Falco Legend Flatbow 50#@28"
It's very easy to become a bow snob. All you have to do is spend $1200 on a bow and it would seem that this entitles you to call everything that isn't your bow "rubbish". I hear it all the time - it's amazing how some folks will refuse to acknowledge that any other bow could possibly be even half as good as their current choice.
If all the bows could be laid side by side, a bit like a wine tasting, and you could shoot each without knowing how much they cost I doubt very much that anyone could place them in order according to price. I am certain that if they were placed in order of how good they were to shoot that this order would bear no relation to the order of the price - if you follow me..
All of which would just go to show that each persons preference in terms of what they want from a bow is different, some might place smoothness above speed, others may prefer a bow to be light in the hand or be shorter or longer, cut past or with a high wrist grip - the criteria are endless and a snap judgement based purely on price might very well be a mistake.
How about we take a bow which in one archers hands takes the European IFAA Gold for men in 1999, a bow which we can also see in another archers hands shooting tight little groups with woodies. Got to be a great bow right ?
Next up you are offered a slightly reflexed longbow with glass limbs with a maple core, it's light in the hand and costs £145 - I guess you would say it's pretty cheap and ok just for fun.. right ?
Would it surprise you to know that both these are in fact one and the same bow ? I have always maintained that a good archer can shoot any bow, the degree of excellence achieved will of course depend to some degree on the kit - which is why bowyers are constantly striving to squeeze a little more performance or a tad more smoothness out of their latest bow design... BUT.. if an archer can pick up a bow that costs just £145 and win an intentional championship then it has got be worth a second look for all of us, not just the new guy or the cost concious archer on a tight budget.
The Falco brand is from Estonia and they seem to have gained quite a following in the northern European countries, including Finland and Russia.
As with all the bows I review I test and shoot them for what they are rather than what they are not - what this is, is a straight forward longbow with reflexed limb tips - it doesn't appear to have nocks that are re-enforced for fancy strings as it is supplied with a Dacron string. The grip is all longbow, requiring a low wrist position, the handle does have a small indent just around the back which is designed I guess as a finger groove, I didn't think I would like it as it is just little more than an indent, I tend to keep a very loose grip on the bow handle but once I started to put my fingers in the groove it felt pretty good and enabled me to take a more positive grip, position wise, on the bow.
The Shelf is quite narrow with a slight radius and it is cut just before centre by 3mm or 1/8" in old money.It is covered by what the maufacturers call "natural fur" it felt very much to me like Seal skin and worked well.
I found it pretty easy to tune and in fact it shot quite a range of arrows very well, even arrows which I knew to be over spined came out straight and clean. A bow which will perform well for the instinctive shooter as I felt quite happy shooting it at a cant. When switching to a gap system you need to be on the money with the spine and when I used the correct spine the bow shot consistently even held vertical.
Talking of consistency, this was quite noticeable when I put the bow through the chrono to test it for speed, with each set of arrows I was finding that the results were coming out very close, shot by shot, with no more than a foot or two difference. There could be several reasons for this - either I was shooting a lot more consistently than normal or the softer shot from the B50 was helping to ride out the lumps in my form - I tend to shoot mostly with bows tuned right to the edge in terms of performance which can mean that "issues" with form can be accentuated. This bow was making me look good on the chrono - and I like that in a bow !
There is some handshock, nothing that you wouldn't get used to and in fact within a short time I didn't pay it too much attention because the arrows were going pretty much where I wanted them. Heavier arrows do absorb more of the energy and I found that with these some of the shock was dissapated. The draw is smooth and it feels exactly it's weight of 50#, when I put it on the scales it showed 49.6# at 28".
The bow felt solid in the shot despite its lightness, it weighs hardly anything and each time I picked it up I was surprised how much it didn't weigh. The Chrono test was carried out with 12 shots with each weight arrow - the highest and lowest readings were discarded and the rest averaged, shot with fingers and a tab.445gn 9.47gn/# 168fps500gn 10.64gn/# 158fps530gn 11.28gn/# 155 fps565gn 12.02gn/# 154fps
As you can see from the chrono results the light arrows positively zipped out, however there was more shock with these arrows, when the weight increased up to 500 grain and beyond there was hardly any drop off in performance but as they got heavier the shot became softer, so unless you want super light arrows then there is hardly any penalty to using a nice heavy arrow - hunters will like this quality.
The standard length offered is 68" although it is available from 64" in 2" increments out to 70" - This 68" version felt right, shorter lengths would be fine if you have a shorter draw but for those with a standard 27-28" then this size will offer the smoothest option. Falco tell me that this length bow can be drawn out to 30" with no issues.
Features & Design
A simple longbow, the reflexed limb tips add a little extra oomph! A shelf cut almost to centre allows for easy tuning
Performs well with heavy arrows which offer a compromise between hand shock and arrow speed
Value for Money
No prizes for guessing that this is superb value for money.
At the start I said it would be judged on what it is. Using that criteria it is simple bow which shoots a heavy arrow very well, the hand shock can be accepted as the bow is light in the hand and shoots consistently, all in all a nice bow - what really turns this bow from a nice bow to one which raises eyebrows is the price of under £150 - The fact that someone can win a European Champs with one of these means that maybe we should be concentrating on becoming better archers than chasing the latest top Johnny big bucks bows - speaking for myself of course!!