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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering getting into traditional archery, solely for fun in my backyard to start. Yeah I would love to think I could kill a deer with one, but that feels like years away.

I have been shooting compounds for years and have just recently gotten the traditional itch. I read Viper's post, and there is not a club near me that shoots traditional, so have just a couple of questions.

I love the look of long bows and there seems to be some debate on whether or not they are easier or harder to learn on. Starting out with no traditional experience, would starting with a long bow at 40lbs be light enough? And overall, are they more difficult to learn on? I am 33 and shoot 70 on my compound and was thinking 50lbs originally but everything I have read says go lighter than you think. I do like the idea of being able to change the limbs on a recurve, but LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of long bows. If I am COMPLETELY missing something on recurves, please tell me? I am basing the long bow decision purely off looks just to be honest. If recurve is totally the way to start, I am not against it.

Also, if you learn on one, does that easily transition to the other?

Based on my research I think I would use a tab over a glove as well. Lancaster has several long bows for under $300 to get started which is the route I was going to go before I completely dove into some of the more expensive options. Any recommendations are appreciated. Was considering the below bows? Does anyone have any feedback on these?


 

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I would say you are on the right track, with the exception being your start at 40#

Holding 40# longbow at full draw is WAY different that a 70# compound with let off IME

I think there are great choices to start out with for under $300 at Lancaster.

Go #30, get some cheap 600 spine arrows to start out with at full length. Pick a tab, and an armguard and hit the line.

Watch lots of vids and try to get a friend to "spot" you.

Enjoy it, above all

Of course there's more, your height draw length etc.... but a longer bow is more forgiving in general, and you'll be "ballparked" at least. If you're tall, try to get a 68" long bow


So much good information in Viper1's book "Shooting the stickbow" Just got my copy. Great detail and good reading.

YMMV just my opinions here.

edit: if you are planning to shoot your longbow "off the knuckle" get a bow hand glove.
 
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Start with 25-30 pounds. If you shoot a 70 pound compound then you are really only holding about 15 pounds at full draw with the letoff. 40-50 pounds is a good all-around weight for a longbow or recurve, but you need to start small and develop good form first. You'll hear lots of "Yeah but I started with X pounds and I'm doing fine" and it may be true, but they made it harder on themselves than it needed to be.

Go with a cheap, light draw bow to start with. Focus on developing good form and consistency. You'll be better off in multiple ways. You'll be able to shoot bigger bows easier and more accurately, You'll have a better idea of what you like and don't like before you spend too much money, and you won't hate your new bow becuase its too hard to shoot.

As far as longbows go, it varies. I've shot some that felt like wet noodles, some that snapped like a recurve, some that were zippy, some that were slow but powerful, and some that just sucked. There's a lot more variety among longbows in terms of the actual feel and shooting experience than recurves, at least to me. Generally, the flatter the limbs are, the slower the bow will feel, and the more of a recurve the limbs have (called reflex/deflex for longbows) the more it will feel like a recurve.

I started out with a recurve that came with both 25# and 45# limbs. I shot with the 25s for a couple months then switched to the 45s when I was a bit more comfortable and had my form mostly figured out. Obviously I still have a lot to learn, but I had the basics down before going up in weight. My next bow is currently getting made, it'll be a 40# Savannah longbow. Through experience I figured out how I like a bow to feel, what weight I liked and what I was going to use this bow for.
 

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I switched to traditional archery via a Samick Sage recurve. They can be had for about $150 with limb weights from 25 to 60 pounds. Start at 25# or 30#, 35# at a stretch. In my case my compounds were old school with a 50% let off so 35 pounds made sense.

I currently have three long bows, a 40 pound Bear Montana, a 42 pound Kota Prairie Fire and a 48 pound Blacktail Colombian. All three feel different. The Kota Prairie Fire is a high reflex/deflex long bow and as such it’s a bit faster for its weight. The all wood with bamboo laminate core construction also produces a very smooth and soft feeling draw. The Columbian is also a wood with bamboo laminate core bow and is again very smooth. It has a very mild reflex/deflex construction and is a bit slower pound for pound than the Prairie Fire. My Bear Montana is a decent first long bow, with maple core and glass construction. It however feels a lot stiffer and more mass in the limbs equates to a bit less speed.

Which very way you go it’s a different breed of cat, where softer 500-600 spine arrows, left full length and around 10-12 grains per pound of bow weight, with velocities down around 150-160 fps are going to be pretty normal.

Personaly, I won’t go back for the same reason I never got into the whole eccentric cam 300ish fps compound bow rat race. I enjoy the light weights, simplicity and challenge of shooting a long bow. It’s a lot more satisfying than a compound.
 

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one thing youll learn.

youll shoot your lighter bows more than your heavy ones.

dont think of light limbs/bows as just for starting out,
you will shoot them ALOT.

they are a great tool for working on form,
whether youre a beginner or expert.

i shoot my lighter weight bows way more than any of my heavier ones.

shoot for 25-30# and some 1000-800 spine arrows and youre good to start.

its an entirely different animal than shooting compounds.
 

