Andreas Phillip looks at the radical new riser from Gillo for barebow shooting.
When the Gillo GT recurve riser was announced at the end of 2019, my eyes immediately wandered in the direction of my archery piggy bank. The risers from the Italian manufacturer are among the best equipment available for barebow archers.
The Gillo G1 now has almost legendary status and is widespread in the barebow community. With my long arms, a new 27-inch handle had been on the shopping list for a long time.
But I am also spoiled for choice. After all, the Gillo GT now offers six colours to choose from. I chose gray. I like gray. It is also available in three different lengths: 25, 27 and for the very long-armed even 29 inches. There is a variant for Formula limbs too.
At some point I couldn’t resist, the order went out, the piggy bank was lighter by around 600 euros, and the long wait began. After four months I finally had the new riser in my hands. Even when unpacking the Gillo GT makes a good impression.
The riser comes in a sturdy bag and there is no lack of accessories: warranty card, instructions, clicker plate, four Allen keys for the many screws, and plenty of spare screws too. That’s the way it should be, but you might expect a higher price for this.
The 1450 gram riser, is of high quality through and through, milled from an aluminium block and neatly machined. The colour coating is a dream, immaculately anodized and trimmed to a matt finish using sandblasting. It looks classy and pleasantly robust.
After around two months in the field and on the course, I couldn’t find any flaws. In addition to the gray I chose, the golden anodised click plate looks really classy, if you need it.
The grip was actually a pleasant experience for me. Previously I have usually quickly switched to a custom handle (mostly from Jäger Archery in the USA or recently also R-Core in Greece).
But the medium grip of the Gillo GT was immediately wonderful to hold. And it also looks good thanks to its hardwood and chic grain; the orange-gray of the handle goes perfectly with the gray matt-finish coating.
What immediately catches the eye are the limb pockets. While the limb pockets of other middle parts are firmly mounted, with the GT the entire pocket is tilted when the tiller is adjusted – so the limbs always have the same position in the pockets.
In addition, this mechanism allows significantly more leeway when setting the tiller, and allows the draw force of the limbs to be adjusted up or down by up to 15 percent. I could easily reduce my 30lb Uukhas to about 26 pounds or up to 34 pounds.
Whether and what effects these quite extreme changes have on the longevity of the limbs remains an open question for the time being. For the time being, I would recommend using only high-quality limbs at the limits of the range.
A robust mechanism made of high-quality materials should make the construction durable and stable. The base plate for the left-right adjustment of the limbs is made of 7075 aluminum, the tiller screws are made of galvanized steel and the shock buffers under the limb pockets are made of durable neoprene.
Of course, after around two months of use, we cannot reliably determine whether the structure will continue to do its job after many years.
What makes Gillo a real force in barebow are the numerous configuration options for additional weights. At the front of the middle part there are three sockets made of galvanised steel with a titanium nitride coating, where you can attach bars and additional weights.
There is another socket on the back, plus two 5/16-24UNF sockets. The centre longrod socket on the front is also slightly offset to the side to compensate for the imbalance of the bow. All Gillo G1, GQ and G5 weights, handles and accessories are usable, although I did my set up with standard screw weights.
I tested the Gillo GT27 with Uukha Ex1 Evo2 with 30 Lbs, a Zniper rest, 14-strand 8125 with a length of 1725 mm, standing height 23 mm (as recommended by Uukha), and neutral tiller. The arrows were Victory 3DHV 700 (full length) with 100gr tips and Björn Dragonflight Vanes.
The riser is already very well adjusted at the factory, in a neutral position with regard to the limb pockets. If you don’t want to change the draw weight or have other preferences, you don’t even need to tinker with it. The first set-up was almost perfect and I only had to make minimal adjustments, just the usual settings for center shot, button, nock point height.
With the first shots I fell in love with the Gillo GT. It lies wonderfully in the hand and is extremely steady thanks to the successful geometry and the cushioned limb pockets.
I was anything but unhappy with my Best Moon before, but the Gillo GT is in a different league. If I don’t second guess myself, the arrows are right and I don’t feel any significant difference whether I dig deep at a short distance or have the point under the target at 50 meters. The sound on release is satisfactorily full.
Always check all the screws again before you start serious shooting. As I found out, the grub screws for lateral adjustment of the limb pockets were not fully tightened and after about 500 shots began to rattle quietly. Otherwise, the bow was extremely quiet even without much fine-tuning. The neoprene dampers under the limb pockets keep the noise low. It’s nice that you don’t have to worry about limbsavers or other silencers.
One has to compare this riser to its peers. I was quite happy with my old Best Moon, apart from the fact that I finally wanted a 27-inch handle. 600-700 euros (depending on the dealer) is already a larger number, even if it is still significantly cheaper than the 800-euros-plus Hoyt Xceed, which has also been well-received by many other barebowers.
In the end, I haven’t regretted the purchase, at least not after the first two months. The Gillo GT looks chic, can be configured extremely flexibly, lies perfectly in the hand and has great smoothness.
I accept the extended flexible adjustability of the draw weight with the same limbs as a nice extra; everyone will have to decide for themselves whether they need it. I will probably use this feature indoors at most – my 30lbs are easily enough with my draw length to reach all WA-relevant distances.
If you are looking for a great riser for barebows and/or string walking, you should definitely give the Gillo GT a chance and try it out. After the inexpensive G2 and the very good G1, the Italian manufacturer has improved again. Class.
For more information, just visit: www.gilloarchery.it