We’ve Tested The Best Recurve Bows

What is a recurve bow?

A recurve bow is what most people think of when they think of a bow and arrow. It is the most simplistic of all archery equipment and has been around for thousands of years. Unlike its more modern counterpart, the compound bow, the recurve bow does not have any pulleys or cables, only a bow and a single string. With no cables or pulleys, there is also no let off, or relaxing of tension when at full draw, so this is the type of bow that most archery purists will prefer. This is also a preferred type of bow for those who do not want a lot of moving parts, and as such additional potential points of failure for the bow.

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What types of recurve bows are out there?

Recurve bows have benefitted from technology much the same way that most other forms of weaponry have. There are still the traditional one piece wooden bows and long bows available that have been used since the dawn of archery, but now there are also recurve bows that are designed to be disassembled in the field, also known as ‘take down’ bows, that can have either a wooden riser or even a skeletal aluminum riser. For purposes of this ‘best of’ list, we will also take a look at youth bow packages and even recurve bows that come as a complete kit, including arrows and accessories.

Our field staff has spent many years shooting recurve bows and now brings you the ‘best of’ list for each of the categories below based on their experience and interviews with hundreds of our readers.

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Wood Riser/Traditional One Piece Recurve Bows

This is the original type of bow most of us think of when we think of a recurve bow, hence the moniker “traditional”. These types of bows are actually functional works of art, at home on the wall for display or in the field drawing back on a deer. These bows are made as a single piece with the riser and limbs all typically made from laminated layers of various woods.

What is the best traditional recurve bow?

Top Pick: The Bear Archery Grizzly Recurve Bow

The Bear Archery Grizzly Recurve Bow is one of those functional works of art we were just mentioning. The handle is actually made from something Bear Archery calls “Futurewood”. It is made from a process by which the handle is placed under a vacuum and all pores are filled, adding both weight and strength to the original wood while preserving the natural wood grain. The Grizzly is a design that has remained relatively unchanged for 50 plus years, which should give you some idea as to the quality of the bow. Available in draw weights from 30 pounds all the way up to 60 pounds, you are sure to be able to get the right draw weight for your needs.


  • Proven design with a long history.
  • True handmade craftsmanship.

  • Can be a bit pricey for some budgets.

What if I am on a budget?

Second Pick: The SAS Maverick One Piece Traditional Wood Hunting Bow

The SAS Maverick One Piece Traditional Wood Hunting Bow is an excellent choice for the hunter who is looking for that traditional feel but who doesn’t want to break the bank. With a riser made from Makore, Zebra and Chulgam Woods and limbs made from Makore reinforced with high strength fiberglass, this is another bow that will turn heads from the moment you open the package. The SAS Maverick is a very easy bow to shoot and does a good job of putting the arrow where you aim. We wish there was a lower draw weight available than 40 pounds since some call this an entry level bow. Given the value for the price, we still had to give it our nod…especially since you really shouldn’t be hunting deer with much less than 40 pounds anyway!


  • Beautiful wood laminate.
  • Excellent value for the quality.

  • Only available from 40 pounds up to 55 pound draw weight.

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Take Down Recurve Bows

For those shooters who want more portability of their bows yet still want the functionality of a recurve, a take down bow might be just the answer. These styles of recurve bows allow the user to disassemble the bow very easily to make the entire bow much more compact and easy to transport. These are available with either laminated wood risers or with aluminum risers. Typically the aluminum risers will be a skeletonized design to shave off additional weight. Another advantage the take down bow enjoys is the ability to have multiple limb weights for a single bow. The riser remains the same, but limbs can be purchased for the bow in different weights, allowing for different shooters to enjoy the same bow, or for the bow to grow with a shooter as his or her skill level increases.

What is the best skeletal riser take down bow?

