Thursday, May 29, 2014


The Fabulous Root - RANGER and 
 by Larry Vienneau
Root Ranger thanks to Jeff  Freeman.
Ernie Root didn’t worry about keeping precise records, he published catalogs without dates and they often didn’t include information which can help identify his bows; he was more interested in getting his hands dirty building exceptional bows. So reconstructing the chronology of many of his bow models can be a daunting task. I recently bought a lefty Range Master and immediately found very little information about the model. So I began piecing things together by looking at the printed material I had which are ads, excerpts for dealer catalogs, and my three Root catalogs. 

A late 1950s Root Ranger thanks to Thomas Goessman

1950s Root Ranger

My 1958-59 Root Ranger
I suspect that the Range Master began as the Ranger during the mid-1950s. Ernie Root loved long limbed bows. He began his shooting career as a tournament archer.  Longer limbs add stability and allow for a longer draw length with no “stacking”. These bows were about 64 inch long, were made with alternating maple and exotic woods and had leather wrapped risers. Like the Range Master, the Ranger was also a mid- priced bow.
1959-60 Root Ranger without leather wrap
 In the early 1960’s the bow gained one inch, 65” and lost its leather wrap. The riser had a more contoured form and the riser was made from a single piece of wood rather than laminations. 
1961-63 Ranger with solid wood riser
By 1963 the Ranger was now 66” and the profile was distinctive, a profile which Root would use in many of his bow as well as in the bow he designed and built for Shakespeare Archery. After 1963 I believe the Ranger became the Range Master. The Range Master was designed as a target bow, a bow for all-round field or stump shooting, and a hunting bow.
1964-66 Range master
  The 1964 Range Master had a very similar profile to the ’63 Ranger and it was also a 66” bow, the main difference was the white fiberglass and a slightly longer riser. 
Late 1960s Range Master

By the late 1960s the profile of the bow had changed completely. The versatile all-purpose Range Master had stabilized handle section and “pendulum” balance found in much more expensive target bows (Pendulous and Professional X10). Range Master had a full view Center shot sight window and 1 3/4" wide limbs with “Micro-Tapered” laminations. The handle and riser section is sculptured from imported hardwoods and had a comfort-contoured thumb rest. All of the Shakespeare Bows were designed and built by Ernie Root. The Ranger and Range Master would morph into the Shakespeare Wonderbow x17 in 1962 and Shakespeare Trident X25 in 1964.

late 1950s – 1962 Ranger

  •  64”-65” AMO
  • Riser – laminated hardwood. Leather wrap before 1960
  •  Limbs 1 3l4 inch
  • Fiberglass: green woven until 1960, white parallel glass after 1960
  • Draw weight 25-55 lbs
  •  Hardwood tip overlay
  •  6 inch sight window
  • Leather rest 

1964- late 1960s Range Master

  • 64” 66” AMO
  • Riser- solid exotic hardwood
  • Limbs 1 3l4 inch
  • Weight 25 to 50#
  • Brace height 8”
  • 6" center shot sight window
  • Feather rest — leather arrow plate
  • Stabilizer insert on late 1960s models
    Chronograph: 39# Range Master- 410 gr arrow, 12 shots average ---161.14 FPS

The eBay photos for my future lefty Range Master
My Left Hand Range Master

I was excited to win my 1964 Range Master. The seller’s photos were poor and his description was sparse but the bow came with 10 cedar arrows fletched with orange and black turkey feathers, a nice bonus. I contacted him to ask how the limbs looked, any twists or delamination’s?  I also asked about the material on the riser. He said it had been there when he bought the bow and he never removed it. When the bow arrived I was pretty happy, it needed some refinishing but overall it looked good. I removed the riser material and discovered that someone had bound the riser with cord, hum…not good, and then I saw the crack in the riser, my heart dropped. I took the chance of bracing the bow and saw the crack open but nothing creaked or popped which was a good sign. While the crack was open I filled the fissure with Loctite 420, which is a deep penetrating superglue. I completely filled it until it ran out the sides and fill the top of the crack then clamped it closed and unstrung the bow. The next day I removed the clamps and braced the bow and the crack held, then I drew the bow awaiting the dreaded snap, crackle, pop. But it held. I took the bow out and shot over 140 arrows and it held up. I refinished the bow and added a leather plate and made a red feather arrow rest for the bow. It is a very consistent shooter, and a welcome addition to my Root collection. 
My Resurrected Left Hand 1964 Root Range Master

© Copyright, Larry Vienneau Jr.

All rights reserved.


  1. I had a late model sixties RangeMaster. You'll have to look pretty hard to find a grip that feels as good as the ones Mr. Root could make.

  2. I have one of these, anyone know how much there worth?

  3. How much are they selling for?

    1. It depends on age, condition and poundage. Looking though rBay completed listing is one good way to determine value

  4. I have a beautiful 1964 Root Sporter that resembles the Range Master. It is only 64" and 45+#. It is one of the finest shooting bows I own. Best $100 ebay purchase in a while.


    1. Do you still have your Sporter?
      Can you send photos to

  5. I just bought a really nice straight right handed Root Range Master $70 --- 66" 28# 28" Serial B4091 hand written. Attached a Vintage Reynolds (made in Ohio) Archery Bow Sight with a brown leather wrist band attached to riser with snap closer. All I described are very good condition.

  6. Have a root range master 66" 32# that I believe is the min-sixties version that's described and shown above. No stabilizer bushing and white on front n back of limbs that are now yellowed. Really like its looks, feel, and performance.

  7. Hello, all. My dad finally let me have his mid 60's Range Master bow. 20 years ago, I found it in a back room at his house, strung it, and had a lot of fun with it for a year or so. I gave it back to him and it has not been used since. Still has the bow sleeve! It's a 66" 35# 28" draw, numbered J8544. Unfortunately, it has a couple of small splits in the limbs that worry me. I'll be taking it to a local archery shop before I string it. Anyway, I really appreciate this webpage and the information!!

  8. I recently got a Range Master, 64", 50# 28" pull at an auction with two child's bows for $11. It looks like the pictures above with the unwrapped grip, white glass, but no stabilizer bushing. Sounds like a 50# version of the one foodtraveler1 above has. The grip is amazing, but I'm gonna work out to get my nearly 60 year old arms to draw it with any consistency. But she's a beauty.