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Watcherofthewoods

Recurve Bows

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On most bows, there should be numbers for the draw weight and draw length.  Draw weight has the number sign behind it. For example:  50# @ 28"  means that the draw weight (the amount of force needed to pull back the string) will be 50 pounds at a 28" draw (draw is the distance the string is pulled back).  Draw length on a recurve will depend on how far you NEED to pull the string back to an anchor point on your face.  If you pull the string back a bit farther than 28", the draw weight will feel heavier.

 

Many bows will also have serial numbers on them, those are usually the longer numbers, often with a hyphen in them:  i.e. 217-78543, etc.  What you can do is this:  Go to an archery shop and get measured.  They can help you determine your natural draw length, and this is also important in determining the length of arrow you need for your bow and set up.  IF you can't get to an archery shop, simply knock an arrow into your bow, and have someone measure the distance from the arrow rest to the string and add about an extra couple of inches to determine what length arrows you need.

 

My draw lenght is fairly short at about 27-28" for a recurve, so alot of the 'off the shelf' arrows would be a bit long for me (an arrow that's too long will be less accurate, one that is too short could fall off the rest and impale your hand).

 

Ben Pearson and Bear have always been my favorite recurves, but others may have others they like.  Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops (Redhead division?) used to sell recurves, you might check online.  EBay has ALOT of used bows up for auction.  If you are going to just target shoot, a light weight (pull weight bow) will do, but if you want it to hunt with, get a stouter bow.  I've known people to take deer with a 55# bow, but it's harder than using a compound bow.

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My recommendation, based on tournament archery from the 70's, is that you need to get a fellow who can teach you good form.  Then get you a 35 pound bow at your draw length.  Start with that, learn good form, and once that bow feels too light, go up to the 45 pounder.  45 is plenty heavy for hunting and is often a state minimum for hunting.  If you are not going to use a compound, don't go over 50 pounds at your draw weight.  I don't know how many kids I had to back up and show the right way to shoot.

 

For this "beginner" bow, many archery shops have used bows available.  It won't cost nearly as much, and you can keep it if you ever have to lay off and restart shooting.  The other alternative, and it's usually too expensive, is to buy a tournament bow that you can purchase identical length limbs with differing weights.  The wife uses her tournament Hoyt bow to bow hunt.  Once you put one of those camo sleeves on it, it fits right in.  We did buy a tournament hoyt at a rummage sale for 35 bucks.  It was an ugly purple color, but who cares, you'd put it under a sleeve anyway.

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The reason for the comparatively low weights of bows that I am suggesting is that people do not realize how much practice it requires to keep the muscles built up for the heavy bows.  When I was shooting competitively, it was at least 90 arrows a day, every day.  A full F.I.T.A. outdoor round is 144 arrows in one day.  36 arrows each at 30, 50, 70, and 90 meters.  Usually about twice a month we'd shoot a full outdoor round.  It will probably take about a month for you to get comfortable with the 35 pounder, and you won't be learning bad habits like snap shooting, or releasing as you shake with the sight somewhere in the target.  Some of this does depend on how husky you are, but for the most part, the muscles you use in archery are not really trained by other than shooting or very specialized exercises.

 

I'd let your expert guy tell you whether you should shoot a release or fingers.  I never had much luck or practice with releases as they are not legal for amateur archery.  BTW, I agree with K-bob.  My first bow was a Ben Pearson.  Bear makes a good bow as well.  You won't believe some of the beautiful bows you can get used for almost nothing.  Just make sure the limbs aren't twisted.  A standard Hoyt set of tournament archery limbs, if you keep them out of hot cars and untwisted are basically good forever.

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Just stringing a recurve takes practice and you have to learn the right technique or you'll take your eye out.

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Much safer to use a stringer.  It takes a lot of practice to do the step through or straightway stringing.  Some bows are too long if you happen to have short arms.

