Best recurve bow featured image

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:

That buying a good recurve bow can be confusing.

There’s various terminology such as risers, draw weight and draw length. Right-handed vs left-handed bows.

It can feel overwhelming if you’re a novice to bow hunting.

But what if I told you that buying a good recurve isn’t as hard as it seems?

The hardest part is figuring out the terminology and learning what makes one recurve bow better than another.

If you’re ready to buy a new recurve and are wondering if you’re buying the best recurve bow for you then all you have to do is read on...

Best Recurve Bow Reviews

Recurve BowQualityOur Rating
Samick Sage Takedown A+
Bear Archery Grizzly RecurveB+
Martin Archery Jaguar EliteB+
Spyder Takedown RecurveA
SAS Courage TakedownB

Samick Sage Takedown Review

Targeted for beginning archers the Samick Sage Takedown is the flagship bow from Samick takedown line.

The bow itself is incredibly lightweight. Making it a great choice for beginning archers who need to focus on their form.

The bow is a takedown model meaning that the arms can be removed, stored, and carried in a pack. This makes bow hunting a little easier since you don’t have to carry a bow through the woods.

Takedowns are also great for beginners since the arms can be replaced. Novices can buy arms in a lighter draw weight to practice and purchase a higher draw weight once they are comfortable and have developed a good form.

The Samick Sage Takedown comes in draw weights between 30 and 60 pounds making it a good choice for anything from target practice to hunting. It also has a length of 62 inches. Making it a little longer than I would like but the takedown feature makes up for it.

The bow is a little loud when hunting. But it’s priced well for those looking to get into bow hunting without dropping a bunch of cash. So it’s a trade-off.

A few other features of the Samick Sage include classic style riser that is simple but effective and requires no tools to take the bow down.

Overall the Samick Sage Takedown is an excellent bow for beginners or even experienced archers. If you are just starting your journey into archery and bowhunting you can’t go wrong with this bow.

PROS

  • Great price to performance ratio
  • Takedown allows you to easily pack the bow as well as replace limbs
  • Excellent bow for beginners

CONS

  • Can be a little loud for hunting

Bear Grizzly Recurve Review

If you’re looking for a step up in quality the Bear Grizzly is an excellent choice. It comes at a higher price point than the Samick Sage but it has a few advantages over the Samick.

The first advantage the Bear Grizzly has is it’s whisper quiet. Making it a better choice for hunting in quieter areas. Secondly, this bow is extremely accurate. I would even say more accurate than some higher-end models. This gives the bow a great price to performance ratio.

The bow is also incredibly lightweight. Weighing in at roughly 2 pounds. This makes the bow lighter than the Samick. However, the Bear Grizzly is a recurve bow and does not feature a takedown option. I should also mention that this bow is for right-handed people only.

The quality of this bow matches that of higher-end models and bow itself is made from “FutureWood”. Futurewood is created by using a pressurized vacuum to fill all the pores in wood to increase the weight and strength of the wood. Futurewood is extremely difficult to crack making the Bear Grizzly a bow that should last you a long time.

Overall this bow is really well made, lightweight, and accurate. If you’re looking for a bow in the sub 500 dollar range it will be hard to find a better competitor.

PROS

  • Great price to performance
  • Excellent quality
  • Great accuracy

CONS

  • No left-handed models available

Martin Archery Jaguar Elite Review

Another takedown bow the Martin Archery Jaguar Elite is a great bow for beginners.

The bow is fairly sturdy and weighs in at 2.7 pounds. Making it heavier than the Bear Grizzly. However, you do get the added bonus of packability since it is a takedown bow.

The Martin Archery Jaguar Elite features a reflexed, machined aluminum, center shot riser with integrated harmonic dampeners. The dampeners help to eliminate noise and vibration.

Martin also includes removable hard maple recurve limbs that are also found on Martin’s more high end recurve models. Like the Samic, removable limbs allow you to purchase lighter limbs for training to slowly build up your muscle.

If you’re a beginner I would suggest staying away from the 50 pound draw on this bow because it takes a good amount of strength to fully draw the bow. If you’re an experienced archer and want something more sturdy the 555-pound draw weight is a great option.

Overall this bow is great quality, feels sturdy, comes at a decent price point, and is packable. The Martin Archery Jaguar elite makes a great bow for both hunting and bowfishing.

