Black Widow SA III 38# @ 28"
There can be no doubt that Black Widow Bows have an incredible reputation and you can lose the odd hour just trawling through the website and putting together your dream bow, well I can anyway. Strangely not everyone feels the same and I have come across the odd archer who takes great exception to the looks, style and design, I once heard someone describe one as " uglier than a bucket of frogs" . The funny thing is I like everything about them but would have bought one just because of that fantastic "spider" logo - a masterpiece if ever I saw one !
The one on test today is a 38# short recurve in Autumn Oak, this little fellow was made in '95 and is one of the very last hand made Widows before they were all CNC'd.
Autumn Oak is a wonderful colour scheme for a widow, the black red and white pin striping looks so right to my eye, but my favourite is greybark.
If you have ever bought a new Widow you would have received possibly the best handbook produced by a bow manufacturer and a video or DVD with loads of excellent stuff on bow tuning presented by Ken Beck. There is also some footage of Black Widows being put through rigorous tests. The one that sticks in my mind is where to demonstrate the toughness of the limbs one is stepped on and then pivoted back against itself, once released it regains it's shape and is ready to shoot, incredible.
There is a very satisfying weight to this bow, you knew there would be just by looking at it and once in the hand it is not surprising to find it has great stability. It is just 60" long but despite the fact that I generally shoot 64" at least I was intrigued to find that I didn't notice it's short ( to me) length at all. The only way to string a bow is with a stringer of course but I do see lots of folks stringing a bow using their foot, even if you wanted to string this in an unorthodox manner you couldn't and will need a stringer on account of the heavily recurved limbs. The shelf is narrow and looks like it will never hold a shaft, but of course this is another Widow stroke of bowmanship, the less contact with the arrow the less chance of that bottom fletch hitting the shelf, this in turn will allow you a slightly lower nock point and you gain by shooting flatter for longer, with a lightweight bow, no matter how fast it is there is a finite speed you can achieve so anything which will give you that little bit more is welcome.
Once you draw the bow you will find it to be a sweet and smooth as Black Widow said it would be, with the power coming straight on and increasing steadily with each inch of draw. It's a small bow by anyone's standards and you could be forgiven in thinking that it will only plink arrows toward the target - WRONG !! this little bow spits them out with real venom, the figures below illustrate the point. Each weight of arrow was shot 12 times with the highest and lowest removed and the rest averaged.It's far from scientific but it is real world shooting with at my draw of 28"Easton Legacy 423grn 11.13gn/# 161fps 445gn 11.71gn/# 160fps 500gn 13.15gn/# 149fps 530gn 13.94gn/# 146fps 565gn 14.86gn/# 140fps
These arrows are part of my test set and most are too heavy for this bow and I have included an Easton Legacy in with the rest, which are woodies. You can see that even with a heavy arrow, this bow would still heave them out at a respectable pace, the lighter ones were positively zipping across the chrono. Had I been feeling ruthless I would have cut off the 2 fur puff silencers and probably gained a foot or two in speed. In fact if I had a mind to I would use a super skinny string to wring just a couple more feet out of it, the truth is though the bow is a cracker and even if this is way below the weight you would normally shoot you won't really feel you are missing out. On top of that the control as 38# offers will have you shooting the center ring out of all the 3D's at your next shoot.
Features & Design
Black Widow have fine tuned this design if you have ever picked up one you won't need me to tell you they feel strong, balanced and beautifully made. This one is one of the last Handcrafted Widows and as such should fetch a premium.
Check out the figures above, this is a fast bow.
Value for Money
A bow like this is quality and there will always be those archers that are prepared to pay for it, in any case the Black Widow reputation ensures that you get what you pay for.
Terrific bows, owners rave about them and they inspire such loyalty that some folks won''t shoot anything else. The SA bows don't need me to pass judgement on them.... but I will... Awesome