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Budget Bow shopping, looking for experience/input/guidance

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posted on Jul, 21 2011 @ 10:52 PM
*I almost put this into the Weaponry forum, but I think the Survival Forum frequenters may be better suited to lend me a hand. Instead of double posting, let me know if this is in the wrong forum.

Lets start off with some background. You could say I am in the market for a 'hunting implement' of sorts. I lean heavily against guns because the state I live in makes it a PITA to own one. All quarry in my state are allowed to be taken by archery tackle, and target shooting is kinda cool in itself. For these reasons I am looking to buy an Bow. ETA: most of my shooting will be target shooting, and field targets. I would like the ability to legally hunt as well if desired, therefore I need at least a 40# pull at 28" draw. Just to clarify, Its mostly target shooting with the option to hunt.

Compound vs Traditional: Compounds definitely have a huge fan-base these days, and I can understand why. A few months ago I was privileged with the opportunity to spend an hour shooting a 'professional' compound bow. I cant recall the make and model, but it was setup for target shooting at competitions. It had a 70# draw with a 45% letoff, though the 29" draw-length was a bit short for me. Compounds are sweet and all, but they are expensive and require specialized tools. There is also a draw to traditional archery tackle for me; Something about not having fancy pin sights, and whisker biscuits, and 45% letoff. Also traditional archery is much more simplified in a way. For many reasons, some I probably didnt list, I am leaning heavily towards tradition archery tackle; Either recurve or long bow.

I have been researching the various entry-level, or 'budget' bows for a few weeks now, and have come up with the following four bows as possibilities. I suppose my criteria is that they are around $200 or less, made from a well known company, got mostly good reviews online, and is very reliable. Another feature I like very much is the 'take-down' option. Three of the four I found are 'Take-Down' bows (meaning they can be disassembled and reassembled easily in the field. They also pack down very small breaking into 3 different parts.).

The four bows I have in mind, listed in order of best to worst (personal opinion), are:
PSE Mustang $210
PSE BlackHawk $190
Martin Jaguar $160
PSE Kingfisher $110

The kingfisher is almost out right from square one. The Jaguar has gotten many bad reviews online about the limbs breaking, too many for me to feel 100% confident in buying it though the price is spot on.The BlackHawk is the only bow which is not a 'Take-Down' making it large and potentially cumbersome, and the Mustang got very few reviews, though most of them were good.

I had a chance to shoot the PSE Mustang, 45# @28", tonight (the only bow I have actually shot of the four.) This seems like a pretty nice bow, though I have nothing to compare it against. I am planning on finding other similar bows and shooting everything in my list, in addition to more I may find. The Mustang at 45# was easy enough to draw about 30 times before I had to leave the lane at the local big box store. I might get a 50# or 55# although my draw is 30", possibly 31". I was measured tonight, and this means that 45# @ 28" is more like 50-60# @ 30-
31".... What are your thoughts about this specifically?

I really should shoot the three others in my list and also find more in my $200 base budget to try shooting. I would like to pull as much experience from this website regarding this topic as possible. This probably sounds really long winded for such a simple topic, but I am just making sure I cover all my bases before I make my first purchase. Let me know if there are any points I have missed out on. Thanks for taking the time to read through this thread and help me out!

edit on 21-7-2011 by IntegratedInstigator because: Forgot to add info about the BlackHawk bow

edit on 21-7-2011 by IntegratedInstigator because: See bold ETA

posted on Jul, 21 2011 @ 11:11 PM
for hunting most people prefer compound bows. the reasons are first that a heck of a lot easier to hold ready while lining up your shot. as well is the fact that the modern compound is a lot smaller than a standard non-compound bow, making going through brush a lot easier. as for poundage a hunter i knew recommended only about 50-75lbs draw as the more power you have the more likely the arrow will go though the animal.

i haven't hunted as money to pay for hunter safety courses makes it difficult. as well as the problem of finding one that i can easily get to.

personally i like the smooth action of a standard bow, also i find a standard bow for me anyway lets me have a higher rate of fire. i do of course like the "let off" on a compound bow, especially if i'm going to hold it ready for awhile. but i find it too"jerky" for firing multiple shots in a short time frame.

i will say that i HATE havering to have a bow mounted quiver for hunting, it really makes a high rate of fire hard., especially in comparison to a waist or ground quiver.
i have been told that for hunting ONLY a bow mounted quiver is legal.

as for sights and stuff don't use them on either my compound OR traditional re curve bows.
edit on 21-7-2011 by generik because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 21 2011 @ 11:54 PM
amusingly one i get some more cash, i need to replace my compound bows as they were stolen out of my car. and if i can get back to armored combat i'd like to find a fairly cheep 50lb bow that is fairly indestructible for use in combat archery (shooting at people is so much fun.
would also like to get or make a crossbow or two to play with.

