Neil Harrington Longbow 72" 50#@28"
It normally falls to Steve, as a former longbow county and regional champion, to do the English longbow reviews, so it's a great pleasure for me to get my hands on one to review. It should be noted that I'm no stranger to the English longbow and I even have a few medals myself to prove it but after 4 years for solid field shooting using more American style longbows it was a real pleasure to fall back in love with a great part of our heritage. Steve and I had been invited to a roving marks shoot and we decided that we would need to get a little practice in before hand, so we gathered a few friends together and about 10 longbows and headed to a rather large field we have access to. Steve had chosen a monster 100# and I was using my favourite 65#. As it was a practice for a rover we all lined up and started launching arrows in to the air, watching the arrows fly is fantastic fu, going to pick them up afterwards less so as these bows were sending them some considerable distance. We all set off to look some falling way short of expectation, some other longer ones and then our friend Jules some distance further, up to this point we hadn't taken too much notice of what bow each of us was using but given Jules' arrows seemed to have gone the furthest by some distance we asked him what it was. It was of course a Neil Harrington Longbow, neither I or Steve had ever shot one and it's not like us to pass up the opportunity to try anything.
Steve put an arrow on the string, drew back and let one fly, he immediately handed it to me and said "Wow, try that". I too put an arrow on the string and began to draw back, even then I could tell this was a special bow. There is a certain feel you get when drawing longbows, but it wasn't there with this one, it felt great and for me less than it's indicated 50#, yet on release you could feel and see the power the bow had as the arrow flew away at great speed. Normally hand shock in a English longbow is not measured on the same scale as other bows and normally comes down to how many shots it will take to cause serious damage to your arm. Not so with this bow, yes there is hand shock, as there is with any English longbow but this is much more refined than most.
We spent the next hour or so all taking turns shooting the bow when we should have been using something heavier, but the bow was more than a match for the heavier bows when it came to distance if we used a set of light arrows. This bow however is perfect as a target bow and that's where we transferred to. We set up a classic target face and went back 20 yards, Portsmouth distance, and started to shoot the bow in a target style. As much as we were impressed with the capabilities when shooting long at this shorter range we were just as impressed as with little effort we were able to group on the target face without too much trouble.
At 72" this is a wonderful example of a more Victorian style long bow, the finish is wonderfully polished and it sports great looking horn nocks. The string is a little different to your normal longbow fare as it is a 14 strand fast flight plus string which is very much a rarity on an English longbow. The bowyer, Neil Harrington, has an excellent reputation and is an official bowyer of the Fraternity of St George and from this example it seems that reputation is richly deserved. If there is to one criticism it's the handle which is a wrapped section of leather rather than a single stitched piece but that shouldn't distract too much from what feels a very nice bow to hold and shoot.
Reviewed By Steve, 24 May 2010
I have quite a few Longbows, at the last count I think it was 26. Amongst that number there is not one Harrington so it was with great curiosity that when we managed to get our hands on this one I wanted to be involved in the review at some point.
What a wonderful example too, the finish is excellent, the limbs are sleek and the horn nocks are fabulously carved and polished. Andy has covered all the salient points so for my part it was all about the shooting, before conducting my speed test I had a good shoot with it to get a "feel" for the bow. The limbs are straight and even whilst stringing it you can sense something of the power stored in the slender limbs. Upon drawing it there is instant early weight and as the string is tensed you can feel the elasticity of the wood. The bow feels very willing indeed and the power keeps coming, most Longbows feel like a wood bow, but on rare occasions a special bow will feel more than just wood. I tend to shoot a lot of high performance American Longbows and hybrid bows these days made with the most modern materials that technology has to offer, these type of bows have a feeling of power and menace when drawn and I got that same feeling with this bow. There were no dead spots in the draw, the power just builds and builds, at the moment of release the arrow left the bow so fast and smooth that I found myself shooting arrow after arrow with a huge grin on my face, the review totally forgotten as I searched about for new targets.
For me, everything about this bow was right, from the draw to the fast cast, from the comfortable grip to the superb tiller at full draw. This is a bow made by someone who knows what it is to love to shoot a Longbow. It would have to be an exceptional bow to make me want to put down my current favourite and this bow did exactly that, I felt I wanted to take this out to a 3D shoot right now.
Instead I took it to my testing station to see how fast it was, 12 arrows at each weight, the highest and lowest removed and the rest averaged - in fact the results were very consistent, either I am awesome or this bow is incredibly stable - I will settle for both but if the truth be told the bow is a Longbow archers dream.445gn 9.47gn/# 159fps500gn 10.64gn/# 155fps530gn 11.28gn/# 151 fps565gn 12.02gn/# 148fps
The fact that I don't own one of these will have to be remedied, and soon. The price tag is more than reasonable, it looks good, it shoots hard, has very little hand shock and ticks all the boxes for me - if you are looking for a Longbow then this MUST be on your short list - try one if you can and you will see what I mean.
Features & Design
A beautiful looking bow at rest, when braced and especially at full draw, quality materials, quality workmanship which inevitably gives a quality Longbow
Although a fast bow, as Andy and I are constantly saying to each other, "it's all in the shooting" and believe me this bow shoots fabulously, smooth drawing, hard shooting and low on hand shock.
Value for Money
without a doubt - I would pay more ( don't tell him I said that though!)
It's a beauty....... nuff said.