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Used Bow - What to Look for?

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Used Bow - What to Look for?

Old 02-08-2014, 10:51 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Used Bow - What to Look for?

I'm looking to purchase my first ever compound bow at age 46 in order to learn how to shoot with my 6 (soon to be 7) year old son.

Because of funds (or a lack there of) it looks as though I'm going to be going with a used bow for myself.

I know absolutely nothing about bows so can someone please give me some specifics that I should be looking for when I find a used bow so I'll know if it is something I should consider? (ie: What should I be looking for as far as.....draw weight? draw length? axle to axle? let off? max speed? sight vs no sight? material made from? brands? size? etc)

I'm 6'2", 193 pounds, not very strong, have very little money (I mean I'm looking for under $100), and right now I'm looking for something to just learn how to shoot in the backyard with my son. If we both fall in love with it then maybe doing some hunting (although right now he doesn't like camo so we'll have to work around that).

I appreciate any and all help/advice.

TripleB

Last edited by TripleB; 02-08-2014 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:00 PM
  #2  
MZS
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You can get an older model for that price. I tried selling my Hoyt Raider (circa 2000) for $95 on Craig's list and nobody even called. Check Craig's list. Then do some research on the bow to see if it has been at least usable. My bow is usable and I have gotten plenty of deer with it, but does not work well in cold weather so I am ditching it and got a crossbow.

Watch out though - you will also see some real pieces of junk listed. A good place to get some info would be right here. Find a few bows listed for sale in your area and then post the info - chances are someone here has used the bow and can tell you if it is OK.
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Old 02-08-2014, 03:03 PM
  #3  
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check craigslist in your area...

check limbs for cracks, cams for dents, . Look at the bow itself for overall straightness...you dont want to buy something the person just dropped out of a tree...

once you get one..I'd replace the string before shooting it
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:27 PM
  #4  
Spike
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Thanks for all the advice so far!!!

For my height (6'2") and my novice ability, is there a certain draw weight, draw length, axle to axle length, let off, max speed, etc. I should be specifically looking for (or staying away from)?

One I have seen is....55 pound Black Archery Compound Bow: Draw Length: 29", Draw Weight: 55 lbs., Axle to Axle: 42'', Let Off: 70%, Max Speed: 206 FPS, Recommended Arrow: 30'' - 32"; comes with bow, 3 arrows, and 1 sight

Again, I appreciate everyone's help.

TripleB

Last edited by TripleB; 02-08-2014 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:15 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by TripleB View Post
For my height (6'2") and my novice ability, is there a certain draw weight, draw length, axle to axle length, let off, max speed, etc. I should be specifically looking for (or staying away from)?
Here's my take on your question:

First off, most important thing you need right now is a release. I highly recommend the Tru-Fire Edge Buckle Foldback release for beginners and expereinced archers both. Shooting without a release is not only frustrating for new archers, but can also be dangerous, since poor technique can torque the string and cause it to derail from the cams, causing potentially serious injury to the shooter.

Secondly, take a look at the strings. Replacing strings and cables will run you around $100. If the strings are shot on your $100 bow, you may need to replace them immediately for safety, so you might have been better off buying a $200 bow with decent strings from the jump. Strings should be replaced every season or two at least, if not more frequently, for hunters, way more frequently for target shooters.

So then onto the specs....

Draw Length: Draw length is the most important spec on a bow, in my opinion. This generally needs to be set by your bow shop, and for some models, might even require new parts (like replacing Modules in Mathews bows). Since you're 6'2", assuming your arms about as wide as you are tall, then you likely need a 29.5" draw length bow. Most bows are adjustable between 25" or 26" up to 30" or even 32", in half inch increments. Go to a shop, try shooting a 29.5" bow, then have them check your form and see if you're overstretching or not extending enough. Have them adjust it to 29", or 30" and try it again.

