Trying out different Archery Bows

This week a few of us travelled to Grey Goose Archery near King’s Lynn in order to try out some new bow types. We had never been to the new Grey Goose Archery centre, which is in a disused quarry several miles outside King’s Lynn. Upon arrival the set up looked good, with lots of car parking space, a static caravan with toilet facilities. There were also some nice A frame picnic tables to use and two shooting areas.

We attended their ‘Pay and Shoot’ night which occurs on a Tuesday and Thursday night at 6.30pm until 8pm or whenever it gets too dark which for us was about 7.20pm in mid September.

Sean had managed to get hold of a left handed compound bow, it’s always difficult to get left handed items it seems – no-one ever stocks them. There was also a 16lb longbow and 40lb longbow, a right handed American Flatbow as well as horse bow which felt like 20lb-25lb.

I started off with the compound bow, which I had never shot before. With some brilliant instruction it was easy to get shooting. We used thumb triggers, I think these were the most complicated part of shooting a compound. My bow did not have a peep sight and only a standard hunting type sight. But the arrows did group quite nicely. There were two things that I did wrong – the first was to grip the bow, which I thought you did with a compound, although the grip should be the same as a recurve grip. The other thing was that I started off using my thumb as the trigger and actually pulling the trigger as opposed to having the trigger half way down my thumb and squeezing it. A couple of times it went off when I was not expecting it, but I soon got used to it.

I then moved onto the 16lb longbow which was good fun, although it got a lot more serious when trying the 40lb longbow as that required more of a meaty pull and gave a little kick when fired. Finally we only got one end with the horsebow as the light was fading fast. The horse bow was also great fun and for me like a really big rubber band.

I can see why people really fall in love with horsebows, as they are such good fun and can be purchased for around £100. It was great to finally try out some of these bows, especially the compound, as hardly anyone seems to have a left handed one that they could let me have a go with. Would I buy a compound? Probably yes, maybe for fun in the garden or for target archery. The only downside is cost. I priced up a range of entry level accessories you need to put on a compound (including target sight and scope) and arrived at £450 just for the accessories and arrows not including the actual compound bow. So I think a budget of between £600-£800 is required to set one up.

So all in all a great night out at Grey Goose Archery and it was nice to visit a different archery ground. We have also talked about going back with more people to make it a social event.

Here are some images of Mike and Louise trying out the compound and longbows. No pictures of me, as I took all the photos.

louise on compound

mike on compound

mike on horsebow

mike on longbow

louise-on-compound-2

mike loading the horsebow

Outdoor Archery Training Continues

Outdoor archery training continues and the wind has been wicked in the last week or so. You are at home and don’t feel there is any wind at all, then turn up at the club to the large open field and the wind hits you. The problem with the wind is not just the problem with aiming, but you also have to hold longer – which means fatigue sets in quicker than it ever would indoors.

A couple of times after the clicker has gone off the arrow has left the arrow rest and I have still made the shot. Which means then having to find the arrow, when you have no idea of where it may have gone – thank heavens for metal detectors.

My outdoor archery season does seem to be coming together a bit quicker this year, but it is still taking time to get all my sight marks that I want. I am trying to get every single distance in metres and yards but I know that once I have a rough set of marks I am bound to change something on the bow and will have to go and get all my sight marks again.

Whereas sight marks indoors should stay static, as soon as weather conditions change outdoors, such as with various wind strengths and directions of the wind you find yourself moving your sight marks anyway. What worked on one day at a certain distance may not always work the following week.

Weather in the UK for Archery

Well we are outside in April and it’s cold, windy, overcast and sometimes raining – well it is in the UK, what do you expect?

It’s OK to see these wonderful pictures on the internet of the US Archery team practicing in the sun with suntans and other teams around the globe who come from warmer climates enjoying the outdoor season.

Are we crazy going outside to shoot this early in the calendar in the UK? Should Archery GB change the rules and make the outdoor season start in May or June instead?

It’s not just the weather, the light fades really quickly in the evenings as well at the beginning and at the end of the outdoor archery season. At Ely we train on a Wednesday and Friday night, in April when we start at 6pm we only seem to get about 1 hour to 1.5 hours of shooting. Don’t forget we also have to set up the targets, shooting line etc in that time. There’s no way we’d have time to shoot anything other than probably a Warwick round during the week.

Last Sunday it was chilly, but you can’t put too many clothes on, as your shooting can be affected. You soon learn which clothes are not ideal for shooting in, as the bow string gets caught up.

