Archery 101

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Jessehk, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. Frodocious

    Frodocious New Member

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    Cheesy,

    glad you asked about the tilt of the bow, it was on my long list of questions.

    And I would like a neverending quiver full of arrows a la Legolas too.

    Actually, I would just settle for Legolas, but that's a whole other story!
     
  2. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    Frodocious,
    On the draw arm the elbow is not locked. Well, it has to be bent to do the draw. You knew that. The bow hand elbow is straight but not locked. If you lock your elbows, wrists or any moving parts of your body, yes legs and knees too, it throws off your aiming. HOWEVER, you are probably getting the bruises on the inside of your bow arm for two reasons. 1 - You're female. Hey, this is not a sexist statement! Women's elbows tend to bend backwards more than men's. As such, the elbow bends into the line the string follows on release. Proper technique says the elbow should be rotated down. Now this is a bit tricky so follow along with me. Point your bow hand out with your index finger pointing at a target. The inside of your elbow joint is probably pointing up or, pointing with your left hand, pointing up and to the right. Here's the tricky part, without rotating your hand and pointing finger, rotate your elbow joint so your elbow is pointing horizontal to the left and the inside of the elbow joint is pointing to the right. This is the "proper" position for the bow arm. Yeah, well, that takes LOTS of practice to get right every time. So get yourself an (second point) arm guard for the bow hand. My English long bow has a sort brace height and it slaps my arm on every release. I always have to wear an arm guard with it. My other bow has about an 8 inch brace height and I don't need it.

    Good point about worring about getting hurt versus good shooting technique. Archery should be comfortable. If you are not, you will not shoot well.

    As for accruacy, yes the modern compound bows with all their bells and whistles are more accurate for the average shooter. HOWEVER, I use aluminum arrows with plastic fletches for practice because they are easy to repair. In the middle of the season I fairly regularly do things like shoot the fletches off an arrow that is already in the target. I have also done the Robin Hood thing - shoot the nock off an arrow already in the target. Fred Asbell in his book Instinctive Shooting tells of a friend who shoots traditional who could shoot quarters out of the air!

    I have to admit though, I have seen the "modern" guys at ranges getting all flustered because their arrows at 30 yards are not all within a 1 inch circle. I figure the vital area of anything you would be hunting is larger than that, unless you make a diet of squirels!, so if I can stay within a 6 inch circle I'm happy. Besides, for me the targets are 60 cm with 6 rings. The inner two rings count the highest. I can fairly regularly put 4 out 6 arrows inside the inner two rings. Works for me.

    Cheesy - Holding the bow vertical or angled. Depends. If the arrow rest is essentially on your bow hand then rotating the bow makes no difference in the rest/nock/anchor relation. However, most bows have an arrow rest that is 1 inch or more above the bow hand. If the bow is not vertical your aiming pointing is shifted accordingly. Ashbell's instinctive method recommends the arrow rest nearly on the bow hand. Then when you "point" at the target with your bow hand (the bow becomes the extension of your hand/arm) you are pointing at the target. He actually recommends a slight rotation of the bow using this technique.

    Legolas - WOMEN!!!!!! Just like my sister.................
     
  3. Cheesy Goodness

    Cheesy Goodness The Fighters Guide House Member

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    Frodocious: My left forearm get's a line that eventually bruises almost every day...but it makes you look tough, and when people ask where you got it, you can say something like "My bow string hit me when i was shooting my 20 arrows in 1 minute at a 900 pound black bear"...or you could just tell them the truth :)

    CoG: The vital point on a deer is roughly about 8 inches in diameter (or if you have a conveniently placed picture of a deer right in front of you, it's right behind the front shoulder)
    I can shoot quarters out of the air...if its hanging from a string right in front of me...that is utterly insane. His last name isn't Greenleaf is it? :)
    I was just wondering what technique you all used. I tilt my bow a little bit, not even at a 45 degree angle. I guess it's more vertical than horizontal, but there is a slight tilt. I'm just not comfortable with being completly vertical.

    P.S. Frodocious: Umm...Legolas, despite how awesome his skills are, looks like...a fairy *runs and hides head for fear od decapitation* lol jk
     
  4. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    OK, wierd as this may sound -------
    One of the things I have done to develop the "feel" for good instinctive shooting and for reinforcing the anchor point et al is to shot at night. I hang a cylume on the target and try to shoot it. I think this works because it's dark you are not distracted by all the other visual things. You become extremely forcused on that light out there. I have also discovered that when shooting at night it becomes difficult to "sight down the arrow". That seems to be one of the keys to instinctive shooting - NOT sighting down the arrow but rather "seeing" the target, or more appropriately "focused" on the target. I've made up some arrows that are day glow pink and have a wrap of reflective tape on them plus very bright fletches for easier finding. Fortunately though, I have not missed the hay bale yet so don't have to grope through the grass looking for lost arrows. I have found after a session or two of night shooting I can shoot more arrows in less time with much better accuracy.

