Big Foot Bows has recently developed a new model called the Flatliner. I was asked to field test this new design, and give an honest review to include recommendations for improvements.
` The Flatliner is what some might call a “Stealth D” longbow. When unstrung it clearly shows reflex in the limbs. Yet when strung it pulls into a classic D profile, like a Hill style longbow. I was involved in the development stages of this bow by providing the IFAA specifications and guidelines needed to qualify it for competition in IFAA world events.
The Stealth D design has been around for a while now. Different bowyers make it work in different ways. Kirk has decided to push the envelope with this concept, and provide a higher performance very smooth shooting bow. The Flatliner prototype I’m shooting is built using 3 layers of carbon fiber, G-10 phenolic power lams, with syntactic foam cores. Instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel, Kirk has put his efforts into bringing better performance to the design using high performance materials and a unique wedge system. Actually I think there is a bit more to it than that, but I’ll leave the technical details to the bowyer.
Now for a few tech specs. It’s 64” long AMO, 48# at 28” draw. It is Fast Flight compatible. I have it at 6 ½” brace height, right in the middle of its range, and I’m drawing 46# at 27 ½”. It weighs in at 1 ¾ lbs. I’ve gotten some chrono numbers from it, using several different arrows that tuned well for it as I was running my tuning process. I was very impressed with the results, but asked to withhold the actual numbers until it can be tested in a professional manner using a shooting machine in a more controlled environment. Different shooting styles at different draw lengths provide different results.
Now that’s all fine and dandy, But I like to look at a bow from a more realistic user’s perspective. I’ve already taken two tournament wins with this bow. One was an indoor shoot. It worked out very well in that it shot those fat 720 grain logs in a visually “flat” trajectory at 20 yards when I used a high anchor. The other win was a 3D shoot using the 350 grain arrows. All I can say there is that for 3 lbs. more draw weight its shoots roughly the same weight arrow 10 fps faster than the longbow I normally use for competition.
Kirk did an excellent job on shaping the grip which made transitioning to this bow very easy. He now even offers grip stippling for those who want it. Although the limbs are made of some cutting edge materials the bow is very quiet, without silencers, just as a long bow should be. Even with the low weight arrows there is very little hand shock or residual “ringing,” a complaint often heard about the standard Hill style longbow. And naturally it only gets better with arrows approaching 9+ gpp. The draw cycle is smooth with no surprises, just how any good bow should be. It is well balanced; it doesn’t need to be held with a death grip to keep the top limb from trying to roll backward towards the shooter.
When I write about a bow I also like to be honest, part of the realistic user’s viewpoint. Kirk usually builds his bows with the shelf right down on the shooter’s bow hand. He does that because that is generally what longbow shooters prefer. Me, personally, I’m a little “off” and like a little height above my hand. So that’s just me. But for others who may also prefer it, say so when you order from Kirk. He can set up it just right for you.
There is one other thing I noticed about the Flatliner while I was setting it up and checking it out. I said that the draw cycle is smooth, but that does change very quickly at the end of the draw. I am drawing just that little bit under spec, but I found that if this bow is over drawn by just the smallest amount, it is ready, willing, and able to start noticeably stacking. This aspect is actually a “function” of the bow’s design if you will. Sure we have some really sweet high performance materials here, but Kirk also seriously works the Force/Draw curve. He doesn’t leave any potential just laying around, doing nothing. When you draw the bow you’re drawing everything it has to give. What this means is that when ordering from Kirk you need to be very clear on exactly what your draw length is, and how you measured it. You need to accurately communicate that information to him. To quote Kirk on this, “A custom bow that is built as “Draw length specific” has the advantage of higher performance. But …when using carbon on the belly side of the limbs to improve performance, it is critical that it’s not over drawn. Think of it as running into the red line on a tachometer. If you push it too far she’s going to blow eventually. The all glass version of this design and the single carbon back models will be more forgiving of different draw lengths.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with this bow, and very excited about having it. Those who are interested in the Flatliner, or other Bigfoot bows can learn more and contact Kirk through the website: http://www.bigfootbows.com/ . And for those folks able to make it, Kirk will be at the Western States Traditional Rendezvous being held in Petaluma CA from 5/26 to 5/28, and will have this new design on display.
Interesting. Thanks for the review.
Science flies people to the moon...Religion flies people into buildings
Speaking of Howard Hill if and when i find a "Sweet heart" bow would you know by any chance what the price's would be ? Thanks for any info.
Me personally? No, I'm the type of bow "collector" that just keeps everything I run across, and I never really think about values. However there are folks at other sites that do know such things. Google Pirates of Archery.