Why archery is for you

Silent, yet deadly
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Bram van Munster
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Why archery is for you

Post by Bram van Munster » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:11 am

There are many different reasons why you want to get involved in shooting arrows at a target. For some people it is just a hobby which they practice on a range, for others it is a way to hunt or defend themselves, so let’s talk about the different types of bows and their intended use, and why they are a good choice for you.

For starters, in most countries the bow is a legal weapon (not talking about the crossbow). In fact, in my area I can legally carry my bow and CLOSED quiver with lethal arrows and walk about the street happily. The quiver has to be closed here, so you can’t get to them in an impulsive moment and start shooting people. Unless I feel like breaking the law, I cannot open the quiver unless I’m at home or workshop, at the archery range or in the forest. That being said, let’s get to the good part!

If you want to take up bow-hunting as a beginner, you have a lot of different options. There are many different types of bows, from “kids-bows” or trainers which are relatively small, all the way up to longbows that can be almost as long as a full grown man. I prefer the longbow myself, and the recurve is my number two in the list because you can disassemble most of them, and carry them with you in a pretty compact bag. Also, you can exchange the ‘arms’ of the compound bow, so should one break or you want a different drawback strength, you can easily do that.

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All bows have a string of course, and the force needed to draw back the arrow is measured in pounds globally. Training bows usually have a drawback strength of 20 to 30 pounds, after which you can work your way up to the relatively normal 60 pounders. For the grizzly’s amongst us, you can get bows with a drawback strength of up to 120 pounds, but you’re probably not going to be firing that all day long. The drawback determines the force applied to the arrow, and thus how fast it will go. If you want to shoot at really long distances, you’ll want a bow with a high drawback strength.
Besides the bow, you’ll need the arrows of course. Woodworkers can make those themselves, but trust me, getting them in a sporting goods store is a LOT quicker and often cheaper too, plus they give you advice on what material to use. Traditional arrows are made of wood, then came the plastic versions, and nowadays the carbon fiber arrows are increasingly popular. Carbon fiber arrows behave a bit like fresh wood, they flex the way you want them to while in flight and don’t easily break when you miss your target and the arrow bounces off a target. Besides flight characteristics, it also opened up the opportunity for replaceable arrow tips, so you can adapt your arrow to what ever your plan is. There are so many different types of arrow heads I can’t name them all in this post, but I’ll highlight a few.

There are arrows with blunt tips (not in image) which are mostly used at the archery range. To me, those are great for practice, and you don’t need to kill the target, just hit it. Stepping up a bit, there are the Field Point tips. Those can be used to take out squirrels, rabbits and other small animals, and will probably pin them to the ground if the arrow comes from the right angle. Fixed Blade tips are the next step up, and can take out larger animals, but are not very successful against wild boar, bears or moose. In fact, that will only piss ‘m off. For animals of that size, you’re going to need Broadhead tips. Those come in a lot of different shapes. The one in the picture has 3 straight blades and a “drill head”, and that is what they do. Broadheads drill a hole in the target as large as the diameter of the blades as your arrow is spinning really fast if all is correct. Some have helical blades which can and will take out a moose. Preppers that expect a SHTF-situation really like the broadhead tips, as they will drill the same holes in humans as in moose, should they have to defend themselves with this silent yet deadly weapon.

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All arrows must have fletchings too. Those are the feathers you see at the base. What they do, is make the arrow spin. The best way to compare this is by looking at rifles. When you look down the barrel (don’t do that from the business end!!) you’ll see helical grooves inside which make the bullet spin, which in turn makes sure the bullet stays on its path instead of going stray. Whether you use arrows or bullets, they’re all sensitive to the environment, especially wind. The faster an arrow spins, the better it stays on track and the greater your chance of hitting the target.
For arrows there are two main types of fletchings, offset and helical. The offset fletchings are primarily for short range and meant to just keep the arrow on track for that distance. Helical fletchings are meant for longer distances, as they make the arrow spin really fast. When you combine those with a broadhead tip, you’re bound to drill a big hole in your target!

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There is one type of bow we have not yet discussed, and that is the compound bow. To me, that is the least favorite, as it has a lot of moving parts. When all those parts work together correctly, you’ll have a system that’ll fire the arrow at incredible speeds with minimum draw-strength. They CAN be very accurate because of that too, yet you have to keep the moving parts clean. When you’re like me and stay in the forest for a few days, that is nearly impossible. When the pullies get dirty and don’t function as they should, your bow will be less powerful and become inaccurate.
If you want to get started with archery as hobby, sport or hunting opportunity, I’ll advice you to go to a store and gather as much information about the bows you like.

There are a few things to take into consideration:
- Drawback strength: With which bow can you practice all day long?
- Purpose: Are you going to hunt, or stay in the range?
- Rules and Laws: What is allowed in your area?
- Price: A bow and arrow combination can be anything between $30 and $5000, depending on what you want and how serious you are. My advice is to start low and upgrade as you learn more.
- Traditional or modern material?

OK so you got your basic information here. Keep on practicing!



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