The Best Recurve Bow Guide

The Best Recurve Bow Guide

Researching the best recurve bow can be overwhelming, so this guide and reviews will help you with the most important considerations when you are thinking about buying this bow type. Crossbows and compound bows are another type bow for beginners and experienced hunters and target shooters alike.

Only a recurve bow is allowed to be used by the contestants in the Olympic games. They are also used in archery contests. The recurving limbs made of wood, carbon, or fiberglass are thought to give greater velocity to your arrows. Having a single string, they can propel an arrow faster than the conventional longbow. These bows are superb in close-fitting body-hugging areas in the woods and forests. Crossbows and compound bows are listed for your consideration on other pages.

How to Choose the Best Hunting Recurve Bow

You will want to consider some of the points listed here if you are a novice or an experienced hunter using recurve bows.

What Is Your Purpose for Using the Recurve Bow?

You might want to use it for target shooting, hunting, or both. For target training and self-drills only, any of the recurve bows listed here will work well for you. All of these are good for target shooting. However, for a hunting recurve bow, you will want the major factor in mind—the draw weight. The draw weight for women’s bows will be somewhat lower. This is the force you will need for operating the string pulling it over 28-inches. The more the draw weight, the more power for arrow travel. Select a recurve with a draw weight of at least 40 pounds for elk and deer. You can get by with 30 to 35 pounds draw weight for small game such as rabbits and fowl for instance turkeys. If you do not have the stamina now to pull a large draw weight, you will have it in a few weeks with practice.

Will You Want a Takedown Recurve Bow?

You might be wondering what it is. This is where the design when the 2 limbs on the recurve bow can be detached from the riser. There are a few reasons why you might want a takedown rather than a one-piece bow.

  1. Take-down recurve bows are more convenient to take with you traveling when they “fold up” or come apart. With the limbs removed from the riser, the bow is easier to fit into a bag or case.
  2. A takedown is easier to tune up and clean. If you need to have a part fixed or replaced, it’s easier to send a part of the bow for service rather than the full bow.
  3. Beginners will find a takedown bow easier to change out the limbs for draw weight. Simply replace the existing limbs with new limbs from say 30-pounds draw weight to 40-pounds draw weight.

Weight of Recurve Bow

Not only do you want to know your draw weight, you will want to know if you can handle the weight of the bow. They usually range from 2- to 3.5-pounds and this weight is good for a beginner. Remember, you will be tired carrying the bow and making it function. This is not always a huge consideration for archers.

Length of Recurve Bow

The length should be at 2 times your draw length at a minimum. When your draw length is 30-inches, the recurve bow should be 60-inches or beyond. Measure from your longest finger, usually the middle one, to the same finger on the opposite hand, then divide that number by 2.5.


The longer the bow, the more accuracy you will have hitting your target.

How About Accessories for Your Recurve Bow?

Do you want all the bells and whistles or just a few extras? Do you want a bow site with other items? Traditional “purist” archers would rather use the stick and string method. Most bows are predrilled for attachments and some are not.

  • Bow Stringer—is the best way to put your string on the bow. It is vital in your gear box. It is the most safe and consistent way to string your bow. Reminds me of the weed eater lawn trimmer with plastic string to rewind manually that took hours to accomplish. To slide the string over the tips of the limbs, use the weight of your body to bend the bow and it goes on effortlessly.
  • ArrowArrows—can be bought in packs of 6 or more. The length is decided by adding 1- to 2-inches to your draw length. If your draw length is 30-inches, your arrows should be 31- or 32-inches long. Select from the best arrows and colors for your needs and there are many from which to choose.
  • Nocking Points—are the place on the top of the arrow to attach to the string. The nocking is important for consistent shooting to not ding your hand from the vanes or fletchings. Set it where you need it.
  • Targets—can be anything from a few boxes, a drawing, a bale of hay or straw, or the target with the bull’s eye center to see where your arrows are going. You will need a backstop to keep the arrows from hitting something or someone. Sporting goods shops will have backdrops, and paper or compressed targets that are inexpensive.

