Literature Review – Bow International Guide to Archery

Bow International - Guide to archery cover

Bow International – Guide to archery cover

Having been lucky enough to win a copy of Bow International Guide to Archery in the magazines Christmas draw I  thought it a great opportunity to give the publication a literature review on this site so here goes.
The book is a large format 114 page publication in a similar style to that of the magazine, being filled with colour photographs, diagrams and adverts from archery suppliers.
To be honest I have always been a little dubious of publishing houses producing a digest of articles previously published in their magazine. I can understand why they do it, just never sure it is worth the cost for the reader. In this case I actually think it is. At £9:95 it’s not over priced and I think it could be of benefit for newbies as it covers some basics well, as well as those archers wanting to expand their archery related library and knowledge. There are certainly articles I would and have recommend to people who are novices or experienced archers.
One such is Chris Wells on Shot Sequence along with articles on preparing for competition.
Bow International - Guide to archery

Bow International – Guide to archery

The articles are easy to read and informative giving an oversight on different elements of our hobby. The topics covered being quite varied from setting up a recurve bow to things to consider when shooting field courses. Some of the articles are quite a light touch on the subjects giving a brief overview rather than in depth analysis which you might find in other books. That is to be expected as after all there are only a few pages to cover a lot of subject knowledge.
Bow International - Guide to archery

Bow International – Guide to archery

I found myself picking it up and reading an article or two between jobs or in an evening when I had some spare time.
On the subject of topics covered, personally I would like to see more on the traditional side of the hobby along with elements on the instinctive archery, but this is entirely for personal taste and interest. Priced for just under £10 I believe it gives you a few ideas and wets your appetite to do some more research.
Overall I’d give it 8 / 10
Thanks for reading.

lights, camera, action, I mean Archery

And the Oscar goes too…
Some people love being in front of the camera, others prefer to do the filming. The question is can video resources help you if you are an instinctive archer?A few weeks ago I posted an article on how we’ve been using a tablet computer mounted on a tripod to record archers at a club coaching session. So How does this help? This aids the archer as they can be shown exactly what they do when drawing up or at point of release. How their hand moves or whether they drop their bow arm. Often they think they are anchoring correctly to the face when in reality they aren’t because it all happens so fast , too fast for some to process. Recording them has huge benefits to the archer’s understanding of what they are actually doing as opposed to what they think they are doing.
Talking to fellow club members on Sunday they showed me footage shot on their iPhone, playing it back in slow motion to watch the arrow flight. With the growth of YouTube and ease by which people can make and edit their own recording I believe there are more budding Spielbergs are out there.

What we can learn from other sports

It is now common for touchline judges and sport referees to make lots of use of instant replays in games, multiple camera angles along with slow motion footage to aid their decisions. Managers and coaches use it for  post match analysis of players performance, game plans etc. So can we use it for our sport of archery, or more precisely for those of us who consider ourselves instinctive archers. I believe it can be used.
From my perspective I believe video resources can be immensely useful for many sports, field archery included and they are becoming more common.
One word of note, there are advantages and disadvantages of these helpful guides and video tips. For starters some may not be that helpful, so it is worth checking out multiple sources of information to get a more rounded understanding of the topic. If you are going to review these resources then make sure you watch a few different sites or techniques as each presenter convoys a slightly different perspective when they narrate their story. The important thing to remember is that they aren’t always right in what they say.
Some can come across as a marketing or sales pitch for the latest products or next development in the technology. Whilst others take a balanced view giving the positive and negative perspective which is important.Generally I’ve found these resources can be broken down in to three types
  • Instructional recordings  where a skill is demonstrated.
  • Video reviews of equipment, competitions or locations.
  • Personal achievement report.

Instructional –  these vary in length from a few minutes to longer durations. Short duration clips of a few minutes I think can be ideal for helping archers out on different topics from how to serve strings, to fletch arrows, to how to aim and shoot instinctively. The short duration is an important factor here as long reviews might go into more depth, but they are harder to find time to watch. Wolfie instinctive archery (https://www.youtube.com/user/Wolfiesairbrush) YouTube channel has some great advice for instinctive archery techniques.

Equipment reviews are good to so long as they aren’t marketing based publicity. I’ve come across a few that are more about selling the product than actually reviewing it’s merits and flaws. Jim Grizzly Kent Archery Adventures (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxl7N0J9Rc8kDnjV_BzH-yg) still comes across as a good product review even though they are now Merlin Archery Adventures. I think Jim does a pretty good job of giving a balanced viewpoint of the bows he reviews.

I also quite like the personal achievement videos; when someone has posted their own success story. You often see these pop up on Facebook sites and YouTube. It can take a lot of courage to put yourself out there for all to see and comment on. There are a lot of people who enjoy criticising others or simply being argumentative. 3d archery (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4HdCXofIA4jsWi1q9AdBUA) have some nice event reviews, showing shots from different courses, offering advice and views.

There are loads of different sites on the Internet so I’ve listed a few others sites that are worth a mention too.

Ironmind Hunting (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9zPmJfjW2R9r0y2uUzq9aQ) has some good instructional guides.
Jeff Kavanagh (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgGoY0qpH8f11COXWkE8aLQ) is worth checking out for a mix of archery related topics.
Nathan Skyrme channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1kxvgSeCWZXdg4I6_BI5Zg) has also started producing some material and equipment reviews.
If you know of any others that you believe are worth sharing then add a comment here.

Making videos where I’m in front of the camera has never appealed to me. As someone once said “I have the perfect face for radio” , but I can see their merits.
Thanks for reading and don’t worry, I won’t be coming to a YouTube channel near you.

