How to Pick a Recurve Bow

We need to consider that old saying…

“you only get what you pay for” 

…when thinking about how to pick a recurve bow.

All of us has heard that saying many times and it’s true, the same principal applies to archery equipment.

However, shrewd archers can save time and money if they’re familiar with what’s on offer at any particular time if they are in the market for archery equipment.

With such a diverse choice of gear available from manufacturers all over the globe, it might be difficult to know where to begin particularly if you’re thinking about the best recurve bow to buy

How About Some Archery Tips to Kick it Off

Determine exactly what you require:

  • A rest
  • A bow string
  • A button
  • A riser
  • Sights
  • A pair of limbs
  • A stabilisation device

Other attachments are required to shoot a conventional recurve bow, such as those used in the Olympics. These recurve bow archery buying tips will help you to make the right decision.

Start by planning how much you want to invest on your gear and be prepared to dismiss ‘anything shiny’ that grabs your attention while shopping.

Be a Little Ruthless

Not long after finishing your newby training is the perfect time to purchase your new bow. You’ll have refined your fundamental form, and a trainer will be able to better judge what type of gear you’ll require.

Consider your own draw length and the affect it may have on your equipment before selecting a bow. 

The recurve bow’s total height needs to be equal (approximately) to your particular draw length after 40 inches is added to it. Normal configurations typically vary from 66 inches to around 72 inches, while junior archers have more options to choose from.

All Stand for The Riser

This is the portion of the bow where you should purchase the best that you can afford. The riser is the star of any bow, and a good quality one will last the lifetime of the bow.  

Your disposable cash will influence the type of risers you choose, but if you have the opportunity to actually go to a store yourself, handle as many risers as you can so you’re able to experience and compare the different weight and balance of each one.

Credible archery stores will offer a good selection and will allow you try as many risers as you wish. 

Risers are manufactured from a variety of materials, including the more conventional option of wood. Additionally they’re available in metal, as well as carbon fibre. There’s a little bit of good and bad in whichever option you end up choosing!

Risers that are manufactured from wood or carbon do not weigh much and require additional stability to maintain balance, however those made from aluminium are exceptionally durable. 

Wooden bows have a restricted selection and are typically preferred by individuals who are more involved in traditional shooting, whereas both metal and carbon risers benefit from current technology. 

Appropriate balance, superior hand placement, straightness (a ‘bent’ riser is a bad riser), and design are all characteristics of a good riser. Its form and weight determines how the limbs are going to flex and the general behaviour of the bow when fired.

A Pair of Limbs

 In regards to novices, their learning and ultimate success are vital factors to consider while choosing limbs. With the exception of screw-in and the current Hoyt Formula styles, most products on the market fit the ILF system which works cross-brand. 

You’ll probably outgrow your initial pair of limbs in a matter of months thus, buying limbs at the lower price brackets is most certainly a smart move.

This strategy ensures that when you have outgrown your limbs, you can replace them without worrying about the cost too much, and you will not need concern yourself with trying to sell-off an expensive piece of gear, they can simply be discarded.

Choosing a poundage (the ‘draw back’ weight of the limb) for your initial pair of limbs that’s close to, or a little heavier, than what you were utilising in your prior shoot. The majority of adult archers will choose poundage between 18 and 32. 

When fired, each type and variety of limbs will provide a distinctly different sensation when you’re using the bow.

Some will be sharp, while others are supple, some are made from cutting-edge fibreglass or carbon fibre technologies, while others are coated with foam, and yet others have hardwood cores, generally bamboo. Limb selection is a very personal decision. 

Many businesses provide a novice limb rental programme, which is a great alternative.

Your Bow String

In order to accommodate the many and varied bows on the market, strings are available in a variety of lengths, materials, and thickness. Make sure the string you buy is the correct length.

Strings with extra strands (thicker strings) are best suited for larger poundages and are slower, yet may better match your arrow nocks. 

If possible, go for a nocking point that’s tied instead of a brass option since this will extend the life of the string and the finger tab. Top archers frequently utilise the plain white colour out of the various options that are available.

This colour reflects in hot conditions and the heat has little effect on the string. If the string is  stretched in the correct manner when manufactured, you won’t notice much of a difference.

The Sight

Your bow sight really needs to be a ‘top of the range’ piece of equipment because, Just like  any buying situation, you will only ever get what you pay for.

What you don’t want is a cheap site that’s going to shake itself to pieces after a few rounds or be too delicate to adjust. 

Micro-adjustable components, greater construction quality, and better materials are all features of more advanced sights. Choose something durable and trustworthy as this piece of equipment will be with you for a long time.

The Button and The Rest

Plastic, permanent and magnetic rests are on offer.

A metal rest will last longer and will not need to be replaced for a very long time. Novices however may have a problem trying to adjust them, but they’re a suitable option over a plastic rest. 

Fixed, plastic type rests were in use when archers shot some of the world’s finest scores. 

As the arrow launches from the bow, the button acts as a spring, forcing the arrow away from the riser. It pairs up with the rest to optimise your shooting by allowing exact adjustments and tweaking of your arrows.

