Montana Bows Gear Review by Pete Ward
The 52″ recurve by Dan Toelke of Montana Bows is a fine example of superb workmanship and design. This is the third bow from Dan that I have reviewed and again the very fine craftsmanship and finish impress me. This is a short 52″ bow that has working recurve tips, and a very smooth and even draw. It is a bow that I took to the minute I opened the box and the next day it was hunting with me. The shelf is nicely crowned and there is a good radius on the side plate. When I opened the box the bow was ready to string up and shoot. I think every bow should arrive with silencers, shelf material and a noc on the string like all of the Montana bows do. We want to run outside and fling an arrow the minute we get a new bow instead of looking for the necessities needed to shoot it. Each bow is shipped with 2 strings, a case and a stringer.
I told Dan I wanted a dark bow for blind hunting, and suggested black glass to avoid the streaks we see so often with dark veneers and clear glass. Dan’s suggestion was a dark Grandillo veneer and clear glass, so I went along with his recommendation. I am very happy I listened to the bowyer, and took his advice. There are no streaks to be found and the bow blends into the black blind perfectly, making it invisible thru the screens, but gorgeous to look at outside.
The veneers on the limbs are a dark and sultry Grandillo under Gordons Glass that is faded into a beautiful Bubinga riser and finely crafted matching tips, with the typical Dan Toelke thumb rest I have come to like so much. The limbs have one Bamboo and one maple core. The matching overlays blend in beautifully and provide a subtle, and classy accent. The recommended brace height is from 7 to 7 5/8″. Although it shoots fine at the low end of 7″ I find I like it best at 7 3/4 to 8″. This also keeps the string off my heavy coat sleeves on cold Alberta days.
Tuning up a set of arrows was easy, A set of 45/60 shafts with 175 to 300 grain points or broadheads and 100 grain brass inserts cut to 29″ all flew very well. The bow is quite spine tolerant. Shooting this bow became easy after only a few shots, the grip is larger than I normally use, but it settled into my hand comfortably right from the start. The thumb rest and palm swell make it natural to repeat the same grip every time I pick it up. I am starting to like this larger grip because of the way I can shoot with it.
For those that think a short bow is twitchy, hard to shoot ,and all those long told old wives tales, I say try a good one like this, It will surprise you and change your mind. Shooting it 3 fingers under I have no issues with pinch, and it is a quiet bow that only needs minimal string silencers. I do feel a tiny bit of string vibration after the shot, but definitely no hand shock with the brace set at 7 5/8″. At 8″ the bow is silent and vibration free.
The day after the 52″RC arrived I was off hunting with it. I have many fine bows to choose from, and to take a new bow to the woods says volumes. Not every bow gets this treatment, normally it takes me much longer to get that feel for a bow before I will hunt with it. This time it was the Toelke 52″ that gave me the warm fuzzy feeling after the first shots. In the DB blinds it is a joy to have and to shoot. Although I missed the largest deer of my life with it, I have to take the blame for that one. An old saying that I forgot to heed haunts me every day now, “PICK A SPOT”. I didn’t, I just saw huge deer and blew it shooting cleanly over its back. The next day the 52 was with me again. I am completely confident the bow will do its job when I do mine.
If you are a pop up blind hunter, or love to stalk thru thick bush and tall grass there is no substitute for a short bow. For the hunter that does some of all types of hunting there is no perfect bow for all situations, however you can always shoot a short bow in tight places, but there are many cases where a longer bow just cannot be shot. If you are accustomed to shooting 60 inch plus bows from blinds, I realize it can be done. I do it myself, but it is just so much easier to use a short bow that has no limb tip clearance problems with the ground, walls and ceiling.
After reviewing 3 of Dan’s bows I have to say he is a perfectionist. Try as I might there are no flaws to report. Several people I know have Dan Toelke bows and they all rave about how well made they are. I have received many emails telling me that they purchased a Bow from Dan and how pleased they are with it. Every one comments about the fine workmanship and how nice they shoot for them. From this I can believe my review bows are no different than the one you will get. The Toelke Bows I saw with shooters at the longbow Safari last year were no different than the ones I had with me.