Martin Archery Willow Review – a Recurve Bow Inspection


LengthBow WeightDraw WeightTakedown?
Martin Archery Willow

Martin Archery Willow

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6035, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.
How to: choose arrows, draw weight, and tune your recurve
35 to 50 lbs.Yes

- Toolless assembly
- Beautiful wood pattern and laminated limbs
- Predrilled for stabilizer, sight, or Berger button
- Limbs occasionally crack early on
- Some packaging lacks warranty cards or registration info
- No brass inserts for the accessory holes
Also recommended: Best Martin BowsCompare prices across top hunting gear sellers

Well hey there, and thanks for stopping by! It’s time for another recurve review, so we’re going to take a look at one of Martin Archery’s latest additions in the wood riser takedown niche. This bow, the Martin Archery Willow, is a pristine wood recurve with the traditional dark Martin limbs. How well does the bow stand up against Martin’s reputation, though? Let’s find out.

What’s Included In The Box?

martin-willowWhen you unbox your Martin Archery Willow, you should find the following items:

  • The Martin Archery Willow recurve bow, including riser and limbs
  • Assembly hardware
  • Bow string
  • Warranty registration card
  • Owner’s manual
  • Martin Archery 2015 product catalog

From talking to others who have purchased this particular bow, it seems there’s a problem on Martin Archery’s packaging line: some buyers didn’t get the owner’s manual or warranty registration card. That makes it very difficult to get repair work done if/when you run into a snag or defect with your bow.

There’s also no bow stringer included, so make sure you purchase one before you try to get started.

Is The Martin Archery Willow Recurve Bow Easy To Assemble?

With its fitted limb pockets and toolless assembly, the Willow is very easy to put together. All you have to do is attach the limbs to the riser, fasten the bolts down good and tight, and then string your bow. Since the Willow doesn’t come with a bowstringer, make sure you buy one or have one on hand. Stringing a bow without a bowstringer is dangerous and leads to inaccurate shooting later on down the line.

What About Accessories?

You’ll need to purchase the brass inserts separately, but the Martin Archery Willow does have the holes predrilled for a stabilizer, sight, and/or Berger button. Feel free to get your favorite accessories, your nocking points, and string silencers if you want them. Once you have your accessories installed on your new Willow recurve, you should check out our handy four-part guide to tuning a recurve bow.

Is The Willow Accurate And Powerful?

Martin Archery’s Willow recurve bow is available in draw weights from 35# to 50#, in 5-pound increments, so it’s as powerful as you really want it to be. I went with the 50# model, and have found it to be quite hard-hitting and accurate. From 40 yards, the Willow and I are able to keep shooting 2-inch groupings all day long, so I’d call it a pretty accurate bow.

link to beginner's buying guide

Can I Use This Recurve Bow For Hunting?

With the recurve bow available in draw weights set to 40# and higher, you can certainly use the Martin Archery Willow for hunting. It’s 60″ AMO length makes it an almost perfect fit for moving through brush and sticks, and it maneuvers well in tree stands. Archery hunting season has barely begun in my neck of the woods, but the Willow has already helped me harvest a 10-point buck who barely crawled 50 yards before taking his dirt nap.

Will Beginners Be Able To Learn On This Bow?

bow-takedown-willow1The Martin Archery Willow is an amazingly forgiving recurve bow, so beginners shouldn’t have much problem in that regard. It accepts the most common accessories, which I usually recommend novices use when they’re getting started in archery. I may prefer instinctive shooting off-the-shelf without the use of a sight for my own personal archery, I always recommend those new to the sport use at least a sight and an arrow rest to best learn the skills and techniques required to build up confidence and accuracy. Since the Willow is such an accurate bow, the confidence will come naturally and the sight will help develop technique.

What Are The Best Arrows To Use With The Bow?

I really dislike this question, but I get asked it all the time. The short answer is, “It depends.” The longer answer is that it depends on what you’re going to be shooting for. You’ll use different arrows for target shooting than you would for hunting, and much different arrows for competition shooting. If you want a more definitive guide to selecting arrows, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to choosing the right arrows for your needs.

How Durable Are The Limbs And Riser On The Recurve?

Here is where things can get dicey. I haven’t had any problems at all with my limbs or my riser, but I’ve read a few isolated cases of the limbs beginning to crack early on. Martin tends to use the same dark limbs for various models of bow, and I’ve never run across this. Nevertheless, I can’t ignore the fact that some people are reporting it. My advice is to make sure you never, ever dry fire the bow. Furthermore, if your package doesn’t include a warranty registration card, return it and get one that comes with it.

What Strings Will Fit This Recurve Bow?

The Willow uses 60″ AMO length strings, and the limb tips are reinforced. This means you can use any appropriate length and draw weight string, whether a standard dacron or a FastFlight or Flemish string on your Martin Archery Willow.

Is It Heavy?

Martin Archery doesn’t give the exact weight of the Willow, but I peg it at under 3 pounds. It’s a pretty lightweight bow, and doesn’t have much handshock or vibration when you shoot it. I can carry my Willow around all day long without feeling fatigued, and can shoot it for hours without any cramping or other problems.

How Quiet Is The Bow?

The Willow is a fairly quiet bow, but you can always make it quieter. If you plan on hunting deer or elk with the bow, I strongly recommend installing string silencers and maybe even limb vibration reducers to make it even quieter. The one buck I took a shot at never heard the shot coming, and I just have string silencers installed. I was 30 yards out, though, which helps. If you think you might get into close quarters with a deer or elk, you want to be as silent as you can be.

Recurve Bow Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the Martin Archery Willow Recurve. My particular Willow has been a great little bow so far, but others haven’t reported as much luck. If you do buy a Willow, make sure you can register the warranty in case any problems crop up during the warranty period.

Take a look at Today's price if you’re interested in buying.

1 Comment

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  1. Can you tell me the recommended brace height for the Willow? Martin on their page just says 7 1/4. Most other recurves come with a range. Mine seems to be a little on the noisey side. Any help would be appreciated. The bow shoots great for me. Just trying to tune it in now. Thanks.

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