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The thirty best recurves
This article was "lifted", with permission, from the German magazine 3-D Bogensport (issue 1/2011). It showcases and gives specifications on 30 recurve bows, and will undoubtedly be of great interest to "traditional" ABH readers – target archers as well as hunters. It covers bows available in Germany, but most if not all of them will also be available here. It does not, of course, include products from local South African bowyers. These will be showcased in other articles in ABH from time to time, as in our opinion they compare with the world's best.
What does one look for in a recurve bow? What properties must it have? The true bow enthusiast is not primarily worried about price. Rather, he is concerned that the properties of the bow must optimally match its intended application. Thus it is critical that someone who intends buying a recurve bow make a proper study of its general performance characterictics.
A major parameter is bow length. A longer bow is more forgiving and delivers a smoother shot.
The type of riser and especially the weight of the riser are also major factors. A heavier riser contributes to a smoother shot. A take-down bow, with riser and two limbs, normally has a heavy riser.
Another factor is draw length. The draw length of the bow must match that of the shooter. An archer with a short draw length would not be happy with a long bow, as the bow would give smooth shots but would underperform because of the low speed.
Likewise, an archer with a long draw length and a short bow would not have the optimal set-up. The bow would be fast, but error-prone and not very forgiving.
Also important is the relationship between the grip and the limbs. A long riser and short limbs means a heavy but more forgiving bow, while a short riser and long limbs will result in a "soft" bow.
Also note the shape of the limbs and the material they are made of. Tournament archers mostly use very light carbon arrows, where it is important that the limbs can be pulled very smoothly to full draw. That can be attained by making very light limbs from a light-weight material such as carbon. Should you want to shoot heavier arrows, the limbs must be more rigid. Rigid limbs, which can also be made from carbon, can propel more mass.
About the Author
Dietmar Vorderegger who publishes 3-D Bogensport and Compound Magazin in Austria. Dietmar is a keen traditional archer and a world champion with the longbow. He is also a keen bow hunter and has hunted many times in South Africa. Dietmar has written many books on traditional archery skill, which are unfortunately only available in German.