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Blog posts tagged with 'Archery'

Recurve Bows- Basic Introduction

A recurve bow is distinguished by the outcurves at both ends of the bow. Recurve bows add extra power and smoothness to arrow shooting. Though nobody knows for sure who first invented recurve bows. This bow style  is the only archery competition in Olympics. Many archers also use extra powerful recurve bows in field archery, bowhunting and 3D archery.

It is widely believed that the Chinese and other Asian tribes have been using recurve well before the native Indians crossed the Bering Land bridge to cross into America, as the later European colonists found native Indians using recurve bows for hunting. Many Horse mounted armies of Mongols, Scythians, Assyrians and Turks used different versions of recurve bows and fought many wars.

The modern recurve bows are known as takedown bows as the bow can dismantled into portable parts, unlike the ancient Asian solid single piece bows.

Diagram of a Recurve Bow With Components-

Detailed diagram of recurve bows with complete components.

 

 

Introduction- Compound Bow For Beginners

Before we get on with some tips on selecting the most suitable compound bow, please have a look at the compound bow graphic with its various components illustrated for better understanding of your bow. Compound bows have been around for a while now and are now very popular not only among hunters, but also competition archers.

Arcehry Compound Bow Construction And Parts Illustration

What is a compound bow and how it is different from traditional recurve or long bows? Compound bows are an improved bow for higher poundage draw weight bow. Compound bows are hand drawn like traditional recurve or long bows, the only difference is that compound bows have an additional string cable running over a pulley and an oblong cam or two cam pulleys in double cam bows. When archer pulls the string, the cam pulley transfers most of the draw weight on the cable string and archer can easily hold the puller string while he aims. Normally compound bows are made with a combination of alloy aluminium for riser, fibre glass or carbon fibre wood composite limbs and aluminium cams. The modern compound bows can deliver an arrow with a matching kinetic energy that of bullets.

There are a number of big brands in the market like Hoyt, PSE, Mathew,  Martin, Bowtech, Win & Win, Bears, Barnett and many others. Archery is an age old hunting/ Target sports, requiring great amount of practice, skill and concentration. A successful archer is less indebted to the equipment than to his skills and patience. Some archers today tend to compare their competitors by the brand and the model they carry. Without belittling various innovations by world bow manufacturers, let me state without hesitation, that your bow will not affect your performance drastically, as long as you have taken care to select a bow suitable to your size, strength and comfort. As a matter of fact, the arrow quality and selection may turn out be more critical than the bow itself. Let us now try to figure out a few guidelines on selecting your bow, specially your first bow.

Brace Height

Brace heights is the distance of the string from the bows grip on the riser when the bow is not drawn. Here, we follow a simple understanding that the closer the string is to the riser, longer is contact period with the arrow before it leaves the bow on its journey; string imparting more kinetic energy to the arrow, so more speed and more power. Normally, compound bows are available in 6"-7" brace heights. While experienced archers would go for a combination of shorter brace height and bigger draw lengths to get an extra power stoke, the beginners and amtuers should start with a taller brace height for the a given draw length for more accurate performance.

Normally, beginner and ladies bows have a shorter draw length, so a little smaller brace height tends to add to pwer stoke without compromising accuracy.

Axle to Axle Length

 The distance between the axles of the two cams of a compound bow is known as the axle to axle length, it is slightly smaller than the bows height if bow is placed on its tip. Most manyfacturers make compound bows with A to A lenghth between 32-36". While shorter bows are mainly used by hunter archers, the longer ones with 36" lenght are competition bows. There are some models in 28-30" also for hunting purpose.

Youth and women compound bows are normally with A to A length between 25"-28".

Draw Length

Unlike traditional bows, most compound bows have a fixed maximum draw length, though one can adjust draw length by making minor adjustments. The draw length is the distance between the riser and the nock point when the bow is fully drawn. Please see the illustration below to understand more clearly. A suitable draw length may be very critical in your performance on compound bows.  For all those whose body structure is in normal proportion, one can get the ball park suitable draw length by the height of the person, but more specifically, draw length is calculated by measuring the spread arm span in inches of a person and dividing it by 2.5 to get suitable draw length. Generally, a normally proportioned body type, person’s height and arm span are equal. Please see the illustration below to see how arm span is measured. It is important that you should stand in normal upright (Do not hunch up or stretch the shoulders) posture and spread you your hand horizontally with your palms facing outwards.

Please see the indicative correlation between arm span and correct draw length.

