We made a comprehensive guide that will help you choose the best longbow at your level of experience and your goals in traditional archery and hunting.
Do you feel that the time has finally come for you to hang up your ultra-accessorized, modern compound bow to embrace the sport of archery in its purest form?
If the answer is yes, then you're not alone: more and more archers are now switching to traditional longbows for recreational purposes, target shooting, and even bow hunting.
Two of the most commonly reasons cited by the archers that have made this "shift" are the simplicity of equipment and the sense of authenticity and "history" that it carries. Shooting a traditional bow will offer you a unique, challenging, and somehow "mystical" archery experience.
Table of Contents
Best Longbow 2023 For Traditional Archery And Bow Hunting
In this best longbow guide you'll find all that you need to know about longbows.
We've picked the top 16 best longbows on the 2023 market that you can use for traditional archery or even hunting. We've also put together a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best longbow for your archery needs, style, level of experience and budget.
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men."
In the table below you will find the models that we have chosen as the 16 best longbows for 2023. To make it easier, on this table we've only listed the most important longbow specs that you need to know to choose the best longbow for you: AMO length, draw weight range and handedness. For more detailed specs on those best long bow, jump to the comparison table.
Important: even though we think that these are the best longbows, it all comes down to personal preference. We tested quite a few longbows and these are the ones we liked the most on different aspects. There are tons of other longbows which could suit your style even better. If you're not sure about the bow, ask us!
In this best longbows guide and review round-up we have included modern and reflex/deflex longbows only. We recommend that if you seek for English-style longbows and other traditional-style bows that you can best purchase these bows from trusted traditional longbow makers directly.
Top 16 Best Longbows 2023
AMO length (inches)
Draw weight range (inches)
Sinoart Sparrow (Best Cheapest Longbow)
If you're new to the world of longbows, we recommend you to read this guide until the end. You will find a comprehensive buyer's guide and a detailed comparison table with all the longbow features explained, which will help you choose the best longbow for your archery needs and skills.
Best Longbows 2023 For traditional archery and hunting
Now, let's go through the features of the best longbows 2023 in more detail. The bows featured in this round-up review cover a huge variety of needs, styles and budgets. The longbows are not listed in order of best to worst. Each one has its own unique features. Find the one that suits your style.
1. Bear Montana - Best Longbow 2023 (Editor's Pick)
Bear is a name that needs no introduction when it comes to archery equipment manufactures. The Bear Montana longbow is another example of a great compromise between modernity and tradition. The bow's slight reflex/deflex design allows for smooth, accurate and handshock-free shooting. This bow is an ideal choice for compound archers looking to switch to traditional archery or traditional hunting.
One thing that will impress you is the high quality of the woods, materials and craftsmanship that went into the making and design of the Bear Montana. As a result of this, the Bear Montana looks great and feels solid and sturdy, with its black Dymondwood maple riser and clear white maple overlaid limbs featuring overlaid high strength black fiberglass. This longbow also has a leather "shoot off the shelf" grip for enhanced comfort and accuracy which gives the bow a unique, traditional feel.
As for flexibility, the Bear Montana is available for both right and left-hand shooters and in 30,35,40, 45,50, 55, or 60lbs draw weight (45,50, or 55 for left handed bows), to accommodate smaller-framed users. The bow is also pretty long at 64" AMO length, which means it's smooth-shooting, stable and forgiving, making it a good choice for beginner shooters.
Speaking of performance, the Bear Montana is a fast and powerful longbow, and it has little to no handshock thanks to the reflex-deflex design, which contributes to an accurate, vibration-free performance. This basically means that this longbow is both fast and quiet, which makes it great for hunting small to medium game. For bow hunting with the Bear Montana, make sure you get a 40lbs+ bow and use 400 grain arrows or heavier.
We liked the Bear Montana maybe the most of the bows we tried. Its performance is outstanding and that combined with the quality makes the bow our top pick. It has almost no handshock which improves your game big time. Still, we recommend to get some practice with the bow before jumping into the world of archery.
Still, some beginner and young users have reported difficulties in drawing the bow even at the lowest possible poundage. If you like Bear products and you are a beginner longbow shooter or you simply have a small body frame, the Bear Titan might be a better option for you.
All in all, if you're looking for the best longbow available in 2023 that you can use for hunting, look no further that the Bear Montana. In virtue of its brand reputation, quality material and top-end performance, at the price at which it's sold this bow is a steal!