    My prefered technique is to lay on my back, hold the string with both hands and brace the bow against my feet. Works real well until the red ants get their dander up!!
    [Now if you believe that, I have some property in Florida I would like to talk to you about. You like luggage on the hoof and swimming to your house, don't you?]
     
  5. Frodocious

    Frodocious New Member

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    Cheesy - smack, that's for your Legolas comment! ;) Actually, I do prefer Aragorn to Legolas, I like the more rugged look! (However, I would have to keep Legolas about in a nice glass case just to look at occasionally, he's just so darned gorgeous!)

    Christophe, I will try the elbow thing, having had a go just sat here, my elbow does seem to protrude a lot (good job I keep an ice pack in the freeze, isn't it!) - well I guess there's not a lot I can do about genetics :(


    (I think genetics also cover the Legolas thing too!)

    How often do you wax your bow string - is it after every time you use it?
     
  6. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    cheesy, I could have told you you were going to get boped for the Leggy comment!!

    We have a couple of ladies here that are learning archery. After their first few times people thought they were getting beat by their boy friends/husbands. They had some marvelous bruises on their arms!!

    How often do I wax my string! My, such a personal question...........sorry, my warped sense of humor just had to make its appearance. Actually I wax the string about once a week or so. I wax it then rub it with a small piece of leather to melt in the wax. I shoot about 1 hour every day though and put a lot of stress on my bow strings. I actually have three for each bow - as back ups. I've been stretching them in lately. Shoot a few arrows, twist the string, shoot a few arrows, twist the string. Somewhat tedious.

    I also like using whisker silencers on my strings. It gets rid of that twang sound at each release.
     
  7. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Hi Frodocious, always happy to meet another archer, welcome to the sport.

    If Christophe hasn't already mentioned it yet you should pick up a copy of "Instinctive Shooting" by G. Fred Asbell, it's an excellent book for learning to shoot a traditional bow and it's also good to have around for reference on those odd occaisions when your shooting goes south. :rolleyes:

    Concerning accuracy, modern compound bows are not really anymore accurate than a properly tuned and matched traditional bow, they're just a lot easier to shoot accurately! That being said, keep your eye out for any shooting demonstrations by a guy named Byron Ferguson, he used to show up on the cable TV show American Shooter from time to time on the "Shot of the Week" segment. The guy is absolutely amazing! I've seen him shoot aspirin tablets out of the air on that show! :eek: How's that for accurate?

    As for the string hitting your arm you could also open up your stance a little which would give you a little more clearence between the bowstring path and your arm. This is a little hard to explain but here goes: I'm going to right this with the assumption that you are shooting right handed, if you are left handed just reverse the "rights" and "lefts". Stand with your bow arm pointed straight out from your left side as if you are shooting, line up so that it is pointing straight at the target with your legs forming a straight line to the target, and your feet are parallel facing 90 degrees from the target, while holding your left arm on target and not moving your left foot slide your right foot ahead and to the left a little while turning your body slightly to face the target, (you should be turning counter clockwise) at this point if you were looking down you could draw a triangle on the ground using your feet and left hand as the points. basically you are creating an angle between your outstretched left hand and your right foot, the more you increase this angle the more you open up your stance. However increasing the angle will shorten your draw length so you don't want to overdo it, just take it to the point where you are no longer hitting your arm. And buy a good armguard too.

    Hopefully this makes some sense, if not well, be sure you get that book! :D
     
  8. Frodocious

    Frodocious New Member

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    Christophe...

    I should have anticipated that response to the 'wax your string' comment but it was after 1am when I posted! D'oh!

    As I am really new to this sport - what are whisker silencers?

    Lone Archer,

    I have Byron's 'Become the arrow' book - very interesting it is too. I will look out for the 'instinctive shooting' book as well - I just had my birthday and have a handy supply of book tokens to use up.

    Do any of you happen to know if there is a good reference book available listing the different types and styles of bows through the ages?

    As for my bruises, they are a very attractive purplish blueish colour at the moment! I wear a bracer on my lower arm but the string is catching just on my elbow joint - I will try turning my arm and maybe adjusting my stance but, are arm guards available that come higher up the arm over the elbow?
     
  9. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    Good advice. I didn't think about this, but this is the stance I use. Feels most comfortable to me. I feel twisted with the "feet parallel to the line of target" stance. Of course my wife would probably argue that I AM twisted all the time. But that's a different subject......

