Awesome bow in a pinch
Purple Camo Recurve
A real American product
September 16, 2013
The Series II Takedown Recurve Bow is a pleasure to shoot. The 62 inch bow at 54 pounds shoots very smooth. I could shoot this bow for many hours of fun and I will. The bow is very eye appealing. The Series II Takedown is a great bow for a great price.
August 31, 2013
I have had an excellent experience ordering the English Warbow from Smokey River Bows. They have excellent customer support. When I ordered my Warbow, Smokey River Bows contacted me to let me know that the bow weight that I ordered was not in stock and that they would start building it ASAP. I was updated with pictures and emails consistently throughout the building process. The bow arrived in 4 days after it was shipped. Since I live in WA, this was faster than I expected. The bow is as described (except that different wood was used for my bow since I ordered a110# Warbow). The bow also came with a string and stringer.
August 27, 2013
This has been my lucky summer. While waiting for my new limbs to be finished, I have had the opportunity to shoot a few of Smokey River Bows and have been duly impressed, After returning from a Bow Show three weeks ago, Greg sent me another series II , but with his newly redesigned riser to see how I liked it. I knew it was a winner the moment I opened the box and removed the protective material. What I had was a nicely finished riser with flowing lines and soft curving transitions from one plane to another. The limbs were not only absolutely flush with the riser but blended into the riser’s design flow. Here was a takeoff on the Green Mountain Camo riser he designed for me earlier, but with a very slight reduction in mass and grip. This beautiful riser coupled with his excellent limbs makes an awesome bow in the under $400 price range…. I know of no other bow that will exceed or match the qualities and performance in this price range.
I took the bow into the woods today for a little “stump” shooting and aerial work. It was light to carry and its 62 in length took care of any possible finger pinch due to my 29.5 in draw. It’s quickness to get on target was a real benefit to coming “close” with an occasional “hit” on the aerial targets. Flu Flu arrow performance was excellent due to this quickness and its excellent power and speed.
9 or 10 grms per lb of draw weight are considered the “normal and safe” norms for arrow weight.
Note: 340 grs arrow weight equals 9.4 grs per lb drawing weight …. 360 grs arrow weight equals 10 grs per lb drawing weight
At this time I have shot 200-300 arrows (Gold Ttp Hunter XL 3355 approx 340 grs…(.9.4 gr per lb) with a great deal of success and sheer enjoyment, Smooth, fast, shock free and quiet, this 36 lb bow really makes one question the extent of draw weight really needed.It is light, quick to point and accurate. I decided to test it with a heavier arrow and put some 420 gr arrows (15.1 grs per lb) in my target at 10, 20 and 30 yds without having to compensate much for the arrow weight. It could shoot an even heavier arrow, but the 400 gr range (14.4 grs per lb) is all I would ask from a 36 lb bow. (Actually any bow wt.)
This bow at 40 lbs.+ (A good weight for many) would shoot an arrow with enough force to be a constant hunting companion. Higher weights just add gram weight capability which I have always preferred until age and shoulder and wrist injuries have made me regroup.
I would be a proud and satisfied owner if I bought this model bow for myself, I know I could spend more, but I wouldn’t have much more to brag about regardless of what I bought, (There is a time proven fact in insulating a home. One you get to a certain R Factor, the cost of more insulation is greatly increased for the value received).
You need to see and shoot this bow to fully appreciate Greg McGraw’s talent for putting out a “superior” product at this price. ($399). For my own tastes, I would order a dark wood for the riser and a little more mass in the grip for my “Big Paws…Wouldn’t want or need anything more….
August 5, 2013
When “Kudos” are due, they should be given…Greg earlier made an “incredible’ Green Mountain Camo riser (see July 16, 2013 Review) for my “extra limbs”. We were later in an e-mail discussion about what changes from the original I really liked now that I had shot it for a month or so. I mentioned that I wouldn’t be shooting for awhile as I had cracked a limb stringing my bow and had sent it back to the bowyer. I had been stringing my bows for years with a “highly” recommended stringer; therefore I knew my warranty was intact. The bowyer was up front with “I have to put it in the regular Repair program”. However, this was two months ago and still no word of an expected “repair” date, etc..