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Much safer to use a stringer.  It takes a lot of practice to do the step through or straightway stringing.  Some bows are too long if you happen to have short arms.

 

Agreed about the stringer.  Using the "step through" method is quicker, but someone new to it can break the tip off the bow if not careful about it. 

 

As for the release vs fingers, with a light weight recurve I always used my fingers and sometimes a finger tab (depending on whether I was too lazy to go find the thing).  The tab will do two things:  give you a smoother release than bare fingers AND save wear and tear on the fingers (after about 50 shots, you'll appreciate it). 

 

The recurve that I shot  and enjoyed the most was an old  Ben Pearson (Collegiate?), about a 25# pull at 28".  Not much for hunting anything other than small game, but a heck of a lot of fun to shoot!

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The tab will do two things:  give you a smoother release than bare fingers

 

Always use a tab.  You can easily do nerve damage if you do a lot of shooting and your fingers aren't callused before hand.  I had occasion to shoot a 45# bow about 6 months ago, and foolishly (I know better) shot about 10 arrows with it.  My fingers had a trace of numbness in them for almost 2 months.

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Mrs Swede found the dangers of being shall we say blessed with upper body size when the string slapped one. I think she invented break dancing.  oops.gif    :D

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I used to love being an archery range supervisor when it was time for the annual sorority intra murals.  Some person did specify archery as one of the sports, and oh, my god....you could without fear of reprisal talk about chest endowments and how to keep from slapping them with the string.

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I used to love being an archery range supervisor when it was time for the annual sorority intra murals.  Some person did specify archery as one of the sports, and oh, my god....you could without fear of reprisal talk about chest endowments and how to keep from slapping them with the string.

 

Talk about 'boobie traps'....

 

But seriously, it IS enough to make a lady lose interest in archery permanently.  They DO make chest-guards for just this reason.  Armguards are good equipment, too.  It's amazing the differences in the spots where boys and girls get hit on the arm:  in some girls and smaller boys, the elbow turns inward when the arm is locked to hold a bow, and the bowstring can bruise and scrape the lower/inner portion of the elbow and inner arm.  On stronger, larger archers the bowstring will most likely strike the inside of the fore arm.

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In many cases you can correct stance to minimize the chest intersection problem.  The wife, who was a tournament archer as well, had to have a chest protector.  I used to always wear one of those class jackets when I went bowhunting with the leather sleeves.

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Well, I have a little 18# at 22" bow but its just too small.  The guy I know I dont see much, so I dont know how long it would be till I got help.  I can string a bow (Most of the time) still the next vous' I will have AL (The guy I know) help me out with stance/ect

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I just had my brother measure my draw length, 27" or so.  So, I am looking for a 27" Draw length, 35 Pound Draw weight recure bow that is left handed, the search is on!

 

Round it up to 28". You probably won't find 27".Now, are you sure it's left handed and not right?  Most people get confused because it's actually the hand that pulls the arrow that designates what hand the bow is, and not the one gripping it.  If you find a nice long bow, that may be a better option since they're ambidextrous and alot more forgiving for new shooters. Not to mention, I've had alot more success teaching with them. The one I posted here is 81", which is comfortable for me, but you may want to stay around 72" till you get a good feel for it.

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Round it up to 28". You probably won't find 27".Now, are you sure it's left handed and not right?  Most people get confused because it's actually the hand that pulls the arrow that designates what hand the bow is, and not the one gripping it.  If you find a nice long bow, that may be a better option since they're ambidextrous and alot more forgiving for new shooters. Not to mention, I've had alot more success teaching with them. The one I posted here is 81", which is comfortable for me, but you may want to stay around 72" till you get a good feel for it.

Nope, I am a lefty, sure of it, I know what I'm taling about :P  The one I am looking at is like 25# at 28" and is 62" long.

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Nope, I am a lefty, sure of it, I know what I'm taling about :P  The one I am looking at is like 25# at 28" and is 62" long.