Draw Weight: This is the second most important spec (really DL and DW are the only two important to me). Most guys are comfortable with a 60lb draw, with minimal practice. I only shoot 70-80lb bows, but I'm a glutton for punishment. Most modern bows will adjust DOWN about 10lbs from their specified maximum, so a "70lb bow" could be set anywhere from 60-70lbs, a "50lb bow" could go 40-50lbs. I personally would recommend you get a 70lb bow, then turn it down to 60lbs, learn how to shoot it well, then if you want more power/speed later, you can turn it up. If you buy a 60lb bow, you'll likely want more later, but can't get it. My 5'3" 125lb wife shoots a 54lb and a 63lb bow.

Axle to Axle length: Personal preference. Shorter bows are easier handling in thick timber or in a tree stand, but they also sacrifice stability. Longer bows are generally more forgiving for new shooters. Bows in the 32-34" range should be comfortable, assuming you have a 7" brace height.

Speed: Bow speed doesn't really mean much. I'm a speed demon, want as much momentum (rather than KE) that I can get, but it's not what kills. IBO speed, i.e. the number published on the bow, doesn't really mean much to most guys, since they're not shooting the same arrow weight or draw length as the IBO test standards. Since I'm a short draw shooter at 28.5", I NEVER get to shoot as fast as my bow's claim they can.

Let off %: Most bows are going to be either 65% or 80%. As a beginner, you won't be drawing 80lbs, so 65% will still be more than enough let off for you to hold. 60lbs at 65% let off is pretty easy to hold back.

One you missed...

Brace height: Brace height, in laymen's terms, and not so specific, is basically the length from the grip to the string, when at rest (not drawn). "Standard" is 7" brace height, but certain bows will be longer or shorter. Shorter brace heights are generally faster, but they're less forgiving for the shooters. Longer brace heights give up some speed, but they're more forgiving to new shooters, since there's less contact time between the string and arrow.

So, my personal recommendation would be a 70lb max bow, 29.5" with a 7" brace height.

Hopefully that helps a bit, rather than just adding to your confusion. Keep asking questions.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:27 PM
  #6  
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I would go to an archery store and have them measure your draw lengthy and talk to them many bows people sell or in bad shape cracked limbs they don't even know about. you may pay a little more at a archery shop but they will help you with your set up and pick a decent used bow. many have ranges for you to try to see what draw weight you are combfull with. if you by a used bow off someone take it to a shop so they can check it out before you shoot it to be safe.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:26 PM
  #7  
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used?
PSE nova extreme. (ebay im sure)
anything used should have a new string put on it IMO
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:24 PM
  #8  
MZS
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Originally Posted by TripleB View Post
Thanks for all the advice so far!!!

For my height (6'2") and my novice ability, is there a certain draw weight, draw length, axle to axle length, let off, max speed, etc. I should be specifically looking for (or staying away from)?

One I have seen is....55 pound Black Archery Compound Bow: Draw Length: 29", Draw Weight: 55 lbs., Axle to Axle: 42'', Let Off: 70%, Max Speed: 206 FPS, Recommended Arrow: 30'' - 32"; comes with bow, 3 arrows, and 1 sight

Again, I appreciate everyone's help.

TripleB
Sure this not Black Bear? Also, post the model number and a link to the photo if you can.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:04 PM
  #9  
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To add my 2cents....60lb bow is plenty to shoot a deer out to 40yds no problem. Shot placement is key. a 60lb bow will shoot straight through a deer just as easy as a 70lb only difference is how far in the dirt its stuck...again just because its a 70lb bow doesnt make it kill any quicker/better...

Also if you have shoulder problems 70-80lb bow will surely mess it up even more. I have some shoulder problems and the 60lb is doing just fine for me.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:15 PM
  #10  
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Dont really worrie about axle to axle length or ibo speed. If you want to get a good starting point for draw length to get you started get your wife or son to measure you. Hold your arms out streight and get them to measure you from fingure tip to fingure tip then take that number and divide it by 2.5 (if you measure 70" then you are a 28" draw length). Like I said its just a good starting point. Since you are new to archery I would start out with a bow that has a range from 50-60 lbs draw weight. Are you left handed or right handed. I have 2 bows here for sale one is a righty and one is a lefty. I have a golden eagle that has a 30" draw length but will need strings and I also have a Bear instinct that is 29" draw length with 60-70LB limbs. the golden eagle is right handed and the instinct is lefty
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