Hardest lessons to learn in archery – Watch the weight Or why we need to watch our weight

No not a comment on obesity in archery but a quick look at how weight in many different forms can effect archery, whether we are talking about the draw weight of your bow or the weight of the arrows used.

So when can too light be a bad thing, and again I’m not talking about the archers weight here or anorexic, but in fact arrow weights.

Before I launch into this article though I’d like to thank my guest co-author another Rob, Rob Cook.

Rob Cook

Rob Cook

As many of you know I’m a big traditional archer shooting wooden bows and wooden arrows, so when it came to checking my facts with carbon arrows and so on, so I enlisted Robs help. Rob was also one of the originators of the new Traditional Bow hunter class in the NFAS and has extensive knowledge on the bare bow scene.

Bow International ran an article a few issues back on the effect of arrows weights on arrow flight and I know other sites including The Push have talked about the importance of matching your arrows to the bow.

Too light an arrow and archers can encounter several issues. Light arrows can fly faster and some say further, but they can be affected by wind to a greater degree. also there may not be the mass weight to absorb the energy from the bow limbs on release as effectively. in essence its like a mini dry fire.

Most bow manufacturers will specify an optimum mass weight for your arrow and if you look on just about ever carbon arrow in production will give you an arrow weight in grains per inch

To give you an example of what I mean, a bow maker might say the arrow should be 9 grains per pound of draw weight, so for my draw weight of 45lbs that would be 405 grain arrow weight. Through a lot of trial and error I have found an arrow round 450 to 460 works best from the bow, anything below 420 and the bow becomes noisy  and the arrows don’t perform as well.

Rob has created this table of data on different arrow specs and weights for some of the more common arrows on the market. We’ve used a 100 grain pile in all the arrows below calculations and show two lengths 28 inches and 30 inches, so we can give a total weight. To keep it simple Rob has used a 45lb bow weight for spine as I used that weight in the above calculation. It should all make sense but if you have any questions let us know.

Manufacturer Shaft Type                    spine @28 Arrow Weight gpp spine @ 30 Arrow Weight gpp
Avalon TecOne 600 330 7.3 600 344 7.6
Beman Classic 600 367 8.2 500 434 9.6
Carbon Express Predator II 2040 354 7.9 2040 370 8.2
Carbon Express Heritage 75 388 8.6 90 424 9.4
Easton Carbon One 660 325 7.2 550 347 7.7
Easton Axis 600 340 7.6 600 355 7.9
Easton 5MM Axis Traditional 600 357 7.9 600 373 8.3
Easton ST Axis N-Fused Camo/Axis Trad 600 360 8.0 600 376 8.4
Easton Apollo 610 367 8.2 560 392 8.7
Gold Tip Traditional 600 373 8.3 600 388 8.6


So why is this so important and why am I bringing it up here on this blog?

The NFAS has seen a new bow style recently, that of Traditional Bow Hunter. This style allows archers to shoot carbon or aluminium arrows off the bow shelf (no arrow rests). It is seeing a number of traditional archers that shoot flatbow or hunting tackle which uses wooden arrows giving it a go. They are buying carbon arrows of the right spine but I wonder if they are considering the effect of shooting lighter arrows on their bows? I was discussing this with a couple of people including Rob, so we thought we would put this together.

It is worth remembering that a lot of traditional wooden bows have not been constructed to take ultra-light carbon arrows often used in target archery or are sold as cheap alternatives to wooden or aluminium arrrows. Please don’t get me wrong some bows have been constructed to take such arrows but not all.

N.B. Adding a heavier pile to the arrow will increase the overall weight but it will also change the dynamic spine of the arrow, making it more flexible or weaker.

So what can you do?

  • Check the weight of your wooden arrows and carbons so you know the difference.
  • Check what your limb / bow manufactures recommended weights are. Most if not all will have this information on their websites or would be happy to share it with you. After all they don’t want to see you trash your bow as it reflects badly on them.
  • Going for slightly longer arrows as this will increase the mass weight too, this is why we have included two sizes in the above table.

I hope this has proved interesting and helpful. I would like to say thank you to Rob for all his help and number crunching with this. He produced a load of data on different arrows in a long excel document, as well as speaking to several bow manufactures to check minimal weights.

Thanks for reading.


The Push podcast

The Push Archery Podcasts

The Push Podcasts

The Push Podcasts

 It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, other than shoot reports,  so here goes, hopefully you’ll find it useful and interesting. This is kind of a part literature review and general review as I am going to be reviewing a podcast site, which some of you may already be aware of. In recent months I’ve been listening to The Push Archery podcasts.
Here is a link to their website. https://www.thepusharchery.com/
The guys have been publishing material for a few years, putting out a podcast every week or so. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working through their back catalogue of different topics, which I thin is well worth doing.
The podcasts are aimed at traditional bow hunter in the USA and beyond. The fact it is targeted at traditional bow hunters might put some people off, which is in my view is a mistake as they cover many aspects of archery many of which field archers could find helpful.
The Push podcast

One of Matt at anchor

Hosted by Matt Zirnsak & Tim Nebel, who I have to say are not only very knowledgeable on the subject of archery but a good laugh to listen too. More than once I’ve caught myself laughing on the train to work listening to them and their guest interact. As I said since finding them I have been working my way through their back catalogue of recordings of topics and guest. Yes Grizzly Jim if you are reading this I did hear your interview, from the other year.
Tim showing you can shoot in all weathers

