Archery as a necessary part of prepping: Reviewing two inexpensive bows for the WolfPack

Jesse Mathewson

“Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.” Fred Bear
“Nothing clears a troubled mind better than shooting a bow.” Fred Bear

bowFor thousands of years, archery has been utilized as a tool for hunting, defense and waging war. It is the one tool that has seen the littlest real advancements and yet remains solidly on the forefront for sports related sales and use around the world. Sure, we now have mechanically driven bows, special wheels and different styles of shooting, however, the basics remain the same. A “stick” a “string” and another “stick” combined create one of the most historically terrifying and relevant tools of all time. Obviously, I am simplifying things to say the above, however, using pure reasoning, one can see this being a true statement in a general way.

I grew up shooting rifles, handguns, using knives and bows and arrows. It was part of the tradition of the rural American to have this knowledge when I was a child, these days people will call you negligent to teach your children these arts…and yet, I firmly believe the opposite is true. For safeties sake alone, knowledge of these tools is essential. So lets get on with the review of the Sammick Sage take down bow as well as the Sososhoot Buffalo style horsebow.

Takedown bows are superbly beneficial for individuals with space restricted, my Sammick Sage bow in its taken down configuration with two dozen arrows can fit inside of a 30” by 18” package and is less than “4 inches thick. I can easily fit string wax, spare strings, spare fletches and materials for building or repairing arrows and bow as well inside this package and it will be under 10 lbs. While I do not use a bow stringer, some recommend this and it is beneficial for most. In fact I should get one, if simply to extend the life of my bows. The horsebows are under 48” unstrung and strung and are about 2lbs lighter than the Sammick Sage package, with other measurements remaining the same.

bow-targetThe horsebows cost between $120 and $165 dollars depending on draw weight, on Amazon, this is something you should make sure you get correct. (Buffalo Hunting Bow and Arrow Handmade Recurve Horsebow Longbow for Adults By Sososhoot) A bow with 30-65lb draw weight will work to take medium game (deer etc.,) 40-120lbs will easily take much larger game. I have read stories of people with 45lb draw weights taking elephants so, don’t feel the need to be overly manly when choosing the bow you will use. You should be able to shoot 4-8 flights of arrows and not be sore afterwords. These bows are shipped from China, I own two currently and have purchased several as gifts, the shipping time is within 2 weeks generally.

The Sammick Sage recurve take down bow runs between $126 and $200 on Amazon, these you can get within two days if you have Prime, or a week without. They are absolutely worth every single penny and I have yet to have one fail or be a problem. Both companies are quite good about communicating and will work with you, yes, even and especially the Chinese company, Sososhoot.
The arrows I use range from Easton Aluminums through my cedar shafted wooden, turkey fletched favorites. (Huntingdoor Black Feather wooden arrows 30” length, tri tip bodkin style iron tip) Again, I have found best pricing to be on Amazon, and shipped from China by the same manufacture. I use the 3 sided 150 grain bodkin style tips and truly love them, they puncture well, cause rapid exsanguination, (internal bleeding leading to death) and are reusable. For practice I use the 150 grain field points or have made my own stumping arrows, “stumping is shooting small grass clumps/ wood stumps with flat tipped, or cloth wrapped arrows for practice as you are walking about the woods.” I have had two pass through shots at 35 feet and one at approximately 70 feet on Javelina. Upon inspection after death, one of the arrows had pierced a shoulder bone and gone through it.

girl-with-bowUnderstand that unless you have a serious set up with a dozen straw bales and styrofoam backstops, you will lose arrows during practice. Its the cost of archery, arrows are not cheap, HOWEVER, they are reusable and for myself at least I find that having 4 – 6 flights per bow is satisfactory and keeps the package weight under what I can carry with physical problems. This being said, as the old saying goes, one can NEVER have too much ammunition…so remember that. Unlike firearms, high capacity magazines and the like archery should be available and or can be made from materials close at hand.

