Before I start my first real Outsyder review I will warn you that this is what happened. These are my findings, real time which is not always favourable. But we got there and ultimately, it’s a happy ending! So, if you are someone who appreciates honesty then read (and watch on) but if you are looking for someone who is reviewing to desperately cosy up to the product/manufacturer then look elsewhere…….there’s lots of ’em out there!
We may be in Canada but Outsyder is built on no-nonsense Yorkshire Granite!
The Story of bow and its development can be found here; http://www.bearpaw-blog.com/the-hawk-has-arrived/
It’s summer of 2012 and our emigration is finally happening in September. I was looking at a bow for use in recreational shooting, 3D tournaments and now hunting. I was already a Bearpaw fan, owned a Raven and lots of other branded peripheries so I was happy to be looking again at their products particularly as they carry the 30 year warranty. I have always loved the look of Black Widow Bows too, so I was drawn to the Bearpaw Bodnik Hawk which I bought in #50 with my own hard earned cash money.
I shot it a couple of times and I got the call that told me I was expected to head to Canada early to start my new job and as I was there alone. I decided to take this bow with me as I had already made contact with new archer friends with range access. I was excited!
This is how it began and I was very happy with the bow.
With my shooting career about to get very different with hunting in the mix I added a Bearpaw Easy Bow quiver and tuned it pretty close using Carbon Express Heritage 250’s with 125gr + inserts up front. I was happy and shooting it like it was a part of me, in my new country and it was all very thrilling and I had the wind in my sails – loving it!
An invite to shoot the Kamloops KTSA bag course one evening changed all of that……
Full draw on target and without warning a sickening cracking sound, a slap in the face and I was staring down at my lovely new one piece in two pieces and with blood running down my face from the cut 1/2″ under my right eye…… I was gutted.
All alone now and no shooting, but it’s OK they are well warrantee’d and I’ll just have to get right on it and get it dealt with……. I did and eventually when my emails finally got through, Bearpaw were very attentive and sent my replacement as quick as could have been expected whilst I borrowed a friends Hoyt Buffalo in the interim. But it was very good customer service by Henry Bodnik and his team which was very heartening despite giving me a rude awakening about accessibility and logistics of living on a relatively sparsely populated land mass like Canada from an overcrowded little island like the UK! But, turns out I had my new bow in my possession pretty quickly. Happy again!
It turned out I could not hunt on my first year in Canada, due to rules on residency so the rush was no longer on but hey ho.
Now I feel I have to add after all of this I was still twitchy every time I drew the Hawk which I never really got over, despite hunting the 2013 season with it but only taking small game. The bow breaking incident still lived with me, however the Hawk was still to be my “go to” bow for the upcoming 2014 season.
Here at Outsyder, we are pretty active on social media and saw with much interest that Bearpaw announced that the Hawk had been re-designed for 2014. They were up front and honest about the reason for this which was borne out of lamination fails on the steeper fades to the riser (where mine had gone) which they had addressed. Very commendable in my opinion!
Here is their blog entry regarding this:
Inspired to get mine out and shoot again I took it out to OutsyderHQ range and checked it over and this…..
“bubbling” beneath the laminates, exactly where Hawk #1 failed but on both limbs……..this would not do and I wasted no time contacting Bearpaw and our Canadian Distributor. Henry Bodnik was straight on it and said that the bow was de-lamming and that our Canadian contact makes all the necessary arrangements so I could get Hawk #3.
Annoying having to play the waiting game again and facing the real prospect of hunting season without my first choice hunting bow. However, I was pleased that it was being sorted and with the updated model, with which there should be no more issues. Oh and I did drop 5# in draw weight for good measure. Thankfully, Hawk #3 arrived in good time thanks to all involved in the process……..lengthy shipping times can be a bit of a downside of living in Canada!
So then, the review……….
The Hawk is one of Henry Bodnik’s favourite recurve bows put in serial production at a reasonable price. The unique form of the handle provides a couple of important features and advantages. This bow is highly stable in shooting and convinces archers with its high precision.