one thing if you are getting into archery to consider is arrows, they can be costly and YOU WILL lose or break a fair amount especially when learning to shoot. i would recommend if you can afford it buying a fletching machine so can repair or even make your own arrows. also many styles and types of shafts, fletchings, knocks and points to choose from. mostly it is dependent on what you like, and style of bow you use.

before buying any bow i would recommend going to a few smaller places that pretty much only sell bows, in fact it tends to be that different shops will sell primarily compounds OR standard bows. these people are normally very knowledgeable about archery and can give much better advice than at a big box store where the salesman may only be parroting what he is told by the stores venders. then once you find out what type or style of bows and arrows you prefer take a look around the net, you can sometimes find some good deals there.

now as to additional stuff, i would recommend a "shooting" glove normally at least 2 fingers covered (tabs suck). this will help protect the nerves in your finger tips from damage, some people even say better control so don't "twist the string" as you release,. there are also mechanical release mechanisms especially for compound bows, personally i don't like them, tho my friend does. if you do opt for a mechanical release just make sure to get a good one as one that releases on you can not only cause you to miss but could also cause injury. as well especially as a beginner make sure to have an arm vamnbrace to protect your "bow arm" from getting hit by the string if you screw up. i have done it a couple times and it hurts like hell. also for a standard type bow buy a stringer, they are cheap and make it much easier,/ less likely to damage bow when stringing it.

one safety rule to remember is NEVER EVER "dry fire" a bow, if there is no arrow to take the energy bows CAN AND WILL shatter, probably causing injury. also storage of bows is important. moisture is not good especially for stings and wood bows. also make sure that your string is always nicely waxed and always look for sting damage or twisting bow limbs. compound bow are generally stored with stings on maintaining tension. standard bows NEVER store with the string in place.

hope i have been helpful, i just recently helped a friend with it and these were some of the things he found helpful in making his choice on what to buy. just remember that almost everything is more about what you like/ feel comfortable then anything else.

posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 11:19 AM
reply to post by IntegratedInstigator

What about making one? Eventually your bow will break and you will need more arrows. Might as well learn how to make one now

Youtube has lots of different types of bows
edit on 22-7-2011 by lisaloeb1214 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 11:36 AM
reply to post by IntegratedInstigator

ya know if your trying to save money you can always
Make your own Bow

posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 01:14 PM
The last two posters have the right idea.
And you did say you like the traditional element to the bow,so I say make one as well.
I have used bows for maybe 8 or 9 years as an adult,although I did have small bows as a kid.
I started off with bought bows and arrows,but in the last few years I have started making bows and arrows.

Using a handmade bow and arrows is for me more satisfying,even though my bought bows may be better built,or more powerful.
When you make your first effective bow,its a good feeling and reconnects us to our past I think.

I don't hunt creatures with my bows,its illegal in Wales to do so.
I would not want to anyway.
(The english longbow was based upon designs of a shorter Welsh bow
,which caused massive damage to the invading English troops in the12th century,so much so that they developed it as a weapon for their own armies)

Most cultures have bows in their genes I think,so go ahead and make one yourself.

And for you tube bow making tips I always recommend the pathfinder guy,here's one of his bows:

Notice its part 6-watch how he makes that awesome bow in the other first5 parts.
Good tips to be learned.

posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 01:22 PM
A couple of months ago I picked up a Bear Kodiak Magnum recurve bow in 45# draw for twenty bucks. It was in excellent condition. You buy this new and you will pay $300.00 or more. I need to find a string and some arrows. I will be making my shooting tab and arm guard from leather. When I was in Boy Scouts, I used to make all my bow strings and arrows and will probably get into it again.

Bear Kodiak Magnum

posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 01:39 PM
I personally hunt with a recurve. It's not right for everyone, but I'll tell you why it's right for me.

1. Expense--compounds (and the arrows they shoot) are many times more expensive.

2. Maintenance: If I break a string, I can put on a spare in less than 30 seconds. I don't have to take it to an archery store or club to get shooting again.

3. Simplicity. No cams, I can tune it myself.

4. Silence. I can shoot my recurve absolutely silently on a consistent basis. When target-shooting with buddies, their compound inevitably makes some noise; the shooter always says that it's "really too quite for the deer to hear," but I have to laugh at that notion.

5. No needless accessories
If you look at the typical compound rig, check out all the components. sights to fiddle with, after they whack against a tree when you trip over a tree root. A quiver bolted to the the riser, to catch even the slightest wind. And the weight/balance changes with each shot, as you remove each arrow and shoot it. Peep sight, trigger (which is never totally silent, either) counter-wieght, dampers, etc.

