What target is best for me?

So you might have got a bow for Christmas and are wondering if you can get a target to do some practice. What works and what doesn’t? How much will they cost? How long do they last?  Well all the answers to  these questions are dependent on what you are shooting or wanting to accomplish. Archery targets come in all shapes and sizes. As with everything there are merits and flaws for all but I’m going to try and summarise my thoughts and offer some factors to consider if you are thinking of investing in one for yourself or club.
I’m going to look at 3 types of targets
  • Bag bosses
  • Layered foam bosses
  • 3D targets
Mybo bag target

Mybo bag target

Bag bosses

These comprise of a bag made from a plastic weave similar to builders rubble bags and are packed with pieces of foam, fabric and plastic wrapping. They are normally the cheapest option and come in a couple of different sizes. I’ve had a couple of different ones of these over the years.
I’ve found they are good for low to medium poundage bows. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for compound or crossbow archers as the arrows would quickly wear them out.
This brings me to the downside which is the bag material itself can get shot out as you shoot the centre. The bag material can be replaced or patched as I’ve known a few clubs to use old builders rubble sacks for coverings. I wrote a review of the Mybo bag boss a while back.
Being a boss you can pin different faces in them as required and this does help with spreading the wear and tare.
Overall they work pretty well for light usage and we’ve bought a couple for the club to use at have a go events and occasional use.

Layered foam bosses

Target Boss

Layered foam bosses are very common on most field courses and consist of layers of thin foam with a wood frames on two of  the long  sides that are then bound together. Mine have been out for a couple of years and still work well.
While more expensive than bag bosses they do work for heavier poundage bows.  Normal sizes are 90 x 90 cm or 130cm x 130cm.
The advantage of these is you can pin any target face on them, so this makes them versatile .
Things to consider are
  • The wooden frames rotting over time as the wood is not always pressure treated. We’ve used fence preserver on ours to help them last longer and disguising or camouflaging the frames so they are less obvious.
  • Try to avoid setting shots so arrows enter at an angle to the layers as this promotes the foam being torn or damaged more quickly.
  • Over time the banding can slacken so you may need to re-tighten or replace the banding.
  • The boss can get the heart shot out, with foam sheets tearing over time. A solution to this is to dismantle the target and move the torn sheets to the side and less damaged ones inward then rebind them.
  • Make sure the wood frame is on the side of the boss and not top & bottom. You don’t want an arrow to glance off the wood and fly high.
Its a common practice to repair these bosses and sometimes you’ll find you might be repairing 2 or 3 of them at a time. The end result being two usable bosses and the damaged sheets being used to stuff bag bosses.

3D targets

3D target set up for shoot off

3D target set up for shoot off

3D targets look great and can prove very useful if you are training for hunting or maybe a specific tournament. The downside is they can be expensive with a decent 3D deer costing a few hundred pounds. They are also pretty limited as unlike foam or bag bosses you can’t pin a different target face up and shoot that.
They can be repaired when they get shot out and there are some good YouTube videos covering this. Greg at 3D archery YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4HdCXofIA4jsWi1q9AdBUA) has run a series on repairing a variety of 3ds.
I feel that some of the smaller 3ds are not worth the money as they will get shot out quickly or are so hard lighter poundage bows struggle to penetrate.
A quick Google search will show there are several manufacturers of 3Ds,  Gamut (https://3dtargets.co.uk/), Rinehart (https://www.rinehart3d.com/), Delta McKenzie (https://dmtargets.com/) are just a few. All of them are now offering a variety from raccoons to grizzly bears.
Rinehart targets whilst expensive do provide the option of replacement centres which are sold separately. Not all manufacturers do this so.
Personally for my home range I have a couple of layered foam bosses which work well for practice and coaching. I’ve also got a couple of bag bosses but they need to be repaired.
Anyway I hope this has proved to be helpful. If you have any comments or feel I’ve missed something then let me know.
Thanks for reading

Shoot report – Highcross – April 2015

3D deer shot at Highcross

3D deer shot at Highcross

So Sunday saw us heading south on the motorway to Highcross clubs ground. Though Sharon had shot Highcross once before, it had been at their old wood, so this would be a new venue for us both. It was nice to visit somewhere new as everything is completely unknown.
Fortunately the weather was good, with a slight chill in the air it did feel cooler that earlier in the week. The good weather did mean I was able to get quite a few photos.
Unlike other shoots where there are upwards of 150 archers, Highcross had some 60 archers which made for a relaxing and easy shoot.
Highcross have a lovely wood with a 36 target course set up with targets 1-18 paper faces and 19-36 3d targets. For the shoot they had been able to secure an extra part of woodland which was where they housed the 3D shots.
First target of theday

First target of the day

Personally I’m not sure if I liked the 50/50 split, the 3d targets were really nicely set, well placed and at sensible distances, which gave archers confidence. The paper faces in general weren’t too bad, but I think it would be far to say that some were stretched. In stretched I mean target face being too small for the distance, this was especially the case for the smaller faces. an example of such was our starting one the rabbit. By having them in two halves it could make people feel despondent if they shot the papers first.