- Bow Length: 60 inches
- Draw Weight: 40, 45, 50 and 55 lbs
- Handle: Walnut tree and Mycarta
- Limbs: Maple with Olive laminate, Bearpaw Power Glas and Stabil Core
- Tips: multilayered Mycarta
- Grip: Pistol grip
- String: Whisper String
- Brace Height: 8 1/4 Inches
- Warranty: 30 years Bodnik Bows warranty
Due to the large demand, Bodnik Bows have a production time of 8 to 10 weeks, and are not available from stock
Despite the events in my aforementioned ramblings, I was very excited in the unboxing of my all new Hawk! After opening and admiring I was very pleased about the new looks and as a bonus, I had a much prettier piece of Walnut than my previous riser and I think right there, right then all my previous disappointments just ebbed away. First impressions is Hawk #3 is a stunner! The changes are very subtle but still noticeable and makes for an overall more sleeker appearance of which I very much approve! Through my eyes, this bow looks fantastic.
The grip hasn’t changed but it did not need to, very comfortable with my high grip, that finds the hand quickly and easily. Likewise the overall mass; nothing to make me think there is any significant change despite the obvious reshaping to the riser making the fade less severe. Worth mentioning though that the Hawk does have some mass at 2lb 2oz due to the riser…….not a bad thing, I like that in a recurve……like it in a longbow too for that matter. I am currently suffering chronic “Tennis” elbow from shooting lively bows so weightier (mass) bows will be my mainstay for the foreseeable!
The overall finish is flawless as I have come to expect from our German friends, no glue lines, even lams, no sings of any machining of any sort, the Walnut and phenolic (Micarta) looks great, contrasting sweetly, joined perfectly and the clear glass on the limbs beautifully finished yet hiding nothing of the equally pretty maple/olivewood veneers beneath.
In respect of the limbs I notice some significant change. First of all the limbs & tips are slightly slimmer and the nocks deeper which having had the string jump out of the previous (#2 Hawk) a couple of times, I had my concerns that they could have been deeper and now they are……again, another improvement.
The next thing is the extra lamination, “Stabil Core” an addition that #1 & #2 Hawks were missing except on the end 6″ which I like too, another sign that expense was not spared in the Hawks improvements.
The Hawk like all Bodnik bows comes with a “Whisper” flemish string and a brass nock fitted along with a basic instruction booklet.
The Pudding proofing:
My bows are not ornaments so I wasted no time in getting her on the range with the arrows & bare shafts I had previously for Hawk #2 which was 5 pounds heavier draw and tuned pretty sweetly on these Carbon Heritage 250’s & 125gr + inserts.
I made myself another fastflight flemish string (based on getting set up and tuned with a string I can replace and replicate easily for the future) and installed some Beaver puff silencers to the string and hit the bails.
Hawks #1 & #2 were lovely shooters and this is no different, made even more favourable with the much more manageable 45# @ 28″ draw weight (I draw 29.5″). A smooth draw up to my 29.5″ without any detectable stacking, and fast, quiet & no handshock to speak of in the shot and by now I am smiling.
After getting a decent grouping from the off, I loosed a few of the bare shafts which are now showing weak! WEAK!? REALLY!? not by much, granted and I am sticking with them for a wee while but to me it shows the performance has improved slightly despite the drop in weight. The design, the addition to the laminations is clearly having a positive effect and I only wish I had, and I will get a chrono & bow scale for the future.
Even now despite my nagging elbow pains I continue to enjoy shooting this bow and I am stoked about the season coming up proper and some prolonged woods time with it. I have fitted a Selway Recurve Quiver (which I am not sure about, to be honest) and will explore other hunting arrow carrying options.
I will revisit this review when the Chrono and scales arrive for the techy stuff.
We got there in the end! I love this bow enough to do my first bow review and share my experiences of getting there which was not always roses but reviews should reflect all experiences, even the negatives. I would not shoot it so much recreationally or at a competitive 3D as my preference is for a longer bow with my favourites being 64″ and I definitely get the benefits of a longer bow for prolonged shooting. However in my limited experience hunting, I would not look elsewhere for all-round use as I feel its length would lend itself well to a blind/stand and restrictive area shooting without loosing too much stability
Yes, I was pissed off about this bow, not once but twice and was close to making it expensive kindling. I did too have my confidence shook-to-bits in this bow after #1 exploded and EVERY time I drew #2 I had a twinge of the nerves, but, an exploding bow and a gashed face will do that
I did have great customer service bestowed upon me (again, not once but twice!) and I saw a company see a flaw in a design and move to change it, which is very commendable and probably costly too. So much kudos for that! It’s reassuring to see a company back up their generous warranty and endure the tedious Canadian logistics and expense!
All Bearpaw Products and Bodnik bows are available through Outsyder Archery, Kamloops, British Columbia