Martin Archery Alder Review – a Recurve Bow Inspection


LengthBow WeightDraw WeightTakedown?
Martin Archery Alder

Martin Archery Alder Review

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54 or 62 inches3.6 lbs

How to: choose arrows, draw weight, and tune your recurve
15 to 29 lbs.Yes

- Inexpensive bow for beginning archers
- Takedown bow for easy storage
- Predrilled for a sight, stabilizer, or Berger button
- No instruction manual included
- No bow stringer included
- No apparent option for replacing limbs with longer ones
Also recommended: Best Martin BowsCompare prices across top hunting gear sellers

What Comes In The Package?

Summer may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean archery season is over. In fact, for many of us, it’s only just begun. With that in mind, let’s have a look at beginner’s recurve bow, the Martin Archery Alder. The Alder is a takedown bow, which normally means you can replace the limbs to change the size of the bow as your archer grows, but that does not appear to be the case from what I could find on Martin’s website. Each package delivered by Martin Archery includes the following items:

  • The Martin Archery Alder, including riser and limbs
  • String
  • Brass inserts for a sight, stabilizer or Berger button

Surprisingly, there are no instructions included with the bow, nor does it come with a bow stringer or the arrow rest pictured in the item photograph on both Martin’s website and Amazon.

How Difficult Is The Alder To Assemble?

Martin Archery Alder2Despite the fact that the Martin Archery Alder does not include instructions, assembly of the takedown bow is straightforward enough that most folks won’t have a problem. If you’re a beginner, however, you might want to enlist a bit of help with the process.

My biggest beef with most inexpensive bows is that they don’t come with a bow stringer. Stringing a bow is so much easier and safer with a stringer, so I recommend you pick one up when you purchase your bow. You’ll thank me later.

Assembly of the Alder involves attaching the limbs to the risers using the included bolts and an Allen wrench, which is also not included. Once the limbs are attached, you can use your bow stringer to string the recurve.

If you are going to use a Berger button, stabilizer, sight, or arrow rest, you should go ahead and install those accessories now. Once again, even though you might see an arrow rest in the product photographs, the bow does not come with one.

How Powerful And Accurate Is The Bow?

Martin produces the Alder in draw weights from 15 pounds to 29 pounds, in mostly 5 pound increments. I say mostly because of the 29 pound maximum draw weight; you go from 25 pounds to 29, which is pretty darned strange, in my experience. The heavier the draw weight, of course, the more powerful the force will be behind your arrows as they fly towards the target.

My 29-pound Alder was quite accurate, maintaining 3-inch groupings from 45 yards. This was instinctive shooting, without an arrow rest or any other accessories, and I found the bow quite easy to handle. Then again, I’m used to 55-pound draw weights, so your mileage may vary as a beginner.

Is The Bow Suitable For Hunting?

This is a beginner’s bow, and only goes up to a 29-pound draw weight. As such, it is definitely not suitable for hunting (except maybe for squirrels in your back yard.)

How Good Is This Bow For Beginners?

The Martin Archery Alder is a very good bow for beginners. It’s a very forgiving bow, allowing the novice archer to learn the form and technique through practice. I always recommend an experienced archer guide a novice through the paces, but I’ve known several self-taught archers who did quite well with the Alder completely on their own.

link to beginner's buying guide

Does The Martin Alder Accept Accessories?

adler2Yes, indeed, the Alder accepts many different accessories, and is predrilled for their installation. Installation of a sight, arrow rest, stabilizer, and/or Berger button is quick and easy, and I always recommend a beginner start out with at least a sight to use when learning the craft. A sight can help tremendously with the inaccuracy that comes from poor technique, which cuts down dramatically on the frustration level of learning to cast arrows.

What Kind Of Arrows Should I Get For The Bow?

Most of the time, you’ll be using the Alder for recreational shooting, not for hunting. Even so, arrow selection is a highly personal decision, depending on purpose and preference. To help you choose the right arrows for your bow, I recommend you take a look at our guide on choosing the proper arrows for your needs.

How Durable Is The Riser And Limbs On The Recurve?

The Martin Archery Alder is advertised as an all-wood recurve bow, and that’s true as far as the limbs and riser are concerned. The limb tips, unfortunately, are not reinforced and the limb pockets feature plastic inserts instead of the metal ones I’m accustomed to seeing.

This is a beautiful bow, and it seems to hold up pretty well. I was concerned about the plastic limb pockets, but they have survived takedowns and reassemblies, as well as the stress of what probably amounts to thousands of arrows fired from the bow.

What String Will Fit This Recurve Bow?

Available in either 54“ or 62” length, the Martin Archery will accept any string of the proper size with the exception of FastFlight or Flemish strings. Since the limb tips are not reinforced, I would not recommend using high performance strings on this recurve. The included string is lightweight but excellent quality, and lasted the entire shooting season without any signs of wear.

Is This A Heavy Bow?

The Alder isn’t the lightest bow I’ve ever held, but it isn’t the heaviest either. I’d say it’s about average, and my teenage nephew was able to shoot it for several hours without any fatigue.

Will This Bow Make A Lot Of Noise, Or Is It Quiet?

I found the noise factor of the Alder to be pretty average. I’ve heard louder, and I’ve heard quieter. The bow is remarkably easy to tune, and string silencers go a long way towards quieting the bow even more. Even without these accessories, though, the Martin Archery Alder is comfortable to shoot for an entire morning or afternoon, without much hand shock and with just a minimum amount of noise.

Recurve Bow Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the Martin Archery Alder takedown bow. This recurve is an excellent choice for a beginning archer, especially one with you, the experienced veteran, to help guide them. Take a look at Today's price on the Martin Alder if you’re interested.

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