Now for the meat and potatoes of the review of these bows. It is essential to understand these are low cost, but NOT low quality bows and arrows. They are worth every penny and than some. I have owned PSE bows, Bear bows and collectibles from several renowned boyers. I prefer these bows simply because I am not afraid to bang them about a bit as they didnt cost me $500+ as almost every major manufactures bow for adults will end up costing.

The pros of these bows.

Cost, they are quite simply the most cost effective approach outside of making your own, which is a skill you would be better for learning.

Longevity, I have been using one of the horsebows and a Sammick Sage takedown for over three years and shoot 3-4 times a week in my backyard, 4 straw bales, a sheet of half inch plywood and a $60 Field Logic Classic Block black and white target has worked well for 4 years now, and this is in Arizona sun, rain and more. You can easily purchase an inexpensive $15 or $20 foam and plastic block target from Walmart as well. Or, stuff a medium size box (24” by 24” cubed at a minimum) with crumpled up newspaper and this will also work.
Quality, again, after owning many different bows, I have not realized any real major loss in quality purchasing and using these versus the name brand ones that cost two or three times as much on average.

They work, are easy to take down and or are extremely light weight, being made of wood laminated with fiberglass for the horsebows and coated with faux snake skin for a fun look!
The cons, very few but there are cons!

They are inexpensive bows, you may have one that misses quality controls and need to return/ both companies allow for this and have solid customer service via email.
You will want to purchase spare strings, the strings that come with the bows are not the best. They work fine for quite awhile, but they are definitely a lower quality, thankfully you can purchase strings from Trad Gear on Amazon, B-50 Dacron 16 strand strings run around $7 apiece. Wait till you get the horsebows before purchasing new strings, this way you can measure the string that comes with it. These bows sometimes vary as much as an inch either way as they are handmade. The Sammick Sage has proper measurements available when you purchase them.

The horsebows do NOT have arrow rests on the bow or a place for one, the entire purpose of these bows is to shoot them from all angles, different sides and positions, literally shooting a horsebow is VERY different than shooting a standard recurve or long bow. But, they are designed for strength and the ability to be shot from horseback without getting in the way of riding the horse, the mongols, plains indians and more used similar bows and did so with great, deadly efficiency.

That’s it, all I can say is, practice daily, it really is a great workout and has helped me strengthen my core which is essential with a bad back. Besides, it is also quiet, deadly and something discounted by governments around the world as a threat. Understanding this, places you ahead of them in the eternal battle for our individual freedom. While they may kick your doors in for your guns…they wont look twice at the bows.

Comment, ask questions and please add knowledge. It is essential to our growth as a pack. Free the mind and the body will follow.

Comments

  1. j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

    Any experience with PVC manufactured bows ?

    I have found and was given some old fiberglass bows. The found was an Indian 45# pull. The given were a pair of old ‘snot green’ limb colored bows with offwhite handles. They were high school physical education equipment that was being tossed out, and my Uncle saved two of them, one 25# pull, the other #45.

    Some years back, I was sort of in practice with them, but have never taken it up full time. Rotator cuff damaged right shoulder – maybe not so much a good idea to use anything with a heavy pull.

    Gary Paulson (Brian books) had some archery experience that is worth reading I think. His book GUTS especially was interesting.

    Thank you for the post – archery is quiet and I think will provide some quiet methods of hunting and fishing (bow fishing) if you have the resources.

  2. Tom on the Tn River says:

    Jesse,

    Excellent article and you are exactly right about bows in general. They are the all but forgotten, totally underestimated, go to longer range weapon, until relatively recently, for probably the last 20,000 plus years.
    In the right hands even a 25 or 30 pound bow will be extremely dangerous. I have made both wooden and pvc bows from 25 to 60 pounds and I am always amazed at the damage that they can inflict.
    Though I have not purchased a bow since the mid 1970s I will look into the bows that you suggest. There is always room for a good takedown bow in the arsenal.

