What do you get …
… if you cross a compound with a recurve?
Bizarrely this isn’t a joke, we’re serious! … Well, it had to happen sometime! :o)
Today we want to talk about the line of bows made by Oneida Eagle Bows. They have been making their style of bow in Michigan since the early 80’s yet few archers have ever seen one in the wild. Have you ever heard of them before? For the majority of you, we bet not! On top of that, Oneida are possibly one of the few bow companies that can render even the most loquacious archer temporarily speechless if they’ve never run into an Oneida before. What’s so unique about their kit? Well, its this …
Oneida Eagle bows are a special type of compound bow. One that uses a lever action system combined with cams and pulleys to create its power. In other words it has limbs like a recurve but those limbs are attached to cams so it shoots like a compound. (when talking about Oneida bows, our recurve loving/compound hating Editor usually gets so confused he has to have a lie down).
Freaky huh? So whats it like to shoot?
Well, the Oneida bow appears to combine the advantages of both recurve and compound bows. Initially it draws feeling very like a recurve mainly because of the limbs flexing. Well, that is till the cams kick in. They smoothly start to carry the load with none of the lurch you feel with normal compounds when reaching the valley (that’s when the cams cause the draw weight to reduce). Remember, with those cams carrying a lot of the load, the draw weight can be very much higher than normal recurves. But, unlike with recurve bows, holding at full draw is obviously easy with the let down from the cams. This is usually between a 65 and 80% letdown. On release it feels like a recurve as the limbs snap forward but while the ooof in the shot can be significantly higher, the shot is without much of the harshness of a compound.
They can be quite noisy but that’s something that can be reduced by using a high spined, heavy arrow .. say an Easton X23 ali with a heavy point/insert combination. Not a bow for shooting 70m with but then that’s not what they were designed for. These bows were originally conceived for fishing! The Oneida bow is especially popular among bowfishers, who need a fast and reliable bow to shoot fish in water. All the ooof in the bow is there to punch through the water, you aren’t trying to kill a whale! The smooth draw is helpful when standing up in a small boat because its free of all the lurching about that happens when drawing a true compound. That’s something that would likely see you taking an early bath. However, bowfishers aren’t the only ones using these bows. The Oneida bow is also used by some hunters and target archers. They aren’t ideal for target or hunting but there are those who appreciate their out there design and/or speedy performance and are willing to put up with a little inconvenience for a unique experience.
There are currently two models with the Osprey (bowfishing) and the Phoenix (hunting and bowfishing) available but you can customize your bow at the makers to a ridiculous degree if you so desire. While these bows are not really suitable for most archers, they are eye catching. This was put to good effect in the CW tv show Green Arrow where the lead character Oliver Queen used one fighting crime in the DC comic book universe.
GA’s sphere of archery interest is pretty much target recurve so this is not a bow we would expect to ever see on our line. They aren’t a bow we would ever recommend either, but in the realm of archery where things are often just clones of each other, its always nice to give a nod to the different. The Oneida’s are worth noting simply for the very singular place they hold in our sport. A compounded recurve or a recurved compound … and our editor is looking confused again! ;o)
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This article was written for our chairman who has repeatedly noted his interest in an Oneida even though he doesn’t seem to like water much! (bit of a fair weather archer we fear! :o)
Archery Fishing falls under the hunting ban imposed by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 inside UK territorial waters. (12 nautical miles out to sea starting from the low-water line)
Oneida Eagle’s website can be found here. Have a look at the customizing page … Want go faster stripes on your bow? – Oneida got you covered dude!