What’s the Best Recurve Bow for Hunting or Target Shooting?
If you’re on the lookout for a new takedown recurve bow, there’s no doubt that there’s a massive catalog of products to choose from.
This has created a problem for beginners and advanced archers alike; they’ll often find themselves overwhelmed with the huge selection the market has to offer.
For that, we made extensive comparisons between some of the best recurve bows we could find. We’ll also give you all the information you need to buy your first bow, what factors go into shaping your decision, and all the technicalities to wrap your head around the world of archery.
Let’s get started!
All the bows we reviewed and recommended are not only suitable for beginners, but seasoned archers as well. We tried to stay away from the most expensive products and find a middle ground between affordability and functionality.
Southwest Archery Spyder XL Takedown Bow – Best Takedown Recurve Bow
This bow is made from dual laminated wood layers that give out a lovely 2 tone semi-gloss finish. I don’t think we’ve come across another bow that matched the elegance of this bow riser.
The grip is purely made from polished wood. It was comfortable in hand and easy to hold. We prefer wood grips because they have great thermal properties compared to metal risers.
The limbs on this piece are made of laminated hard maple surrounded by matte black fiberglass. We appreciated the reinforced plastic bow tips that added to the durability of the bow. They’re available in draw weights from 20 Ibs to 60 Ibs.
The possible adjustments to the draw weight make this bow a great introductory bow for beginners, who want to gradually progress up the scale.
Overall, it’s an excellent bow for shooting with respectable draw and vibration-free shots that make the hunting experience enjoyable.
- Lightweight and portable
- High-quality finish
- Limbs are interchangeable with Sage/Journey takedown bow
- A wide range of draw weights
- Both 62-inch and 64-inch variants available
- Assembly can be complicated
- Tools are needed to change the draw weight
Escalade Sports Bear Archery Recurve Bow – Best Recurve Bow for Hunting
This bow is advertised as “The Bow for Hunters”, which might imply that it’s not going to be a good option for beginners. This wasn’t the case.
Right off the bat, we noticed that this model didn’t require any complicated assembly and was ready to shoot in less than minutes of unboxing.
Its overall construction is excellent. The limbs made from EnduraFiber, a unique material made by Bear Archery. They’re extra flexible, which makes things easier for beginners.
This bow is a compound bow, meaning it has numerous design elements that make it worth the money but don’t offer the same customization options found in other bows.
Its draw weight is adjustable from 55 Ibs to 70 Ibs, which is very limited compared to the competitors.
This bow is beautiful, sharp, accurate, and clearly made for hunters only.
- Unique design elements
- Flexible limbs are comfortable to handle
- Require little to no assembly
- Limited customization options
- Adjusting draw weight is very limited
Southwest Archery Tigershark Takedown Bow – Best Recurve Bow for Target Shooting
This is the most beautiful recurve bow on our list, but is it the most functional?
This takedown bow is made from four different types of wood. Not only will that look like absolute eye candy to the observer, but it also means it’s sturdy and durable more than any other bow.
We were pleased to learn that this model is compatible with Flemish and Fast Flight high-quality strings, which is a shame seeing how the preinstalled strings on this bow are subpar.
The draw weight can be adjusted from 25 Ibs to 60 Ibs, using 5 Ibs increments. This makes it ready to fulfill all your shooting needs, and the ability to customize its action is the icing on the cake.
- One of the most durable bows on the list
- You can easily adjust its draw weight
- You can install various accessories on it
Cheap quality strings
Featuring a laminated wood riser, this bow feels solid and durable in the hand compared to other strong contenders like the Sage.
The limbs are made from 2 different kinds of wood, Maple and Makore. The face and back are coated with fiberglass with a matte black finish.
The limb length allows a length of 60 inches, which is a little shorter than the Spyder and Sage. If you’re a beginner, you might want to look for something with slightly longer limb length.
Overall, this bow feels great and shoots great, but it might not be the best starting bow if you’re a beginner.
- Versatile. Can be a good pick for hunting, too
- 3-year limited manufacturer warranty
- Available in right-hand option only
- Poor quality string
- Short limb length
Southwest Archery Samick Sage Recurve Bow – Best Recurve Bow for Beginners
The Samick Sage is presented as the entry-level bow of choice for beginners. This product is everything you expect from a budget takedown bow. We weren’t blown away with anything, and we weren’t left wishing for more either.
