There is an undeniable mystique surrounding traditional horse bows. They harken back to warriors of the past such as the Tatars, a nomadic Turkish people that were eventually absorbed into the Mongolian Empire founded by Genghis Khan. It's this mystique that prompted us to write a comprehensive AF Archery Tatar Bow review, including its pros and cons, as well as how it compares to other bows on the market.
What’s Included in the Package?
The AF Archery Tatar Recurve Bow comes with the following items:
- Bow bag
These basic items are enough to get started, and the bow bag is a nice additional accessory that helps you transport the bow and keep it safe during storage, not as good as a hard bow case, but it does protect the bow.. Still, you'll need to purchase essential accessories like arrows, an arm guard, and a finger tab or glove separately.
Assembling the AF Archery Tatar Recurve Bow
The AF Archery Tatar Recurve Bow is incredibly easy to assemble and consists of two parts that you basically snap together. The most intensive part of the assembly is stringing the bow. This isn't especially complicated, but it's essential to follow the correct technique to prevent potential injury or damage to the bow.
We recommend getting a bowstringing device and doing your research on how to use it before attempting to string the AF Archery Tatar Bow to ensure a safe and efficient setup.
Features / Specifications
The AF Archery Tatar Bow is available in draw weights ranging from 25 to 50 pounds in five-pound increments. This isn't as big a range as you'll find on other bows, but it's about what you'd expect for a horse bow. The lower draw weights are certainly more manageable for actual equestrian applications, but keep in mind that many states require at least 40 pounds of draw weight for hunting with a traditional bow.
The Tatar Recurve Bow has an overall length of 54 inches, which may seem short if you're used to other traditional bows like recurve or longbows, but it's actually about standard for a horse bow. This compact size makes it easier to maneuver and shoot horseback or in tight spaces, though its D shape makes it more difficult to increase power.
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The Tatar Bow has a maximum draw length of 32 inches, which is quite long. However, due to the horse-bow design, it shoots accurately at a range of draw lengths, 28 inches on the low end.
While everyone's exact draw length is different, you can usually get a rough estimate by dividing your height by 2.5 with a couple inches of leeway on either side. This makes the Tatar bow ideal for archers about 5'8" to well over 6'6".
Now, it's important to keep in mind that using a longer draw length will give you more power, generally two to three pounds of draw weight for every extra inch over 28 inches, the draw length the draw weight is rated on. In other words, if you have a longer draw length than 28 inches, you'll be getting more power than the rated draw weight, and if you have a shorter draw length, you can still use the bow, but you might not get as much power.
Pros and Cons of the AF Archery Tatar Recurve Bow
What We Like
We appreciate the Tatar Bow's compact 54-inch length, which makes it easy to handle and shoot. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who plan to use the bow for horseback archery or in situations where space is limited. It can even be beneficial for hunting if you need to squeeze into a small tree stand or sneak through the woods.
Wide Draw Weight Range for a Horse Bow
The Tatar Bow's draw weight range of 25 to 50 pounds, while not as wide as a lot of takedown recurve bows, is pretty good for a horse bow, providing options for archers of different skill levels and strengths. It gives you versatility based on your experience level but also for different applications
The AF Archery Tatar Bow boasts a beautiful, traditional recurve design with intricate leather and woodwork. This aesthetic adds to the overall experience of shooting with a horse bow and makes you feel like you're back in the 13th Century. It definitely adds to the hobby.
Tool-free Takedown Design
Arguably the most unique and innovative feature of the AF Archery Tatar Bow is its tool-free takedown design. This makes it incredibly easy to assemble and disassemble without the need for any additional tools or equipment. This is convenient for storage as well as transportation, whether you're taking it to a range, the stables or your tree stand.
What We Don’t Like
Lack of Accessories
The Tatar Bow package does not include essential accessories like an arm guard, finger guard, arrows or a target. These are essential to shooting. Obviously you need arrows, but shooting without an arm guard and finger guard can be dangerous and lead to permanent nerve damage in addition to painful surface injuries.
In other words, you'll need to purchase these items separately, which can be an inconvenience and add to the overall cost.
String Serving Issues
One downside of the AF Archery Tatar Bow is the quality of the bowstring's serving. We found that it has the potential to unravel after repeated use, which can affect the durability and longevity of the bowstring. We recommend inspecting the serving regularly, and you might even consider replacing the bowstring with a higher-quality alternative if you experience any problems with the original.
