Recurve Bow Reviews

Martin Saber

The Martin Saber was our favorite recurve bow overall, thanks to its excellent all-around performance and affordable price point. It doesn’t really have any weaknesses of note – except perhaps for the fact that it’s only available for right handers. The Saber is a takedown recurve, that comes in various draw weights, and it’s really just a stellar recurve bow any way you look at it – that’s why we were such big fans of it, and why it was our favorite recurve among all the models we looked at. To read more about why we like the Martin Saber Takedown Recurve so much, read the full review here.

Bear Super Kodiak

The Super Kodiak is the successor of the classic, very popular Bear Kodiak. It is specifically designed with the bowhunter in mind and its clear this is the case, both from an aesthetic and functional stand point. The Super Kodiak attempts to adhere to tradition, forgoing the more modern takedown approach in favor of being a one-piece bow. Even though we have stated our preference for takedown recurves, despite the fact that it’s a one-piece bow we still liked the Super Kodiak enough to call it our top recurve for hunting. To find out what we liked and didn’t like about the Super Kodiak, click here to read our in depth review.

Hoyt Buffalo

The Hoyt Buffalo was our favorite takedown recurve bow, and came pretty close to being our favorite overall – if it weren’t for the fact that the Buffalo is quite high-end price wise compared to the Saber (which is much more affordable), it may well have taken the top honor. While the Buffalo isn’t flawless, it performs very well at the main functions that a bow should have – it shoots tremendously well, accurately and powerfully, so the small flaws it does have were easy to overlook. To read more about what we thought of the Hoyt Buffalo, you can read our detailed individual review of it here.

Samick Sage

The Samick Sage is in our opinion, the very best recurve bow for beginners. Appropriate for both target shooting and hunting, the Sage is flexible enough that it could be used by a beginner on day 1, but still be used by the same person even after he/she has had 10 years of experiencing shooting a recurve. Samick made sure to not only make a takedown, but make it easy to assemble, extremely affordable, and easy to find replacement/upgraded parts for – all things that should be highly valued in a beginners bow. To read more of what we thought about the Samick Sage, feel free to check out our full review of it here.

Martin Jaguar

The Martin Jaguar is a good, solid bow, and when you take into account the price, it becomes a tremendous product because it’s such great value for money. With all-around strong performance, the Jaguar was our pick for best recurve bow for the money, and was really only challenged by the equally affordable and equally great Samick Sage. While it’s not outright the best bow (and doesn’t really try to be), the Jaguar is the bow to buy if you’re looking for a bargain. To read more about what makes the Martin Jaguar Takedown such a good deal, read our comprehensive full review of it here.

We also highly recommend you check out our comprehensive Guide to the Best Recurve Bows.

Martin Jaguar Review

If you want to learn more about crossbows in general, check out our Best Crossbows Guide.

The Martin Jaguar is tremendous value for money – in fact, it even managed to equal the Samick Sage (which is a bow we’re crazy about) in terms of being good value, at least in our minds. The Jaguar is a takedown recurve is just a really solid bow that is available at a really fantastic price – there’s not much else to it. In terms of absolute performance, it’s not the best, but for the price, other than the aforementioned Sage, it’s more or less unrivaled.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 60″

Draw Weight: 30-5lbs

Handedness: Right Handed Only

Bow Weight: 2.7lbs

Takedown: Yes

Our Impressions

The Jaguar is a really good bow. It’s unreasonable that a bow this good is this affordable. And yet it is. The Jaguar doesn’t shine in any one category, but it’s performs well in general, and while the Sage would be better for beginners, if you’re an experienced shooter on a budget, and you’re looking for a splendid recurve, you should go with the Jaguar.

Martin is well known for consistently putting out really quality bows, and the Jaguar is no exception. It shoots accurately, and while it’s not the most powerful recurve we’ve ever seen, it definitely still packs quite a punch. In terms of accuracy, we found the Jaguar performed nearly as well as many models that are twice (or more) as expensive, which is really something.

