Great Northern Critter Getter 56" 58#@28"
Bows are long, and that makes sending them around the world an expensive business. I love American long bows but those two words, American and long, unfortunately are a costly pairing. There are often a lot of excellent value one piece bows for sale on the classified sites and often at a price which is very tempting, however the cost of shipping them here to the UK can at times almost double the original price. USPS won't ship anything over 61" and that means having to resort to sending via courier which is not only expensive in itself also incurs additional customs charges. So it's not often we get to shoot a true one piece American long bow.
So what has that got to do with this review you are asking yourself, well if you look at the pictures you will see this looks like a one piece, certainly not the bulky riser and bolt on limbs of a traditional take down. This bow bends in the middle, which means it's already diminutive 56" breaks down to an even smaller package, this makes it idea for transport, be it in the back of a pick-up, in a bag or in our case flying it's way over to us in the post.
The bow is a Great Northern Critter Getter, Great Northern offer a take down system called the Jack-Knife, presumably named after knives of the same style which fold in the middle also. I shall come back to the folding system later but first I'll give you some more details about the bow. It's a rather nice combination of Osage and Paduak, the Osage having turned a rather nice orange with the Paduak an even darker reddish orange. The limbs are glass which shows off the woods underneath rather well. Great Northern have a number of bows in their range and also a number of additional options, this bow has the moose antler limb tips which look great and give the bow that finishing touch. The limbs taper from 1 1/8" to 9/16" at the tips which is actually rather thin. This riser is 15" and has deflex, although it is not that pronounced. The overall length is a rather small 56" which makes this bow a critter Getter Special.
So what about the Jack Knife take down system, the hinge is on the back of the bow, ( the face pointing away from the archer) it is very noticeable although hidden behind the leather grip, once open you can see that the hinge is very well made and looks like it would last a couple of life times, there is also leather on the end of the limbs which makes for a nice secure fit. There is nothing other than the force of the string and limbs working together to keep the two limbs joined together, if anything this is a good thing as with other take down systems making sure the fit is tight can be a problem. Not so here as once the bow is strung other than the hinge there is nothing to suggest it's anything other than a one piece bow.
Shooting this bow was a real joy. I had the chance to shoot it at a 3D shoot this weekend so had a really good chance to try it out. The bow is 58# which is the highest bow I have shot in some time, however I spend 2-3 hours during the week getting used to it at home and in all honesty it was not a problem. The draw is smooth but really comes on in the last 3-4", not stacking but once at full draw you know you have a powerful bow in your hands.
The obvious thing to consider when shooting is the hinge, but rather than getting in the way it actually allowed me to find a consistent hand position. The hinge fits between the middle and third finger and that slight gap actually formed a natural break for the finger pressure I was applying. I prefer a high wrist, recurve style grip but this was actually the most comfortable low wrist bow I have shot in a while, even though it's profile was very traditional.
There is plenty of power in the bow, it didn't take me very long at all to start getting the arrows right where I wanted them. I had to use a fair amount of cant on the bow, as always I took a educated chance on arrow spine and that cant seemed to help with what might have been an arrow which was slightly out. But that didn't effect the performance or accuracy.
As you can see from the pictures the reflex/deflex is not massive. The short length was also not a problem, shot a fair number of arrows, as I have during the week and there was no finger pinch at all. It goes without saying but there was also no hand shock from the bow, helped by some rather nice string silencers which had been very professionally installed.
All in all I really liked the bow, the price quoted is for the bow with all the options, Jack Knife system, antler tips and so on which add on $200. The base price is $695 which is very good for a bow of this quality. They offer a bamboo limb core which they say increased performance by some margin, and so it should, that is an additional $90 and that in my opinion would represent a good investment. Don't get me wrong the bow is great but that would push it up to the next level.
Features & Design
A nice looking bow, the addition of the hinge doesn't detract from the shooting but adds to the practicality.
Shoots really well, the arrow really punches in to the target with a nice thuwmp
Value for Money
This one comes with all the options, Jack-Knife folding system and antler tips.It's not expensive but it's not cheap either.
A really enjoyable bow, with plenty of performance. The feel of a longbow matched with the practicality of a take down.