What we like
What we don't
The SAS Gravity hunting longbow is one of the most sought-after modern longbows at the moment FOR USE IN TRADITIONAL ARCHERY AND HUNTING. Manufactured by Southland Archery Supply, a world-renowned longbow, CROSSBOW and compound bow maker, the Gravity is handcrafted from fine hardwoods giving the shooter a smooth, accurate and powerful shot.
The SAS Gravity is a long, smooth shooting 64" hunting longbow, hand crafted from fine hardwoods for great aesthetics and durability. This longbow is lightweight at a mere 1.3 pounds, but feels solid and durable thanks to the reinforced limbtips. The deflex limb design provides the shooter with increased power, accuracy and shooting comfort. It also features high speed black glass and maple core for even greater speed and stability.
The SAS Gravity is available in 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 lbs draw weights and for both right and left handed shooters.
The SAS gravity shoots smoothly and accurately thanks to the 64" AMO length and deflex design. The highest poundage versions (40lbs+) can take down any game up to deer size if you know what you're doing. Something else to keep in mind is the slight level of handshock that some shooters have experienced, in comparison with other longbows, but this is not an issue if you are able to keep your form and can be eased by wearing appropriate shooting gloves.
We've read that some users have experienced that the actual draw weight on the bow is slightly more than that specified on purchase. Therefore, we advise that you take this into account when choosing the right draw weight for your longbow.
What we like
What we don't
3. AF Archery
If you're looking for a traditional-looking, American longbow that can hunt, look no forward than the AF Archery Handmade longbow. This is a superb piece of equipment, featuring top-end woodswork and traditional design, with a very affordable price tag. This longbow is enjoying 5-star rating across the board, and it's one of the best choices in 2023 for anyone who wants to get into traditional archery, be it beginner or veteran archers.
The AF Archery longbow features reflex/deflex design on a bamboo/ laminated wood riser, and fiberglass overlaid limbs for extra power, durability and shooting stability. The longbow has a 62" AMO length which makes it smooth-shooting and forgiving (although not as much as the 64" Bear Montana and SAS longbow). All, in all, the bow looks and feels very nicely built.
The AF Archery American traditional longbow is available in 7 different draw weights configurations (20,184.108.40.206.45.50.55 lbs) to accommodate for the needs of young shooters, women or beginners.
Thanks to its modern reflex/deflex design, and its vibration-free, smooth performance this bow is powerful and can be lethal in various bow hunting situations (in the rights hands).
We've talked to several owners of this bow and noticed that a few mentioned that the riser grip is not the most comfortable ones they used. This is not the worst since it can be fixed by wrapping or replacing the grip.
What we like
What we don't
One of the bestselling premiere longbows on today's market, the Savannah Stealth by Martin Archery, is a fine, smooth shooting bow of outstanding quality materials. This bow is truly a pinnacle of craftsmanship finesse and shootability. Unsurprisingly, the Martin Savannah Stealth has been given an unprecedented 5-STAR user's rating for materials quality and shooting feeling.
The woodwork that went into the making of this longbow is of the highest standard in the industry, and this explains why the new Martin Savannah is one of the most sought-after longbows by traditional archery enthusiasts. This is frankly, hardly a surprise, being Martin Archery a brand with a long history of excellence in archery gear manufacturing.
Limbs on the Martin Archery Savannah consist of a two lamination Bubinga core covered with Zebrawood and topped with clear glass and tip overlays of black fiberglass, for a total AMO length of 64", which makes it very stable and forgiving when shooting.
The Martin Savannah Stealth performance lives up the expectations for a high-end longbow. The slight reflex/deflex design stores energy during the draw, resulting in smooth, efficient shooting with virtually 0 handshock. Thanks to the vibration-free and accurate performance as well as the stealth camo finish, this is one of the best longbows you can choose for hunting.T
he longbow is available in 40,45,50,55 or 60 or 65lbs draw weight configurations. Make sure you choose the right draw weight according to your body frame and level of experience. Remember that even if you have to choose the lowest poundage (40lbs), you can still take down small to medium game using this longbow.
The bow package includes traditional arrow rest, bow sock and Flemish string.
Even though that the Martin Savanna Stealth is not our top pick, we still strongly recommend this bow. This bow is in the more expensive category but worth every penny. Besides the Bear Montana, we loved this bow and strongly recommend it!