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There is a used 35lb longbow and arrows in the classifieds now. That would be perfect for you. The learning curve is steep no matter if it is a recurve or longbow. Buy what you like, you are more likely to stick with it through the difficult times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As far as longbows go, it varies. I've shot some that felt like wet noodles, some that snapped like a recurve, some that were zippy, some that were slow but powerful, and some that just sucked. There's a lot more variety among longbows in terms of the actual feel and shooting experience than recurves, at least to me. Generally, the flatter the limbs are, the slower the bow will feel, and the more of a recurve the limbs have (called reflex/deflex for longbows) the more it will feel like a recurve.
This quote is intriguing. As far as feel goes, is there any way to tell before buying if a bow has the characteristics of something that would give a negative feedback? I feel like I want to avoid the “wet noodle” of possible.

As far as feeling like a recurve, is that to say they have more zip?


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the responses guys! I really appreciate it and will definitely being going lighter based on the consensus of this group. Really glad I came here or I feel like I may have bought too much now to start out.


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Ib -

Generally start of with twice the HOLDING weight of your compound or like the gusy said, 25#-30#.
Longbow vs recurve really depends on your purpose and goals.

The water gets a little muddy since the definition of a :longbow" has changed over the last few decades.
Even though the distinction between longbows and recurves have been blurred, I'd still suggest you start off with a recurve. The overall feel will be a little closer to what you're used to, and the fact is, if you have good form on the compound, a lot of that will transfer over to the recurve more easily than to a long bow. Grip types and hand shock are the first two differences that come to mind.

Viper1 out.
 

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I agree with starting out around 30ish lbs. I started at 44lbs and it really added time to the process. If I were to to it over I would've started with 30. I move furniture for a living and I'm not a weekling by any means but those muscles just aren't used much in your day to day life. My draw length increased an inch and a half in a year because my form sucked from being overbowed initially.
As far as the longbow goes to start, I agree with Viper. Start with the recurve to get some form and your muscles worked in. When you have a handle on those grab the longbow. If and when you do, shoot as many as you can of different styles before you drop money. The grip on a longbow will make or break it for you. Sure, you can force a bad grip FOR YOU to work but when one fits, it's magic.
I wish you luck on your journey and probable new addiction! Sorry for being long winded.
 

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Lot's of great advice from above. My first trad bow was a 55# Martin Hunter in the early 90s. It was too heavy for me. I didn't know better. Back then, we didn't have internet like today. I just put it back in the box and never shot it again. 3 years ago, I decided to try trad again. I bought a 40# Black Hunter longbow. I can shoot it comfortably. Now, I own 3 hybrids and one ASL. They are in the 40 to 45#.
Start with something 35# to get your form first and then work up.
 

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Take a look at the Old Mountain Mesa at 3 Rivers. It received great reviews from Trad Lab. Good looking bow for 300.00.
 

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This quote is intriguing. As far as feel goes, is there any way to tell before buying if a bow has the characteristics of something that would give a negative feedback? I feel like I want to avoid the “wet noodle” of possible.

As far as feeling like a recurve, is that to say they have more zip?


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You can really only make generalizations. Look at the bow un-strung, do the limbs bend forewords like on a recurve? This picture shows it fairly well, the same bow strung vs unstrung. You can see it strung too. It's just harder to see, but if you follow the curvature of the limbs changes as you get closer to the tips. When talking about bows, "reflex" means the tips point forwards, away from the shooter. Deflex means the handle/grip area sticks out forwards and the ends of the riser curve back towards the shooter. hence, a R/D longbow has handle and tips that stick out more than the middle of the limbs.




Usually you draw the line between recurve and longbow with "Does the string rest against the limbs when strung?" Yes means it's a recurve, no means it's a longbow. People like to try and split hairs over it but this really is the most clear and simple way to separate them. Sometimes clubs and organizations will make up other requirements to separate the "true" longbows and make the reflex/deflex people shoot with the recurves but that's all shenanigans in my opinion.






So generally, the more reflex/deflex a bow has, the faster it shoots. It's like a short ATA hunting compound with huge cams, where a flatter bow is more like a long ATA target bow with wheels. How well it does these things is something else entirely. What makes a longbow "slow and smooth" vs "wet noodle" has more to do with the craftsmanship than the shape. And with that, the only real way to know is to shoot them. You can read online reviews to help, but "smooth" to you might not be "smooth" to the next guy. See if you can find a shop that has a decent stock of traditional bows. If all else fails, I know that Cabela's/Bass Pro usually stocks a handful of budget traditional bows in there stores you can try. Just call ahead since all the covid stuff means the test range might not be open.

If you absolutely cannot find any bows to try out in person and have no idea what to get, then order a Samick Sage. Those seem to be the most popular beginner bow, and lots of people like them so much that they never "grow out of it". You can buy another set of limbs separately for about $75 so you can change draw weight without having to buy a whole 'nother bow.

