Author Topic: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!  (Read 5857 times)

Offline SloSheepdog

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Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« on: November 01, 2013, 10:46:54 PM »
There's a guy on craigslist with a whole bunch of them willing to barter for a compound bow. I'm hoping to get some advice here on picking a bow, and what to look for and how to get one that will fit me. I just want a bow to learn on and have fun. I'm a pretty fit and large guy at just under 6' and about 185-195 lbs. That said, I don't have a superman complex and a lighter bow is fine if that's what is recommended - but what's a light or average pull weight for me? Length of pull? I know that I do not know very much, so here I am :)

Here's a link to the craigslist post. http://slo.craigslist.org/spo/4111363690.html He has "Bear, Pearson, PSE, Hoyt" in varying lengths and poundages. What's good? What should I avoid? Also, I may be kidding myself, but I don't want to spend much (any?) additional cash on this, so I'm thinking that simple=good in my case.

Thanks for the help, and feel free to point me towards the resources. I don't mind reading, and I don't want to be completely uninformed when I go pick one out.
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” - Faramir/Tolkien
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Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 08:53:47 AM »
There's a guy on craigslist with a whole bunch of them willing to barter for a compound bow. I'm hoping to get some advice here on picking a bow, and what to look for and how to get one that will fit me. I just want a bow to learn on and have fun. I'm a pretty fit and large guy at just under 6' and about 185-195 lbs. That said, I don't have a superman complex and a lighter bow is fine if that's what is recommended - but what's a light or average pull weight for me? Length of pull? I know that I do not know very much, so here I am :)

Here's a link to the craigslist post. http://slo.craigslist.org/spo/4111363690.html He has "Bear, Pearson, PSE, Hoyt" in varying lengths and poundages. What's good? What should I avoid? Also, I may be kidding myself, but I don't want to spend much (any?) additional cash on this, so I'm thinking that simple=good in my case.

Thanks for the help, and feel free to point me towards the resources. I don't mind reading, and I don't want to be completely uninformed when I go pick one out.
Welcome to a new world.
The nasty secret about enjoying archery is learning to shoot properly.
If you can't hit what you are shooting at why bother?

I've contributed several posts on this thread about starting cheap and light to develop archery muscle tone and proper muscle memory.
That hasn't changed.  Developing proper form requires quite a few reps. 
That means a light weight bow.
In your case, 25-30 pounds.
When you can hit a paper plate every time from 35 yards and do it 25 times at one session, you can look to upgrade your equipment.

All modern bows are rated at a draw length of 28".
Your draw length may be slightly shorter or a bit longer. (My draw length is 30")
Arrows need to be matched in stiffness to the weight of the bow.
Get good arrows.

I'll also restate that finding a local club and joining is very worth the cost of membership.
Shooting with experienced archers will shorten the learning curve.

The major caveat is buying an expensive bow that is too heavy to learn on.
The used bow market is filled with near new bows that were too much for their owners to control for more than just a few shots.
These people never could hit consistently, got frustrated and quit.

So, in short, it doesn't really matter what brand of bow you get as long as you can pull it to a full draw EXACTLY THE SAME every time for at least 30 reps.

After you have mastered technique, you will have a much better idea of what you want in a bow.
Then is the time to put out the money for a good bow at a practical draw weight (45 -60 pounds).

I hope this helps.

Steve

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Offline SloSheepdog

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 11:38:29 AM »
Thanks Steve. So 25-30 lbs sounds great. How do I find my draw length? And can I just use my fingers to release a compound or do I need some device? I've shot a bit in Boy Scouts but they were always recurve bows.
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” - Faramir/Tolkien
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Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 06:50:19 PM »
Thanks Steve. So 25-30 lbs sounds great. How do I find my draw length? And can I just use my fingers to release a compound or do I need some device? I've shot a bit in Boy Scouts but they were always recurve bows.
I recommend that you learn on a stick bow (Recurve or long bow), not a block and tackle. (They are usually a lot cheaper)
You do not want to put a lot of money into your first bow.
So, go primitive.... Teach your muscles a good draw so you can move on without spending a lot of money.

The main reason is string pinch.
A long bow has a much smaller string angle when pulled to full draw.
So, a finger release is rather uncomplicated.

