Monday, March 23, 2015

Shakespeare Supreme X16

Shakespeare Model X16 and 
The Supreme X16 
Shakespeare Model X16 1963-65

Shakespeare, under the direction of Ernie Root, produced excellent competition and target bows. The Model X16 (1963 - 65) was introduced in 1963 as a fine target bow. It was a 66" bow with exotic Benge hardwood and ivory white fiberglass. It came with a feather rest and calf hair arrow plate. It was available in right or left had and in weights of 30-50 lbs.  In 1966 the new Supreme X16 was introduced. The design of Shakespeare Supreme X16 stayed fairly consistent during its production from 1966-1971. Competition bows from the 1960-70 are generally longer AMOs and lower draw weights. A longer bow allows for a smoother draw, less string pinch and stable release. The AMO was 66 inch but in 1970 only it went to 64” inch then back to 66” in 1971. The draw weights fluctuated from year to year but were between 20-50 pounds.
Shakespeare Supreme X16 1967-71
 Shakespeare Supreme X16 was a top flight tournament bow at an entry level price.  Shakespeare produced three models of competition bows; The Professional X10 was their best tournament bow, The Titan X15 was their mid level tournament bow and the Supreme X16 was the entry level model. All three of these models were exquisitely designed. The bow-making art and craftsmanship of Ernie Root is apparent in this beautifully sculpted recurve. His style earned the admiration of the most discriminating archer. The Supreme came in seven draw weights to fit all needs. With excitingly stable shooting ease and pinpoint precision, it easily exceeded any other bow in the price range. Fine features include Exotic and Maple wood riser, white glass, three layer exotic and maple wood. In 1970 Supreme was designed for the Junior Olympics, with lower draw weights and shorter draw lengths.

There really isn’t too much information available on this fine bow. Competition Bows are usually available in auctions and tend to go for a higher price than hunting bows. I think most traditional shooter will benefit from shooting a competition bow in the off season. It is on my “Want List” but as a left-handed shooter has been waiting a long time for a nice example to add to my collection. So I live vicariously through my right handed friend Lewis Kent. He has a great collection and he does a great job restoring bows. He got this beautiful Supreme and was kind enough to share it. Thanks Lewis!! 

Lewis Kent's Supreme X16

UPDATE: March 2015
This article was originally written in May 2013.  I finally found a left handed Supreme X16. Left handed competition bows in good condition are very hard to find. My bow was the first year of production, 1966. I was luck to find a pristine bow, it had no real wear or scuffs but it needed a new rest and string. It is a 40# bow and shoots very well. It matched my 1966 Professional X10. I think the Supreme is an excellent target bow and I could now detect much difference between it and the Professional X10, though it is lighter. It felt just as stable upon release and I had consistent groups and arrow flight. It is now one of my best competition bows.
My luck find: a Lefty Supreme model X-16

Supreme X16 1966-1971

66” AMO (1966-69)

64”AMO (1970)

66”AMO (1971)

Draw weights:

25-50 pounds (1967)

25-45 pounds (1968, 1969)

20-40 pounds (1970)

25-40 pounds (1971)


1 ¾ inch (1967)

2 inch (1968-1971)

Sight window:

 7 inch (1967-1970)

6 ½ inch (1971)

Arrow rest:

Vertical feathers, calf hair plate (1967-69)

Adjustable Plate and Flipper rest (1970-71)

Brace height: 8 ½


Benge and Maple wood riser (1967)  

Maple, Bubinga, and Rosewood (1968- 1971)

Fiberglass: White

Triple tip overlays:

1967 Benge and Maple,

1968-1971 Maple and Bubinga

M16 Stabilizer mount- 1968-1971

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Shakespeare Trident X25

 The Versatile and Beautiful Shakespeare Trident X25
The word "trident" comes from the French word trident, which in turn comes from the Latin word tridens or tridentis: tri "three" and dentes "teeth". In the ancient world the trident was the weapon of Poseidon and Neptune, the god of the sea in Greek and Roman mythology and in India it was the traditional weapon of the Hindu god Shiva. As a weapon, the trident was prized for its long reach and ability to strike at a distance.

The Trident X25 shows the obvious design of Ernie Root. Its beautiful lines and brilliant use of contrasting woods are both unique and striking. When you compare the “Butcher Block” Game Master Root with the Trident X25 the resemblances are clear.

