on things with limbs and strings.

Does anyone out there in Intertubes-Land have a recommendation for an inexpensive, yet reasonably un-crappy recurve bow in the 40-70# pull weight range?

I was looking at the PSE Kingfisher, which can be had at Cabela’s for $120-ish, but I haven’t shopped around for bows in a long time, and I figured there’s an archery fan or two among my readership who might know of a better bow for the money.  I’m not averse to laminated wood, if that makes a difference.

Bows are kewl. I got back into archery when I took an archery class at Pellissippi back in Knoxville, and it’s a supremely enjoyable sport.  Now that I have enough land (and a sufficient backstop) to shoot a bow without impaling the neighbor’s Pomeranian and three or four kindergartners by accident, I want to take advantage of it.


32 thoughts on “on things with limbs and strings.

  1. NYEMT says:


    Discount place that sells odd and leftover lots of name-brand manufacturers’ stuff. I don’t know much about archery, but I see they have some PSE bows.

    Just bought my dad a mounted Jackalope buck for his office for Christmas. 😉

  2. Wai says:

    You obviously don’t read my archery posts on Facebook, eh Marko?? LOL.

    The Martin Jaguar is a really nice bow and shoots very well. And at a cost of $139, it’s a steal. Sportsman’s Guide has them.

  3. ZerCool says:

    If you’re going to shoot with a bow a lot, it’s worth the time and money to go to an archery shop and get something that is sized properly for you. If you want to spend a little bit now before a lot later, well, then I’d find something at $BOXSTORE.

    I’ve hunted two seasons with an older Oneida Black Eagle. It works, but that’s about all I can say for it – I’ll be looking for a new bow next year, I think.

    • Wai says:

      Zercool, a recurve bow is sized pretty much for anybody. It’s not drawlength specific and I’m guessing Marko is either a 28″ or 29″ drawlength.

      A recurve bow rated at 40# at 28″ will probably pull 43# at 29″. Draw weight increases in proportion to drawlength.

      • ZerCool says:

        Obviously I need to read a bit closer before I comment. Missed that key word – “recurve”.


        Marko, just ignore me and pay attention to Wai! 🙂

  4. Wai says:

    You’ll have a lot more accuracy with a modern compound though and a really really good one is the Parker Red Hawk. Too bad you didn’t mention this earlier because they had a clearance on their bows earlier this week. They were getting rid of them for $250 (msrp is 599.99). I could’ve gotten you one and set it up for you (accessories would have been extra though).

    • Wai says:

      Ahhh…I spoke to my archery guy and he can still get them for $250, but you gotta pay for it before he orders it. All in all, with accessories, arrows, etc., it’s going to come to around $650.

      But with a recurve, all you need is a string nock, finger glove/tab, armguard and arrows. I recommend the Gold Tip 3555 arrows, left at full length, and fletch with 4″ feathers – with cock feather out. Those will run you around $90. So, with the recurve, you’re looking at around $280 altogether.

  5. MarkHB says:

    Bows, in my experience, are like guns. And computers. And cars. And anything else that requires learned, practised skill to use.

    Buy what will fit your skill-grade. When you’re shooting better than the bow shoots for your engagement arena, consider buying a better bow. Until you’re more accurate and consistant than your basic hardware, you’re wasting money and making yourself feel bad by comparing yourself to people with the same rig who know how to use it to it’s extents.

  6. Kaerius(SWE) says:

    Well, if you want a REAL recurve, you’d better scoot over to mongolia, find an old master bowyer, and be prepared to wait about 2 years for the custom bow(that’s excluding time for drying the wood to make the bow from, I assume he has some on hand)… but that’s probably not the kind of pricerange you were looking for eh? Besides, all you’d be able to pull would be (for him) a child’s bow.

    They are still unmatched by anything other than a modern composite bow, and those probably just break even. (I’d like to see one hit targets at 500 meters… or even just manage launch an arrow that far! The mongols did, according to multiple sources of historical accounts, mind you some of those bows had pull weights in the 150-170# range).

  7. Fred2 says:

    I understand about the kindergartners, but, there’s a bag limit on Pomeranians?!