Top Pick: The Martin Archery Jaguar Elite Bow

The Martin Archery Jaguar Elite Bow is a well built bow that is also has good looks to boot. This is a bow that you will find very easy and forgiving to shoot, and one that fires with very little vibration. The riser is made from aluminum and magnesium and is both comfortable as well as durable. One nice feature of this bow is the placement of screws where a stabilizer can be attached as well as other accessories. The limbs are made from a laminate of wood and fiberglass to ensure both strength and resilience. We have heard from some users that the arrow rest is not as good as some might like, although we didn’t have any real issues with it. All in all, this is a quality bow that is built to last.


  • Smooth shooting bow.
  • Very little vibration.

  • Hard to find replacement limbs.

What if I am on a budget?

Second Pick: The SAS Explorer Metal Riser Takedown Recurve Bow

The SAS Explorer Metal Riser Takedown Recurve Bow offers a lot of fun in a value priced package. The bow is made from a high strength casted aluminum riser and maple/fiberglass laminated limbs. The Explorer can be enjoyed by archers up to 6’ in height, although you might find the draw a little short if you are that tall. The draw is set for about 28” so any further than that and you are going to have a lot of poundage increase in the draw weight. This is not going to be a heavy bow in terms of draw, but it is available in 22#, 26#, 30# and 34# draw weights. You can get replacement limbs fairly easily by doing a quick search. Overall, this is a reasonably priced bow that is well made and fun to shoot.


  • Very good function and value.

  • Grip is uncomfortable for some.

What is the best wood riser take down bow?

Top Pick: The Samick Sage Take Down Recurve Bow

The Samick Sage Take Down Recurve Bow is a beautiful and functional recurve bow. Samick has designed the Sage to be easy to swap limbs to increase or decrease the draw weight for different shooters. The wood riser is made from a beautiful laminate of hardwoods with a finish that looks like a piece of art. The limbs are a laminate of hard maple and black fiberglass and are available in draw weights ranging from 25 pounds all the way up to a whopping 60 pounds. The Sage comes standard with brass fittings to allow for a stabilizer, sight and a quiver to be quickly installed. This is definitely a bow you should look at if you are looking for a good shooting take down recurve.


  • Easy to swap out limbs to change draw weight.
  • Riser has beautiful finish.

  • Some issues with quality control.

What if I am on a budget?

Second Pick: The PSE Razorback Recurve Bow

The PSE Razorback Recurve Bow is an excellent choice for those that are looking to get into the sport of archery and have the challenge and fun of a recurve. The take down feature makes this bow very easy to store when not in use and also easy to transport to and from the range. The riser is a beautiful layered hardwood and the white limbs make for a sharp contrast. Keep in mind that this really isn’t a bow for hunting large game as this is only offered in 25 pound to 30 pound draw weights. One nice feature is that both draw weights are offered in both right and left hand models. This is a good shooting bow that is perfect to get started in archery and one that will help you build those archery muscles.


  • Very easy to assemble and disassemble.

  • Not really powerful enough to take down a deer or larger prey.

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Long Bows

Long bows have been the preferred tool of field archers for thousands of years due to their incredible distance capabilities. In modern times, many shooters still love the feel of a long bow and all of the power it can bring to bear. These bows tend to almost match the height of the shooter which can allow for a long draw, and thus more power harnessed from the limbs. Though some do not consider a long bow as a true recurve, we have included these in this article as they remain very similar in shooting aspects to a true recurve.

What is the best long bow?

Top Pick: The Bear Archery Fred Bear Montana Long Bow

The Bear Archery Fred Bear Montana Long Bow is an absolute beast of a recurve, but with beauty to match its power. This is a bow that is going to shoot like a full custom bow, but without that full custom price tag. It is a very powerful bow, available in 50 pound, 55 pound and 60 pound draw weights. One nice aspect of this bow is that it really doesn’t feel like you are pulling the poundage that you are so it might be suitable for a wider range of shooters than most higher draw weight recurves. The use of Bear Archery’s reflex-deflex system means that there is very little hand shock felt when firing the Montana. The traditional grip and arrow shelf are both covered in a rough out leather for a good solid feel when drawing. This is a bow that will give you performance for hunting, but still will be a pleasure shooting at the range.


