Black Widow PTF II 62" 52#@28"

Reviewed By Andy

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Black Widow bows is a company with a long history and reputation to match, I have owned 3 Widows in the past and had the opportunity to shoot a number of others, in fact I think at one time or other I have shot the whole range of Widow bows. In the past Black Widow bows were hand build but a few years ago they switched to CNC machines, this introduced the P prefix to the bow model names to denote Precision telling the owner the bow was made using a CNC machine. This particular bow however is something a little bit special as the P on this model denotes Prototype, it was one of the prototype bows which were made before the CNC processing started, so technically not a TF nor a full PTF but something in between but none the less just as, if not more special.

The bow is a PTF II meaning it is a stock wood, in this case a II meaning Grey Bark. I have always loved Grey Bark as a bow wood and it looks just as good on this bow as it does on the other bows made from it I have owned. The PTF is an amazing looking bow, both unstrung and strung, unstrung the limb tips are at right angles to the limbs with a pronounced curve very close to the end of the limbs, they remind me of the Border Hex limb series which are equally acute. When you do string the bow you definitely need a stringer, and once strung the bow is equally striking, the grip is set forward of the limbs and riser swoops back at steep angle, the limbs also have what looks like a double curve to them but I think this is simply a visual effect due to the grip. The grip is higher, what most people would term a pistol grip and is a handful without being uncomfortable. The riser where it joins with the limbs is wide and full giving it a distinct look.

This bow is 53# right on my limit, but it is smooth in the draw with the power really coming on a few inches from my draw length of 28" and being very noticeable when at anchor. The bow is very fast and stable, I was using a very heavy arrow which meant my point on distance was shorter than normal but the arrows were flying really well and I was getting great consistency. However the bow was very hard on the fingers, I usually shoot a longbow and with a very thin tab but it wasn't long before I was suffering from finger pinch and the tips of my fingers were very sore even though I hadn't shot that many arrows. We switched to shooting long range, very long in fact that cast was impressive with such a heavy arrow.

I'm not sure if the bow is exactly the same as the production version but either way it is a really nice bow. The weight and finger pinch issues might mean it doesn't get shot that much.

Steve's View

 Right from the off there is early draw weight - I like that in a bow as it generally indicates speed, this little beauty is all of it's 53#, mind you my draw is not 28" more like 27". As usual I didn't have to hand the exact arrow I need which I imagine will be around 70#+ spine, however I did have some 60# one set Pine with a monster towerblock 5 1/2" fletch and some RR POC with 4" shield.
those with the smaller fletch flew cleanest not quite where I was looking but close and to the right, the big fletch flew a little ugly and again to the right - interestingly this bow like the ACS is cut 3/16 past centre, so there is not much need for Paradox and subsequently weak spine - I wouldn't be at all surprised if I shot Iron rods out and they flew dead straight !!.
So I stopped canting the bow and held it straight up and down - hey presto they shot straight where I looked - once the spine is sorted by getting some 70#+ spine this will be a bow to be reckoned with.
I got a really super little instruction book with the bow - the first I have ever had, even with a new bow I have only ever had a compliment slip type user manual.
I checked it out this evening - after having shot the bow !!! of course, there is a wonderful calculation to work out the spine of the arrow to be used - sure I used my experience to "guess" at what I needed but here is the calculation they use -

When selecting wood shafting you need to remember that spine tables still being used today were developed many years ago for self bows of modest performance and calculated at 28" arrow length. Many of you will not be able to get spine heavy enough for your modern high performance bow. To determine the needed arrow spine for your Black Widow multiply the draw weight (at your draw) by a factor of 1.4 (this factor is calculated for black widow and may be too stiff for other bows). Next add 10% spine per inch of arrow length over 28" OR subtract 10% spine per inch of arrow length under 28". If you are using points or Broadheads heavier than 100grains add another 1# spine for every 5 grains of extra point weight. The arrow length is measured from the bottom of the nock groove to the end of the shaft.

