Southland Archery Supply, or SAS, is a renowned brand in the archery world. However, even this one manufacturer produces so many bows that it can be hard to decide which one is the best choice for you. For that reason, we've put this bow to the test in order to write this complete SAS Explorer Recurve Bow Review.
As our top-rated recurve bow for the money and an excellent choice for beginners, we've gone into its advantages and disadvantages so you can figure out if it matches your personal needs.
What's Included in the Package?
The SAS Explorer bow package comes with the simple but effective recurve bow. This includes:
- The riser: Made of lightweight aluminum
- Two takedown limbs: Made of laminated maple wood and fiberglass
- The bowstring
Assembling the SAS Explorer
Assembling the SAS Explorer is incredibly simple. Just slide the limbs into the limb pockets and secure them using the takedown knobs.
The only step left after this is stringing the bow. Stringing a recurve bow is not difficult, but you do have to do it correctly or else you risk damaging the bow or hurting yourself.
We recommend using a bow stringer tool, which is unfortunately not provided. This tool is a cable that lets you apply tension to the limbs with your feet while you slide on the bowstring. Study up on how to use one and you'll be good to go.
The SAS Explorer has a few draw weight options, ranging from 28 pounds on the low end up to 34 pounds on the high end. This isn't a huge range, but the draw weight is available in two-pound increments, so you can finetune it to your particular skills and needs.
Just remember that many states have minimum draw weight requirements for hunting big game like whitetail deer, usually 40 pounds. In this case, you wouldn't be able to use the Explorer.
The SAS Explorer is a particularly long bow at 66 inches. Nevertheless, it's only recommended for archers up to six feet in height. This makes it a good option for youth and women, though they still might not be able to get the full power out of the bow.
The SAS Explorer is finished with a G1 Camo pattern that's great for hunting. It blends in with most deciduous forest landscapes in the US. Alternatively, the riser is available in red or blue, which, while not ideal for bowhunting, can be fun for target shooters.
Pros and Cons of the SAS Explorer
What We Like
There's a reason we rated the SAS Explorer the best recurve bow for the money. Despite a number of great features, it's affordable for most budgets. This makes it less intimidating for beginners and a good choice for youth who may need to upgrade in the future.
Unlike most recurve bows on the market, takedown or otherwise, which feature a wooden riser, SAS made the Explorer with a modern aluminum riser. Although this removes some of the traditional feel, it allowed them to more comfortably mold the grip. Plus, it cuts down on weight compared to the wood.
Partly thanks to the aluminum riser, the SAS Explorer is impressively lightweight. In fact, it's just 2.2 pounds. This is great for beginners or youth archers who might not be used to holding up a bow. Really, though, it's good for anyone because you can hold the bow more steadily while you aim and resist torque that could throw your shot off.
Tool-Less Takedown Design
We love takedown recurve bows, but we especially love tool-less takedown recurve bows like the Explorer's. Just by turning the knobs, you can install or uninstall the limbs so you can store or transport the bow. It also means you can upgrade the draw weight with minimal hassle.
Another bonus of the aluminum riser is that SAS painted it with a camo finish. If you're bowhunting, every little advantage makes a difference, so camouflaging your bow can give you an extra edge in your tree stand.
Plus, we like the G1 camo design specifically. It's a general deciduous design that works with most environments in the eastern and southern US, though if you're bowhunting out west it might not be ideal.
Small Draw Weight Increments
Although the Explorer's draw weight is pretty low, you can get limbs that vary in two-pound increments. That means you can get the right draw weight for you based on your strength and purposes.
Plus, it makes it really easy to move up, especially for youth. As soon as they've mastered their aim, you can increase the draw weight two pounds using the tool-less takedown system.
What We Don't Like
Unfortunately, you can only get the Explorer as a right-handed model. When you shoot a bow, you draw with your dominant hand while holding the grip with your non-dominant hand. It's important to do it this way because as well as maximizing accuracy, it makes painful wrist slap less likely. In other words, we wouldn't recommend the Explorer for left-handed archers.
Not Enough Power
The highest draw weight available for the SAS Explorer is 34 pounds. While some expert bowhunters could probably take down big game with this amount of power, it's not recommended.
In fact, states often have minimum draw weight requirements for recurve bows. The most common is 40 pounds though some require 35 pounds. Make sure you check your local laws before bowhunting with the Explorer.
