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Thread: Black widow bows vs. others

  1. #1

    Black widow bows vs. others

    My question is, why are Black Widow bows so highly recomended? I find longbows of very similar design made with the same materials for less. Most bows are made from materials obtained from the same company ie. Bo-Tuff etc. If the design is almost identical and the materials are, then why black widow? What are some other good longbows and/or recurves? I shoot a martin Hatfield t/d recurve now but I am not totally satisfied with it simply because it pulls 50# at 28" and I would like something a bit heavier in a longbow. I hunt elk and would like something with a bit more umph. The Martin shoots very well and is a very pretty and smooth shooting bow, but I am ready to try something else. I have made a couple longbows and I am in the process of making a couple more now, but I am also interested in buying a new longbow. I have heard good things of other bows like Check-mate, martin, dan quillian bows, Massey longbows, Schultz made bows, Howard Hill archery (although I am not sure where the connectionis) etc. What are your recomendations? I want a good bow for the money. The top of my limit is probably the black widow where their longbow is $750 or so. I would prefer around $350-$500.



  2. #2
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    Although I have a number of longbows, I've never held or shot a Black Widow longbow. I really like Black Widow MA recurves and recommend them highly though they are spendy. Not too sure about their current longbow. I understand BW is coming out with a new longbow that's supposed to be quite a shooter. I like Howard Hill bows. My favorite is a 68" Wesley Special with contoured grip. As I recall I got it for about $500. There are a lot of bowyers in your neck of the woods. Norm Johnson, Black Tail bows makes a great reflex-deflex longbow. I have one in 64" and it's quite a shooter. Ted Fry makes longbows but they may all be selfwood bows, check his website for sure. John Strunk in Tillamook makes great longbows although he now only makes selfwood bows. He gives classes on bowmaking too. There are so many "custom" bowyers these days it's bewildering. Try to shoot as many bows as possible before putting down your money!

  3. #3
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    Two very reasonable priced but very high performance longbows are the Chaparral and the Massie Longhorn.

    You can see the Chaparral bows at: http://www.chaparralarchery.com/

    And the Massie bows at: http://www.stickbow.com/massie/

    The Deluxe Chaparral will cost you $450 plus shipping. The Massie longhorn base price is $345 plus 11% excise tax plus shipping. They are both very nice bows.

    Bill Lamb
    Praise the Lord, He is Worthy!

  4. #4
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    I doubt there's ever a credible reason to pay more than your preferred price range for any bow, no matter who makes it.

    I personally recommend Checkmate on that basis, but then I'm not enamored of exotic woods in the riser, which tend to make bows more expensive without making them any better in terms of performance.

    If you're buying art, exotic wood might be relevant, but I still can't see looting rainforests to support somebody's tastes in art.

    That said, I think outfits like Black Widow have probably benefitted from superior marketing and perhaps the perception that one can somehow purchase archery skill. This is the same sort of problem that has resulted in the popularity of the compound and it's been exploited in similar fashion.

    I think people would be prudent question any claims regarding superior speed, smoothness or whatever in most cases and take them with a more or less considerable grain of salt according to taste.

    The physics of how bows perform has pretty much been worked out for quite a few years and is based mostly on the springiness of the limbs, their mass weight which is relevant to acceleration, and their durability which is related to the bowglass used in their construction. Most of these things are tradeoffs that no amount of alleged bowyer craftsmanship is going to change.

    Therefore, one is likely to encounter designs that are very similar because they either work or they don't and those that do gain market acceptance.

    The trick is distinguishing between what works and what is alleged to work better. That's a tough call a lot of the time, and most of the time it's informed more by perception and taste than hard evidence.

    It might also be a good idea to note that archers shoot bows, not the other way around, so if the arrow hits the target on the intended mark, it might be a good thing to congratulate the archer instead of the bowyer.

  5. #5
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    All widow bashing aside Black widow makes an excellent quality bow that will hit the mark since that is our standard. Do others of course they do. By the way on the widow wall they said they have six of the new prototype long bows up for grabs. If you want a new widow in the new design of long bows give them a call. They may actually have one left.
    <+><

  6. #6
    Anyone know where to get a schultz made longbow?

  7. #7
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    I believe Schultz is still making them. I just read in the current issue of Traditional Bowhunter that he's released a new book.

  8. #8
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    I'm a rookie to this archery stuff but I'm enjoying the new adventure. Even as a novice, though, I've already heard the arguments over BW. I've read the BW detractors and price seems to be the primary criticism. That and the fact that many don't consider BW's a true "custom" bow. But BW also seems to have a huge loyal following of BW bow owners that swear by them. For that reason I've come to the conclusion that Black Widow is the Harley-Davidson of the traditional bow world. If you happen to be a Harley guy that's a good thing. But if you are a Honda or BMW guy, well maybe that's not so good. In the end I think it just comes down to personal preference.

    I also decided to go the longbow route. I should tell you, though, that I have been told by a BW loyalist that the BW longbows aren't as good as their recurves. But supposedly they're coming out with a new longbow soon. There are some good longbows out there and you should shop around. I finally decided upon a Pacific Yew longbow, but I saw plenty of others just a nice.

  9. #9
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    I am no long bower but from what I have seen of the new one black widow is making it is not all that. The grip is straighter now more like other long bows I guess and it has some recurve look to it on the limbs. I think they just seem to have a better recurve than long bow. I would imagine that other makers that have been at it longer make them as well or better. Everyone has a specialty and I don't think long bows are exactly black widows strongest suit. Of course I wouldn't know since I don't shoot them. You will have to ask some true long bow shooters.
    <+><

  10. #10

    Wes Wallace or other makes

    I was just curious about other longbow makers. Any favorites? Is the Howard Hill company just using the name or are they legit bowmakers? How about John Schulz bows or some of the other smaller bowmakers? Martin longbow? I need to sell my current setup or trade it first but that shouldn't be too hard. Any favorites? I decided that I wouldn't go with the bw this time simply because of the cost of the bows. Used bw's are all over but mostly recurves. i just have a hard time paying that much money. I tend to trade equipment every couple of years trying to find that bow that fits me best. Drives my wife crazy. She just can't understand, but then again I don't understand women either so it seems fair.