Other items you might like to have might be a quiver for your arrows, an arm guard to cover your forearm or entire arm that will keep hair and sleeves away from the string.

Glove or finger tabs prevent blisters at your fingers. Sounds like learning to play the guitar. Blisters will cause problems with your arrow release. You might also like suede gloves for shooting. Other accessories are the arrow rest, a broadhead wrench, wax for your bow string, and a string whisker silencer usually made of rubber.

Differences Between a Recurve Bow, Compound Bow, and Longbow

  • Recurve Bow—the curved limbs curve to the inside at the curved ends and are immediately obvious. It is thought that the curving of the limbs gives greater force (velocity) to the arrows. These are made of wood, carbon, and fiberglass. They are used in tight areas for game. It has a single string, and launches an arrow faster than a traditional longbow. A recurve bow is the only one allowed to be used in the Olympics by the contestants. Recurve bows are used in archery competitions.
  • Compound Bow—is the fastest with a pulley system for the strings to pass through. These pulleys, or cams, create a tremendous force when the archer draws back the bow. The string will pass through the cams a few times. This bow is powerful, fast, and accurate in today’s marketplace of high-tech bows. The resistance is reduced after the bow passes a particular point. The arrows will be propelled with more force with the compound bow system. These are best for hunting. They can be one piece or takedown bows in 3 pieces. The riser in the middle is made of wood, carbon, or metal. The limbs are made of wood, carbon, or fiberglass.
  • Longbow—is a tall bow from end to end and almost as long as the archer is tall. This gives you the space to make a long draw. The limbs are narrow made of wood or new materials. The best material is bamboo for its ability to flex and return to its shape. The cross section the bow makes can be D-shaped or more rounded. These were used during the medieval ages with the feudal and barbaric English kings and men thinking they were the best weapon ever. Twenty shots can be taken in only one minute with this bow.

For the novice, a recurve bow and longbow will be similar. They look about the same and are typically made of wood. A longbow gets its curved shape after it is strung. They provide a lot of power to the arrow. They are great for beginners since they do not pinch the fingers when the string is pulled. The fingers will not feel as much friction when the string is released.

Recurved bows are made of small pieces of curved wood, hence, its name. Sometimes animal horns are used. When the string is drawn, more tension and pressure is created in the string. This is a more powerful choice than the longbow. Both the recurved and longbow are easy to carry about. The recurved bow is wider than longbows and the depth is thinner. The recurved are better in tight small places that the longbow. Recurve bows are easier and more exact than longbows for aiming, since the recurve rests on the wood of the bow. Recurve bows feel more solid and accurate for most archers and hunters. Recurves are used in the Olympics and competitions.

Recurved and compound bows have big differences. The compound bow is a newer and more up-to-date bow with a plethora of features. The recurve bow is a traditional bow due to its shape and has been around for hundreds of years. They are simply a single bow body with a string. They are made today of fiberglass and carbon for durability and strength. They were once made back in the day of wood. Due to the limbs inward curve, it will produce a huge amount of force and power when it is drawn. Recurve bows are used for hunting and those people who like challenges love them. Recurve bows have less power than compound bows.

Today’s compound bow is loaded with high tech stuff. The systems of pulleys and strings are attached to the limbs made of carbon or aluminum giving the body strength yet smaller for challenging hunting areas. The resistance can be reduced when the bow string is drawn back. Compound bows will not tire the archer as much as other bows and shoot at long distances. The power is greater than a recurve bow.

Top 5 Best Recurve Bow Reviews (updated Feb 2019)

1. Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

The Samick Sports Company of Gyeonggi-do, Korea, makes the Sage takedown recurve bow that is a top seller on®. The bow is available in either left- or right-hand orientation. The right-hand bow is held in the left hand and the left-hand bow is held in the right hand. The limbs are made of hardwood maple with black fiberglass for strength and durability. It has preinstalled brass bushings for upgrades of a brass plunger, sight, quiver, and stabilizer. This will fit into a Samick Sage Hunting Kit (not included). By being the takedown model, it is easy to take apart and easier for transporting to and from your hunting places or archery lessons.