The Trident X25 is another beautifully crafted Shakespeare target bow and is classified as a Field/ Hunter bow. At 64 inches from nock to nock, it is long enough for repetitive precision on the field rounds, but short enough for a good hunting recurve. It's a great shooting bow.  There really isn’t tremendous information about this bow available online; I have found it in 1966-68 Shakespeare catalogs. I also found another reference to a 1965 model. The catalog description:

“Trident x25 is everything ever wanted in a fine performing, truly all-purpose bow. Trident is smart, smooth and exceptionally well stabilized. With speed to spare, it casts arrow after arrow with machine-like speed and undiminished agility”

variations of the Trident X25

The Trident X25 was an exceptionally well crafted bow at the mid-price range. It could be an effective target shooter and equally effective hunting bow. The 1965 model had green fiber glass which suggests that it was designed as a hunting bow. Most catalog photos of the Trident show a multi -laminated riser, the 1965 was the first year of production and it is possible that the solid Imbuya was replaced later in 1965 with the Imbuya and maple riser. The 1966-68 bows were white glassed and usually white glass bows are meant for the target, though this bow clearly would have been an outstanding hunter.

 For its price, The Trident combined the ultimate in appearance with unique versatility of performance. Trident is a fast bow, the 64-inch length is comfortable to handle in the field, yet long enough to guarantee the smoothness of cast so desired for tournament shooting and a comfortable handle, custom-contoured of Imbuya and Maple wood; face and back of sandalwood (white) fiberglass; shock absorbing upright arrow rest, and Calf Hair strike plate.

Lewis Kent's Beautiful Trident X25

The Trident is a very beautiful, fine performing, and smooth, stable shooting multi-purpose bow.  I have a “Want List” and the Trident X25 is on the list! As a left handed shooter, nice examples of this bow are hard to find so I sit and patiently wait and check auctions, classifieds and online trader sites. Luckily for me I have a righty friend Lewis Kent who is as nuts as I am. He bought an excellent Trident Bow. It needed some work but Lewis loves working with wood and restores bows. He did an outstanding job rejuvenating this bow !!

*UPDATE March 21 2015: (This article was first published May 2013) After years of looking I finally found a nice Left Hand Trident X-25. It was an eBay find and it needed refinishing, it looked like it had been painted black and the previous owner removed most of the paint.  After adding a few layers of finish to my bow and a new calf hair and feather rest it was finally ready to test. The Trident is an excellent shooter. I took the bow to the range and was very happy with its speed and accuracy. my first six arrow were on target with 4 of 6 in the gold! I tested the arrow speed shooting a 412 gr. arrow 12 shots with an average speed of 177.79 which is very fast for a -40# bow.
my long awaited LH Trident X-25
details of my 1965 Trident X-25

TRIDENT X25 1965-68

  • 64 AMO
  • Limbs 1 ¾
  • Sight window 5”
  • Arrow rest vertical feathers
  • Arrow plate calf hair
  • tip overlays
  • Brace height 7 ¾
  • Weights 25-45 lbs.


  • white belly, green back
  • white “sandalwood” belly and back


  • 1965  Imbuya
  • 1966-67 Imbuya and maple
  • 1968 Imbuya and “exotic” woods

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shakespeare OCALA X-17 and rare OCALA X-14A (Ocala Special)

The Shakespeare X17 has not always been "The Ocala" .
From 1959-1960 Shakespeare introduced the Model 100 through Model 600 series of recurves. These were beautifully crafted laminated wood and fiberglass. They had leather wrapped grips, and if right handed, had the name of RH-100, 200, 300, etc. If left handed, they of course were LH-100 and so on. In 1961, the leather grip was dropped, so was the RH 100..LH100. After 1962 Shakespeare dropped “Model” designations which were replaced with the ”X“ models and the bows took on a more sleek design, showing the Ernie Root influence. From 1961-65 the Model X17 was a slender 62 inch target / hunting bow with white, gray and /or green fiberglass. 35 lb - 60 lb (1961-62 right hand only- left hand special ordered 1961-62). 6 inch sight window. brace height 6 3/4.
In 1964 Shakespeare began naming their hunting bows after famous hunting areas. "The Necedah" X26 was introduced in 1964 and the X17 was re-introduced as the Ocala X17 in 1966.
Lewis Kent's 1962 X17-62 in excellent condition
The Wonderbow Model X17
  • 1962-64
  • AMO 62"
  • draw weigh 30 - 60 Lbs
  • riser: Benge exotic hardwood
  • Glass: white
  • left hand special order in 1962
  • 6 inch sight window
  • 6 3/4 inch
  • limbs 1 3/4 wide

