with a recurve since compounds employ a cam system which lets a great deal of the weight off the bow once you have drawn the arrow at full length.

    Personally, however, I prefer recurve because it just feels like a much more natural draw and release than a compound, which can feel a little mechanical. You're not gonna like this, but I think a lot of it is really down to which sort of style you want to shoot with.

    Also, if you're more into competitive target shooting, recurve is probably more up your alley, but if you're more into hunting (as are most folks down South here where I live), compound is the way to go. So I guess it also depends on what sort of shooting you're looking to do. Like everybody else has told you, there really is no right or wrong answer. I don't particularly feel there is any advantage to learning one over the other first-- it's just a matter of what sort of style of shooting you're looking for and the kind of archery community you want to surround yourself with. Hope that was helpful.

    Cheers,
    Haydar

  3. #3
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    Yeah, that's definitely helpful. Thanks! I guess the best thing to do is go to a range and try a couple examples of each type out and see what I like best...

  4. #4
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    No problem.

  5. #5
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    They're apples and oranges... you shoot them in a completely different way.

    I will tell you this much, I've only really been good with a recurve when I could step out my back door and shoot it every day. It takes a ton of shooting for me to get good with one.

    On the other hand... with a compound, the last arrow I shot went through a buck on December 11th. The bow stayed in the case until 3 weeks ago, when I pulled it out to go to a 3D shoot. No warm ups, no practice arrows and I still shot very well.

    Something to think about anyway.
    Z7 -FMJ 340- Hellrazor & Rage 40KE
    The character of a man can be measured by the character of those that consider him an enemy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by da white shoe View Post
    ...The bow stayed in the case until 3 weeks ago, when I pulled it out to go to a 3D shoot...
    This may be a dumb question, but what is a 3D shoot?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhgaudreau View Post
    This may be a dumb question, but what is a 3D shoot?
    A three dimensional, foam animal target compitition.

    Kinda like... golf, with realistic deer targets.
    Z7 -FMJ 340- Hellrazor & Rage 40KE
    The character of a man can be measured by the character of those that consider him an enemy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by da white shoe View Post
    A three dimensional, foam animal target compitition.

    Kinda like... golf, with realistic deer targets.
    OOHHHH, ok. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Do you have heaps of time, them go with a traditional bow, so much fun to shoot, a guy at my club just brought home a 100pound English longbow and it is crazy fun to shoot (although it's so hard to draw) I have also shoot a Turkish short bow which is heaps of fun. I do shoot compound because I wanted to see results on the target range almost immediately and plus I love all the gadgets you can have.
    AND AS ALWAYS, HAVE NICE DAY
    I could shoot a Mathews Conquest 4, jet black with fluro green strings with a Spot Hogg Infinity rest, Axcel 4500 sight with a 5x Axcel 31mm scope, Fuse carbon blade 30" stab with 12" back-bar, Easton x-10 protours with fluro green bohning x-vanes and a Carter Insatiable 2+

  10. #10
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    A good recurve archer can switch to compound and be good much faster and easier than a compound archer can switch to recurve.

    There are two general types of recurves. Olympic and traditional. Olympic recurve archery form is more technical than traditional recurve or compound archery and it's more time consuming to learn to shoot either recurve well.

    Recurves are not quite as simple as they seem at first. Tuning them is not quite as complicated as a compound, but there is a learning curve.

    The choice should be based on what you want to do with archery and what you are willing to put into it. If you want to compete, there are shoots for both available almost every weekend. If you have a secret ambition to go to the Olympics, an Olympic recurve is your only choice. Currently and for the foreseeable future, compounds are not welcome in the Olympics. However, there is world class competition available to compound archers too. If you plan to hunt, the compound or traditional recurve are the better choices. Recurve for the short shots that I get in the dense woods here in Maryland. Compound is a better choice for the longer shots that western hunters tend to get.

    Figure out what you want to do in archery and it will be easier to make a choice. If you don't know, then a recurve is probably the better choice since very good ones are available at a much lower cost than compounds.

    Hope this helps,
    Allen

  11. #11
    I agree with what Allen said above and offer some additional insight. I instruct in both a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program as well as private lessons, mostly with youth archers. I have seen that the learning curve with the recurve bow is much shallower - meaning it takes much longer to become proficient. The compound bows are far quicker to learn and to see improvement. If a student is going to drop out, more often it is due to frustration than lack of interest. The compound bow alleviates much of this.

    That said, I have seen students do extremely well with the recurve, but they tend to be older.

    As Allen said, you can always switch from one to another. My son is 13 and has been a compound shooter for almost 3 years. He has never shot recurve and picked one up the other day and shot 9's and 10's from 20 yards. While the mechanics of shooting are subtly different, the basics are the same.

