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Posted: 10/29/2004 12:24:21 PM EST
Been thinking about this for a while. Have printed some good info and read it (http://www.huntersfriend.com/bowselection.htm). I want a quiet, stealthy alternative to my AR or other rifles should I ever need to hunt with it or defend my family with it.

I don't have much money to start with (around $300ish). I have found a couple of good buys at huntersfriend.com -- like a Browning Rage complete kit for $300 - 450. But just wanted to get any additional input from experienced archers/hunters at ARFCOM. I understand that I need to get a good, inexpensive bow with a nice letoff/valley, average brace height, average draw-weight for men (45-70#), and good forgiveness rating to start with. I don't plan to hunt with this rig. If I ever decide to hunt with a bow, I will upgrade later on. I just want a good bow to get comfortable with and use for target practice. Any input or experiences are appreciated. Thanks.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 12:29:56 PM EST
If your gonna practice get a compound

if not get a compound crossbow.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 12:35:27 PM EST
Get the automatic crossbow like the one in van helstink
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 12:36:38 PM EST
Will practice daily. Have a large enough yard with a farmer's field behind it that I can set-up some hay bails at my fence line and shoot into that. Too bad I can't shoot there (no solid backstop and close neighbors).
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 12:42:12 PM EST
You only need to buy one. No need for a starter.

You should find and go to an archery shop and let them fit you, in other words find what your length of pull is.

Then buy one that is correct for you whether you buy there or somewhere else, new or used doesn't matter.

Single cam is best that way you never have to worry about your cams not being times right.

By a good release, this cannot be stressed enough. With a good release your shots will be more consistent and you will become a good enough shot to be deadly, quicker than you can imagine.

Unless you are a very small weak person, you should be using at least 65# draw so by a bow that doesn't max out below 70#.

Once you settle in on a draw weight you can then figure out arrow weights and broadhead weight. Lighter goes faster, Heavier has more energy to expel into your target. And to light of an arrow in a heavy pull bow will explode in your face. So you have to find the middle ground.

Aluminum arrows will most likely last longer but I prefer carbon.

That should get you to thinking.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 12:42:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2004 12:46:37 PM EST by NEPAshooter]
I've been shooting some form of Arrow for over 20 years. I've taught numerous students throughout that time, both hunters and competition target shooters.

If you seriously want to get into traditional archery, know that it takes ALOT of practice. I'm talking on the order of 30-60 minutes every other day at least, dropping somewhere near 200 arrows per session. Traditional archery is all about muscle memory, since there's no sighting devices. But it's fast. And properly mated arrows (to the specific bow and shooter) are more than silent; it's the noise of the fletch whispering through the air, nothing more.

If you're thinking compound, it's not going to be as quiet. Nor as fast. But properly set up, the right fitting compound will be forgiving, 'relatively' quick, and accurate out to 40 yards with once a week practice. (about 75-100 arrows per session)

Decide what you REALLY want, and then post up why you want it, and that will make it more clear.

E.

ETA - If you go the compound route, DO NOT under ANY circumstances chase the 'fastest bow you can handle'. It's a recipe for disaster, frustration, and wasted money. I have seen it first hand DOZENS of times. Like shooting long distance highpower, FORM IS EVERYTHING. High poundage, unforgiving bows create or magnify flaws in form, and will infuriate you, and dissolve ANY enthusiasm you have towards the sport.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 1:22:16 PM EST
Hmmm... some very good info for me to digest. Will consider all of your points.

I have read enough to know that I don't want to get a bow with over 70# draw weight to start with. I am 5'11" and 210lbs of mostly muscle (minus spare tire) -- not small and certainly not weak, but the experts like the post above seem to all say that chasing high draw weights and arrow speeds is a waste of time for all but the best shooters. I will stick with a middle of the road in terms of performance and with a high forgiveness.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 1:47:44 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2004 1:53:58 PM EST by NEPAshooter]

Originally Posted By Red_Label:
Hmmm... some very good info for me to digest. Will consider all of your points.

