When you are first starting out with archery, one of the most common concerns is the type of bow that is best for beginners. Different people will naturally be drawn towards a different type of bow but one of the most traditional types is the longbow, and many beginners like to use this to learn.
But is a longbow good for beginners? In this article, we are going to be looking at the longbow in a little more detail and finding out the pros and cons of this type of equipment as well as finding out whether it is good for when you are getting started.
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What Is A Longbow?
A longbow is a piece of archery equipment that was traditionally made using a single piece of wood and a bowstring, for shooting arrows. These bows are much bigger than other types of bow, such as the recurve and compound bows. The conventional design was 1.8m which is around 6ft.
This length would typically be around the same height as the archer and this would allow them to get a much deeper draw. The longbow was invented by the Welsh way back in 1100 and was commonly used by them and the English during battles and for hunting.
One significant feature of the longbow is the tillering; this is not something that you see in all bow but instead, only usually appears in more traditional archery equipment. Let us explain this to you in easy to understand terms.
When you draw a longbow, it is likely that you will hold the bow at an angle, regardless of how hard you try not to. For this reason, the lower limb is typically drawn further than the upper limb.
This means that the upper limb gets something of a headstart when the bow is released and this can affect your shot, which of course, is not something that you want. To counteract this, the lower limb needs to be slightly stronger than the upper limb as this will allow it to move in unison with the upper limb, both releasing at the same time. This is known as tillering and essentially means that when the bow is made, there must be an adjustment of the lower limb to ensure that they release together.
This tillering as well as the size and simple design of the longbow set it apart from the rest. It is also popular with people who want to try their hand at a more traditional method of shooting.
What Type Of Wood Is A Longbow Made From?
Way back when longbows were first made, they would have been made using yew; this is a strong yet flexible type of wood that was readily available at the time. However, if this wood was not available, archers would craft their longbow using wych elm or another similar type of wood.
In modern archery, the longbow may still be made using these flexible and robust woods using one single piece to form the body of the bow. However, at times, you will also see longbows that are made by gluing together a variety of pieces of wood and thanks to modern techniques, these are just as effective.
How Far Can A Longbow Shoot?
Before we get into the range of the longbow, it is worth pointing out that these bows do not have such a heavy draw as recurve or compound bows and so while they can be used for bowhunting, they may not be quite so effective.
However, the distance that they can fire is pretty impressive and for this reason, many people love them for hunting as they do not need to be as close to their target.
Modern longbows have the ability to fire an arrow up to 180m. But their older counterparts such as those used in medieval times may have been able to shoot twice this distance.
When you compare these distances to a recurve bow that can manage around 70 meters, it is not difficult to see why the longbow is so well-loved by long range shooters.
Furthermore, those shooting with a compound bow might shoot a shorter distance than this, at around 60 meters; the longbow certainly has the upper hand.
Good For Beginners?
A lot of beginners will use a recurve bow because of their accuracy and reliability. However, it is known that this type of bow is a lot more difficult to learn and requires significantly more practice to master than a longbow.
For this reason, a long bow might be a more practical solution for people who are just starting out with archery. However, there are many more advantages when it comes to using a longbow for learning this sport.
One of the main reasons that we would recommend using a longbow for beginners is because of how easy they are to use. Unlike other types of bow, the body of the longbow is much thicker and this prevents the limbs from twisting too much; this is sometimes referred to as torquing.
This may sound a little technical, especially if you are new to archery but in short, it means that your arrow will fly in a much straighter line, allowing you greater accuracy with each shot.
Of course, once you have mastered your technique using a longbow, there is no reason why you cannot move on to another type of bow, but learning how to shoot an arrow straight is one of the first, and most crucial things you will need to do.
In addition to improved accuracy, you will likely find that using a longbow to get to grips with archery is that these bows are far gentler on your body. It is no secret that using a recurve bow can put a tremendous amount of stress on the fingers and your joints. Over time, this can become extremely uncomfortable.
However, when you are using a longbow, the draw is much larger and this means that there is less tension, less weight and less pressure on your body. You will also notice that this allows you to hold the bow more steadily which will further improve your shot.
Longbow vs. Recurve Bow
One of the most contentious issues where new archers are concerned is whether they should be practising with a longbow or a recurve bow.
If you are having trouble making a decision on the best type of bow to use, it can be useful to compare the two.
As we have already discovered, when compared to a recurve bow, the longbow will prevent torque and this can help to keep your arrow on target.
You will also find that these bows are much more forgiving for someone who is just learning how to handle this type of equipment whereas a recurve might betray you if you do not operate it correctly.
The longbow is much more comfortable to use thanks to its lower draw weight, making it gentler on your hands and your joints. That being said, it is more common to experience handshock when using a longbow which can be off-putting for newbies.
What’s more, a longbow is a much more diverse piece of equipment that can be used for target archery as well as 3D archery. They are less effective for bowhunting but can be used for this, provided that you find one with a higher draw weight of at least 40 pounds.
Recurve bows are aptly named owing to the way that the limbs curve up and back towards the archer. This shape means that they are more powerful and this power is transferred into the arrow. Not only does this make the shot more powerful, it also makes it quicker.
A recurve bow does offer a much greater accuracy but in order to benefit from this, the user much practice – a lot and this means that they may not be ideal for someone who is picking up a bow for the first time.
That being said, if you are willing to put in the effort and want to learn how to hold a good stance and handle a bow correctly from the off, then a recurve is a good choice.
Finally, a recurve bow is much easier to store than a longbow owing to its smaller design. When storing a longbow, you must find a place where it can lay flat. If you store it upright then one of the limbs will have to take the weight of the bow and this could cause it to become damaged.
A longbow is one of the most traditional types of bow and has been around for more than a thousand years. However, many new archers want to know if these conventional bows are good for beginners.
In short, the longbow is one of the best bows for a new archer owing to how easy it is to use. They offer good accuracy and will keep the arrow straight because of the way that they are designed. They can also be used for all types of archery.
That being said, many beginners also opt for a recurve bow and while these are more challenging to master, they are more accurate.