  8. Paul says:

    You turn a compund up to 150 and you will have an arrow go that far as well. At that range windage is a big factor.

    marko, what do you intend to do with your bow? Compound allows hold at full draw longer than recurve. I can hit squirrels with my compound. Cost on compounds affects things like noise , IBO and draw. Any bow shooting above 280 is essentially flat from 10 to 40 yards. Some of the shorter ones are a little harder to shoot accurately. Short refers to axle to axle measurement.

    I’ve used a used PSE carrera for serveral years to good effect. When the limbs began to de-laminate I contacted PSE and they replaced them for a small fee.

    Bows are like cars, everyone has an opinion. Good luck.

  9. aczarnowski says:

    Archery is also something I’ve wanted to try for a while. It’s a heck of a lot easier to find a spot in the city park for arrows than for 9mm.

    After being pushed off at a local shop for wanting something without camo, cams, gears and a sight, I’m only to the point of knowing there’s a lot I don’t know. But I have noted a couple reviews of SiegeWork Creation’s stuff here and here. Looks like prices have climbed since I first looked at them though!

  10. ajdshootist says:

    Have a look at http://siegeworkcreations.com/ i think you will like his stuff.

  11. julie says:

    Drats Fred2 beat me too it …. I really should visit your blog earlier in the day … 🙂

  12. Regolith says:

    Weird. I’m looking for pretty much the exact same thing. Haven’t really found anything yet, but I’ve got my eye on a few. Namely the Fred Bear Montana Longbow (yeah, not a recurve, but still…) and the Martin X150 recurve.

    I was also looking at the PSE Impala for a while, but I’m not sure about that anymore; don’t really know if I want to go with a take-down.

    Personally, modern compound bows never held any attraction to me. They seem to strip out the soul of using a bow and arrow. If you’re going to replace everything with modern engineering, materials, and form, then you might as well just use a gun. 😉

    • Wai says:

      I had a PSE Impala and it didn’t shoot for me at all. Kept slapping me in the forearm when I shot. Ended up sending it back to Cabela’s. To me, it looked like the limbs were twisted.

    • Wai says:

      Archery is pretty much a one-shot deal when it comes to hunting. Very rarely you’ll get a second shot at an animal. And you owe it to the animal to dispatch it quickly. Unless you’re really good with a recurve or long bow, you’ll have to get really really close and make that first shot count. Otherwise you’ll only end up wounding the animal. I’ve seen guys who’ve shot recurves and longbows for decades and it still takes them 5 or 6 shots to zero in on the bullseye. You’re not going to have that luxury in a hunting situation. With a compound, once you’re sighted in, you’re good to go. Every shot is repeatable if conditions are right. You’re telling people to get a gun if they’re going go with a compound bow. That’s a pretty facetious statement, as some areas are bow-only. Hunting with a bow is also more challenging.

      • Regolith says:

        I wouldn’t go hunting with anything I couldn’t responsibly take a game animal with, whether it’s a recurve or a .30-06.

        Recurves demand more skill than compounds, yes. But that doesn’t change my point. In fact, it enhances it a bit: since they demand that extra level of skill, they’re going to be more rewarding to use than a compound.

        Another thing is that, on some level, using a bow is a connection to your ancestral hunter-gatherer roots. Compounds remove that connection to a degree more than recurves, simply because they were something that were only created after firearms became the dominate hunting tool.

        Also, you’ll note I didn’t tell anyone to go get a gun instead of a compound; you’re putting words into my mouth. If someone wants to hunt with a compound, they can knock themselves out. It’s just that to me, a recurve is more of an embodiment of what bow hunting is, and that is why I prefer them over a compound bow. Hunting with a compound to me would be on close to the same emotional level as hunting with a rifle; although there is an extra bit of skill involved, you’re still hunting with a modern tool, it’s just that it uses limb tension to throw a projectile rather than gun powder.

        • Wai says:

          Then you’re implying that when our ancestors invented the longbow, while others were using long pointed throwing sticks, the longbow would have been shunned by everyone who wanted to maintain the “purity” of throwing a pointed stick at an animal at 50 fps? The evolution of the bow has brought us to the fast compounds we have today. Just because it has wheels and cams doesn’t make it less of a bow, by your definition.

          By the same logic, you would hold the modern rifle, using a cartridged bullet, in the same low regard, against the musket of yesteryear, yet you don’t hesitate to hunt with a modern rifle.