I have read enough to know that I don't want to get a bow with over 70# draw weight to start with. I am 5'11" and 210lbs of mostly muscle (minus spare tire) -- not small and certainly not weak, but the experts like the post above seem to all say that chasing high draw weights and arrow speeds is a waste of time for all but the best shooters. I will stick with a middle of the road in terms of performance and with a high forgiveness.



I mean no insult, but I can tell you right now, start working out. I have seen heavy lifters try to draw my 70# Mathews, and he couldn't do it more than twice.

Archery uses shoulder and back muscles you never knew you had. Standard lifting exercises NEVER address these groups.

To begin building for your archery days, grab two ten pound weights, and stand vertically with each at your side hanging. Lift each of your arms, locked straight, STRAIGHT FORWARD until each are level with your shoulder/chin. Hold for a 2 count, relax and lower. Breathe, do the other arm. Repeat. 15 reps, 3 sets.

Do the same thing again, with your arms out at 90 degrees, pointing towards your 3 and 9 o clock.

Do this daily. If you can beat the 10 lbs, go to 15. 20 rep sets are good also.

If you choose a compound, I'll give you the standard reccommendation I give adult males; Peak Weight 60#, any single cam bow, stay away from gimmicks like split limb tech, or radically machined risers. (Hoyt is notorious for this 'marketing') A peak 60# will let you set the bow to 52#, something you should be able manage, and help you develop proper form, just like in weight lifting. Once your form is down pat, you can slowly crank up the weight, 2 lb's at a time, every time you feel you have mastered the weight range. (sub 3" 5 shot groups at 20 yards) When you hit 60-61 lbs (peak weight on the bow) you will be in control, and most important, the bow will be 'tight'; a bow ALWAYS shoot's best when it's tight, because that is where it is best engineered for. (with respect to recoil management, consistency, silence, etc).

I don't know what your budget for this venture is, but shoot me a number, and I can throw out some suggestions at what to look for.

E.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 1:53:28 PM EST
I actually do the exercises that you mention, three times a week with 20# weights. Have been doing that for 2 years now. So that should be no problem.

My budget right now is only $300-500 max. I know that's low, but I have no doubt that I can find an adequate bow for that. I can spend the big bucks later (once I decide that I want to stick with it). I believe in buying the best one can afford, but I cannot afford more than that right now. Will check this thread later at home for more advice. Thanks guys!

Link Posted: 10/29/2004 2:05:05 PM EST
Pretty good bunch of guys here.


www.monstermuleys.info/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.pl
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 2:12:58 PM EST
Hmm. Thanks for the info, NEPA. I've been wanting to get into traditional archery for a while, but I don't know how to get started.

I received a Hoyt recurve that has a 35-pound draw weight... should I start off with this, or ask an archery shop for something closer to my specifications? (Length of pull, etc...)
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 4:03:19 PM EST
Fox,

Poundage in a traditional bow (recurve/longbow) is not as critical as it is in a Compound.

For starters, Compounds use cam let off to drop actual holding draw poundage, so higher numbers are easier for people to use (draw, aim, hold, process the release cleanly)

The other major difference is that a traditional bow will not cast an arrow fast, no matter what you do. (relative to the efficiency of delivery that a compound that can approach) There are people that will drop arrow mass down dangerously into the sub 9 grain per lb ratio, but that puts intense pressures on the bow, and the arrow. Just to get the arrow speed up in a traditional bow, but you're effectively defeating the purpose of the nostalgia.

A huge factor in traditional archery is a matched set. Based on your draw length, the arrow must clear the riser (handle) by at least 1". This will dictate arrow length, which then must be matched to the compression force the bow imparts at launch. This value is known as 'spine'. To properly understand why this value matters, google up 'archers paradox'. Some arrows are too stiff for a certain bow shot by one person with a shorter draw, but will be fine if the arrow is 3" longer for a different, longer draw shooter.