  • Very little hand shock when shooting.
  • Available for left or right handed shooters.

    • Not available in any power under 50 pounds.

What if I am on a budget?

Second Pick: The Buffalo Hunting Recurve Horsebow Long Bow

The Buffalo Hunting Recurve Horsebow Long Bow is a beautiful long bow that offers a lot of bow at a reasonable price point. This bow has a handle that is wood but limbs that are fiberglass to allow for a very smooth draw and fast shot. This has a slight departure from traditional long bows in that it has a lot of reverse curvature to the limbs as opposed to the smooth curve of traditional long bows. It is available in draw weights from 30 pounds all the way up to a whopping 65 pounds. This is a fairly quiet bow right out of the box and is one that is suitable for shooters of all levels, although the higher draw weights should be left to more experienced archers. If you are looking for a recurve long bow that has the potential to take big game while still looking good hanging on a wall, this is a bow well worth a look.


  • Absolutely stunning look.
  • Very durable.

  • Listed draw lengths can be misleading.

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Youth Recurve Bow Packages

The sport of archery is one that can and should be enjoyed by children as well as adults. The below recurve bows are generally best suited to young archers just getting in to the sport, as well as by smaller framed adults. Typically youth bows are going to be offered as a package to make getting started much simpler than having to match arrows to a bow as well as figuring out the best arrow rests. These are not going to be bows that are suitable for hunting anything more than small game, but they are great for getting the next generation of archers started in the sport.

What is the best youth recurve bow package?

Top Pick: The Bear Archery Flash Youth Recurve Bow

The Bear Archery Flash Youth Recurve Bow is a great bow for getting kids started in the sport. At a maximum power of 18 pounds of draw, this is perfect for developing archery muscles, but not a bow that you are going to be able to take in the field for hunting. The riser is fitted with a Whisker Biscuit in the center of the riser, so it can be used by both right and left handed shooters. The package comes standard with the bow and string, 2 safety glass arrows, an armguard, a quiver, sight pins and finger rollers. The Whisker Biscuit also makes for a great beginner’s arrow rest as the arrow cannot fall out during the draw. This is a great package to get kids started in the sport and to learn how to shoot while staying safe in the process.


  • Ambidextrous riser design is suitable for left or right handed shooters.
  • Whisker Biscuit arrow rest keeps the arrow in place during the draw.

  • Only a starter bow…cannot upgrade to more power.


What if I am on a budget?

Second Pick: The Barnett Sportflight Recurve Archery Set

The Barnett Sportflight Recurve Archery Set is a good beginner’s bow at an excellent price point. Some would consider this is a long bow rather than a true recurve due to the design of the limbs, but a beginner is not going to notice the difference in shooting. The set includes the bow and string as well as two arrows, a protective finger tab and adjustable pin sight. We have heard from some of our readers that the string can be a bit off center, so that is something to take a look at when you receive your bow. Also, if you are ordering this as a present, please note that the packaging is clear so there is no hiding what’s in it…just a thought so you can make sure to get the delivery before the kids see it. The 25 pound draw weight seems a bit generous, but for the price it is hard to go wrong getting a new archer started in the sport.


  • Very good value for a beginner.

  • Needs to have an arrow rest included.

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Ready To Shoot Recurve Combo Packages

For some archers, getting a new bow is a great thing, especially when it comes with everything you need to get started. Many beginners will have a difficult time matching up the proper arrows to their new bow. Purchasing a combo package can take that guess work out of the equation and allow for the archer to start shooting as soon as the bow arrives. These packages are different from the youth combos above as they are going to have a higher draw weight and will be suitable for hunting so long as the draw weight selected is high enough to meet your local hunting regulations.

What is the best recurve combo package?

