There’s just something sexy about a recurve bow. That seductive shape coupled with the simple ability to kill game is an attractive proposition that few other weapons have.
More archers every year are flocking to try primitive archery tackle and the recurve bow is one of the best places to start. They are efficient and easy to learn on in addition to being inexpensive and accessible to almost every hunter. Just make sure you get the best recurve bow for your situation.
The 6 Best Recurve Bows & Reviews
If you think you are going to want a new recurve bow soon, here are six of the best recurve bows on the market, a breakdown of some of the best recurve bow brands and how to make sure that you have the best recurve bow in your hand come this next season.
The Best Recurve Bow
Part of what draws recurve hunters to this special form of archery is the beauty of these bows. Clean and simple lines along with traditional technology and beauty tie together most every longbow or recurve. This bow, in particular, is a handmade Hungarian style bow that is absolutely gorgeous and functional.
Available in exceedingly heavy draw weights this bow is a joy to shoot and hunt with. It has a lightweight and balanced overall design combined with dramatically curved limbs that shorten the overall length of the whole bow. This allows you to carry the bow all day on a spot in stocks hunt.
Weighing in at just over 3 pounds with the string installed this handmade work of art is ready for the field. It doesn’t get any more traditional than this! It is a simple all wooden riser and limb combination with leather wrapped limbs for protection.
It has a safe draw length of up to 33 inches, ideally 28 inches, and is available from 20lbs to 110lbs in draw weight. If you’re the choosiest of traditional archers, you’ll appreciate that this bow is handmade and specifically tailored to each order.
There’s no provision for mounting a sight or any other accessories. This is purely a bolt meant for someone who is going to hunt close and enjoy the methods of our primitive forefathers. If you really want to get down to brass tacks and go traditional this is certainly the way to go and one of the best recurve bows in the world.
The Best Recurve Hunting Bow
If you’re looking for the best recurve hunting bow, Samick Sage makes an excellent package deal that includes everything you would need for a hunt.
Samick Sage makes some of the best recurve bows for hunting because they include features that are normally on lower end bows. Things like the ability to be broken down into small parts, a limb design that is easy to string and on a string, even making the hardware that assembles the bow easy to use and keep track of.
This is a bow made of gorgeous laminated hardwood. The bow riser is a single piece of laminated hardwood that has been stained several different colors to bring out the beauty in the grain of the wood. Just as functional as it is wrong it is available in several different draw weights depending on your skill level and physical strength. The bow itself has a one-year warranty that must be registered and the stringer tool that comes with the bow has a lifetime warranty. Make sure to take advantage of these, you never know what's going to happen in the field!
All those excellent features are compounded in this package that includes everything you need to go hunting. Short of arrows and a few other accessories this bow is ready to take into the field. An excellent bowstring, a bowstring or tool, and a special gift are included from the manufacturer in this package.
The excellent stringer tool allows you to install and remove the bowstring for storage and transporting the bow. This is a takedown bow that comes apart for exceptionally easy storage and transportation and the manufacturer has taken a few extra steps to ensure that the bowstring is easy to remove and install.
If you’re looking for an excellent bow, and a few extras, this is a great place to start. It's one of the best recurve hunting bows on the market.
The Best Beginner Recurve Bow
If you’re looking for a bargain in recurve bows, as many people are, look at this model from Samick Sage. In short, this is a recurve bow that can optimize for hunters by adding in features the target shooters and recreational shooters are going to need. It may get away from traditional archery but it is a joy to shoot and hunt with.
Specifically, additions have been made to this bow to allow the limbs to be detached for transportation storage. This is a great benefit to hunters who will be backpacking into their chosen area or anyone flying on an airplane for their hunt. The entire bow can be broken down into sections just over 2 feet long and transported with all your other accessories and a backpack.
It is highly recommended you purchase Samick Sage’s own tool for stringing your bow in a hurry. This is one of the best values in hunting recurve bows because it offers the most functionality of any bow on the market with the highest quality control standards. You can have this bow in a variety of packages and draw lengths and each bow won’t disappoint you.
If you are a current archer looking to get into primitive hunting or you are trying out archery for the first time you can’t go wrong with the value you get from the Samick Sage Takedown Recurve.
The Best Recurve Bow Under $200
Southwest Archery USA is a major manufacturer that has a lot of experience making recurve bows, and this is one of their top shelf products. A steal for under $200 this recurve bow and arrow is one of the best values in recurve bow hunting.