  3. Thanks, Jesse. Since I have shoulder issues that prevent me from raising a gun and holding it steady, I have been looking at my options for bows and arrows. Many of them seemed too heavy and with a draw on them that I know will be a problem. Also, I could not justify the cost of something I may not be able to use. Now if you can tell me that the young lady holding up the water bottle with an arrow through it in the picture you provided, actually shot it using one of the bows you talked about, I think I may have found a solution. Thanks for the information.

  4. J Robert Walsh says:

    I know little about bows…I am right handed and would hold the bow in my left hand… so that means I need a left handed bow?

    • J Robert, no, you would not need a left hand bow. A ‘left hand’ bow would be held in the right hand, the string drawn with the left. That said, don’t negate the possibility of learning to shoot with both hands/eyes.

      The bows described by this author are ambi-dextrous due to not having a riser designed arrow rest.

      • J Robert Walsh says:

        thank you…
        -for a beginner, you would suggest?
        -horsebow vs takedown

        • J Robert, I would recommend a longer bow for a beginner for several reasons: Short bows are more difficult to draw due to finger pinch, have a shorter ‘cast’ (arrow distance), but faster cast, so are better close-in than farther off. That last is kind of moot since most archery shot deer are shot within 12 feet (from tree stands).

          Takedown bows are wonderful, have shot my Bear Victor and Pearson Flame for nearly fifty years with no problems. As the author noted, they can be compact. (I don’t understand his use of ’rounds/flights’ of arrows, since that is a variable number dependent upon how many arrows one carries– 25 in my back quiver alone.

          If this will be your first bow and you’re getting on in years or have any back problems, consider a compound (though you will probably use very expensive carbon arrows with those). The let-off on newer versions is quite beneficial for beginners.

          In general, as with most choices we humans make, the decision will be yours to suffer the consequences of, good or bad. If you can, find a club or range where you can try different kinds of bows and ask more in depth questions.

          Hope this helps.

    • Exactly, the horsebows listed are amazing in that it doesnt matter what hand you favor, and if you are like myself and others, learn to shoot with weak and strong sides. You can not go wrong learning to become better ambi, :

  5. Jesse, I generally use compound bows. I have a couple of older bear bows that I just love. I also purchased a new takedown called a Nomad survival bow that breaks 16 inches with a 45lb draw. The arrows break down too. This is a great item for a BOB. I still prefer the compounds.
    I will leave a link below.

  6. Chuck Findlay says:

    If you think we are going to hit a serious SHTF situation I would stay away from any bow (compound bows) that requires you to only shoot modern arrows and not wood arrows.

    The modern arrow is expensive and just may be impossible to get post-SHTF as there may be no extra money to buy them or they could disappear off the market.

    One thing to think about is that Amazon may not work if we have a bad ecnomic event because of theft. I know someone that lives in the Dominican Republic (an E-Pat) and you can’t sent him any package through the mail, he can’t order anything from Amazon. All packages get stolen, ALL OF THEM so you can’t expect Amazon to work as it does now. You could end up throwing your money away if you buy through the mail post-SHTF.

    If local stores don’t have it, you can’t get anything in the Dominican Republic, my guess it’s this way in other countries with a third-world economy. Could this happen in a first-world country like the USA? I think it could if the economy gets bad enough. There is nothing different about US people then there is any other part of the world. If they are hungry and have no money they will do the same as they do in the DR.

    Plan for this now by buying extra arrows, arrow making supplies and by trying to make a few of them now. Also a compound bow has a lot of parts that are hard to make by a backyard person.

    A wood shaft from a home store can be made into an OK arrow and cost .60 cents for cedar and $3.00 for oak. A decent 2-blade broad head can be made from a kitchen spoon pounded flat and then cut in an arrow shape. There are U-Tube videos on how to do this. Search how to make an arrow head from a spoon. There are also videos on how to make a bow string, and on how to use duct tape for fetching. Download and save these videos now to have them if you need them.

