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Spirit II Longbow

Spirit II Longbow by Pete Ward
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After many hundreds of shots from the Spirit II, I am ready to pass on my thoughts about this silky smooth drawing longbow. The Spirit II I am reviewing is 51# at 28″/ 62″ long. This is a very nice bow to shoot. The Spirit II has a draw that I just love. It does not feel like it is any where near its scaled weight. On release it is silent and accurate. There is no trouble for me to shoot good groups with it. Arrow spine with this bow is a bit forgiving, because of the center cut riser, making arrow tuning easy. I am able to shoot several lengths and spines with good accuracy from it. If you really look for it you can notice a very slight string vibration on release. Silencers other than the Beaver balls I use may completely eliminate it, however it is so insignificant that after 4 hours of shooting it did not even register unless I was trying to determine if it was still there. If this very slight buzz would bother you perhaps you may be better suited to needlepoint. I almost feel wrong in mentioning it at all but to be fair to other bows I have to.

At my 27″ Draw I have the best flight with a 500 spine carbon arrow 29″ long with 100gr brass inserts and 145 gr points.

The Spirit II, I am testing is a nicely balanced bow with good looks, it is built with black glass, the core is black locust ultra core, tempered tonkin cane and edge cut yew. The riser is cocobolo Dymondwood with yellowheart stripe. The riser overlay is natural cocobolo and yellowheart.

The string is a 15 strand 3 lay of Dynaflight 97. Performance is very good with a variety of arrow weights. A few less strands in the string will boost the performance if you are looking for more speed. My personal preference on strings made with materials like DF97 and 8125 is to have 10 or 12 strands to utilize the string materials capability.

There are a couple of features of this bow that I really like. One is the Tonkin Cane Bamboo in the limbs. Bamboo in a bow limb adds a smoothness that I think is unique. There is a feel to drawing a limb with Bamboo that I have come to recognize and love. The Spirit II is no exception.

The next thing that comes to mind is the additions of back and belly overlays. They look good on their own but the thing I personally like about them is they hide the Dymondwood edge lines. Many excellent bows have the edge line of the Dymondwood /Actionwood showing and it takes away from the looks.

Dymondwood is one of my favorite riser materials. It is very strong, and not affected by moisture like other natural woods. Unfortunately when we see the edges it can look like a “plywood” type riser. The overlays eliminate this appearance.

For me I preferred a brace height of 8 1/4″. It just seemed to be a quieter and has a better feel at this height. Others may like a lower Brace height, down to 7″ and the extra speed that it will give. This is completely up to the shooter as to what feels best.

Some friends have shot the Spirit II and the feedback I received is good. There are the differences in opinion on grip feel and size that always differ due to our personal preferences, but custom bows can be ordered to fit our hand sizes. I like the grip, as did others while some wanted a larger grip and others like a palm swell. My wife Pat would prefer a smaller grip to suit her small hands.

The majority did not even notice the string buzz unless I pointed it out to them, and everyone commented on the smooth draw.

To sum up the review I have come to the conclusion that the “SPIRIT II” is good. I would have no hesitation to have it in my rack and take it for a few walks in the Alberta bush. The bow is definitely a shooter that has a place in a hunters hand.

Pete Ward & Renegade Spirit II

The only real concerns I have are with the tip length after the nock and the limb edges. The tips are too short to allow the use of a pocket type stringer. If you use the Push Pull method to string a longbow this is of no concern to you. Dave is considering making the tips longer as I write this and I will comment later on if he does change the tip lengths on future models.

The limb edges could be radiused more to allow them to take some abuse from the bangs and bumps we subject a bow to. The rounder the edge the less likely we are to get edge chips if the bow is dropped. Dave is looking into this change for the new bows he will be building.

I found Dave Neidigh to be a very easy bowyer to work with when doing the review. He accepted my criticisms with an open mind and genuine concern. He has a real interest in receiving feedback that will make these bows even better than they are now.

The Renegade “Spirit II” is a bow that I recommend considering when you order a new bow.

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