Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Make mine a recurve: Martin Panther Takedown Recurve Bow

A birthday treat...

I turned 46 in mid-January.
And rather than wasting more money on a stupid Garmin GPS watch and some faggy Garmin fitness tracker that sucks, I decided to spend my hard-earned cash on a beginner's archery kit.

All inclusive: The Martin Panther Recurve Bow Kit
Finding Mr Tan...

Tan Peng Loon is a successful coach and archer

The first thing that came in mind, was to locate an old friend of Mine.
He's Mr Tan Peng Loon, a US NAA Level 3 Archery coach and former SUKMA coach for the Federal Territory Archery team for 18 years.
I've known Peng Loon since I was 10 years old and fate has it in such a way, I met him again when I became an adult.
He used to work for an outdoor equipment supplier that caters to archery around Malaysia's sporting scene.
Tan decided to leave his old company to set up shop and the last time I met him was at the GoPro Hero 3 launch, which was a stupid affair. Meeting him at the event was actually the highlight of the day.
So, fast-forward to the second-week of January, I traced Tan to his new business set-up, Elite Sports Archery in Bandar Menjalara near Kepong.
We re-connected again and I was on my way to the world of traditional archery..

The Martin Panther takedown recurve bow

Smooth and silent: the bridged riser
Martin Panther: Not my first choice..

I did some reading on Best Recurve Bow Guide and learned that the Martin Sabre is one of the Top 10 Recurve bows available for the beginner and intermediate archer.
I've never owned a bow in my life and getting outfitted meant starting from scratch.
So, having done my research and by the way, the Best Recurve Bow Guide has some honest reviews on Recurve Bows that are made in the US, I've pretty much narrowed down my choice to the Martin Sabre.

But, but, but, but.. 

With some cash in my pocket, I made my way to Elite Sports Archery in Bandar Menjalara. Thanks to Facebook, I managed to locate the store. When I popped open the door, Mr Tan greeted me.
"Eh Sam! I saw you walking down the road.. How are you?," he greeted.
We exchanged greetings and I told him what I wanted.
There were little choices when it comes to Martin bows and displayed on the wall, were two Recurve bows: the Martin Jaguar and Panther.
These came as kits and the Jaguar is a lot cheaper than the Panther.
Personally, I am never fond of stuff that are named after predatory cats.
But, the Panther was an exception. And it was available in black!

Mr Tan setting up the string's nocking point for my bow
Hell yeah!

I took an immediate liking for the Panther because of its blacked-out riser and limbs.
My choice was a 45lb bow because it's the minimal draw strength for hunting.
Recurve bow reviewers recommended at least 5lbs heavier because the bridged riser actually helps drawing the bow as smooth as silk.
What I found rather unconventional are metal and rubber inserts on the riser that aids in dampening vibration.
In short, the Panther is smooth and quiet.
It's also a pretty powerful bow.

What's in the box? 

As for the bow kit, the Panther comes with an arrow rest and a really handsome plastic box.
Well, it's a plano arrow case, but when you disassemble the bow, it fits nicely with all the bells and whistles.
For RM1.5K after a good discount, an arm guard, finger tab, bow stringer and three Victory Carbon arrows with field tips were thrown in. 
In short, straight out of the box, you are ready to shoot.

Firing the Martin Panther

My 13-yard target
The grouping

Practise at an archery range
On the learning curve

I must admit that I had struggled a lot with the new bow.
Stringing it was a challenge.
But, after a follow-up visit to the Archery store to pick-up my Easton XX75 Tribute Arrows that are custom-built for me, I asked for a demonstration on how the bow is strung and got it right after a couple of tries.
The next step was to learn to fire the arrows. This was not an issue as I found it rather easy to draw the bow string.
Next, I embarked on a small project. 
That is to set up a target stand and I achieved this by picking up some scrap wood and began building the contraption based on a set of blueprints I downloaded from the internet.

Picking up the scrap lumber

Assembling the limbs for the target stand
Almost complete

The target bud on its stand
I found that the stand was too high and there is a chance for the arrow to stray even from a 13-yard shooting course.
So, I cut off another 8 inches from the limbs to shorten it.
I was pretty satisfied with the results as the entire project cost me only RM5.

Of course when I shared this information on Facebook, I drew some flak and some stupid advise from nosy people. 
So, I let it be.
From the day I bought the Martin Panther, I've been going to the Kompleks Sukan MSN Taman Keramat to practise my shooting skills.
Coach Tan was there to advice and correct me, which is something that I am very grateful for.
In my humble opinion, the Martin Panther Takedown Recurve Bow is really fun to shoot.
And the US Company has a solid reputation of making good bows that are affordable. For a beginner like me, the Martin Recurve bow as an excellent choice! 

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