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Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

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Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Old 09-08-2004, 01:45 PM
  #1  
Nontypical Buck
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Default Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Well, as work issues cause visions of yet another week long muzzleloader season to fade away, I'm once again seriously considering bow hunting as a means to extend my season and allow me more hunting opportunities despite my busy work schedule.

The problem is that looking at bows at all the local bow shops, as well as looking at manufacturer provided promotional marketing materials and such, I find that I leave more confused and with more questions that I started with. There are so many brands and models of bows out there that my head spins thinking about it.

This combined with the marketing hype (every year every manufacturer comes out with a new, whiz-bang gadget that they claim makes their bow the only one that stands any chance of harvesting a deer.), and biased salesmen that want to sell me what they want, not what I need ("Yes, Mr. Salesman, I'm sure that that Mathews is great just like the other Mathews you just showed me, but I can't afford either, thanks. How much is your commission again?"). I don't even know where to start as a beginner in this sport.

Anyway, because of this I thought I'd ask some of you guys who've been where I am now your opinion on the right direction to get started in bow hunting.

Some background information to help you help me...

I don't have tons of cash to spend...I'd like to stay under $300 (street price) for a bow, and maybe $100 on assessories (rests, sights and such...not including arrows and broadheads). I already have a wrist strap caliper release that I bought last year on clearance that will suit my needs I think. I simply cannot afford, now or in the near future, a bow in the price range typical of Mathews, Hoyt, or Bowtech. Just ain't gonna happen right now.

I have gone around and shot several bows, including models from Mathews, Hoyt, Bowtech (I know I already said I can't afford them, but I still wanted to shoot them to see if the extra $100-400 was worth it...and had fun doing it!), Parker, Fred Bear, Browning and PSE (and maybe a Darton, but I'm not sure).

I will say that I didn't care for the Hoyts at all. Just not comfortable to shoot. They just felt "wrong" to me. The Bowtechs were pretty nice, definately giving the Mathews bows a run for their money (and a LOT of money at that, I might add!), and I found the Mathews bows to be the best shooters for me. I wish I could afford one, as I thought that they were not only exceptionally smooth and quiet, but I could actually shoot them well. But, alas, a Mathews is not in my (near) future.

So I'm left with Parker, Fred Bear, Browning and PSE. I shot several PSE bows, and didn't really like them. The ones I can afford look and feel "cheap" to me (no offense the the PSE shooters, just my opinion). The Browning, Parker and Fred Bear bows were all decent, with the Bear TRX slightly edging out the competition IMO, but also being higher in the price bracket as well. My biggest concern is with getting a good quality bow that will allow me to learn how to shoot and shoot well, and still perform well on game when I feel comfortable enough to hunt with it. Forgiveness and ease of shooting is much more important than speed to me at this point. I intend to hunt from a ground blind as I'm pretty scared of heights (if God had meant me to climb trees, He'd have made me a squirrel! ). I'm pretty sure my draw length, with a release, is right around 29", +- a little bit if I have a string loop, etc..., and I can draw and hold 70lbs, but will probably start at 60 and work up because it's a bit of a strain (not to mention that when I shot a Bowtech Extreme VFT I found out exactly what is meant when one refers to a radical cam, short valley and solid wall. I yanked, and the bow yanked back! Thank God for solid wrist strap releases!).

Anyway...sorry for the long post, but I felt that it would give the experienced bow hunters here a better feel for where I was in the buying process and what kind of bow that would best serve me.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Mike
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:03 PM
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Sounds like you sorta answered your own question - shoot them all then buy the one that fits you and your budget the best. Those are all pretty sound bow choices. I work with a guy that shoots a TRX and he is vry happy with it.

I am not sure of thier exact prices but Reflex bows get good reviews as being great bows for the price.
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:16 PM
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Doesn't reflex use the same eccentrics as the Hoyt he didn't like?

I would encourage you to strongly consider buying one of the newer high end models you like, only used.

I paid $300 for my Diamond Hornet when it was 1 year old, it shoots just as good as if I'd paid $550. A few bows will hold their value, but for most it's like golf clubs and cars- the bottom falls out as soon as next years models are introduced. With the rash (since this is the word for the day, apparently) of folks who must have the latest and greatest (no offense to many here ), slightly used is a buyers market. I came close to selling my hornet for $250 but talked myself out of it

Check out the classifeds forum on www.archerytalk.com and search for some of the bows you are interested in. Also ask about used at the shops you visited. The shop may not sell used, but know of those looking to sell so they can buy new.

