Recurve Bow Info For the Beginning Archer

Shooting the Martin Poplar bow

Recurve Bow Price

Prices for your first recurve bow should be under $200. This is a learning tool that will give you a more clear path on which route in archery you want to take.

There are four Martin takedown recurves that do the job well — the most affordable are the Alder and the Poplar.

The Martin Archery Alder 54″ and the Martin Archery Alder 62″ come in at $99 and in draw weights ranging from 15# to 29# at 5# increments. The Martin Archery Poplar comes in at a 66″ AMO and ranges from 25# to 35#.

These make perfect beginning recurve bows filling our entire criteria, including a manufacturers defect 90-day warranty. The 54″ AMO is for smaller archers — children, specifically; while the 62″ AMO fits about any adult without stacking or finger pinching.

At these low draw weights, your first recurve bow will give you an idea of which path you want to take. If you choose to stay at these weights and plan on only shooting target archery, this will transition nicely over to olympic-styled target archery nicely. The ability for these bows to take accessories translates over nicely to ILF-type bows with sights, stabilizers, rests, etc.

AMO Length

Shooting the Martin Poplar bow
Shooting the 64″ AMO Martin Poplar bow

AMO lengths are standardized units of measure for string length, but is not to be confused with actual length. For example, a 66″ AMO bow takes a 66″ AMO string, however, the physical length of that string is probably closer to 62″. 

For this exercise, AMO lengths are simply standardized lengths of your bow. The shorter the bow, the more the bow will “stack” at longer draws. This is the sudden increase in draw weight at certain draw lengths. A longer bow will be much smoother to draw at varying draw lengths. For beginners, I usually recommend longer bows, as they are just more pleasant to work with and shoot.

Another benefit to longer bows is that more mass creates more stability. Olympic style recurve archers generally shoot long AMO lengths (closer to 70″) with mass attached to them to stabilize the bow for a more accurate shot.

Draw Weight

 Many will argue that new archers need to stick to lower draw weights as to not be over-bowed (having a bow too heavy to practice good form). Buying a bow in a lower draw weight will definitely help you practice form. However, I don’t personally buy in to the one-size-fits-all methodology.

Personally, I started shooting archery with a 40# bow. I have a smaller build, weighing in at 140-lb, but like to consider myself to be somewhat athletic. For those that think 30# is a waste of time, it just may be! If you are semi-athletic and are comfortable putting in some work, there isn’t any reason to not start off at 40#. I can currently shoot a 54# longbow comfortably for 2-4 hours, 12-arrows at a time, waiting for pulls.

In this case, the Alder and Poplar may not be best suited for you. However, at under $200 ($149 and $199, respectively), the Martin Archery Willow bow and the Martin Archery Cypress bow are well suited. The Martin Willow comes in at 60″ AMO and the Martin Cypress comes in at 66″ AMO. What’s interesting about the Martin Cypress is that for $199, it has the same AMO-length of it’s older brother, the Martin Hunter bow, making this an easy tradbow transition when it comes time to upgrade.

Each of the aforementioned bows comes with a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty from Martin Archery, making them prime candidates for your first recurve bow. 

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