Greg immediately responded with an e-mail “You can’t go all summer without shooting”. Since I am 73 and holding, but not with a great deal of surety, I completely agreed that I didn’t want to but also didn’t want to fork out money for new limbs if mine were going to be repaired. (These were top rated one layer carbon limbs with one of the highest Efficiency ratings in the business, and I expected them to be repaired). “Not a problem for me” was Greg’s immediate response. I have an earlier 35 lb Series 1Take Down Recurve, oak/walnut riser with maple limbs and black fiberglass that has been “used” a little. I will send it as a “loaner” for you to use until your limbs get done. Just tell me how it shoots. Next day the bow was on its way…..
Looking back this was an “excellent business move” because now given the chance to shoot one of his bows for the “first time”, I quickly recognized that his talent wasn’t tied just to risers. I started shooting recurves while in college and have been in and out (more out) since. I have shot the usual “production bows, Bear Kodiak, Grizzly, Martin Hunter, etc and have a reasonable imprint of their appearance and shootability. I have also shot a Palmer 50 lb & 40 lb bow for 15 odd years; I have covered the gauntlet from “good” production bows to a” top of the line custom bow”. From this experience, I was going to evaluate a $399 ( 62 in 37 lb recurve @ 29 in)takedown bow from Smokey River Bows.. Didn’t think it would be an easy “evaluation”, but it turned out just the opposite.
The “production” bows I had shot past and present were all higher poundage, 50 to 55 lbs; therefore, they were a little faster BUT not that much faster AND definitely were not smoother, quieter or any more shock free….. In fact, any bow would be “hard pressed” to outdo Greg’s limbs for performance. I had recently purchased a new set of Palmer 37 lb limbs with one layer carbon, etc under black fiberglass. I have found all Palmers bows to be fast, quiet and smooth. Palmer has an excellent product; there is no question about that. However, comparing the limbs was STILL like comparing apples to apples. Palmer’s 37 lb one layer carbon limbs were probably a shade faster, but the only real difference was that they did cast a “heavier” 525 gr arrow somewhat better. I do not intend to use more than a 400 +/- arrow (10.8 grams), with my 37 lb bow and in this grain weight, there was not really a “noticeable difference”, certainly not “noticeable” considering the price difference. Palmer’s “lowest priced bow” is approx $800….. Greg’s start up recurve is $399 $399 is also lower than any comparable Bear or Martin Bows.
A pleasure to shoot because of its smoothness, quietness and shock free characteristics, Greg’s bow impressed me with its good speed and accuracy. I think it would be hard to beat it for performance in this and even a higher price range. A point that many starting archers miss is the difference between production and custom bows. If there is something that needs to be changed because of hand size, etc, the bowyer can expertly and quickly make any changes that will result in a better shooting experience for the archer. A production bow you get what you get. If you are ordering “new”, expressing your needs and having them met are a “given”. My GR MT Camo Riser is a testament to that. Although most good bowyers try to make their customer happy with their choice, Greg has to be at the top of the list for his ability to communicate, listen and “can do” attitude.
If I was just starting or needed an “extra” bow, and did not want to take out another mortgage, I would not hesitate to grab this one OR order a new one. Having a bow made (within limitations) to “Your Way” makes buying “custom” over production a No Brainer…AND Remember, one of the advantages of dealing with a “Custom Bowyer” like Greg, who is dedicated to “Make the Customer Happy” philosophy, greatly increases the chance of “Happy Shooting”.
Greg had shown me his craftsmanship with my truly beautiful Riser. Now I have seen a glimpse of his “limb” work. I decided two days ago to have him build me a “new” set limbs for the Gr. Mt. Camo Riser. (Because of the Efficiency of his “regular” limbs, I will have to decide whether or not to go for a layer of carbon. I feel he is extremely well organized and will have them curing away while working on other projects at the same time. I will probably have them in 4 weeks….(Four weeks I can live with.) I’ll have plenty of time to get ready for “Birds” with Flu Flu arrows which is one of my favorite past times. Never shot one on the ground with my shotgun…Same rules apply with the bow….The Birds don’t show much “Stress”, however, when they see me coming, but it’s all in a day with Nature.
