1. The riser is the same, just the length of the limbs is the difference. Longer a bow the smoother they are to shoot and normally a bit more accurate as they are more forgiving on the shooters release.
2. Personal preference. I love the Woodland Hunter, but many people love the Bamboo backing on the SS. Thunderstorm is some of the most unique looking bows with the wood NEVER being the same bow-to-bow.
3. You what have to check the law for state minimums on bow weight. I do believe 50# would be enough weight to kill an elk with the right arrow/broadhead set up. I would recommend getting a weight that you can comfortably and accurately shoot. If you have been shooting the 50# a while, try a 55# Tomahawk. The longer length will make it shoot easier than the recurve you have and only 5# wont feel like much in itself. Personal recommendation though.
Answered on 3/8/2012 by Johnathan Karch from 3Rivers Archery