Martin Diablo Recurve Bow Review (Sometimes “Panther”)

Bow Name

LengthBow WeightDraw WeightTakedown?
Martin Archery Diablo

Martin Diablo Recurve Review

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62"2.7 lbs.

How to: choose arrows, draw weight, and tune your recurve
35, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.icon-yes

- VERY powerful and efficient transfer of energy to the arrow
- Pretty much vibration-free
- Comes with a stringer and arrow rest
- Definitely under-priced
- Looks awesome and is named “Diablo”!
- None worth mentioning
Also recommended: Best Martin BowsCompare prices across top hunting gear sellers

Martin Diablo Package Contents

Welcome to my Martin Diablo review. This is a pretty new bow on the market and I was very excited to give it a try. Let’s start with the contents of the package I ordered:

  • The Martin Diablo riser and limbs
  • Limb tightening bolts with Allen key
  • String
  • Arrow rest
  • Stringer
  • Warranty card
  • Martin’s 2013 product catalog

Assembling The Martin Archery Diablo

Just a matter of attaching the limbs using the bolts and Allen key included with the package. Tighten the bolts, but don’t make them too tight. I already had a stringer (a few actually), but it’s really great that one was included with the package. Beginners with no archery equipment will appreciate this. See our guide on stringing a recurve bow if you need more info.

Lowered Sight Position

Compared to the Martin Jaguar, the location of threaded holes for sight installation has been lowered. This places the sight closer to the arrow and hence makes shooting with a sight much more accurate and easier at distances of ~30 yards and more.

How Powerful And Accurate Is The Martin Diablo?

Martin DiabloThe Martin Diablo draws and shoots exceptionally smoothly. I’ve heard earlier that it was just a slightly upgraded Martin Saber, but I think it’s actually better. It’s so smooth in fact that if you regularly shoot a 40# recurve bow, you can go ahead and get a Diablo with 45# or even 50# of draw weight.

Super accurate and dependable. After I tuned it once, I never had to go back and make any more adjustments. The Martin Diablo shoots really fast. How fast exactly will of course depend on the draw weight you get. If you purchase a 40 lbs. or stronger version, you’ll be easily hitting 30-40 yard targets, and 50-60 yards with some practice (though your groupings likely won’t be as good).

Is The Diablo Suitable For Hunting?

I just got mine a few days ago so really can’t say yet. Once I get a chance to go hunting with it I’ll definitely update this section. That being said, by the looks of it and the way it shoots at the range and in my back yard, I’m absolutely confident it will be a killer. I had very good results, including taking down deer and elk from over 30 yards with much less powerful recurve bows. I actually can’t wait to try out the Diablo in the field.

Is The Martin Diablo Suitable For Beginners?

I believe the Martin Diablo is one of the best recurve bows for beginners out there. It’s very low-maintenance and very forgiving of shooting technique problems.  Strongly recommended for rank beginners as well as those with a bit more experience.

Does This Recurve Accept Accessories?

The Martin Diablo is drilled and the holes are threaded. You won’t have any problems installing accessories, be it a recurve bow sight or a quiver. I personally prefer shooting instinctively and without using aiming devices. It’s definitely a good idea, especially for beginners, to try out a sight. Using it it can actually help you improve shooting form.

Arrows For The Martin Diablo

Arrows depend on a few factors, such as draw length and bow draw weight. See our guide on choosing arrows for guidance and recommendations. Personally I like carbon arrows, and for my 50# version I used 425 grain arrows very effectively.

Is This Bow Comfortable To Hold?

The first time I took hold of the Martin Diablo, it felt so good in my palm I almost wanted to dry fire it just for fun (but I didn’t). It’s honestly one of the most comfortable recurve bows I have ever held. Martin did some excellent work engineering the new riser and their efforts have definitely paid off. The handle will fit both smaller and larger hands equally well.

Materials And Durability (Riser, Limbs)

What’s particularly unique about the Diablo as far as Martin Archery’s recurve bows go is the bridged riser. This is simply a large “groove” in the riser, with the outlines made from carbon. The large opening in the riser significantly reduces vibration, making the Martin Diablo super quiet and more accurate

Limbs are laminated wood and fiberglass. Looks like great craftsmanship, typical of Martin’s products. No tiny separation of the layers nor any micro-bubbles underneath the surface so far.

The Martin Diablo also comes with an arrow rest. Nothing to be crazy about and its made of plastic so it’ll wear out quite quickly, especially if using aluminum arrows. Still it’s great that a rest is included, especially from a beginner’s point of view.

What String Fits The Martin Diablo?

The tips of the Martin Diablo are reinforced, so you can use quality FastFlight strings. (Get the ones with an AMO length of  62″.) The string that comes with the package is quite high quality in itself, which is a pleasant surprise. The string included with the package was a 14 strand Dacron I believe.

Is The Diablo a Heavy Bow?

At 2.7 lbs., it’s quite light. Personally I had some extra accessories installed so the weight of my whole bow was closer to 3.4 lbs. Without any additional extras though, it’s as light as quality recurve bows come.

How Loud Is The Martin Diablo?

Another thing that impressed me about the new Martin Diablo 2013 is how quiet it is. I only placed two whisker silencers on the string and it was one of the quietest shoots I’ve ever had. Even without the whiskers it’s still super quiet. Definitely excited to see how it will perform on a hunting trip.

Martin also used their Vibration Vortex VEMs and some extra noise dampeners where the limb is inserted into the riser. This significantly reduces vibrations. Vibration reduction not only makes the Diablo more comfortable to shoot, but also much more quiet.

Martin Diablo Recurve Bow Review – Summary

We appreciate you checking out our Martin Diablo recurve bow review. This beauty was released in 2013 and, while I haven’t used it much yet, I believe it to be one of the finest recurve bows available on the market today for less than $400.  Very comfortable, surprisingly powerful, pretty much vibration-free, perfect balance, and a quality string and stringer included. What more could you ask for? See Today's price on the Martin Diablo.


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