Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of the questions most frequently asked by our customers and a short reply from us.
Q: “What kind of arrow speed can I expect from my bow?”
(This question is one that we are asked most often)
A: This is a very tough question to answer, as there are numerous variables involved in the determination of arrow speed. Long draws and smooth releases will aid in increased arrow speed and vary from shooter to shooter. Just remember that you need to shoot at least 8 to 11 grains (we recommend 9-11 or more; especially with long draw lengths of 29 inches or more, which can significantly increase the possibility of limb tip damage when using a high performance bowstring) of arrow weight per pound of bow that you draw. The answer is not set or simple so we recommend that you contact us with the specifics of your setup and we will try to help you get a good idea of your arrow speed.
Q: “What length of bow/poundage should I get?”
A: We recommend that you order your bow length based on your draw length, measured to the far side of the shelf. Refer to the catalog for draw length recommendations. More than one length may work. As for the poundage, if you shoot a compound and are new to traditional archery, you would probably want to drop about 25% from your compound weight. If you are shooting a traditional bow now of a different brand, keep in mind that Black Widow bows, as well as several other high performance traditional bows, shoot much harder than bows made twenty or thirty years ago. So don’t over bow yourself. We have found that 45 – 55 pounds should be enough bow for most small to medium sized game animals. Ken preaches accuracy-accuracy-accuracy and that comes from being able to control your bow.
Q: “Which model should I choose?”
A: We try to base the answer to this question on what you are going to use your bow for. Hunting, target/3-D, recreation, etc. The PMA series is the “old naildriver” and is considered the best choice by our tournament shooters. Those of you who like to take the longer shots might want to look at the PMA. The PSA was designed due to the number of instinctive shooters in the market requiring a shorter hunting bow without using sights. The PSA is a good choice for most bowhunters. The PTF series is basically a one-piece version of the PSA and is favored by bowhunters due to its simplicity and light weight. The PSR recurve was designed with the romance of the 50’s. It's short and maneuverable for blind or tree stand hunting. It has the exact same grip and riser as our PL longbow, which makes it unbelievably easy to switch back and forth between these two bows. Finally, the PL. It is one of the smoothest longbows you will ever shoot and the transaction from a recurve to this bow is as easy as it gets.
Q: “How long will it take to get my bow?”
A: We have had an abundance of orders the last 18 months. It takes us anywhere from 6-7 months on most bows. Each order is different and you will be quoted at the time of your order. We start building your bow as soon as it is ordered and work on it throughout the entire time period.
Q: “How much weight can you reduce from my old bow (cost, time etc.) and can I get new limbs for my old handle?”
A: We will require a serial number for this one. When each bow is made, records are kept concerning the weight of the bow at different stages. We basically record the amount of weight taken off a bow to meet the customer’s request. Sometimes, we have to take off 3-4 pounds to bring the bow into the proper weight and tiller. Therefore, we are not always able to take additional weight off at a later time. It will require that the limbs be refinished. (You might also consider getting your handle refinished at the same time) The cost for a weight reduction is $25.00. The refinish cost is $250 for a complete bow ($125 for limbs only and $125 for a handle only) for the “FROST” finish plus shipping and handling costs back to you of $30.00. We can also resize your older MA and SA bows before refinishing to get you a better fit if you plan on ordering new PMA or PSA limbs (or handle) to fit your older bow. This will not change the grip. It usually takes about 4-6 weeks for this process.
Q: “What options do I have for a custom grip?”
A: We have found that due to our “neutral” styled grip, most folks easily adapt to our bow handles. However, if there is a certain style or shape that you want, we can copy it for you. (Providing it does not jeopardize the integrity of the handle) It is very difficult for us to build custom handles by customer description via telephone or email, but not impossible. To sum it up, if you know exactly what you want just let us know and we will do it if possible. If you are undecided, you might just give our standard grip consideration as it will accommodate most shooting styles.
Q: “Can I change my bow order after it has been placed?”
A: Your bow goes on the glue list as soon as it is ordered. You will receive a confirmation in the mail shortly after you place the order. If there is a mistake on the order, we will make the necessary adjustments. If you want to change your mind about a selection, it is not as easy to do. There are a few options that you may change at a later date, however, BOW MODEL, BOW WEIGHT, BOW LENGTH, RIGHT or LEFT HAND and WOOD CHOICE are items that you need to be sure about when you place your order.
Q: “What year was my OLD BLACK WIDOW bow made?” “What is it worth?”
A: We can determine the year your bow was shipped by the serial number. Please contact us by email or phone and we will give you the shipping date of the bow. This is also a good way to make sure that someone is not selling you a copy or fake. You will need the serial number of the bow and any other descriptive information that you can come up with. As far as the value is concerned, we try not to keep up with the going rate of our used or vintage bows, as it would be a full time job.
Q: “Do you buy used bows or take them in on trade?”
A: NO. We would have to build on and Ken says he is getting too old! We recommend the Stickbow.com's archery auctions or www ebay.com, our own Widow Wall Forum or visit a local shoot.
Q: “Can I shoot FastFLIGHT or DynaFLIGHT 97 string on my bow?”
A: If your bow was made before 1988 (serial number 6782 or lower), you should NOT use FastFlight or Dyna 97 type strings. If in doubt, please call us here to make sure.
Q: “Can I still get limbs for my old HF, HS, 3000 etc.?”
A: We make replacement limbs for the current models in production only. The PMA and PSA limbs will mount and shoot on the older MA or SA handles. It may be necessary to resize your older bow to get you a better fit visually.
