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wow! it's been a long time since i made an entry...i've been on a short hiatus. but i'm back now. i'm, once again, shooting on a daily basis.
since i've had to lower my bow draw weight poundage i've changed my prefered release method at least twice now. (i also noticd my draw length has shortened somewhat, too. it's now slightly more than 28". that in turn neccesitates the changing of arrows.
i now shoot 28.5" carbons, GT 3555's, with a great deal of success. i still stick with 5" feathers but have switched to a near straight fletch configutration; i read an article by chuck adams quite a while ago that stated that a two degree angle of fletch set was more than adquate. besides, adjusting the bitzenberger to, and applying fletch tape to a curved feather base, is somewhat of a pain in the noogies when applying to a small diameter shaft like the GT 3555.
the arrows fly just fine.
i even mounted an MA3 to see how it would work on the "new" (to me) configuration...it flew wonderfully with much more accuracy than i had thought i would ever achieve from the configuration.
through the years, i've seen, and made, many changes in the archery world, but after all is said and done, i believe it comes back to the 'basics'.
what i'm about to say may be upsetting to some, but, be it so...
today's compound bows leave much to be desired, IMO. for one thing, they look nowhere like a bow should...again...IMO. although, i cannot, and will not, debate their performance.
i watch some of the so-called 'professionals' draw their bow and it nearly gags me...they have to struggle to get it to anchor.
i am NOT a professional, nor do i have perfect form. i was taught by one of the best to ever draw a bow, though...a man by the name of Rube Powell...some of you may remember him, he passed on in 1992; he taught me that, simply, if you cannot comfortably, draw the bow, you're overbowed. i see very few that do not struggle to draw their bows nowadays.
that, IMO, is a direct result of compound bow technologly overcoming training in the basic form of an archer.
i guess that's enough of my rhetoric for the moment.
it's been six months since i made an entry here and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since last june.
i went back to shooting with fingers after a long hiaitus because of arthritis in my fingers; they still hurt but i seem to be doing OK with the finger release...so far. i'll keep on with it until i feel i can't any longer or my release get worse...
since scaling back to 40-45 lbs in draw weight, i also switched to carbon arrows as i feel i5 can't get the performance from a heavier aluminum arrow and wood arrows for that draw weight seem to be "Delicate" and easily broken as they're usually 5/16" or smaller in O.D. and the wood arrows i like tend to be too heavy for the poundage i now use. oh, they shoot well and are accurate, but are not good for more than about 25-30 yds. and yes, there are those who advocate their adhesion to "No more than 10-15 yards is my hunting range", is the only way there is to hunt; not in my estimation and experience.
sorry...but i feel a persons "Range" is what they limit themselves to. i've shot at live game much farther than that with confidence that it would, humanely, take them IF I COULD ACCURATELY HIT THEM.
i still stick to using 4 or 5 inch feathers on the carbons and even with a 90 degree, four-fletch on some of them.
now, i know, some of you will admonish me by saying: "That's way too much feather for a 40-45 lb bow!"...maybe...maybe NOT.
4 and 5 inch feathers are all i've used for more years than i care to try to remember. i keep in mind that i'm not shooting a 300 fps wheel bow. i'm not one to run out and buy a whole new set up simply because i see a bowhunter on the outdoor channel using 2 inch vanes. i stick with what i've used, become comfortable with, and WORKS SUCCESSFULLY for me.
my son, who lives in Georgia, called me recently and told me how my telling him a heavier arrow is the way to go more than the extremely light, faster, arrows, said it finally registered on him after a friend of his pointed it out to him by way of a computer program on the subject.
i have magnus, black diamond, ace, STOS and ribtek broadheads mounted on some of those carbons that fly PERFECTLY! why should i change my set-up?
another change i made, over a period of time, is to go to an elevated arrow rest. however, i did not see the need for change until recently. for many, myself included, the "off the shelf", works great...but i also discovered (read that: "Admitted to myself") that my finger release was not as crisp as it once was so the elevated rest came into play; it assists me in keeping that perfect arrow flight.
to me, at least, change must be something that is beneficial, NOT just for the sake of change, or because i see someone else shooting something different than my successful setup.
i have an old (i purchased it, 'custom made', approximately 30 years ago) take-down recurve that, by today's standards, to some, would look "Outdated". it looks like the old metal handled Browning Pak King take-down and has limbs that look like paddles...but it does perform VERY well and is uncannily accurate when i do my part in shooting it. it's not exceptionally "Fast" by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is my Bear Kodiak hunter if the same era, but both are very stable and accurate. why "change" what is successfull? well, i went to elevated rests on them successfully to maintain that sucess.
in summation, changes, in my case, was nothing radical or earth shattering, just some simple changes that enhanced already in use features...such as having to go to that lighter arrow and changing my choice of arrow rests to accomodate the lighter draw weight poundage...
i didn't think i'd ever do it again but here i am back building arrows from wood.
