Re Enactment Longbow

Reviewed By Steve

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A friend of mine is a Hollywood actor, I won't drop his name because you will think I am trying to be flash, anyway he was involved in a period production which required him to be seen holding a bow, the bow had to look like a big bow and as it was not going to be shot the performance was not important, like so many things Hollywood style is more important than substance.

Having supplied several bows already a major manufacturer of English Longbows was asked to provide this extra prop - a simple enough task, however this maker has such pride in their work that they didn't just make a bit of wood look like a bow they made a shooter from a single piece of Ash - despite the bow being perfectly able to shoot they would not put their name to it, although I know very well who made it in deference to them I am not at liberty to divulge their name but I did think it worth reviewing as for something that was meant as just a prop it's quite impressive. Although a small mark under the handle indicates 45# on my scales it came in at 46.8#.

This single piece of Ash has been worked in to the classic Traditional English Longbow “D” section, however there are no hard edges on this bow as the back and the belly are rounded, the nocks are cut directly into the bow and there are no horn nocks or reinforcement– although longer than many Longbows it is designed primarily as a bow for re enactment so the extra height will not only look good but build in a utilitarian strength for when things might get hectic and the bow may get rougher handling than normal – Ash is a great choice as it is a very strong wood. The bow is smooth to the touch and although there is no hard coating or varnish it is polished to a nice finish, it will require treatment on a regular basis but to a re enactor this would be part of it’s appeal. the string is 16 strands of Dacron in a single loop Flemish twist and a bowyers knot.

The bow draws very smoothly with no hint of stacking all the way out to 28” and this would be a fun bow to shoot in any style, its simplicity is a large part of it’s charm.
English Longbows are well known for their hand shock it isn’t something to be complained about as it just goes with the territory, this can manifest itself as mild or in some cases quite “ shocking”.
I guess if we called “no shock” a 1 and a “kick from a horse” a 10 this bow would come in around 6, neither excessive nor unnoticeable and probably less than you would expect from a bow with this end use in mind.

Over the chrono this is what I got

445gn        9.50gn/#       142fps
500gn       10.68gn/#      138fps
530gn       11.32gn/#      130fps
565gn       12.07gn/#      128fps
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.


Re enactor45


Features & Design half a review mark
Made as a prop so there are no frills but great care has been taken so that even close inspection and shooting lead you to believe this is more than a simple prop.
Excellent as a prop, it does shoot, pretty good too, a re enactor would be "over the moon" with this bows pedigree.
Value for Money
It's a one off, it's worth what someone would pay, I give it 5 because it has a history and was made by some great Longbow makers
Overall half a review mark
Bows, as the makers know are for shooting not looking, when they made this they made a proper bow even though they were asked for a prop, that marks out the makers as remarkable fellows and the bow as something more than a novelty.


Your Comments

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

  • Posted by: Wendy Ohio on May 24, 08:08

    Looks like a Steve Ralphs bow. I have several of his prop bows . They are great, shoot well and are inexpensive.

  • Posted by: Mark Stevens on Jul 22, 20:26

    I agree. I have a Sycamore bow that I picked up from his workshop. It cost me £75. Steve has supplied many bows to the film industry. I do not think he would make a bow that did not shoot. As a first bow they are amazing value.

  • Posted by: Berny on Jul 21, 10:58

    I have a circa #40 Steve Ralphs Sycamore & it is a nice shooting bow – use for introducing gents to longbow. I also have a Ash Warbow #70@32” – from a different bowyer (been reviewed on here)- looked really nice & shot ok – developed major chrysals within 3 days – emailed bowyer by 2 different methods – no reply. Local bowyer says it will break, a matter of when not if.

  • Posted by: Berny on Jul 21, 11:03

    FYI, Mine wasn’t sold as a “re-enactment bow” rather a “full compass warbow” – ok so i got it off ebay, call me naive, but if your’re a bowyer with a reputation to build & maintain – this isn’t the way to do it!

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