SAS Explorer Quality
Made of aluminum, the Explorer's riser is particularly high-quality. More importantly, it's very lightweight while keeping the price low.
The limbs are laminated maple wood and fiberglass. This gives them flexibility balanced with consistent tension. The materials themselves are similar to those you would find on expensive top-shelf bows, but the lamination is a bit lower-quality owing to the budget price. Luckily, you can easily upgrade or replace the limbs thanks to the tool-less takedown design.
We found the grip on the SAS Explorer to be particularly comfortable, even more so than some more expensive models. This is because SAS molded the aluminum in an ergonomic way that's intuitive for beginners and experts alike.
The SAS Explorer comes with a basic bowstring that's functional but not particularly high-quality. You may need to replace it regularly if you shoot a lot, so keep your eye out for wear or fraying.
Is the SAS Explorer Good for Beginners?
The SAS Explorer is a great bow for beginners. It offers low draw weights in small increments that beginners can use to hone their aim, and the tool-less takedown makes it easy to store and modify. At the same time, it's one of the best bows for the money, so it's good for situations where you'll likely want to upgrade in the future.
Is the SAS Explorer Good for Kids?
The SAS Explorer is a good choice for youth archers. With an AMO length of 66 inches, it might be a bit large for children, though. However, we highly recommend it for teenagers interested in archery as well as women who are having trouble finding a bow that's the right size for them.
RELATED: Best Youth Recurve Bows
Is the SAS Explorer Good for Hunting?
The SAS Explorer is a good bow for small-game hunting, but it's not ideal for hunting big game like whitetail deer. While it does come in a camo finish that helps you blend in with most forest environments, it doesn't have the power to meet state regulations regarding minimum draw weights.
The SAS Explorer vs the Samick Sage
The SAS Explorer and Samick Sage are both takedown recurve bows, but the similarities don't go much farther. The Sage is a highly popular bowhunting model that many hunters use to take advantage of the longer archery hunting season. It has much more power than the SAS Explorer, which is a better budget option for beginners who want to hone their skills on the range.
The SAS Explorer vs the Bear Grizzly
While the SAS Explorer is a great recurve bow for the money, the Bear Grizzly is a top-shelf option with power and features to hunt big game over multiple seasons. Additionally, the Grizzly isn't a takedown bow like the Explorer.
In other words, the SAS Explorer is the better bow for beginners on a budget who want to learn to shoot. The Grizzly, on the other hand, is designed for serious bowhunters looking for a lifetime bow.
The SAS Explorer vs the AF Archery American Longbow
The most obvious difference between the SAS Explorer and the AF Archery American Longbow is that the Explorer is a recurve bow while the American Longbow is a longbow. While longbows can be a lot of fun, they're more geared towards hobbyists with specific interests. If you're merely interested in archery and don't have much experience, the Explorer is a better bet.
The SAS Explorer vs the SAS Courage
Both the SAS Explorer and Courage are excellent budget models, but the Courage is our top recommendation for bowhunting on a budget while the Explorer is our overall favorite bow for the money. If you're on a budget and want to bowhunt, go with the Courage, but if you just want to explore archery and learn form and aim, go with the Explorer.
The SAS Explorer vs the The Topoint Endeavor ILF Takedown Recurve Bow
The SAS Explorer and the The Topoint Endeavor ILF Takedown Recurve Bow are both takedown recurve models, so they're both great for storage, transportation and upgrading. However, the Topoint bow is a bit more advanced and good for archers who know they're interested in Olympic archery and want to start improving their skills. The Explorer is better for absolute beginners who need low draw weight and a bow that's inexpensive and easy to learn with.
The SAS Explorer vs the PSE Razorback
Both the SAS Explorer and the PSE Razorback are both good choices for beginners that are easy to use thanks to the similar tool-less takedown designs. Both bows have lower power and are more geared towards target shooting than hunting. At the end of the day, the choice between these two bows comes down to your personal preferences, in particular whether you prefer the traditional look of the Razorback's wooden riser or the aluminum of the Explorer.
Wrapping Up the SAS Explorer Bow Review
The SAS Explorer is our top-rated recurve bow for the money. It's a great value for anyone interested in exploring the sport of archery. Plus, its small draw weight increments and lightweight aluminum riser make it an excellent bow for learning for and practicing aim.