Compound bows are shorter and pinch the finger pretty bad.
A trigger device is used to get around the tight string angle.

A rough idea of your draw length can be had with a yard stick.
Turn your shoulders in line with the target.
grip the end of the yard stick between the index and middle finger.
Place you ring finger under the middle finger.
Put the yard stick on your bow hand and extend your arm towards the target.
Draw the yard stick back until your index finger touches your canine tooth. (Comfortably.... don't stretch)
Mark the yard stick where it just passes beyond your bow hand.
This will give you a general idea of your draw length using a finger release.
Since everybody is slightly different, round up to the next higher inch.

Steve




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Offline SloSheepdog

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 09:35:10 PM »
Now I want a traditional stick bow! This was a barter situation and all that was available were compound bows. At least this one fits me and I have not put any money into it. 

I was thinking that I could practice drawing it each day to slowly build those muscles. Would I be creating bad habits if I did this? I can draw it pretty easily, but I haven't tried to do it 30 times yet. Oh boy. Thanks for the help. I think I know of a club/place where I can ask questions and maybe join, but right now time is very constrained for new activities (baby on the way), and I thought that I could just pull on the bow in the garage in my free moments to build strength until I could go get involved. Anyways, thanks and +1 for the help!
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” - Faramir/Tolkien
BOV: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=4645.msg390358#msg390358
Prepping does not make you a special snowflake. Its just nesting...with guns.


Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2013, 11:25:58 AM »
Now I want a traditional stick bow! This was a barter situation and all that was available were compound bows. At least this one fits me and I have not put any money into it. 

I was thinking that I could practice drawing it each day to slowly build those muscles. Would I be creating bad habits if I did this? I can draw it pretty easily, but I haven't tried to do it 30 times yet. Oh boy. Thanks for the help. I think I know of a club/place where I can ask questions and maybe join, but right now time is very constrained for new activities (baby on the way), and I thought that I could just pull on the bow in the garage in my free moments to build strength until I could go get involved. Anyways, thanks and +1 for the help!
Congratulations on the baby!!
Being a father is scary at first, but evolves into one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.

Good plan on the workout.
Always use an arrow (or proper length substitute) for your practice draws.
You need to grip the nocked arrow and string exactly the same each time.
Draw to exactly your comfortable draw length every time.
When the slightest difference in any thing shows up it is time to stop.

Only draw when it is comfortable.
You do not want your muscle memory to include any change in muscle use to get that last couple of reps.
This isn't heavy weight training.
Your goal at this point is endurance.
Slowly add reps as your muscles can handle it. Again attaining exactly the same motion and point of hold.
It may start slowly depending on your shape.
Archery muscles are not normally put under much stress so they will take a little while to build up.
But, they will respond.

Actual shooting practice should go the same way.
If you get fatigued, don't force those last two or three shots to finish your intended practice number of shots.
You will be surprised at how fast the extra shots will naturally be there as you practice.
Here your goal is proper technique.

Accuracy will come with practice... This is where the extended practice sessions that you are building up to come in when you are up to it.
Here is where you need to progress to the hitting a paper plate at 35 yards every time on a 20 shot session before moving up.
If you can only do it 10 or 15 times before you start missing, it is time to stop and tray again later.

When you do upgrade to a heavier weight bow, you will not have to go through extended practice sessions.
Your technique will have been learned.
Drawing the heavy bow three or four times with an arrow, paying the same attention to proper draw and technique should be enough for a nightly workout.
Here you are actually building strength without slipping into any bad habits.
 
Shooting at a club with an experienced archer to coach you will really be good.
He will be able to see if you are cheating into a slightly different draw technique to better accommodate the heavier draw and bring it to your attention.
Of course it will be time to stop for the day.

One other perk for joining a club is that most clubs have access to a field range. (Like a Golf Course for archery)
There are 28 targets located along a path to shoot at.  Ranges run from fifteen yards to an eighty yard walk up.
Three arrows are shot from each shooting position.
(Of course you don't have to shoot three arrows.  When I was building up to hunt with my 65 pound limbs, I would shoot our local field course twice a week with the 75 pound limbs installed on my bow. Only two arrows were shot at each target.)
Then you walk down the trail to the target and record your score.
The trail walk and recording of the score allows the muscles to rest so more targets can be shot without undue fatigue with your heavier bow.
Quite some fun.  Also, if the club allows it, you can shoot from anywhere along the trail. (I rarely shot from eighty yards when I first started shooting field courses)
If you are still using your light weight bow, you can still shoot each target from a closer range and enjoy the field range experience.
I never shot with a group on a field range who objected to a new archer choosing to stop on the trail and shoot from a closer distance.

