Shopping for a new bow



New member
Hello Everyone. This month I am looking around for a new bow and for once I have a half decent budget so I would like to get one to last. My last bow was fitted to me in Merlin Archery but as this is difficult now because of this virus situation I am trying to go alone and order one online. I'm guessing I can get the length I need from my current bow but what I am confused about at the moment is the riser. I have seen that risers come in different sizes so what I'm wanting to find out is what is the difference between a bigger riser and shorter limbs or a smaller riser and larger limbs.

Also if anyone has any recommendations of brands or models I would love to hear them as it would give me at least some direction.

I am not near my current bow but I will be later on so if measurements are needed for advice given I can post them.


AIUK Saviour
What kind of archery are you shooting? How big are you? Are you looking at ILF? The answer is probably that you want a 25" riser but there are lots of times when that's not optimal......


New member
Currently I am doing known length target shooting with a club associated with ArcheryGB but I do some field archery too. I am 6 foot 1 inch tall and of medium build. Regarding ILF I would prefer to use ILF because it offers the most choice of limbs but if you know of a reason why ILF is not the best please share your thoughts 😊


AIUK Saviour
The ILF question was because if you wanted a 'Formula' riser then I have heard that people seem to prefer longer risers due to their geometry (although I can't vouch for that personally, I've never had one).

But for a six footer shooting sighted target archery, 25" is almost certainly what you want. Unless someone else thinks differently?


Yep, 25" riser, long limbs giving a 70" bow will suit you fine..... The hard bit about buying a riser online is that they all "feel" different to shoot.... Do you have a good local shop where you can go and try two or three risers you like the look of and that are in your price range...

Are you looking for limbs as well?


Well-known member
I’m 6’3” and shoot a 23” riser giving a 68” bow for target - as I classify on Bowman every year I don’t see why a 25” / 70” combo is a must.

I would have thought a balanced well set up rig that the archer is comfortable shooting is the way to go and that will definitely need to be tried out either by shooting fellow archers kit or getting into a shop - I’m sure that Merlin or others are still offering suitable COVID safe bow fittings.

If it helps I have an Inno CXT (23”) with 40# G3 limbs plus a full HMC22 stabiliser set with a 4” extender & adjustable v-bar. Shimano dual click sight with fibre optic pin shooting ACC’s


AIUK Saviour
It's not a must, it's just what normally suits. Personally I shoot a 19" riser and got a bronze at the Oban field championships last year. Granted there were only 3 in my class that year but we'll gloss over that :rolleyes:

I'd also agree with trying before you buy; I've had risers that on paper should have been perfect but just didn't gel in reality.


New member
Do you have an idea what's your draw length? I would follow a simple rule like:
27" DL and under - 66" bow
29" DL and under - 68" bow
30" DL and up - 70" bow
How you get your 66" - 21"riser and Long or 25" riser and Shorts it is personal preference.
Same can be applied to any other bow lengths.
Based on same draw length improvised scale above, the limbs can be matched too:
27" and under - shorts
29" and under - mediums
30" and above - longs
But again no police will come after you if you pick longs for a 26" draw. You will realize by yourself if it was a good or bad decision.
Now, you need to know what type of archery you want to do:
- barebow - field / indoor
- olympic recurve
- WA instinctive division - 3D
The 3rd one will limit the riser choices due to the materials required for the riser.

PS Based on your parameters, you can chose a 68" or 70" bow.
23" and longs = 68"
25" and mediums = 68"
25" and longs = 70"
The economical version is 25" riser you can match with mediums or longs. Since there are very few 23" risers these days, it looks like this is the natural option. If you really want to go over board in barebow / stringwalking, you can pick a 27" riser and play with mediums and longs but it is up to you if you are ready for a specialized setup that comes with higher cost.
In terms of brand, chose something you like and search reviews for that choice. Disregarding the fact that any riser on the market will outshoot the archer, shooting something you like brings a + in your skill development.
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Rabid Hamster

Well-known member
Uukha has started experimenting with longer and longer risers - less snap to the bow but longer levers meaning more power is easier to draw. article in the bow international on the subject had the reviewer quite intreged by the smoothness of the draw.
certainly longer bows (ie 68/70") have more obtuse angles at the nock point when you draw (longer the draw, the more acute the angle). if you have big hands/long arms, theres more room in there for fat fingers and less pinch on your tab with a longer bow.
in target ... 25" risers are basically the standard. 23" tend to be for the more petite archer with shorter draws or who struggle with weight (they can tend to be made of magnesium but sometimes have max draw weights due to stress).
longer bows are said to a bit more stable and shorter bows quicker in snap and easier to get round a field course.

personally I'm a 6'1" win & win fanboi. I find their risers to be fantastic (currently a matt black CXT @ 25") and far better than hoyt in finish and aesthetics.


Active member
Realistically if you are at the stage where you are asking this question then they are all the same. Pick the one you like the look of and fits your budget. If picking a more expensive riser from a budget Chinese manufacturer you might want to ask questions in the forum .... “anyone got any experience of...”

If it says Hoyt, W&W, Ukkha, MK Korea, FIVICS, Gillo etc they are all equally good. Yes they are all different and yes they feel different and yes some might suit you better than others BUT you are unlikely to be able to judge. If anyone tells you one is better than the other it is their ego talking.

Do be aware when making the choice of things like “how much does a spare grip cost” and even ”can I get one”. Things like that can be an annoyance.

As long as you don’t buy a bow and then go try something else immediately after of course. If you have confidence in it it will work for you. Don’t buy one thing if what you really want is something else.

I‘d agree with what other have said. At 6ft 1” you are 99.99% likely to be fine with a 25” riser and long limbs. But that does assume you are shooting with stabilisers and a sight.

As for ILF/Formula, same thing goes. I have always liked Formula bows, whether that is because they are Formula or otherwise I couldn’t tell you. There are plenty of ILF bows I like too (and I still own a good few). My Hoyt Avalon + from 1998 shoots just as well as my Hoyt Xi from 2020 I just like to play :p There is more movement in the limbs, modern limbs tend to be faster and easier to shoot BUT the fastest are rarely the easiest to shoot.

Personally at this stage, I‘d be looking at secondhand bows. You can get last years “the best” for half the price. Especially risers like Hoyt Epik, W&W ATF etc. However, I know some people like to buy new cars, some like nearly new and some buy anything with 100,000 miles on the clock. Bows are the same (anything really old might not last long so make sure it is really cheap). Eventually you’ll know what you like (long/short/aluminium/carbon/forged/machined etc) right now your just looking for a good riser and a good riser can be any on those things.




AIUK Saviour
If you want a bow that will be comfortable then 25" riser and limbs to give you an overall length of 68" will be the sensible choice, going for a long riser or short riser will have particular applications such as field and standard flight bow or if you have very long or short arms for your height.
Essentially there isnt a wrong unless yo want to go to extremes for say draw weight and then you will have to rule out some of the possible combinations