On May 23, 1962 my grandparents walked into George’s Archery Shop in Philadelphia. At the time both of my grandparents were avid archers and my Grandmother was in the market for a bow. As the story goes, she searched through the inventory of Red Wing Hunters and selected one in particular to bring home.
I wish there was more of the story to share but details are sparse. My grandmother thinks that George’s Archery Shop was located on Aramingo Ave. but that is all that I know. The business seems to have shut it’s doors long ago and I can’t seem to dig anything up on Google.
I’m told that my Grandmother’s Red Wing Hunter was the only bow she shot for a long time. Eventually target recurves were purchased (a matching set of Bear Tamerlanes were special ordered) and eventually they moved on to compounds (Jennings Arrowstars)
I’ve expressed an interest in bringing the old bows back to life and my Father surprised me recently with the Red Wing Hunter purchased in 1962. I reached out to a friend at Stowe Archers to take a look at the bow and was thrilled to learn that it is in great shooting shape.
The same friend that I had look over the bow did me the favor of making a new string. The string length came in at about 53″ and after a little stretching, the brace height came in at 9″ (it was 9-3/8″ when we first strung the bow).
Several people have asked to take a look at the bow and every one of them has joked about how light it is. “I’ve got stabilizers that weigh more than this thing!” Out of curiosity, I put the Red Wing Hunter on a scale and was surprised to see how little it weighed – 1.456 pounds.
With the bow strung and ready to shoot, the only thing left to do was put on a nocking locator and figure out what I was going to do about arrows. Rather than buying a few to try, another friend from Stowe Archers loaned me a dozen Gold Tip Traditional 1535 Arrows. The arrows are cut to 30″ with 100 grain tips, and 4″ Feathers (368 grains finished weight).
I was a little concerned that the 1535 Arrows would be too light (in terms of spine) but they actually fly very well. I’m told that this is due to the design of the riser. Since the shelf is very close to center-shot I can get away with lighter arrows and still get good flight.
Just watching the arrows fly, they looked good. I setup a paper tuner about eight feet down range and put a few arrows through it. I was seeing a high-left tear but at this time I don’t plan on doing anything about it. When I buy my own arrows, I’m probably going to cut them a little longer (mainly to get a broad head a little farther away from the riser).
Out of curiosity, I setup a chronograph in my basement and took a couple of readings. I shot three arrows at 181.3, 187.6, and 183.3 feet per second. Average of those three shots is 184.2 feet per second. Using the Gold Tip Kenetic Energy Calculator, that puts my setup at 27.73 which is just above the 25 floor for Whitetail Deer.
For fun I loaded up ArcherZUpshot on my phone and started shooting a 600 Round to see how I would do. It was my first time shooting a recurve in over 20 years and it took a lot of getting used to.
Being that the Red Wing Hunter is a hunting recurve, I wanted to go with instinctual shooting. I didn’t try to gap shoot or string walk, I just looked at a spot on the target and tried to hit it. I’ve got a long way to go before I would consider myself proficient but I’m having a lot of fun with this old bow.