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5. SAS Pioneer - Best Longbow Under $200
Another longbow by Southland Archery Supply, the SAS Pioneer is an absolute bestseller due to the smooth performance, shooting comfort not to mention brand reputation for high-quality manufacturing. The SAS Pioneer looks well-made and feels solid and stable when shooting. Undoubtedly one of the best deals out there if you're looking to get into longbow shooting with a forgiving tool without breaking the bank.
The SAS Pioneer is an exceptionally well built, sturdy and beautifully crafted longbow, made out of Makore Wood and Cassia Siamea.
At a whopping 68" AMO length, the SAS Pioneer is one of the longest longbows on this list (if you're small framed, this might not be ideal for you).It has a mild reflex-deflex design and a locator style grip, meant to accommodate shooters of varying hand sizes comfortably. It's available in a wide range of draw weights (35, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs), to accommodate the needs of the beginners and smaller-framed users.
The SAS Pioneers fires arrows smoothly and has a stable and solid shooting feel. It can be used for both target shooting and hunting and does both jobs quite well.
Best Longbow For Your Budget!
All in all, at the price this longbow it's sold, is an unbeatable deal on today's market, and an ideal choice for longbow archers that wish to get into traditional archery and traditional hunting. It has some point of improvement but you get the most for your bucks!
What we think dat you can purchase to improve the bow are:
1) Get a bow stringer
2) Replace the string with a Flemish one about an inch longer
3) Remove or replace leather grip.
What we like
What we don't
6. Ragim Raven
Next up is the Ragim Raven, a made in Italy entry on this best longbow 2023 list, which has an entry-level tag and yet impresses for the materials quality, finish and overall performance. It's a very smooth-shooting and accurate bow, easy to tune, and can be taken out in the fields for hunting, or target/3d practice or simply used for recreational purposes.
As other Ragim traditional bows, the Raven is fully fiberglass laminated on both sides which provide great stability and durability. The handle is thick and easy to grip, and even after continued use should not suffer from limb twisting or permanent damage.
The Ragim Raven is available for both right and left-hand shooters, and in wide range of draw weight configurations (20-65lbs, with increments of 5).
The Ragim Raven is very lightweight, and feels balanced and easy to shoot. It's a long longbow at 66" AMO length, which makes it forgiving and smooth-shooting, even though might not be the most appropriate choice for the smaller-framed users such as young archers or women.
Need To Know
The bow comes with a Dacron factory bow string (not a fast-flight, however the bow is fast-flight compatible in case you need to upgrade at some point).
Some users have reported quite a bit of hand-shock towards the end of the draw due to stacking, but in all fairness this is a common characteristic of most traditional bows due to their lightweight.
What we like
What we don't
The October Mountain Products (OMP) Mountain Man Sierra Longbow is a longbow that could not be left out of a best longbow 2023 list, simply because, chances are, is actually the best you can find on the market right now for materials and performance. While not the best choice for beginner and starters due to the slightly intimidating price tag, all in all, it's a gem that many traditional archery and hunting veterans would like to have in their collection.
This bow is truly a masterpiece of woodwork, crafting and design. It's crafted from hard maple, purple heart and walnut woods, and features multi-laminate limbs with reinforced limb tips for extra stability and durability.
The OMP Mountain Man Sierra has been designed with a slight reflex/deflex to achieve top performance levels, and it can be lethal when hunting pretty much any size game. It also has a multi-laminate handle with built-in arrow shelf for enhanced shooting comfort and accuracy.
It has a 68" AMO lenght, and it's available for both right and left handed shooters and in 5 different draw weight options (40,45,55,60,65), to cover the needs of first-time shooters all the way up to seasoned traditional hunters and pros archers.
The OMP Mountain Man Sierra comes with a high-quality Dacron string, and it's Fast Flight string compatible.
What we like
What we don't
8. SinoArt Sparrow - Cheapest Longbow
Don't let the price fool you! Yes we think that the SAS Pioneer is the best quality for your money is, but this SinoArt is worth checking out! This bow comes under $100, and an absolute steal given its performance, quality and outstanding user's rating. This is the perfect choice for teens and women, given its short frame, but can also suit a male adult beginner or compound shooter wanting to take a peek into the world of longbows and traditional archery to see what the fuss is all about!
With a pronounced one-piece reflexed design, the Sinoart Sparrow is not too far off from an actual recurve and its wood materials look and feel of more than decent quality for the price at which it's sold.