    Mike

  11. #11
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    warder, all -

    Bows are only worth what you're willing to pay for them. I'll echo the general concensus here, most "modern" bow, those make in the last 30 - 35 years are mostly pretty good. Some are faster than others, some are more forgiving to mistakes, and some just look really cool. All are factors in what make a bow worth while, TO YOU.

    Over they years I've past up really great deals on top of the line bows, just because they didn't "do it" for me, and I've over paid (paid more than their actual worth) for bows, that for some reason have a special attraction. Usually. because it was something I shot in my youth. Not logical reason.

    One thing for sure there is no magic bow that will turn a mediocre shooter into an archer. If the bow has a comfortable grip, smooth draw, and little hand shock, then it's a good bow and the archer will do well with it.

    The only things that are really quantifiable are the actual fps @ a given draw weight, with a given arrow, and "maybe" amount of forgiveness, and I'm not too sure about the latter. It's MHO, that the former, in the recurve theatre, is vastly over rated, as the difference between a 165 and 180 fps is marginal over the 20 yd normal bowhunting, instinctive ranges, now if you talk about 80 yds / 90m, that a different animal.

    my usual .02

    Viper1 out.

  12. #12

    recomendations

    I guess I am just asking for a recomendation of some longbows that you have owned in the past. I am shooting a recurve now and probably will again. Before I put down money on a bow I like to do a little research so that is what I am doing now. Let me know what you all think and thank you for your input so far. I love open discussion.

    Thank you
    Mike

  13. #13
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    I've shot a no name 60 incher from a bowyer in New Mexico that didn't work very good and a 66 inch Great Plains Great Plainman that shot wonderful.

    Of course the latter was a good deal more expensive than the former and I'm not convinced that I necessarily got what I paid for in terms of performance. There was after all a lot of tulipwood in the handle and I certainly paid for that, but I can't fault the Great Plainman's performance.

    I've also shot another no namer, 62 incher, that was supposed to be a two piece takedown. It fit together like a fishing rod, but I couldn't get it apart most of the time. However, it shot fine.

  14. #14

    Thanks

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I have ordered about a dozen different catalogs and I am reviewing them now. I hope top have a bow soon.

  15. #15
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    warder1268

    don't make any decisions until you check out Kota Longbows!

    Since they don't have a web site they are not highly heard of. I still claim they are the best kept secret in longbows. their phone # is 701-798-2776. You can get a brocure for a $1.
    good luck in your persuit.

  16. #16
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    Warder -

    Probably, not what you're going to want to hear, but with bows, the catalogues and recommendations aren't a lot of help. The issue with stickbows, is to a large extent the "feel" on the bow in your hand. Not when you pick it up, but after you've shot it for a while.

    With a good bow, (good for me, that is), I can shoot for hours without undue strain. Your first longbow, is always a bit of a crap shoot, if you haven't been able to hold and test fire one. Just get a decent bow from a reputable dealer, and see how it suites you. If it works out that's great, if not you'll have a better idea of what to do next.

    Real dumb example, I recently bought a PSE Sequoia. The shop had three, in the #65 range. There were very slight differences in the grip shape. Subtle, but there. They were all useable, but one definately had a better "feel".

    Viper1 out.

  17. #17
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    Greetings All.

    I can comment on both the New Widow Longbow and Schulz Bows.

    I happen to own one of the new Widow Longbows and I have owned several of their current models throughout the years.

    The new longbow is faster, smoother and, sleeker. It shoots great. The bamboo and carbon in the limbs has really done this bow justice. I have the TD model at 62 inches. All I can say is awesome. I was very leary to order such a short bow, but after a couple of shots I knew that I had gotten the right advice.

    As far as Schulz Bows go, I talked to John less than a month ago and he is NOT making bows. His son is building some bows, but not until after the first of the year.

    A couple of comments from John were very interesting. He no longer shoots glass back bows whatsoever. He is shooting laminated bamboo bows. He loves them.

    He recommended me to a great guy named Steve Childers that builds the closest to a Schulz bow. Email me if you want his phone #

  18. #18

    John Schulz

    I would like to get a hold of John simply to thank him for introducing me to traditional archery. Can he still be contacted at box 372, Canby Ca? He doesn't know me from Adam except that my senior year in high school I was in wood shop and a man comes in to plane down bamboo. This caused all of us to ask questions. The shop teacher was a friend of the family and I started talking to him. He said that the man was Mr. Schulz and he made longbows and that he was trained by Howard Hill. I didn't know who that was, but I started researching and that has led me to this point. I just wanted to thank Mr. Schulz. I was in school with his son but he was a few years younger than I am. That was in 1986 in Cortez, Co. That is one of the reasons I wanted a Schulz longbow.....kind of complete the circle. I will have to look for a used one now it seems which is all right with me. After all the car just broke down and took most of my saved up bow money. Everything happens for a reason and now I know why I am now making my own bows but I would like a good one to know what I am shooting for as an end product. I have shot some really nice recurves and compounds, but only my own longbows. Thank you for your help.
    Mike

  19. #19
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    Mike,

    I am sending you a PM with John Schulz's # and the email of a person that has an American Longbow (all wood) for sale by John.

  20. #20

    Thanks

    Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions. I am now looking into all the bows recommended here. Thank you again.
    Mike

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