The bow is 62-inches from tip to tip and includes a B-50 bow string and arrow rest. It has a single tapered knob and metal limb pocket design. You can buy limbs separately when you need to decrease or increase draw weight. The manufacturer suggests the draw length be 29-inches maximum. The Samick Journey model is for those needing a longer draw not reviewed here. The recommended brace height is 7-1/4-inches to 8-1/4-inches. This is a great bow that is economical for beginners to intermediate levels of learners. The bow weighs 3.4 pounds.

A Stringer Tool is necessary to safely assembly recurve bows. Your Warranty will be voided it you do not use this tool. This can be bought from Southwest Archery on® if it’s not included as an option with your order costing about $20.

samick sageYou can use wood, carbon, or aluminum arrows with feathers with this bow.

Be sure your bow is a genuine Sage Samick. Many fakes are being sold and they are not the same bow.

Gift-wrapping is available for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. The bow does not come with a carrying case. You will receive a User’s Manual and a 1-year Warranty. The bow is made in Korea.

2. Southwest Archery® Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow

The Southwest Archery® USA Spyder recurve bow is designed by the engineers of the Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow. The remarkable Spyder takedown recurve bow is rightfully recognized as the new, improved version of the classic Samick Sage model, quickly becoming the favorite bow of most archers. The takedown bow is available in either left- or right-hand orientation. The right-hand bow is held in the left hand and the left-hand bow is held in the right hand in this archery kit. It works for weights of 20-, 25-, 30-, 35-, 40-, 45-, 50-, 55-, and 60-pounds. The draw length is 28-inches and this model is a terrific bow for beginners and advanced archers when hunting or bow fishing.

The bow is 62-inches long and the hard edges of the handle, or riser, including the limb pockets, have been rounded for smoother, lighter weight, and a more comfortable encounter with wildlife or target practice. You will call attention to your bow with its layer of red wood on the riser, usually found on expensive recurve bows. The appearance of the bow is more simplified looking with its flush limb bolts and reinforced limb tips. The feel is nicer too.

This bow is Fast Flight and Flemish string compatible. It has all the standard mounting points for modern sights, plunger, quiver, silencers, and more. The length from the grip to nock when not drawn (brace height) is usually between 7-3/4-inches and 8-1/2-inches as you prefer for what’s best for you.

With this bow you will receive your 3-piece takedown recurve bow, an Allen wrench for easy assembly, a Dacron® bow string, and an arrow rest. Any other accessories you want when shooting your bow are not included. You will need to buy a stringer to put the string on and take it off.® provides this option. Arrows are not included with this bow.

Gift-wrapping is available for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. The bow does not come with a carrying case. You will receive a 100% 30-day money back guarantee and a 1-year Warranty. The User’s Manual is included in the kit. The bow is made in South Korea.

3. Bear® Archery Grizzly Recurve Bow

Bear archeryThe Bear® Grizzly model is a traditional bow that is either right- or left-handed. This item on® is specifically for the right hand. It is legend since 1950! It is made of hard-rock maple and the limbs are overlaid with clear maple with fiberglass covering the face and back. Fiberglass is tough, strong, and gives you more durability. It does not matter if you are new to the sport or an old-timer with years of experience—this recurve bow is a sure shot.

The string is made of Dacron® Flemish for strength and the 58-inch Grizzly is economically priced. The finish is a smooth glossy satin that protects the bow from abrasions and damp conditions. The cut-past-center shelf rest is covered with real bear hair and leather on the side plate.

The draw weights are right hand: 2|0, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 6|5, left hand: 2|0, 3|0, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 6|0, 6|5.

Gift-wrapping is available for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. You will receive a User’s Manual, and a Limited Lifetime Warranty. The bow is imported.


