The Southwest Archery Spyder with its elegantly finished hardwood riser definitely stands out on the range. However, it's more than just its appearance that inspired us to review and recommend it. Rather, it's a powerful and accurate bow with a convenient takedown design that's good for both beginners and veteran archers alike. This full Southwest Archery Spyder review details the features of the bow as well as what we liked, what we didn't and who should consider the Spyder.
What’s Included in the Package?
First and foremost, the Southwest Archery Spyder takedown recurve package includes the bow itself, including all the basic components necessary to start shooting:
- Riser: This is the main part of the bow and what you hold when you shoot. It's made of hardwood.
- Limbs: The Spyder is a takedown recurve bow, so the limbs are separate pieces from the riser. You get at least two with the Spyder, which you can choose in a range of draw weights. If you want other potential draw weights, you can get extra limbs.
- Dacron bowstring: The Spyder comes with a Dacron bowstring. Dacron is a tough fiber that keeps its tension and doesn't stretch out after repeated use.
Southwest Archery also included a few other things along with the bow, though. These can be helpful, and they increase the total value of the package. They include:
- Stick-on arrow rest: An arrow rest makes it easier to aim and draw, especially if you're inexperienced. The Spyder arrow rest is stick-on, so it's easy to install.
- Threaded bushings: You can attach aftermarket accessories like sights and stabilizers by screwing them into these bushings.
- Assembly instructions: Assembling the Spyder isn't especially difficult anyway, but the instructions include photos to make it even simpler.
- Stringer tool: You can optionally include a stringer tool with your Spyder. This is an essential accessory because you have to use a stringer tool to unstring and restring your bow safely.
Assembling the Southwest Archery Spyder
Although assembling the Southwest Archery Spyder is pretty easy, it's important to follow the instructions that come with it.
You first have to attach each limb to the riser. You do this by inserting them one at a time into the limb pockets, making sure they're flush with the riser. You then tighten the Allen screws on either limb so they're securely attached.
After installing the limbs, you can install the stick-on arrow rest, which involves simply removing the peel so the adhesive is uncovered. You then line it up with the bushing for a mechanical arrow rest just below the shelf on the riser and stick it firmly to the wood.
Finally, string the bow using the included bowstringer or your own if you already have one. If you don't know how to do this, make sure you read into it or watch the video below since stringing a recurve bow can be tricky.
Here is a video that shows the unboxing and assembly of the Southwest Archery Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow.
Features / Specifications
The Spyder has one of the largest ranges of draw weights available that we've found. You can get it with limbs from 20 to 60 pounds, ascending in five-pound increments. Plus, since it's a takedown recurve, you don't have to commit to one draw weight. You can get a lower draw weight if you're a beginner and then change out the limbs for more power later on. In most states, bowhunting requires at least 40 pounds, so keep that in mind.
The Southwest Archery Spyder has a draw length of 29 inches. Finding your exact draw length is easy, but a quick way to estimate it is by measuring your wingspan (the distance between the tips of each middle finger with your arms held out like a T) and dividing by 2.5.
For most people, their wingspan is pretty close to their height, so the Spyder has a draw length ideal for people within two to three inches on either side of 6'0". That includes the majority of men, but it might be a bit large for women and youth as well as shorter men. It might even be too small for particularly tall men, in which case the Spyder does come in an XL version.
You definitely want an appropriate draw length. If it's too long for you, you won't be able to take full advantage of the bow's power, and if it's too short, it may interfere with your form and aim.
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Pros and Cons of the Southwest Archery Spyder
What We Like
A Wide Range of Draw Weights
The Southwest Archery Spyder has one of the largest range of available draw weights among production takedown recurves. It starts as low as 20 pounds, which is a good choice for beginners. At the same time, it goes as high as 60 pounds, more than enough for bowhunting or serious target shooting.
These draw weights are also available in five-pound increments. This makes it really easy to slowly work your way up as you master each draw weight until you're shooting serious power.
The reason you can take advantage of the large range of draw weights to slowly work up is that the limbs can be changed out easily thanks to the takedown design. Whether it's because you want more power or need to replace limbs you've worn down with repeated use, this feature is a big advantage.