PROS

  • Solid aluminum riser
  • Packable
  • Affordable

CONS

  • No left-handed models available

Spyder Takedown Review

The Spyder Takedown bow by Southwest Archery is often referred to as the Samick Sage 2.

This is mainly due to the fact that it was designed by the same people who designed the Samick Sage.

The Spyder is supposed to be an improved version of the Samick Sage takedown.

Since the Spyder is a takedown bow you can purchase replacement limbs if you are looking for a firmer draw weight. The draw weight for this model ranges from 20 - 60 pounds. Making it great for anyone who is looking to get into archery.

The Spyder is a 3 piece takedown bow that makes it extremely packable. However, the downside is you will need an Allen wrench to assemble or disassemble the bow. You will also need a stringer tool that you can purchase with the bow to string it.

Other than the stringer tool and Allen wrench the bow is designed to be simple to assemble and take apart. Because this bow is basically an upgraded version of the Samick Sage it has an improvement in quality over the Samick.

The hard edges of the riser and the limb pockets you will find on the Samick have been rounded to provide a more streamlined and comfortable experience while shooting. Unlike the two previous bows, the Sypder takedown does offer a left-handed model for left-handed shooters.

Overall the Southwest Spyder Takedown Bow is excellent quality for the price range, a significant improvement over the already fantastic Samick Sage, and is great for novice archers.

PROS

  • Improved design over the Samick Sage
  • Great price to performance ratio
  • Comes in both right and left-handed models

CONS

  • Requires both an allen wrench and stringing tool to assemble

SAS Courage Review

If you think SAS stands for Special Air Service in this instance you’d be wrong.

SAS actually stands for Southland Archery Supply and is a relatively new archery manufacturer in the industry. But don’t let that stop you. The SAS courage has a lot to offer.

The SAS courage comes with a laminated wood riser that feels nice and durable in the hand.

It is similar in quality to bows like the Samick Sage or Southwest Spyder. The most recent version of the courage also comes with pre-installed brass bushings for a plunger, stabilizer, and sight.

Older versions of the bow do not include the brass bushings meaning you’ll either have to deal with a bare bow to drill out the riser yourself. The limbs of this bow are super strong, They are made from two different kinds of wood, Maple, and Makore, and are coated with high strength fiberglass.

As far as shooting and accuracy go the bow is comparable to the Sage and is a great entry level bow. There is some vibration, but it’s minuscule and shouldn’t affect shooting the bow.

The bow can be taken down but requires a hex wrench or Allen key making it less than ideal to be taken down since you’ll need tools to reassemble it.

Overall when it comes to entry level bows the SAS Courage is a great choice. It’s durable, has some great features, and is able to compete with other entry level bows like the Samick Sage.

PROS

  • Left and right-handed models available
  • Affordable
  • Excellent quality

CONS

  • Older models don’t have pre-drilled attachment points
  • Requires tools for taking down

How To Choose The Best Recurve Bow

When you’re looking to purchase any bow there are a few consideration you will need to be aware of.

Draw weight and draw length are two such considerations. A bow must fit the user much like a suit. A bow that is too large or too small for you will perform worse than a bow that is sized for you.

So let’s cover a few key considerations you need to be aware of when purchasing a new bow.

Draw Weight

The first thing you need to know is that bows are often classified by their draw weight and draw length.

The draw weight of a bow is the force required by a user to fully pull or draw the bow back. Correct draw weight is largely determined by the user. Bows come in a variety of draw weights. Draw weights can come in as little as 10 pounds and range all the way to 60+ pounds.

When planning to use a recurve for more than just target shooting, a user should pick a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds. A 40-pound draw weight is the minimum required in most states to hunt game like whitetail deer.

You can kill other smaller game like squirrel or rabbit with a lot less. But if you plan to hunt bigger game like deer your draw weight should start at 40 pounds.

Basically, the higher the draw weight, the further your arrow can travel, and the arrow will have more force when it penetrates your prey. If there is not enough force, the arrow could not fully penetrate causing undue suffering to the animal.

Remember as hunters we always want to go for the ethical kill whenever possible.

If you plan to hunt larger game like elk or bear with a bow, you may need a bow with a larger draw weight.