Sharon on our second target

Sharon on our second target

Having said this the course was still fun to shoot. The course layers making extensive use of framed shots between trees.
Another framed shot

Another framed shot

Really liked the setting of the capercaillie in the trees, looked very natural. It was lovely to wander round a wood and to hear only the sound of other archers in the distance.

Shot through the tree

Shot through the tree at capercaillie

It was also lovely to see so many primroses in flower covering the ground throughout the woods. Could have been called a Primrose shoot.
Minefield of primroses

Minefield of primroses

 Another great shot was the flying duck, shown below.
The duck shot

The duck shot

Sharon did really well getting a pro kill 24 point shot, the only problem was when you hit it, the target would spin round.
The 3D  duck with Sharon and my arrow in

The 3D duck with Sharon and my arrow in

Our group included Steve and Rae both shooting barebow, with Gerald joining us to walk round with Rae and his dog Two-Bob.
Sharon chatting to Steve

Sharon chatting to Steve

It was a very sociable and relaxed day overall and it was nice to hear positive comments form archers who had attended our shoot the week before.

Rae Shooting at 3D

Rae Shooting at 3D

The day flowed well with no hold ups, maybe because of the lower numbers or simply because it was a good course, along with good catering especially the selection of home made cakes.
Sharon won ladies hunting tackle and I somehow managed a first in American Flatbow.
Think it will be a shoot we will return to, though not sure when their next shoot is.
Thanks for reading

Equipment review – Mybo boss

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing some coaching with a couple of new archers down at the wood which has been great fun. Been good to get back to doing some coaching.
One of the students was asking about getting a practice boss for their garden and what to get, how much to spend etc. This got me thinking, dangerous I know.
Well, a while back I wrote a piece on setting up a practice boss and the safety considerations. (Here is the link if you are interested.)
This was based on a layered foam boss, but there are bag targets out there and a few months back I picked one up from Merlin archery store. You can see the Archery Adventures  video review here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVx16sYH2JE) .
So I thought it a good time to write a review of how we have found it.

So why did I buy one of these?

We were after something we could use not just for the recurves and flat bows but also the compound. Whist at Merlin I got chatting to the guys about target bosses and how our old tuff butt had seen better days and we were looking to replace it. They showed me the then new mybo sureshot  target boss range they had started to stock.

The staff demonstrated its stopping power by shooting a compound crossbow at about 5 yards into it. The result was about an inch or two of the bolt sticking out the back of the smallest boss. Not bad and a good demonstration of its stopping power.

First few arrows

First few arrows

Cost wise they aren’t bad. I believe replacement covers can be bought from Merlin.

90 cm are £75 and 70 cm are £49

There are three sizes are available. We have the mid range one. (70cm)

The mid range one isn’t to heavy,  manageable by me  to move round so can’t be that heavy as I’m not the strongest archer in the world. There are a couple of handles on top to make it easier to move. I’ve used these with some rope to tie ours in place.
The larger one needs a couple of people to move more due to the bulk than weight.
I’ve put ours on top of our current boss so you have a size comparison.
Mybo bag target

Mybo bag target

Initial tests are positive we’ve been using for a few months now shooting at it a couple of nights a week.

  • Arrows are easy to draw too.
  • Weave hasn’t frayed yet and the holes appear to close up quite well but can still be seen after drawing the arrows.
  • The arrows don’t penetrate too far at least from our recurve bows.  Haven’t tried my compound yet as concentrating on practice with recurve for upcoming National champs in September.
Hole after drawing arrow.

Hole after drawing arrow.

I think it works well for a practice boss and has lasted well from repeated shots though I haven’t shot it with anything other than recurves and flatbows. Although I do think you need to occasionally to shake the bag up so that the contents resettle themselves (bit like when you fluff up a pillow)
Whilst I don’t think you could replace foam bosses with these for a shoot.  I think they work well for practice at home or for a club indoor range potentially.

Top tip

One tip I would give is to get some heavy duty plastic sheets.  I’ve got a load I use in the garden and when I’m not shooting at the boss I cover it to protect it from the worst of the British weather. It also helps prevent birds or other wildlife using it as a scratching or scent post.
I hope you find this useful and if you have one of these or experience of them then let me know. Please remember when setting up a target consider safety above all else.
Thanks for reading.