Tim showing you can shoot in all weathers

I know that some of you might be wondering what am I doing promoting a traditional bow hunting site, after all hunting with a bow in the UK was outlawed decades ago. Well these guys and their guests know a lot about archery and I do mean a lot. Knowledge, them and their guests are more than willing to share and knowledge that is very applicable to field archers the world round. Also I know there are archers in the UK who go bow hunting overseas, some of whom read this blog who might find the topics covered of interest.
The format of the podcasts are generally focused on an interview with a guest archer, focusing on their shooting, equipment and advice. These usually have a running time of an hour or so. There have been some recent shorter podcasts which have focused on coaching advice and tips. As a field archery coach I have found these really interesting to listen to. The topics have covered your grip of the bow, your “hock” on the string, stance, etc., all of which I think are worth a listen if you are interested in improving your form or just interested in new ideas. I’ve especially liked the post on open verse closed loop shooting with Joel Turner. I think this has been of particular interest as I can be quite analytical at times when shooting, especially if things are not going well. One reason I like the podcasts is I can listen to them on route to work or home and then try applying some of the techniques in my own practise.
Push podcast- Matt at anchor

Matt at full draw

Before I forget, they also have a YouTube channel which you might want to check out.  https://www.youtube.com/user/tnebel20/
Also my thanks to the Matt and Tim for the photos they supplied for this article.
To be completely honest I wasn’t sure how applicable the guest interviews would be, but I have found them both interesting and informative. Whilst I’m not that interested in the hunting aspect, I do enjoy the narrative and it has highlighted the wealth of knowledge out there, going beyond just UK focused field archery.
I used to do a bit of bird watching (feathered kind) along with wildlife photography, so some of the techniques and comments on stalking or sitting in a hide, brought back memories of this.
 I’d suggest you have a listen and let me know what you think, be warned though you may well catch your self laughing or smiling on a train or bus journey.
Thanks for reading
Banks of snowdrops at Centaura

Shoot report – Centaura Bowmen – March 2018

Centaure Bowmen

It seems ages since I’ve written a shoot report, hopefully I haven’t lost the knack of what to include and cover. So here goes with this shoot report for Centaura Bowmen March shoot, which I think could have been called the snowdrop shoot. For those interested here is a link to a previous shoot report.

Unlike some of the recent weekends we’ve had of late, it wasn’t that cold, though there were areas of the woodland covered in a think blanket of white, with hundreds of snowdrops in flower.

Banks of snowdrops at Centaura

Banks of snowdrops at Centaura

One of the nice things with going to Centaura shoots is the opportunity it presents to catch up with old friends and a few blog followers, even if only briefly and that day was no exception.

So joining Sharon and myself in the shooting group on the day was Sue and Andrew, both shooting Bare Bow. We quickly discovered it was only the second NFAS shoot Sue had done, but I have to say I think she did really well.
Sharon shooting our first target

Sharon shooting our first target

Hopefully we haven’t put her off continuing in the hobby, though as we had a good laugh shooting round and chatting about anything and everything, I think we will see here again.
Sharon shooting 3D turkey target

Sharon shooting 3D turkey target

The course was familiar to many of us who had shot Centaura competitions before, consisting of 36 targets being a mix of 3D and paper faces. To be fair to the course layers they have added a couple of new shots, which seemed to work pretty well.
If you ever shoot at Centaura you will discover that the club produces some custom paper faces, which though can be quite small generally have generous scoring lines and offer a nice change to the normal ones seen at other shoots.
Andrew shooting 3d

Andrew shooting 3d

Overall the day went pretty well, but with over 120 archers in quite a small wood it was at times a bit slow, whilst waiting for the group in front to shoot or clear the target.
Sharon framed between the trees

Sharon framed between the trees

Personally I feel there was only one 3D shot (the bedded goat in the quarry) and maybe one paper face (fox) that could have been thought of as a bit stretched for the size of target.
Long paper fox target at Centaura

Sue shooting the long paper fox target at Centaura

To be fair though it looks like the club have invested in some new 3Ds which work well and look good. Being a small wood I think they struggle to change shots or course without starting from scratch.

3D lizard

As normal for Centaura there was a lunch break of 45 minutes to allow archers time to grab some food before being back out on the peg. For those not familiar with this lunch break concept it is a break, normally between 12:30 and 1:15, during which time all shooting is stopped. They have added a drinks table outside that speeds up the process of serving 100 plus thirsty archers.
Andrew shooting 3D bedded deer target

Andrew shooting 3D bedded deer target

I wasn’t shooting too badly in the morning, but after the food stop I hit a problem. I had a muscle twinge in my shoulder, from then on I was struggling to hold at full draw, obviously this impacted on the last 10 targets with me blanking two and dropping to second arrows on others. I think I need to do some more practise and build the shoulder up a bit. Sharon shot well, getting first in ladies Flatbow and despite my shoulder problems I managed a first in gents.
The only real downside would be a very slow drive home partly down to shoulder twinges but mostly due to heavy traffic on the motorway.
Thanks for reading.

Sad News

Shortly after this shoot report was written up, I heard that the club had been targeted by thieves, with details here. Since then they have published a full list of items stolen.

List of items taken
3 x Left Hand Polar bows 16 18 and 36 poundages
3 x Right Hand Polar bows 16, 18 and 28 poundages

2 junior “Jelly” bows colours orange and light brown 10Lb

Arrows :
36 carbon Mybo Hailstorm
24 aluminium Easton
36 miscellaneous manufacturers aluminium, carbon and fibre glass
12 wood arrows

Here’s hoping the club survives and continues to grow. Good luck