What the Best Longbow in 2020?

Garret Jacob | |

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More archers are ditching their fancy compound bows for a more elegant and authentic longbow experience. Whether you are hunting, or just shooting targets at the archery range, the feeling you get from a successful strike from a longbow is unmatched. Shooting a longbow successfully can be quite more difficult than other bow types, however, once you master your technique, you may never look at another bow type again. 

Longbows, since they are harder to draw, come in a variety of draw weights. If you are making the transition from a compound bow to a longbow, you will want to look for a longbow with a draw weight that is 10 to 15lbs less than you are currently using. 

There are so many longbows on the market right now because of its resurgence in popularity, that you may be overwhelmed. That is why we compiled a list of our favorite longbows currently on the market. We have something for every style and type of archer. From the beginner or child to the expert hunter who could have played linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Take a look at our picks for the best longbow on the market right now.

Our top picks list was formulated by combing through hundreds of bow reviews and by asking hunters what it is they look for in a quality bow. After some careful examination, we were able to create this list of our top 7 favorite bows that are available on the market right now

Later in the article, we will break-down each bow and discuss all the pros and cons and reasons why it made our list. For now, here is a brief introduction to the bows and a product link where you can find these bows for sale.  

The Best Longbow – Our Top Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

What Is a Longbow?

The traditional longbow is the most famous bow type. It is often depicted in film and television and it was the true favorite of soldiers in Europe during the middle ages. The longbow was used by archers for several centuries until the introduction of gun powder and the production of firearms. 

A longbow archer
An old english longbow archer

You can recognize a longbow immediately by its D-shape. The longbow has a slight curve and can be anywhere from 5 feet to 6.5 feet long. Traditionally, longbows were constructed from the wood of a yew or wych elm tree. The yew and wych elm trees were commonly found throughout England and Europe. They produced quality timber that was used to construct longbows as well as cabinets and furniture. Some longbows today are still fashioned in the traditional way using wood, while others are made from fiberglass or solid glass. Additionally, many bows today are constructed using a combination of materials and methods. These bows are called laminated and composite bows. Each type has its own pros and cons and price point

At the same time, indigenous people across North America were using their own version of the longbow. This bow, now called the American Flatbow, was used by Native Americans for centuries. It maybe was a bit shorter than the English longbow and the limbs were designed to be rectangular, wide, and flat. The limbs were wide but they narrow at the tips and in the middle where the archer was to hold the bow.

The recurve and reflex bows are constructed similarly to the American Flatbow, however, the tips of the limbs of the bow curve back away from the archer. This gives the bow additional power. When you draw the bow, the curved tips straighten, then when you release the bowstring, the tips bounce back to their original form. This creates additional force which causes the arrow to fly faster and further

Two other forms of the longbow worth mentioning are the Japanese Yumi Bow and the recurve/reflex bow. The Yumi is quite similar to the English longbow, however, it was traditionally constructed with bamboo which created an incredible flex. The Yumi could be a little longer than the English longbow and had a longer draw.

What Can You Use a Longbow For?

Longbows today are used for mainly hunting and target shooting. The longbow was made obsolete for use in modern warfare therefore the longbow is only used for recreational purposes today

Target Shooting: More archers are finding that they enjoy the longbow for use during target shooting. There is a simplicity to the longbow that is enjoyable. It makes the modern archer feel connected to the purest form and history of archery. Add the Japanese martial art of Kyudo to the equation and you will learn that archery is not just a form of sport, but a discipline of the mind, body, and soul. 

Hunting: Hunting with a bow is much more difficult than hunting with a compound bow, but still hunters are turning to the longbow for an authentic hunting experience. The longbow, due to its size, still packs a powerful punch and has a great range that can produce a kill shot from a great distance. It is important to get a longbow with the proper draw weight and arrows with the correct number of grains for the type of game you are going after, and the expected range you will need to make a kill shot. Most longbows have a useful range of up to 200 yards but be sure to practice at the archery range before you go on your first hunt to dial in your longbow

Bowhunting, most (but not all) hunters use compound bows because it’s much more difficult

What Are the Best Longbow Brands?

Two of the top brands dominating the longbow market in 2020 are Bear Archery and SAS. Here is a little bit of information about each brand. 

Bear Archery: Bear Archery is headquartered in Gainesville, FL and has locations and dealers all over the United States. The company started to offer hand-made bows in 1938, and in 1940 the company was renamed to Bear Archery. The company sold off all its parts except for the bow making division, and in 1947 the company moved to Michigan and focused on producing and marketing recurve and longbows. 