1966 Ocala X17
The Wonderbow Ocala X17

  • Ocala x17 1966, Ocala x17A with sight after 1970, Ocala X14A with sight 1971
  • 62 AMO, (60 AMO after 1970, 1971 X14A was 62")
  • Recurve
  • Weight 30, 35, 40, 45 50, 55, and 60 lbs. (rare)
  • Handle of laminate of Benge and zebra wood (after 1970 Bubinga Riser)
  • Limbs 2 inch wide Olive green glass (after 1970 cinnamon brown glass 2 inch limbs)
  • Tips- Benge and Cherry (after 1970 Cinnamon and white)
  • Semi-pistol grip
  • Brace height 7 7/8 inches
  • Sight window 6 inches
  • Arrow speed- 12 shot average. 410 grain arrow
    1.    45 lb. Ocala 62"---------------  178.97 FPS
    2.    60 lb. Ocala 60"---------------  194.10 FPS
All Shakespeare “X” Wonderbows are named after a national wilderness or forest. This famous Wonderbow is named after The Ocala National Forest in Florida. The Modern City of Ocala Florida is located near what is thought to have been the site of Ocale or Ocali, a major Timucua village and chiefdom during the 16th century. The extinct Timucua were the original Native People of Florida before the Seminole tribe.  The name of is believed to mean "Big Hammock"

Shakespeare - Root riser comparison
Root Bush Master, Game Master and Warrior Ad
In the early 1960s Shakespeare bows started to look similar to the Root Archery. Shakespeare Archery and Ernie Root began a collaboration that would last until the early 1970s. Many Root designed were used by Shakespeare and slightly modified. Root Brush Master became Shakespeare Kaibab; Root Game Master became Shakespeare Ocala. Root Warrior became Shakespeare Necedah. It used to be believed that Shakespeare bought Root in 1967 but this isn't true. Ernie Root continued to produce bows for Shakespeare, Browning, and other Archery companies as well as developing his own line of bows. Ernie Root to be an important influence in Shakespeare bow design. The very first bows after the  bore the name "Root, by Shakespeare". Shortly thereafter Ernie Root went to work for Shakespeare, and the Root name was dropped completely.
Shakespeare Necedah, Kaibab and Ocala were there top of the line bows. They used exotic wood for the riser and tip overlays. Bear Bows of the same period had more bells and whistles, complex laminated risers, complex tip overlays, and metal bear medallions. Because of the extras Bear bows were 40-60% more expensive for the customer and today a good Bear will fetch more in auction. However even Bear enthusiasts admit that the Shakespeare made excellent bows, some grudgingly acknowledge that they were some of the finest recurves of the era.
Lewis Kent's 1967 Ocala X17 with vintage sight

My 1968 62" 45# Ocala restored with red feather rest and calf skin arrow strike

my 1969 LH 60# Ocala X17

I live about 50 miles from Ocala National Forest and I hunt in the region. I knew I had to have this bow. I had a bidding war to acquire my bow and needless to say, I paid much more than I wanted, but the bow came with two strings and 5 aluminum arrow so I felt OK about the price. When the bow arrives I was ecstatic. The bow was in near mint condition, the arrows were nearly new. I replaced the rest and was shooting in 20 minutes. My first four arrows were clustered within one inch of each other.  I was amazed by the speed and accuracy of the bow. Arrow speed of the Ocala rivals and surpasses most contemporary recurves!! It is a 45# bow but it delivered the arrow with authority. It shoots level at distances up to 35 yards. This is a stable easy shooting bow with deceiving power.

1970 Ocala Special X-14A
1971 Ocala Special X-14A

The Wonderbow Rare Ocala Special  X-14A
  • Ocala X14A with Pro Hunter sight 1970, 1971
  • 62 AMO
  • Recurve
  • Weight- 40, 45, 50, and 55 lbs
  • Riser-  Bubinga 
  • rest- Shakespeare "Hunter Rest"
  • Limbs- 2 inch wide  cinnamon brown and white glass
  • Tips- Benge and Cherry
  • Semi-pistol grip
  • Brace height- 7 7/8 inches
  • Sight window- 6 inches 1970, 6 1/2 inches 1971
  • Arrow speed- 12 shot average. 410 grain arrow
    42 lb. Ocala X14-A ----------   175.56 FPS

