Another update in our ongoing series to quantify the performance of bows, and maybe offering a little commentary. While the series initially started on our Facebook Page, the first installment on our blog which covers the introduction and a couple bows can be found HERE. We also added one additional metric this round: bow mass, measured in Kilograms because it is the appropriate unit. Why bow draw forces are typically measured in lb-f rather than Kg-f I don't know, but the convention will be observed. What is the point of this? Well, generally speaking, reducing the moving mass (limb mass) of a bow while maintaining draw force will increase performance. So, while this necessarily also does include the entire bow mass including string, hopefully it'll provide some insight into why certain bows may perform well while others are more marginal for no externally visible reason.
Our latest stablemate is an absolutely beautiful Korean bow sold under the brand "Gukgungwon." The bow comes with multiple strings, including a knotted and un-served "traditional" style string. The grip is very aggressively textured, bordering on too much, but not quite. It provides excellent traction in controlling what are very demanding bows. This stands in contrast to the Nomad, which has a grip too smooth and too thin, making grip-slip a major problem in controlling the bow. The finish appears very similar to the Hwarang and is stunningly beautiful with real birch bark, thick looking limbs with a curved belly looking very much like horn. What is more notable might be the differences. Wrapping on the Hwarang is brown, and borders the grip and siyahs. On the Gukgungwon, the wrapping is red and only at the tips, while the leather, rather than being a pad, wraps all the way around above and below the grip. Stickers also are just below the tips, not present on the Hwarang. In physical profile, the bows are very similar, more similar than any two other of the Korean bows reviewed here, however they aren't identical. Poundage is written on a small heart shaped sticker below the grip, and is a simple "65." This, and my Hwarang, are easily my favorite two bows. Don't ask me to pick one though. ;)
In drawing the bow is very smooth, far smoother draw than the data would suggest. The Nomad, when it starts stacking, feels like you've hit a wall and is a distinct struggle to pull to the full 31" as a result. This though, while poundage reads higher, feels significantly lighter. I was shocked when it topped out over 70 pounds, it easily feels like a lot less. Not as smooth as the AF Tatar, but feels just as fast and is a LOT quieter. Again, maybe it is that new bow smell, but when I go to shoot I seem to always be reaching for this. It is worth noting that, for practical shooting purposes, this bow seems to be as fast as the AF Tatar, only slower than Hwarang. Only time will tell if it holds up, although it has gotten a fair bit of shooting in a short period of time, unsurprisingly.
Chrono data is forthcoming, stay tuned to the blog. Getting good clean chrono numbers is surprisingly difficult, as anyone who has tried it should know well, but we're working on it.