Q: “My bow seems loud or noisy. How can I make it shoot more quietly?”
A: We have done a lot of testing in the area of bow noise and the bottom line is that when a bow reaches a certain level of performance it makes more noise. However, by testing our bows using a dosimeter to measure the decibel levels, we have concluded that just because a certain bow sounds louder it is not necessarily the case. What makes a difference in most cases is the “tone” of the bow. Bows with a higher pitch or tone are displeasing to the ear, therefore sound louder than others. There are other reasons for bow noise such as arrows that are too light in mass weight or mis-spined, bow arm interference, worn gloves or tabs, etc. Other reasons are related to the bow itself, usually in the setup. We recommend specific brace heights for each model of our bows that are higher than some folks are used to, but have been tested and proven to be very effective. We have also recommended that you keep a rubber tip protector on the lower limb (for other obvious reasons) and use 4 of the Spyder silencers which still weigh less than 2 cat whisker type silencers and do as good silencing the bow in most cases. We also have found that when strings are worn out, they will cause the bow to become louder.
Q: “How much money do I have to pay now to order a bow?”
A: Our policy is that you must pay the full amount of the bow, shipping and accessories at the time you place the order. Needless to say that in this day and age companies cannot function on handshakes alone. However, if it is not possible for you to pay the full amount at the time of the order, please call us to try to work out an arrangement so that we may get started on your new bow as soon as possible.
Q: “How does the DEMO BOW program work?”
A: We have a fleet of demo bows available for our customers to try in their own backyard. In order to try one out, you must first call us to determine which bow is for you and it’s availability. Then, you may use a credit card or money order to pay us for the cost of the model you have selected, plus UPS Ground shipping to you and back to us. You may then keep the bow for approximately one week and return it to us. We will either credit you back for the cost of the bow or roll it into a new bow order. If you order a new bow, shipping will be no charge. The bottom line is that if you demo and decide not to buy at this time, you are out about $50.00 in most cases for 2 way shipping. If you order a bow, you are only out half of that amount. p>
Q: “Which bow should I get for my child?”
A: This is the question that is asked often and makes our guys on the phones cringe the most. Because there are so many variables involved, let me try to simplify the method. We give recommendations next to each of our youth models in our catalog. These are very general but if you lean on the lighter side, your child will learn correct form without fighting the weight. Also keep in mind that as your child grows, their draw will lengthen, thus drawing more weight on the bow. By staying light, you will allow your child to better “Grow with the Bow” as apposed to growing “into” the bow. When children finally outgrow their bows, please consider donating them to local youth archery programs to keep the cycle going.
Q: “What is the best type of arrow to shoot?” (Wood-Aluminum-Carbon)
A: Definitely a FAQ! The answer to this question lies within the shooter. Our answer, the arrow you have the most confidence in. Aluminum is tough and consistent. Carbon arrows are tougher and consistent. Wood may not be as tough or consistent but still has a place.
Q: “What length should I cut my arrows to?”
A: Excluding the tuning of your arrow, most folks are referring to “overhang” when they ask us this question. In general, one inch of overhang seems to be what most of our customers prefer. More will not hurt a thing as long as the arrow spine works out. Some shooters prefer that the back of the broadhead touch their finger at full draw. The problem I see with this is that it won’t work too well with practice points and it may vary with thicker gloves in cold weather.
Q: “How do you measure arrow cut off length?”
A: All measurements are from the valley or “throat” of the nock. (Where the inside of the string touches the nock) The cut off point is as follows; Wood – the back of the point or broadhead, aluminum and carbon – the RPS insert. Please remember on when using nock adapters on Gold Tips that you must include the nock adapter in the measurement. (Nock adapters are approximately ½” in length) Please refer to our catalog for diagram of measurements and further arrow information.
Q: “What is the Gold Tip weight system?”
A: There are lots of weighting devices for Carbon arrows on the market today. (Even some ingenious home versions) All will add mass weight to the arrow but the advantage to our Gold Tip weighting system is that you may “tune” the arrow at the same time. By adding internal weights to the front, of the arrow, you can weaken the dynamic spine of the arrow. By adding weights to the rear, you can stiffen the dynamic spine of the arrow. The Gold Tip system is nice because there are basically only 4 sizes, which makes selection easy. You may then tune and add mass weight to the arrow to fit your specific needs. Another advantage is that you may first select any style or weight of broadhead that you like, and then make the arrow fit that weight instead of vise-versa. The process is not automatic and in some cases requires some effort to get it right. In summary, if you would like your cake and eat it too, give this system a try.
Q: “How much arrow weight should I have?”
A: We recommend at least 9 – 11 grains per pound of bow weight. (You must use at least 8 grains per pound on all Black Widow bows in order to be covered by warranty.
Q: “Broadheads, Two, Three or Four blades?”
A: This WILL cause an argument! Shoot what you like, just take the time to sharpen them properly..
>Q: “What was the small "cracking" noise the first time I tightened the limb bolts?”
A: When the limbs on a takedown bow are first installed, the limb insert in not completely seated. When you tighten the bolts you may hear a small "pop" or "crack" which is normal.
>Q: “My bow has standard tiller. Can I shoot it 3 fingers under?”
A: Yes. You will not damage the bow. It may require a higher nock height and may make your bow a little louder. There is a 1/8" difference in standard tiller and 3 fingers under. Most bows, people can shoot either way.