The AF Archery Tatar Bow Quality
The Tatar Bow features a riser made from high-quality maple wood, which is both durable and matches the traditional aesthetic. Similarly, the quality craftsmanship provides an authentic shooting experience.
The limbs are made of laminated bamboo and glass fiber. This gives you the tension of traditional bamboo wood on top of the modern strength and protection of modern synthetic materials. This provides for a generally consistent shot packed into the compact horse bow frame.
The grip is made of heat shrinkable tubes. Simply to match the traditional aesthetic, we wish they'd made it of leather. However, the shrinkable-tube design is actually quite tough and comfortable to hold.
The string is the main place we found the Tatar bow to be lacking. While the string in and of itself maintains tension over a good period of time and resists wear, the serving can unravel with repeated use, especially at higher weights. You may want to replace the bowstring.
Is the AF Archery Tatar Bow Good for Beginners?
The AF Archery Tatar Recurve Bow is a suitable option for beginners interested in traditional horse bow archery. Its wide draw weight range accommodates various skill levels and strengths, and its compact design is easier to handle than larger bows, especially on horseback. However, beginners should be aware that they will need to purchase additional accessories, such as arrows, an arm guard and a finger guard.
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Is the AF Archery Tatar Bow Good for Kids?
The Tatar Bow may work for older children and teenagers, but it may not be ideal for younger kids due to its power and draw length. The minimum draw weight of 25 pounds still requires a decent amount of upper body strength to hold it steadily at full draw and aim correctly. Meanwhile, the 28-inch draw length may be too long for kids.
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Is the AF Archery Tatar Bow Good for Hunting?
The AF Archery Tatar Bow can be used for hunting, particularly for small to medium-sized game, even whitetail deer if you get it with enough power and take advantage of the long draw length.
Its compact size and relatively high draw weights make it a good option for traditional bowhunting. However, be sure to check local hunting regulations regarding minimum draw weights before using the Tatar Bow for hunting purposes. You'll likely have to get one of the higher draw weights over at least 40 pounds.
RELATED: Best Recurve Bows
The AF Archery Tatar Bow vs the Samick Sage
The Samick Sage is one of, if not the, most popular takedown recurve bows while the Tatar Bow is a traditional horsebow. Both have a takedown design that allows for easy storage and transportation, and both bows cater to beginners and experienced archers alike.
In general, we'd recommend the Samick Sage for standard bowhunting and the Tatar Bow for horseback archery. Nevertheless, the choice between the two will ultimately depend on your preference for either design: recurve or horse bow.
The AF Archery Tatar Bow vs the AF Archery American Longbow
The main difference between the Tatar Bow and the AF Archery Longbow lies in their design and intended use. The Tatar Bow is a traditional horse bow with a compact size and a wide range of draw weights, making it well-suited for horseback archery and traditional shooting styles. The American Longbow, on the other hand, is a classic longbow with a longer length and a focus on traditional archery and bowhunting. While both have their appeal for traditional archery and bowhunting, you should definitely go with the Tatar Bow if you're planning to shoot from horseback.
The AF Archery Tatar Bow the SAS Courage
We consider the SAS Courage the most affordable takedown recurve bow for hunting, so while you can certainly use the AF Archery Tatar Bow for hunting, if all you care about is taking a buck on the cheap, go with the Courage. However, if you want to practice a more traditional form of archery and try out activities like horseback archery, the Tatar Bow is a better option.
The AF Archery Tatar Bow vs the Bear Grizzly
The Bear Grizzly is a high-quality single-piece recurve bow while the AF Archery Tatar Bow is a horse bow with a takedown design. The Bear Grizzly has top-shelf craftsmanship, making it a better choice for serious archers who know what they want. Meanwhile, the AF Archery Tatar Bow's tool-free takedown design and unique compact horse bow shape make it an appealing option for those looking for something different or seeking a more portable bow.
Wrapping Up the AF Archery Tatar Bow Review
The AF Archery Tatar Bow is an excellent option for those interested in or curious about traditional horse bow archery. Its compact design, wide draw weight range and beautiful aesthetics make it a versatile and appealing choice for various skill levels and can also help while hunting. Although beginners will need to purchase a few starter accessories, the Tatar Bow remains a solid choice for those looking to connect with the past through traditional or horseback archery.