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Black Swan Carbon Classic Hybrid

Black Swan Carbon Classic Hybrid by Pete Ward
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62″ Carbon Hybrid
Black Swan Carbon Classic Hybrid longbow
Reflex / Deflex limbs
62″ / 49# AMO /54# True Draw
Brace 6 1/2″ -7 1/2″
10 strand DF97 black string 59″

Black Swan bows are not a new kid on the block. Arvid Danielson has been building bows since the 50’s. He has also been on the 1980 US National Archery Team, and he holds several Archery world records giving him a solid background in the art of bow building. Some time ago he took a leave from bow building, but now he is back with some of today’s top performers in the longbow category. These bows rival the best performers out there, recurve or longbow.

The Black Swan Carbon Classic Hybrid longbows today are a result of Computer designed limbs and many years of experience. This combination is producing a bow built with today’s new carbon fiber instead of the normal glass, and yesterdays Hickory or Actionwood cores. He has combined the best of both materials for a very fast and shootable bow that I have found to be very accurate and forgiving as well as fast with any arrow weight. The Black Swans are very good High Performance bows.

The unique woven carbon fibers that are used, are placed on the outside of both the back and belly of the limbs in both models, with the highly reflex deflex Hybrid having an additional carbon layer added to the core for stability. Experienced bowyers know carbon is at it’s best on the outside.

The Hybrid that I have been shooting for the past month tops the scale at the same weight as the longbow my wife is shooting, 19 ounces. The lightweight is a joy to carry all day. This bow scales at 49# at 28″ AMO/ and 54# TRUE DRAW. Early models are marked with “True Draw”, a measurement taken at the low point of the grip. All new Black Swan bows are now marked with both measurements, AMO, {the low point of the grip + 1 3/4”} and TRUE DRAW, so there will not be any confusion in the future for customers. At the time I ordered the bows I thought they were made AMO and I ended up at a lighter weight than I wanted to have.

I suggest that you always ask what measurement the bowyer uses when ordering any bow to avoid confusion and disappointment. Arvid has addressed this since we started this review and there will be no more surprised customers in the future. Both ways are correct, and are used by many bowyers today. Ask before ordering, and don’t assume every bowyer uses your method.

Shooting a new bow usually takes some getting used to and arrow selection is normally a trial and error process. Taking a guess at what would fly I started with a stiff 29″ 340 spine carbon arrow, 100gr brass inserts, and 250 gr points for a total weight of 620 grains and the first shots flew on target, grouping very well. This was good news; I had arrows that would fly right away. Next I started shooting lighter points and good flight was there with the point weight going down to 100 grains plus the brass inserts from these arrows.

I next went to a 400 spine with the same results on all of the different point weights so I tried some 500 spines my wife shoots and again the flight is good with point weight up to 175 gr and 100 gr brass. I have been shooting some very light {365 Gr} 400 spine arrows at 3D with the hybrid using 100 gr points with good flight. 125 gr points are a bit better on these shafts.

The black Swan Hybrid is the most spine tolerant bow I have shot to date. Matching it to an arrow seemed like a waste of time for me. They all flew with perfection and shoot where I look. {Sometimes I don’t look at the right place} LOL

I don’t find any hand shock with the hybrid at my 27″ draw, and other shooters that have tested it out to 30″ tell me it is shock free. Like all traditional bows the Hybrid needs string silencers to eliminate the banjo sound effect all bows have. A set of 3″ beaver fur strips is all it took to silence the bow to a hunting level and eliminate the string vibrations. The 10-strand DF97 string that comes with it is loud without silencers and it has a recurve type noise when set at the lower brace height. Increasing the bow to 7 1/2” plus using a padded loop string with the padding extended to the limb contact area easily eliminates this. {Recurves also benefit from this.} With this combination the bow is very quiet and still very fast.

I do not shoot with Arm guards so I prefer a longer brace height on all my bows. I have been shooting the Hybrid with the brace set at 7 3/4″. At this setting the bow is at it’s quietest and most forgiving. I hope Arvid will start offering the Padded loop strings in the future with silencers already installed so the new owners will see on the first shot just how nice the bow can be to shoot.

The Test bow also did not have any shelf /wall material on it when it arrived. After discussing this with Arvid I am assured he will now be sending them out with padding on them so the bow is shootable out of the box. Many of us have a preferred material to use, but we need to be able to shoot on day one. He is including self-adhesive leather buttons for the rest and shelf now.

The draw on the Black Swan Hybrid is Silky smooth and it is without stacking out to 30″. It had good early weight and then builds at a constant 2# increment. For me it feels like I am drawing a Bamboo limb, and not what I expected Hickory to feel like. Drawing a bow this smooth is what helps us make our best shots. Since I started shooting the Hybrid I have shot my best 3D scores to date. I am shooting at my best with it, without question.