It pairs up with the rest to optimise your shooting by allowing exact adjustments and tweaking of your arrows. Currently on the market are a number of buttons that are really affordable.

Some Stabilisation

The bow is balanced and vibration is reduced by using rods of different lengths. Initially, don’t  bother over-investing too much in these rods as most are manufactured to tight tolerances and would suffice for anyone just commencing their journey into archery. 

A well balanced, corrected weighted bow that feels good to shoot, especially when released, is the product of the ultimate stabilised system. 

It’s a smart idea to commence using a long rod and then introduce V bars afterwards. Other choices incorporate top and bottom rods, extra weight, and dampers, all of which are normally added while testing the gear of another archer!

Your Arrows

An aluminium or a more cost effective aluminum/carbon arrow would suffice for novices. The poundage you pull at your maximum draw length determines the spine of your arrow, which should be verified against the makers tuning tables. 

When you obtain new limbs, these values will be different, so buying cheaper arrows now will save you money later when you need to purchase a new set.

Fletch with your favourite vanes, ideally in brighter colours, if you’re planning to shoot outside. For novices, plastic vanes are simple to fix and replace, that said you will undoubtedly want to progress to spin-wings in time. 

For mending damaged arrows, go to your favourite archery shop and grab some spare fletchings and nocks. 

Finger Tabs

It’s better to have a structured finger tab with a shelf or finger divider – or at a minimum, the opportunity to install these features. You’ll need to experiment with these modifications as your shooting skills improve to determine if they work with your technique. 

To begin with, both will feel quite weird!

Other Kit You Need to Consider

An Armguard

An armguard for protecting your forearm from unexpected whipping from bowstring or arrow fletching whipping when shooting, as well as preventing a loose sleeve, particularly a long sleeve, from grabbing your bowstring.

A Chest Guard

A chest guard to protect your chest from the bow string. Chest Guards are used by archers for a number of reasons. 

Archers typically wear them to prevent their chest or clothing getting in the way and shield their chest from being string whipped.  You may not require chest protection if you’re flat chested or if the bowstring does not extend to your chest.

A Quiver

A quiver to hold your arrows so they’ll always be where you left them. A quiver is a storage device for arrows, bolts and the like.  

Depending on the manner of shooting and the archer’s personal taste, it can be carried on the archer’s back, on a belt, pushed into the ground with a spike fitted to the bottom or attached to the bow.

In years gone by, quivers were fashioned from fur, leather, wood and other organic material however, nowadays they’re generally of constructed from metal or plastic.

A Tackle Box or Simply a Bag

An archery tackle box is a practical option for holding and protecting all of your archery equipment and general supplies including extra fletches, spare nocks and points as well as waxes and glue.

A Bow Stand

Don’t just drop your bow on the ground between shots, consider investing in a bow stand to keep your bow out of harms way .

They’re available to suite recurve bow or compound bows and they can be used when you’re doing field archery and also target shooting and indoor archery.

An Arrow Puller

An arrow puller (essential if your club uses straw bosses) An arrow puller is the most practical “hack” for securely drawing arrows. 

They improve your grasp on the arrow, increase the effective diameter of the arrow you’re pulling for a better grip, and offer extra stiffness to keep the arrow from being bent by your grip.

String Wax 

Waxing your string is a good idea, it keeps it from becoming frayed, creates a waterproof layer to keep the strands dry, and keeps the twists in place. 

Should water get into the string between the strands, it becomes heavier, causing the arrows to travel at a slower speed, which affects your groups as well as your sightmarks.

A Body or Finger Sling

Bow and finger slings will help to provide your bow with a more relaxed grip whilst shooting, they can also provide you with the option of assisting you to carry your bow when involved in field archery.

Archery Gloves

Made from sensuous soft leather?… Yes Please!

There are many archers who wear gloves to protect their fingers and their hands when shooting. Yes, they do. They’ll wear one on their draw hand to safeguard their fingers from the string damage, and another on their firing hand to shield the top part of their hand from where your arrow is shot.

The more expensive archery gloves are made from beautiful soft leather

Personal choice and budget play a role in selecting various pieces of equipment. There’s a vast selection of archery equipment to accommodate archers of various abilities and styles, so if you are not sure if a component, or the cost of it, is right for you, ask! 

Ideas to Help You Find the Perfect Recurve Bow

To choose an archery recurve bow is far less difficult than you think. You could have become bewildered after checking out all the many models that are available but this is perfectly normal for the majority of novices.

However, it’s good to keep in mind that any recurve bow you choose will do the job and you will be satisfied with your decision, as long as you keep in mind these qualifying questions that need to be asked.

What Are Your Plans For It? 

If your plan is to purchase a recurve bow for hunting or simply for target practice? If you merely want to use your bow for target practise then just about any bow will do you.   

You can basically use any Recurve Bow for target practise, no matter what your skill level is so simply choose one that fits your price bracket and looks decent. 