Field courses are also where they have animal shoots (Plastic targets shaped like real animals)
There is always several handicap system levels for these shoots so learning archers aren't competing against the old pros.

Here are a couple of example of targets at an animal shoot.



This was a 40 yard target
Note that this was target #15 on the 28 target field range.
The animal is placed in front of the normal target butt.




This was the 80 yard target.

Also, a couple of clubs that I have belonged to had an indoor range in the clubhouse where an informal target shoot was held after meetings.
This offered a practice venue when the weather discouraged outdoor practice.

Your light weight draw bow can still be used for small game and fishing.
Both are shot at short ranges and don't need a lot of power to be effective.

 

Young Rock Chuck shot from under 20 yards.

 


Needle Nosed Gar shot from about 15 feet (Used a boat to get into the river where they were)
When Carp are spawning, they can be hunted from the beach.
Note the improvised bow fishing reel attached to my target bow

Once you get into it there are lots of enjoyable ways to practice.
My family used to walk the field course trail with me when I practiced.
You will also find that archery clubs are very family oriented.

As I said before, welcome to a new world.... Enjoy,

Steve
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Offline MarkL99

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 07:14:02 AM »
Although I can see the advantages of a longbow or recurve, I also understand the advantages of a compound bow.  With a compound when you are at full draw there is a let off, usually 50-70 percent.  So when you draw back there is not as much muscle fatigue when at full draw.  To find your draw length go to any shop that sells archery equipment they will help you sort it out.  Remember that a lot of states have laws restricting the minimum weight that you need to harvest animals usually around 45 pounds.  Any shop including cabelas, bass pro or such will help you find your draw length.  All the bow makes you named are good.  I personally use A PSE Stinger 3G but formally had an old Bear Archery Hunter.  Both have given me good service.  If you want to just get into archery without spending too much and can barter for a decent bow I personally think that is a good idea as archery can get expensive.  Hoyt is one of the top bow manufacturers right now according to the industry.  Check to see how old the bows are also as an older bow may need some repairs/tuning.  (i.e. new cables, strings, etc.)
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Offline BillyS

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 09:24:31 AM »
Accuracy will come with practice... This is where the extended practice sessions that you are building up to come in when you are up to it.
Here is where you need to progress to the hitting a paper plate at 35 yards every time on a 20 shot session before moving up.
If you can only do it 10 or 15 times before you start missing, it is time to stop and tray again later.

So... How do you get good at the first few shots?  I 'm shooting recurve at about 30 yards. When I start shooting, I miss my first 5-6 shots. Once I hit the plate, it's like I can't miss after that. I'm "locked on" and I can shoot and shoot and shoot until I get tired or bored.

But I sense a slight issue with needing to take so many practice shots before actually locking on. Any advice on that?
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Offline grizz2225

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2013, 10:14:48 AM »
So... How do you get good at the first few shots?  I 'm shooting recurve at about 30 yards. When I start shooting, I miss my first 5-6 shots. Once I hit the plate, it's like I can't miss after that. I'm "locked on" and I can shoot and shoot and shoot until I get tired or bored.

But I sense a slight issue with needing to take so many practice shots before actually locking on. Any advice on that?

Start varying your angles and ranges. Also more practice sessions but shorter. 10-15 arrows 3-4 sessions a day. My brother and I used to play pig (remember the basketball game when you were a kid). When it comes to recurves its way more art than science. . Practice much like you would a musical instrument. Variety, frequency,  and above all else don't burn yourself out. Practice  end while its fun. If you're shooting till you're bored your whole practice session was a waste.