i have, over the past few years, adopted carbons as my mainstay arrow shafting and i'm not at all dissatified with their performance
there is one factor that i will fault them on, though; noise. i cannot quite get my bows as silent as i would like when shooting carbons (and many aluminum, for that matter.)
it's simple: the carbons and aluminum are TUBING and tubing transmits noise more readily than a solid wood shaft AND the lighter carbon does not have enough mass to absorb enough of the energy transmitted from the bow to the arrow to have a perfectly quiet shot.
i've dampened strings with silencers of all sort, installed pads and limb vibration absorbing devices of all sorts and padded any moving part(s) necessary and still cannot achieve the perfect noise level for one reason or another.
seems to me like i never had as much difficulty when i was shooting wooden arrows only.
a side note: i've never had problems silencing a longbow. that, in its self, tells me string contact with the bow limbs has MUCH to do with the silencing factor, too...
anyway, i've decided to try again with the woodies.
i simply purchased some hardwood doweling from Lowes and straightened, stained and i'm flectching for a new trial with some lighter woodies for my lighter recurves...if it works, i will probably go back to the wood full time. they seem to have soooo much more 'appeal' to me for some reason. old habits die hard.
the other day while shooting my Bob Lee bow i thought about how different it is relation to the bows i have. when i look at it and its design i can see where the difference lies, though.
now, i'm not an engineer or bow designer or even a bow maker, heck, i've made only one bow in all the years i've been in archery. it turned out 'OK' and i know where my mistakes were made so if i were to decide to make another, i will know where to correct.
anyway, i can see by the design, what make the Lee so easy and pleasureable to shoot.
winter is gone now and the weather is turning to very pleasant evenings and mornings with ample opportunities for shooting archery and if all goes well, i may very well turn my attention to the making of another longbow.
if i do, i've decided it will be of a "hybrid" type, with the handle of a recurve and the limbs of a longbow with the ability of using an elevated rest, or shelf, built into it as i'm now in the position i use a mechanical release aid.
i think the closest thing to what i mean would be the old Thunderbird by Harold Groves.
i used to bring up the Thunderbird on the groves website and read about it and ponder about ordering one...i never did much to my regret. now...if i ever get anything like it...i'll have to build it myself.
another bow that once held my fascination like the Groves Thunderbird was the Black Widow, metal handled recurve, with the forward-mounted handle. a very simple concept that never seemed to go beyond limited success; it still fascinates me...it offers a lot of advantages to the archer.
well...i may pursue these two designs sooner, rather than later if other issues will allow me. i think both are worth keeping around.
dogonnit...i was getting erratic arrow flight and was going thru a mental checklist and decided there might be some problem some where that I'm missing. but geeeeeee...how much is there to go wrong with recurve?
i decided i might have to make a new string from b-500 or dyneema and give it a try. after all, I've had the string on the bow for "a while". i closely inspected the string and concluded there were no frayed or breaking strands...must be the nock set...
i tie my nock sets on using thread or dental floss and they SELDOM ever move once in place...out comes the bow square...nope...right where it's supposed to be.
dang...it shouldn't be stretched out too long, it's a fast flite string...
over the years i, like many other recurve/longbow shooters, have developed an "eye" for correct brace and nock set heigth. so i held the bow out at arms length with an arrow on the nock/shelf and eye-balled it.
it did not "look right"...back to the bow square...dang...brace heigth was below 7.5"...jeeeee...unstring the bow and twist the flemish string and restring the bow...ahhh...back at 8.0"...back outside to shoot a test shot or two...perfect flight...
my point here is that we tend to overlook the basics. the brace height is one of the first places to look when having difficulty with arrow flight in a recurve or longbow; i let it fall to the back of the mind. i got caught up in the "technology" of archery when i should have been getting back to basics.
i had to make...well...not really "had" to...another change. i switched mechanical release aid type; i went from a glove style to a hand held.
oh, i doubt it's permanent, but I've finally decided that my ability to reach the trigger is hampered as the glove style stretches too much when I'm at anchor/full draw and I'm going to try more draw weight poundage soon. it would be even worse with more poundage.
i feel the hand held release is better in my application as there is no "give".
it took me a while to acclimate to using a mechanical release aid in shlooting a recurve or longbow, but i think the effort was well worth it.
it appears that spring time is here in the high desert of southern california. it's not even 1000 a.m. yet and it's nearly 80 degrees outside.
my wife and i took the two rottweilers and went for a walk around the property. i took my Bob Lee take down...naturally.
all the signs of spring are here...even the lizards and snakes being on the hunt, the peach trees are blossoming already and the bees are plentiful.
we try to make our mornings a time for excercise for us and the dogs and i try to incorporate some archery into it; all works out well.
ever since i took up the bow and arrow (in about 1979), in earnest, i've been 'searching' for what bow and style suits me and i'm best at.
i settled on the recurve bow long ago. oh, sure i had and shot my share of compounds, heck, i even shot a compound in the NFAA championships at Darrington, Washington in 1985; i still have one compound.
when i first started, i purchased a good grade compound and used sights and fingers. i found almost immediately, that i didn't like sights; they seemd to be more of a distraction than an aid to me. off came the sights.
