A recurve bow is a very traditional type of bow, and are close relatives to the self-reliant hunting bows that date back thousands of years. There is an art to mastering a traditional bow and this includes a lot of practice and the development of technique.
There are many advantages to using a recurve bow beside the traditional look and feel. Firstly, they are lighter and easier to carry which is very advantageous when hunting. Also, being such traditional and stripped-back bows, there are fewer mechanisms to maintain and upkeep.
Recurve bows also shoot faster and more powerfully than a longbow, and this is because of their number-three shape. The bow curves out towards the target at the tips, and the draw length on a recurve bow is more crucial than when using a longbow.
Whereas a traditional bow’s bowstring can be drawn back as far as you can, a recurve bow has a set drawback length. But this can always be adjusted and extended with bow maintenance tools.
However, there are drawbacks to a recurve bow. As we have discussed, a recurve bow does not have the mechanisms – such as wheels and pullies – that compound bows or crossbows have. This means they rely entirely on your upper body strength, and despite being a lightweight bow they require more force to draw.
You also need to be closer to your target when using a recurve bow, and this technique requires a lot of practice to be able to master. This can often take years, so practicing with a recurve bow can be quite time-consuming.
Is it ok to keep a recurve bow strung?
While you can leave a recurve bow strung for practically an unlimited amount of time, you should not. Leaving a recurve bow strung can damage the bow, wear the string down, and you could potentially break the bow or even hurt yourself. This should always be avoided.
Each bow has a limit and the first of these is the draw weight of the bow. This weight dictates the bow’s power, dictates the type of power you can produce with the bow, and is also the minimal required strength to draw that bow.
As recurve bows are usually used for practice, tournaments, and hunting small game they tend to have less draw power and are unable of holding much pressure on the strings. The drawing power of the bow is its true limit.
Using the bow beyond that limit and applying more pressure than it can handle will most likely break the bow. Of course, higher-quality bows will last longer than lower-quality bows, but it is still important to treat the bows with care and use them properly.
If you’re thinking of buying your first bow, it’s important to know all the aspects of it. Regardless of what bow you choose, you must learn its anatomy, strength, qualities, and weaknesses to ensure its longevity. If your bowstring breaks, however, it is worth investing in a new one.
How long does a recurve bow last?
A well-made recurve bow can last a long time with proper maintenance and storage, usually up to 20 years – or even 50 in some cases! This, of course, requires regular maintenance and a lot of care. Broken tips, cracks, and splintering are the main signs that the limbs of the bow are getting old.
It is advisable to choose a takedown recurve bow over a one-piece recurve.
There is no difference in cost, but takedown recurve bows are easier to store and last longer due to their replaceable limbs. If you notice any signs of wear and tear on the limbs or need to change your draw weight, swap out the limbs for new ones.
A recommended maintenance routine for a recurve bow would be to look at the bow for any damage, regularly check the bowstring and replace it when needed, keep the bow clean and dry, and lightly wax the bowstring after each use and keep it unstrung and kept in a protective case when not in use.
Also, check and tighten all the fastens regularly (at least every month), and apply a small amount of bow wax or another lubricant to the fasteners to keep them waterproof.
Another tip would be to give your recurve bow a rest by removing its bowstring for storage. You can also keep the pressure off the limbs by protecting them in a hardshell case, or on carefully positioned wall pegs. Also, never hang your bow in direct sunlight as this will cause bleaching and brittleness.
Can you shoot a recurve bow with a release?
Yes, it is safe to use a release aid on your recurve bow. As there are no technical aspects to the bow shooting without a release aid is impossible. To shoot a recurve bow with a release all you need to do is replace your nocking points with a D-loop. However, you cannot participate in recurve competitions with a release.
Shooting with a release aid will change a lot of your bow’s dynamics, so you will have to make some changes when you shoot. If you do not wish to make changes, you can always use a tab instead.
The major technical difference between a recurve bow and a compound bow is the let-off that recurve bows do not have.
This is irrelevant when it comes to a release though, as most compound archers shoot with a release because the angle of the string is steeper. This makes it very hard and uncomfortable to shoot without a release.
As we have mentioned, you can shoot a recurve bow without a release but some adjustments will need to be made. You can technically click the release directly on the string, but some problems arise when doing this.
Firstly, it will wear out the serving on your string, and also the release will slide around on the string which can make it difficult to control when you draw the bow.