Archery Buying Guide
At Shepparton and Bendigo we have archery gear in store including compound and recurve bows. Each of them available in a range of weights from 12lb to 70lb which are suitable for all ages.
In this article we are going to go over the differences between compound bows and recurve bows, and touch on the different accessories available to help you purchase your next archery set.
Compund bows were first invented in 1966, so in comparrison to a recurve or long bow they are very new to the scene of archery. However these days the archery world is dominated by compound bows with their level of accuracy and ability to shoot consitently in a variety of situations.
Recurve bows and long bows have been around for thousands of years. Over all this time they have hardly changed in structure and overall design. In the feild of target archery many people still choose to shoot with a recurve bow for the challenge of being accurate with such a minimalistic set up.
Compound Bow Vs Recurve Bows
Now time for some comparison and which one is right for you.
Compound bows and recurve bows are completely different bows so there are endless comparisons that could be made. To put it simply it comes down to personal preference, if you just want to try the sport out a recurve bow is the best way to give it a go.
Compound bows can be difficult to start off with as there are many concepts to understand and alot of moving parts to maintain. Compound bows can also be quite expensive to set up as they require alot of accesories to be complete. It is because of these reasons most beginner archers start off with a recurve bow. Starting off with a recurve bow will teach you the fundamentals of the sport well, therefore in the long run this will make you a better archer.
On a recurve bow sights are often never used, the sights available for a recurve bow have a single pin which in general means they can only be sighted in to be accurate at a one set distance.
On a compound bow however sights are a must and there are hundreds of different options. The one shown in the image below is the most common sight you would find on a compound bow, the sight can be adjusted left and right to adapt for the bow shooting off centre. The very fine pins in the centre of the circle can also be adjusted up and down which is the most important as this is distance. Put simply if you adjust a pin down it will make you lift the bow higher when aiming, this will make the arrow go higher in the air therefore it will fly further. For example the sight below is a 4 pin sight, this couid be set up as 20 meters, 25 meters, 30 meters, and 35 meters from top to bottom.
Along with a sight on compound bow you also need a peep sight which is shown below. Peep sights also come in a variety of sizes and shapes, the one on the bow below is a self aligning peep sight. When the bow is in the drawed back position, the peep sight should be inline with your eye. As you look through the small circle line the outer ring up with the outer housing ring on the front sight. This helps insure the back of the arrow is inline with with front sight.
There are many other accersories for bows to help you shoot more consistently. Stabilizers are a must on a compound bow as they add weight to the front. This weight lets the bow be alot more stable when drawed back.
There are two options when it comes to arrows rests. When starting out a brush stile rest such as the one below is the best choice as there is very minimal set up required. Just screw it on, make sure your arrow sits straight at 90 degrees, and you are set. The other type of arrow rest is a drop away rest, these rests require alot of tuning and adjusting to set up but the speed and accuracy they allow is unmatched.
Another very import peice of gear for a compound bow is a release. There are four main types of release aids, a wrist strap, handheld hinge, handheld thumb, and finally a handheld tension release. The most common is a wrist strap trigger release as they are affordable and very simple to use. A release takes out the human error in letting the string go with your fingers. The release attaches to a D loop on the bow string.
Bow poundage and draw length
Bow poundage on a compound bow can be adjusted to suit by loosening the main limb bolts. On a compound bow it is important to know the bows range of poundage so you do not over loosen the bow. For draw length a genral rule of thumb is your wingspan in inches divided by 2.5. Every compound bow has a different procces or system to adjust the drawlength.
On a recurve bow such as the one in the image below they all come set at a poundage by the manufacturer. This will be written on the lower Limb.
Arrows and Broadheads
When choosing an arrow it is important to understand how arrow spine works. Spine is the stiffness and rigidity of an arrow shaft. An arrow with a spine of 350 is going to be alot stronger and stiffer then an arrow with a 450 spine, so the lower the number the stiffer the arrow.
If you are just starting out and shooting targets wooden and fiberglass arrows are a good choice. Fiberglass may cost a little bit more but they will last much longer then wood.
Most compound bows use carbon composite arrows or full carbon arrows. Carbon makes the arrow super strong whilst keeping wheight down. In genral if you are just shooting targets there is no need to look past carbon arrows.
All arrows come with either a fixed field (target) tip or a removable field tip.
It is only when Bow hunting that arrow weight, spine and broadheads come into the picture. It is important to have a heavy enough arrow and enough bow poundage to drive that heavier arrow when hunting. A full carbon arrow is the most common arrow used for hunting, metal jacket arrows are also popular when hunting to increase the arrows strength.
Broadheads come in two different styles, mechanical or fixed blade. Mechanical broad heads are genrally more expensive but they deliver the most consistant shots. Mechanical broadheads have a sytem that allows them to be closed up and very slim when shot, but as soon as they contact they deploy and expand open. Fixed blade broadheads are as the name suggests, they dont change, the only issue with this is that for them to work well the blades must be big enough. This leads to them catching alot of wind which can cause poor arrow flight.
On the other hand they are practically bullet proof as long as you keep them sharp they never fail on impact. This is where mechanicals can have issues because if they dont open properly they are practiclly useless on the animal.
Arrows come in different Grains or weights such as 100 or 125 grain , the more weight the better the penitration, and this is very important. If you were to throw a tennis ball at a wall verses a lead ball the tennis ball is going to go alot faster but it wont go through, however a lead ball wont go fast but it will definitely go through.
Hopefully this guide assists your decision making when purchasing your next recreational or hunting bows in the future.
Max from Trelly's.