It comes with a string and an arrow rest, which means it saves you even more on the accessories.
As for performance, this bow is great for target practice and can be used for small game hunting too. Experienced hunters will argue that it isn’t as quiet as they’d hope for, but it still packs quite the punch for that price tag.
- Great quality limbs
- Good for beginners and advanced users alike
- Complete with a string and arrow rest
The string has a short serving
SAS Explorer Metal Riser Recurve Bow – Best Youth Recurve Bow
The perfect combination of durability and flexibility! This bow is a great option for children who are just starting out their journey as hunters.
It’s made of Maplewood, but feels denser than competitors with the same type. It’s well known for its extreme durability. Users have said that they’ve had this bow for years without it showing any signs of deterioration.
One thing to note is that the riser isn’t made from wood, but aluminum. Aside from the added durability, we really appreciated the beautiful finish that was presented from the first glance.
Sturdy and accurate, we can’t help not to recommend this bow to everyone.
- Exceptional high-quality materials
- Great versatility for a beginner
- You won’t be able to break it. Literally
Only available for right-handed shooters
Choosing the Best Takedown Recurve Bow
When choosing the bow for you, you’ll find that limbs that are curved away from you store greater energy and can utilize that energy more efficiently than bows with straight limbs. The arrow will fly faster and hit its targets harder.
There are a lot of other factors you need to weigh-in before making a decision, which is why we’ve created this guide for you to help you pick your future companion.
What Are You Getting It For?
If all you intend to do is target practice, then any recurve bow should be fine. For that, you should stick to a budget and pick any bow that you personally like. You won’t be needing the extra bow power since the arrow will have to go through cardboard, and not the flesh and muscle of an animal.
If you’re going out to hunt, that’s another story. You’ll need significantly greater energy for the arrow to penetrate the thick skin of the animal, through the fat tissue, and even crack and settle in the bone of the game.
Animal hunting is a popular sport, but it’s bound by heavy regulations. If you’re going hunting, you must stick to your local hunting laws, and never hunt off-season. Aside from breaking the law, you’re also damaging a very delicate ecosystem.
There’re a lot of options for hunters, but as a general rule, you should choose draw weights starting from 40 Ibs and upwards. Deers, elks, and turkeys should require 40 Ibs to 45 Ibs, while buffalos and bears should at the very least require 55 Ibs of draw weight.
The Right Draw Weight for You
Speaking of draw weight, you’ll have to decide the one you’re most comfortable working with. The draw weight of your bow is related to the amount of sheer force your bow can utilize.
In principle, you have to factor in your age, gender, body mass, in addition to any physical limitation you might have. If you’re a beginner, you will surely build up more and more strength as you progress in archery.
We recommend for children less than 100 Ibs a starting bow with a draw weight of 10 to 15 Ibs. Almost all females would work well with a bow having draw weights between 25 to 35 Ibs. Males with average builds should go with a draw weight of 40 to 55 Ibs.
Professional hunters and men with a larger figure could work best with a draw weight of 45-60Ibs. If you’re hunting game, you can’t settle for anything less than 40Ibs.
Draw length is the length of your arm span, measured in inches. You stretch out your arms to both sides, with palms facing forward, and begin from the tip of one middle finger to the other.
The product is divided by 2.5 and you have your draw length.
Too much draw length will negatively affect your accuracy, form, comfort, and even safety. So, you should settle on a reasonable range to get into the optimum shooting conditions.
Main Characteristics and Accessories
Weight is something to consider when picking your recurve takedown bow. Most good recurve bows will weigh anything from 2Ibs to 3.5Ibs. This range is a great starting point for beginners.
The bow weight isn’t as important as to draw weight, mind you.
The length of the bow should generally be twice as long as your draw length. If your draw length is 26 inches, you should get a recurve bow that’s 52 inches or longer.
The right arrows for you might take a little bit of trial and error. You should start with decent feeling arrows and experiment with other variations throughout your journey.
Recurve bows generally come with few accessories. Sometimes, it’s only the bow and string. However, a lot of models will offer more than that. You can find bow stringers, arrows, field tips, nocking points, and archery targets with your takedown bow.
Fortunately, if you don’t get those extra perks, you’ll find almost all of them on the market, sold separately. All you need to do is make sure they’re compatible with your bow.