ArcherSuggested Draw Weight
Small Youth (70 - 100 lbs)10 - 15 lbs
Large Youth (100 - 130 lbs)15 - 25 lbs
Small Female Frame (100 - 130 lbs) 25 - 35 lbs
Medium Female Frame (130 - 160 lbs)25 - 35 lbs
Large Female Frame (160+ lbs)30 - 45 lbs
Small Male Frame (120 - 150 lbs)30 - 45 lbs
Medium Male Frame (150 - 180 lbs)40 - 55 lbs
Large Male Frame (180+ lbs)45 - 60 lbs

Don’t worry too much if you can’t pull back 40 pounds when starting out. The best solution to increase your draw weight strength is to get a bow you can draw back and start practicing.

With regular practice, you will find your strength increases pretty quickly. Choosing a draw weight that is too heavy can lead to developing poor form and performance habits.

Practicing drawing your bow back is a must, not only will you get stronger and be able to pull your bow back more easily, as a hunter there will be times when you have to draw your bow and hold it.

If you can’t hold the draw for very long, your arm will start to shake and your aim will suffer for it. Again possibly resulting in the undue suffering of the animal, or even more likely a complete miss altogether.

Draw Length

A second import aspect of choosing a bow that works for you is determining your draw length. Finding your draw length is important because it is possible to overdraw or underdraw the bow. Neither of which you want.

Recurve bows actually have a peak performance spot when it comes to draw length so it is important that you are drawing the bow back to its optimal length.

Determining your draw length is a fairly easy process.

To start, stand with your arms stretched out to either side of your body. Then, have someone measure from one middle finger to the other. Once you have the measurement in inches, divide that number by 2.5.

For me, my arm span is 63 inches. 63 inches divided by 2.5 gives me 25.2 inches.

Once you know your draw length you can choose a bow with an appropriate length for your bow. I have included a basic chart to follow. You will also need to know your draw length for selecting arrows as well.

This is by no means a be all end all. Just some simple guidelines to follow when choosing a bow.

Draw LengthBow Length
14 - 16 in48 in
17 - 20 in54 in
20 - 22 in58 in
22 - 24 in62 in
24 - 26 in62 - 66 in
26 - 28 in66 - 68 in
28 - 30 in68 - 70 in
31+ in70 - 72 in

Choose an appropriate Riser

The riser is the section of bow between the two limbs. Most modern recurve bows come with either a wooden or metal riser and come in one of three styles of either deflex, reflex, or straight.

Wood risers are generally lighter than their metal counterparts and tend to be more aesthetically pleasing since wood risers typically tend to be made from laminations of various hardwoods.

However, wood risers are not as stiff as metal risers and tend to be less accurate because of this. Although the difference is minimal so it’s doubtful you would really notice.

When it comes to choosing a style of riser, reflex risers tend to be the best suited for hunters. Reflex risers on average have the lowest brace height (distance from the grip to the string) and the fastest speeds.

With reflex risers, the riser is seated in front of the grip, whereas deflex risers have the riser seated behind the grip.

Deflex risers have a longer brace height and speed. Making them more ideal for indoor archers.

Straight risers, are probably the most common bow type and are a happy medium between reflex and deflex risers. They are also the more preferred by beginning archers.

Right or Left Handed Grip

Along with selecting a riser, you will also need to determine if you need a left handed or right handed grip. Figuring this out is pretty simple. Right-handed people will buy a right handed bow, and left-handed people will buy a left-handed bow.

Much like a baseball glove, you will hold the bow with your non-dominant hand, and your dominant hand will draw the bow.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a good recurve bow can seem challenging. After all, if you’re new to archery there are a bunch of terms you may not be familiar with such as the riser draw length or draw weight.

These are critical terms that you must know if you hope to choose the best recurve bow for you.

If you are a beginning archer I would recommend picking up a recurve bow like the Samick Sage Takedown or any of its competitors. These bows are great for beginners, are priced for entry level, and easy to set up.

Bowhunting is a ton of fun and I think even more fun when you choose to use a recurve bow over a compound.

If you found this article helpful be sure to share it on social media and with other hunters who might be looking to get into bowhunting.

As always thanks for reading and remember...Adventure is waiting.

All of my life has been focused on the outdoors. From the days of fishing with my father when I was young, to learning more advanced outdoor skills through the Boy Scouts of America; you could say the outdoors is pretty much my life blood. I enjoy a wide range of activities including camping, survival, fishing, hunting, and bushcraft. I have spent most of my life learning these skills and now I want to pass on my knowledge and hopefully learn even more in return.

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