There are many types of bows to choose from for the archery enthusiast. The recurve bow is a good choice for those who prefer the traditional feel of the bow and arrow and enjoy fine tuning their skills. Recurve bows get their name from the way they are designed. The tips of the bow curve away from the shooter. When the bow is drawn and released, the curved tips lengthen the cast of the arrow, providing energy and increasing its speed. Even after deciding on a recurve bow, there are a number of options available to assure you have a bow that is appropriate for your strength and skill level. It is also important to consider the intended use of the bow when selecting accessories.

Parts of the bow

When discussing the parts of a recurve bow, certain terminology is used when referring to the various segments. The riser is the center part of the bow where the grip and arrow shelf are located. The limbs are the upper and lower parts of the bow. A nock is the place at the end of an arrow where the bowstring is placed when drawing the string to shoot. The belly of the bow is the part that faces the shooter when held properly and the back is the part that faces away from the shooter.One thing to remember when choosing a recurve bow is that a right hand bow is held by the left hand. The string is pulled back by the right hand. The rest for the arrow is located on the left side of the bow.

The AMO length is the standard bow length set by the Archery Manufacturers’ Association. Usually, strings with the same AMO length will fit the bow, but better performance can be delivered if the string is a slightly different length.Usually the bow will have specific information written on it such as the serial number, the AMO length and the bow weight. Recurve bows can be shot at any number of draw lengths. The bow weight can be changed by adjusting the draw length. Typically, the bow weight will change about 5 percent for each inch the draw length is changed. The distance from the string across to the farthest point of the handgrip is called the brace height. To adjust the bow, the string is twisted, which changes the string length and therefore, the brace height. Decreasing the brace height will also reduce the draw weight. In addition, the arrow speed is increased due to the extended period it is being pushed forward by the bow string. A reduced brace height normally makes the string hit your hand though.  Adjusting the bow is necessary to achieve optimal performance from the bow. This entails a combination of repositioning the nock set on the string, changing the length of the string, the arrow rest or the type of arrow used.

My new (to me) recurve bow and arrows.

What will you do with your bow?

The type of recurve bow you buy will also depend on its purpose. If the bow is going to be used primarily for target practice, you needn’t be as selective as if it is going to be used for hunting. A bow that is used for hunting will need to have a substantially high draw weight than one that is only intended for target practice. For hunting, the draw weight needs to be high to add enough force behind the arrow that it will penetrate the skin, tissue or bone of the prey at 20 to 30 yards. While a bow with a lower weight might suffice for hunting, it will decrease the distance over which you can effectively shoot. Usually a draw weight of 40 pounds or more is needed to hunting. A beginner is not always able to use a bow with a draw weight of 40 pounds. If this is the case, you can start out with a lower draw weight and build up with a little practice.

Another consideration is what types of accessories, if any, you plan to buy for the bow. Some bows come with pre-drilled holes for sights. Take-down bows are also available which are easy to transport and store. They allow the limbs to be disassembled from the riser. The recurve bow is highly recommended because it is manufactured from the highest quality materials and provides superior performance.  I always recommend getting a bow case to make your bow stay in better condition longer.