If You Wish to Hunt with Your Bow: 

While any recurve bow may be used for target practise, not every recurve bow can be successfully used for bowhunting.

However, the draw weight of your bow and not the specific type or brand you choose, is the most critical factor in determining whether or not you’re able to hunt using a recurve. 

If you weren’t already aware a bow’s draw weight relates to the total effort required to pull a bow string back to a distance of 28 inches for a recurve bow.  

Your bow will be more powerful and your arrow will go further with more force, if you increase the draw weight. 

Allow Me to Explain Why This is Significant.

When practising target shooting, a strong bow isn’t required. Your arrow merely has to pierce the styrofoam or cardboard of your bullseye, which takes very little to no effort at all. Things are different while hunting, your arrow needs to pass through the animal’s thick hide, tissue, and even the bone of the animal.

So What’s the Solution? 

Don’t be overly concerned about trying to figure out what recurve bow you should buy because the answer is simple, select a recurve bow with a draw weight of 40 pounds or more.

Remember that  a 35 pound, or even a 30 pound bow will do for small/medium size game such as turkey or rabbit, but anything larger such as deer or elk, will require a bow with a minimum draw weight of at least 40 pounds.   

However, there is one caveat: many novices are simply not strong enough to manage a draw weight of 40 pounds or more. 

So, if you’ve never had any experience shooting a recurve bow before, how do you know if you’ll be able to manage it?

Take a look at recurve bow draw weight chart to get started. By just entering your body weight into the table, you may immediately calculate the estimated draw weight range that you’ll be able to bear as a novice. 

It’s important to note that you may quickly increase your draw weight once you get started. And so  whilst you may not be unable to carry more than 30 pounds according to the table, a 40-pounder will be more than doable after a few month’s practise.

A Quick Summary:

If target practice is your primary concern, any recurve bow will do the job admirably. 

However, if your primary purpose is to hunt, any recurve bow will suffice as well so long as it has a 40 pound plus draw weight. Just about all recurve bows that you can buy are in the 40 pound weight range, so you will not have a problem finding one that suits you perfectly.

Do You Need a Take-Down Recurve?

You must determine whether you want a take-down bow, prior to making a purchase.

When the two limbs of a recurve can be detached from the riser, the bow is dubbed a take-down. 

When the two limbs of a recurve can be detached from the riser, the bow is dubbed a take-down.  

Here’s a couple of reasons to consider a take-down bow:

  • Bows that can be ‘taken down’ are easier to travel with. 
  • Your bow is considerably easier to pack away and storage. 
  • When disassembled, it will fit into a shoulder bag as hand luggage for a flight.

If any of these benefits are of interest to you, then a take-down may be what you’re after… so read on!

The Take Down Recurve Bow

It’s easy to maintain a take-down recurve. If by chance one of the limbs is damaged or broken you can easily remove the broken part and send it to be repaired or just by a new limb!

Last but no least, a take-down bow is ideal for novices since the draw weight can be adjusted. Basically, the rigidity and structure of your bow’s limbs influences its draw weight.

If you happened to purchase a recurve with a draw weight of 30 pounds and changed your mind down the track by deciding you want to upgrade to 40 pound draw weight, you don’t have to buy a new bow; all that needs to be done is replacing the 30 pound limbs with a new set of limbs that are the draw weight you’re looking for.

How Heavy Should The Bow Be?

But hold on… 

The draw weight is not the only factor to consider. 

The weight of the bow itself is also significant. Keep in mind that, when shooting, you’re required  to keep the bow out in front for long periods of time. 

Solid recurves normally weigh between 2 and 3.5 pounds, and they are generally safe to choose if you’re a novice. If you’re unsure about how much weight you can comfortably manage, go for a bow that weighs no more than 3 pounds. 

However, this isn’t anything that I’d be too concerned about.

How Long Should The Recurve Be?

A bow that is at double the length of your draw length is ideal. If you have a 28 inch draw length, you’ll need a recurve that’s 56 inches or longer. 

If you have a 28 inch draw length, you’ll need a recurve that’s 56 inches or longer. In general, the longer the bow, the more precise it is. 

Another thing to think about when choosing a recurve bow is if you want to use it with a bow sight or any other accessories. Some recurve bows are pre-drilled the required attachment holes, while others are not.

A sizeable number of traditional archery fans prefer the “stick and string” experience over using sights or accessories. You can still instal a basic peep sight (which can be affixed to the bow string) or a glue-on arrow rest even if the riser is not predrilled for any accessories.


Here’s a quick rundown on how to pick a recurve bow: 

  • If you wish to hunt, choose a draw weight that is appropriate for your body type, and make sure it is at least 40 pounds. Any draw weight will suffice for target practise.

  • Based on the facts supplied above, decide whether you want a take-down bow or a traditional one-piece bow. 

  • For starters, be sure your recurve bow does not weigh more than 3.4 pounds. 

  • At minimum, choose a bow that’s at least double the length of your pull. 

  • Determine whether you require a bow that’s been drilled to cater for extra accessories.