The Best Draw Length for Your Bow
Draw length is one of the most important factors to find your hunting bow, so we needed to add a whole section to further explain the process of obtaining your measurement.
How to Measure Your Draw Length
We’ve mentioned earlier one method to measure your draw length. To be completely sure, you should use another method to verify that number.
Measure your arm span in inches and subtract 15 from it, then divide the product by 2. The average of both those methods will get you pretty close to the accurate measurement.
One final way to measure draw length is to use a yardstick and place its end on your chest. Extend your arms as far as you can and mark the reading you get at the end of your middle finger with the yardstick placed.
Why Does It Matter?
Forget what any archery instructor told you, there isn’t just one stance for hunting animals. Every archer has a unique structure with a unique shooting form that works best for them.
If the bow size or draw length is too small for you, you’ll find it impossible to hunt, and might be thrown off the game entirely.
This is why you need to not only measure your draw length, but also determine which bow size suits you personally.
Shooting Your Recurve Bow
To correctly shoot a recurve bow, you’ll need to have 5 things set up. Each one plays an important role in the overall quality of your shot, and any small change can negatively affect your shooting.
To begin, assume the proper stance of shooting. Start with your legs positioned apart from each other, at a distance matching the width of your shoulders.
Place your hips and torso perpendicular to your target. If you’re a right-handed shooter, you should have your left hip pointing at your target, and vice versa. Make sure one foot is on either side of the shooting line. Right-handed shooters have their target on the left, left-handed shooters on the right.
Keep your body vertical, and have your dominant foot ahead from your other foot at a 45-degree angle to the shooting line.
Your head should be turned to the side where your target is, maintaining a clear vision of it at all times. Your body should always be perpendicular to the target.
Shoulders down and chest in. Don’t hunch your shoulders.
Take an arrow, put it on the arrow rest and then nook it. Lift the bow up to match your shoulder height. Don’t draw the string yet.
Make sure your bow arm is straight down to your elbow. When you release the arrow, your arm should be safely away from it. If your elbow is bent, you’ll find it more difficult to draw the bow.
Tuck your pinky and ring fingers of the bow hand to your palm, and make a gun shape. Push into the grip of the bow using the inner part of the palm, or the pad right below your thumb. Maintain your knuckles at a 45-degree angle with the ground. The knuckles of the bow hand should be clearly visible to you.
Make sure your grip is firm, but keep it comfortable. Most of the recurve bows come preinstalled with handles, so you won’t need to guess where to hold the weapon from.
Relax your wrist and never use a death grip while holding the bow. This can result in terrible accuracy. Balance is essential to get smooth movement all the way.
Enough of your bow hand. Your tab hand is equally as important.
Make sure your fingers form a hook. Your index finger should be above the arrow and the middle and ring fingers should be below the projectile. Your pinky has to be relaxed towards your palm.
For your anchor point, you need to have the top of the index finger and the platform of the tab placed along with your jaw. Now, draw the string to the center of your nose.
As you’re drawing back, never twist your torso towards your target. If you make a habit of allowing your stronger back muscles to carry your work, you’ll have significantly better results. You should never depend on your arm muscles to do the job.
For aiming, you should always use your dominant eye while keeping the other shut. Your dominant eye will have greater reliability to hit your target.
If your takedown bow is equipped with a scope or a sight, use the notches found on the device to line up the target. Check the aim with your eyes and decide when you’re pointing correctly at your target.
Once you get your sights right, you’re now ready to release the bowstring.
To release the string, just let it slide out of your fingers. It’s commonly misunderstood that suddenly releasing the string or yanking it can increase your power. That’s not necessarily true.
Your shot needs to be smooth and your fingers relaxed. If you mess up this smooth movement, your accuracy will drop, and the arrow won’t fly straight.
Once you’ve released the string, make sure your tab hand ends up behind your neck. Your bow arm must remain solid until after the arrow has hit its target. Try to stay motionless as long as possible after you release the string.
So there you have it, the best recurve bows you can buy today. If you’ve stuck with us throughout this guide, you should now be more familiar with the intricate relationship between a hunter and his bow.
We have to recommend nothing other than the Southwest Archery Spyder XL Bow. It checks all the boxes for the entry-level hunter and satisfies the needs of the enthusiasts. A great value for the money!
With that being said, take your time and choose wisely. You can’t go wrong with any of our picks for the best takedown recurve bows.