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Author Topic: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...  (Read 440 times)

Online Captain*Kirk

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'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« on: October 23, 2019, 03:04:03 PM »
OK. I admit to being a bit of a 'Bear Snob'. Bear bow history is well-documented, with thousands of avid fans who know not only about the history of the various models, but also the current market value. This is one of the reasons I choose to buy vintage Bears. With Ben Pearson, the information trail is not as well documented or clear, but there is still a large following.  But how about some of the obscure/out of biz bowmakers of yesteryear, such as Indian Archery, Browning, Martin, Damon Howatt, Shakespeare, etc? I see many of these on auction sites for dirt cheap compared to the Bears or even Pearsons. How do they measure up, what are some prime models to keep watch for, and where can one find info on bows that have been out of production for 40-50+ years?
Aim small,miss small

Online Pine

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 08:39:01 PM »
Shakespeare made some good bows years ago.
And don't forget Wing.
A good story isn't necessarily a true story.
TGMM Family of the Bow

Offline mangonboat

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 10:00:49 PM »
I had Bears for 45 years, still have a few, but there is whole 'nuther world of classic bows out there that are well designed, well made and perform as well or better than any Bear bow and many have been left behind in today's crazy market . I am trying new-to-me old bows all the time, and have a rack full of outstanding bows that didn't break the bank. I have a few select Bears, but....a 1961 Wilson Brothers TF ...as good or better than the 1961 or 62 Bear Kodiak Special. 1967 Wing Thunderbird, 62"...eats Super Kodiak's for breakfast. 1961-65 Howatt Hunters...gorgeous Brazilian rosewood and years ahead of its time. 1967 Fasco Decathalon II...the target bow Bear would never dare to make. 1962 Browning Olympian...wow. Just wow. Folks these days are spending upwards of $750 for a 1960 Kodiak Deluxe or 62 KS...I spent one fifth of that for a 1964 Drake Firedrake. Bear made more bows every week than Harry Drake made in a lifetime..yet only Harry Drake still holds the world record for the longest shot with a bow and arrow, the longest any object was ever propelled by human power, alone.  Even less for a 1965 BP Golden Sovereign Lord Mercury, or a 1966 Ben Pearson Mustang , Root Gamemaster, Shakespeare Ocala.
mangonboat

I've adopted too many bows that needed a good home.

Online Captain*Kirk

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 10:02:13 PM »
Ah, yes...Wing! I have a lefty Wing hanging on my wall (missing a tip overlay) that has served as eye candy for as long as I can remember, for me and my boys, when they were young. The other day my grown son told me he always had a 'thing' for archery from growing up looking at that bow.
Aim small,miss small

Online deeksleak

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 01:36:51 AM »
I was going to reply but Mangonboat said it well. Bear is definitely overated compared to many other makers and I say that being a Bear collector. But hey, Fred Bear is a legend and did so much for the sport that we will never change there desirability.

Online Captain*Kirk

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2019, 12:22:44 PM »
I get what you guys are saying. But where does one go to learn about all the less-celebrated bows/bowmakers? I passed on a pawnshop Shakespeare last summer because I knew absolutely nothing about Shakespeare or the bow model itself, even though it appeared to be in good condition and was certainly priced right! Any online resources for identifying these sleeper bows?
Aim small,miss small

Online deeksleak

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2019, 12:56:18 PM »
vintagearchery.org is good. there is also a Shakespeare site and others.

Offline mahantango

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2019, 03:46:34 PM »
I own and shoot dozens of vintage bows, and only one of them is a Bear. Nothing against them - I've owned tons over the years, but there is a lot more interesting stuff out there. Two of my obscure favorites are late '50s Sanders Swift and a similar era Gelco 800 which was a short lived collaboration between Frank Eicholtz and one of the Gordon brothers. The performance of these two is way before their time.
We are all here because we are not all there.

Offline mangonboat

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2019, 10:02:05 AM »
Captain Kirk, you should give yourself a quest. I spent 4 years trying to find a Browning Diana for my daughter. One of the most outstanding under-rated classic recurves ever was the 1961 Shakespeare X-15. Here's some photos of the original Captain Kirk, Bill Shatner, shooting his while astride his motorcycle in the California desert.
mangonboat

I've adopted too many bows that needed a good home.

Online Captain*Kirk

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2019, 10:16:48 PM »
I've seen plenty of Shakespeares, but never one designated as an X-15.
I may have to add that to my search list...just because. I mean, if it's good enough for Bill Shatner, well... :thumbsup:
Aim small,miss small

Offline mangonboat

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2019, 06:38:39 PM »
The  x 15 became a heavier , more massive target bow in subsequent years, but the 63" 1961, especially,  was an awesome all purpose bow. I got sniped in a tense auction for one last year. I grumbled about it for weeks.
mangonboat

I've adopted too many bows that needed a good home.

Offline M60gunner

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2019, 11:27:02 AM »
I thought the Browning Wasp I had shot as good as my old Bear SK. But then agian didn’t Harry Drake design Browning bows?

Offline mangonboat

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Re: 'Also-Ran' or 'Sleeper' bows...
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2019, 12:14:56 PM »
Harry Drake lent his name to a 3 piece takedown and was identified as designer of a Browning 'folding" takedown in 1975, but there's no official mention and no verifiable info to suggest he had any earlier role in Browning design . The Wasp was introduced in 1971.
mangonboat

I've adopted too many bows that needed a good home.

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