July 16, 2013
Dons’ New Riser
Upon recently completing a transaction with Greg McGraw, Bowyer, Smokey River Bows, I want to express my appreciation for his professional, friendly and truthful manner. I recently needed to acquire a Riser for an extra set of limbs. I contacted quite a few bowyers and acquired two types of responses. One: “We don’t feel comfortable making a riser for someone else’s limbs”. 2: “We can definitely make you a riser, but we can’t just slide it in our work order; therefore it will take (figures ranged 6 to 60 weeks)”. Along with these, I received an e-mail from Smokey River saying he would be glad to make me a riser suitable for my limbs and my taste. When I contacted him, I found that he would fit this into his projects and work on it during down time on other bows, thus probably finishing it within two weeks. (He finished in one week.) He outlined a plan to make us both comfortable with “our modifications” for my “new” riser. Greg proposed taking crucial measurements from the old riser (limb angle, shelf and window radius and placement, etc), then carving out a “working” model to “improve” on according to my tastes. He volunteered to “drop box” progression” photos for us to discuss. Greg did EVERYTHING he promised. I chose the Green Mountain Camo Riser; and he sent me pictures almost every day so I could get my “design” input into the process. The result is a riser with the original features I liked but with a free flowing, “somewhat reduced mass”, that looks like it belongs with the limbs, fits my hand in a natural way, and has become an extension of my arm. Greg ran 100 arrows through it and told me he thought I would be pleased with the shoot ability. Obviously, the proof for me would be when I shot it. I was impressed with the way the bow shot to say the least..It couldn’t shoot or feel better, and IT IS STRIKING…. The limbs work as well as with the original, and I simply love the “improvements” to the design. It is a “work of art” that is a Functional Success. Throughout this transaction, I think I can say that I felt Greg acquired an avid interest in this project and certainly went out of his way to try and make a customer happy. To this end, he accomplished his goal. He listened to my wants and found a way to make the changes work. I am a “retired” real estate broker (my own business) and realize keeping the “public” happy is a must. Greg went far beyond that. Imagine…All this and at a price well below most of the competition. My entire future bow needs will be with him, and I am spreading the word to give “Smokey River Bows” a good look.
I am by no means a great shooter. But over the years, I have shot regularly with many greats. One thing I have learned from them about “instinctive shooting” is that it is truly instinctive. Assuming no mechanical faults in a bow, a shooter of any talent level can pick up a sound bow and immediately prove both form and flight. An instinctive shooter does not lose their respective level of instinct from one bow to the next. There is no breaking-in period.
Therefore, one can often tell the quality of a handmade bow with the flight of the first arrow. Does it work against your instincts? Does it draw labored or jolty against your instinctively fluid draw motion?
Holding a bow on loan from Smokey River Bows, I drew back. In only the feel of the first few arrows, I knew that the bow was ready for a more substantial test. You see, when testing a new bow, I am not looking for arrows in the target. I’m looking for the feel of the bow – how it draws, how it builds and the crisp un-reverberating sound of the release. After the first few arrows, I knew the bow was ready for a test that reaches beyond the range.
Three days after receiving the bow, it was in the field. Deer are forgiving of movement. Elk are loud on their own. Turkeys on the other hand, move stealthfully and do not tolerate other noises among the flock. Any movement detected throws a red flag.
Day three found me in the Colorado mountains intermingled with a flock of eight. With movement so slow it must have taken a full 45 seconds to come to my anchor point. The bow had no labored build. It had no crick of new laminate. It had a tom at only eight yards, yet no detection. No panic. No archer strain… In the end, no arrow flew. At eight yards, the bow was quiet, smooth and evaded detection. At (guessing) 75 yards, another sound of the forest alerted the flock and sent them scattering.
Throughout this evaluation I have deemphasized the target and the arrow’s ability to find it. Yet, back at camp, one of those great shooters I mentioned above said, “Well, we tested every part of the bow in the field except one. Pick a spot and let’s see if you would have hit him.”
It hit. 23 yards.
I have been shooting Smokey River Bows for close to nine months now. Every bow is handmade and the quality of workmanship is nothing short of incredible. I have shot every type of bow they make from the Kiddo bow to their custom made bows that are not only functional but a work of art. They all are very smooth shooting, fast and arrows go where they are pointed. I am proud to shoot a bow made in the USA.
Gary Swigart 2000 Iowa State Freestyle Champion works at Loveland Archery Exchange
Having shot several different models of Smokey River Bows I am impressed with the smoothness of the bows and the speed of the arrows making them an easy and accurate bow to shoot as well as stunning to look at. The workmanship is equal to more expensive bows plus they have no tool or sanding marks. The clear glass is free of voids and the finish is smooth and flawless.
John Schrader Former Northern Indiana Hoyt Shooting Team