The Sinoart Sparrow is available in 30 and 35lbs draw weight, which makes it a great choice for young archers and women. If your goal is to hunt with it, it might not be the best choice for medium game (we recommend at least 40lbs draw weight on longbow for hunting deer), but it can still be used successfully for small game such as turkey.
Two things to keep in mind before buying
1) There might be perceivable handshock towards the end of the draw
2) At 54" AMO lenght this bow is a tad short compared to other longbows on this list, and this may result in less overall accuracy and forgiveness if you are an average body size adult.
However, this is expected considering this is an entry-level longbow sold at a very affordable price.
In conclusion, if you're just starting out in traditional archery, and especially if you are a teenager or a short frame user, give the Sinoart Sparrow a try. This bow has 5-star average user rating and it's very affordable. Package also includes traditional arrow rest and bowstring to start shooting right out of the box.
What we like
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9. SAS Scorpion
The third entry made by SAS on this best longbow 2023 list, puts this USA archery manufacturer right at the top as the most prolific for traditional archery bow making. The Scorpion with its edgy look, sturdy frame and hunting features is the new kid on the block which is gaining great popularity amid traditional archery enthusiasts and hunters. If you feel that none of the bows mentioned above is for you, give this one a try!
Designed by the engineers and developers of the original recurve Samick Sage, SAS has combined four naturally sourced woods to create the Scorpion, which features elegant satin finish, rounded edges and reinforced limb tips.
This longbow is available in both left and right handed version with draw weights of 25lb – 60lb (5lb increments), which makes it accessible even to young shooters, beginners and small-framed users or women. It comes with the shelf pad already assembled whihc is a great plus for beginners and anyone who just wants to take to to the field straight out of the box.
At a 68" AMO lenght the SAS Scorpion feels very solid when you hold it and has a very smooth draw with little to 0 handshock, which results in superior precision and quiet shooting, making a great bow hunting weapon., and generally a pleasure to shoot.
The Scorpion is also Fast Flight and Flemish string compatible, and the package even includes a stringertool ($15 value) for easy assembling and disassembling.
In conclusions, the SAS Scorpion is a high quality longbow from a reputable manufacturer, and one that you might not want to miss at a limited time sale offer, right now.
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The last longbow that we chose to feature on this best longbow 2023 list is the Mandarin Duck Black Hunter, a traditional bamboo core American longbow that is enjoying 5 star reviews for its fine-looking material and high-end performance without the high-end price tag. It's a great option for someone who just needs an affordable and solid longbow for multipurpose use (target shooting, 3d, field archery, or bow hunting) in the 2023 archery season.
The reflex/deflex riser on the Mandarin Duck Black Hunter longbow has a bamboo core, which makes it very lightweight and easy to carry. The bow comes in a take down design, which makes it even easier to be shipped or carried on field archery or hunting sessions.
The 60" AMO length on the Mandarin Duck Black Hunter makes it short enough to be handled comfortably by users of all shapes and sizes, without compromising forgiveness or shooting accuracy.
The Mandarin Duck Black Hunter is available in 30,35,40,45,50,55 or 60 lbs draw weight and for right hand shooters only.
As for performance, the bow is smooth shooting, with almost 0 stack or handshock. It's fast and accurate, and at 40+lbs can be confidently used for traditional hunting.
The package includes all you need to assemble your Black Hunter: wooden riser (bamboo core), 2x limbs (laminated wood and fiberglass), string, spanner and leather arrow rest.
This longbow is shipped with riser/limbs/string taken down, which means you need to assemble it yourself. We highly recommend that you use a bow stringer to attach the string, especially for those bows with high draw weight.
With the Black Hunter, you'll get access to a video teaching you how to finish the assembly.
What we like
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Among the list of best longbow picks of 2023 is the budget longbow of SinoArt. This longbow comes with a starting package including a fur rest pad, a stinger tool tab, and string nocks. With the SinoArt Longbow, you will receive more than what you expect from it. Yes, it might have some undetailed finishing, like a drop of glue run over the bow, but is a very nice and inexpensive bow. It shoots well, it is very accurate and you will experience almost no hand shock.
For this reason, the SinoArt Takedown Longbow is included in the best longbow picks. It will do the job with target practice and smaller hunting animals. The draw weight varies from 30 all the way up to 60 LBS. The string length is 57 inches and the bow length is 59 inches with an AMO of 60 inches. The Longbow weight is 2.2LB and is available made of wood, fiberglass, or bamboo. It suits the right-handed hunter as well as the left-handed hunter.