We felt only a bit of hand shock on the shot, and it was decently quiet. The Jaguar is also real comfortable – it’s a similar grip to that of our favorite (Martin Saber), and it feels very comfortable both in the hand and when making a shot. The materials also feel reasonable durable. Another thing that we really liked about the Jaguar was how lightweight it is – at only 2.7lb, it’s lighter than the average recurve on top of already being a takedown – which means it’s super portable and easy to carry in the field

The one thing we’d note about the Jaguar is the arrow rest – the rest is plastic, and we generally find that plastic anything on a bow tends to wear out reasonably quickly. Good thing is that it’s pretty easy to replace – if you do get the Jaguar, we’d probably recommend you be prepared to buy a new arrow rest as the one that comes with the Jaguar may not last you that long.

Pros

  • Probably the best value for money option
  • Excellent accuracy for the price
  • Lightweight and takedown function makes it super portable
  • Comfortable ergonomics and excellent grip
  • Decent both in terms of noise and vibration levels for the price range

Cons

  • Plastic arrow rest is easily worn out and will need replacement relatively quickly
  • Only available to right handers

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a really good value for money bow, or you’re on a tight budget, we highly recommend the Jaguar. There is only one other bow that is as good in terms of value – the Samick Sage – and we’d basically recommend those of you who are of above average height and hand size go with the larger Sage, and those of you average or below go with the Jaguar. Experienced folks should lean Jaguar, and beginners should lean Sage. In general, the Jaguar is so affordable and performs so well overall that we find it unlikely you’ll be unhappy with it regardless of what your specific needs are – it’s just that good a bargain.

Samick Sage Review

If you want to learn more about recurve bows in general, check out our Best Recurve Bows Guide.

We’re thoroughly convinced that the Samick Sage is by far the best beginners recurve model on the market, and it’s not even that close. For those of you who are looking for your first bow – look no further. It’s clear that the Sage was designed specifically to be tailored towards the beginner, and it shows – there are just so many design aspects to the Sage that make sense for a inexperienced archer. It’s also very affordable, which is also a huge strength for a first bow – you don’t need to invest that much upfront to get a very functional, solid bow, and the great thing about the Sage is that it is relatively easy to upgrade if you decide to further pursue traditional archery as a hobby.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 62″

Draw Weight: 25-60lbs

Handedness: Both

Bow Weight: 3.4lbs

Takedown: Yes

Our Impressions

The Sage is just a fantastic piece of equipment. It’s a takedown recurve that is relatively simple to put together, and it just performs at a level that we wouldn’t really expect from a budget recurve bow. The grip feels great, and we liked the ergonomics a lot – although we think that the grip will probably be more comfortable for those with average hand size (or lower) as it’s not that large. The grip lacks any kind of padding, but we still thought that it was reasonably easy to grip and we didn’t feel any discomfort or pain doing so.

The bow shoots remarkably well for such an affordable option. Frankly, we were expecting much worse – it’s not often that we are impressed with how a sub $200 bow shoots. Obviously, it’s not the best performer in absolute terms – the Buffalo for example, shoots better than the Sage in our opinion – however, if we’re comparing on a value for money basis, the Sage is near unbeatable – you just don’t normally get this kind of shooting experience for such a good price. The bow is quiet, with only a little hand shock, and pretty decent power and accuracy.

Another thing that makes the Sage great for beginners is it accepts sights and other accessories – many higher end bows skew more traditional and don’t allow for these aids. We feel like having a sight and a stabilizer can help a first timer or inexperienced shooter focus on the actual technique of his/her draw, which is helpful and can aid the speed of progress in terms of shooting accurately with the required force.

Also, the fact that the Sage is a takedown is tremondously useful for inexperienced archers, because as they develop they have the freedom to upgrade their bows without shelling out for an entirely new model. For example, if you want to slowly develop your ability to handle higher and higher draw weights, that’s very possible with the sage, and not as easy to do with some other recurves – and it’s basically impossible with a one-piece bow.