What is really going on here is that most sportsmen don't really have the TIME it takes to attain true proficiency with a bow (just like rifle-hunters with their own gear...). The salesmen capitalize on this, selling you technology to make up for your insecurity about your ability to hit stuff. They even sell range-finders for compound bows now!!!! If you cannot estimate distance withing 10%, you have no business shooting at a living being, and probably just torturing it. But again, the average hunter only spends 2 days a season actually hunting. And prepares less than a month before the start of season.

The final piece is that I shoot a 48 lb. bow, at my draw. It will take down every game animal in Texas, and I can hold my shot at full draw as long as a guy with a 70 lb compound.

Where I hunt, stands don't perform well. So I glass and stalk. And this brings me to the final test:

Carry your bow through half of a mile of waist high grass, cross the dry creek-bed, and work your way through the scrub and live oak, through the mesquite thickets to double back around to the best bedding areas...

Try keeping up with me with your compound bow. Yours is heavier than crap, and has FOUR strings. It's like you're dragging a freaking HARP through the tall grass and woods. Just listen to the music of you "strumming" your harp as it snags grass, weeds, and twigs. When we stop for a break, look at all the grass that has worked its way into your cams. Look, a big doe! (I hunt for meat, not trophies). Draw silently, don't let those cams creak, or she'll bolt.

Again, there are a lot of compound hunters that fill out their tags every year, just in archery season. I guess you should follow their advice, instead of mine.

Long story short is that I think the compound bow is the end-result of a 20th century marketing campaign, selling high technology to off-set the fact that most hunters today don't have the shot placement, or the opportunity to be practiced up before opening day.

The same thing is going on with rifle hunting as well. People laugh at me when I hunt with a .243, which definitely takes down every quarry in the state of Texas. People here hunt with a 7 mag; which doesn't really matter since they couldn't hit a deer with it unless they dropped it on a buck that is walking under their stand.

posted on Jul, 22 2011 @ 01:52 PM

Originally posted by generik
...... as well is the fact that the modern compound is a lot smaller than a standard non-compound bow, making going through brush a lot easier.

I've already given my take on that---four strings that cross each other seem to trap a lot of brush. And compounds are much heavier as well.

as for poundage a hunter i knew recommended only about 50-75lbs draw as the more power you have the more likely the arrow will go though the animal.

If you think about it, do you really want a projectile to go all the way through[/[] the animal? My goal is to hit it in the heart, and then stop. If it goes any more out the other side, all that you are doing is wasting meat and ruining both shoulder roasts. Again, that's why I shoot with a .243 during rifle season. I want my projectile to stop in the middle of the animal, not come out the other side.

Thus, penetration isn't my biggest hang-up; holding the drawn bow long enough to get the target to present itself is the biggest problem. And the more powerful the bow, of any category, the more your arm begins to shake as you wait on the deer to emerge from behind an obstruction.

So, I hunt with the lightest bow I can, and still penetrate the critical area for a sure kill.

posted on Jul, 23 2011 @ 08:35 AM
Now wait a minute guys... Yeah I know how too and have made many bows, especially in my rather rambunctious young... but I have long ago outgrown a recurve...

nowadays I use a Mathew's Z7

sorry OP but this puppy is is more than double your target price range...
make that quadruple...

edit on 23-7-2011 by DaddyBare because: forgot to add the img tags

edit on 23-7-2011 by DaddyBare because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 23 2011 @ 08:49 PM
reply to post by DaddyBare

Wow! Can you get shortwave and HD on that?

posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 01:46 PM
reply to post by DaddyBare

Good grief Mr Bare,
that is one serious piece of kit you have there.
I myself prefer home made bows,or basic recurves-but that machine you have there is awesome in a high tech way.
I bet it helps with constant accurate shooting which is a good thing.
But look at how many parts you have there-you would need a well stocked specialist workshop to fix that baby if something went wrong..
that is the downside I think.
No offense at all to you,thats a great bow,but I will have to stick with the old ways-so easy to maintain and fix compared to today's evolution.
And a great feeling when you make a decent workable bow.

posted on Jul, 25 2011 @ 09:59 PM
I am in the process of making a red oak board bow (pyramid bow) that I found the plans for online at another forum. I am enjoying it, I am figuring out how to make it work, and I am slowly tillering it cause its so ridiculously hot in San Antonio that my garage is often 30 degrees warmer than the 100+ degrees outside.

I'll post pictures up of it when I have time to, in between nosebleeds and heat exhaustion from working in my garage.

Also, there are tons of tutorials about how to maintain your poundage in the initial tillering, and also how to start to make it from a stave of decent wood (apparently crepe myrtle has a pretty high SG and has turned up some good bows, FWIW)

No, I won't upload pics until I'm sure it doesn't blow up in my face. I want to have a few bows ready to go if TSHTF and enough arrows and broadheads to ensure that I don't have to worry about running out if I have to deter a few people by inflicting arrow disease on them.