If you want to try out hunting, target practice, or even gift a hunting present? The SinoArt Takedown longbow is your go-to product! With its low cost, it includes lots of quality products. What is included in the package you might ask? Well, it comes with 1x Wood Riser, 2x Limbs, 1x 16 Strands String, 1x Stringer, 1x Fur Rest Pad, 2x String Nocks, 1x Pair of Otter String Silencer. Why keep on searching for a different budget longbow?
What we like
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As we’ve explained before, the SAS brand is a world-renowned longbow, crossbow, and compound bow manufacturer. The Recon Folding Survival Bow is no different from all other bows manufactured by the Southland Archery Supply. The SAS Recon Folding Survival Bow is the big brother of the SAS Tactical Survival Bow and comes in a very limited quantity. It is the fastest deploying compound bow, which is perfect for hunting. It stores takedown arrows inside the riser.
The bow is 24.3 inches long when it's folded and 63 inches when strung. The SAS Recon has a draw weight from 45 - 55 pounds and a maximum draw length of 31 inches. For the 50 pound version, the arrow's speed increases up to 200 feet per second and for the 55 pounds, it is up to 210 feet per second. The weight of the bow is 2.4 pounds. It is made from T6 aerospace-grade aluminum and suits the left and right-handed archers.
If you are looking for the fastest, most agile deploying compact bow, the SAS Recon Folding Survival Bow has to be your best pick! There is literally no reason why you shouldn’t purchase this bow if you want to be quick and light-weighted when hunting. It is made of a top-tier quality material and stores arrows in the rinser, even when it's folded! Get it here, get it now!
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The Longbow from Flagella Recurve Horsebow is made in the style of a Hungarian longbow. Therefore, the longbow has the aesthetics of the hunters from the hunting era back in the day. It has an East-European look and feels and is made from Wood, Cow leather, Glass Steel, and Beech.
But why is a Hungarian-styled longbow included in the best longbow picks of 2023 you might ask? Well, just for that reason! It is quite different from modern longbows, which are plenty of it nowadays. The Flagella Recurve Horsebow gives you just that feeling of the real hunters from back in the day but also gets the job done that modern longbows do.
With this bow, you stand out from the others and have to be handled in a way that gives you that cool feeling that the real men had years ago.
With the handcrafted care and the sturdy build, the Flagella Recurve Horsebow is precise and accurate once you’ve mastered it. The traditional can appeal to anyone who wants to experience the real archery of the archers from back in the day.
It has a draw weight from 30 up to 110 LBS, a body length of 54 inches, and a draw length from 28 to 33 inches. It has an ergonomics riser design and comes in the color black.
If you want to experience the real historical archer feeling, the Hungarian-Style Longbowmaker from Flagella is the go-to Recurve Horsebow. It gives you that feeling that the real men experience back in the day when hunting was their only source of survival!
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The Kainokai brand is known for its outdoor goods made with craftsmanship which maintains a characteristic of powerful, high speed, and a lasting lifetime. This is no different for their bows! The recurve longbow has a beautiful look and with some practice, it shoots perfectly.
Another benefit is the products that are delivered with the longbow. The package contains 1x handguard, 1x finger guard, 3x arrow target paper, 3x hunting arrow, 1x bowstring wax, and 1x bowstring.
This traditional handmade recurve longbows arm is made from transparent epoxy and wrapped leather. The handle is made of locust wood, polished and painted to reduce the wear and tear of the bowstring. In addition, the bow is waterproof for effective outdoor use. The traditional recurve bow is suitable for the right and lefthanded archer.
The power is strong, the shooting speed is fast! Because of the transparent epoxy wrapped in leather, the bow is light and durable, which makes it the perfect longbow for beginners. In addition, the bow is delivered with an entire kit included to practice your archery skills!
The bow is available in 25-55 pounds and has a draw weight range of 20-70 LBS. The 40 pounds bow can get a hunting arrow as far as 150 meters (might be even more!). We recommend a 30-40 pounds Kainokai traditional recurve longbow for men, and a 25 pounds for women. For newcomers, a 40 pounds suits well, to master the technique of archery fast.
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The IRQ traditional handmade longbow is an extremely impressive entry-level of traditional bow for speed shooting! You probably won’t find a better deal that is readily available. The hand shock is minimal and it fires great.