    The term "rare" often gets over used today but I think RARE aptly describes the X-14-A. The Ocala Special X-14A was designed as a hunting bow. It is a modified Ocala with longer limbs and a factory mounted Bow sight. This bow was manufactured for just two years and it is a very hard bow to find today. Since I have been collecting vintage bows I had not seen a single X-14A offered for sale, trade or auction. Then this summer my friend Lewis Kent spotted one on eBay and he won the auction. His bow is in excellent condition with the medal medallion, the original arrow rest and strike plate, it has the original bow sight which is missing the pins. The bow has a few minor scuffs but it is in beautiful shape.
    Lewis Kent's Rare Right Hand Ocala Special X-14A
    I was very happy for Lewis. Since I am a left handed shooter, I thought I would never see one of the bows for a lefty. Then January 2015 I stumbled upon another X-14A  on eBay which had been listed only as a Shakespeare Ocala. In the photos I noticed that it was the elusive X-14A and ,to my surprise, it was a left handed bow!! I won this bow with a last second high bid. Prices have really gone up lately on vintage bows and the price I won with was one of the highest I have paid for a Shakespeare Bow. I really didn't care. It was a bow I never thought I would own. The seller was incredible and the bow was in amazing condition. My bow is missing the bow sight however. 
    My Lefty Ocala X-14A
    Because the bow was in excellent condition, I began shooting it immediately. I have been shooting 20 yard 300 rounds with all of my bows. I decided to get this bow tuned and shooting 300 rounds. The bow is 42 pounds and lighter then my hunting bows yet heaver then my target bows. Incredibly after only a week of practice it had out score all of my hunting bows and it out scored all but two of my target bows!! Lewis's bow is a 55# bow, my optimum hunting weight. However I could use my bow for either hunting or tournament shooting!!
    Lewis lent me his bow to photograph for this blog. When I layed my bow next to his, I noticed a couple differences. The riser window in my LH is slightly larger than then his RH bow. The decals are also placed differently. As I was preparing to take some photos, it occurred to me that I might be shooting a very rare photograph, perhaps the only known photograph of a right handed and left handed Ocala Special X-14A together, an very rare confluence in the history of archery!!! 
    My Ocala X14-A LH with Lewis Kent's Ocala X14-A RH
    1971 Ocala X-14A magazine AD

My restored 60 lbs. Ocala is a beautiful and hard-hitting bow!!
A FEAT FOR MEAT by C.R. Learn, pp 18-22, 78,79. BOW AND ARROW Oct 1971
I just received 33 vintage Bow and Arrow Magazines which I won in auction. I was surprised to find another Ocala review. Enjoy!!! 

the author with his ram harvested with the OCALA 1967
May- June 1967

BOW & ARROW Magazine

pp. 14-18, 43, 59

Brush Beat for a Meat Sheep

 (but in Testing Shakespeare’s Ocala Bow, There Were Other Target Opportunities)

By Jim Dougherty

I was very pleased to have won this vintage Bow and Arrow Magazine in auction. It is loaded with great articles and vintage ads. It also had a wonderful review of the Shakespeare Ocala x17 Bow.
The article is much more than a bow review; it is a chronicle of several hunting trips to Santa Cruz Island, CA., in which the author used the new Ocala bow with a Bear Quiver, Shakespeare Rifled fiberglass arrows and Ben Pearson Deadhead Broadheads.
Because the article is quite long I have quoted excerpts which pertain to the Shakespeare equipment used.

“The Shakespeare Ocala was leaning against a tree behind me about six feet away…….it dawned on me that I had not even shot a single arrow out of this new Ocala…The sixty two inch Shakespeare power stick is relatively new in an ever broadening line of excellent products out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Mine had come marked fifty five – plus pounds, although I didn’t know plus what, I figured if it was over plus ten, I was in big trouble. Actually the bows from Shakespeare are marked in five-pound increments and I presumed the plus to mean that it was closer to sixty than the fifty-five.”

SHEEP HUNT- “……I loosed the first arrow from the Ocala….the broadhead struck the critter at the base of the skull”
 “ Dick Wilson of Shakespeare had sent me a dozen of their rifled Fiberglass arrows and believe me the shafts are as tough as hell, you cannot break one in two…..By dark I was completely satisfied with the performance of the Ocala……flat trajectory and it did well in the speed department too.”

PIG HUNT- “ By eight thirty the Ocala and I were again in the canyon where we had encountered all the pigs the night before…….Twenty minutes later I was at full draw on a nice boar…he was down and out within ten yards and once again the Ocala stood up to the pressure…..

“In the efficiency department the Ocala bow really has guts. In the case of the past ram, the arrow had driven in behind the right shoulder, through the heart and completely through the heavy shoulder bone of the left shoulder cutting it in two. In the case of the pig it had severed two ribs entering and broken the shoulder on the off side. The first victim, the meat sheep, had all but his head knocked clear off.
The arrows used all ran 520 – 550 grains and all had contacted solid bone. For the first in a series of hunts with the Ocala, it more than proved that the little sixty two inch hunter is a bow not to be discounted. Later shooting on the range proved that she held her own in the cast department, giving me long yardage point on and flat shooting characteristic for the hunting conditions. The limbs are a bit wider than many of today’s bows, being two inches wide and a six inch sight window is plenty for both bare bow and sight shooters…..They (his trophies) shall be established in my den above the classy Zebra Wood and Benge beauty that took them and my mind will always recall the sight of that one particular arrow meeting the big ram in full flight.
Dick Wilson and the Shakespeare people have no reason to be anything but proud of the strides they have made in modern archery tackle. The complete line of Shakespeare bows is cut from the same mold of quality that highlights the Ocala