Bearpaw Scythian Style Horsebow
Folks... you don't have to own a horse to shoot a horsebow, I only say that because there must be a reason why so few folks shoot this style of bow given their incredible performance. The option of a genuine Horn/Sinew bow is out there and truth be told I have seen very few and shot even fewer, there are however a plethora of Horse bows made with modern materials, take this cracking example from Beier
In the style of bow favoured by the Scythians this short bow measures just 50", tip to tip and it looks like a bow even unstrung, that's when you realise that to string it you will be stressing the limbs in entirely the opposite direction.
The bow is made from Ash and Beech with a black glass covering which makes for a very "contemporary" look, upon picking it up you will be struck by the light weight and the slinky feel of the uncovered riser area. With this style of bow a bow stringer is essential (I know we should always use a bow stringer but I guess I am not too different from many archers who will push/pull a bow to string it) with so much tension there is a real danger of injury or a limb twist if you don't. The limbs are thin and the nocks look quite delicate and pointy.
Horse bows always feel to me to be easier to draw than a similar weight longbow and I guess that has much to do with the Siyah style recurved tips which act in much the same way as a compound "let off" works. The result is a very sweet and smooth drawing bow which feels as if it could be drawn to Birmingham - in reality the makers suggest that a draw of 29" is as far as it should be drawn - the recommended brace of 5 1/2" sounds low to a longbow shooter but works well given the shape of the bow. This particular bow draws up at 40# at 28" but they are available up to 50# I am told.
These shorter bows are so much fun to shoot that it is easy to just start blasting arrows out willy nilly and as there is no wrap on the handle or a mark to use as an arrow plate the tendency is that once you start shooting your hand will wander up and down the riser, you will of course be shooting off your hand so the relationship between the nock point and arrow rest ( your hand) is constantly changing. The first thing for me is to get a mark where my hand will sit on the riser- having spent more than a decade at the start of my affair with bows shooting an English longbow off my hand the whole process feels very natural to me.
Once I have my mark for my hand it's a question of adjusting the nock point. I should mention at this point that when making your arrows for bows that are shot from the hand you need to take extra care that the front of the quills are ground right down and my preference is for a drop of fletching glue blobbed on to the end - quite recently a friend had to have an operation to remove a rather nasty chunk of fletch and arrow from her hand after shooting an arrow where the fletch had not been glued completely down. There is available a shooting glove for the bow hand ( we have reviewed one under gloves and tabs) and this too will avoid cuts to the bow hand.
Of course the nocking point is crucial in avoiding a lacerated hand and here it pays to tune the bow to avoid such an issue - the good news is that you will know pretty quickly if the nock point is too low....
Once all the prep is done and the arrows chosen it's off to shoot. This little bow has the capacity to just keep surprising you with it's speed and ease of shooting, it's fast and handles beautifully, so light in the hand and very "pointable". I enjoy shooting these bows at quite a cant and I don't really know why I should be surprised at how accurate it shoots. A lot of folks including myself don't probably take these bows as seriously as we should, because they are out of the norm we assume they are novelty bows - I am sure had we the chance to take a little lesson from some Scythians then we would be disabused of that notion in quick time!!
On the chrono it surprises once more with some very respectable figures.445gn 11.12gn/# 160fps500gn 12.50gn/# 154fps530gn 13.25gn/# 150 fps565gn 14.12gn/# 148fps
With hardly any noticeable handshock a cast that has no difficulty with even heavy arrows and a price tag that makes it almost rude not to own one
Features & Design
A modern take on an ancient bow design - It looks beautiful and sleek the black glass and ash just work so well.. it isn't all about the look though, because this little bow is first and foremost a shooter.
Superb performance , not just in terms of speed but also in smoothness and pointability.
Value for Money
At a tad over a hundred quid this little beauty won't break the bank..
You will not find this performance anywhere else at this sort of money, it's a slim sleek bow which delivers in every category from performance to looks - it is an easy and fun bow to shoot.