The bow is made of Acacia wood and high-strength epoxy resin fiberglass limbs. It is tough and wear-resistant. It has that cool black and gold leather limb surface, which gives it a nice look. The draw weight is 30-50 LBS, the longbow is 53,5 inches in length. The purchase package includes 1x horse bow with string, 1x bow arm guard, 1x archery glove, 1x bow tensioner, 1x pair of Tendon silencers with rabbit hair.
All these integrated designs allow high performance, flashy speed, great comfort, low hand shock, and more precise shooting. Overall, you will be more than satisfied when you purchase this budget bow!
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As explained earlier in the best longbow reviews of 2023, the SAS is a well-known brand in archery. It lives up to its expectations, and the Maverick One Piece Traditional Wood Hunting Bow is no different.
There where you only buy the bow and string for this price, it delivers its value. The looks and feel are really nice and well made, which might even be an understatement! For that reason, this longbow is included in the best longbows for 2023.
The longbow is made of wood and weighs 2.2 pounds. The riser is made of Makore Wood, Zebra, and Chulgam. Limbs are also made of Makore Wood with High Strenght Fiberglass. It has a Slender Shape and feels very comfortable.
The length is 60 inches and comes in a wooden and black color. It comes with different draw weights from 35 up to 55 pounds. The downside is that it is only available for the righthanded archers.
Overall, this SAS Maverick One Piece Traditional Wood Hunting Longbow lives up to the Southland Archery Supply name. It is lightweight, durable, and very accurate. It is available in different sizes and has a great appearance and performance.
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Best Longbow Buyer’s guide and things you need to know when choosing the best longbow 2023
In this buyer's guide, you'll find out more about traditional archery, longbow types and specs such as"AMO length", "recommended brace height" , and "draw weights", why they’re important when you’re choosing the best longbow for you.
Additionally, we've collected the important things you need to know to choose the best longbow for your traditional archery and bow hunting needs.
Let's get started!
About traditional archery
The challenge and - at the same time - the beauty of traditional archery is in the total lack of gadgets and aids that modern compound bows and crossbows offer. With a traditional bow, it's just you and your skills with bow and arrow. But does this mean that any piece of wood would make a good bow for practice, let alone for hunting, as long as you're a good archer?
Do not be fooled by the simplicity of traditional archery equipment. Behind the making of a good traditional bow there's, more often than not, centuries of high quality woodworking craftsmanship. Hand-crafted, wooden recurves and longbows might not offer the speed and adjustability settings of the latest wheel-and-pulley weapons, but they offer a unique archery experience, for some even superior to that of modern equipment.
Traditional Hunting with a Longbow: Pros and Cons
Hunting using traditional bows can be a thrilling experience. Many archers that have switched from compound bows or crossbows have cited the sense of involvement and challenge that hunting with a longbow brings. Even more exciting is the reward of being able to drop a deer using the exact same equipment that our ancestors used. There are a few advantages and a few disadvantages of hunting with a traditional bow.
Traditionally speaking, a longbow is a large bow made from wood, roughly as tall as the archer, with relatively narrow limbs and D-shaped cross-section. Longbows have evolved from traditional times throughout history, and are found nowadays in a variety of different designs, styles and materials.
When screening the market for your longbow, you will need to know how to distinguish the different types of longbow, before choosing the right model for you. The main 3 variants of longbow you will come across are:
1. English longbow
2. "Hill-Style" longbow, or otherwise known as the American Longbow
3. Reflex-deflex longbows
In truth, there are more styles and shapes of longbow than just the three above, but most longbows you will find on today's market fall within these three categories. You will also come across traditional Hungarian and Mongolian "longbows", as well as horse bows, but these bows more properly belong to the recurve type.
The English longbow
The English longbow is the most famous type of longbow. It has a narrow limb, deep core, and used to be roughly around 6ft/1.8m tall (but certain warbow-weight models could surpass 1.9m). It's usually made out of yew, even though materials such as ash or elm were also used traditionally. With English longbows, the arrow is shot off the hand, just like our ancestors. During medieval times these bows had higher draw weights, as they were used for hunting and warfare. In modern times, English longbow are of niche interest and are manufactured with a reduced poundage.
The "Hill style" American Longbow
The "Hill style" American longbow is an evolution of the classic flatbow, which is a bow with has relatively wider limbs, and a flat cross-section that usually has more taper towards the limb tips. Flatbows also have a small cut-away to shoot the arrow from the shelf, rather than off the hand as with the English longbow.
