NFAA field aiming. [Archive] - TradTalk Forums

: NFAA field aiming.

01-02-2009, 08:56 PM
Lads, this is a response to Bob Farrell's recent post down in the Scores forum:


That 114 is a pretty fair longbow score when you are changing bows and havenít got your aiming references down.

Iíll take this occasion to explain how I would work out the references for your possible interest and for any interested onlookers. For the sake of clarity I will assume using the point of aim (or point on point) method of aiming.

You say you are point on at 60 yards. I would complete my warm up there until I was grouping reasonably well, which at 60 yards would be getting most arrows anywhere on the paper. Then I might step back to 65, place the tip of the arrow on the top edge of the bale and shoot three arrows. If they are a little low I might add a half a foot. I work in feet, not inches. Then I would shoot three or more arrows to confirm my point of aim and write it down. Carry pencil and paper.

Then I might step up to 55 and hold on the bottom of the paper, about a foot and a half low. If high I might drop a half a foot and hold two feet low. Shoot three arrows to confirm and write it down.

Step up to 50. I would guess your point of aim might be on an imaginary point about three feet low. At my range target center is about 2.5 feet above the ground. Measure it with an arrow, your bow or your foot. That places a point three feet low underground by half a foot, which I can visualize in my mind's eye. Shoot three, adjust, confirm and write it down.

Now step up to 45. My point of impact there is about a foot and a half lower than at 50. That would make it Ė4.5 or two feet beneath the surface of the earth. Hmmmm. Hard to visualize. I would walk up and place a pinecone or a Coke can on the ground about 7 yards short of the target. Use that as a point of aim, shoot, adjust, confirm. I would use that as a visual aid to see the gap and image the underground point of aim. Write it down.

This is how target archers aimed back before WWII, the big one. They would carry a tape measure and a peg or a ball on a stick to set their aiming points before the round. It worked fine for the American Round at 60, 50 and 40 yards on the gold center target. For hunting and field archery, not so well. So Howard Hill developed his split vision method, but that is another story.

Now what about 40 yards, and 36, 35, 32, 30, 25, 23, 20, 19, 17, 15, 14, 11, 7 and the other distances we have to shoot at in field, general and hunting archery? Me, I shoot them instinctively, whatever that is, and may lose some ground to the high anchor boys and the walkers, which I hope to make back on the long shots. On bad days, especially when making big changes in tackle, as I do several times a year, I might not break 100. When instinct goes bad you can feel like a fish out of water.

Now, what about the long shots? My specialty. Well at 70 try placing the front of your arrow shelf even in your line of sight with the base of the bale. Shoot three arrows, adjust and write it down. At 80 try the rear of the shelf. Impacting low? Try the web of your thumb. Still low, try the second knuckle of your bow hand, or the third, or pick an electric wire in the distance. These require using your strong side eye to see the line and the other eye to see the elevation. Luckily, nature has given us binocular vision.

Then I would go home and transfer my notes to a chart on a card. In the coming days and weeks I would refine my chart many times. When it becomes fairly stable I would tape a copy to the limb of my bow. For competition I memorize and remove it.

For different tackle and different holds the aiming points vary. Right now I am working with a setup that is point on at 52 yards so I hold a half a foot low at 50. I intend to trim those arrows to increase point on to 55 yards, which is about what I am most used to with various bows, using the three fingers under hold. With my hunting bows I use heavy arrows and shoot with the split fingers hold to be point on at 55. So most of my setups produce similar trajectories.

Finally, I donít actually shoot with the point of aim method, except sometimes to refine my charts, or if I am having difficulty in a match. Almost always, I focus my gaze on the point I intend to hit and see the point of aim, and the gap to it, only in my peripheral, split or secondary vision, just as Mr. Hill taught us.

How well does it work? I have won or placed in a number of various California championships. In practice I sometimes can shoot national and world class field scores. At the NFAA Marked 3D Championship in Redding, CA many of the targets are at from 70 to 100 yards. I am the current longbow champion. I compete with a 21st Century Edge, 70", 42# at 30" and cedars arrows of 500 grains. I hope some forum members and onlookers find my method of interest. Cheers, lbg.

Desert Archer
01-04-2009, 05:44 AM

Thanks for posting that. The first part is kind of like what I do with my face walking/point of aim technique for barebow recurve. As you and I have discussed a few times, that system is not working for the new longbow I have. I'm going to have to do something similar to what you just described with the longbow...but I'm not calling the part under PO distances "instinctive" (LOL). Not sure what it is but it doesn't have much of anything to do with instinct. (smile)


01-04-2009, 07:39 PM
I like to think of it as merely pointing the arrow at the target. Most novices can learn it in 15 minutes and be accurate enough to hunt at 10 or 12 yards. x ring accuracy and extending it to 20 yards takes good form and much practice. Point shooting is a good name for it, and yes the 'flash' sight picture applies. But that can lead to confusion with point of aim and point on point methods. lbg

Desert Archer
01-05-2009, 08:27 AM
Point shooting is a good name for it...

Yea, and it is much more honest. I'm going to borrow that if you don't mind. (smiley face goes here)


Glynn Sluder
01-05-2009, 03:41 PM
Good post, it is very similar to the way I set up my Field gaps, including walking the course with my notebook writing down distances and points of aim.

Even your point on is almost the same. Mine changed some as my draw length increased due to shooting strength and control, but at the end of our league was a consistent 53ish. :)

I do have gaps for 40 and 35, below that I thought the same thing you said, that I would shoot it pretty good, almost 3-D style and then make up for it on the longer butts.

Without anyone to talk to about it we were just playing it by ear, glad to know we were stumbling along on the right path.

Since I shoot an elevated rest the 65 and 70 are on the wire arm, one on the bull, one just above it. The 80 is set right on my shelf below the arrow.

The fun part is what your head does to you. Do you believe the first shot is high/low because of form,draw,tick,seizure? Is this angle so steep my gap needs altering? Should I do it just the same again or tweak it to fit my imagination? Of course if you're too anxious, then you peek and pull your bow arm left, ha, four arrows is too many or not enough.

It is a grand game.

Desert Archer
01-05-2009, 07:21 PM
...four arrows is too many or not enough.

It is a grand game.

Summed it up perfectly! Well said Glynn. (smile)


01-05-2009, 08:39 PM
OK lads, let's go with 'point shooting'. Maybe we can start a trend and maybe even eliminate an ancient conflict. Nah, that is wishful thinking. Ancient conflicts go on for ever. - lbg