Takedown recurve bows are favorites among hunters, target archers and backyard archers alike. They break down and pack easily. You can often get different weight limbs for different applications. They’re the Swiss Army knives of recurve bows.

But not all takedown recurve bows are built the same. That is, you need to know what kind you have if you want to get multiple sets of limbs for the different games you play with your bow.

ILF

Arguably the takedown recurve bow with the most options for limbs is an ILF bow. The ILF stands for International Limb Fitting. It’s a uniform attachment system that allows limbs from many manufacturers to be matched with risers from many manufacturers.

ILF riser and limb

As long as you have an ILF-compatible riser, you can use any
ILF-style limbs. Hoyt makes a series of ILF-compatible risers and limbs under
their Grand Prix name.

On an ILF riser, you will see a limb bolt and a dovetail
receiver. ILF limbs will have a U-shaped end that fits under the riser’s limb
bolt, and a detent assembly that fits into the dovetail receiver.

FORMULA

Formula limbs and risers look similar to the ILF versions. They are not compatible with each other, however, since the distance is longer between the limb end and the detent on Formula limbs. 

At left is a Formula limb, while at right is an ILF limb.

Notice the difference in distance from the limb bolt to the dovetail between the Formula riser at top, compared to ILF riser below.

BRAND SPECIFIC

There are several manufacturers that make their own risers
and limbs, which are only compatible with one another.

The Galaxy Sage, for example, is one of the best-selling takedown recurve bows on the market. It employs a screw-in bolt to connect the limbs to the riser. Only Galaxy Sage limbs will work with Galaxy Sage risers.

Galaxy Sage limb, riser and connection bolt

Cartel is another manufacturer that employs a unique
limb-bolt connection system. Only certain Cartel limbs will work with certain
Cartel risers.

Manufacturers of takedown bows with unique limb-connection
systems will tell you which limbs work with which risers. Stick to their
information to be sure you’re getting the right gear.