I just had the pleasure of completing a week long evaluation of Leon Stewart’s new 56 inch one piece Slammer Longbow. Seems he has been busy making dust this winter and since I have a 60 inch Slammer I took him up on the offer to run this bow through the paces and see if it would stack up against my bow. Here are a couple of pics of the two bows side by side with the 56 incher located on the left, I have also included one with the unstrung profile. Basically they are pretty similar in overall appearance and design with a good amount of reflex/deflex inherent in both bows.
The bow I was shooting measured out at 56 inches nock to nock, 54 inch strung length , 45 @28 draw length, (which was identical with my 60 incher) and came with a 12 stand FF string. It is cut to center and handled a wide array of carbon arrows with ease. The core on both bows is bamboo, the 56 inch Slammer is faced with eastern diamond back skins, and one of the richest wood veneers that I have ever seen, “Carpathian elm burl” on the belly.
I have never seen this veneer before and trust me when I say it is some crazy stuff, it really took my breath away. My photos don’t begin to do it justice but as you can see it has what I call a “peacock eye” on the top and bottom limb which almost appears as a gold accent swirl that has been air brushed on the limb surface. Surrounding these eye areas north and south on both limbs is plenty of burl action with all sort of swirls and depth producing effects. Honestly after I looked at it for a couple of days I sort of wished the bow was longer just so I could see more of this effect. A Carpathian veneer against a dark riser like Bolivian Rosewood makes for a handsome bow by any standards.
The riser on this 56 incher is 16 inches long, making for a relatively short working limb with most of the work being done off the riser and middle limb section of the bow. I followed up with Leon regarding what draw length he could handle with this bow and without hesitation he quoted 30 inches for sure with no evidence of finger pinch. When you pick the bow up it is noticeably light in hand. In fact I was pretty skeptical when I first picked this bow up and the first thought that came to my mind is that this baby is going to be a royal pain in the ass to shoot. I had all kinds of visions of how twitchy it would be and I really dug my heels in to let the bow convince me otherwise. It balanced perfectly in my hand and with Leon’s locator style grip you never have to search for the sweet spot, hand placement was always the same from shot to shot. With a relatively stiff upper limb section it showed no signs of being twitchy or unstable in your hand either during the draw or upon arrow release. In my opinion you would have to have a bow shooting form worse than mine to see any ill effects, so you are all pretty safe from that standpoint, it is a forgiving bow.
I gave it my typical “first shot of the day” test each day for over a week ( keep in mind that this is being done under cold winter conditions, outside with a full cadre of winter clothes on). From my perspective and I don’t care how much the bow cost or who the bowyer is, if it fails this test I usually am not interested in trying to develop a friendship with the bow, they usually go down the road. The fact is however that this 56 incher got better each time I went out and shot during the remainder of the week. Its inherent stability and solid performance in my hand was not due to the “new bow syndrome” which I hear all of the time. This bow is just a flat out a stable shooting bow despite its short length.
After a week of shooting this bow and purposefully going back and forth from the 60 inch to the 56 incher Slammer I could not pinpoint any disadvantage of it being small, it simply had great manners the more I shot it . In fact by the end of the week I began to stretch out to 25 and 30 yards without any ill effects, as my groups were more than acceptable. This bow has great cast and from a performance standpoint will run with the best in the speed department. At the end of the session I put a small fry Thunderhorn quiver on it with three arrows in it to see how it would react and saw no adverse effects of adding the quiver. Once again it shot good with and without the quiver and was hunting quiet either way.
What surprised me most with this bow is that it was totally absent of any hand shock or vibration, there is none! With a 12 strand FF string on it this bow and a pair of small cat whiskers it was as quiet as a mouse “pissin on a cottonball” right out of the box.
Overall this 56 incher stacks up nicely with all of Leon’s longbows and is a great addition to his line of custom bows and exemplifies his abilities of a master bowyer. It is in my opinion a quiet, hand shock free, easy to tune, and very stable shooting short bow. This is one longbow that is going to be great for blinds and tree stands or any other tight hunting situation you could envision yourself in. In talking with Leon the price will be in keeping with the other one piece long bows on his site. If you have any questions give Leon a shout, 610-857-2340.