This bow receives many of the same accessories and upgrades as the Samick Sage bow from the same manufacturer but receives a much better limb and riser design. Driving up the cost slightly, the ergonomic design of the riser leads to greater accuracy and less target fatigue.
If you shoot a lot or will be carrying your bow all day before you shoot, it is wise to invest in this excellent piece of equipment. The shape and design of the riser and limbs go beyond the traditional recurve shape to get the maximum amount of power out of the smallest package they can get away with. It also optimizes the angle between your wrist and your neck to get the most accuracy out of your body, without having to change any techniques.
Available in a gorgeous stained wood color this Takedown bow comes apart from the lands so that the entire package can be transported in a normal sized backpack. You’ll appreciate that if you have to ever travel a long distance or fly to your hunting location. Available from 20 pounds to 60 pounds in draw weight you can hunt almost anything with this bow with the right limb on it.
The bow has to be made registered online within 30 days to take advantage of the one-year manufacturer’s warranty. And the bow is strongly recommended to be purchased with the stringer tool. Overall this is one of the best values in recurve archery and you should take advantage of it whether you are just getting into recurve archery and looking for a great first bow or you are looking for a second or third bow as a collector.
The Best Youth Recurve Bow
For those looking for a good introduction to a youth hunter or archer, this is a great kid bow to get them. It includes a quality both they can learn to shoot on along with a few key accessories that make shooting more fun and safe.
The entire bow measures 45 inches from tip to tip and pulls at a 20 pound limit. This is perfect for most youth shooters who are getting used to shooting archery for the first time. The bow comes preassembled and is ready to go right out of the box. The composight lens lasts a long time and is completely safe. However, this bow is on the side of the right handed shooters, if you use with a left-handed shooter they run the risk of seriously gouging their arm, and this is unsafe!
The first accessory you’ll notice is the armed guard. Critical for making sure that archers want to continue to shoot after their first wrist slap. Also included is a handy finger protector along with a simple archery sight and effective quiver.
Two basic arrows are included that are totally usable but you want to purchase more if you want a youth shooter to be interested in practicing their archery for a long period of time. Overall, there’s a lot of junk on the market when it comes to youth archery but this is an excellent start for a youth hunter or shooter to learn on, and will last a long time.
Especially for the money, this is a steal for anyone just getting started in archery and especially for youth hunters. Its small size is perfect for smaller statute people or kids but anyone can pick up this bow and learn to use a bow and arrow safely and effectively.
The Best Recurve Bow for Target Shooting
If you’re looking for the best recurve for target shooting, this is as good as it gets. From SAS this bow, called courage, measures 60 inches in overall length and is a fixed land design that squeezes every ounce of accuracy out of the recurve bow.
Overall, this is a pretty unremarkable bow except for the fact that the quality is outstanding. It is a simple hardwood riser with fiberglass limbs and a high-quality synthetic bowstring. There are provisions for mounting quiver and sights to the bow but overall the bow looks pretty unremarkable.
If you look closer, once you have the bow in hand, you’ll notice the care and detail that goes into setting the plungers and limbs on the riser, the notches cut out on the limbs for the bowstring and how well the bow is handled during construction.
Because this bow uses fixed limbs, each and every time you mount the string up on this bow you’ll see the same level of performance and accuracy out of it.
Perfect for target shooting.
The bow is a full 60 inches in length, perfect for stabilization and balance and is available in a range of drawl weights from 25 to 60 pounds. Both left and right hand of models are available.
This bow is covered by a three-year full manufacturer’s warranty. Overall there is cheaper target style recurve bows out there, and many more that are several times as much, but this is an excellent recurve bow for target shooting for anyone who is interested in the sport.
Mounting your Bow String
Know how to mount your bowstring before you buy a recurve bow. The last thing you want to do is excitedly travel out to a faraway hunt, assemble your bow, and probably snap it in half when you don’t know how to string your bow. Most every recurve bow manufacturer is going to include instructions but looking at a video online is going to be extraordinarily helpful.
A few tips to look out for include having firm footing before you start flexing the limbs and also protecting the tips of the limbs as you’re doing it. It’s very common to overstress the limbs as you are putting on a bowstring and you can break the tip of a limb completely off. Depending on the damage your manufacturer may not warranty a broken limb due to operator error while stringing it.
Accessories & Primitive Tackle
Once you start shopping for recurve bows you'll notice they have a tendency to be shipped without provisions for mounting many accessories. That is because most recurve bows are considered to be primitive archery tackle and there aren’t many sights or quivers available for you to use. Even archery rests are common in the primitive archery world.