Flatbows, unlike longbows, can be made by a great variety of timbers, and thus they have been used widely in ancient times for hunting and warfare, notably by Native American tribes such as the Hupa, Karok, and Wampanoag, prehistoric ancient Europeans, some Inuit tribes, Finno-Ugric nations and a number of other pre-gunpowder societies.
The American Longbow as developed in the 1930s and popularized by Howard Hill, an archer referred to as "The World's Greatest Archer", This bow is usually a bit wider, with straight, shorter limbs and a rectangular cross-section, which scientific investigations have identified as the most efficient cross-sectional shape for a bow limb. This design results in increased stability and power compared to recurves and traditional longbows.
Modern American longbows or flatbows utilize modern materials, such as fiberglass outer laminates for increased flexibility and durability.
The Reflex/deflex longbow
The Reflex/deflex longbows, also known as hybrid longbows, are a modern style of flatbow with deflexed riser (curving towards the archer) and reflexed limbs (curving away from the archer). Those longbows which have been developed to maximize the bow's energy efficiency and reduce handshock to the mininum.
A reflex/deflex longbow will have performance similar to a recurve bow, while maintaining the low weight, aesthetic, and forgiveness of a longbow.
Different reflex/deflex longbows have different degrees of reflex, and some bows might have very little, while some others might have a strong reflex, resembling the shape of a recurve bow.
One-piece vs Take-down Longbows
Due to their more compact dimensions, many American longbows are of ‘one-piece’ design, meaning the limbs cannot be detached. However, ‘take-down’ variations are also popular. Neither of those two types offers any real benefits in performance over the other. The only two advantages of take-down bows over one-piece ones are:
1. that the take-down can be transported in a much shorter case when disassembled.
2. that the limbs on a take-down can be changed at the archer's discretion.
Recurve bows are sometimes also simply called longbows, but they are, in fact, a different type of traditional bow, with a greater reflex than reflex/deflex longbows. Recurve bows are therefore not included in our best longbow list.
Visit our Best Recurve Bows 2022 guide to learn more about the best recurve bows on the 2022 market.
Longbow specs and their meaning
Whether you’re new to traditional archery or you're a seasoned longbow/recurve shooter but still need a refresh, the meaning of some of the technicalities and specs might be more or less obscure.
AMO stands for the Archery Manufacturers Organization. The AMO created a set of standards including for defining bow length.
Typically, when manufacturers indicate a bow's length in inches they almost always mean AMO bow length.
The AMO length of a longbow is calculated as the length of the string plus 3 inches.
For example, a 66 inches AMO bow is supposed to take a 63 inches string.
However, some manufacturers sell strings by AMO length rather than actual string length, so pay attention the the measure unit used when purchasing a replacement string for your longbow. Additionally, not all bows take a string exactly 3 inches less than the printed bow length, and some bows, especially English Longbows, are measured at their un-strung length.
Usually, longer longbows make smoother shots, they are more stable and are much more forgiving than shorter bows. Additionally, with short longbows you are at risk of reaching a "false" anchor point before full draw, at which point the bow will be difficult or impossible to draw and this will lead to sloppy, weaker shots.
Longbow Recommended brace height
Brace height is defined as the distance between the string and the deepest part of the bow grip. Brace height is one important factor in tuning a longbow or recurve. Differently from compound bows, on which the brace height is set by the manufacturer, on traditional bows it's up to the archer to twist or untwist the bowstring to achieve the ideal brace height.
To increase the brace height, twist your bowstring to reduce its length. To decrease the brace height, untwist the bowstring or install a longer bowstring. Avoid untwisting Flemish-style bowstrings completely as string failure may occur.
Remember that the shorter the brace height, the faster your bow will fire arrow, but this will come at the expense of forgiveness and quietness of the longbow.
A longer brace height will result in slower arrow speed but it will likely give you higher accuracy, stability, and less noise. A shorter brace height will result in faster arrow speed, but can increase noise, reduce efficiency and accuracy, and even damage your bow permanently.
Manufacturers recommend ideal brace heights for individual models, but, ultimately, the brace height setup on your longbow choosing it's down to your personal preference, shooting style and overall comfort.
If you aren’t able to find the recommended brace height for your longbow, start at 7 inches and then increase or decrease the brace height until you find the setup that suits you.
Longbow Draw weight
The draw weight of a bow is defined as the amount of force stored by the bow when fully drawn. Therefore, the higher the draw weight, the more force you will have to apply to draw the bow.