Top Pick: The SouthWest Archery Spyder Recurve Bow Combo Set

The SouthWest Archery Spyder Recurve Bow Combo Set is a great bow for beginners that are looking for a quality bow that can actually be taken into the field to hunt. The Spyder set arrives in a quality hard case and includes the bow, bow string, an arrow rest, a stringer tool, armguard and 3 premium carbon arrows. The arrows are actually a decent quality, something not always found in a ready to shoot kit. The riser is a beautiful layering of woods that even includes a red wood that is often only found on higher end recurve bows. A variety of limb weights is available for the Spyder from 20 pounds all the way up to 60 pounds of draw weight. This makes this a perfect bow for a variety of shooters as additional limbs can be purchased to change the draw weight of the bow as a shooter progresses along their archery path.


  • Can easily switch limbs for a variety of draw weights.
  • Comes with an airline approved hard carry case.

  • No included sight pin.

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What about recurve accessories?

As with most hunting tools, there are accessories that are available to assist the shooter for safety and convenience. Below is a list of the most commonly used accessories for recurve bows that are designed to use with most recurves on the market. Keep in mind that not all accessories will fit every recurve bow, so be sure you check to see how these will work with your specific bow.


A quiver is a very useful tool for keeping your arrows safe in transport and in the field. A good quiver will also lessen the chance that you will be injured by an arrow when not in use. Because many recurve bows do not have a mounting point for a quiver, we recommend a belt quiver to keep your arrows handy and safe. The link below will take you to our best suggestion for a belt quiver.


Stringing Device

Many recurve bows do not come with a stringing device, which can be an absolute life saver when trying to string your bow, especially in higher draw weights. The use of a stringing device makes stringing the bow much easier and also keeps the user much safer as well. There are a number of stringing devices on the market, but the link below is the one we have had the most success with.


Pin Sight

Many recurve bow shooters shoot ‘by instinct’ which means they do not use a sight pin, but rather use instinct and experience to properly place the arrow in the target. Because this is not something every shooter possesses, the use of a pin sight can greatly aid in accuracy. The below link takes you to our best pick for a single pin recurve sight.


Arm Guard

When drawing and releasing the string on a recurve bow, it is easy to have the string come into contact with the inner forearm of the shooter’s stabilizing arm. Experienced shooters will grip the bow in a way where this does not occur, but it is very easy for the beginner to forget this once in a while, resulting in a rather painful chaffing when the string hits the forearm. A good arm guard goes a long way towards keeping this from happening. There are many different styles on the market, but the below gets our nod for its simplicity and design.


Finger Protector

When firing a recurve bow, it is very easy for the tips of the fingers on the draw hand to become chaffed due to the release of the string. A good finger protector will allow for a solid draw, but will keep the tips of the fingers from the painful chaffing that can occur after multiple shots. The below link takes you to our pick for best finger protector due to durability and uniqueness of design.


Arrow Rest

Many recurve bows are shot using the grip hand as an arrow rest. This is not the best way for beginners to achieve their best accuracy. Having a good arrow rest allows a shooter to repeat the placement of an arrow leading to greater repeatable accuracy. The below link offers out selection for the best overall shooting rest for value and quality.


  1. Reply
    Joseph Dodge May 26, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I am waiting on my new Martin Hunter to arive, thanks for all of this info, it had a large factor on the bow that I purchaced.

    • Reply
      ArcheryChoice June 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      You are very welcome, happy to hear it!

  2. Reply
    JT June 24, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Excellent reviews. I have the Sage and I love it. I’m getting into the process of picking out arrows now. My choice is 32.5″ with feather fletching. I’ve been told feather fletching is the best to use with the Sage. Not sure why just yet. Was hoping you could shed some light on that? And maybe you could recommend a brand? Getting into the mid weight category. And does a high altitude (mountains) with the low temperature have a big impact? Looking forward to hear your advice.

  3. Reply
    Chandra July 18, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Can i use take down recurve bow for competitions?Will I have any problems?

  4. Reply
    MikeB May 2, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    LOL, four years since the last comment, but this review is still the one that made my decision for me. I wanted a recurve and bought the Grizzly based on your review. I was, however, so impressed by your review of the Montana Longbow that I bought one of those, too!

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