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Howard Hill longbows are one of my favorites. I have an older Big 5 with the traditionial narrow grip and a newer Wesley Special with a dished grip. These bows are as light as a feather and very forgiving to shoot. I prefer 68" longbows and have never had any problem in a tree stand, though I don't hunt out of them often, or on the ground. HH longbows have good speed with only mild handshock. I think they're well priced and a good value. In addition you don't have to wait a year to get one. JHMO.
 

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I have a Howard Hill Redman From The mid 1980s. I like the bow for that style of long bow and it has held up well over many years in the field. The bow has nice craftmanship and the finish still looks good. My bow is 74# @ 28'' and it draws smooth to 28'' and stacks hard after. I haven't shot many other longbows except my Bear Montana and a few very old long bows I have, so I can't give a fair comparison to any of the custom bow of today.
I have emailed the company a couple of times and they responded , so they seem to care about their customers, at least from my experience. I think they build a well made, good performing bow but as everyone here will tell you, shoot it before you buy it. You may not like it.
 

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Hh

:) :) I love my HH bow. It toke a day or to to get used to the grip but after that it has been a super fine bow to shoot.:) :)
 

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I've shot several of them over the years, but not lately. I've only shot the "traditional" Hill bows (straight limbed or mild reflex design), so that's what my opinion is based on.

I don't own one, and don't plan to. I even shot Bob Wesley's personal Wesley Special some years ago, before he moved from MS. It's just not the style bow I like. I've shot several other Hill style bows by other bowyers, and feel the same about those also. My elbow won't tolerate the shock (I've shot a lot worse, but they still make my elbow sore), and I've never liked a narrow grip.

As far as the bowyer, I've never heard anything negative about Craig and company, and have heard lots of good things about him.

If I liked that style bow, I wouldn't have any reservations about dealing with Craig.

Chad
 

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I have a Tembo 65# @ 28" tillered to 30.5" 72" long. Super lightweight and the most accurate bow I have used so far. That narrow grip sure is tough on the palm however, and moderate to high handshock. After two years the larger Bamboo laminate cracked so it's just for viewing now. It's a beautiful bow and would like to eventually get another.

Bob
 

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Howdy ya'll. So far I have had the pleasure of owning 6 HH longbows. I started back in 1991 with a 68" Big Five (53# @ 26") and I liked it enough to order a "twin" brother. I lived in Yuma, AZ at the time and, except for the really hot months, shot them daily. The best I have ever done with them was five arrows into a playing card at 25 yards. (I took a photo of that. It was kinda rare.)

One day on the way to the office my motor cycle ran over a portable road sign someone had left in my lane. (Another story) Anyway, I never could recover enough to shoot them again and had to let them go. An Achilles tendon injury and a auto crash followed and I am now shooting with a 24" draw at 31#. :(

I have owned 3 Big Fives and 3 Wesleys over a period of time in 68", 70" and 66." My favorite length have been the 66." (Craig says that the 66" begins to stack at about 31.")

Grip and hand shock: A recurve or compound shooter will find the grip significantly different since bow hand pressure is applied evenly from the web to the heel of the hand. Additionally, one should not shoot them with a locked elbow. A friend of mine did that who had shot recurves for years and upon loosing the first arrow let out a yelp that could have been heard for blocks. (Darned near dropped the bow.)

Grip shape: There are a variety of grip shapes available from HH and one should give Craig a call before ordering. I was amazed at the different combinations that are available.

Grip warp: A grip wrap is important on a straight limbed longbow both to minimize slippage and to absorb vibration. My all time favorite is laced Moose hide (Thick).

FWIW Craig offers a fairly new bamboo lamination called "Lamboo." It cost extra and is edge laminated Bamboo. According to Craig the fastest, smoothest limb core is 5 laminations of Lamboo. (Wesley Lamboo)

Hope that helps.
 

