Ron Palmer Traditional English Longbow 35#@28"

Reviewed By Steve

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Ron Palmer has been making bows for almost 73 years, he offers a guarantee like no other bowyer, his bows are guaranteed for life – he stresses that this is his life (as he does so you will notice the wry smile – Ron is almost 90!), so if something goes wrong he will fix it, the fact that he hardly ever has to come through on this warranty is a testament to the sturdiness and longevity of his bows. I have met folks shooting bows of his over 20 years old.

This little fellow is almost 12 years old and was made for my wife as a 35# draw weight bow. All these years later and it weighs 34.5# on my scales at 28”.
Lemonwood with a center lamination of Greenheart and backed with Hickory, the string is 10 strands of Dacron. It is 72” from nock to nock which are made from Buffalo horn by Ron, in fact you can tell a Palmer bow at 100 yards by his distinctive carved nock. The grip is also one of the things I like about his bows, it is stitched so very tight and the quality of the leather is good. There is a mother of pearl strike plate on both sides of the bow so it can be shot both left and right handed.
The finish is excellent and the tiller is in the Victorian style of a Traditional English Longbow with a classic “D” shape.

For those brought up shooting English Longbows hand shock is not something even considered, it’s just something that happens when you shoot a bow and is neither noticed nor remarked upon, however for those unused to shooting such bows it will be the first thing you notice when loosing an arrow from an English longbow. As each ELB is custom made and is free from glass or unnatural elements they are all different, each will have it’s own character and quirks, it is after all just a bit of wood. That being the case some will have mighty hand shock and some will be more gentle depending on firstly the wood, the tiller and thirdly the bowyers skill, there will in almost every case be hand shock, it has to be accepted.
Given the above then, there is great surprise to find this bow has very little hand shock indeed, for me shooting an ELB is always a joy, perhaps because I shot them exclusively for the first fifteen years of my archery life.

Closer inspection of this bow reveals that the center lamination of Greenheart is tapered toward the nocks, providing power toward the middle of the bow but letting the Lemonwood and Hickory take the whip at the ends, throughout the bow you can see the attention to detail. Originally constructed from a short billet which was split down the center providing two identical halves, these were joined in the handle with a slight forward angle, by the time it was tillered some of this was lost but enough remained to “ build in” some extra speed and despite the limbs having taken a slight set the bow is still an excellent shooter.

Over the chrono this is what I got

445gn      12.89gn/#      138fps
500gn      14.49gn/#      135fps
530gn      15.36gn/#      130fps
565gn      16.37gn/#      124fps

I have used the same standard arrow weights as used in all the bow tests so that comparisons can be made, having said that most of these particular arrows are too heavy for this bow so the speed must be taken in context of it's light draw weight, a much more suitable weight would be a 5/16"arrow at around 350-375grn from which you would get a very respectable 146fps.

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.

You can not guarantee that a bow will never break because you cannot see inside it and a bit of wood is always just a bit of wood, however in Rons’ hands a piece of wood can become both a work of art and a lethal weapon.

Ron Palmer 35%4028
Features & Design
A traditional English Longbow, Victorian Style in classic "D" shape, a proper hand crafted bow by a craftsman who has probably forgotten more about archery than most folks ever get to know.
Performance half a review mark
This bow is as fast as this particular piece of wood allow, but for a small bow it zips them out.
Value for Money
Without a doubt incredible value.
Overall half a review mark
This bow makes the grade on value alone, however the performance and attention to detail means this bow scores big for what it is.


Your Comments

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

  • Posted by: Russell Jones on Nov 27, 13:43

    Hi Steve,

    Interested in your bow reviews; very useful. Couldnt agree more re: Chris Boyton – i have one of his bows and it is excellent. Given you are showing prices, are the bows for sale? If so, i would be interested in the Ron Palmer bow as i am looking for an additional softer bow. Where are you based?



  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Nov 27, 18:19

    Hello Russell,
    These bows shown here are either from my own collection or offered for review by bowyers or archers – occasionally I do sell a bow of my own but I find it traumatic to sell my own bows !, I will mail you regarding your other comments.
    Chat Soon

  • Posted by: George Peacock on Feb 24, 21:06

    Hello Steve, I also am a fan of Ron Palmer’s Bows, still have one, it’s about 20 years young !!, also have a “ Hillary Greenland “ of Bristol, Master Bowyer and Fletcher, who has also put out some great book’s on Archery, I have a custom made Bow, with custom made Arrow’s to compliment the combination.
    Robin Hood I am not, but the feel of a Palmer or Greenland Bow can do no other than inspire confidence at the Butt’s, and are pure pleasure to shoot.

  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Feb 24, 22:34

    George you are absolutely right, there are few pleasures that compare to shooting a well made custom English longbow.. which reminds me I must talk to Hillary and get a bow for review..
    There are plenty more in the pipeline, George, as within the next few weeks we have some bows from Heritage Longbows arriving… stay tuned !

  • Posted by: Peter Hughes on Feb 28, 13:31

    I bought a Ron Palmer about 8 years ago, I visited his workshop and by the time I left I began to realise what a talented chap he was and very modest, when I questioned why he didnt sign his bows he replied it looked so pretentious, but I notice the Palmer bow I have just bought has a nice clear signature just under the handle

  • Posted by: Ron Smith on Jun 2, 12:54

    Would anyone here have a contact number for Ron Palmer?

  • Posted by: ROBERT BUTCHART on Jun 29, 09:30

    Hi I have been shooting longbow for 3 years and to be honest this has been very much a budget learning curve.
    I now wish to purchase a fine well made bow such as made by Ron Palmer.
    Would it be possible to provide a contact number or email.
    Mny thanks

  • Posted by: Nigel Fawcett-Jones on Jul 15, 15:54

    I was lucky to have Ron Palmer recommended to me back in the mid 80’s. He made me a superb 60 pound bow, which is now some 25 years old and still going strong, an absolute pleasure to use. Cheers Ron! Is there a point of contact for him now?