    LA - How goes the shooting at cylume sticks? Hit any yet? I've come extremely close but then this isn't horse shoes so no points! I was wondering, as I use hay bales as the backstop for my targets, what would happen if the cylume were hit? i.e. would it light up the hay bale where the liquid got on it? I've seen cylume liquid on walls and ceilings (don't ask - child of the 70's thing!) and the drops continue to glow.

    Gosh, come to think of it, this may be the answer to Cheesy Goodness' flaming hay bales idea. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! BTW, on flaming arows, some folks in the SCA have used flaming arrows. What they do is tie a streamer to the arrow. When it flys through the air it looks like a flaming arrow. The idea is that when it hits, no matter what or where, you are dead or the equipment, catapult, trebuchet, is finished. Pretty cool. However, the streamer significantly reduces the flight time of the arrow due to drag. Still they look and sound really cool.
     
  10. Frodocious

    Frodocious New Member

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    Well, altering my stance seems to have helped, as does trying to twist my elbow down. Although, now my shoulder and neck are killing me - I'm hoping that this is to do with the muscles not being use to that position and nothing to do with the fact that my left shoulder is dodgy after I popped it out kayaking a few years back, and my neck is dodgy after I twisted a joint in it a while ago!

    I just got an email from the place that does beginners courses, saying they haven't got one planned for a while, so I guess I'm relying on you people for info!

    :draught: Cheers for all the help so far, its very much appreciated!
     
  11. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    Frodocious,
    Well one thing about archery is that it takes some musculature to accomplish. At least to hold the draw long enough to aim accurately. I have found that doing a bent over row exercise works nicely. Basically this is done by bending at the waist then lifting a weight up to your shoulder then back down. You can also do this exercise with elastic bands hooked around an object in front of you. Just pull back on the bands together, hold, slowly release. I know it sounds like you are going on a "buffy routine" but these are great exercises for building up those archery muscles needed to hold the draw and aim well. I find that at the beginning of the season I can't hold the draw on my 49 pounder nearly as long as I can later in the season after the muscles have been built back up.

    As for lessons, there are plenty of folks on this forum who seem more than willing to share their expertise and experience with other archers. Ask questions, learn, get better, shoot straight. And just for reference a bunch of archers were known in period as a murder of archers. So we can say, welcome to the murder! Try to explain THAT to your friends. "I've joined a murder. It's great fun and I'm learning a lot."
     
  12. Frodocious

    Frodocious New Member

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    Christophe,

    I think, for a woman, I have relatively good upper body strength as I do a lot of sports that require it (swimming, capoeira, muay thai boxing, kayaking), I already do bent over rows as part of my weight training routine but I may try increasing the weight I'm currently using. Thanks for the tip on that, though, I'm one of those people who swears by sport specific weight routines as an excellent method of increasing ability in any sport. I also really enjoy doing weights!

    I don't think anyone who knows me would really be surprised if I told them "I've joined a murder. It's great fun and I'm learning a lot." They all think I'm strange anyway!
     
  13. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    A murder eh? Just like a murder of crows, cool. My wife's gonna love that one!

    Christophe, I haven't had a chance to try the cyalumes yet, just returned from vacation little over a week ago and I've only had one night off since. But I've got two coming up Tuesday, I'll definately be doing some shooting then as I haven't since we've been back. Might as well include some night shooting. :cool:

    Frodocious, there are a couple of arm guards that come up past the elbow, Three Rivers sells the "Catguard" for about $12 I think, it should do the trick nicely as long as you don't mind wearing camouflage. ;) Incidentally when my wife first started shooting and was smacked by the bow string I told her that she had been "kissed by the bow" and that from here on out she would either love it and be hooked forever or hate it and never shoot again, fortunately she's hooked. :D

    By the way, how is Ferguson's book? I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. On the question of reference books there is one that came out last year I think that shows the various forms of the bow through history and from all over the world, I think it is called "Bows of the World". I don't have a catalog that lists it but I've seen it advertised in Primitive Archer magazine. I think the company running the ad is Horse Feathers Ranch, I'll try to locate their web address for you.
     
  14. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Ok found it: www.horsefeathersranch.com the book is Bows of the World by David Gray. It's listed under the archery and hunting icon at the top of the home page.
     
  15. Frodocious

    Frodocious New Member

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    Cheers for the armguard info, I will have a look at it later!

    Although, having altered my stance a little and tried twisting my elbow down, the problem seems to have gone - the bruises are healing nicely and have progressed to an attractive greeny yellow colour!

    Thanks for the link on that book, I'm going to see if I can get it from my local retailer or Amazon UK.