EXAMPLE 50# draw Weight @ 26" and 27" Arrow

BOW 50# @ 26" X 1.4 (Black Widow factor) =70#
Arrow 27" - 28" = -1 X 10% X 70 = -7#
Point 100 grains -100 = 0 = 0#
Approx spine...................................................................63#

EXAMPLE 50# draw Weight @ 29" and 30" Arrow

BOW 50# @ 29" X 1.4 (Black Widow factor) =70#
Arrow 30" - 28" = +2 X 10% X 70 = +14#
Point 125 grains -100 = 25/5 = +5#
Approx spine...................................................................89#

For me this equates to

BOW 50# @ 27" X 1.4 (Black Widow factor) =70#
Arrow 28" - 28" = 0 X 10% X 70 = 0#
Point 125 grains -100 = 25/5 = +5#
Approx spine...................................................................75#

Hugely interesting to me as I perform a bizarre calculation based not on science but just experience - I am generally close but not always - for these guys to put it in their manual it must be right as they test with machines shooting the bows and why risk putting duff info in a manual??
now here is something else interesting.. I put it over the Chrono
First with arrows I estimate weight about 600 grns with 5 1/2" fletches (I like 'em, that's why!!!)
That’s roughly 12 grns per pound (given that at my draw the bow is roughly 50#. It is recommended that 12grns per # be used for hunting and max penetration.)
Chrono'd at 168fps

Next used the smaller fletch, the RR POC at estimated 470grains that’s 9.4 grns per #
chrono'd at 190fps

Lightest arrows that target shooters in the States use is 8 grns per#
well I reckon that would put me over 200fps - if I could find a light enough, stiff enough shaft (Carbon Express???, carbon ally's???)

So as far as the science goes the bow stacks up well, but what's it like to shoot?? - I was surprised, very much so, it's a beautiful bow to look at and it shoots as well as it looks, the design (when you see it strung is somewhat radical, quite aggressive) demands that you hit and it really is a very very nice bow.
The theory is that the recurve has less shock than a Longbow (AFB) and this Has got no shock at all.
The long and the short is that I love it !!
I have a fancy that although it shoots hard, the real difference is the 3 /16 past centre, this will have more bearing on the spine than the physical speed and shooting hardness if you follow.

Long and the short is that Gilf - you are going to love your Widow !! and if anyone has a spare trunk of dollars then this is certainly a solid and wise investment - if you have no dollars then maybe get a good friend to buy you one !!

Rating  
   
Features & Design
I love Grey Bark and it looks extra special on this aggressive looking bow. The limbs look great the handle is full and bulky just like a Widow should be.
Performance
Everything you would expect from a 53# Widow, fast straight and hard, cut past centre so will shoot pretty much anyting you throw at it.
Value for Money
Premium bows come with a premium price tag, but at a shade under $1000 this isn't actually as expensive as it could be. Add a few more dollars if you want some of the other wood options but we think the Graybark looks the best.
Overall
You either love the Black Widow style or hate it, but this presents something a little different, still got the Widow style but styled in it's own way. Performance is all it should be for this level of bow.

Your Comments

Tell us what you think, do you agree with the review or have something to add?


  • Posted by: Andrew Lehane on Sep 1, 18:05

    Hi Andy, do you still have this bow? I’m asking as I’m considering getting one as a surprise gift for Lin and wondered what the grip was like?


  • Posted by: Andy@archers-review on Sep 2, 09:39

    Hi Andrew

    Yes I still have the bow, I will bring it to the next few shoots and you can have a look for yourself. The grip is very much a pistol/high type. The sort of thing you would get on the starter recurves like the TD-01, there is a very definite hand position there, not like a low grip where you can hold it any number of ways.

    I like it personally, I don’t shoot it anywhere near enough, but it is my go to bow when I want to have some fun. I have been considering getting one in a slightly lower poundage as the 50+ can get a bit of a struggle on a full 40 target field shoot.


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