7 Tips on Buying a New Recurve Bow

Important Note:
We strongly recommend reading our guide on How To Choose a Recurve Bow. It contains everything you need to know, including the accessories you should get.

Below are 7 basic tips to help you determine what recurve bow to get. For a more detailed guide, please visit the link in the dotted green box above.

#1: Is the manufacturer reliable?

This should be the first question you ask yourself. There are many companies that make recurve bows out there, however the majority of them offer inferior products with one of the following problems:

1. Terrible riser with an uncomfortable grip
2. Non-flexible limbs
3. Lack of resistance to atmospheric changes
4. Low-quality strings

To help you determine whether a brand is worth your time, I have compiled a list of the top recurve bow manufacturers. I’ve probably missed out on one or two, but in general anything from that list is a safe pick.

#2: The weight of the bow (don’t confuse with draw weight)

The lighter the bow, the longer you’ll be able to carry it around and the longer you’ll be able to shoot it without tiring out. Your decision here will vary depending on what you plan to use the bow for (do you plan to hunt with your recurve? or just target practice?), and how long you expect you’ll need to carry it around. In general, if you’re going for a long hunting trip, it’s a good idea to have a recurve bow that is lighter than 3 pounds. If you’re going for target practice, bow weight isn’t much of an issue.

#3: Choosing your draw weight

The draw weight is basically the amount of force you need to exert on the string in order to use the bow to its full potential. If you are going hunting, you need a bow with a minimum draw weight of 40 lbs. (and preferably even 45 or more if you plan to hunt for bigger game such as elk). This is because a lot of force is required to make sure your prey is pierced deeply enough. If you are only interested in target shooting, then the draw weight won’t matter that much; of course the higher the draw weight, the further you’re arrow will travel, but even a 30 pound draw weight recurve bow will be more than enough for almost any beginner. Here comes the important part: if you’ve never used a recurve bow before, then you should consult my draw weight chart – it will help you determine the appropriate choice for you based on your body frame.

#4: The length of the bow

The rule here is simple: longer bows will typically shoot further and more accurately than shorter ones. To put things into perspective, the medieval English longbow was usually a few inches taller than the archer shooting it, and the estimated effective range of such a bow was over 200 yards. A 60+ inch bow is considered long for a recurve, while anything below that is average. If you are planning to hunt big game from a large distance, then it stands to reason you should go for a long bow, such as the excellent Martin Saber.

Keep in mind though that for most uses, even a 58″ recurve is more than enough. You can easily compare the length of various recurves with the use of my best recurve bow comparison chart. One thing to keep in mind is that it should not be long enough that the bottom limb would touch the ground when the recurve is held in front of you. Don’t worry though – even if you were to buy a bow that is 10 inches longer than your height, it will still do fine. Just make sure not to do anything unreasonable and purchase a 64 inch bow for a 6 year old kid 🙂

#5: Riser quality

The riser should feature a very comfortable grip, and provide for reduced vibration during string release. All of the bows reviewed and mentioned on my website have these two qualities. Additionally, it should include brass bushings for installing additional accessories such as additional stabilizers and a bow sight. This is pretty much the standard nowadays in all modern recurve bows, so you should pretty much assume it is available unless noted otherwise. The material used to make the riser should be a type of hardwood or aluminum – both of which are very durable and light-weight.

#6: Limb quality

Ideally, the limbs should include fiberglass. This makes them more resistant to bending and breaking over time. And once again – you’ll find that fiberglass is a component in the limbs of all the bows mentioned on this website. Check out my recurve bow reviews section for some more information.

#7: Do you need a Take-down recurve bow?

In case you did not know, a take-down bow is one where the two limbs can be detached from the riser by unscrewing two screws. The advantage of this is that it makes the bow much easier to transport and store; and in case anything were to ever break, you wouldn’t need to send in the whole bow for repair – just the part that actually broke. Again, to find recurve bows that are take-downs, check with my comparison chart.

Where To Go From Here?

Now that you know what to look for, feel free to explore the many helpful pieces of content I have prepared for you. Here are a few places to start:


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  1. Question, will a new recurve bow become easier to draw with time as it breaks in? If so, what is this attributed to? Just purchesed a Martin take down recurve. It has a 50# draw wt. @ 62″AMO. I have a 20# recurve that I’ve had forever, this new bow, well let’s just say I’ve started swinging my kettlebell again. Thanks in advanced.

    1. Hi George

      After shooting say 50-200 arrows (depending on the string and how you shoot), the string does indeed stretch out, even if ever so slightly. This will reduce the draw weight though only by a little bit, but it’s definitely not enough to make the bow feel obviously lighter.

      How sure are you of your shooting form? Are you using your back muscles properly?

  2. Hey Mark, firstly, what an excellent website. I’m just starting out and it really has helped me out with what to choose. Quick question though, would I be better off using a recurve or a compound bow for my first? Im 6 foot 3 and 180 pounds in your terms if that will affect the outcome? I’m in Australia and the archery scene in my city is not that great, so an archery shop is out of question… Do you have any advice or links that could help me choose?
    Regards, Michael.

    1. Hi Michael, and thanks for the kind words about the website!

      Since you have no easy access to an archery shop and since you seem to be a beginner, I would go with a recurve simply because it will require less maintenance and is less likely to need servicing. I’d recommend taking a look at Excalibur’s line of crossbows. I’m also planning on writing a “compound vs recurve” guide early February, but I’m guessing you will have already chosen a crossbow by then 🙂

  3. Hi Mark. I’m not finding the information I want on your site, (Though I have found so many helpful articles) I received my first bow from my dad. It used to be his, and is about 40 years old. Unfortunately the wood dried out after many in , and is starting to crack, so now I’m looking at buying one for myself, for the first time.
    The only problem I’m having is finding information on hand orientation. I shoot holding the bow in my left hand, draw with my right. So would this mean that I would purchase a left handed bow? I know it seems basic, but somebody had once mentioned to me that it’s based on the hand you draw with, but I’m not sure how much I trust that information. Thanks in advance for you help!

    1. Hi Crystel,

      The information you got was correct – it’s the hand the draws the bow which determines your orientation, not the hand that holds the bow. So if you draw the bow with your right hand, you’re looking for a right-handed bow. You are right, I should include this info somewhere on the site – probably in the FAQ above! Thank you for stopping by.

  4. I am only interested in hunting. I have two heavy poundage recurve bows which meet my hunting needs for this fall 2015. Eventually, I would like to purchase a heavy poundage takedown recurve bow. I would like to get a high quality bow that has an eighty pound pull, center shot riser, and is a takedown for easier transport. I also want it to be quiet, like a whisper. Am I dreaming or does someone make a bow like this for less than the price of a working old car? I really don’t want to go to a longbow or a compound, but I may, if I can not find a recurve. Thank-you for any guidance.

  5. Hi

    I’m playing archery for almost 3-4 years now but really want to have a recurve bow that i own it myself not from the club. So i really want to know can i make order for one set of recurve bow.

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