The difference between longbow and recurve bow

As a beginner, when people decide to buy their first bow, they may ask “Should I buy a long bow?”, “Should did buy a recurve?”, “What’s the difference?”. In this article we will try to elaborate on some of the differences between them, some of the pros and cons.

Many people thought that the Longbow was more forgiving to shoot than a recurve bow. When you look at this 45 pound longbow, one of the things that you’ll find is the limbs, how thin they are, they’re really thin and widthwise. If we compare it to a 45 pound recurve bow, you’ll see the width difference, the recurve bow is enormous comparatively especially in the tips, the tips are a lot wider.

If we turn the bows sideways, one other thing you quickly notice is how wide and how thick the longbow is, compared to the recurve bow. The recurve bow is very narrow and wide, the longbow is very stocky and almost square. This is a 45 pound recurve versus a 45 pound longbow, if this were a 55 pound long bow, it would even be thicker on limbs.

Recurve Bow Limb

So what does that do? What advantage and disadvantages them have?

In shooting a bow, if you aren’t releasing well, if your release is unstable, you’re torquing the string at all when you release. With a recurve bow you can easily twist the limbs and tips, so that can throw your shot off. If you don’t have a proper release and you end up twisting or grabbing the string wrong, you can actually twist that limb when you fire. But with a longbow we can’t twist its limb, no matter what we do to try. That’s just the design, the way it’s built, so that alleviates that problem.

This is the other recurve bow, compare it to the 45 pound recurve bow, an interesting thing that we noticed is the limb design. The limbs are so much more narrow especially at the tip, and it actually reminds us of the standards, it’s pretty much the same size as the longbow . So in a way what we seeing with this bow was it’s almost like a recurve longbow hybrid, because it is thicker.

When we hold it up sideways, both of these bows are 45 pounds, but you can see how much thicker the recurve longbow is, and it’s not near as why.

Back in the 50s, the primary bow was the long bow. In the 40s and 30s and recurves were just starting to come into their own. This would be like one of the first types of recurves, so it kind of makes sense it’s got long bow style to it and mountable features but it makes it a very good bow to shoot.

Another factor which helps in shooting with a recurve longbow is its length, being 64” long as this bow is. When you draw it back and you hold, you’ll see the string on your fingers. There’s not much of an angle with the string on your fingers, so that means the string has a better opportunity to slide off your fingers, more easily and smoothly. The shorter the bow is, the more the angle of the string on your fingers. If we grab a compound bow, we can demonstrate. Being a short bow, when this bow is drawn, you can see the pinch on your fingers in the angles. That’s going to make any finger release a lot more difficult, because now you have more friction on those ends of the fingers, that’s why when you see compound shooters and most compound bows are 32 to 35 inch axle the axle, which is very short, that’s why you see compound shooters using a release, as opposed to fingers that, and the fact that they’re only holding 12 or 15 pounds because they let off.

Having a longer bow means you have a more forgiving release, because that string has a better opportunity to slide off your fingers smoothly, instead of having a violent release. You can also get recurve bows in 64” or 66” just like a long bow, that would be a wonderful bow to shoot and practice with.

But with a recurve bow you can also get it in the supermax 36”, and that takes a lot more skill to shoot if your release isn’t that good. The most important thing is release and follow-through and shooting, those are a couple of the things that a couple of reasons why they figure that longbows are a little bit more forgiving to shoot.

One of the big advantages of a recurve is they tend to be a faster shoot over and again, that’s because the limb design. You’ve got more power in the tips of the limbs and that transfers to arrow speed, that just makes it faster, lower trajectory, easy to shoot.

Another big advantage for a recurve is for hunting.  You see the difference in the height that can be a big difference in when you go tree limb over your head, and we’re constantly have to figure out move find a place to shoot, where don’t have tree branches and things in our way. The longer bow, you tend to hit branch is easier, you tend to make more noise, more movement things like that when your deer hunting. So that’s another big advantage to a recurve is its compact ability and maneuverability when you’re out hunting.

Both a recurve and longbow are great to work with, it all boils down to your form, your technique and your release, and just follow through if you haven’t got those down, no amount of forgiveness is going to help you when you’re shooting badly. It will only shoot with how well your form is working and how well you manage those difficulties with your release, that’s the most important thing.

The other thing you’ll notice is that the recurve has more of a pistol grip and the longbow has a straight crack. So when you shooting the longbow, you’re tending to put heel pressure right through the grip. But when we do the same thing with the recurve, it actually just put your hand in a little different position, it’s just something to get used to and it’s very easy to get used to. Both handles are really nice to hold and really nice to work with.