Tuesday 24 September 2019

Choosing Your First Bow I: The Compound Bow

I've started to write articles to populate the new website concerning my business enterprise selling archery equipment and I've decided to place them on this blog as well. I'm a lazy man and writing is hard work so I would like the fruits of my labour to receive maximum coverage. Also, some of my esteemed readers may find this information interesting.

This post is the first in a series of posts addressing the needs of the novice archer. The first flurry of posts is dedicated to choosing your first bow. This is not an easy quest as there are numerous styles and types of bows commercially available and newbies can easily be lost in an overload of information and sadly disinformation. I only wish I had had access to this information when I first became interested in the sport. Perhaps, some of my early purchasing decisions would have been less spontaneous and chaotic.

So let’s get to it…..
Okay, so there are two very important questions that need to be asked.
What type of archery are you primarily interested in?
         And importantly
What is your budget?

Let us consider the first question. Archery is a very diverse sport and there are a number of different bow types to choose from. Let’s have a look at a very popular bow type, the compound bow. 

Compound Bows
The Compound Bow in all its Complex Glory
Compound bows represent the high tech end of the sport and were first developed in the late 1960s. The bow consists of a series of pulleys and cams integrated with the bow limbs. Compound bows are engineered to maximise the transfer of muscle power to the bow and hence to the arrow. The archer is able to adjust the draw weight and draw length of the bow within defined limits. In addition, compound bows exhibit ‘let off’. This means that when the bowstring is pulled to maximum length the poundage of the bow experienced by the archer is reduced- often by as much as 90%. This enables the archer to comfortably hold the bow at the fully drawn position and allows the aiming process to proceed at leisure. In comparison, with other types of bows, the archer experiences the full power (draw weight) of the bow when at fully drawn. It is difficult to maintain this posture for any length of time and therefore aiming may be affected. Due to their efficient mechanical design compound bows propel the arrow at relatively high speeds and with a flat trajectory.  All this, together with a sophisticated and often magnifying sight system, means that the bow is very accurate allowing even a novice archer to achieve impressive results after minimal practice. If you are looking for a bow that will give you consistent and accurate results with the minimum of training, the compound bow may be for you.

The compound bow is excellent for both target shooting and hunting and it is possible to buy bows designed specifically for each endeavour. Typically, ‘hunting bows’ are shorter and more compact than their target-orientated brethren and come in a variety of camouflage patterns and colours. Clearly, a relatively short bow is easier to handle in forested and bush terrain in comparison to a longer bow. Dedicated ‘target compound bows’ tend to be longer thus facilitating stability and accuracy at long distance; they can also be obtained in bright attractive colours. Of course, a target bow can be used for hunting and a hunting bow can also be used for target practice. It is just that each type of bow is tweaked for full efficiency for either hunting or target practice.  

I’ll have more to say on the compound bow, in a future post, when I discuss the relative costs involved when purchasing bows.

My Compound Bow- The PSE Stinger X

This concludes the first post in a series of posts looking at the variety bow types available and their suitability for the novice archer. In the next post, I’ll be considering perhaps the most popular bow used in archery, the recurve.                      

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