Martin Archery Panther BF Review – a Recurve Bow Inspection


LengthBow WeightDraw WeightTakedown?
Martin Archery Panther BF

Martin Archery Panther BF

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50 inches2.8 lbs

How to: choose arrows, draw weight, and tune your recurve
29 to 55 lbs.Yes

- Well built and gorgeous
- Not too heavy
- Available in a wide variety of draw weights
- Vortex VEMS system eliminates hand shock and vibration
- No bowstringer included
- No bowfishing reel included
Also recommended: Best Martin BowsCompare prices across top hunting gear sellers

I’ve been an avid archery hunter for years, and I’ve always loved fishing. In the past few years, I’ve taken up bowfishing, and love any chance I get to try out a new bow for that purpose. The Panther BF, a new arrival on the bowfishing scene, takes all the best features of Martin Archery’s Panther riser and pairs them with shorter limbs designed for bowfishing. Let’s see how well the combination succeeds on the water.

What Do I Get With The Panther Bowfishing Edition?

Martin Archery Panther BFWhen you unbox your new Martin Archery Panther BF, you’ll find the following items nestled within the packaging:

  • The Panther BF bow, including riser and limbs
  • Assembly hardware
  • A bowstring

Unfortunately, Martin Archery does not include a bowstringer or Allen wrench for assembly, so you’ll have to make sure you have these items on hand before you begin putting your new toy together.

How Hard Is This Bowfishing Recurve To Put Together?

Assembly of the Martin Archery Panther BF is both quick and easy. You just attach the limbs to the riser with the included bolts, using an Allen wrench that you will have to provide. Then, you string the bow. Make sure you have a bowstringer on hand (and use it), to get the string on safely and evenly. Once that’s done, you can move on to installing your accessories and then tuning your bow, following our handy four-part guide if you’ve never tuned a recurve bow before.

What About Accessories?

The Panther BF is predrilled and includes the brass inserts for all of your favorite bowfishing accessories, including the requisite bowfishing reel, a sight, or a plunger. Note that the Panther BF does not include a bowfishing reel, so you’ll have to purchase one on your own.

Is The Panther BF Powerful And Accurate?

Draw weights for this recurve range from 29# all the way to 55#, so it’s as powerful as you want it to be. It’s certainly powerful enough for fishing purposes, and can even be purchased in hunting-appropriate draw weights.

Accuracy is dead-on, if you know what you’re doing. It takes a bit of getting used to, firing a bow with such short limbs, but the riser feels natural and easy in your grip. After a bit of practice, I was easily able to maintain my usual 2-inch groupings from 40 yards, and the bow was accurate enough on the water to nab fish both big and small. I’ve nabbed everything from catfish to stingrays using the Panther’s bowfishing edition.

Can I Use This Bowfishing Recurve For Hunting?

This is a funny question, since the Panther BF sticks out in the woods like a sore thumb, but it gets asked nevertheless. The short answer is, I suppose you could, if you had the right draw weight. The longer answer is that the Panther BF was never designed for hunting purposes, but it can certainly be used in that regard if you really want to. With a 55# draw weight, the Panther BF is definitely powerful enough for taking down deer and elk, and I suppose the short limb lengths would make it ideal for maneuvering through the bush and in the treestand. Still, its blue “water reaper” paint design is rather distinctive, but probably not moreso than some of the stark white recurves I’ve seen used afield for hunting.
link to beginner's buying guide

Is The Panther BF Appropriate For Beginners?

The Panther BF is designed, really, for one purpose: bowfishing. Yes, bowfishing is archery, but it’s a specialized form of archery. If you’re new to the sport, you should start off with a regular recurve first, and move your way up (or maybe it’s sideways) to the bowfishing variety of archery. The Panther BF is weighted specifically for use from a fishing stance, and as such will not really perform as well in a beginner’s hands in the land-based shooting that you need to do in order to beef up your form and accuracy.

What Are The Best Arrows To Use With The Panther BF?

We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it depends on what you want to use the bow for. This even applies to fishing, since you’ll use a different arrow for hunting smaller species like tilapia and catfish than you would for larger game like stingrays. Check out our guide to arrow selection to figure out what the best arrow is for you.

Will The Panther BF Take A Beating?

The metal riser is machined and very durable, and the limbs are well-made and laminated with black fiberglass. As such, this is a very durable bow that will last for years, if it’s properly cared for. By “properly cared for,” I mean making sure you unstring and takedown the bow when you’re done, to preserve the life of the limbs and the string. So far, I haven’t noticed any hint of limb twist or any other problems with the Panther BF.

What Strings Will Fit This Recurve Bow?

This bow is a 50-inch AMO length, so it will take any string of the proper length. The limb tips are reinforced, so you could even use a Flemish or Fastflight string with the Panther BF.

Is The Recurve Heavy?

At 2.8 pounds, I’ve seen heavier bowfishing recurves, but I’ve also seen lighter. Even with almost three pounts of heft, the Panther BF doesn’t really feel like a heavy bow, and I’ve been able to use it for hours without any problems of fatigue or hand cramping.

How Quiet Is The Bow?

The Vortex VEMS system installed in the riser makes this particular recurve almost completely vibration-free. There is no noticeable hand shock or vibration, and very little string noise when you fire the bow. I’ve seldom heard a quieter bowfishing recurve, so I’d say yes; the Martin Archery Panther BF is very quiet.

Recurve Bow Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the Martin Archery Panther BF. This is an excellent bow for bowfishing, and has already served me well in that regard. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with either a bowstringer or a bowfishing reel, so you’ll need to make sure you purchase separately those items and any other accessories you might want to use in your adventures. Take a look at Today's price if you’re interested.

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