Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

Equipment review – Batwing feather fletchings

Rob Shooting

Rob Shooting

Okay, so for the past several months I have been trying out a new flethching profile on my arrow set up. In the past I have always stuck with the shield profile, with Sharon preferring a parabolic profile on her arrows. I feel that a lot of the time it is personal preference, but I’ve found a 4 or 5 inch shield to work well on my flatbows and a 3 inch has always been my preferred choice on my recurves.

These new fletching are a completely different profile called Batwing and being produced by Gateway (https://www.gatewayfeathers.com/ ). So would they prove to be a Joker in the deck or a hidden ace? Sorry had to include some kind of Batman related joke. You can partly blame Sharon for the joke as she’s nicknamed this batch of arrows the Jokers due to the colour scheme resemblimg the colours of the Jokers suit from Batman. Then again it might be nothing to do with colours and more to do with how I shoot them.

So why those colours?  Well I went with bright yellow fletchings and green nocks in the hope I would be able to see them in the target against the purple cresting.

Batwing fletching

Batwing fletching

The purple was partly because of it being club colours and a follow on from testing out the paints Lee had provided me for the Goblin Snot paint review a few months back. If you haven’t seen the review I was quite impressed by the paints.

Back to this review, the fletschings come in three sizes, 2 inch, 3 ½ inch and 4 ½ inch. Though I have all three sizes I’ve only tried out the latter two sizes on my flatbow. Of these two, I found that for my flatbow setup the 4 ½ inch have proved best. I know a couple of compound archers have tried the smaller size on their arrows with some success too.

For reference I normally shoot a 5 inch shield fletching. Whilst the 3 ½ worked ok, I found that they weren’t as forgiving when I had a poor release.

I’ve found the 4 1/2 inch offer stability in flight which is comparable to the larger five inch fletchings.

As I know some of you will be wondering about arrows speed and having put the arrows through a chrono the arrows are coming in at 176-180 Feet Per Second. That may not sound very fast but remember I’m not shooting carbon arrows, but wood ones. For those interested the arrows weigh between 455 and 465 grains, with a 80 grain pile up front and measuring 29 ½ inches being made from port orford cedar.

I wanted to wait before writing up this review so I could test them in a variety of conditions, which I think I have now managed. For those of you who shoot field, you know what it can be like shooting in a wood with variable cross winds between trees. One thing I have noticed with shooting these over the last few months  is they don’t appear to be as adversely affected by wind as my previous choice of five inch shield.

Wet weather, yes it is something that we as field archers have to encounter and despite having one of the warmest and driest summers on record in the UK we did get some rainy days. Wet weather has a huge effect on feather fletchings, often resulting in the feathers profile flattening down and offering very little stability. I was curious to see how these would cope in wet weather and whether the shape would make a difference. I have to report they don’t appear to have the same problem as normal shield that collapse and flatten.

I was a bit worried that their shape might result in them not coping with the occasional foray into the undergrowth which can happen when I miss the target, but so far so good. They don’t seem to have a problem with returning

I bought mine from Merlin Archery in Loughborough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgYQlcB7yww

So overall I think they work pretty well and look quite cool too.

Thanks for reading.

 

Arrow making tips and advice

 

Okay so as many of you know I make a lot of arrows and if truith be known I quite like it. I find the process of making them relaxing a lot of the time. The thing is I tend to make wooden arrows and not many with aluminium or carbon shafts these days since Sharon swapped back from shooting barebow to shooting woods.

Well I’ve been making up some club training arrows in readiness for some new courses we are running in January. They are Mybow Cadets from Merlin Archery and I’ll be posting a review of the arrows in a few months, but in the meantime I thought I’d share this tip. It was one given to me by Steve a fellow Briar Rose club member who is very experienced in shooting barebow and making up such arrows.

When making them I noticed the nock tends to rotate in the shaft, making it a bit tricky at times when mounting them on the fletching jig. Now you could add a drop of glue to secure them, but Steve suggested using cling film. Yes, the stuff that normally covers your supermarket produce.

If you wrap the end of the nock that fits into the shaft with a little film and then insert the nock it provides a tighter fit whilst still allowing some movement for alignment purposes.

The amount required varies but with a little trial and error I found a length of 5 to 6 cm and about 12 mm wide worked best. Wrapped tightly round the end that fits in the shaft and it seems to work pretty well.

Well I hope this helps, let me know how it works for you or if you have any other advice or such fixes. My thanks to Steve for the tip.

Thanks for reading.

Bear target face

Equipment review – phoenix archery target faces

 

Bear target face in the woods

Bear target face in the woods

Those of you who shot the NFAS National Championships this year might have already seen some new target faces produced by Phoenix Archery (https://phoenix-archery.co.uk/). Well thanks to the generosity of Mark at Phoenix Archery we have been able to enjoy using a couple of his new range of target faces down at the Briar Rose club course.

The first thing I have to say is that the few faces I have seen do look good, with much more definition than I’ve seen in other faces. They are high definition faces are printed on a plastic fabric rather than the normal paper, making them more water resistant and potentially ideal for the approaching winter months.

Generally the wound lines are pretty generous following the main outline of the animal, though a few of the inner kills are a little small, but not that bad. The reason I mention this is if you have a lot of very accurate archers in the club shooting, maybe compound sighted or crossbow archers. Then it is likely they will shoot out the centre on smaller target faces.

close up of the MeerKat target

Not all the faces are life size and I think this is probably my only gripe. I’m not a big fan of shooting target faces that are half or two thirds size of the real animal.

I think a development that Mark might like to consider is producing these faces on paper rather than plastic as it might reduce the cost and may work better for the smaller faces where the scoring zone could get shot out quickly.

Meerkat target on the boss

Meerkat target on the boss

So how did they get on with being shot? From testing of the faces I have found a few things

  1. They last well in bad weather with no signs of shrinking or warping in the wet.
  2. The faces we’ve had have been out on the course for several weeks and show no signs of fading. Neither has been in direct sunlight but the bear has been in a sunny spot.
  3. It’s worth using a few more target pegs when securing them to the bosses to keep the faces taught.
  4. Wear and tear wise they are pretty good and stand up to arrow damage, the only thing you have to be careful of is drawing the arrows. Carbon and alleys tend to be ok, but we’ve noticed that wooden arrow piles can snag on the fabric when drawing. To be fair Mark mentioned this to us when he gave them to us.

Unlike hessian targets the fabric weave doesn’t close up after the arrows are drawn so you are left with a hole.

Bear target face - close up

Bear target face – close up

Overall I think they can work pretty well especially if you looking for an all-weather target face suitable for leaving out over the winter months where paper faces would simply turn to mush. If you have a few good archers the 24 might get shot out pretty quickly but they will still look cool.

I’m not sure when Mark at Phoenix is going to post the prices details on the website for the full range, but there are some up there, so drop him a line.

Once again, we’d like to express our thanks to Mark for his generous donation to the club of the face.

Thanks for reading.