Arm Span and Draw Length Illustration

 

Please remember that these are just indicative in nature. There may be other parameters, like if you have longer fingers than normal, then you should reduce the draw length a little to get the draw length. Conversely, if you have shorter than usual fingers, you may consider going in for a little extra draw length than indicated by this method.

 Draw Weight

Conventionally, the draw weights are measured as weight in pounds. Draw weight for a specific compound bow is a measurement of maximum force required to draw the string to maximum draw length. It is obvious that different people have different strengths based upon age, body type, and exercised muscular strength. You work the same shoulder and arm muscles to draw a bow, which you use when you row a boat. As you practice more archery, you will experience a gain in your draw weight capacity. Typically, I recommend somewhat less draw weight than your maximum strength for ease and joy of the sport. Avoid choosing a very heavy draw weight bow, unless you are the tough and dedicated archer shooting hundreds of arrows every week. Though, one likes to believe that heavier draw weight will add to the shooting speed, it is not always the case, as according to IBO (International Bowhunter Organization) recommendation,  you should use a heavier arrow for higher draw weight ( Approximately 5 grain of arrow weight for each pound of draw weight), so the additional energy stored in higher draw weight gets used up by heavier arrow without adding anything to the shooting speed.

There are no absolute correlations for selection of the right draw weight other than your own evolved sense after practicing the sport for a while. There are however, some guidelines based on age group and physical structure for your to narrow down to your suitable draw weights. Here is a chart for your quick glance.

 

 

Very Small Child (55-70 lbs.)                     10-15 Lbs

Small Child (70-100 lbs.)

15-25 lbs.

Larger Child (100-130 lbs.)

25-35 lbs.

Small Frame Women (100-130 lbs.)

25-35 lbs.

Medium Frame Women (130-160 lbs.)

30-40 lbs.

Athletic Older Child (Boys 130-150 lbs.)

40-50 lbs.

Small Frame Men (120-150 lbs.)

45-55 lbs.

Large Frame Women (160+ lbs.)

45-55 lbs.

Medium Frame Men (150-180 lbs.)

55-65 lbs.

Large Frame Men (180+ lbs.)

65-75 lbs.

 

 

 

Age Group

Weight Group

Recommended Draw Weight

 8-10 Years

24-35 Kgs (55-77 Lbs)

10-15 Lbs

10-12 Years

35-45 Kgs (70-100 Lbs)

15-25 Lbs

12-14 Years

45-60 Kgs (100-130 Lbs)

25-35 Lbs

Cams

Archery Arrows- An Introduction

The arrow may look like a simple rod with a sharp point, but there is good amount of engineering involved in construction and selection of an arrow for different bows and use. This blog is dedicated to explain parts and technical specifications of an arrow to beginners.

 

Construction-

 

An arrow primarily has four different components in it construction.

 

Shaft-

The long straight shaft is the biggest part of the arrow. The shafts are manufactured from a variety of materials; Wood, Bamboo, Aluminium, Fibre Glass and Carbon Fibre.

Normally, shafts are hollow tubes, but in some cases, these may be solid rods also, specially wood and bamboo. The shafts are made of varying lengths and diameter, stiffness and weights.

The competition and hunting arrows are made in lengths from 26” (Junior) to 32” (Extra large) and with diameters varying from 5/16”(7.93 mm), 11/32”(8.73 mm), 9/32”(7.14 mm), 21/64”(8.33 mm). Diameters and shaft stiffness (also known as spine) are correlated.

We select different lengths, diameters, weights and stiffness for different archery needs. Please read on our arrow selection guidelines for better understanding.

 

Fletching or Vanes-

Fletchings or vanes are 3 or more feather like attachments near the bottom of the arrow. Fletchings are made of plastic or real feathers. Fletchings create drag when arrow is in motion and help in stability and accuracy. Certain kinds of spiral fletchings are also designed to rotate inflight arrow, much like a bullet. Good quality archery arrows have colour of one fletching different from the rest. This fletching is called “Cock Feather or Index Fletching, ” and the others are called “Hen Feather”. When you nock the arrow, the the index or cock feather is perpendicular to the bow. It is also known as nocking vane.

 

Straight Cut Shield Fletchings

The most common shape of the fletching cut straight cut shield in parabolic shape.

This type of fletchings are used for target practice. The three fletchings are glued symmetrically 120 degrees apart near the nock. Some archers also use 4 fletchings set 90 degrees apart.

