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Determining the year of a Ben Pearson Renegade Recurve Bow

Okay so to find the year of my "new" recurve bow, a vintage Ben Pearson Renegade, I needed to do some in-depth research.

During my research I came across people mentioning an older website called archeryarchives.com, which unfortunately no longer exists as a website so I had to use the Wayback Machine website to look at old archived versions of the website to find the info I needed. The irony of using an archival website to find copies of a defunct archives website.

ArcheryArchives.com (when it existed) was all about dating Ben Pearson bows and other brands, namely:

  • American
  • Apach
  • Apex
  • Bruno
  • Beauty
  • Birnie
  • Bradshaw
  • Colt
  • Coe
  • Challenger
  • Custom Bows Inc.
  • Eddings
  • Eicholtz
  • Fasco
  • Finny
  • Fleetwood
  • Flight Specialities
  •  Glas Light Bows
  • Dick Green
  • Golden Sovereign
  • Silver Sovereign
  • Herter's Bows
  • Leda
  • Little John
  • Locksley
  • Hoyt
  • Perry
  • Phoenix
  • Redhead
  • Root
  • Shakespeare
  • Star Signel Bows
  • Wing
  • White MGF
  • York Archery

So yeah. A big long list of bow manufacturers and the dates various bows were made, info about the individual bows, etc. All the information was garnered from old archery catalogues and magazines.

So I get into the Ben Pearson section of the - archived version of - the website and I am presented with a list of years that have records, ranging from 1938 to 1998.

If you want to browse the old records go to https://web.archive.org/web/20101130075400/http://www.archeryarchives.com:80/pearson1.html

Having previously guessed that my Ben Pearson Renegade was from the mid 1970s, I clicked on 1975 to get a starting point.

Scroll down and there it is... stats for a Ben Pearson Renegade, 1975.

Renegade, 1975, No. 7260-0, 60 inches
  • Recurve
  • 40 to 55 lbs
  • Black personite glass, hyper kinetic full working limbs
  • Hand finished Marblewood handle with pistol grip
  • Sight window 5 1/2 inches
  • Brace height 8 3/4 to 9 1/4
  • $ ?
So that sounds like my bow. 60 inches, marblewood, everything.

But how will I know that is the correct year for my bow? What if it was made other years?

So I click on 1974 and 1976 to see if the Renegade is listed for those years too.

1974 says the riser is made of "black marblewood" which is a very different colour from the brown marblewood my bow has. The rest of the stats are identical. So my bow is definitely NOT from 1974 because it is not black marblewood.

Ben Pearson Renegade 7260 with a Black Marblewood riser.

1976 it is again made of black marblewood. Maybe people preferred the black marblewood over the brown?

But that doesn't mean my bow is from 1975. I still need to check more years.

1977, black marblewood.
1978, no Renegade listed. No longer made. Indeed, many of Ben Pearson's bows were discontinued that year and replaced with different designs and names.
1979, Ben Pearson only made 1 bow that year... the Collegian, a bow that had been popular during the 1960s.
1980, various models of older bows brought back. Clearly the changes made in 1978 had some long lasting effects, but the Renegade was not one of the bows brought back.
1981 to 1985, Ben Pearson focuses on various classic models, but no sign of the Renegade.

So I decided maybe I should check the older years.

  • 1973, Renegade is listed, but no mention of whether it is black marblewood or brown marblewood. Just "marblewood" like the 1975 listing.
  • 1972, no Renegade made that year.
  • 1971, no Renegade made that year.
  • 1970, no Renegade made that year.
So clearly the Ben Pearson Renegade was only made during the 1973 to 1977 period, and that black marblewood versions were made in 1974, 1976 and 1977.

So my bow is clearly from either 1973 or 1975, but definitely not from the other years.

So I cannot say the bow is "Circa 1974", because it is definitely not from 1974. I need to write something more complicated like:

Ben Pearson Renegade, Brown Marblewood from either 1973 or 1975.

And if anyone asks hows I know, I will have to explain 1974, '76 and '77 all used black marblewood instead of brown.

There are also some manufacturing numbers on the bow: 87328-427.

So there are two options here...

#1. It is a big number, so maybe that means it was made later - so 1975.

#2. The numbers do actually mean something, so by starting off 873, it means it was made in 1973. The 8 might just be a number representing the bow's position in Ben Pearson's lineup of bows.

Fortunately BenPearson.com (see https://www.benpearsonarchery.com/catalog-history/) now has a list of old catalogues on the following website in PDF format:


Unfortunately when I tried to download the PDFs all I get is error messages.

So if I find time later (and the PDF downloads are working) I will browse the PDFs and try to narrow down the year a bit more. Currently I have it down to a 50/50 chance it is one or the other. Close enough for now.

Note - I am never using a webcam to make a video again. The audio is really quiet. :(

Update - Someone on YouTube left a comment on my video asserting their belief that 873 at the front does indeed mean it was made in 1973. They didn't cite any sources, but it is nice to know that other people agree with my assessment.

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