Bows! Where to get them?

So a number of people have asked about bows and where to get them. The following is my personal recommendations, and like any opinion, completely subject to change without notice and your mileage may vary. Separated out from most expensive to least expensive:

$900+
Salukis — for when only the best will do. A lot of the top competitors use these. Cost starts about $900-1000 and goes up into the multiple thousands for his horn bows. Each bow is custom built and there is over a year waiting list. Holds value really well because there is a YEAR waiting list. I’ve shot just one of these. My first three shots with one of these were on top of each other. No warm up or getting used it, just thump-thump-thump. I shot a 30 lb @ 30 in and it felt like a 20 lb bow. Would NOT recommend for green horses as breaking a Saluki has been known to make grown, manly men cry. Available from http://www.salukibow.com/ from Lukas Novotny, arguably one of the best horseback archers in the world. I’m hoping to have one of these sometime in the 2018-2019 time frame.

$350-800
Atilla bows. https://attilasarchery.com/ Have not tried the more expensive Atilla bows. At the $700+ you’re in Saluki terrority. Tried a cheaper model but wasn’t very impressed. If you go this route, I’d advise one of his shorter models.

$400-600
Kassai bows. Available online and from RMSGear in Wheat Ridge, CO. As much as I love the guys at RMS, and want to send business their way, I can’t recommend these bows. Almost all of them are leather covered fiberglass, and although beautiful to look at, were some of the slowest shooting bows I’ve ever shot. I tried multiple models in the 35 to 40 lb range and they made my wife’s 25 lb starter bow look like a screamer. The one exception would be his laminated bows, which I’ve never seen for sale in the US. But as that would be pushing the $600+ envelope, there are probably better options.

$400ish
Akosbow Turk — This is a bow that Glenn Weston uses down in Texas. Have never tried, Supposed to be a good value for the money. Serena could probably chime in as she’s shot it. Available from https://www.facebook.com/medicinearchery/. Glenn was very responsive and I’d love to try one of these out some day.

Mariner bows — Imported from China and available from Justin Ma at Cinnabar Bow. http://www.cinnabarbow.com/marinerbows/ming.html These are Jen and my current bows. We really like them and prefer them to our Black Shadows. Fit and finish is really nice. If Justin doesn’t have what you want in stock, it can be ordered, but since it’s coming from a single bowyer, the wait can be long. Think anywhere from three to six months.

Spearman bows/Scorpious bows — Also available from Cinnabar Bows (http://www.cinnabarbow.com). Have not tried yet. Fit and finish is said to not be quite up to Mariner, but supposedly very, very fast. Spearman is purportedly hard to get outside of China as traditional Chinese archery is a thing there now and is being bought up by the local market. Will hopefully have a specimen sometime in May or June to try out. Scorpious bow is another take on the Turk bow and is said to be very fast. Expect a very long wait for Spearmans, and a medium-ish (two-three months) for Scorpious.

$300ish
Alibow laminated bows (Available from alibowshop.com or occasionally from Canyon Cappola on Facebook). My personal feelings are your best bets are probably the Turkish laminated, the Crimean Tartar, and Emperor (if you don’t mind a slightly longer bow). I’ve heard mixed things about the Kaiyuan bow. One of our members (Bonnie) has a Turkish bow. It is probably just a hair slower than the Korean Black Shadows, but is a smoother bow, in my opinion. It is also prettier. Shipping is from China and can be an exercise in frustration. Expect at least a three week wait, most seem to be in the month to six-weeks time frame lately.

$200-$250
Korean bows. Freddie Archery Black Shadow and Kaya Korean traditional bows (and possibly the Samick Mind50/SKB). The Kayas are actually harder to find in the States. Mostly available from UK shops such as https://www.thelongbowshop.co.uk. I personally liked the Black Shadow better than the Mind50. The Black Shadow can be ordered from koreanbow.com (shipped from Korea) for $250. Lancaster archery for $219 (http://www.lancasterarchery.com/freddie-archery-black-shado…) or ordered locally from RMS Gear in Lakewood at I-70 and Kipling. If you don’t mind popping the glued on rubber arrow rest (and dealing with a slightly unsightly glue on your bow), the Lancaster and RMSGear are great buys. We bought ours from RMS. They are probably the best bang for the buck for any bow out there right now. Carbon core and wickedly fast. A bit on the unforgiving side. Personal recommendation would be to order one from RMSGear, have them set it up for you, and get it re-served from them out of the box. This is probably the cheapest you’ll get a competition-level bow.

Atilla Ufinish bows: https://attilasarchery.com/shop/bows/u-finish/u-finish/ Was not impressed. One I tried had what I feel would be an unacceptable level of handshock for me. Was longer, heavier, slower, and a lot more handshock than my Black Shadow at approximately the same poundage. Felt like it was inferior to the Korean bows.

$100
From alibowshop.com, they have leather covered fiberglass models. In particular, their Turk and the Tibetan are supposed to be good values. Have never shot one. I saw one locally (a Mongolian style) at the local range and it seemed to be faster than the Kassai bows I’ve shot, but still on the slow side. We have two Turks in 20 and 25 for rental during group practice and other events. If you just want a bow to get you by, these are the ones. The Turk is probably your best bet for speed, I’ve been told they’re decently fast, but I’m seriously skeptical as my experiences with leather covered fiberglass bows have not impressed me. Expect them to weigh at least three times what an equivalent laminated bow of the same style would weigh.

Kids bows:
$200 Mariner — their dandelion model looks super cute. Obviously have never shot one, but they are a laminated bow and fit and finish on Mariners is pretty nice. If not in stock, expect a super long wait (four months+).

$90ish (after shipping) — Alibow children’s fiber bows. Multiple models. Have heard of the occasional bad luck with children’s models being higher poundage than advertised. Not as big a deal for adult bows if your bow is three or four pounds heavier than advertised, but a huge deal for kids. Expect delivery to be at least four to six weeks from order date.

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