Offline grizz2225

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 10:34:54 AM »
As far as compounds are concerned don't overthink it. Nobody in the last ten years or so has made a terrible product. Some are better than others but none are bad per say. Oneida being the glaring obvious exception. Whatever you buy before you even shoot it take it to a shop and make sure it fits. You have no idea how many guys I've seen with shot problems they don't even know about simply because their draw length is an inch too short. You can get combat accurate that way but if you ever want real (sub 2in at 40yards) accuracy you want a bow that fits. If you really need a metric for choosing a bow find one that's highly adjustable as a starter. And as said above god by god do not get hung up on draw weight. Right now its all about perfect form repetition.  If you were to come to me in person I wouldn't even put you on a target just a blank bale. Its about building your muscle memory up. Learning to feel the perfect anchor and grip.

Offline StickMan47

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 11:45:44 PM »
One thing I don't think has been mentioned yet. There are 3 main types of bows: 1) modern day compounds; 2) traditional, these are manufactured out of modern day materials and usually include glass and wood laminations in there manufacture; 3) primitive, these are more akin to what our ancestors used. They are made out of only wood without any modern day materials. All 3 have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

As was stated before, a compound will usually require the use of a release mechanism. In my opinion, these bows tend to require more money to get started in. But for your dollar you get a bow that shoots very fast.

With traditional or primitive bows there is less that can break or go wrong with the bow itself. Most of the things you have to do as for maintaining them, you can do yourself. This is a big plus for me because in the end it saves money.

If you choose to go primitive your monetary investment can actually be zero dollars if you decide to build it yourself. Of course this requires some sweat and patience and a learning curve that can be pretty great depending on your handiness with using hand tools. Good bow wood can be found just about anywhere. And don't be fooled, if these bows were not efficient at taking game then we would all be extinct by now. Sure they don't sling an arrow at 350 plus feet per second, but they can still put food in your belly!

One major difference between shooting compound versus traditional or primitive is that there is no let off with traditional or primitive gear. If your primitive bow is made to pull 50 lbs at your draw length then that is what you are holding when you release the arrow. However, if shooting primitive or traditional you do not hold at full draw the way you do with a compound bow!!! When I shoot my primitive self bow I do not hold for more than a couple of seconds at full draw. I have no sights on my bos, I shoot instinctive. This requires some practice, just as the others do, but after shooting this way and maintaining the same draw point on every shot it almost comes natural after a little practice.

I have shot all 3 types in the past. Most of my shooting is primitive now. I have one glass recurve that I shoot on occasion but I like my primitive selfbow the best. I am much more accurate with it also.

 

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Help educate SloSheepdog on bows please!
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2013, 12:28:13 PM »
<<< SNIP >>>
When I shoot my primitive self bow I do not hold for more than a couple of seconds at full draw. I have no sights on my bos, I shoot instinctive. This requires some practice, just as the others do, but after shooting this way and maintaining the same draw point on every shot it almost comes natural after a little practice.

I have shot all 3 types in the past. Most of my shooting is primitive now. I have one glass recurve that I shoot on occasion but I like my primitive selfbow the best. I am much more accurate with it also.
Great post!

I haven't been back to this thread for a while.

You make a good point about traditional archery technique that should be included in practice sessions too.
This of course is the cadence of shooting.
Holding the bow and knocked arrow address the target.
Then draw to full length to anchor point... Aim... Release.
If you practice with metronome uniformity each time it becomes part of the muscle memory and thus something you need less concentration on.

I shoot only bare bow myself.... It takes more practice but is much faster when learned. (And more fun)

You did leave out a couple of items in your efficiency list.

Once you get past real archery and get to block and tackle arrow flingers the list continues on to crossbows.

Then comes the arrow flingers that us a different form of power ... (Compressed air or a 22 cal. blank cartridge)















Note that this targets allows about 10" of bolt penetration with my 150 pound draw crossbow.
About 1 in 5 arrows shot from my modified 10-22 shot clear through the target and were found in the weeds about 25 yards behind the target.



Then continuing up the efficiency scale we get to my 300 Weatherby Magnum.

All kidding aside, in a survival situation, simplest is usually the best… Too many gears and wheels can fail.
Skill is king, not technology.  Real (Primitive) archery offers a realistic means of protein gathering with the least chance of long term failure.

That being said,  let it be known that there are more snares in my long term survival kit than arrows.

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Steve
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