    Ferguson's book looks pretty good - I only got it on Thursday and so haven't had a chance to really read it yet. Once I get round to doing so I will let you know what I think (it maybe a while though, as I have a lot of reading to do for work at the moment).

    Time for another question - what is the correct method for releasing the arrow? Should I just be relaxing my fingers, or should I move them away from the string or what?

    Cheers again in advance!
     
  16. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    Frodocious,
    The "proper" release is to simply relax your fingers such that the string pulls freely off. I have found that if I "release" the string by flexing my fingers straight it actually pulls the string away from my anchor point and thusly throws off the aim. My measure is that my thumb stays in contact with the angle of my jaw. [My anchor point is with the joint of my thumb and index finger nestled into the angle of my jaw.]

    The other issue is where the string rests on your fingers. Some books show the string nestled in the first joint of the fingers. Others show the string bisecting the finger tip pads. I use the finger tip pads method. I feel that when the string is further up on my finger, i.e. in the first joint, when I release it pulls the string to the right (right handed shooter). When I first came back to archery, using this technique and even with a shooting glove, my finger tips went numb. Good for playing classical guitar, but somewhat strange for feeling the release et al.
     
  17. Cheesy Goodness

    Cheesy Goodness The Fighters Guide House Member

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    I found a bent arrow in my yard a while ago, and if i can bend it to the point where it's somewhat straight, ill use it to launch at the hay bale (flaming of course.). But how do i bend it back into place? i tried just hitting it with the hammer, but that damaged the shaft. I thought about taking a propane torch to it, but that would be way to much heat, and might melt it, since it's aluminum. so, i built a fire, and i might heat it a little and try bend it like that. the reason i'm yipping about it is because before i try and bend it like that, i was wondering if there was a better way to do it, or if i'm screwed either way

    the 2 inches at the tip of the shaft was taken off by the lawn mower, and i don't think i can put that back together, but i thought i would ask about that too.

    thanks guys!
     
  18. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    cheesy,
    Bent aluminum shafts are tricky to straighten. Best I can say is go gently. I don't think I'd try the heating technique though. What I usually do is sight down the arrow to locate the apex of the bend then gently try to straigthen it using my hands. Admitidly the results have not been that good. As for attaching the broken tip, I guess you could get a plug that fits inside the shafts and mend it that way. However, this would totally through the balance of the arrow off.

    Wooden shafts can be straightened usually just by bending. Sometime a little heat also helps. Of course the best thing to do is store your wooden shafts in an arrow box. In lieu of an arrow box, make one. Punch holes in two pieces of card board about 2 inches by 5 inches. Then slice down to the holes from the long edge. You then "clip" the arrows into the holes. You can then place the whole lot of arrows in a box. This works very well for me. I have some wooden arrows that are about 6 years old and have always been stored this way. And they are still straight.

    I would think for you flaming arrows that you could get dowels at the hardware store, nock and point them and fletch them with stiff paper - old business cards work well for this. That way you wouldn't have a lot of money tied up in the arrow if it just burns up.
     
  19. Cheesy Goodness

    Cheesy Goodness The Fighters Guide House Member

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    i might just strape the arrow over my fire pit after there's few flames, mostly coals. i'll leave it there and try and bend it with my hands afterwards (with heavy gloves of course).

    as for attatching the tip of it, i might just go very...VERY light with the propane torch and hope for the best.

    what do you mean by "nock and point them and fletch them with paper" btw?

    ill try the box idea, but that had nothing to do with the arrow. I lost it when i first started archery, and found it a while ago. It was probably run over a few times by the truck, or lawn mower (which would explain the bend and the tip)

    but the box idea is better than just throwing it on my couch while random stuff piles up on top of my arrows :) thanks!
     
  20. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    cheesy,
    what do you mean by "nock and point them and fletch them with paper" btw?

    Buy the straightest dowels you can get at the hardware store. Point one end. You can do this with a pencil sharpener or just file a point on in lieu of actually buying a real arrow point. Nock is the plastic thingy that hooks the arrow to the string. Of course, you could self nock the arrow. Tape two hacksaw blades together and saw a notch in one end of the dowel. Then wrap the base with string so the shaft does not split when the arrow is fired. Be sure you cut crosswise to the grain of the wood. Fletch, as in feathers or vanes. Cut them out of stiff paper and glue them on the shaft. This is actually how the Mongols of old fletched their arrows.

    As for your bent aluminum arrow here's a site you may find interesting http://www.student.utwente.nl/~sagi/artikel/retarrow/retarrow.html. It's about returning arrows. Ya know? Like Bommerangs? LOL!!
     
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