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USBP, you make some good points, but they won't fix it all. I've been a longbow shooter for about 15 years--I very, very seldom shoot a recurve (bowfishing is about it). I don't lock my elbow at all. I do have a touch of something (probably arthritus) and I have to be very picky about the bows I shoot, especially ones that are light in mass weight (which I prefer). I simply cannot shoot a Hill or Hill style without getting a sore elbow--at least that's been the case with every one I've shot. That's not the only bow that makes it sore, but it's one of them.

I REALLY don't like a wrap, especially one that keeps the bow from slipping. I have a problem with torque, and if I can get a good grip on a bow I will invariably torque it. I've shot with folks that powdered their bow hand so the bow would slide easier, to avoid torque.

Not trying to "down" the bows, just explaining why they aren't the bow for me.

Chad
 

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Hi Chad. I know what you mean about the arthritis thing. My bow hand little finger has started giving me problems when shooting the longbow and I have been shooting the Falcon more and the longbow less.

One thing I meant to mention and forgot (age I guess) is that I shoot heavy arrows, approx 15 grains / pound of draw weight which makes the longbow quite happy.

After my first retirement I wrote some articles that were published in "Instinctive Archer Magazine." One of them involved making / shooting very heavy arrows by filling aluminum arrows with water (summer) and mineral oil in the winter. The 1816's I used came out weighing about 800 grains. They were a hoot to shoot, if one doesn't mind being within 20 yards and the longbows REALLY loved those arrows.

Kent
 

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That one slipped my mind too--heavy arrows will help a BUNCH. If the bow will handle it, a high performance material can calm them down some. I use Dynaflight '97 on my selfbow, but I still don't shoot it a lot. It's steamed into a deflex/reflex design, but still has a bit of shock to it.

Chad
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the information fellas. I'm planning to take a trip to Montana next year. I think I'll stop by and see the folks at Howard Hill before I think about buying one. I always have reservations about buying anything mail order without trying something for myself.

I also have a few questions;

1Badshot said the bamboo lamination cracked. It this a common thing to happen?

What is a selfbow?

Can you explain what reflex/deflex means?

Again thanks for your opinions!

longbowlover
 

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1Badshot said the bamboo lamination cracked. It this a common thing to happen?
Depends on who you ask, what type "bamboo" they are using, etc. I talked to a hobby bowyer just last Saturday and he was saying he'd been having a lot of trouble with bamboo cracking. Then some bowyers swear by it.

I'm not sure if Craig and company use it, but the "bamboo" Howard Hill preferred was Tonkin cane. There are LOTS of different varieties. As I understand it, Tonkin cane only grows in one small area in the world, and can be difficult to get.

What is a selfbow?
Sometimes it's a generic term used for pretty much any type primitive bow that is made only from natural materials. A more strict definition is a bow that is made from one piece of wood (stave), or two pieces spliced together (billets). My selfbow is made from an osage stave with deer antler tip overlays and a piece of antler set in the riser for an arrow rest.

Can you explain what reflex/deflex means?
It's a design where the limbs bend toward you (deflex) then back away (reflex). Every Hill style bow I've seen had straight limbs or mildly reflexed limbs. A properly made deflex/reflex design will be faster with less handshock--basically it's putting some of the good aspects of a recurve into a longbow. Some folks refer to this as a "hybrid", although there have been cave drawings found (in Spain, I think) of a deflex/reflex longbow.

Hopefully someone can give a better definition, but that's basically it.

Chad
 

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I've had a HH Big Five 56#@28 since 1989 and I have never needed or wanted another bow. If you want a straight end american long bow you will not go wrong. The price is right and the customer service is excellent. Never had a problem with handshock either.
 

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Yeah the Tembo has one thicker section of bamboo and it cracked at a dark spot mid limb. I think I would go with the big 5 next time with thinner laminates. Even though this limb developed a crack, I would not hesitate to buy another HH bow.

Bob
 

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From everything I've heard, HH is a good company to deal with. But, it's always a good idea to shoot before you buy if possible. Some people really like that type of bow. Some really, really don't.
 
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