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I've been shooting for a few weeks, am addicted and am saving up to buy my first bow. I want to shoot traditional, barebow, off the shelf, with wooden risers, starting with recurves and eventually longbows. I definitely prefer a takedown and am strongly considering a Martin Hatfield after hearing nothing but good things about it. I've tried several Martin recurves that felt really good, but not a Hatfield. I'm torn as to what draw weight to get. I will use it mostly for 2-D target shooting, eventually 3-D and eventually out to 70 meters, but probably not for hunting. I've tried 25# up to 55# bows at the range. 30# felt easy, 35# felt solid, 40# felt a hint strong, and 45# felt like a rep at the gym. I like to hold for about 2 to 3 seconds and am not interested in snap shooting. My arm span is 73" so my draw would be from 29" to 29.2". My questions are:

A.) Is it possible to under-bow (25# feels like spaghetti where #35 feels solid)?

B.) Does a newer model Hatfield stack significantly as I've heard older ones do (or is +1" not a factor)?

C.) What can I expect my draw to be at 29" for a 35# or 40# Hatfield (+2#...+5#)?

D.) Does a 35# bow have considerably less resale value than a 40# because of state hunting minimums (if I ever want to sell it or trade up)?

E.) I don't feel shaky at 40#, but I can tell I'll fatigue faster than at 35#. Can you quickly work your way up +5# (I can easily change my weightlifting routine to strengthen my pull) or is this a recipe for permanent bad habits?

Basically, I want to get a very good bow from the start that I'll likely keep for a while. A few of the more seasoned shooters at the range suggested 35# to 40# for me. I've heard that just 5# too much will ruin your shooting, but I don't want to buy something that will feel too light, that won't be able to shoot longer distances, and that will be below the 40# hunting limit if it will seriously cut the value of my bow.

Any answers, advice, or suggestions greatly appreciated.
 

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A.) Is it possible to under-bow (25# feels like spaghetti where #35 feels solid)?

Yes.

B.) Does a newer model Hatfield stack significantly as I've heard older ones do (or is +1" not a factor)?
I am not qualified to answer that {haven't shot the new ones}

D.) Does a 35# bow have considerably less resale value than a 40# because of state hunting minimums (if I ever want to sell it or trade up)?
Depends. My state has a 35# limit, but for the most part, 35# bows are used by women, children, or week-end target shooters.

E.) I don't feel shaky at 40#, but I can tell I'll fatigue faster than at 35#. Can you quickly work your way up +5# (I can easily change my weightlifting routine to strengthen my pull) or is this a recipe for permanent bad habits?
Yes you can. If you can increase your bench press, you can increase your bow pull. Fatigue is normal. Any average man is capable of shooting a 40# to 50# easily within a few weeks. Keep in mind, if you start with a 35# bow, you will have the muscle strenth of a 35# archer.

I've heard that just 5# too much will ruin your shooting,
Not true. Shooting is "ruined" by poor concentration, and physical inability. Many guys will try to blame their bows, or bow weight, but this is untrue. The good archer can make any bow shoot very accurate.

Since you posted that you work out with weights, I would suggest that you purchase a 45# bow. There you will have the bow thats great for target, and hunting. You will have a bow that you can hold at full draw comfortably, yet will pass all the State guidelines.
 

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well im blaming my bad luck on my arrows, the first ones i got were spined to #55 for m 30 pound bow! and tis is what the guy gave me at the store, plus it wasnt a chaoin store it was a small local archery shop. i relised that these arrows shoot much better off my 50 pound flatbow.
 

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If 45# feels like a rep at the gym I would'nt get that weight to learn with. Are you ready to make that big cash outlay for your hunting weight bow yet or do you think that buying a lower poundage bow off of Ebay and reselling it there as you move up in weight would'nt be a better idea at this point?
 

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Get one of those cheap solid fiberglass bows, in a draw weight that's higher than what you shoot, off of Ebay if you're concerned with increasing your bow pulling strength.
 

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The Hatfield will not stack at 29" and you will probably be pulling about 37# with a 35# bow, which is sufficient for Field archery up to 80yrds with light aluminum arrows or carbons. I don't think the light weight will hamper resale, as most bows on the used market are in hunting weights of around 50#, i.e. you will have something to offer that others don't. While 5# can make a critical difference, it is only true if you are shooting with a clicker; off the shelf the only difference you will notice is one of comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice!

Based on all this input, I'm leaning towards the 40# since I'm already working out to increase my draw strength. 40# should feel solid soon, especially if stacking is not a problem. Since I'm a lot more interested in 2-D and 3-D target shooting than hunting, I'm not that worried about working up to a real heavy weight, so I'll probably hold off on anything above 40# til I get my form perfected.

As for Ebay, I'd rather get a better bow to start with since I usually keep things till they blow up and a 40# takedown seems like it will be a good, versatile, comfortable bow that meets most state minimums (hopefully to be a back up for a Black Widow or other custom in another couple years). But I'll definitely start looking on Ebay in case a great deal shows up. I've heard a few nightmare stories already about people that bought used bows online that ended up having hairline cracks and delamination. Don't know if it's a big problem but I want something solid to start with.

Also, it does seem like every used bow for sale is 50#and up. And I still have yet to hear anything but praise for the Hatfield.

Thanks again for the advice! Much appreciated.
 
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