Don’t lose your grip

So January is over and Christmas seems a long time past, I hope you had a good festive time.
As January and February often sees us all short of a penny or two, with a corresponding tightening of the purse strings, I thought I would post what might be a money saving idea for my fellow archers. I want to talk about arrow pullers.  You know the things that give you a better grip on the arrow when pulling them from target bosses or 3D targets.
Yes I know what you are thinking, it’s not the most glamorous of archery accessories, but still a useful tool.
Arrow pullers come in all shapes, colours and sizes, varying in cost from under a pound to several pounds. Like everything some are better than others, but all share one thing in common, they can be easily lost either on the range or wondering round the woods.
Anyway onto the money saving aspect. When wandering around our local Lakeland store looking for jars for Sharon’s mass production of home made jams and preserves, I came across this non slip cloth sold on long rolls. It can be easily cut down to smaller lengths and cost just under six  pounds for a roll 30cm x 3 metres  (that’s about 12 inches x 10 feet). Normally it is used to cover work tops, or  in caravan drawers to stop contents moving.
Cut price arrow puller

Cut price arrow puller

I thought this could be used as a cut price arrow puller for newbies. So I cut a few lengths down to about 15 cm x 15 cm (6 inches x 6 inches”) and gave it to some people to try it on one of my coaching days at the wood and I was quite impressed. It worked well for all types of arrows (wooden, metal or carbon) providing an improved grip on the arrow to help drawing, it also worked in the wet weather we had. .
I can see the benefits of this for coaching sessions and for newbies as it keeps cost down and doesn’t matter if the pieces are lost or misplaced. It can be stuffed into a pocket or easily attached to a quiver making for an inexpensive aid to drawing arrows.

Sharon also finds using an arrow puller easier as she suffers from dry skin on her hands that can make drawing arrows difficult in cold weather, especially metal arrows, as it proves very hard to get any traction.

Quick note on drawing arrows

I tend to advise archers to use an arrow puller when drawing carbon arrows in particular, simply because if your hand slips down a damaged shaft when trying to draw the arrow it is very easy to get carbon splinters into the hand and carbon splinters are not easy to remove.
Please note I’m not trying to vilify carbon arrows just provide some advice on being careful. Forewarned is forearmed as they saw.
I’ve learnt that cheaper versions are available from discount pound shops that work as well. When talking to one fellow club member I discovered he uses it as flooring for his pens holding young chicks to stop them sliding and falling over.
One last thing as I  almost forgot,  Happy New year to all readers and followers. Might seem a bit late but I realised that in my first post of the year I’d forgotten to wish it to you. Sorry, must be my age catching up with me. For that reason I’ll wish you a happy Easter now.
As always thanks for reading.

How to become a Better Archer

Source: How to become a Better Archer

Some really good, simple advice in this video from 3D Archery with Gregory Richards on working on a system for archery and love the comment about the Gremlin.

Equipment Review – Timber Creek Wooden arrows

Timber Creek Arrows

Timber Creek Arrows

I recently picked up some Timber Creek wood arrows from Merlin Archery care of Jim Grizzly Kent  and thought it worth putting a review together.
First impressions are positive.
The shafts are 11/32 with a 4 inch feather shield fletchings and black nocks. Made from Siberian spruce, these were spined as 50/55 as I wanted to use them with my flatbow.
The varnish finish is good being smooth and flawless over the entire length of the arrow.
Only thing I don’t like is the nock colour. Whilst they look great, fit well on the string, they are black which makes them very hard to see on longer targets. I like the thread binding at the front of the fletching as this can protect the tip of the fletching.
The shafts are straight and with the clear varnish you can see the quality of the wood grain.
Close up

Close up of fletching and nock

Having weighed them the six arrows come in 30 grains variance which is pretty impressive for unmatched out of box.
The piles are 100 grain field point which will be fine for most but I prefer an 80 grain.

100 grain piles

100 grain piles

Out of the box they are 32 inches in length and come pre – piled and ready to shoot.  Only thing I’ve noticed is the piles on two are very slightly proud of shafts, probably due to the shafts being slightly less than an 11/32. So if shooting a bag boss they can snag on the fabric. In fairness this is not an uncommon problem with wooden shafts and one I’ve encountered when making my own.Initial goes
I’ve tried shooting them at full length and they fly ok at about 12 -15 yards but really need to cut them down to my draw length. At 20-25 yards I was noticing the difference of pile weight and length. My normal arrows are fitted 80grain points so will probably fit 80 grain piles for true comparison.

Further testing 
Having now cut them to my draw length and fitted 80grain points I can add a couple of extra observations.
Being spruce the wood feathers or crumbles a little when tapering them. I found the same with other spruce and to be fair these were better quality.
Removing the old piles was easy using a gas ring to heat them for about 10 seconds and then unscrewing with a pair of pliers. Not sure if the 100 grain field point will blunt if a wayward arrow were to hit a rock, but this is the same for other pile designs and the reason I prefer steel to brass.
Having shot them they fly very slightly high and to the left but only slightly which makes me think slightly stiff.

Grouping at 15 yards

Grouping at 15 yards

Flight wise, they are very good and I’ve shot them a couple of hundred times.
I’ve not missed so badly as to bounce them off a tree yet so not sure of durability but am sure I will find out soon.

UPDATE – First casualty and note to self. If you shoot your own arrow it breaks. Managed to shoot the pile off one.  Yes pile, not nockthat takes skills.

First casulaty

First casulaty of the testing

 Those interested in the Timber Creek range of bows might like to know i recently picked up a Timber Creek Cobra and hope to write a review in the near future.
 If you don’t have the time or expertise to make your own arrows I think they are a good buy being good quality components assembled well. Priced at just under £5 each it’s not bad value. (http://www.merlinarchery.co.uk/timer-creek-wooden-arrows-basic.html)

Overall a 8.5 to 9/10 due to the nock colour.

Thanks for reading