Reinforced Limb Tips
Something you don't often find on takedown models, the Spyder has reinforced limb tips capable of accepting FastFlight bowstrings. FastFlight is one of the best materials for bowstrings currently, but it can tear up your bow's limbs if they aren't properly designed. This reinforcement allows you to take advantage of this material, which is especially good for hunting because FastFlight helps with accuracy and holds up to the rough conditions you're likely to encounter in the field
Optional Bowstringer Included
A bowstringer is an essential accessory for recurves. It's important to unstring your bow while you're not using it so that the limbs aren't under constant tension. Additionally, you'll need to unstring and string the bow if you take it down to store it or replace the limbs.
That's not something you can do by hand, so we liked that Southwest Archery gives you the option of including one with your package.
Bushings Allow You to Attach Accessories
Although the Spyder doesn't come with any hunting accessories of its own besides the arrow rest, we like that you can attach them thanks to threaded bushings preinstalled into the riser. This allows for accessories like a quiver, sight or stabilizer, important things for bowhunting. You can even attach advanced arrow rests or bow fishing reels.
Right and Left Handed
The Spyder is available for both right and left handed people. It's important to select the one that matches your handedness because using the incorrectly oriented bow increases the chances of painful wrist slap. Plus, it just makes it harder to shoot well.
What We Don’t Like
The Spyder is already convenient just because it's a takedown model in general. However, for a takedown model, we found that the takedown assembly was a bit more time-consuming. While other takedown recurves have simple knobs, the Spyder has Allen screws, so you need an Allen key to assemble it and take it down.
Weak Limb Lamination
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Spyder, we found the limbs a bit flimsy, especially in the lower draw weights. Frequent use over a long period of time can cause the lamination to start coming apart. As a result, we recommend upgrading to the tougher, higher-draw-weight limbs once you've mastered your archery form and shot.
Southwest Archery Spyder Quality
In our opinion, the riser is the highest-quality component of the Spyder. It's made of handcrafted hardwood that provides it with durability and a long life. It also looks slick and matches the bow's traditional style.
The limbs are overall good quality, but the lamination can be a bit weak, especially on the lower-draw-weight versions. However, the limbs do have reinforced tips, which really increases their quality and allows them to accept better bowstrings that might damage the limbs on other models.
The grip is fairly straightforward on the Spyder. It's ergonomic and comfortable, allowing you to hold the bow intuitively. It's also the right size for the majority of people who match the bow's size otherwise.
The Spyder comes with a 14-thread Dacron bowstring. Dacron is a great bowstring fabric because it resists stretching, so the tension is consistent even after repeated use. This helps you shoot more accurately. Even better, the Spyder is capable of accepting FastFlight bowstrings, which are another step up from Dacron.
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Is the Southwest Archery Spyder Good for Beginners?
The Southwest Archery Spyder is a good recurve bow for beginners because it's easy to assemble and has available draw weights as low as 20 pounds. Plus, since it's a takedown model, you can start with a low draw weight, learn proper shooting techniques, and then change up for heavier limbs when you're ready for specific applications like bowhunting.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the Spyder is a full 62 inches long. This is about standard for takedown models but still longer than some other bows out there like the Bear Grizzly. Long bow lengths can be harder for beginners because they have more rotational torque, so it can be harder to maintain correct form.
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Is the Southwest Archery Spyder Good for Kids?
The Southwest Archery Spyder can be a good choice for youth, but only fully grown teenagers who can handle the 29-inch draw length. For most children and teenagers who are still growing, that's too much, and they'd be better using a specific youth recurve model.
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Is the Southwest Archery Spyder Good for Hunting?
The Southwest Archery Spyder is great for hunting. Most importantly, it's available in draw weights up to 60 pounds, giving you higher arrow speeds and more kinetic energy. It's more than enough to hunt popular game like whitetail deer.
Additionally, the Spyder has important hunting features like an arrow rest and bushings where you can attach accessories like sights and stabilizers. Plus, we like the hardwood riser because it doesn't get cold on those frigid mornings during hunting season like metal risers do.
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Wrapping Up the Southwest Archery Spyder Review
The Southwest Archery Spyder gives you power and accuracy in a convenient takedown design that lets you start low and work your way up. This makes it a good choice for beginners as well as bowhunters looking to get into traditional archery. We especially recommend upgrading to a FastFlight bowstring and installing hunting accessories like a sight and stabilizer. This way you can take full advantage of everything this bow has to offer.
It easy to see why the Southwest Archery Spyder Takedown Recurve was one our top picks for best recurve bow.
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