Bickerstaff Re Enactment Longbow
Bickerstaff Bows are probably the most prolific of English Longbow makers and offer several styles and “levels” of Longbow.
From a re enactment bow, through a basic Longbow to Medieval Longbows right up to War bows designed as fully working museum quality authentic bows, Pip Bickerstaff is a world authority on Longbows and is in the forefront of those seeking to re discover the secrets of the English Warbow.
This specimen is from the re-enactment range and is marked up at 46#@28”, from nock to nock it measures 79” and is made from Lemon Wood backed with hickory with a bound leather handle – there is no strike plate but the bow can be shot left or right handed. Generally these Re-enactor bows are made in weights up to 35#, that's because most re-enactment societies don't allow anything heavier to be shot ( and then only at half draw) at their battles - this then is somewhat of a special being 46# draw.
As the most basic of the Bickerstaff bows and the fact that it is specifically aimed at the re-enator market you could be forgiven for thinking that the bow is more of a prop than a proper bow, however within a short while of shooting it you will be disabused of this notion – this bow is a shooter. The folks at Bickerstaff have no qualms about stating that this bow is for beginners or Re-enactors, because a re-enactor will most probably be more interested in how the bow looks rather than how it shoots, this means the design may not be the most efficient for shooting.
The bow is self nocked and supplied with a very nice Dacron single loop Flemish string, the other being tied with a Bowyers knot. It draws very smoothly with no evidence of stacking, but you wouldn't expect any given it's length which also helps with the ease of the bow to draw. There is some shock and on the kicked by a horse scale it would rate as 5.5/10 - not so terrible as it sounds because it is after all a bow designed to look the part first and formost.
Having said all that when you get to shoot it, it is a nice surprise to find it feels good, over the chrono this is what I got445gn 9.67gn/# 143fps500gn 10.87gn/# 140fps530gn 11.52gn/# 135ps565gn 12.28gn/# 131fps
I have used the same standard arrow weights as used in all the bow tests so that comparisons can be made.
All the arrows were shot at 28" draw. The test was conducted with 12 shots with each arrow, the 2 highest and 2 lowest readings were discarded and the rest averaged. The arrows themselves were all fitted with 3 X 5" shield feathers.
Features & Design
A simple Hickory and Lemon wood bow, right from the off it declares itself a re-enactors bow, it fulfils that brief very well but it is reviewed here as a shooting bow.
Again, the marks sound cruel for a bow that never aspires to anything more than looking the part, however, it does perform spitting out a variety of weight arrows at consistent arrow speeds, despite being 6'7".
Value for Money
Excellent value for money
Right at the start I told you the bow was advertised as for re-enactors or beginners and that is bang on the money, not only does the bow look good enough for the battlefield it also shoots well enough and with few enough vices so that the beginner can get to grips with shooting a Longbow, the nice price will have re-enactors clamouring for one of these good looking bows.