Today, Bear Archery makes compound, recurve, and longbows, along with crossbows and hundreds of different kinds of bow accessories. They are famous in the longbow community for their Montana longbow. When the Bear Montana longbow was first introduced in the late 90’s it was an immediate success and loved by hunters everywhere for its affordable price and quality craftsmanship

SAS-Southland Archery Supply: Located in South El Monte, California, SAS makes high-quality compound bows and crossbows. They also manufacture an entire catalogue of crossbow and bow accessories in addition to their traditional bows

For traditional bows, SAS manufactures recurve bows, longbows, and youth bows. SAS is not only famous for its traditional bows; they are a leading manufacturer in the survival bow niche. A survival bow is a smaller, collapsible longbow that does not take up much room when not in use. 

What Draw Weight Do I Need?

The draw weight is incredibly important to consider when choosing a new longbow for purchase. Compound bows have built-in mechanisms to assist you with the draw so you can increase your power while keeping the increase to effort minimal. Longbows are not like that. It is just you and the bow so you need to make sure you get a draw weight that you can manage.

Before you think about draw weight concerning your size and physical strength, you first need to remember what you are using the bow for. If you plan on hunting, it is important to state that a minimum draw weight of 40lbs is required to ensure your shots are lethal and you can kill an animal humanely. 

If you are target shooting, you can go with less than 40lbs of draw weight but know that your range will be less the smaller draw weight you go. 

Draw weight is listed in pounds. Some suggested draw weights are as follows. 

If you are an average man weighing between 150 and 180 pounds, you will want a draw weight of 40 to 50 pounds. 

If you are an average woman weighing between 130 and 160 pounds, you will want a draw weight between 25 and 35 pounds. So, remember, if you are a woman, and plan to hunt, you may need to practice and build your strength up a little more to handle a hunting bow with a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds. 

Same with children. Even large and stronger children will use a bow with a draw weight of 15 to 25 pounds. They will need to practice at the range for some time to get their strength up to handle the 40-pound draw weight needed to go on their first hunt. 

Here is our complete breakdown of our suggested draw weights based on size and physicality

What About Brace Height?

The brace height of a bow is determined by the measurement between the bow handle, where you grip the bow, and the bowstring when it is in a rested position. 

A shorter brace height increases the velocity of an arrow and allows for an imperfection in your shot to be magnified when released. 

A longer brace height will have less velocity but will be more accurate and will provide a better shot if you are firing from a difficult position when you are hunting. 

If you are interested in more information about brace height and how it affects your shot, check out this article from our friends at bowhunting.com

Do I Need a Left or Right-Handed Longbow?

You can determine if you should purchase a right-handed or left-handed bow by knowing which of your eyes is the dominant eye, and which of your hands is the dominant hand

It should not be too complicated. By now, you should already know your dominant hand. Think about what hand you write with, what hand you play sports with, etc. If you use both, then you could be ambidextrous

If you do not know what your dominant eye is, we understand that though you should know which hand of yours is dominant, you may never have tested for which eye is dominant. Checkout our step by step guide on how to find your dominant eye,

The handedness of your new bow is determined by the combination of your dominant hand and dominant eye. For example, if you are right hand dominant but left eye dominant, then you have cross dominance and will need a left-handed bow. Here is a complete listing of the dominant hand and eye combinations

What Size Bow Should I Get?

The bow size you should get is a combination of draw weight, draw length, brace height, and bow length. Again, some of this has to do with your physical strength and height while some of it has to do with preference

A big mistake some hunters make is buying a bow with too much draw weight. You do not need the heaviest bow out there to be a successful hunter. We recommend going to a store and trying out several different bow lengths and draw weights. Ultimately, the bow should be comfortable to you and not too difficult to pull back and hold for up to 10 seconds before taking a shot. 

When it comes to bow length, most modern longbows measure between 60 and 70 inches. Again, go to a shop and try out a few different lengths. You can always try the bows, then come home and make a purchase online once you know which length will work best for you. 

What Is a Takedown Longbow?

A takedown longbow is a bow that you need to assemble before use and then disassemble for travel. The main advantages of a takedown bow are its compact size for traveling and the fact that the limbs can be replaced. A takedown longbow can be updated with newer more advanced limbs over time, or you can switch out different sized limbs for different types of hunting and target shooting. Takedown longbows are versatile.

The Best Longbows Reviewed

As promised, here is an extended breakdown of our favorite longbows on the market right now.

Bear Montana – Best Overall

Fred Bear Montana Longbow

The Bear Montana Longbow is all around and overall favorite longbow on the market today. The Montana longbow features reinforced tips and sporting limbs that are faced and backed with fiberglass overlays. Only available as right-handed and in black but comes with three options for draw weight: 45, 50, and 55-pounds. The bow weighs 2.4lbs, has an 8-1/2” brace height, is 64” long, and has a 28” draw length. This is a great bow for any hunter. 