    Long story short - it doesn't really matter. Find a good bow shop that will let you try both and see what you like. Better yet, find a good bow shop that offers lessons so you can try both types more extensively before you make a decision.

    Best of luck and enjoy the sport!!

  12. #12
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    you can find those of hunting bows at www.archerytorque.com

  13. #13
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    Being only in my fourth week of starting archery myself, I have already bought my compound bow and I love it. But, during the JOAD training I'm using my range's recurves because I enjoy them too. I agree with everyone that it doesn't matter, rather it's what you love and want to do and also what you feel is right with you.

    If prices are something of an annoyance between both bows, you'll find at the beginner level a compound bow to be roughly more expensive than your standard wood/fiberglass takedown recurve bows. I settled with a compound bow though because I know I want to eventually train at that level. But stick to the recurve during JOAD so I don't lose the feel of a recurve habit.

    And, as aread said, it is easier to go recurve then switch to a compound. The feeling of a compound may be wack after using recurves for a bit, but I know from my own experience if I didn't use a recurve first I wouldn't know exactly what to expect.

    Go with your gut, and welcome to the sport
    2008 Hoyt Helix 25", Blue, KAYA Archery K1 Fiber Limbs 38#
    2010 Mathews Drenaline LD 60#, Black Cherry, 54.5#
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aread View Post
    A good recurve archer can switch to compound and be good much faster and easier than a compound archer can switch to recurve.
    +1

    Compounds give more immediate gratification, recurves, if properly taught, can give a better overall foundation for archery. See if you can find a program that lets you use their bows to learn on so you can find what bow is right for you before you buy since once you decide what kind of bow you want you'll need to decide what poundage to buy, and what size.

    Most sports are about doing something the hard way for the challenge. If you just wanted a bunch of arrows in the 10 ring it is much easier to walk to the target and tap them into it with a hammer. So, you get to choose where on the continuum of challenge you want to try. Primitive bows are the most challenging, but also the simplest. Compound bows are the most accurate, and the most mechanically complicated. With target re curves being in between.

    I like the versatility and relative simplicity of target recuves. But it is a personal choice.

    Also, compounds seem to go "out of date" more than recurves, and people who own compounds seem to be targeted to buy the latest and greatest over and over again.
    <evidence><
    ..../............\.......
    Hoyt GM OR - Adcock ACS LB - Bickerstaffe ELB - USA Archery Level 2

    "Complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers.” HL Mencken

  15. #15
    This thread has been up a while so maybe you've already made your choice. The one thing I would add is that a person who begins with a recurve is forced to develope proper form and shooting skills as he or she progresses. Traditional equipment will force you to do things right. After which shooting a compound becomes an addition to your experience as an archer. There are many compound shooters who can't shoot traditional bows. Learning on a traditional bow enables you to shoot do both.

    A good bow is one that feels good in your hand. Don't get hung up on what someone else shoots or likes/dislikes.

  16. #16
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    go to your local archery shop shoot a couple bows and see what you think

  17. #17
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    i grew up shooting traditional and switched to compunds when i was about 13 my dad only shoots a recurve but i personally think learning to shoot with a recurve helped me when i switched to shooting sights due to my ability to judge yardage and quickly find my mark a lot of new compound shooters are taught to draw back and hold for what seems like an eternity but shooting a recurve taught me to draw back find my mark and release quickly which on a 3-d or indoor course doesnt matter but in the hunting woods has worked for me almost every year
    Big Buck Down!

  18. #18
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    I'm in this situation now, I cant decide which one to buy first...

  19. #19
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    i would say get what you like best but i know it's not a helpful answer

    hunting or target

    if hunting i would definitely go compound.

    target however if i was to shoot seriously and competitively i'll take a recurve. if i was to shoot just for the fun of shooting i'd consider compound as well

    just know recurve has a steep learning curve. i know beginners still struggling to hit the gold from 10m. a beginner with a compound will hit the gold within hours. of course mastering both takes dedication and training.

    however i did notice that compound bows on the shooting line get more attention than the archer shooting it . somehow i find recurve bows to be more rewarding but that's me

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluke View Post
    however i did notice that compound bows on the shooting line get more attention than the archer shooting it .
    I absolutely agree with you. May be it's because the compound takes most of the work on itself (it's my personal experience). I often watch newbies with the compounds hitting 8, 9, 10. Contrariwise, newbies with the recurves often can not even hit the target itself..

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elrose View Post
    I absolutely agree with you. May be it's because the compound takes most of the work on itself (it's my personal experience). I often watch newbies with the compounds hitting 8, 9, 10. Contrariwise, newbies with the recurves often can not even hit the target itself..
    how true...
    P.I./ W&W4L/ Whatever... Pro Staff

  22. #22
    Compound !! Much easier to learn but remender what ever u decide form is most important. Shoot the same way way everytime. You would be supized what a half inch difference makes

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