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Starting Archery - Recurve or Compound

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Fatman, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Fatman

    Fatman Member

    Thinking of taking up Archery...

    Should I start with a recurve or go straight to compound? Anyone with pros/cons?
  2. Zeeemu

    Zeeemu Well-Known Member

    I started with a wood recurve bow. Years later I tried a compound and found it much heavier and rather cumbersome in it's complexity. I suppose it boils down to personal preference and intended use. I'd advise you to try both and decide which type suites you best.
  3. kbbailey

    kbbailey Well-Known Member

    Very good advice Zeeemu.
    For hunting, I would recommend a compound. They are faster and flatter shooting, and will nearly double your effective range. For targets and fun shooting either will be fun.

    That being said....I have both and prefer my recurve. I like to keep things simple. (just my $.02)
  4. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    I've fired both and really prefer a compound. I just dont really enjoy shooting a recurve. My brother-in-law and I got into archery at the same time. He got a recurve, I got a compound. We shoot together often, and use each other's bow occasionally. I still prefer my compound and have no interest in a recurve. He prefers his recurve but says he wants to buy a compound too. Just depends on the person.
  5. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    Compound. You are far more likely to kill, rather than wound, your target with a compound at a given range. Plus you get more range from a compound.
    Huge difference in the power and speed.
    The chance of a deer running off with an arrow stuck in it ismuch higher, for a begginer with a recurve (or longbow). With a compound you will probably either miss, or kill it.
    In experienced hands a recurve (or long bow) is still deadly, but a compound is just easier to get a clean kill for a begginer.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2013
  6. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    Nobody really posted pros/cons, including me. Here are the ones I can think of:

    Compound Pros
    Sighting system built in
    Generally shoots faster than a recurve
    Has a % let-off at full draw
    Accuracy will be easier for a beginner
    Most compounds have an adjustable range for draw weight (about ten pounds avg)

    Compound Cons
    Bow itself is heavier than a recurve
    Bow tends to be louder than a recurve when shot (though not always the case)
    Mechanical parts allow for possibility of breaking (though I've never experienced this)

    Recurve Pros
    Bow is much lighter than a compound
    Faster handling, faster to get a shot off
    ETA: Cool factor - pretend you're Robin Hood when shooting (not joking; that's appealing to me lol)

    Recurve Cons
    Could be more difficult to become proficient due to lack of sighting system
    Generally shoots somewhat slower than a compound
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  7. Fatman

    Fatman Member

    That's all really good information. What about cost? How much should I plan to lay out in either direction?
  8. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    Recurves are generally cheaper. If you're going to hunt i'd recommend at least 50 lb draw - the heavier the better. And yes you can put sights on a recurve. My recurve has studs built into it, a quiver came attached to these points. A sight setup will also work attached to these studs. Mine also had a stud installed in the front so I could install a vibration dampener, the same that compounds use. Mine is a nice 70's vintage Bear, however I would recommend buying a newer recurve. The older bows are not supposed to be able to safely use the newer material string.
    Though I enjoy my recurve I would also like a compound someday.
  9. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    A nice recurve will run you $250 or so. Add $100 to $200 for a halfway decent compound. And be prepared to lay out on arrows and all sorts of accessories. My nice carbon arrows run about $80 per dozen.
  10. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    A bit over a year ago, I spent $400 for a "RTH" (ready to hunt) entry-level compound bow (a Bear Charge). RTH means it came with the peep/tubing, sight pins, quiver, stabilizer, and arrow rest. There are cheaper and more expensive RTH bows (ranging about $300 to $500 or so), but all the "accessories" I listed above that come with the packages are generally going to be the most inexpensive products of their type. If you get one of these, you still need to buy arrows (~$40 for six), field points and/or broadheads (field points are about five bucks for a dozen, broadheads range in price, usually starting around $30 for a pack of three), string wax (a couple bucks), and a case (about $35). You'll also need a target if you want to shoot at home, or you can use a bale of hay with firewood stacked behind it. Just start shooting up close.

    My BIL bought a take-down recurve (forget the brand) for around $250 or so. Only thing he had to buy was a quiver, arrows, and field points/broadheads.
  11. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Little bit of falsehood there about traditional bows. They are no less likely to kill an animal than a compound, provided the hunter be ethical and responsible with his shots. A deer running off with an arrow in its butt is the result of a bad shot, not a problem you can blame on equipment choice.

    Moreover, the speed thing is overrated, at least as an argument against traditional bows. Yes, there are fast bows out there, and they are nice, accurate bows. But to imply that a recurve or longbow can't efficiently kill big game is patently ridiculous. The gazillion or so animals killed in the last couple of millennia will all attest to the fact that traditional bows work just fine.
  12. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Buy both.