  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Jul 15, 16:03

    Check your mail Nigel..

  • Posted by: John Powell on Aug 5, 14:34

    I’m coming to this thread rather late but I can only echo what Steve says. I had a Ron Palmer longbow that I shot for some time before a limb broke. Returning it to Ron, he repaired it and I carried on shooting it until the other limb broke. You may be thinking at this point that Ron’s bows aren’t up to much but the problem was entirely my fault – bad stringing technique. That said, Ron took the bow back for repair. After some time he let me know that the bow was ready and I went to collect it. On arriving at his workshop he handed me a bow that I didn’t recognize. Long story marginally shorter – this was a brand new bow. Despite my offers to pay for the bow Ron insisted that his lifetime guarantee was a commitment that he would stand by and, notwithstanding that I had wrecked the bow through my own bad practice, I was now the owner of my second RP bow. Ron is a gentleman through and through and anyone having the good fortune to own a Pon Palmer bow should consider himself a member of a special club. As a postscript I can say that I’m the owner of a much rarer beast than a Ron Palmer longbow – at my request Ron built me a flat bow to the same high standard.Not many of THOSE about!

  • Posted by: Mel Price on Dec 20, 01:42

    I won the IFAA UK Championships with a Longbow crafted by Ron. It has a draw weight of 36lbs proving you do not need a massive bow to shoot well. I am the author of, ‘The English Longbow, Myths, Legends and How to Teach, Coach and Shoot it’

  • Posted by: Darrell on Mar 22, 22:33

    Hello everyone. I’m in need of a new longbow and would love to contact Ron. Please let me know his contact info if you can.
    Many thanks.

  • Posted by: Linoln on Apr 5, 23:00

    Could you send me Rob’s email.

  • Posted by: Ben on Apr 8, 08:42

    Very sad to inform you that Ron died two days ago, on 6 April 2011.

  • Posted by: Brenda Morley on Apr 8, 23:21

    Hi Steve. I am trying to make up a sympathy card for all the Finsbury Archers to sign on Sunday for Eileen but cannot lay my hands on a good picture of Ron. Is there any way you could help me please.
    Many thanks

  • Posted by: Andy@archers-review on Apr 12, 15:08

    Brenda, I think Steve has already emailed you but for anybody else you are free to use any images from Archers Review if you give credit, however with regard to images of Ron feel free to use and distribute them in any way you see fit and no credit needed.

  • Posted by: Mel Price on Apr 17, 16:59

    I am so sorry to hear about the death of a true gentleman, Ron Palmer. His bows were not the best made but were exceptional shooting bows that had an almost lifetime guarantee. I had a bow that was given to me and lasted 10 years before it finally broke. Is that a commendation? Yes It was given to me in bits and Ron stuck it back together again? Was it any good? Yes I won my first 20 medals with it. The bow I won the UK Championships with I still have even though I cannot shoot any more due to contracting asbestosis.
    RIP Ron old friend.
    You are back with your old Royal Navy mates.
    Mel Price. Author of,
    The English Longbow, Myths, Legends and how to Teach, Coach and Shoot it.

  • Posted by: Bela Kromer-Fabienke from Austria on May 16, 20:00

    I´m a proud owner of several of Ron´s bows and much more proud that i´ve been allowed to call him a friend.

    He will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to meet him.

    I know he´s up there somewhere teaching Robin Hood a thing or two about longbows.

    Cheers till we meet again Ron!

    Greetings from Austria

  • Posted by: Bob hanley on May 25, 22:00

    Iam proud to have known ron palmer a true gentleman and friend if there,s a god god bless you ron maybe we will meet again bob hanley secatary golden eagles display troop

  • Posted by: Craig Stripling on Jun 23, 23:55

    Hey, can I have Mr. Palmer’s contact info? I would like to purchase a bow if he is still making them. Thanks,

  • Posted by: louis on Aug 3, 14:35

    HI,My longbow is broken.I search low price 150170€ for France force 35-40#max 78” for 27“35#
    and for 29“40#
    hood:yew,osage,lemon,ipe,bambou,hickory,tks.My master is Fred Vial Marseille

  • Posted by: louis on Aug 28, 00:05

    I received my english bow today is wonderful he com “flagella dei hongary”
    is good bow factor (is translator french) ron in my heart!

  • Posted by: Jon. Burrows on Oct 5, 01:03

    I was hoping to get a Ron Palmer bow, but now that he has passed away, who would you recommend?

  • Posted by: on Oct 6, 21:58

    Hi Jon,

    We are only here to inform not recommend…

    Aidy Hayes

    Lee at Heitage

  • Posted by: Tony Latter on Jan 1, 18:17

    Ive been a proud owner of two Ron Palmer longbows and the third owned by my daughter,for just on fifteen years and yes very sad that Ron has passed but equaly very pleased to of known Ron.
    A very quite softly spoken man who simply knew his craft in making the ‘The Engish Longbow’.
    My first vist to his bungalow in Birching, Kent was one of many and I/we the family, were always made to feel welcome by Ron and his wife. He took, as I’m sure with everyone who had bow’s made by Ron, great pleasure in presenting the finished bow when I arrived to pick it up.My bows perform better than ever and I truely wish at the time I had the funds to of paid Ron to build a couple more as I treasure them all.
    If you are looking to buy a ‘Ron Palmer’ longbow, I suggest keep looking until you find one as you will be buying history aswell as an amzing piece of equipment,
    love to Ron’s family

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