Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Longbow in 5 Easy Steps
Whether you’re new to archery or have been hitting the target for years, it’s no secret that the variety of bow types can get intimidating. Longbows are one of the oldest and most traditional pieces of archery equipment. Today, we’ll dive into all the different types, and their features, so choosing one can be a simple process.
Different Types of Longbows
If you’re looking for the most traditional and recognizable type of bow, the English longbow may be for you. It has a long history and prominence within archery and the film industry. As its name suggests, this style of archery bow<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> comes from England, where Welsh archers used to fight off invaders during war.
The English longbow is relatively long, even for a longbow. Its average length is around five feet! This allows them to accommodate people who need longer bow and draw lengths. In history, these bows were used in hunting and battles and required plenty of strength to shoot them.
These days, most people who shoot English longbows tend to do so for target practice. They can be manufactured to have lower draw weights, making them great for the repetitive nature of shooting. Not to mention their advantages for those new to shooting traditional bows.
Shooting the arrow directly from your hand forces you to focus on proper shooting form, as well as breath control and aim. These bows typically contain a combination of outer wood and heartwood to provide strength and flexibility. From past to present, the English longbow will always deliver for archers.
Moving onto a relatively newer innovation, meet the American longbow. This style of bow dates back to around the 1930s. It is essentially an evolutionary form of the English longbow combined with the American flatbow.
This archery bow style has been commonly used by indigenous peoples throughout North America. The American longbow is shorter than its English older sibling. It has an average length of about four feet.
The American longbow style will be more suitable for people who need a shorter bow and draw lengths. Unlike the English longbow, which has been adapted to have lower draw weights, the core of American longbows is often constructed out of hand-wearing materials. Things like fiberglass can help it stand up to high draw weights.
The added force gained from a higher draw weight makes the bow more ideal for hunting than modern English longbows. The American longbow also features a notch designed to hold the arrow, which lends archers some additional stability over the English longbow. Hunters appreciate having this feature while shooting and in archery lessons<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.
The horse longbow is the descendant of a bow used by nomadic hunters of the past and was put to the test in battle in the Middle Ages. The modern version of the horse longbow is sometimes referred to as a “reflex” or “hybrid” longbow. This is because of the way that it curves slightly towards the archer at the center, before turning away at the end of the bow.
This style is a longbow that behaves slightly like a recurve bow, giving the archer the power that comes with a recurve bow and the forgiveness of a longbow. Looking at size, this one is the shortest of longbow styles, reaching about three to four feet. When shopping for a horse longbow, you may notice many different materials.
There is such a large variety in the designs and materials used to make horse longbows because this bow design has traveled around the world. Each new culture that has adopted the horse bow added its own features and unique elements. The flexibility and diversity of this bow make it perfect for target archers and hunters in archery lessons.
How to Choose a Longbow
Regardless of which longbow style you choose, it’s vital for it to be in sync with your body. When it comes to choosing a type, the most important details will be based on your personal preferences and archery needs. Some of the most crucial things to consider before purchasing a longbow are eye dominance, draw length, bow length, brace height, and draw height.
If you are a veteran archer, you’re likely already familiar with ocular dominance and how to use it when choosing a bow. For those new to archery, the term simply refers to which eye is your dominant one. Figuring out your dominant eye is the first step to choosing a longbow style.
Your dominant eye determines which hand you will shoot the arrow with. For example, if your right eye is dominant, you’ll be shooting archery equipment<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> with the right hand. Most people’s dominant hand will match their dominant eye but taking a test to make sure never hurts.
The next step to choosing the right longbow is understanding your draw length. It is a measurement of how far you pull back your bow when shooting an arrow. Measure your draw length with help from a friend or head to an archery shop for assistance.
There are a few ways to find your draw length at home without professional help. Measure your wingspan or the distance between your middle fingertips when your arms are outstretched. Then, divide that measurement by 2.5.
Once you’ve determined your draw length, it’s easy to figure out the bow length or size. This is a measurement of the distance between the tips of your bow. The longer your bow length, the smoother your shot will be.
Longer bows can provide more stability. They can also be more forgiving when it comes to making mistakes during your shots. If your bow is too long or too short, your skills will be limited.
Draw weight determines the force and velocity of your shot. The higher your draw weight, the faster your shot will be. However, understanding your limits is key when selecting a weight according to archery talk.
Your draw weight should match your strength level in order to maintain proper shooting form. If you already use a compound bow, you will need to reduce your draw weight by at least 15 pounds when switching to a longbow. Those new to archery will want to start with the lowest possible draw weight.
There are a few exceptions, but generally, 35 pounds will be the lowest you can find in a longbow. If you’re unable to maintain proper shooting form at this draw weight, you may practice with a different bow first. Finding your preferred draw weight is a process of trial and error, so it’s essential to visit an archery shop and test bows before purchasing one.
Determining which brace height you prefer is less about your physical characteristics, and more about your archery preferences. It is a measurement of the distance between the deepest point of the grip and the string of your bow. The brace height will influence the speed and forgiveness of the bow when you shoot at an archery shop near me.
Luckily, adjusting the brace height on a longbow is simple. All you must do is twist or untwist the bowstring until you have your preferred brace height. Knowing your exact brace height isn’t totally necessary to choose a bow, but you should check the manufacturer’s suggestion on the archery accessory before purchasing.
Buying a Longbow
Now that you know which type of longbow best suits your archery needs, and how to pick one that fits your skill level, it’s time to make one final choice! Are you going with a custom bow or a stock bow for your archery accessory? Let’s dive into the qualities of each longbow type.
A custom bow is exactly what its name suggests; a longbow that’s custom-built or incorporates customizations. To purchase one, you will have to work directly with a bowyer. The price of a custom longbow will depend on the cost of your materials and their labor charges.
A stock bow is a predesigned or prebuilt bow that is mass-produced. You can visit basically any local archery shop near you or an online shop to find them. We should mention, though, that it’s highly recommended in archery talk to test out a bow before purchasing it.
With plenty of information about each type of longbow, making a decision has never been easier. Be sure to head over to your local archery shop and test some out before making any major purchases. If you’re still looking for more information on all things archery, check out some extra Crow Survival content.