Chris Boyton High Performance Longbow

Reviewed By Steve

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"Haaaaaaahhhmmm" - That folks is the sound of a deep in take of breath, it's the sound you will make when you first see one of Chris Boytons High Performance Longbows, the sound you make when you first shoot one is more of a "Gaaaaaaassssppp!"

Ok lets cut through all the dramatics and take a closer look at this bow, at over 70" it isn't any different from any other longbow in length, that however is where the similarities stop... this bow is 13/16ths of an inch wide at the arrow pass. To put that in to some kind of perspective it is just over twice the width of an 11/32nd arrow shaft, this is the thinnest bow I have ever shot, how it ever draws 45# on my scales is a mystery that bears greater scrutiny.

Boyton Ipe-

It has 3 laminations of Ipe (or Ironwood ) and is backed with Tonkin cane, not the bamboo that can be found at any garden centre but proper, real Tonkin cane, a completely different animal. The two centre lams have such fine glue lines I had to stand in direct sun with the camera set to macro to even pick them up and when I did manage to follow them up the length of the bow I found them both to be tapered. The bow has been glued up to have a slight set back which can be seen at the handle, this is done with out a former as each bow Chris makes is an individual and has to be handled according to it's own characteristics so the built in pre stress has to be done during the glue up stage but essentially freehand, tying it up quickly but accurately before the glue can go off.

With a brace of around 5 1/2" to 6 ", the slimness belies the power stored in the fine limbs and as the draw is started the power is instantly available, my draw is 28" and there was no hint of it stacking as the power comes fast and smoothly all the way out, what happens on release is again a different experience to what you expect. In terms of shock a Longbow can either buck ferociously or be more mild mannered but there is always some kind of handshock, this bow is as close to "no handshock" as an English longbow is ever likely to get, I shoot nowadays mostly high performance American Longbows or recurves so am used to a much more sedate shooting experience, this bow shoots with a sweetness you would expect from a hybrid reflex/deflex bow made with modern materials, yet it is an all natural stick with a string.

This bow is effectively cut 3/8ths before centre.... that is utterly BONKERS.. I have flatbows and even Recurves with a greater displacement from centre yet this bow is a straight up and down wooden Longbow, getting an arrow to shoot straight from this bow is not an issue at all, you will be able to shoot a huge range in terms of spine ( huge, certainly by ELB standards)

Boyton Ipe-

Initially I felt a little self conscious shooting a bow which was only just thicker than my arrows and considerably thinner than my thumb, I imagined it would feel very light and toy like, it's true that the bow is light but this lightness is not reflected in the actual shooting. The bow feels solid in the shot which sounds bizarre especially as the bow weighs mere ounces, but a short session with it will soon disabuse you of the notion that this is anything other than a seriously high performance piece of kit  - you could call it low tech, as the basic design of an English Longbow has been around for at least a millennium but what Chris Boyton has managed to do is use a combination of woods and his considerable skill to tailor a bow to todays archer. For the target shooter you want stability and consistency coupled with the speed to tackle a Hereford or York without having to "reach for the sky", the field archer will be looking for a flat shooting bow that can be canted or shot straight but that will deliver the arrow right where you look, it will be no surprise to find archers at the top of each of those disciplines using Boyton bows.

Everything about this bow has an air of quality, the feel, the finish, the fabulously curved Ox horn nocks and the fact the bow bends right through it's length and when unstrung goes back to it's naturally deflexed state whilst at rest. With such a small volume of wood actually in the bow the shape size and orientation of each of these 4 laminates must be crucial - I say must be as I am sure Chris won't be publishing detailed instructions on how to build one of these... and even then if you managed to clone the recipe you would have to replicate the tillering process which allows the bow to retain so much of it's energy.

We haven't even discussed speed yet, but by now I guess you know what's coming - oh yes it is fast

445gn      9.88gn/#      165fps
500gn      11.11gn/#      154fps
530gn      11.77gn/#      150 fps
565gn      12.55gn/#      146fps

You have to remember this is a wood bow which draws just 45#. To bring all the factors of speed/handshock and to create a very spine tolerant bow which does all this and shoots impeccably is more than just a skill, years ago folk with these sorts of abilities were generally burnt at the stake, nowadays fortunately we have National Geographic and the History channel which is often where you will see Chris demonstrating his knowledge or advising their researchers.

Features & Design
It is a Longbow - it conforms to the accepted definition of one and it looks like one, all the features and design tweaks can't be seen - you see.... it's all in the tiller.
Performance every way, fast, stable and a joy to shoot
Value for Money
This is a very personal valuation but for this lifelong fan of the English Longbow, the history behind it and everything it stands for, this bow represents the peak of the bowyers art for a bow designed with the target or 3D shooter in mind, if you can even get one of these the value will be self evident
I like to drive cars but the the truth is I can't afford a Ferrari so I drive either my Toyota Hilux or my wifes Ford Fiesta - if you are an archer and like to shoot English Longbows...... you could afford one of these..............

