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Griffon GL Longbow Review

Griffon GL Longbow Review by Pete Ward
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History: For those not familiar with Border Archery, these fine bows come from Scotland with a long history in Bow making. Border Archery has been making quality bows in Scotland since 1940. During that time the Company has had various names.

These are:
Border Archery Ltd 1975 to date a direct descendant of:
Border Bows 1973-75
Kings of Kelso 1969-73
Royal Scots Bows 1963-69
Galloway Bows started 1940

As you can see Border Archery is not a new kid on the block. They have been in business for 67 years and are well known in the archery world both in Europe and North America. Today Border Archery is a modern company with 14 full time employees, and uses the latest in today’s technology to produce state of the art bows. Border Archery makes every effort to ensure that the exotic woods that they use are sourced from sustainable forestry practice.

Sid and Ann Ball are the owners of Border archery, and will gladly work with you to make sure your bow is exactly what you want.

Review: The Griffon GL longbow has been with me for many weeks now and I feel I am at the point where I can write this review. This bow has a few more features than the standard Griffon. It has the new GL option, which is a double carbon limb with wood veneers and replaces the old model Griffon and Black Griffon. This bow has Indonesian Rosewood veneers and matching riser.

The core is Black Walnut between Bamboos. This bow is one of the nicest bows I have had the pleasure to shoot. Its lightweight is a delight to carry. It is not cut past center, making it a legal bow for true longbow shoots like N.A.L.S., the North American Longbow Safari, an event I will be shooting the Griffon at this year. If you attend this or any other 3D shoots this year and see me, just ask and you can take it for a test drive.

The workmanship on the Griffon is flawless. Every glue line is perfect, and you cannot find a mark anywhere. The finish is perfectly applied like it was on fine furniture. The standard grip is a lightly contoured low wrist style with a matching fine leather wrap that is cut away on the backside to show more of the riser. This is a bow with simple lines that are wonderful to look at and to hold.

Being a 66″ bow it was a different feeling for me to get used to and the low grip also was different, and I like it. The long 66″ bow has a very nice draw with lots of early weight, something that is always a sign of good performance. The length is also a bit of an advantage for shooting accuracy, and the Griffon GL is certainly an easy and accurate bow to shoot. I had very little difficulty in finding an arrow to shoot very well from it. I have found that most longbows shoot best for me with a brace of 7 1/4″, but the GL is doing a very good job at 6 ” to 6 1/2″ brace height. For me this means I can take all of its performance and don’t have to sacrifice any to extra brace height.

Shooting light arrows of 8GR/pound it is very fast and has only a hint of what could be perceived as shock. With heavy arrows of 10 gr/pound or more the shock, if that is what it is, has gone and there are no vibrations at all. I don’t really even like to use the word shock as it is so minor it is not really noticeable to most shooters or myself. It is better said that the bow is shock free and it has a very slight feel when you shoot it.

It is no secret I like short bows, however I have developed a real respect for the finer qualities a longer bow has after shooting the Griffon GL.

This is the first longbow I shot with carbon that is not on the outside that does not have too much shock and vibration with just average to good performance. It has lots of performance at my draw length of 27″ and it virtually screams at 30″ when my friend shoots it. I do like black limbs, however after receiving this beauty with the fine dark Indonesian Rosewood veneers I wish they were on my other bows. They do take away the speed a bit according to Sid at Border, but only by a couple FPS. Considering this bow has lots of speed to burn it can easily give up a bit in order to show off the fine wood veneers it sports.

During the time I have had the Griffon GL many archers at the lanes have shot it and it is always a popular choice for the other fellows there to test shoot. They are always surprised at the performance of the Griffon GL when they shoot it.

The feedback I have been getting is always very good. Like me they seem to find it easy to discover the bows great shooting qualities. I seem to be hearing the same thoughts I have when shooters test the Griffon GL. All are positive. The shooters that prefer a Hill style bow really take to the Griffon GL with it’s pleasant shooting, silent accuracy. Everyone notices the exquisite workmanship, and most do not believe me it is a double carbon limb bow until I show them the carbon laminations. I had to look very closely in good light to see the carbon under the veneers on the limb edges.

This is where I will have to point out a couple things that I feel can be improved on.

The first is the string that came with the bow. It is a 16 strand Fast Flyte Flemish twist that did not do the bow justice, and had uneven twists in it. I have replaced it with a 10-strand DF97 string.

Sid has informed me that he has addressed the string issue and has DF97 on order for future bows.

The next thing is the bow was not ready to shoot when I opened the box. There was no string nock and the shelf and side plate did not have any material on them. Most of us have our preferred material that we like, but as I told Sid we want to be able to shoot it as soon as we open the box.

Sid has also informed me that each new bow will now come with shelf/rest material and a string nock.

The final item is the limb tip reinforcing. It is a finely shaped and good-looking opaque overlay that allows you to see the carbon weave under it. I would prefer to see a tip overlay that you cannot see thru, and this is available for the asking. Also the tip overlay is stopped with an abrupt, but thin line rather than fading into the limb. This is only noticeable up close, and must be like this when the veneers are ordered. On black limbs they are faded into the surface.

I hope that I did not nit-pick the Griffon too much as I wrote this review. I am very impressed with it, and really do think it is a superior bow to many other longbows.

When it comes to workmanship, design and shooting quality the Border Griffon GL is a truly wonderful bow. Since I received the Griffon to test it has been with me on every trip to the lanes. The Griffon GL certainly meets and exceeds the high expectations I have for a bow. I cannot wait to shoot some 3D and target competitions with it this summer.

The Griffon GL came with a custom Border case/sock that is made with heavy nylon type material and fleece lining that will provide very good protection for many years.

To sum up my feelings I believe the Griffon GL is an exceptional longbow. It has it all, with it’s fine craftsmanship, beautiful looks and excellent performance. It is a very easy bow to like, and after taking the first few shots from it I knew that this was going to be a bow I will be shooting a lot this season. Border Archery has an excellent reputation for quality bows and after my experience with the Griffon GL I understand why so many archers have such high regard for their bows.

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