    Over this last Summer I have bought 3 cross bows (for $15.00 each) at garage sales. I’m going to sell the 2 compound bows and keep the simpler one as it can shoot wood arrows. (I checked at a local shop to make sure it would be safe to do and not have it break ad end up with it stuck in me) It’s still a 150-pound bow so it will do the job.

    I bought 2-doz aluminum arrows, and also a bunch of cedar shafts to make arrows. I want to make them this winter when my work slows down.

    I also need to buy a take down recurve bow just to have it on hand.

    • I learned to roll my own arrows years back, and highly recommend looking into the skills needed. It is cathartic and amazingly simple. Any little finger sized stick (1/4″-3/8″) diameter will function, learn what sinew is. Or how to make fiber cordage, and always scavenge and keep bones/feathers (any feathers can work) but turkey/goose/hawk wing feathers are best.

  7. Chuck Findlay says:

    Used bows is a way to get a cost effective bow. You don’t have to buy new.

    $10.00 to $40.00 or less is a very reasonable range to expect to find a bow. Like I said above I bought 3 crossbows for $15.00, one is a Horton, one a Browning and a Barnett. All 3 work good.

    We have a tendency to only think about new things, but used can save a lot of money. It does mean you have to look more and it may take a while to find one.

    I noticed Craig’s List seems to have overpriced bows on it considering they are used and that a $120.00 Craig’s List bow will sell for $25.0 at a garage sale. I think this is because on Craig’s List it’s the guy selling his bow, and at a garage sale it’s the wife of a dead husband selling it.

  8. Aussie Prepper says:

    G’day from Down Under Jesse

    If it gets to SHTF bowfishing will be something really useful to be able to do. Here in Aussie we can only legally bowfish where you can spearfish (no freshwater, even for Carp but there is soon to be a trial on Carp) but if it all goes to hell in a handbasket rules wont count for much.

    I bought a PSE Vision with all the gear for fishing as well as a dozen spare fibreglass shafts and tips. I have been fishing in fresh and saltwater many times and have seen fish that would be a walk in the park to take with a bow that wouldn’t bite on bait/lures.

    I have some carbon and alloy arrows with broadheads but really don’t expect to have much use for them – for land hunting I’ll stick to my rifles and shotguns but having a bow and fishing attachments tucked away is a no brainer in my opinion.

    Aussie

  9. PrepperDoc says:

    Great article, great suggestions, had a chance to try this out just recently, need to get a set up for this. Your article is perfect.

  10. Thank you for this great information. Also much appreciated are the comments. I have been thinking about getting a bow, because in europe, getting a firearm is a big deal and draws the attention of the authorities. Would you deliberate on the classic bow vs. a crossbow as a hunting/ self defense weapon? I apologize if that sounds ridiculous, but i have been thinking along those lines, lately. Greetings to all, Edward

    • Edward, there are quite contrasting differences between a crossbow and longbow/recurve.

      Crossbows are easier to use due to the rifle-like sighting system. For someone who won’t get much time to practice, this may be the way to go. However– crossbows won’t cast (shoot) an arrow as far or with as much power as a longbow due to arrow weight. They will shoot faster, though. If one’s desire is more for self defense or home protection, a crossbow’s smaller dimensions may well be desireable.

      The longbow/recurve/etc is more difficult to learn due to sighting system: time expended shooting. True, ‘modern’ compounds and many stick bows have sighting systems that aid in shooting, lower the learning curve– when the bow is held vertically but become useless with any cant/tilt of the bow.

      Stick bows (any bow that is not a ‘compound’) will shoot any kind of arrow from wood to esoteric compounds such as graphite. Compound bows will not shoot wood (don’t doubt this). However, compounds shoot faster than stick bows and just as far, but lose power at distance due to the light weight of the composite shaft.

      Compound bows come in much, much shorter lengths than stick bows. (I could lay both my brother’s and his son’s Matthews Warrior inside the length of my Bear T-D.) So such a bow may be well suited for home defense as well as hunting.

