The Martin Saber is an attractive, low cost bow with a quality metal riser ideal for the beginner and experienced archer alike. Comes with some entry level accessories which can be upgraded easily if they don’t suit you. Only available for right handed shooters.
Martin Archery are an American company based in a Walla Walla, Washington, now that’s a lot of WA’s if you ask me but whilst I’ll pick fun with their company address I’m not going to do anything of the sort with the Martin Saber takedown recurve bow.
It’s a mean looking thing in either of the available colors and features an aluminium riser at an affordable price point.
This review has our scores for the Saber, lists of pros and cons, our overall score and verdict. We go in-depth on the various sections and compare this to other popular recurve models on the market. Use the quick nav below to quickly jump to what interests you!
Ratings, Pros and Cons
What we liked:
- Metal riser with Thermal V Grip
- Mounting points for sight, rest, quiver
- 2 color choices
What we didn’t:
- Assembly/disassembly not the easiest
- Right hand only
- Flimsy supplied arrow rest
Features / Specifications
|Draw weights (lbs):||29, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55|
|Brace height (inches):||6.75-7.5|
|AMO Length (inches):||64|
|Max Draw (inches):||30 (estimated)|
|Shelf:||Cut Past Center|
|Limbs:||Laminated wood with black fiberglass coating|
Mossy Oak Infinity
With a riser constructed of aluminium you can be sure that it will be light and durable and last you for some years of use. This riser has a quality feel and attractive futuristic styling. There are 2x Rubber VEM (Vibration Escape System) modules are built into the riser to dampen vibration when shooting the bow, these are like little rubber balls encased by the aluminium of the riser.
The grip on the rise is called a ‘Thermal Elite Grip’ and consists of a ribbed rubberized section on either side with a leathery feel to the front and back. This material selection is nice to touch, ergonomic in the hand and the rubberised section always easy to grip even with sweaty hands so would be ideal for someone who uses their bow in a hot climate or for extended periods to get a good workout.
The limbs on this bow are layers of wood and glass laminated together. We’ve read reports of limbs breaking on early deliveries but these aren’t commonplace so as with anything this is probably down to the luck of the draw when you order. The bow comes with a 1 year warranty so you’ll be covered either way.
Out of the box you may think that the edges of the limbs on this model feel a little rough and not of the same level of production quality as the riser, the string grooves on the end of the limbs can feel this way too and you may worry about the effect this will have on your bowstring but fortunately a quick once over with a fine grade of sandpaper can cure this if it bothers you. This may be down to the particular batch you received from the factory, or again possibly down to a shortcut in the manufacturing process to keep costs down.
Although we didn’t have both models to hand when writing the review, we are lead to believe that the limbs on this model should be interchangeable with those from Samick Sage and Samick Journey giving you a wider range of choice when and if it comes to replacing them.
Held in the outstretched bow arm the bow has a tendency to tilt forwards it’s not off balance, and at 3.5 lbs in weight you may think it’s heavy after shooting for a while.
In comparison to more expensive alternatives you may be inclined to think that this bow is a little on the noisy side with a reasonably loud twang each time the arrow is released. You’d also possibly wonder if the vibration dampening was working correctly but this isn’t everyone’s experience, as with any bow ideally it needs to be tuned to get the best out of it but the majority people appear to be satisfied with its shooting performance and use it as their ‘go-to’ bow. Checkout the slow-motion videos above.
Overall the styling of this bow is mean, it looks great and you’d not look out of place shooting it on the set of a hollywood film (think Hawkeye from the Avengers), if I were to choose between the camo finish (mossy oak) and the matte black (black flame) it would have to be black flame every time, I think it just looks classier.
The limbs attach to the riser with a thumbscrew that can be tightened fully with a supplied allen key, the process is slightly fiddly because you have to locate a nut through a hole with a bolt and consequently this bow isn’t the quickest to assemble and disassemble of all the bows we’ve encountered, there are easier mechanisms out there. However it does the job and should only take you 5 minutes once you are familiar with how to do it and have performed the initial pre-assembly (which simply involves attaching a small bracket to the limbs).