    I started with archery about four months ago, with a compound bow. My original intention was for 95% target shooting and 5% hunting. I spent about $700 on a PSE Brute X with accessories. With a 45# draw, I can practice steadily for about 3 hours, before I need to take a significant break. From my internet research, 40# is a common lower threshold for deer hunting, and 55# is an ample draw weight for deer hunting. It only took me a few hours to be able to shoot 6" groups at 20 yards.

    I am working on building up my draw strength.

    For Xmas, I picked up a Ragim Wildcat, an entry level takedown recurve bow, with 24# limbs. Again, this is a draw weight I can hold comfortably, and shoot for 3 hours solid. The bow cost $150, and is perfect for backpacking trips.

    From my short experience, the Wildcat is doing much more for building my draw strength. The hold weight on the recurve doesn't change, but the compound has a let off of about 80%, which in this case means 9#. The recurve is definitely helping me train for my recurve. This is important as I do not foresee myself ever being able to draw and hold a 70# recurve, but the compound is another matter.

    Further, I think having recurve skill is important in survival situations. Recurve skills are more applicable an to improvised bow, than a compound bow. Fashioning an improvised bow, whether from natural elements, or bits and pieces from a hardware store, is a conceivable situation.

    A modern, gadget heavy compound bow is easier to shoot with high accuracy. A recurve bow can be stripped down to the essence if KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid) theory. The two share many skills, so competency in one won't interfere with the other. The compound. May end up like your tacticool AR. The recurve will probably remain like your stock 30-30 lever action.
  13. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    You'll develop sklls, and maintian those skills with far less practice time with a compound. A recurve or longbow can be more accurate than many think, but it requires a lot more time and effort to get to the same skill level. The skills fade quicker if not maintained.

    I like my recurve bows better. But I can pick up my compound and start hitting the bullseye almost instantly after months of non use. I cannot do that with the recurve.
  14. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    Who said that? I don't see that in this thread.
  15. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    No one did directly, hence the reason I said "imply" but if your looking for the remark that made me think that, it was you. There isn't any reason a beginner would be any unluckier with a recurve than a compound, provided that in either case the hunter is taking an ethical shot within his or her capabilities.
  16. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    Boy, did you read that wrong!
  17. Loc n Load

    Loc n Load Well-Known Member


    Fatman did not state whether he intended to hunt with the bow or not, I started shooting a 60" Indian Brand fiberglass long bow in the 60's as a youngster, I learned the basic skill sets that are necessary for accurate bow shooting. In the 70's I bought a recurve and hunted with it for years, killed the largest buck with it that I have ever harvested. In the 80's I made the transition to the compound, because it became quite obvious to me when shooting side by side with other archers that the compound shot much faster and flatter. If you want to shoot for recreation and the asthetics of archery, then I would recommend a recurve or even a long bow.....I have come full circle and now shoot recurves and long bows for recreation and for maintaining my upper body strength, hand / eye coordination and muscle tone at 60 yrs of age. I have killed over 50 deer with bows, both recurves and compounds.....I have never shot one at a range beyond 30 yds.....the recurves I limited my shots to 20 yds. I have never lost an animal, which I pride myself on that fact. This past summer I started teaching my grand children how to shoot a long bow....good gun for all concerned.
  18. Sobel

    Sobel Well-Known Member

    I know nobody would advocate using a bow as a self defense weapon,but in a dire situation would a bow suffice? I'm probably messing myself up comparing fps of a bow to a handgun or long gun to see if a bow could reliably work in the burglar removal department. I've tried reading about how the medieval bow was used. Seems like all they did was poke holes to make the enemy less effective for the man at arms to go into melee with.
  19. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    People still hunt moose and bears with a bow and arrow. I have read accounts of hunters complaining about broadhead tipped arrows shooting completely through deer. Compare the wound channel of a razor sharp 3 blade broadhead with a diameter of 1.5 inches to a 45acp hollowpoint. Also an arrow flying at hunting velocities is perfectly capable of a dissabilitating CSN shot.

    I think it would be sufficient for self defense, provided the shooter has sufficient skill. But unless you happen to be Legolas, your follow-up shot probably wouldn't be all that fast.

    I will say this. During my approximately 4 months experience with archery, I have had far more "inadvertent misfires" with a bow than I have had in almost 40 years in using firearms. By this, I mean that I let the arrow fly before I had the intention to do so. Simply obeying the 4 firearms rules goes a long way to preventing that when using firearms.
  20. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    The medieval bow may be functionally the same as a modern longbow (lol), but the broadhead is not. Medieval archers loosed arrows with tips that were much more like oir field points than our hunting broadheads. The reason was because an arrow topped with a spike was much better at piercing armor than an arrow topped with the rough equivalent of a sharpened spoon.

    That being said, a bow with a hunting broadhead should be at least as effective as running somebody through with a broadsword (read: extremely effective) but your maneuverability will suffer and you'll probably be very exposed when shooting.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013

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