 

nice, I hope I didn't insult ya. The reason I asked is because lefty's are rare.  I've actually argued with a guy for an hour over that once. I finally gave up, and let him buy a "lefty" bow, then figure it out when he couldn't return it. LOL!

 

Now, you may find a 25# bow a little light as you improve your skill, but that's your discretion.  Especially if you plan to hunt, 40-45# is usually the required minimum. Try to find one that's as close to your strength limitations, without blowing your budget. Alot of archery supply stores have indoor ranges so you can test before you buy, which is pretty useful.

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nice, I hope I didn't insult ya. The reason I asked is because lefty's are rare.  I've actually argued with a guy for an hour over that once. I finally gave up, and let him buy a "lefty" bow, then figure it out when he couldn't return it. LOL!

 

Now, you may find a 25# bow a little light as you improve your skill, but that's your discretion.  Especially if you plan to hunt, 40-45# is usually the required minimum. Try to find one that's as close to your strength limitations, without blowing your budget. Alot of archery supply stores have indoor ranges so you can test before you buy, which is pretty useful.

Oops, sorry it was 35#.  No you didn't offend me, I know there arn't many of us.  I am the weird one, I don't know anyone thats a lefty.  I can shoot a gun left best but ok right, with bow it must be left though.  I am left eye domanant though.  I am right handed for everything else though. Weird huh.  I lost the bid for that bow, in a week I'll look again.

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Oops, sorry it was 35#.  No you didn't offend me, I know there arn't many of us.  I am the weird one, I don't know anyone thats a lefty.  I can shoot a gun left best but ok right, with bow it must be left though.  I am left eye domanant though.  I am right handed for everything else though. Weird huh.  I lost the bid for that bow, in a week I'll look again.

You may be ambidextrous. Many people go their whole lives without ever realizing it.  The only clue being that they constantly switch hands for different tasks. Have you ever tried writing with your opposite hand?  I learned I was ambi from playing hockey. I played defence, and broke my stick alot, so when I went by the bench to grab a new one, I had a 50-50 chance it was left (the side I shoot most often, although I write right handed).  I found that I could play equally well regardless of what stick I was they gave me.  After that I kind of had fun learning to use both hands equally for most tasks.

 

Back on topic, the 35 is a nicer weight, but again, below hunting spec, however if you only intend on recreation with it, then it would be fine.  I'll keep my eyes open for one online, fo ya, in case another comes along.

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You may be ambidextrous. Many people go their whole lives without ever realizing it.  The only clue being that they constantly switch hands for different tasks. Have you ever tried writing with your opposite hand?  I learned I was ambi from playing hockey. I played defence, and broke my stick alot, so when I went by the bench to grab a new one, I had a 50-50 chance it was left (the side I shoot most often, although I write right handed).  I found that I could play equally well regardless of what stick I was they gave me.  After that I kind of had fun learning to use both hands equally for most tasks.

 

Back on topic, the 35 is a nicer weight, but again, below hunting spec, however if you only intend on recreation with it, then it would be fine.  I'll keep my eyes open for one online, fo ya, in case another comes along.

Thanks, I appreciate it.  I can't write left handed at all.  I can do gross motor things with both hands but complex I have to use right, most of the time.  Really deppends on what I'm doing.

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What might be best for you is to first determine which is the dominant EYE, then work out whether you'll shoot left or right handed.  I'm right handed and right eye dominant, so aiming a gun or bow with both eyes open comes naturally for me.  If a person is cross-dominant (i.e.-right eye dominant/left handed), it can take some adjustment. 

 

A quick test it to put your hands out in front of you at arms' length, put the fingertips together to form an opening between your hands, and look through the opening at a target.  While keeping the target in sight and both eyes open, bring your hands back to your face, and the opening should come to the dominant eye.

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I am left eye domanant and right handed for most things.  I shoot best lefty.

 

Yep, if you're left eye dominant, shooting lefty is probably the best way to go.

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