When I was a kid, I grew up in a hunting family. I learned to shoot bows around the yard when I was a kid and grew up loosing arrows at just about anything around me.
They really were the best of times. My father got me a compound bow and I took a doe with it on my very first day of hunting. It was boring honestly, it was too easy with a compound bow.
That was when I decided to switch to recurve bows and longbows. I’ve been shooting stick bows exclusively ever since. What makes recurves great?
How do you pick out the best recurve bow? Should you even start shooting a recurve? Let’s look at how to choose and why to choose a recurve bow as your next hobby or sport.
Picking out a recurve bow can be daunting if you’ve never used a bow before. If, like me, you’re switching over from a compound bow it can be downright scary.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Recurve Bows For 2017
- Spyder XL 64 inch Takedown Recurve Bow
- Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
- Little Tiger 54″ Takedown Recurve Bow
- Martin Archery Jaguar Elite 45# Bow
- Bear Archery 40# Sonoma Recurve
- SAS Courage 60″ Hunting Takedown Recurve
- Martin Archery Hunter Recurve Right Hand Bow
Let me help you consider a few key points before you choose your new recurve bow and cover some great choices!
Best Recurve Bows
Recurve Bow Reviews
Like most recurve bows today, this takedown bow is made from laminate wood limbs with glass reinforced facing. While there is a preinstalled threaded brass plunger for mounting sights or stabilizers, you’d be better off without them.
If you’re looking to put sights, stabilizers, etc onto a bow you’d be much better off with a compound bow that can actually take advantage of those upgrades.
Southland Archery Supply covers this recurve takedown bow with their 3-year manufacturer warranty which is a nice feature for a new bow! This covers replacement of defective bows, repair of defective products, and other failures that are a fault of the manufacturer.
Available in both right and left hand models you can choose from 35 – 60 pound draw weight. If you’re using it for hunting try to stick with 45+ pounds of draw. Overall I would say this is my top pick for the best recurve bow.
With tons of rave reviews from happy users, it’s hard to make a mistake with a bow that gets nothing but top marks. This 62” bow is a great choice for archers with draw lengths of 22” – 24” looking for a reliable takedown bow.
One big selling point of take down bows is that they can be disassembled for convenience. As a note, I’d like to simply remind you that disassembling your bow will make it quite a pain in the butt to dial in your draw weight each time you reassemble the bow.
Those screws that hold the bow together also determine the draw weight. Draw weights on this bow range from 25 – 60 pounds. If you’re looking to take the bow hunting, you’ll need a minimum of 40 pounds to bring down a deer from close range.
Increase the draw weight for larger game or longer distances, I would say this is the best recurve bow for hunting on our list.
This bow comes from the same maker as the Samick Sage and Spyder XL. It’s specifically designed for use by kids and fits well with those who have smaller hands or extremely low draw weight needs.
It’s available in both left and right-hand models from 16 – 24 pounds of draw weight. True to its name, the bow takes on a laminate black and orange color banding that’s quite beautiful.
I do like that this bow has fixed takedown screws which have large thumb operated screws. No special tools are needed and the draw weight is fixed so it’s easy to establish a good routine with this bow.
It’s a 54” bow which, according to our chart below, means a 17 – 20” draw length is appropriate. For the price, it’s hard to argue especially since kids will outgrow a bow within just a few years. In my opinion this is the best youth recurve bow.
Martin is a name that carries a reputation for quality in the archery world. This one’s a bit different in that the bow is made of two largely separate components. The riser (handle area) is made from a modern aluminum / magnesium alloy.
This makes the bow durable and allows for many versatile options such as adding sights, quivers, or other accessories you may want.
Both bow limbs are made from a more traditional wood laminated with glass backing. I like that they made this wooden recurve bow purposefully easy to disassemble. It’s available in black and camo colors and draws a set 45 pounds that’s not adjustable.
They have included a string and a stringer in the package so you’ll have everything you need to get started (minus the arrows).
Note that this is a right handed bow, as long as you are a right handed shot this is the best takedown recurve bow.
Bear Archery is a maker that’s been around for a very long-time crafting bows in the US. Originally based in Michigan, they moved their facility to Florida in the 70’s.
This 40 – 45-pound draw weight bow is 60” long and appropriate for users with about a 22” draw length. It’s another takedown recurve bow suggest for archers ages 14 and up.
You’ll be impressed with the price as they’ve managed to keep the overall cost down quite low. While it is a right hand only model (drawing with the right hand, holding the bow with the left) there are plenty of models available for you lefties.
This is a good choice for beginners, kids, or those without the ability to pull heavier draw weight bows. The Sonoma is probably the best recurve bow for target shooting.
We’re making a big leap in quality and price for the last bow on our list. This is a single piece traditional recurve (not take down). It’s a wood laminate glass backed bow with tons of power and snap.
Like Bear Archery, Martin Archery has been around for ages and knows how to make a bow. You’ll choose from a draw weight between 35 – 65 pounds. The bow weighs just 2 pounds overall and stands a beautiful 62 inches tall strung.
If you’re an established recurve shooter or an archer demanding only the best quality and performance this is the bow of choice for you. At 62” tall the bow will work well for people with a 24” + draw length which is common for many adult males.
This 64 inch long recurve bow is a takedown model that can be adjusted from 30 – 55 pounds of draw weight. According to our chart (below in our guide) that makes it a 24 – 26” draw length bow, but the advertiser says it belongs to users with draws over 28”.
Who to believe? Well, I looked but couldn’t find an actual manufacturer’s website. I did, however, notice that it’s carried by several non-specialty retail chains which makes me question the truthfulness of the measurement.