What we liked:

  • Versatile. 
  • 3-different options for draw weight. 
  • Good 64” comfortable bow length.
  • Steady 28” draw length with an 8.5” brace height. 
  • Reinforced with fiberglass for ultra-rugged design. 

What we didn’t:

  • Only available in right-handed. 
  • Only available in black.

Check the price on Cabelas »

PSE Oryx Longbow – Best for Beginners

PSE ARCHERY Oryx Longbow-Wood-Set-Hunting- Left Hand - 68-40
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The PSE Oryx Longbow is easy-to-shoot and perfect for beginners and teenagers. This longbow is constructed from a variety of materials and sturdy woods to make a well-crafted and long-lasting wooden bow. The PSE Oryx is available for both right and left-handed archers and comes in several different draw weights. The affordable price also makes it great for a beginner bow so you can see if you like the sport before investing in more expensive gear. 

What we liked:

  • Affordable. 
  • Available for both right and left-handed archers. 
  • Several draw weights available. 
  • Easy to shoot. 
  • Durable.

What we didn’t:

  • Only available with a 68” bow length which may be too long for some users.

Check the price on Amazon »

SinoArt Takedown Longbow – Best Budget Longbow

SinoArt 60' Takedown Long Bow Archery Wooden Archery Bow Included Fur Rest Pad Stringer Tool Tab String Nocks Right Hand for Hunting or Target (Right Hand 30lbs)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The SinoArt takedown longbow contains an extremely comfortable grip and is constructed of dense wood. This takedown longbow is available for right or left-handed archers. With this SinoArt bow, you are free to choose your limbs from a different brand or select from a selection of SinoArt hard maple limbs that are reinforced with black fiberglass. There is a wide selection of limbs for you to choose from to get the right draw weight for what you need. Limbs start at 30lbs and are available in increments of 5lbs until you reach 60lbs. 

What we liked:

  • Versatile. 
  • Durable. 
  • Select limbs based on which draw weight is best for you from 30-60 pounds. 
  • Allows you to have more than one pair of limbs for different draw weights for different purposes.

What we didn’t:

  • Not much!

Check the price on Amazon »

Southland Archery SAS Pioneer Longbow

Southland Archery Supply SAS Pioneer Traditional Wood Long Bow (29 pounds)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The Southland Archery SAS Pioneer Longbow is a great longbow for the avid hunter. Only comes in 68” length and righthanded but comes in a variety of draw weights. Choose from draw weights as low as 29lbs and up to 60lbs. The riser is constructed from a fantastic Makore Wood with maple laminated limbs. Elegant and versatile.

What we liked:

  • Strong fiberglass limbs made of maple laminations. 
  • Stable. 
  • Elegant look. 
  • Affordable.

What we didn’t:

  • Only available in a 68” bow length and only for right-handed archers.

Check the price on Amazon »

KP Archery Handcrafted Traditional English Longbow

KP Archery 72' Handcrafted Traditional English Longbow Made of Hickory 45lbs @ 28'
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

Wow go back in time with this 72” traditional English longbow by KP Archery. Constructed from solid hickory wood, this bow has a basic design for authenticity. Not for beginners or youth archers however with its 72” bow length.

What we liked:

  • Traditional and authentic. 
  • Solid hickory construction. 
  • Includes drawstring.

What we didn’t:

  • Only available in 72”. 

Check the price on Amazon »

Daisy Youth Archery Longbow – Best Longbow for Kids

Daisy Youth Archery 4001 Long Bow
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

Daisy Youth Archery is an incredible brand focused solely on getting kids active in archery. They create many different items designed specifically for children. Their longbow is by far the best thing on the market if you are looking to get your child interested in archery. Made with fiberglass limbs, designed for right or left-handed archers, and contains an adjustable draw weight. Starts at 10lbs of draw weight and goes to the maximum draw weight of 21lbs.

What we liked:

  • Designed for children. 
  • Accommodates right and left-handed archers. 
  • Adjustable draw weight. 
  • Strong fiberglass limbs.

What we didn’t:

  • Maxes out at 21lb draw weight.

Check the price on Amazon »

SAS Recon Folding Survival Longbow – Best Survival Longbow

SAS Recon Folding Survival Bow (55# Right Hand Draw)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

You do not need to be a doomsday prepper to appreciate all the benefits of owning a SAS Recon Folding Survival Longbow. This bow requires no assembly and is designed to be quickly removed from its carry bag for fast deployment and use. Comes in both right and left-handed options and 50 or 55lb draw weight. Designed to last decades.

What we liked:

  • Ultra-durable design guaranteed to last decades. 
  • Compact design. 
  • Fast deployment. 
  • Fast shooting. 
  • Comes with included camo carry bag.

What we didn’t:

  • Only available in 50- and 55-pound draw weight which is too heavy for many archers.

Check the price on Amazon »

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