Make sure that you pay attention to brace height and arrow weight too, because that can change the feel of a bow as well. A lower brace height and light arrows can make a bow shoot more FPS but it might feel harsh and loud. Heavy arrows and high brace heights make for a smoother shot but slower, and if you go too far in that direction you get the wet noodle. It's all about balancing these factors and your preferences and shooting style. Every bow has a recommended brace height, you start there and twist or un-twist the string to adjust it slightly. 10 grains arrow weight per pound of draw is a good rule of thumb for most trad bows, and 8" brace height is a good starting point for the average recurve in the 60-62 inch AMO range, which most of the starter bows like the Samick Sage will be.
 

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I went through what you're going through about a year ago. I'm a 70# compound shooter so I thought I was safe going to a 50# recurve. After many, many sore, torn, stressed, overused muscles in my back and shoulder, I settled in on a 35# for form and target practice (aiming) and 45# for hunting. My favorite setup right now is my 19" ILF with 45# recurve limbs for hunting and 35# for practice. I fell into an addiction and have collected over 14 vintage bows from the 70's and prior. New hobby I never knew I'd like but shooting each one is like going out on a date with a different girl. lol. Back to original setup, I'd really recommend a takedown with 2 different sets of limbs to start with. Look into the Black Hunter longbow if you're leaning towards longbows. But whatever you settle on, take your time and really analyze and concentrate on your form and if it starts to hurt...stop! You'd think that goes without saying but I've always been under the impression 'no pain, no gain' when I weightlift and that didn't fair well for me in archery. Had to put the bow down due to a couple repetitive motion injuries with my shoulder and back due to over use and being over bowed. Play it safe and good luck.
 

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As has been said some of the defining characteristics between longbow and recurve have blurred over the years. The test of whether the bowstring rests against any part of the limb other than the tip when strung is often used. Another check that is sometimes used is whether a straightedge when slid up and down the back of the bow when strung ever touches in more than one place it is not a longbow. This would indicate there is some slight recurve to the limb.

I point this out because some competitive rules get pretty strict about distinguishing a longbow. If you are into 3D or other competition think about it.

Personally I tend to call a bow which satisfies the first condition but not the second a hybrid. But that is just my opinion.

As has been suggested if budget allows go light to start with and build up to heavier draw weights later. As an old guy I have been dropping down in weight in recent years and am able to shoot for longer sessions without getting sore. You will need that starting out as well.
 

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Honestly just find a bow you like and start shooting it.

I started with #50 and it wasn't a problem.

Just practice. You're young (pretty much same age) and already have experience with a compound. Just build a repeatable shot while taking the time to think and analyze what you are doing.

You should be able to keep them within a 9" pie plate at 18m within a couple hours, and they say that that's good enough to hunt with.
 

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My OPINION is that you should at least consider a 40# or 45# Bear Montana longbow.

My opinion is that Bear Montana longbows are excellent at their inexpensive price point. The Bear Montana provides a very enjoyable longbow experience. It is my opinion that at age 33 (if you are a rather typical guy in regard to strength and fitness) that you will rapidly develop the strength and endurance to handle a 40# or 45# longbow (with initial frequent practice you might find the draw weight a bit difficult for the first month). Apparently you already have muscle memory for the basic archery shooting form while only needing to make some transition modifications.

A 40# or 45# longbow is completely sufficient for indefinitely having great fun in the backyard, roving/stump shooting, 3D shooting, small game hunting, and deer hunting (check your state regulations for minimum draw weight requirements - this might sway your decision). If you are a reasonably strong fit guy, then 45# would be a very good choice.

I suspect that you will eventually regret having purchased a longbow with a draw weight less than 40#.
 
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I have a decent collection of longbows from the classic D shape to Hybrid Reflex Deflex. I like them all and they all have their place. With a Classic D bow, try to stay around 10 grains of arrow weight per pound of draw or even up to 12. The limbs will be more effecient generally and you will have a much tamer in the hand bow. The classic D bows can be VERY accurate and a joy to shoot when matched with the right arrow weight and spine.

One of the cheaper longbows from Lancaster would be great for starting. 35-40 lbs are just plain fun to shoot. You can shoot them all day compared to a 45-50 lb bow.

I shoot competively and practice every chance I get. A 50 lb gets very tiresome! My 40-43ish lb bows are the ones I shoot all the time. My 35 lb bow, I hardly use anymore. The kids (20-30 year old kids..) use it a lot.

Warning!!! This is a huge rabbit hole! By used if you can, from the classifieds, or a bow cheap enough from somewhere like Lancaster to get started.

I guarantee It will not be your last!
 

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First step, buy 'Shooting the Stickbow' by Anthony Camera aka Viper.

Second step, find a coach near you from USA Archery. They should have equipment for you to try before you buy.

Getting a coach would make you 'hunt ready' in a couple of months. On your own, your original assessment is probably correct.

Bowmania
 
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