In all honesty, I would default to the specs provided in our weight – to – length chart below. This bow should probably be for users with draw lengths of 24 – 26”, not 29+ as the website says.
That said, the price is quite affordable and users rate the bow highly for its durability, accuracy, and reliability. Confusion aside, and lack of real information from the manufacturer, it would make a good entry level take down recurve.
How to Choose the Best Recurve Bow for You
- Draw Weight
- Take Down Recurves vs Traditional Recurves
- Why Choose a Recurve?
- Hunting Recurves Versus Target Recurves
- Draw Length
- Takedown Recurve Comparison
Choosing a draw weight on your bow is a combination of knowing how you’ll use it, and staying within your physical limits.
Draw weight refers to the amount of force required to pull back the string on a bow. There’s a big difference between stick bows and the world of compound bows, though!
Your new recurve has no let off once you draw it back. That means an 80-pound draw recurve is 80 pounds the entire time you draw and hold it.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, what I’m saying is that you won’t be able to “hold” your recurve and wait for the perfect moment. With a compound, an 80% or more let off is common.
This allows an 80-pound bow to feel like a 16-pound bow once you have it fully drawn. Recurves don’t work like that.
You may want to reduce the draw weight of your bow if you’re making the switch. Anything above 40 pounds should be able to take down a deer with a good shot. For larger game, longer distances, or other situations you may want a recurve with a draw weight of 60+ pounds.
Take Down Recurves vs Traditional Recurves
A traditional recurve is a single beautiful piece of wood from front to back. There can be no disassembly without breaking the bow. Take down bows are not the same.
On take down bows, the limbs are attached with adjustable screws which can be completely removed to make the bow smaller.
Why Choose a Recurve?
Today your options are crossbows, recurves, long bows, or compounds. Until recently compound bows have been the most popular modern option among hunters. With the lifting of restrictive crossbow regulation, crossbows are rapidly overtaking the market.
Since time immemorial (okay, historians probably know an actual date in history), longbows are recurves have historically been the bow of choice for many applications from hunting to war. Many recurve users today relish the rich history of their bows.
Some recurve users are attracted to the simplicity. There are only two parts, the bow and the string, and they’re both unlikely to malfunction when taken care of.
Many, like myself, switch for something that gives a greater sense of satisfaction, challenge, and accomplishment than hunting with modern technology.
It’s up to you, but I will tell you that becoming proficient with a stick bow brings a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You’ll truly earn every shot you make with a recurve.
Not to mention who can argue that a traditional recurve bow is just nicer to look at than some of the newer compound bows that really no longer even look like a bow but something out of a science fiction movie!
Hunting Recurves Versus Target Recurves
Yep, there’s a difference. A hunting recurve bow is going to play by a whole different set of rules than target bows.
- Hunting bows, draw weight is usually 60 to 70 pounds, target recurve bows usually between 40 and 50 pounds
- Color for target shooting color doesn’t matter, hunting bows a non shiny, camo pattern is best.
- In general target bows are longer for more stability, while recurve bow hunting you want a shorter bow for easier maneuverability.
In general bow makers will already have calculated a bow’s length, draw weight, and draw length for you. Unless you really want to dial in your bow, it’s usually just fine to go with a standard bow off the shelf – unless you have a very unusual draw length or draw weight requirement.
If you want to double check that you’ve got the right size bow, make sure to read this extremely helpful article on choosing bow length.
Target recurves, or competition bows, generally have different requirements and you should go to a professional to get the correct bow for you!
This is the last statistic you’ll want to pay major attention to when picking out your new bow. Draw length is relatively easy to measure if you’ve got the equipment for it.
Any archery shop is going to have a little toy bow with a yardstick on it which will measure your draw length. Have an archery tech help you measure to determine your draw length.
|Calculated Draw Length = Bow Size:|
|14″ to 16″ =||48″ Bow|
|17″ to 20″ =||54″ Bow|
|20″ to 22″ =||58″ Bow|
|22″ to 24″ =||62″ bow|
|24″ to 26″ =||64″ to 66″ bow|
|26″ to 28″ =||66″ to 68″ bow|
|28″ to 30″ =||68″ to 70″ bow|
|31″ and longer =||70″ to 72″ bow|
Once you know this draw length you can work backwards to determine bow length (the proper way to do it) using the link above.
|SAS Courage 60" Hunting Takedown Recurve Archery Bow||30 -60 pounds||60 inches||Yes||Maple and Fiberglass|
|Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow||26-60 pounds||62 inches||Yes||Maple and Fiberglass|
|Southwest Archery Little Tiger Takedown Recurve Bow||16-29 pounds||54 inches||Yes||Maple and Fiberglass|
|Martin Archery Jaguar Elite Bow||45 pounds||60 inches||Yes||Maple and Fiberglass|
|Bear Archery Sonoma Recurve||45-45 pounds||60 inches||Yes||Multi-laminate limbs|
|Martin Archery Hunter Recurve||45-55 pounds||62 inches||No||Eastern Hard Maple laminations and Fiberglass|
|Spyder XL Takedown Recurve Bow||30 -55 pounds||64 inches||Yes||Maple / Red wood and Fiberglass|
Finding the right bow for you can be a challenge. It’s not a bad idea if you have one available is go to to a reputable shop that you trust and get sized for your bow by a professional.
Shooting a bow that’s the wrong size or weight for you can be difficult and decrease your enjoyment, accuracy, and effectiveness with your new bow.
Remember that shooting a recurve is a rewarding but challenging skill that will take many hundreds of hours of practice to become proficient. Once you enter the world of stick bows, you won’t want to shoot anything else. If your interested in competition shooting see the NFAA website.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best recurve bow to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a bow I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.