One thing to note about the Sage is that it is heavier than the average recurve – 3.4lbs is by no means heavy, but if you’re carrying your now around for extended periods of time, every little bit of weight has an effect. Not a huge deal, but just something to keep in mind. Also, the 62″ is a tad longer than average, so those who are of below average height or arm length may want to find a 60″ or smaller bow instead.

Pros

  • Near unbeatable value for money
  • Powerful and accurate for the price
  • Takedown function allows for upgrades and part replacements
  • Option to attach various aids helps beginners focus on fundamental of technique
  • Quiet with little vibration, especially for the price
  • Pretty solid ergonomics for such an affordable option

Cons

  • Bigger than average – smaller users may want to opt for 60″ or less
  • A little above average in terms of weight
  • Grip doesn’t come with padding

Final Thoughts

If you’re a first timer or you just went to a range for the first time and you want to get into archery as a hobby, then this is absolutely the bow for you. It doesn’t cost that much, and for the price, the performance is pretty much unmatched – we reckon on a purely value-for-money scale, the Sage is very near the top. More experienced (and people with more expendable income) may prefer something a bit higher end to potentially get better absolute performance. Also, the Sage might be a little large for those of smaller stature. Still, if you’re just getting into archery and you want a recurve bow, the Sage is probably your best bet by some margin.

Hoyt Buffalo Review

If you want to learn more about recurve bows in general, check out our Best Recurve Bows Guide.

The Hoyt Buffalo was our favorite takedown recurve (second if you include the Martin Saber in that discussion). The Buffalo has one or two minor flaws, but it’s strong performance in most areas plus the fact that it’s a breeze to take apart and reassemble made it one of our favorite recurves. The Buffalo is all-around solid, and the ease of the takedown process makes it especially portable – if you’re someone who wants to keep your gear to a minimum, the Buffalo may prove to be a good choice for you.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 58″, 60″, 62″

Draw Weight: 35-65lbs

Handedness: Both

Bow Weight: 3.2lbs

Takedown: Yes

Our Impressions

The Hoyt Buffalo has an extremely straightforward takedown process that doesn’t require the use of a screwdriver, wrench, or any other tools – this makes it quite ideal for experienced hunters who want strong portability and don’t necessarily want to always have to have a set of tools or similar on hand to put their bow back together. If you’re not sure how to put the bow together, you should watch the instructional DVD that comes on the bow – it’s also likely that you can find instructions online in video form.

The Buffalo is definitely designed more as a hunting bow rather than for target shooting – although it performs pretty well for both functions. The durability of the Buffalo is outstanding, and you can really feel the high quality of the materials its made of. The nature of the materials also makes it resistant to almost all environments – your Buffalo should perform consistently regardless of whether it’s been through snow, rain, or other challenging weather.

The bow shoots magnificently – the draw is very comfortable and smooth, and the bow shoots very accurately and packs a real punch. Not much bad to say about the Buffalo is this department – in terms of shooting performance, it’s pretty much as good as you can get with a recurve. Because of the power you can get with this bow, it’s really a ideal hunting bow – at the higher draw weights, you can be quite sure that you’ll bring down large game if your shot is on point. The ergonomics are also on point – this bow handles like a dream and feels secure and comfortable when held.

There are a couple minor issues we have with the Buffalo. First and foremost is that it’s relatively expensive – in fact, if it weren’t for the issue of price, the Buffalo might have been our favorite overall recurve. Also, you cannot attach a sight or other accessories (other than quiver) to the Buffalo – so this bow is probably more suitable for experienced archers and those who lean towards instinctive shooting rather than aim-and-shoot types. Another thing that we noticed was that the Buffalo makes a bit of sound – we wouldn’t say it’s loud, but it’s also definitely not quiet.