Differently from longbows and recurves, compound bows are built in such a way that, once fully drawn, they can be hold at full draw using little force, as most of the energy is stored in the limbs (a feature called "let-off").
If you're used to shoot a compound bow, remember that with a traditional bow you will have to hold with your fingers the same weight that you draw. Therefore, if you choose a longbow with a draw weight equal to that of your compound, you will probably struggle holding the bow at full draw for long periods of time without getting tired. This will obviously reflect on your shooting accuracy and, more generally, on your overall traditional archery experience.
Make sure you adjust your reference draw weight when switching from a compound bow.
Choose the best longbow 2023 for you
"What's the best longbow for me?"
The answer to this question depends on many different factors. Are you just starting out into archery or are you a veteran compound archer or crossbow shooter looking to get into traditional archery/hunting?
If you're totally new to archery, make sure you are aware of the challenges of shooting a longbow. Don't let the initial obstacles hold you back from practicing, and remember to choose the correct draw weight for your size and application.
Obviously, price will be a significant factor to consider when choosing a longbow.
Based on the longbow style and manufacturing, the price can vary wildly. On top of that, price can also fluctuate seasonally. Make sure you don't sacrifice quality to save money, as getting a cheap longbow will probably make your shooting experience a nightmare, and you will not want to continue practicing traditional archery!
detailed comparison table for the top best longbow 2023 pick
Use the useful comparison table below to compare the longbows features. By clicking on the little arrows in the column headers you can sort this table by whichever specification you want. Best rated? Cheapest? Highest draw weight? Just click the arrow corresponding to each specification to find out which bow meets your criteria.
This table is scrollable, also on mobile devices. Just use the scrollbar at the bottom to reveal the columns hidden on the right.
Be sure to look for models that are user-friendly and manageable based on your size and desired application. Price will be a big factor in terms of which model you choose, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
If you're going to be using your longbow for hunting, make sure you look for a model with draw weight range covering high draw weights setting (+40lbs)
Click on the rating value under “Our RATING” to read the full review (if available) for each one of the longbows.
What is the most powerful longbow?
Bear Montana is a mighty and swift longbow with minimal to no shock, which aids in producing accurate and vibration-free performance.
Bear Montana feels solid and durable. This bow also features a leather "shoot off the shelf" firm hold for added comfort and accuracy, giving it a distinct, retro vibe.
Who makes the best English longbow?
The English Longbow is the most well-known bow in the world. With its rich battle history, it's no surprise that the modest longbow is still used in present-day archery.
Bickerstaffe Bows retails longbows worldwide through dealers who specialize in making "custom-designed longbows" tailor-made according to each customer's requirements.
How to make a longbow?
The first step is to search for an appropriate tree. The radius of the tree should be between two to three inches. Small trees are simpler to cut, and the wood is more bendable.
Remove at least six feet of plain bow wood from the tree. Then, using a knife or scraper, remove the bark from the bottom of the white wood. Finally, apply wood glue or varnish to both ends.
How to shoot a longbow?
Hold the bow by placing the dished portion of the grip on the straps between your index and thumb.
Raise the bow in a vertical direction. During the draw, tilt your bow arm so that it points downwards. Begin the drawing sequence with your head held upright. Once you've reached anchor, concentrate on the point you want to hit and release.
What is the length of a longbow?
The longbow is a taller bow as compared to the other bows. Its length ranges from 6 ft 2 to 6 ft 11 inches, and an average length of 6 ft 6 in that is approximately (1.98 m).
|Longbow name||Our RATING||Price||AMO (inches)||Recommended brace height (inches)||Draw weights range (lbs)||Wood||Hands|
|Martin Savannah Stealth-||9.4||$$$||62||6.5-7.5||40-65||Bubinga||L&R|
|Bear Montana Editor's Pick||9.2||$$$||64||7.5-8.5||30-60||Maple||L&R|
|OMP Mountain Man Sierra||9.2||$$||68||6.5-7.5||40-60||Maple||L&R|
|SinoArt Sparrow - Best Cheapest Longbow||8.0||$||52||7.5||20-35||Ebony||R|
|SAS Scorpion||9.3||$$||68||7-7.75||25-60||Dymond wood, Tiger wood, White oak, and Padouk||L&R|
|Mandarin Duck Black Hunter||9.2||$$||60||7.5-8.5||30-60||Dark wood||R|
|Ragim Raven||8.5||$$||66||7-8||20-60||Dark/clear woods||R&L|
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