[English Longbow] Beginner to traditional archery....please help !

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Hi, I've been shooting recurve for the past year and would like to start traditional archery. The club where my son and I shoot is outdoors. I am female and only pulling 19-21 lb, so I need something easy to begin with ! I would also like to start at the cheaper end just incase i fail miserably and revert back to recurve ! Do I go for an AFB or a starter/beginners ELB ? Ps I'm not intending on entering any comps any time soon !!
I've tried to give as much info as poss but if Ive missed something bear with me I am a newbie, thanks for any help anyone can give!
Hi Corrine,

I Shot barebow recurve for a year and then decided to go traditional so went for an AFB. I figured it's kind of half way between Recurve and ELB. Shooting off the shelf is a lot closer to shooting off of an arrow rest than shooting off of your hand. I figured I'll try and get decent with the AFB before switching to ELB but at the end of the day it's up to you.

Saying that it might actually be worth sticking with recurve for a bit and buying some second half limbs with a higher draw weight to build yourself up for it. I think ELBs have pretty high draw weight so it will be a hell of a jump to go from 21# to say 40#..

Or maybe find a cheap AFB around 30# to keep you going for a while before going onto ELB.

Del the Cat

Well-known member
An AFB will give better performance at that poundage and will be more affordable for a reasonable performance.
Cheap or second hand longbows are likely to be poor performers.
If you really want to get into longbow always try before you buy and avoid that well known auction site.

Mind having said all that I personally don't think an AFB made with modern materials is really traditional in the true sense.
There are other alternatives further down the road. Shooting NFAS primitive is great. A Hazel neolithic style flat bow can be very effective, relatively fast and weighs next to nothing... gret for carting round the woods all day.
14 second video of 35# Hazel being shot...


The winner of our club's recent Longbow championship shoot, a two way Western, used a 30lb ELB. An ELB is easier to draw, due to its length, than the same poundage recurve, so you'll probably find that you could manage it.


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I changed to longbow this year from recurve barebow. At the beginning of last year I was shooting 22lb, then gradually upped it to 26lb by the end of the year. I was shooting that comfortably, so when my brother-in-law made me a longbow we went for 30lb. I can shoot it, but it is still a bit of a struggle, so I have bought a new longbow at 28lb (custom-made). This one I can shoot target without having to worry "can I draw/hold it?". With this bow I can get 60 yards without any problem and 80 yards aiming above the target.

Have you considered trying shooting your existing setup barebow before buying another bow? With my 22lb recurve I could only get 60 yards by aiming my sight at the top of the rugby posts at the end of the field. Shooting the same bow barebow I could easily reach 80yards. The techniques used to shoot recurve barebow helped me to shoot my longbows.

I find longbow much more fun than recurve. And some of those AFBs look very tempting too!


New member
Or maybe find a cheap AFB around 30# to keep you going for a while before going onto ELB.
I think you are right, I had a chat with the coaches at the field tonight, I'm going to pop along to some various shops and try out some AFB's and see how they feel. I think this could be a good starter before investing in a decent longbow.

Del the Cat - thanks for your help too, and love the youtube video ;-)

Geophys - I think I'm going to struggle to get a decent budget ELB to start, so I'm going to try our some AFB's first.

Alison, thanks for your info ... the AFB's are really tempting me.

Thanks to everyone for your help, I'll let you know what I end up with and how I get on !


New member

Did you manage to get anywhere over the weekend?
I had a very lengthy chat with the local archery shop on Friday. I tried a 25, which I overpulled and the 35 was too hard! So they have ordered me a 30 lb - Touchwood Buzzard Flatbow. It should arrive this week sometime, however I am not committed to buying it if it doesn't feel right. Although I am so excited I even made a bow bag so fingers crossed its good ;-) I think this is a good starting point before I decide take the leap towards longbow.

Touchwood | Buzzard Flat Bow 68" | from The Archery Shop Ltd

oh and I will buy some ready made arrows to keep me going initially then, I guess I need to youtube how to make them myself !
Looks good. At that price you won't be too put out if after a while you feel it easy to pull and decide to upgrade to 40#.

I actually find my 40# quite easy and am thinking of going for a cheap 50# at some point. If I can pull that then in my mind I'll be ready for a Longbow.
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