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Your Comments

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

  • Posted by: Steve Cromm Ward on Dec 2, 20:19

    WoW what a great looking bow. Could you give me Mr. Boyton’s contact details so I can see if I am able to get a new Longbow from him.
    Thanks for your time

  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Dec 3, 11:49

    I have sent you a mail Steve..Thanks for stopping by….

  • Posted by: Chris Jury on Dec 8, 12:40

    Great review Steve.

    A superb Bow, in materials, design and tiller.

    Undoubtably one of the best wooden Bow Makers in the world.

    Chris Jury.

  • Posted by: wally robson on Dec 29, 17:53

    Chris is in my opinion the best bowyer in England and this is his work and knowledge at its peak. I’ve shot with archers with this bow and it is truly incredible when you see the its thinness the power it gives, and (almost) centre shot. Roger Collis shoots one regularly and won few national meets in 2009 with it.

  • Posted by: Daniel Boone on Jan 6, 23:01

    can you give any info on how to buy one of these bows they look amazing!

  • Posted by: Keith Clayson on Jan 28, 08:01

    Looks fanatastic. Please can you tell me where I can get one of these great looking bows.


  • Posted by: W.E. Messer on Feb 8, 03:22

    Well, I thought I has seen it all, but the dimensions of this bow are just amazing.
    As mentioned above, could I get that contact info for Mr. Boyton as well….I see a longbow in my future.

  • Posted by: john on Feb 18, 21:39

    This will be the fifth bow I have got from Cris Boyton They are the nearist you will get to a Victorian longbow for sure he is one of the top boyers in the uk and a gentlman many thanks Cris.

  • Posted by: David McGee on Mar 12, 19:37

    Dear Steve,
    I would be grateful if you could give me Chris Boyton’s contact details.

  • Posted by: Paul Provins on Mar 17, 08:36

    I’ve been shooting lower poundage bows for the last couple of years due to injury from work and despite being ok most of the time the lack if speed has its limitations.
    I always seem to catch that branch over hanging etc.
    I’ve got a nice yew bow that Chris made for me a few years back,unfortunately just a tad to much to take out for a days shooting now,so I thought I’d give Chris a visit(his workshop is not far from one of my jobs) and have a quick chat.
    Any way the chat wasn’t quick(how can you have quick one with Chris)and order duly placed,now just have to save up a few spondoolicks for four months time when my 45lb@27” should be ready.
    Happy happy joy joy.

  • Posted by: Man At Arms. on Aug 8, 18:31

    As a disciple of the Longbow and the Fly Rod, It is agreeable to see Boyton consider Tonkin cane.
    T’is Also interesting that that you could count the countries top Bowyer’s on one hand, [Boyton included] and some of Boyton’s peers completely disagree with the use of Cane.
    Xenophobia, Tradition, Performance, or some other reason?

  • Posted by: Glenn Overington on Mar 17, 23:18

    Wow! What a beautiful bow!! I have long wished to purchase a traditional Yew longbow, however I can see that Chris Boyton makes a wonderful range of astonsihing bows, and now I’m a little torn between the choices. Would it be possible to obtain Chris’s contact details / shop address to discuss the best options with him please?
    Many, Many thanks Glenn

  • Posted by: John Smith on Oct 4, 00:46

    It is a beautiful bow, I own one. I suffer from Parkinsons so I shake a lot but all the same I’ve made it to 1st class target shooting, Its all in the bow and Mr Boyton not forgetting his little dog.

  • Posted by: Zac Olds on Dec 27, 10:17

    Hey guys just to let you all know I recently contacted Chris asking him if he’d make me a bow, unfortunately he only makes bows for research and his friends in the Medieval society.

  • Posted by: Edward van natta on Feb 7, 19:37

    Hello sir
    Me like some information on this ..likes want see on your website p.

  • Posted by: Chris Boyton on Feb 14, 17:12

    In Response to Zac Olds comment, he asked me to make him a self yew bow like the one I built for Mike Loades in his “Weapons that made Britain” Programme, this was my exact reply.

    “Hi Zac,
    Many thanks for your enquiry, sadly I can’t help you with your requirments, as I only make those kind of bows for research and my friends in the Medieval society.
    Most of my time is taken up with making the arrow shafts, which is where I make most of my living.
    Chris Boyton.”

    I do still make many other types of wooden bow (time permitting) but should have made that clearer to Zac, but as he was only interested in a self yew I saw no point in expanding further.
    Chris Boyton.

  • Posted by: Zac Olds on Sep 28, 05:16

    In response to Chris Boyton, it’s still such a shame I can’t get that self bow from you ;-)

  • Posted by: Robert Kirkwood on Jan 13, 17:46

    I have been shooting the bow i got from Chris about 6 months now and it’s performing perfect. It’s helped me win a list of top comps and a few new records along the way. Chris is a top bloke to talk to and the performance, quality and finish on my bow blows my other longbow out of the water and i am now replacing it with another of Chris’s bow’s, can’t wait till it arrives!

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