Out of the box the Saber comes with a plastic low quality and somewhat flimsy arrow rest that could be prone to movement during a shot. The addition of low quality elements to an altogether high quality riser is probably due to cost cutting by the manufacturer and will have helped keep this bows price in the entry level and budget ranges. Replacing that arrow rest isn’t costly as the fitment is not unique, however the supplied rest is fit for purpose to begin with if you’re new to the sport.
Normally this bow comes with a reasonable quality stringer, which if you don’t already own one is enough to get you started with the bow.
Always, always, always use a stringer
Don’t string your bow by bending the limbs over your knee, this is one of the major causes of broken limbs as you’ll be likely to put twisting stress on the limb which is isn’t designed to handle, not to mention invalidating any warranty you’ve been supplied with your bow.
“How does it compare?”
Saber vs Samick Sage
The Sage is shorter than the Martin Saber at only 62″ AMO but the Journey (which is the same as the Sage) can match it at 64″ AMO. They weigh a similar amount to this bow but come in a wider variety of draw weights and more importantly for lefties in a left handed variant. If you’re looking for something a little less pricey and don’t necessarily need a metal riser, consider the Sage. The Sage also has tool-free assembly which the Saber doesn’t feature. Checkout the full review here.
Martin vs Spyder
A ‘Sage killer’ or the ‘Sage v2’ is designed by the same people (but not sold by the same company) and it lives upto the name, it’s lighter, more polished and has slightly better build quality than the Sage. A good looking bow with a wide range of draw weights and also available in 62″ or 64″ AMO lengths, a very affordable price point and limbs that can be interchanged with those from the Samick. The Spyder is also lighter than the Saber and has a less fiddly take-down and set-up. This is one of the best, here’s why.
Martin vs Razorback
From the largest US archery manufacturer comes a great beginner bow available for juniors (PSE Jr Razorback) but only up-to 35 lbs draw for adults, that draw weight should be fine whilst you are learning, but if you want to go higher you’ll be stuck with the Razorback. Another downside to this bow (for some) may be the white limbs with the PSE logo making it look like a target shooters bow. The Saber has the advantage here with its dual skin choices. More in our full review.
Martin vs Jaguar Elite
The Jaguar is in the same Martin range as the Saber, yet the riser is lighter and slightly differently designed but has the same metal and a thermal grip, being lighter than the Saber is a plus point when you are starting out as your muscles will tire more quickly from a heavier bow. However this again is only available for right handed shooters, the supplied arrow rest is also a little on the flimsy side and the assembly and disassembly is the same as the Saber. The other advantage of the Jaguar over the Saber other than weight, is that the Jaguar can accept ILF limbs should you wish to upgrade. In-depth on the Jaguar here.
Martin vs SAS Courage
A decent quality traditional wooden takedown barebow. The Courage comes in a range of draw weights, is light, nice to look at and is supplied with a 3 year limited manufacturer warranty and a furry ‘rug’ style stick on arrow rest. All the necessary fitment points for quiver/sight, stabilizer and arrow rest are pre-installed on the latest iteration of this bow. As a beginner though, you may want to look at something with a longer AMO length for an easier experience as this one only comes in at 60”. Our lowdown on the courage is here.
What’s the Best Bow?
We’ve compiled all our reviews and scores into some handy comparison tables along with a buying guide. Take a look at all the data here and make an informed decision.
About the Manufacturer
Martin Archery have been in the business of making archery equipment since 1951, you don’t survive over 60 years through thick and thin in business without knowing a thing or two about what you are doing. Martin have a wide range of bows from compound (their premier product), to take-down and traditional bows and also supply a wide range of archery accessories. Martin also has a modern, easy to navigate corporate website containing a lot of information on their products a thing which nowadays always makes me feel comfortable with any company as your website is your storefront in the global economy of today.
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