Therefore, your 35# recurve may very well be fine, if you can repeatedly draw and shoot it throughout a day. As I said earlier, it's more about muscle memory, which requires intense repetition. So I'd say it is probably a great way for you to get into traditional archery, while maintaining good shooting form so that you have a solid foundation of the basics. (as previously mentioned, overweight = strain which means you're going to ruin basic form)

The most important thing then obviously, is to get the right arrows matched to your bow. You're going to either have to seek out a local traditional expert, or do a bunch of reading on sites like Stickbow.com to learn how to properly tune a set of shafts based on point weight and your overall arrow length needed.

If you try to cut corners and just 'buy' some arrows from any local store, and shoot them, I guarantee you won't see the same pleasent dart like flying results you should, because ALL arrows distributed through most retail chains are geared towards the spine requirements of a compound; MUCH higher forces at play, so shafts like super stiff carbon are right at home. (way to stiff with a traditional, even 60-70# recurves!!) This makes the arrow require an incredibly heavy tip to increase spine reaction, otherwise the arrow will launch left of target.

Hope that's a good start. Lemme know if you would like more.

E.

Link Posted: 10/29/2004 4:36:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By Red_Label:
I actually do the exercises that you mention, three times a week with 20# weights. Have been doing that for 2 years now. So that should be no problem.

My budget right now is only $300-500 max. I know that's low, but I have no doubt that I can find an adequate bow for that. I can spend the big bucks later (once I decide that I want to stick with it). I believe in buying the best one can afford, but I cannot afford more than that right now. Will check this thread later at home for more advice. Thanks guys!




That's actually really good you do those exercises, I congratulate you. ALOT of people ignore their shoulders and they get beat on during other compound lifting exercises. (shoulders NEED muscle to properly support the joint, just like a Knee. It is the second most complex major joint that's prone to injury in the human body)

Your budget is quite wide, and bridges the two usual barriers; those that won't spend over $300, and those that spend from $400-$650.

If you're not adverse to used gear, you could make out like a bandit with the 'great' stuff right off the bat, and enjoy the shooting much better.

I'll sidestep for a second, and say that I'm a Mathews Biggot. I have shot as you can imagine many brands of bows, from mainstream companies, to small start up's as they are were making their root in the industry (Riptide was probably the most memorable of those).

Most compound designs are all made well in today's industry; there is more similarity than difference between most models. As I said, key points are a single cam, avoid split limbs if you can, or any radical riser design.

Single cams help reduce timing issues as another had mentioned earlier. It's not a HUGE deal normally though; in truth, as timing shifts, most shooters adjust with it as it goes until it's wicked out of hand. (at which point it's obvious they are way out of time)

Split Limbs came about around the late 90's. It was heralded as this revolutionary way to help with limb vibration. The problem (and truth) revealed was that (and this has been known in competitive circles for a long time) getting a matched set of limbs, upper and lower, in a PLAIN two limb bow, was hard enough. Variances in the way fiberglass cures, even in today age, the materials used as the core, wood, carbon, or carbon laminate, never produce two totally identical reacting limbs. And now, with split limb bow designs, you're going to ask for FOUR limbs? The purported 'recoil reduction' isn't realized, and to point, there are better ways to manage said recoil, from cam design, to riser design.

Riser design is something that you MUST pay attention to. It's like the fit of a handgun. It HAS to fit you. But, it must ALSO be designed with your shooting ability/intent in mind. For a crash course, this is the nuts and bolts. A riser (the handle that connects the limbs, and is where the arrow launches from) can be reflex, deflex, or neutral. This refers to the bend in the handle. Drawing a line vertically down the limb bolts from the side, if the crotch of the hand grip is forward of this line, it is a deflex riser. If the handle sits behind that line, it's known as reflex. Most 'speed' bows have a DEEP DEEP reflex. This places the pivot point the bow at launch WAY behind the limb bolts, so leverage says every improperly formed shot flaw will be magnified. (it should be evident now why bow design is critical, and chasing speed without proper foundation skill can lead to extreme frustration)

As mentioned earlier, once you have the bow, it has to be sized to you. Most good dealers can adjust the modular portion of the cam to get it into your draw length. Once again, try your best to stay away from large retailers; they just will not have the real expertise to get you 'fitted' properly to the bow. They closest they can come is finding/ordering a bow off the shelf, cutting arrows to your draw length, and telling you to 'have at it'.