Pros

  • Ergonomics are excellent
  • Really top of the line in terms of power and accuracy
  • Bow materials are very durable
  • Takedown process is very straightforward, allows for greater portability
  • Combination of portability and power makes it an excellent hunting bow

Cons

  • Can’t attach sight or other accessories
  • Makes a little noise compared to some other recurves
  • Top quality comes with a bit of a hefty price tag

Final Thoughts

The Buffalo is a really good bow overall – in fact, if we take price out of the equation entirely, it may well have been our favorite choice among all the bows – at the end of the day, the thing you care about with a bow is how it shoots, and the Buffalo shoots like a dream. As with all things, the best performance comes with a high price – this is the main reason it wasn’t our favorite overall. Still, we highly recommend the Buffalo to those looking for a superb takedown bow, particularly those of you who are hunters. Beginners may want to avoid the Buffalo due to its higher price point and the fact many of the things that are useful in aiding beginners can’t be attached to it. For experienced shooters looking for a portable, powerful weapon, the Buffalo will prove an excellent choice.

Bear Super Kodiak Review

If you want to learn more about recurve bows in general, check out our Best Recurve Bows Guide.

The Bear Kodiak is/was a pretty classic and well-known bow – the Super Kodiak is the continuation of that well respected lineage. In fact, the original founder of Bear Archery, Fred Bear, is known to have used the original Kodiak model on his own hunting excursions. The Super Kodiak has improved on the original model greatly, and is one of the best one-piece bows out there, and it is in our opinion the best recurve bow for hunting.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 60″/64″

Draw Weight: 30-65lbs

Handedness: Both, LH version has less spec options

Bow Weight: 3lbs

Takedown: No

Our Impressions

First thing that we should say is that the Super Kodiak was designed largely with hunting in mind – if you’re primarily or exclusively a target shooter, this may not be the right bow for you. Everything from the way it looks, to the high draw weight options, points towards the Super Kodiak being a hunters bow.

The Super Kodiak is not a takedown, and while we prefer takedown bows in general, the Super Kodiak can get away with it for two main reasons – firstly, it performs well enough in other areas that we can overlook it, and secondly, because the Super Kodiak is the continuation of the original Kodiak, in a way, it pays homage to the classics by shunning the relatively modern idea of the takedown – and we can respect this even if it makes the bow less portable. Also, no takedown option means no assembly – just string the bow and you’re good to go.

The Super Kodiak shoots real nicely – the thing that sets it apart as a hunting recurve is the higher draw weights that it’s available in. 65lbs is pretty significant draw weight, and if you’ve got this high draw weight version, you’ll be shooting at pretty blazing speeds for a recurve. The high draw weight option allows for more powerful shooting, which in turn makes it easier to ensure a humane kill, particularly on large game.

The Super Kodiak also shoots pretty accurately, and the draw is smooth and comfortable. The ergonomics are also good – the bow is light enough to carry and hold without it feeling unwieldy, and the grip is great, particularly for those with larger hands. The bow is also made from top flight materials – Bear has adhered to the traditional materials like wood, but it’s clear they’ve put effort into using the best possible wood and put a lot of thought into the craftsmanship of the Super Kodiak. It’s also pretty quiet with only a little vibration.

There are a few things we’d note about the Super Kodiak – not really flaws as they’re likely intentional, but just things to know before you buy it. First, it is impossible to mount a sight on the Super Kodiak – they really keep it old school with this bow. As such, the Super Kodiak is much more suitable for instinctive shooting, and is probably not as good a choice for those who prefer to aim and shoot. Second, the bow is truly traditional – both in construction and in aesthetics. If you’re looking for a more sleek, modern look, the Super Kodiak may not be the ideal choice for you.