4. Buffalo Recurve Hunting Bow

The Buffalo bow resembles the Mongolian horse bow and is handmade. No arrows come with the long box bow, nor does a rest. This bow is for adults and comes with a stringer and paper target in the box. The cover is simulated red cobra snakeskin. The bow is ambidextrous for either hand. The right-hand bow is held in the left hand and the left-hand bow is held in the right hand.

The limbs (dustar) are fiberglass. The handle and siyah are made of wood. Some composite bows have non-bending tips (Persian/Arabic siyahs) that need to be stiff and light. You never have to worry about humidity and dampness with fiberglass. The bow does not have mounting holes for a rest. Limited options are to buy an adhesive-backed rest of plastic, or drill a hole yourself. Put a threaded insert into the hole and use any standard screw in the rest. Be sure to get a superior glove for the real feather fletchings to avoid cuts and tearing off fingers. There is no arrow rest on the bow either.

Suggested arrows are Shiraki, carbon steel, and bamboo. Be sure the spine of the arrow matches the weight of the bow. The draw weight is 30- to 65-pounds. The draw length is 29.5- to 31.5-inches. The string length is 50-inches. The bow length is 53-inches when strung. Most recurve bows have a brace height somewhere between 7.5 and 9.75 inches.

Gift-wrapping is available for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. You will receive a User’s Manual, and a Limited Lifetime Warranty. The bow is made in China.

How to string this bow:

5. Crosman® Archery Sentinel Youth Recurve Bow

The Crosman® Archery Sentinel model number ABY215 recurve bow for young archers is truly a dream to use with successful target practice with Dad. The bow is right-handed, made of fiberglass composite limbs that are longer for better balance and is strong and durable. Hold the bow in the left hand and pull the string with the right. The string will weather all conditions and it has a hard-wearing rest. The center shot composite riser is long-lasting for this handsome longbow. Left-handed bows are not made.

It works well for bow fishing, but will not take down a large animal. The draw weight is too low and needs to be at least 35-pounds.

Crosman Archery Sentinel Youth Recurve BowSpecifications:

  • Tip-to-Tip: 45-inches
  • Draw weight: 20-pounds
  • Maximum draw: 25-inches
  • Brace height: 8-inches
  • Length: 45-inches
  • Weight: 2.8-pounds

You will receive 2 composite 26-inch youth arrows, arm guard, finger tab, pin sight, arrow rest, and 2-piece quiver. The arrows do not have removable tips. It does not come with a carrying case.

Note from Crosman® Archery

Adult supervision is required. The bow is recommended for use by 9-year-olds and older. The arrows are designed to use with this Sentinel bow only. Misuse or carelessness may cause serious injury or death. Read the Manual and all instructions before using.

Gift-wrapping is available for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. You will receive a User’s Manual, and a Limited Lifetime Warranty. The bow is made in China.


  • Unstring all bows when not in use. Do not store the bow by standing it in a corner.
  • Use bow wax for your string to keep it in good working shape.
  • A bow stringer is necessary. A reliable stringer is shown below.

Selway Archery Limbsaver Recurve Bow Stringer

The Selway company is located in Montana, USA, and makes a bow stringer necessary for your recurve bow since the mid-1980s. This accessory model number 28684 is an absolute must for the recurve archer. A stringer is the only way to keep your bow’s straightness. It is made using parachute cord with a tensile strength of 600 pounds and the large limb Cordura limb cup adds protection from twisting with its nonslip rubber limb block that will depress the limb. There is 1 pair per package.

The stringer is available in a heavier model that will handle recurves over 75-pounds of draw weight and over 66-inches long for a target model recurve bow.

This stringer function can be easily carried out by one person and saves valuable time when adjusting brace height with its convenience.

Gift-wrapping is available for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. You will receive an instruction booklet for the stringer.


Final Thoughts

We hope the information provided here has been useful for selecting a bow for yourself or youngster. Other reviews are available for more awareness on different bow types. Always research customer recurve bow reviews to learn of their experiences with the best recurve bow you are considering.

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