      For myself, it’s my 60″ Fred Bear T-D Victor, for all events with a bow. But that’s just me.

    • My first choice will always be a horse or smaller recurve bow, simply because I can accurately get more arrows out fastest.

      However, for pure accuracy, a solid compound.

      Or pure power and accuracy, a nice Horton crossbow.

      My choices are above.

  11. Always been interested in this sport but not sure what type to start out with. Any ideas? Need one that a little old lady could use.

    • Thanks for the chuckle, Jeanne… “…a litle old lady…”

      Allow this little old man to help you a little.

      First, if there are any archery dealers in your area who have knowledgable archers on the payroll, I’d suggest giving them a look-see before doing anything else.

      Second, if you’ve any interest in using a bow for hunting and truly are ‘frail’, I’d recommend a compound due to the ‘let-off’ provided by the camming action. If you aren’t interested in wheels and bells and whistles, and decide to go with a long bow, or recurve (I use the term ‘long-bow’ to define any bow not a compound rather than its original definition), perhaps you can find one drawing 20-30 pounds as a beginner/learning tool. Once that is manageable, then seek out a heavier weight draw for hunting. Not that 20-30 pounds won’t kill well, since it’s the arrows job to kill, not the bows, but heavier draw weight will shoot faster and use a heavier arrow for penetration.

      Again, seek out an archery pro-shop or club in your area for possible opportunities to shoot various bows, talk with others– you’ll even find a few ‘little old ladies’ to chat and learn from.

      God bless you with success.

    • Willing to bet you could out do most of us 😉

      A 30-35″ recurve, and a solid backyard target, start slow and close and work your way out. Arrows are sold based on bow lbs vs. Arrow strength 🙂

  12. ‘A Little Old Lady’ Jeanne caused me to recall the words of Charlie White Horse from sixty years ago when he first started teaching us kids to hunt…

    One of us had asked what was a good bow wood to use?

    Uncle Charlie replied, “Any bow is a good bow. It’s the arrow that must be best.”

    That advice is as good today as it was in 1957.

  13. Encourager says:

    I agree with Jeanne! I, too, am a little ol’ lady, who is scheduled for rotator cuff surgery… So anything I buy would be after the 3 months of hell. I do have arthritis in my fingers and wrists; do you think I will be able to draw a bow? How light is the lightest pull on a bow? I want a silent weapon…and do not want to get so close as to use a knife…not that I could throw one as it would probably hit my foot.

    I am a bit behind reading posts here so forgive me and I hope I can get some answers. Thanks!! 🙂

    • 20 lbs is relatively easy and will work to take small game/rabbits etc., 35lbs is about the lowest you would want to go for deer, 40lbs is something you can get back too. I use resistance bands due to spine injuries, however, this is similar to bow/archery use and will allow you to quickly build up to where you can again use a 40lb bow without much difficulty.

  14. I use a tennis ball for increasing grip. Just squeeze and let go, squeeze and let go, cold mornings my hands resemble claws they are so scrunched up, but, I love ye old farmers classic…that smelly but wonderful horse liniment (brand up too you) and always have epsom salts and 100-120 degree water and a pan for really bad days.

    Just my two cents –

    If MD will allow it I will write an article and include the highlights of my extremely thick medical chart, (via pictures) including xrays etc., and how I get around the “disabilities” life after all doesnt stop. 🙂

  15. MasterSergeantUASF says:

    During the Civil War, in the Battle of Gettysburg, fighting from a hill called Little Round Top, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, commanding the 20th Maine, ran out of ammo and were resigned to a successful bayonet charge down the hill. Had they had a platoon of archers….probably wouldn’t have needed those bayonets. Archers are valuable. Today, still.

  16. Hello again, I haven’t been here for a while. Fist, I want to thank JSW and those of you who followed for kindly answering my questions about crossbow vs. long bow. With little time to practice, i think the crossbow for home protection makes sense. I do feel intrigued enough to get a reasonable compound and practice with that, too. Great to be here, greetings to all!

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