          Longbow to Compound
          Musket to Modern Rifle
          The only thing that changed is the technology.

          I can shoot better groups with my compound bow at 80 yards than I can shooting offhand with my rifle at the same distance.

        • fearsclave says:

          @Tam: coinicidentally, I just ordered an atlatl this week. I promise not to cast aspersions on anybody until I’ve bagged something with an Acheulean hand axe (AKA the “Stone Age Death Frisbee”) though.

  13. Shootin' Buddy says:

    Is there a price range as I have many suggestions.

    But if we are going to spend Ted’s money, then I have a particular suggestion. I’ve had my eye on a Bear Cheyenne.

    I’v shot it at an indoor archery range near me. Very smooth in the draw and let off.


  14. Shootin' Buddy says:

    If your tastes run more to the “exotic”, then you may want to check out a large dealer/maker here in Indiana, Three Rivers (north of Fort Wayne).

    I’m guessing some of their bows may be right up your alley:


    Ideally, like being fitted for a shotgun, you want to try before you buy. Maybe there’s an indoor range in New Hampshire where you can try before you buy?

  15. fearsclave says:

    Weerdbeard sent me. I make no representations or warranties as to the quality of my advice nor do I hold myself out as an expert (I’ve just been putzing around with bows for a couple of years), but…

    1) these guys make some pretty nice-looking bows: http://www.arcsmillenium.com/Eng/home.htm . I really like the looks of their Mohican and Canadian Flat Bow models, and their Kanata is a slick-looking recurve.

    2) Have you thought of making your own bow? My brother (an aerospace cabinetmaker who can do some pretty impressive lamination work) and I are planning on running up some of these (http://www.stickbow.com/features/index.cfm?feature=selfbows ) for my niece and nephews over Christmas, and if they work, scale them up for ourselves. There are tons of bowmaking resources out there on the net, and if the Traditional Bowyer’s Bible ( http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=traditional+bowyer%27s+bible&x=0&y=0 ) does not give you the urge to run up your own bow and ninj out into the woods in a blaze orange loincloth there is something wrong with you :).

  16. Ruzhyo says:

    Going along with the exotic/handmade crowd, this guy makes some more historic models, mainly focusing on the Eastern Europe and Asian traditions: http://www.grozerarchery.com/index_m.htm

  17. Rusty P. Bucket says:

    The guys are right about the pro-shop, you need alot of knowledge to start out well in the sport. It is also a fine family thing too. Kids love archery.

  18. Phoo says:

    I don’t know what your budget is, but for kewl-factor, there are the bows that Byron Ferguson uses on Shooting USA’s “Impossible Shots” segments. Byron’s website is http://www.byronferguson.com/ and the online store for his bows is at http://www.byronferguson.com/html/bows.html.

  19. Rey B says:

    Thanks fearsclave for a whole new time waster site. I kind of doubt that a blaze orange loincloth would be sufficient around Castle Frostbite but the visual is hilarious. I have a compound bow that has not received the attention it should due to lack of a safe place to practice. May have to do something about that.

    • fearsclave says:

      @Rey: well, technically, the blaze orange size requirements in most areas rule out loincloths for pretty much anybody, no matter how well-endowed.

      I was hoping to give bowhunting a shot this year, but a back injury intervened. Next year…

  20. Buffboy says:

    Nothing wrong with your choice. It would likely do you well if the arrows are right for it. You might also look at the Martin Jaguar as it’s in the same price range. Martin makes good stuff too. You can spend more on a recurve bow and while you do get what you pay for to an extent, you don’t have to spend the moon to start. You’ll still wind up spending much more on peripherals even if you shell out big for the bow itself.

    My advice for the newbe is go to a pro-shop. The advantage of a pro-shop is that they will measure the actual bow draw weight at your length of pull. This lets them get the spine correct for the arrow, which is far more important than the bow itself. This makes the difference between a bow that shoots well and one that just smokes your arm. Just about any bow that isn’t complete junk can shoot well if the arrows are correct for it. A good pro-shop that will set up the complete “system” and usually that’s worth the extra cash they charge. Experienced shooters can do all this themselves, but it’s a godsend for the rookie.

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