Once properly sized, arrow choice is next up. Carbons have come the defacto standard, pushing aluminum out of the picture. There are a myriad of company's and choices, and I really can't say anyone is 'better' than another for most shooters. The only thing you should avoid are 'outsert' based arrows. This is where the screw in adapters are glued to the outside diameter of the shaft. You WANT inserts. They are easier to manage, easier to draw from your target, and more common nowadays. (replacement parts wise)

This has gotten retardedly long, so I'll shut up now.

Oh, and a major advisement; Get and read this book:

Kirk's Book

It speaks from a competition standpoint, but form is fundamental, and applies to a hunter just the same.

E.

Link Posted: 10/29/2004 4:41:08 PM EST

Archery uses shoulder and back muscles you never knew you had. Standard lifting exercises NEVER address these groups.


+1.

I'm too tired to go into the basics, but I'll say this: NEVER buy any piece of archery gear that says 'Browning' on it.

It's just junk with the browning name on it. Their archery equipment has been that way for a decade or more now.

A pinched nerve has me sitting out this season, and I miss it sorely.
Link Posted: 10/29/2004 4:49:50 PM EST
Wow, just wow.
Awesome post.
I really really need to get back into archery.
Badly.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 4:58:35 AM EST
Ok, now that I'm awake, and a little more refreshed, the key questions you need to answer are:

What is this bow for? (Hunting? Competition? 3D shooting? or the ubiquitous, 'jack of all trades'?)

How much are you willing to spend up to? ($500. you answered that already. If you end up short, obviously that doesn't hurt either)

As mentioned before, are you adverse to used gear? (Often, bows are built well beyond the durability needed by most shooters, (except for the hunters I know that get so excited after bagging a buck they back up their truck over their bow ) so there is plenty of life to be had in the used market; you just strip their accessories off (most of which you won't like probably) and install the ones you want. A few of my bows were used when I bought them. My first Mathews was used. (Feathermax) It shot so well, like new, that I converted over, and have never since looked back. I currently shoot a Mathews Ultra 2 for compound)

Are you left or right handed? (this affects the obvious, but also affects the previous question; south paws are limited in the used market, less items come along that will 'fit'. But those that do, typically have a much lower price, due to the lower demand. It's a luck of the draw thing.)

Are there any professional archery shops in your area, or do you have to rely on a retail franchise chain? (Gander Mtn.,Cabels, Dicks Sporting goods, etc...)

How much REAL experience do you have? (Actual string time on a real bow. Not talking to others, not little fiberglass bows made for children back in the days of summer camp (recognizable by their many bright colors and molded on rubber handle))

And lastly, where do you plan to shoot? (you mentioned hale bale at the edge of your property. Today's Carbon arrows coming out of even the lower poundage bows are so efficiently launched, they WILL clear through most smaller sized hay bales; you may want to consider a 4x8 sheet of 1/4" plywood on the otherside 36" behind the bale as a 'backup' backstop in case of a shoot through. (nice thing about that is you can knock the 'leg' down from behind it when you're done, so as not to have a large eyesore standing around all the time.))

Let's start there, and I should be able to point you at a few good bows to check out.

BTW, This is all the normal stuff I go through with a new student; If I'm getting carried away, don't hesitate to say, 'thanks, that'll do'. It's the only way you'll get me to shut up about this stuff; I have a DEEP passion for archery, and love to spread the enthusiasm and fun of the sport.

E.

Link Posted: 10/30/2004 5:59:19 PM EST
You can buy a good Pearson or anyother brand 50-70 pound Compound at the local pawn shot for about 50.00!!! Arrows will run you more than your bow!!!

Go that way first!!! You will thank me in the long run!!!

Bob
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