Luckily one of our coaches just so happened to have a camping table, camping kettle, plastic cups, tea, coffee, whiteners and sugar in his car. It’s amazing how a hot drink and resting for a few ends can keep you going when attending a cold practice session outdoors. Here are some of us enjoying the tea and coffee.

outdoor tea at archery practice

So when going outside to shoot in the UK, consider taking hot drinks or get your club to provide hot water so you can make your own drinks. Also consider your clothing – windproof, rain proof and clothing that does not get in the way of your shooting. Good luck out there!

Oh no, next I’m going to moan about it being too hot in the Summer. Last year I remember I had to add some sports grip strips to my riser handle as my Hoyt riser handle is just plastic and it became really slippery in my sweaty hand in the middle of the Summer.

Archery Target Photography

Now, here’s an easy one, or is it? Archery Target Photography – when taking photographs of targets with arrows in, should the arrows be ‘out of focus’ or ‘in focus’ to get the better shot?

This could divide opinion. In my mind the arrows being ‘in focus’ seems more pleasing to me. But if the arrows are in focus you can really see where the arrow points have landed, and isn’t that more important? So arrows out of focus is then better.

Or should you not take the image from the end of the arrows but actually is it better to take the photograph from the side or from a diagonal angle? Should you get the whole of the arrows into the frame or is where the arrows have landed more important to the image?

arrows out of focus

arrows in focus

Archery Training 19-02-2016

Best end of the nightTonight there seemed a lot less of us shooting, we all shot at Portsmouth targets. Shooting didn’t really click with me to start off with with most arrows were going in the 8 or just cutting the 9 line.

It wasn’t until about half way through the night that everything clicked and I started hitting the 9’s and 10’s.

Overall a good night of shooting. Plus also, two people in the club now have Uukha limbs, they have a nice finish to them, and seem to be growing in popularity.

I also ordered a new finger tab this week from eBay, it came on Friday. I bought exactly the same one as before as a backup in case I lose my main one, as the other week a bolt came out of my bow stand, which made it impossible to use, and if you don’t have a bow stand you have to prop your bow up against something, it’s really inconvenient. So I started thinking of all these spare items I should have like spare strings, spare finger tabs hey maybe even a spare stand?

Archery Training 12/02/16

At training tonight I opened my bag and my bow stand fell apart. It took several ends to find the metal part that fits into the leg part to allow the leg to be screwed into it. It strange, but not having a stand is debilitating. You can’t put your bow down. Sometimes I wonder if its worth getting a spare stand or anything else as a spare.

What would happen if you lost your only finger tab, or your string snapped? Maybe a spare string and finger tab is a good idea.

As I hadn’t shot the Hoyt Carbon 720 limbs at 38lb at 20yards I spent most of the evening tweaking the button and the sight. Otherwise practice didn’t go too bad.

Archery Training 05/02/16

This evening at training I brought my Hoyt Carbon 720 limbs and new string to set up. I decided to put metal nocks on the string again even though a lot of people seem to use thread or even dental floss for nock points.

I borrowed a pair of nock pliers and added the metal nocks to the string, it took several ends and I mean several to get the nock points correct so the arrows flew straight.

I then adjusted my button spring and then my metal arrow rest and was all sorted or so I thought. Thing is I didn’t check my centre shot at all, but I did this during the week in the end.

I shot during the week at home and after changing my centre shot I decided to drop my poundage back to 38lb down from 40lb. I was struggling a bit with 40lb, and if we go outside in 6 weeks and start shooting 6 arrows I will be crippled. So I think I will stay on 38lb for a bit longer.

Archery Training 29-01-2016

Friday night practice pulling 40lb on Axiom limbsWhat a terrible night at training tonight. I did manage a few good ends but it seemed like the arrows were really going right tonight. I ended up having to wind out my button in order to get the arrows back to the centre of the target.

I also managed to hit my arm a couple of times with the string even with an arm guard on. I am also starting to not trust the old Platinum Plus XX75 arrows anymore. I am considering going back to my Easton ACC arrows for the rest of the indoor season. Luckily I am taking a break on Sunday and not shooting.

I also wonder about shooting into round straw bale targets. Do they ruin your arrows, can they bend your arrows quicker than shooting into solid foam or layered foam? It made me laugh when on the Easton Podcast that a listener wrote in and asked why do my Easton arrows get shredded when I shoot into straw? Easton’s response was why shoot into straw? Don’t shoot a 21st Century arrow into a 16th Century target. Your arrows will get ruined faster when shooting into straw.