Bickerstaff Re Enactment Longbow

Reviewed By Steve

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Bickerstaff Bows are probably the most prolific of English Longbow makers and offer several styles and “levels” of Longbow.

From a re enactment bow, through a basic Longbow to Medieval Longbows right up to War bows designed as fully working museum quality authentic bows, Pip Bickerstaff is a world authority on Longbows and is in the forefront of those seeking to re discover the secrets of the English Warbow.

Bickerstaff re-enactor 46%23

This specimen is from the re-enactment range and is marked up at 46#@28”, from nock to nock it measures 79” and is made from Lemon Wood backed with hickory with a bound leather handle – there is no strike plate but the bow can be shot left or right handed. Generally these Re-enactor bows are made in weights up to 35#, that's because most re-enactment societies don't allow anything heavier to be shot ( and then only at half draw) at their battles - this then is somewhat of a special being 46# draw.


As the most basic of the Bickerstaff bows and the fact that it is specifically aimed at the re-enator market you could be forgiven for thinking that the bow is more of a prop than a proper bow, however within  a short while of shooting it you will be disabused of this notion – this bow is a shooter. The folks at Bickerstaff have no qualms about stating that this bow is for beginners or Re-enactors, because a re-enactor will most probably be more interested in how the bow looks rather than how it shoots, this means the design may not be the most efficient for shooting.

The bow is self nocked and supplied with a very nice Dacron single loop Flemish string, the other being tied with a Bowyers knot. It draws very smoothly with no evidence of stacking, but you wouldn't expect any given it's length which also helps with the ease of the bow to draw. There is some shock and on the kicked by a horse scale it would rate as 5.5/10 - not so terrible as it sounds because it is after all  a bow designed to look the part first and formost.

Having said all that when you get to shoot it, it is a nice surprise to find it feels good, over the chrono this is what I got

445gn        9.67gn/#       143fps
500gn       10.87gn/#      140fps
530gn       11.52gn/#      135ps
565gn       12.28gn/#      131fps
I have used the same standard arrow weights as used in all the bow tests so that comparisons can be made.

All the arrows were shot at 28" draw. The test was conducted with 12 shots with each arrow, the 2 highest and 2 lowest readings were discarded and the rest averaged. The arrows themselves were all fitted with 3 X 5" shield feathers.

Bickerstaff re-enactor 46%28
The bow looks really good and at full draw the even tiller is evident re enactors will be queueing up for one of these.
Features & Design half a review mark
A simple Hickory and Lemon wood bow, right from the off it declares itself a re-enactors bow, it fulfils that brief very well but it is reviewed here as a shooting bow.
Performance half a review mark
Again, the marks sound cruel for a bow that never aspires to anything more than looking the part, however, it does perform spitting out a variety of weight arrows at consistent arrow speeds, despite being 6'7".
Value for Money half a review mark
Excellent value for money
Right at the start I told you the bow was advertised as for re-enactors or beginners and that is bang on the money, not only does the bow look good enough for the battlefield it also shoots well enough and with few enough vices so that the beginner can get to grips with shooting a Longbow, the nice price will have re-enactors clamouring for one of these good looking bows.


Your Comments

Tell us what you think, do you agree with the review or have something to add?

  • Posted by: Patrick on Jun 20, 17:07

    Hey, I want to get a longbow, but have never owned one before. I have used a normal recurve bow though. I am trying to decide wether to get a bickerstaffe bow, or one made by Aidy Hayes. Any comments?

  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Jun 20, 17:36

    Hi Patrick, as yet we have not had the opportunity to review a bow by Adrian so I can’t comment on his bows. I will endeavour to get hold of one and see what we come up with. I can tell you that Bickerstaff bows are very well respected and you won’t make a mistake if you decide to take that route… keep checking back as we are adding Longbow reviews all the time.

  • Posted by: on Aug 26, 21:41

    Patrick, you ask Archers Review delivers, we tracked Aidy down and you can read the review…

  • Posted by: Paul on Nov 28, 18:49

    I have had one of these re-enactor bows from Mr. Bickerstaffe for almost a year now and as a novice bowman I have been well-satisfied by the sweetness of the draw and the consistency with which it shoots. At the price, you could do a lot worse both for product and for service.

  • Posted by: wayne on May 10, 16:38

    would be interesting for a review of some of Pip bickerstaffe’s higher spec bows. As a renowned bowyer I think his re enactment bow isnt showing off the best he has to offer.
    Along the shooting line I see a great many of his bows compared to others bowyers you have reviewed.

  • Posted by: Colin on Oct 21, 22:19

    Bickerstaff are well put together. I have a love of engineering and a well made product can teach others a thing or two when it comes to genuine quality.

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