Pros

  • Really powerful for a recurve
  • Lightweight with good ergonomics
  • Available in higher draw weights which are even better for hunting
  • Shoots accurately and the draw is really comfortable
  • REasonably quiet with not much vibration
  • Classic aesthetics
  • Many years of history as an excellent recurve speaks volumes about the quality

Cons

  • Cannot mount a sight on it, so its better for instinctive shooting
  • While it’s light, it’s not a takedown, which hurts portability
  • Lack of option for mounted sight and other factors make it less suitable for beginners
  • Moderate-high end in terms of price

Final Thoughts

The Bear Super Kodiak is a great choice for experienced bowhunters who are looking for a powerful weapon to bring down big game with. We like that Bear have stayed true to the original, very traditional roots of the Super Kodiak, and while that does come with some downsides, the Super Kodiak performs well enough to overcome all of them. Because you can’t mount a sight on it, we recommend the Super Kodiak more for instinctive shooters and less for those with an aim-and-shoot style. Also, the Super Kodiak may not be as suitable for beginners because it’s more oriented towards hunting and less towards target shooting.

 

Martin Saber Review

If you want to learn more about recurve bows in general, check out our Best Recurve Bows Guide.

If you don’t take anything else away from this review, you should know this – we’re enamored with the Martin Saber. We think, all things considered, it’s the best recurve bow model on the market. If you want to pick an awesome all-purpose bow, we doubt you’ll be disappointed with the Saber. If you want more info about why we like the Saber so much, then you should read on.

Bow Details

Bow Length: 64″

Draw Weight: 30-55lbs

Handedness: Right Handed only

Bow Weight: 3.4lbs

Takedown: Yes

Our Impressions

The Martin Saber takedown recurve is quite simply and excellent bow all-around. It performs well on pretty much every category that we would consider, and it doesn’t really have any weaknesses of note. There’s really a lot to like about the Saber – the materials are high quality, it’s durable and lightweight, quiet and doesn’t vibrate too much – essentially, it’s a superb performer all-around, and what’s more, it’s very affordable.

We like that the Saber is a takedown – in general, we prefer takedown recurves to bows that can’t be disassembled – this is purely for convenience. A bow isn’t the most portability thing you can own, and having the ability to take it apart and put it back together again with minimal trouble is a really nice option, particularly if you’re traveling with the bow. Having a takedown bow is also advantageous because you can replace individual parts if something breaks or malfunctions – with a one-piece bow, if it’s broken, a lot of the times the only option is to replace the whole thing.

The ergonomics of the Saber are great – the grip is really comfortable. One thing that we particularly like about the Saber is how accurate it shoots – because its a little larger than the average recurve, the Saber is more stable on the release which helps a lot with accuracy. The draw is also smooth and natural, and it’s really quiet with minimal vibration on the shot. In addition, we also applaud Martin for not skimping on the quality of the material used in the Saber – this allows for excellent durability, consistency and reliability. The Saber is also pretty affordable, which was surprising to us for a bow of such quality. It’s also pretty powerful at the higher draw weights and is suitable for hunting.

The only weakness we can think of is the fact that the bow is a little larger than the average recurve – as we mentioned, this helps with stability, but in turn it means the Saber may be a tad large for those of smaller stature. Also, unfortunately for the left handers out there, the Saber only comes in as a right-handed bow.

Pros

  • Great ergonomics
  • Smooth and natural draw
  • Larger bow helps with stability and accuracy
  • Takedown bows allow for greater portability
  • Little noise and minimal vibration
  • Higher draw weights are suitable for hunters

Cons

  • Larger than average – may be a little unwieldy for shorter/smaller archers
  • A tiny bit heavier than the average recurve
  • Not available as a left-handed bow

Final Thoughts

We really have nothing bad to say about the Saber – even our list of cons was a bit of a reach. Simply put, if we take into account quality, durability, accuracy and value for money, we reckon the Saber is the best recurve bow on the market, and we highly recommend it. Those who plan to use their bows for specialized purposes may want to look at bows that are specifically designed around their needs, but for the typical archer looking for a traditional recurve, you can’t really go wrong with the Saber.