You may be pleasantly suprised.
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:31 PM
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

I was thinking more along the lines of the tec riser versus the more traditional riser on the Reflexes such as the Buckskin.
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:44 PM
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

That makes sense. I assumed he was referring to the FDC of the Cam.5...

If not, I agree 100%

Heck, for $250 ($299 as a kit) the Buckmaster 2000 is a lot of bow for the money. I shot an original buckmaster for a time, killed deer plenty good. My brother's now shooting it, in fact.
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Old 09-08-2004, 03:22 PM
  #6  
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Another possiblity is the Parker Buck Hunter Outfitter. Comes with everything except arrows and a release. $299 MSRP.
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Old 09-08-2004, 03:30 PM
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

I realize that you are going to get quite a few hunters loyal to their products. I have actually used 5 different brands of bows since I have started hunting. I have used hoyt, high country, XI, and PSE. Just this year I was introduced to Martin bows. I bought the Martin Jaguar which is a dual cam bow and very smooth. I have it set at 65# and I am holding a real nice group. The good thing about these bows are that they are in that price range you are looking for. I like this bow quite a bit and it matches up well with those other brands as far as shootability and smoothness. A very good bow for the price.
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Old 09-09-2004, 01:35 PM
  #8  
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Well, I went ahead and put a bow on layaway today, and it's a much better bow than I expected to be getting!

I had business in Iowa City and decided to stop by Scheels on the way home this morning. Turns out that they are just getting in next years models and had just minutes before clearanced their last remaining Bowtech Patriots down from $699 to $399! At that price I could hardly pass up the opportunity to buy a new bow for at or below what a used Patriot would cost me. It'll probably take me a month or so to pay it out of layaway, but it's mine nonetheless. I got lucky in my timing, because I'd bet both of those Patriots would have sold at that price by the weekend.

I'm just amazed how nice the bow shoots, especially for being so fast. Virtually no handshock or vibration at all. The poundage on the bow was turned down to 60 to allow the bow to be test fired by weaker shooters, but the result was a very pleasant and smooth draw cycle for me.

I can't wait to get it home and start shooting it, as I think I'll be a lot happier with a top notch bow like this one that a mid to low price model. Hopefully it'll give me years of service, that is unless I contract the virus so common among bowhunters that compels them to buy a new bow every year!

Again, thanks for the comments and suggestions...

Mike
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Old 09-09-2004, 01:44 PM
  #9  
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

Sounds like a sweet deal , but do yourself a favor... As a beginning archer, find a reputable pro/tech and have him set it up so that it fit's you. Be willing to pay him for his time and talent, and in the long run you'll be very glad you did.
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Old 09-09-2004, 02:40 PM
  #10  
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: Bow for a beginner (without the marketing hype)

As a beginning archer, find a reputable pro/tech and have him set it up so that it fit's you. Be willing to pay him for his time and talent, and in the long run you'll be very glad you did.
I intend to, as I don't know diddly about setting up a bow at this point. Part of the archery departments deal is that they will install all accessories and tune new bows for free when you buy the bow there. I'm going to let them do just that and see how the bow shoots. They have a shooting lane there and I believe that they also paper tune the bows there.

Now I just have to figure out what accessories I'm going to put on it. I'm thinking about a whisker biscuit rest, string loop, peep sight, a short stabilizer with some type of sound dampener (the bow doesn't need much from what I can tell). As for the type of sight, I don't even know where to start. Probably just a basic three pin fiber-optic sight. I have a wrist release already. I'll probably also have them put on a string silencer (Limbsaver?) too. I'm undecided on the type of arrows to use. Carbons seem pricy, but the aluminum arrows seem to get bent and damaged easy, so I'm not sure which to try. Eventually I think I'll use Muzzy fixed three blade broadheads. I'm not really looking for anything fancy, and the Muzzy's seem to have a great reputation.

I just hope this sport becomes less confusing after one gets some experience with all the options available.

Mike
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