Many bows don’t use risers that can support having holes drilled through for mounting a sight or arrow rest. Don’t look at this as a crutch, rather look at it as an opportunity to build your skills and appreciate everything that goes into making a perfect archery shop. You might like the simplicity and lack of complexity that comes with using a simple stick and string.
If you absolutely need a rest or sight make sure you order a bow where one can be added later on. There are several companies online and many pro shops that will add mounting holes to bow so that you can have aftermarket accessories. Above all else learn to realize that you don’t need a ton of highly specialized equipment to kill game. Sometimes all it takes is a flying stick shot from a very primitive bow to put meat in the freezer.
Recurve Bow Buying Tips
These tips should help anyone in the market for a recurve bow. Read them before and after you make your purchase.
Know What You’ll Hunt
Traditional archery tackle like recurve bows are adjustable for draw weight like modern compound bows are. That means that you need to decide which game you are going to hunt with which bow before you buy.
Many manufacturers offer replacement limbs that can vary the draw weight of your bow but that will still require you to plan out what you are going to be hunting. Also, know the style of hunting you will be doing, either hunting from the ground or hunting from a tree stand.
The exact method and game your hunting is going to drive the type of equipment that you buy and become proficient with. Plan ahead so that you don’t have any surprises.
Understand Recurve Draw Weight
Traditional archery tackle does not store or convert energy anything like modern compound bows. Just because you have a recurve bow with the same poundage draw as a compound bow does not mean you can expect the same performance!
As a rule of thumb, traditional archery equipment loses its lethality at about 30 yards. Beyond that, you can still kill game but it becomes extraordinarily difficult to predict the arc of your arrow with the sight’s common on traditional archery equipment. Keep it close and you keep it deadly.
Know the Draw Length and Stick to it
Make sure you know your bow’s drawings before you buy it. Most bows are not adjustable for draw length in any capacity. Unlike compound bows that have a defined backwall, shooting a recurve bow involves a fair amount of feeling and dexterity to prevent from breaking the bow.
Every recurve bow is going to have a published limit of how far you can draw it so that you don’t have a catastrophic failure. Heed that length and don’t overdo it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Shooting traditional archery tackle is as much an art as it is a science. Practice, practice, practice! You need to know how your certain set up is going to perform with your arrows, your bow, and your broadheads. If you change any part of your set up before you go hunting, head back out and make sure that your bow is performing the way you expected to.
With moderate compound bows it's common for hunters to make small mistakes but still have a clean kill because of the ample amounts of power these bows generate. Traditional archery hunters don’t have that luxury. You have to be absolutely certain of your equipment before you head into the field!
Use Proper Arrows
Make sure that you are using proper arrows. Ditch the old-school traditional arrows for modern carbon fiber ones. Yes, I completely understand the nostalgia of using cedar arrows but the reality is the arrows on one of the most important pieces of archery tackle you have and the only part that actually interacts with the game you’re shooting.
It is extremely important this critical piece of equipment does its job extremely well. Use the best arrows you can get your hands on and leave the cedar arrows for the target range.
Make absolutely sure you know the distance that you are shooting from. Traditional archery bows like recurve have trajectories much like a rainbow were thrown a rock.
You have to know how your bow is going to perform at certain ranges and be able to reliably tell what range you are shooting at in the field. This goes for both hunters and target shooters because accuracy is canting, especially when you’re working against the ballistic potential of traditional archery tackle.
Hunt From the Ground
The best way for you to equal out the ballistic disadvantages of hunting with a traditional archery bow, like a recurve, is to hunt from the ground.
While not terribly common for archers to hunt from the ground it is much more effective with the recurve bow because you will be closer to your game and have a better angle with better shot opportunities when your game passes by. Yes, you’ll have to be a more effective hunter and skilled woodsmen but isn’t that why you are hunting with traditional archery in the first place?
Whether you’re a beginner archer or experienced hunter, recurve bows are just plain cool. There’s nothing quite like the simplicity and traditional hunting style of using primitive archery tackle. They're a joy to carry through the woods, being so lightweight and balanced, and a great way to introduce new hunters into the outdoors.
Get yourself the best recurve bow for your situation. You can’t go wrong with any of the ones on this list. Most importantly get into the woods or on to the range and have some fun. Make sure you do a little target practice before you go and keep that bow from collecting dust.