 

Spin Vanes or Helical Fletchings

These are slightly twisted plastic fletchings placed symmetrically to generate extra rotation for the arrow in flights for extra stability and accuracy. Most hunting archers use these vanes.

 

Flu Flu Fletchings

These turkey long feather fletchings were used by bird hunt gamers. These fletchings are made by wrapping 2 or 3 long bird feathers and plucked into bristle shape. These fletching slow the arrow by creating additional drag and the arrows do not travel far distance. You can imagine the struggle in retrieving arrow in case of missing the target while bird hunting, so somebody thought about such fletchings.

 

Nocks

Nocks are small forked plastic tips at the bottom of the arrow. When placed on string, the nock end snaps fit on the string lightly. Nocks are vey convenient for archers due to easy loading of the arrows. Every archer first determines the nocking point on his bow and marks it with nocking pins or by making D Loops with another string.

Arrowheads-

Arrowheads are the points on the tip of the arrow. There are a variety of shapes and weights of arrowheads available for different shooting needs of Archers. Bowhunter archers use broadheads as arrow points. Arrow points are diligently selected for different type of need, bow type and arrows. Arrow points are typically the heaviest part of the bow and affect the way arrow bends when shot from the bow. Archers match the arrow points weight with arrow shaft length and stiffness. The most popular arrow points are made in 75, 85, 100 and 125 grains, some archers also use slightly heavier arrow weights to suit their bows and shooting need. A grain is a traditional British weight measure, roughly representing an average wheat grain weight. Now, this weight has been standardized. 1 Grain is equal to .06498 Grams.

Traditional Flint Stone Arrow PointsMetallic Tradiional Arrow PointsHunting Mechnical Broadheads

We will continue to update this blog. You must join our blog on arrow technical specifications and selection for different types of bows, shooting needs and arrow type.

Arrow Selection Guidelines

I recommend that all beginners should first familiarize themselves with different parts in the construction of an arrow. In this blog, we will explain the technical specifications of different arrow parts and how to select the right arrow for your bow and shooting need.

 We must first begin with explanation of a phenomenon called “Archer’s Paradox”. A static arrow is straight and most beginners assume that it also flies straight when shot. When we release a fully drawn string, it applies sudden force on a static arrow and the arrow bends in centre as a result of this compression. There are a number of factors that affect how much an arrow will bend when shot from a bow. This phenomenon becomes significant and causes the flight and accuracy as you start using higher draw weights. Let us understand a few technical aspects of an arrow that you must consider before selecting the right one for your needs.

 Arrow Dimensions-

 It is important that your select the right length of your arrow. We use different arrow lengths for bows with different draw lengths.  It is a time tested agreement that your arrow length should be minimum 1” longer than your draw length, so that when you draw the string to full length, the arrow hangs out about an inch over the arrow rest. A shorter arrow increases the risk of the arrow sliding down the rest and can cause serious damage to equipment and the archer when shot. On the other hand, a longer arrow adds unnecessary weight and increases spine, affecting the speed and performance of your shots.

The other aspect of an arrow dimension is the diameter and wall thickness. We select the right diameter by calculating the suitable spine for a given material, length and diameter.

Arrow material-

 Arrows are available in different materials like wood, bamboo, fibre glass, aluminium and carbon fibre. Since 90s, the carbon fibre arrows have really taken over the most preferred material for the arrows, as carbon fibre is the lightest among all these materials. Fibre glass is a very strong material, but it adds a lot of weight, thereby affects speed. Aluminium became very popular before carbon fibre appeared on scene. Aluminium arrows are less resistant to bend memory than carbon fibre. Bamboo and wooden arrows are liked for their traditional heritage value and looks, but these tend to break too often.

Arrow Weight-

 Arrow weight is another very important parameter is selection of right arrow construction.  Lighter the arrow, the faster and farther it will go, but carries smaller penetration power, whereas the heavier arrows tend to lose trajectory and do not go very far. So does it mean that lighter arrows are necessarily better? There is a limit to the lightness also. Modern compound and recurve archery bows can shoot with a great amount of energy. An underweight arrow will not provide necessary resistance to the string push and as a result, the string will transfer energy to the bow limbs and it will jerk violently. This can damage your bow and string.  Firing an underweight arrow is like dry firing. The archers world over have accepted a minimum of 5 grains weight per draw pound weight. While most 3D archers use 5 grains for fastest possible speed and bow-hunters use 6-9 grains per pound. Please see the recommended arrow weight and bow draw weight chart for ready reference.