i shot with fingers and no sights for many years and was satisfied with the results. i never got avove "C" class in the Bowhenter division, though; it seemed to me that the 'longer' shots always seemed to be the albatross around my neck. neverthe less, i enjoyed my years of competetive shooting.
then i started becoming more and more disenchanted with the compound bows and switched to recurve shooting only. i have the belief they are becoming more and more complicated and technology dependant. in today's world, seldom do you see a bowhunter afeild with a recurve or longbow in hand...it's mostly the short, axle to axle length compounds with huge wheels and short brace heigths. keep in mind that i'm NOT anti-compound...it just does not appeal to me any longer because of the technology and it's alien appearance; the idea of a simple "stick and string" is more to my liking...there's a lot less to go wrong and as much, or more, to enjoy as far as i'm concerned.
i do have to use a mechanical release aid though as my hands and fingers are arthritic and not reliable to make finger releases any longer.
but...i still like my stick bows and i'll continue to until...who knows when?
well, decent weather is returning and i have been managing to shoot a little.
what i've been doing, mostly is routine maintenance. but, it's back to the hoyt gamemaster or bob lee...
it's sad, but i seldom ever shoot archery anymore...at the time...mostly due to the weather here at the present time. it's so windy and cold i just wanna make sure the fire stays stoked and the dogs mind their P's & Q's. that and the fact my arthritis hurts my hands so badly at times i don't wnat to shoot even using my mechanical release aid.
but, when i do, i head to my Bob Lee take down recurve or Hoyt GameMaster.
both are 40#@28" draw weight bows and serve me quite nicely and i've reached a time where mega-poundage is just so much hyperbole to me that it no longer matters; simply stated...it doesn't interest me any longer.
if my 40-45 pound bows will not put down an animal with a properly sharpend, and correctly placed, broadhead, i should not be trying to take it with it.
if all goes well, i'll go out and shoot some today...if not...more firewood is in order.
the weather is finally cooling enough to where i can shoot on a regular basis now.
i find as i get along in years, i still continue to lean more and more to the recurve, and the longbow on occasion. i am aware there are those who have been shooting archery and hunting with nothing but a recurve or long bow or compound bow for untold numbers of years and that's all they've ever done or will do. i know some folks that bounce back and forth, too...nothing wrong with that, either. i'm not critisizing anyone for the choices they make for their archery/bowhunting.
oh, it's true that the compound is "faster" and capable of being more accurate than the recurve...however, it depends on in whose hands they are in.
i found thru the years, (i've been in archery/bowhunting since the late 1970's, too) that the compound, for all it's benefits is still hindered by all the rigging, clumsiness and worse of all, IN HAND WEIGHT. (and yes, i know about the new all carbon hoyts etc...they're in a class of financial demands beyond my means) i prefer the lightness, handling and simplicity the recurve and longbow offer the hunting archer.
my current Hoyt GameMaster take-down recurve has a vortex circular, bow mounted quiver affixed to it. it allows me to carry 5 arrows. even with 5 broadhead tipped,carbon arrows, the whole 'rig' in hand weight is still 3/4 lighter than my Hoyt compound sans sights, staqbilizer, quiver, etc.
i watch outdoor channels on TV. they have much, much more in the way of compound bow hunting than any other by far. in fact it's seldom to see anything about a recurve or longbow at all unless it's byron ferguson on Shooting USA's "Impossible shots" series.
i watch bowhunting on these channels and it makes me wonder...i see these young, virile men (and a few women, too) that really struggle to draw their bows and wish they'd put their bows down and take up a rifle, or pistol, or muzleloader. they have their sights, rangefinders, stabilizers, treestands, trail cam recorders, carbon saturated underwear it all makes me wonder, even more, how did those like fred bear, ben pearson, howard hill, jack howard, art laha, jim doughtery, harold groves, and yes...even chuck adams, to name just a few be successful as bowhunters? it certainly wasn't the latest in "parrallell limb technology" was it?
i'm not against technology, either...in fact, i shoot carbon arrows almost exclusivley now since the price of cedars tripled and i use a mechanical release aid. in my opinion, that's the greatest advance in archery technology since the invention of glass laminations for recurve bows.
i sincerely believe i'll never use another compound...at this time...who knows what the future holds, though? the current crop of compounds has NO appeal to me whatsoever! the only two that i've seen in the last 5 years that have any appeal to me at all are the Oneida Eagle and the Bear "lites out"...i've owned three Oneida Eagle compound bows and like them very much as they are quite easily operated with "no sights"; i shoot without sights, too.
notice i said "without sights", NOT INSTINCTIVE? i use the arrow in relation to it's position in the sight window in relation to the targets position in the sight window for my "sighting" of the shot. i learned a technique from Rube Powell; use the arrow for windage and a pin for elevation. but, i use the target itself for elevation. to me, i've come to the point where a sight is too much of a distraction for me to use effectively.
i suppose, if i ever win the lottery, a new compound is on the list of "things to get"...