The whoosh-thunk of an arrow slamming home into a person is a very heavy psychological weapon, as attacking hordes (non-Zack, of course) tend to freak when their buddy goes down with three feet of shaft stuck in some body part.

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 10:23 AM
reply to post by MagoSA

Sounds good-I would love to get hold of a chunk of red oak,but its rare in the UK as its been introduced from America.
I was wondering-how do you prevent the wood from drying out too fast in that heat?
Not a problem I have ever come across here in this climate.

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 12:30 PM
reply to post by Silcone Synapse

Why I went to a full compound bow is my experience as a hunter...
you see I figured out that the big whitetails would hear the moment the arrow left the string...

when they hear this they will often drop down on their legs as the prepare to leap away on those big powerful legs of there's...

what that means is between the time I let loose the arrow and the time it got to the deer... the sweet spot... the place to aim to make a clean kill... had changed... sometimes a little sometimes a lot... sometimes they dropped down far enough to make for a total miss...

knowing this I started to look for a bow that got the arrow there faster..(+300 fps) they didn't have time to drop as far in those very few precious seconds.... it has made a diff... and my hit ratios has gone up significantly... the added speed 322fps for the Z7 has also ended my wounding an yeah its bigger and bulkier... a lot more complex... but anything that helps me become a more efficient hunter is well worth my time and money...

but that too is just me and we all make very personal choices in what gear we chose.... right???
edit on 26-7-2011 by DaddyBare because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 01:29 PM
reply to post by DaddyBare

If you are bow hunting,anything which makes a faster kill is better for the deer as well IMO.
You don't want the poor creature writhing in pain.
My recurve and home mades(and my aim)are not that accurate,I can get close groupings at targets,but I wouldn't like to try to take an animal-I am not accurate enough for that(plus its illegal in Wales).
And I'm a vegetarian

But I am not opposed to those who hunt.

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 02:21 PM
personal preference is the key. one reason i got my latest re-curve is that it is a take down model which not only makes it take up a lot less room but i also don't worry quite so much about something falling on it and damaging it on long car trips. also the group i do most of my shooting with does not allow compound bows and only allows wood shaft arrows.

another thing i do like about re curves is can handle wood shaft arrows which will make it easier to build my own as i find pretty much all arrows cost a fair amount these days. i can always build a lath to turn my own wood shafts. a plus for some of the other arrow types of course is the ability to "swap out" arrowheads easily, as most are screw in heads. where with wood gotta get out the "glue".

i apparently wasn't clear on an earlier post (my fault, writing well half asleep may not be for the best lol). when i mentioned my friend recommended up to 75 lb draw it was because you don't want the arrow going through the animal. in fact he seemed to think that 75lb might be a bit on the heavy side for hunting. my apologies on it sounding like i meant the other way. in fact one thing i learned recently from a couple "missed" shots at a small target is that even a 75lb bow will put holes in a metal silo (about 16-14 gauge galvanized). (face-palm). my friend REALLY needs to invest in a backstop.

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 04:44 PM
reply to post by DaddyBare

Jumping the string is a valid problem with recurves and longbows. My hunting site features a natural blind on an intermittent stream, and so my shots are a good deal less than 30 yards. My hunting relies more on stealth than on archery skill.

And, I hunt with a re-curve because of its affordability, not because I'm Robin Hood.

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 05:48 PM
reply to post by DaddyBare

Bare... you and I have already had compound bow conversation so you know darn well how jealous I am of that particular thing of beauty...

Why not rock a dual cam though?
edit on 26-7-2011 by DaMod because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 26 2011 @ 09:40 PM

Originally posted by Silcone Synapse
reply to post by MagoSA

Sounds good-I would love to get hold of a chunk of red oak,but its rare in the UK as its been introduced from America.
I was wondering-how do you prevent the wood from drying out too fast in that heat?
Not a problem I have ever come across here in this climate.

San Antonio humidity is rarely below 30%, and wood humidity, if properly seasoned, is about 8%. Given that I regularly wax and care for my bows, I don't have a problem with excessive heat drying out my bows (I tried Thompson's Water Seal on it to seal it). A little known fact about board bows is that the lumber company kiln-dries to the ambient humidity of the area lumber is shipped to. More cost effective and stops complaints of over-dried wood exploding.

Here's a list of hardwoods suitable for bows. Find one in your area. UK is famous for yew wood, though... and classic english longbows are yew. Try this list here and see if you have something like this growing wild in a hedge or in a forest (if its not a crime to take wood). Then find a tutorial on how to cut a stave, cure it, and get a bow out of it. Or go to a hardwood lumber store and see what they have available from this list. Board bows are generally 1x4 stock, 8 feet long, and there are plenty of tutorials on what to look for in a board.

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