It handles lightweight arrows very well but with the heavier arrows used for hunting it is a silent shooter. I will have no hesitation to hunt moose or Elk with this 49# longbow. When we get into winter conditions in Alberta I also have no problems taking the Hybrid out hunting, even if it is -30 or colder. At these temperatures I will enjoy the smooth and lightweight draw of this bow.

The Hybrid with its woven carbon looks, and great performance is a definite keeper. In the past we often heard that fast bows were not good shooters. Black Swan has stepped up to the plate to prove the old tales wrong. I am sure there are fast bows that don’t belong anywhere but at the Chronograph, but not the Black Swans. These bows are well suited to the woods and 3D ranges with their impressive speeds and good shooting characteristics.

By being able to drop your draw weight to poundage you can shoot your best, without loosing any performance you can only gain. When a 50# Hybrid can accurately launch the same weight arrow at the same speed or faster as your old 55# or heavier bow you gain accuracy and loose nothing. There is no trade off as normally expected when dropping some draw weight. This is a win-win combination that I am really enjoying.

When stringing the bow I did find a tendency to slightly twist the limb tip if I did not pay attention to having the loop centered in the nock. The hybrid has slender limbs and does require careful stringing to avoid twisting of the limbs. Arvid has informed me that he is now using a new carbon that eliminates this stability issue without any loss of performance. The 58″ SS does now have this problem so it seems that it has been solved.

By letting it down and centering the string on the nock the limb stays straight and does not change. This problem is less of an issue with the padded loop string I have been shooting on it. It seems that the thicker loop self-centers in the nock quite well.

The Hybrid like the Longbow is built to perform without frills. The classic grip is comfortable and functional, without fancy overlays or accent stripes. It is cut past center allowing a wide spine range. Risers are only available in Diamonwood, a very good looking and strong material that is my first choice in riser materials. Limb choices are limited to Hickory or Actionwood cores with Carbon on the outside where it belongs, not hidden by beautiful veneers that rob performance. I personally like the looks of the woven carbon on this bow.

The Hybrid will also be offered soon in a 58″ model that is reported by Arvid to shoot even sweeter, without the issues I discussed above. A review on the 58″ will be added later after I have had proper time to fully evaluate it.

I have been hunting with the SS already this year and it is promising to be a bow I will want to hunt more with.

Early models like I have are finished with an epoxy that does not tolerate the “DEET” in insect repellent. Arvid has changed his finish since I discovered this, and notified him. This not a problem now. If your unsure of the finish on any bow, keep repellents off of your palms, It will ruin most plastic type finishes including your eye glasses.

I will not hesitate to recommend the Carbon Classic Hybrid. This bow is a very good shooter that delivers high performance. The performance will allow you to drop some draw weight and maintain the trajectory you are used to. It will also benefit a lot of those shooters that are shooting too much draw weight now by letting them shoot at a manageable level and improve their form without a loss in performance, and for some it may be a gain. A few pounds less can make a big difference in your accuracy. Why struggle with 60# when 55 will do the same thing better? I have also found that drawing less weight will often allow the shooter to draw a longer length. The lowering of draw weight sometimes results in a faster arrow because of the longer stroke. More weight is not always better if it causes you to short draw. Many shooters discover this when the shoot a high performance bow like the Black Swan Hybrid of less weight than they are used to.

The incredibly even draw of the Hybrid is as good as it gets with its impressive 2 pounds per inch all the way to 30″.

Feedback from other shooters that tested the Black Swan’s is all-positive, with most commenting on the speed and smoothness as well as the accuracy of these bows. I agree with what I have been told.

There are a few small things I would like to see changed. A heavy padded loop DF97 string in matching color {black and tan} makes the bow look better and definitely makes it quieter without any noticeable speed loss. I also think each bow should come with silencers and shelf padding installed, so that it is shootable out of the box.

Many shooters do not want to go beyond the bowyer’s recommendations for brace height. The Hybrid shoots at its best with a brace of 7 3/4″ to 8 1/4″ for me. I would recommend that the specs be changed to reflect that this higher brace height is acceptable.

The Carbon Classic is a very good shooter. The lightweight {19 oz} will be a big plus during a long hike thru elk and moose country. The performance it delivers at 49# is equal to many bows with a much heavier draw weight. It is very spine tolerant, making arrow selection easy. I do not think you will be disappointed when you shoot the Black Swan Carbon Classic Hybrid.

You will look long and hard to find a better performing bow than the Black Swan Carbon Classic Hybrid. It’s good looks and very high performances are matched by its very good shooting qualities. This bow is definitely recommended as a very good shooting bow. As you can see in the chart above the Hybrid does not have any indication of stacking at all. This makes for the smoothest of draws that you will experience.

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