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ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So, my dad is thinking of taking up archery and I am considering following suit (getting bored of rifle competition and hassle of dealing with rifle/handgun transportation). I have done some archery in the past and own a compound currently, used to own a recurve which I loved using.

I am currently looking at using longbows, but have never really fired one. So I am curious if anyone has some first hand experience with them and could offer some advice in what to look for. As well, I seem to only be able to find Martins, and I am really wondering if they are a good brand. Their Savanah bow seems like a pretty nice choice, but I don't want to drop money on it without knowing what I am getting.

As well, would you suggest ordering wooden arrows or going with metal/polymer (whatever the normal arrows are made of) ones? I have found a site that sells wooden arrows and they seem slightly cheaper than the metal ones I found in stores.

Comahawk on


  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I used to shoot in a traditional league. Recurves are significantly more common than actual longbows, but both are very enjoyable to shoot. I would recommend talking to the owner of whatever lane you plan to shoot at recreational to see if they have a traditional league (as people who are keen on using non-compound bows like to stick together). He will also be able to recommend a bow to you, help you get set up with the right length and draw weight, etc. It also might be worth it just to support his store by buying a bow directly from him, rather than getting one shipped to you.

    Wooden arrows might be cheaper, but they're going to vary significantly in quality. There's a decent chance they will break on you more often as well. A lot of the folks I shot with enjoyed fully embracing the traditional experience by making and fletching their own arrows (or having someone else in the group do it for them.) I was particularly lazy and liked the convenience of just picking up carbon arrows whenever I had the urge.

    Either way, it's a great activity and you and your dad will probably really enjoy it! Good luck!

    Darkewolfe on
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  • MyiagrosMyiagros Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'm not sure on the arrow requirements for longbows and recurves but for compound bows there is usually a minimum arrow size/weight for certain draw weights.
    S.L., Windsor, SC: "With all the talk about arrow weights and ATA and IBO speeds, is there a specific weight per pound of draw weight that should be used for whitetails and other big game? My current arrows, fully rigged, weigh 391 grains, and my draw weight is 65 pounds."

    Years ago, the rule of thumb called for nine grains of arrow weight for every pound of draw weight. Under that standard, your 65-pound bow would require arrows weighing 585 grains.

    Remember, that standard was formulated in the days of longbows, recurves, early-day compounds, and wood arrows. Things have changed considerably with the advent of modern bow designs, materials, and construction, and today's bows can safely shoot much lighter arrows. A few years ago the Archery Trade Association (ATA) developed a chart listing recommended minimum arrow weights. The chart factors in draw weight, arrow length, and cam design. For a bow with 65-pound draw weight, 29-inch draw length, and speed cams, the ATA chart lists a recommended minimum arrow weight of 377 grains. That computes to 5.8 grains per pound of draw weight. Based on that standard, you're well within safe limits.

    Myiagros on
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  • VortigernVortigern Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I shoot traditional, and always have. I shoot some oddball types of bow, like a bamboo bow based on a mongolian horsebow style, but I wouldn't call it a horsebow persay. I have a bush-bow from Yumi Bows, thats a 75#. Feels like a longbow, but looks more like a recurve. I've made two osage self-bows as well, a worthwhile experience and they shoot nicely, and I got to decide about the details of the bows as I went, draw weight, handle style, etc.

    Couple generalizations....and that's all they are. Longbows tend to shoot with a bit more zip, but they also tend to have more shock in them. You'll feel it in the release. Recurves are smoother shooting generally. Asian styles can vary, and talking about them could be a massive post in and of itself. I'd be amazed if there aren't at least a few bow makers in the Edmonton area. I'm in Ontario near Toronto and there's at least 6 within 2 hours of me. If you want to avoid buying a Martin or some other factory bow, go to a few shoots and see who's making bows and selling. The cost isn't usually a lot more and the bow can be a lot more rewarding to shoot.

    Wooden arrows need to be spined for the draw weight of the bow. You can get thinner cedar shafts that will take heavier draw weight bows, but expect them to cost more since finding the right wood means sorting sometimes thousands of shafts to find a matched dozen that will handle the stress. I'm switching over to bamboo shafts this year because they have a MUCH broader weight range and I have bows over a wider range than cedars will cover. So instead of making an keeping 3 dz arrows around, I can make a couple dozen all the same and know they'll all work on all of my bows.

    Learn to make your own arrows though. It's not hard, doesn't need a lot of gear and it will save you piles of money. Making arrows is time consuming....and people charge accordingly for pretty arrows. Buying the materials and making them yourself will save you cash, plus there's a definite vibe in the trad community about having gear you've made. Just my suggestion though.

    You might want to look this guy over. Steve Thompson at Bows for Pros. His website is terrible, but he makes amazing bows. He's in Ontario, so it would be tough to get one to try I expect, but his site might be a good starting point to look things over. Here's a few links:

    I own 2 of Steve's bows and I love them, plus he's a decent guy and a lot of fun to shoot with, so I'm biased there. I think his site is a good resource though.

    Vortigern on
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    As he said, making arrows is fun. Since you won't want to not practice at all while making your arrows, though, just get a cheap quiver of carbon-ish arrows to start with. ;P

    Darkewolfe on
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