Heritage Longbows 56#@28" Target Bow

Reviewed By Steve

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Another bow from the Heritage Longbows stable, this time a target bow named "invincible". The first impression upon receiving this bow was that it was not brand spanking new. I was pleased to find this as testing a bow from new doesn't always give you the true picture of what a bow will be like over time, in the case of English Longbows this is especially true, I always found with my Longbows in the past that they sort of grow into you, the way a longbow is shot will have a huge bearing on the way it settles in and gets "used" to you.


The bow is a Quad-laminate of Lemonwood with a centre lams of Maple and Ipe, finished with a Hickory back, a pleasing combination to look at. Once again Lee finishes a longbow beautifully with beeswax. After 2 coats of sanding sealer the bow is coated in Beeswax, twice. This wax finish is buffed up and forms a really solid, hard and protective finish, I have to say a hard varnish finish is less trouble to maintain and does look good, but there is something about holding a waxy English Longbow bow that just feels right. The polished horn nocks are seamlessly joined to the bow an, I am not mad for big nocks and these short functional ones work well with the overall feel of a bow that knows it's business. I was rather surprised to find no leather on the handle, I don't mind bare wood on a heavy chunky Warbow and although the bow was not uncomfortable at all I guess I just expected to find one on a bow built for target work. A fastflight string had been supplied fitted.


An arrow pass had been fitted made from horn. So back to my first impression, the bow had taken a set, in fact it tookHeritage56%23- very little effort to string it and once it was strung you could tell that this was a bow that worked right through its length. The set was very even along the whole bow, It is almost inevitable that Longbows or even any wood bow will eventually take a set and a lot will depend on how the bow is shot, one of my most favourite target longbows has a strong curvature, this was the bow I used for shooting Portsmouth rounds. 60 arrows at 20 yards on a 60cm face, my style of shooting for this round which was in fact my favourite target round was to hold for a long time, I know that folks will tell you a bow is 9/10 broken at full draw but for a target archer accuracy and precision are the order of the day, you don't get that by blatting off arrows willy nilly. If you want to hit the top scores you need proper form and exactly the same skills as a competition recurve archer - if you shoot this way you will be holding longer than a lot of Longbow archers will tell you you should. Shooting this style brought me very many gongs, titles and records over the years, it also meant I broke the occasional bow and that those that didn't break took a set.

This bow has been used by an archer for target and I suspect he may shoot in a similar style to that which I used and the  set in the bow is the result.

Now a lot of folks would look at an English Longbow that had such a profile and declare it to be shot out, I would actually disagree and once I saw this bow I thought to myself that it was probably just nicely shot "in".

A set in a bow isn't always a bad thing, a bow like this has grown into it's owner and has in all probability bent as much as it is going to, what that means is that it is now shooting in a very predictable and stable manner - just exactly what a target archer needs, a bow that will perform the same action and cast on each and every shot, in short consistency, the goal of every target archer regardless of the bow he shoots.

Heritage56%23-This bow was marked up at 56#, you didn't need to be a scientist to know that if this bow had been measured when new it was not going to be drawing 56# now when it had taken a set. When I drew it up on the scales it came in at 47#@28" - a good weight for target.

Most Longbow target archers will use a method of aiming, mine was point of aim and for that to work I needed the bow to perform consistently every time, under GNAS rules Longbow archers may use rubber bands as sights - I was never fond of this rule, never used one myself but those that did would again require a steady bow in order to score high.

Given that the bow had taken such a set it was no surprise to find that it wasn't the fastest 47# bow I have ever shot, but for a target archer speed is of secondary importance because the target isn't going anywhere and once a POA has been found you just need to perform the same every time. I put it through the chrono using the same test arrows I always do and these were the results.

445gn      9.47gn/#       145fps
500gn      10.64gn/#      138fps
530gn      11.28gn/#      136fps
565gn      12.02gn/#      134fps

The bow didn't stack and did indeed work throughout its length giving a smooth and predictable cast, it felt very forgiving to shoot and didn't have much in the way of hand shock either, something which is normally expected when shooting a Longbow.


Once again Lee has created a bow which looks stunning at full draw and works through the handle and coming full compass, the fact that he tillers to 32" means you can draw with confidence, it always pays to discuss with your bowyer what type of archery you will be using the bow for and a bow can be designed to suit your purpose. An archer looking for a bow to shoot Portsmouths may not require the same bow that an archer looking to shoot a clout round would want and a field archer may be looking for something different. This is the second bow we have reviewed from heritage each being unique and suited for the purpose they were intended. We hope to add another Heritage bow to the collection, this time one tailored for field shooting - The brief:- the fastest flattest shooting bow up to 55#...OK Lee show me your Kung Fu !

Features & Design
This bow was designed for target right fom the start, the criteria being that it should shoot an arrow with consistancy and stability....... Job done !
Neither the fastest nor the slowest, the figures above speak for themselves.
Value for Money
At the top end of the Heritage line up, for a similar cost you could purchase  a mid range bow from many other bowyers - that is real value
A bow any target archer would be happy to own and shoot. The quality of timber used in bows we have seen from Heritage combined with a generous price structure makes them very affordable. As with the other Heritage bow we reviewed this one is stable, forgiving and has an excellent finish.

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Your Comments

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

  • Posted by: Stevee on Jun 2, 18:43

    There’s something quite special about the look of an ELB at full compass, and as a general rule, if a thing looks right – it IS right!
    This bow fits that very nicely by the look of it.

  • Posted by: Patrick on Jun 25, 09:40

    Hey, does anyone know of any longbowyers/retailers that are close to southern scotland? I’m having trouble trying to locate a place I can try some out!!

  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Jun 25, 18:09

    Have mailed you Patrick..

  • Posted by: Deansnarey on Aug 4, 21:13

    I have just spent 2 really enjoyable and informative days on a course making a longbow of my own, with assistance from Lee.
    He is very patient, even with someone of my limited abillity and I have come home with a really nice bow and a much better understanding of how they work and are made.
    A superb course and great value for money I would recommend it to anyone,

  • Posted by: Paul Slater on Apr 9, 00:38

    My partner and I both made longbows at Heritage L/B’s last december. Lee Ankers has the gift of making novices such as we really welcome and did all he could to guide us through the making of our own bows. Lee also instructed us in making our own strings to suit the bows and generally did all he could to ensure we left his works with bows to be proud of. Mine is now just about worked in and I have just been to my first field shoot with it. It was pleasing to be approached by experienced archers who commented very favourably on the bows appearance and ability. I had a minor problem with my bow recently and Lee invited me back to his works and was more than willing to sort things for me. Really good service! We can wholeheartedly recommend Heritage Longbows if you are thinking of making a bow for yourself or buying one ‘off the shelf’

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