Arrow Point Weight Chart

Arrow balance-

 An arrow needs to be properly balanced for accurate shooting. Most arrows do not have the balance at the centre of the arrow. An arrow with higher weight in the front part is more accurate. The point where the arrow is balanced is known as FOC (Front of Centre). The distance between the centre and FOC is normally 10-12% of the arrow length for higher accuracy and stable flight.

Arrow Weight balancing Illustration

 

Arrow Points-

 Arrow points are the business part of the arrow, i.e. point is part that penetrates the target. There are a variety of arrow points available for different shooting needs. Other than the shape and function of the arrow point, you must also pay attention to the weight of the arrow point.  Arrow point weight is very important factor in affecting bending of the shaft (Also known as Dynamic Spine). A heavier point will add more bending of the shaft when the arrow is released.  Please see the chart below to understand the correlation among various parameters in suitable arrow construction.

Arrow Spine-

 This is the most important parameter that you have to bear in mind while selecting your arrow. Spine is a measurement of stiffness of arrow shaft. You will need to select a suitable spine parameter for your bow. A correct spine is critical when the arrow takes flight and bends due to sudden compression (Archer’s Paradox). A too stiff or too limber arrow will adversely affect flight stability and accuracy. Generally speaking, you should select a stiffer arrow for higher poundage bow and limber shaft for lighter draw weight bows.

Spine is a measurement of bending of arrow when a weight is suspended in the centre of the shaft. As per AMO (Archery Manufacturer Association) specifications, spine is measured by placing an arrow on two wedges 26” apart and by hanging a weight of 1.94 Lbs in the centre; the displacement of the centre in inches is spine. This spine measurement is static arrow spine, however in flight arrow spine is influenced by static spine, Bow cams, Bow draw weight, darw length, arrow length, weight and arrow point. All reputed arrow manufacturers have calibrated their arrows for different parameters of Bows and arrows. Please see the chart below for recommendations of arrows based on these varying parameters.

Arrow Spine Chart

 

Fletchings-

Fletchings help stabilize the arrow in flight. The fletchings are parabolic shape light feather or plastic. Usually, 3 or 4 fletchings, also know as vanes, are glued symmetrically near the base of the arrows. Here are a few factors to consider when you select your fletchings.

Shape and Size-

Fletchings are made different parabolic profiles varying in length from 2” to 5”. The standard Duravanes are the most popular choice for archers today. These are made from light-weight rubber. These are excellent all weather shooting choice as these are less expensive and practically, maintenance free. Plastic vanes are not as good as properly made hard turkey feather fletchings, but are good enough for the task.  Occasionally, one or the other manufacturer introduces different shape and material of vanes, claiming certain performance advantages. I personally, do not find much enhancement worth the trouble. There have been many speciality vanes like Blazer vanes, Quickspin, Vanetec etc.

 Now, the next question is what size of the fletching makes more sense than the other. This question is very simple to understand. The larger the vane, more surface area it has. A larger surface area creates more drag on the arrow, hence slows down the arrow, but adds more stability. Normally, 3D target shooters prefer shorter flethings and bow-hunters choose a longer one.

Standard Duravane PhotoSpeciality VaneTurkey Feather Fletching Photo

                                Standard Plastic Duravane                    High Profle Balzer vane                        Turkey Feather Fletching

 Plastic Vanes or Feather Fletchings-

 Feathers are the original fletching material for arrows. Feather are certainly more effective in arrow flight and stabilization. A 4” turkey feather fletching weighs (6-8 Grains) 3-4 times lighter than a comparable plastic vane (24 Grains). Feather fletchings are very expensive compared to plastic vanes and are a maintenance nightmare. For all practical shooting needs, plastic vanes are good enough.

 Fletching Turn-

 Another important consideration is how you arrange the fletching on the arrow. A helical fletching configuration definitely helps stabilize the arrow as this pattern makes the arrow spin in flight. A helical arrangement is surely the best for arrow flight, but it is not always possible to use helical fletching as your arrow rest may not have enough clearance to allow helical fletchings to pass uninterrupted. Archers sometimes, also use right of left offset pattern to add spin in arrow flight. Normally, competition archers use straight fletchings. Please see then graphics below for better understanding.

 Left Helical Fletching Pattern   Left Offset Fletching Pattern Straight Fletching Pattern Straight Fletching Pattern

                                               Left Heiical           Right Helical         Left Offset        Right Offset         Straight

 

 

We will continue to update and improve this blog. We appreciate sharing your comments and experience to make this blog really informative for beginners and professionals as well.