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

Equipment Review – Spin Pin Target Pins

Spin Pin target pins

Spin Pin target pins

A while back the guys at Spin Pin were kind enough to send me some samples of their target pins for me to try out and I thought it about time to finish the write up and give my thoughts on them.

I’ve been using their target pins for about 6 months now on my layered foam bosses on the range and comparing them to the more traditional target pins.

First Thoughts

My initial thoughts when they arrived were I quite liked the size and shape as the pin heads aren’t too large. The grip on the top to screw I thought might make it easy to screw the pin into the boss, much easier that the simple push in ones. The plastic also feels robust, and I wondered how they will cope with being hit by an arrow. I know the traditional white pegs shatter if an arrow from my flat bow hits them.

Anyway those were my initial thoughts.

Traditional pin and Spinpin

Post Testing

Having tested them for a longer period of time I find I quite like them.

They are easy to use as the thick thread makes screwing them into the target boss very easy. I thought it might be worth getting some other peoples’ views so at a coaching session I ran a few months back I got a couple of students thoughts on them.

They agreed with me that they were pretty easy to use, with the head shape making it easy to screw in. As one said, it removed the need for brute strength to push the pin in.

Can take a hit

Can take a hit

They are pretty tough but they aren’t indestructible if you hit them straight on with an arrow, they will break, but to be fare so would any others.

I like the way you can use them to “tighten” the target face back on by simply screwing the pegs back in.

Simple screw them in

I’ve only found one problem with using these target pins and that is really dependent on how you mount your target faces.

The reason is, if you mount paper faces on a couple of layers of corrugated card, which isn’t unusual to lengthen the life of the target face, then use the pins it doesn’t give much pin length to secure them into the boss, so when drawing the arrows the target can sometimes be pulled off. This isn’t a big problem if you don’t use the two layers of corrugated card or just one layer of card. Also you could simply be a little more forceful when securing the face.

I did write to the guys and suggest they made the pins a bit longer, but as they said that might make them harder to use on other bosses, like straw ones. Also based on my experience if you mount your target faces on a single layer card it’s not a problem.

As I’ve said I have used these for the last few months now and been happy with them securing the targets to the boss. I tend to use 4 or 5 of these pins to secure the cards rather than just a couple with the more traditional ones, but this seems to work well.

secure the target

secure the target

Most of my tests have been on paper faces mounted on card or on the ProKill24 faces that are printed on a plastic like fabric, so I haven’t had chance to test them out on  hessian faces  so I can’t comment on their suitability.

I’d had hoped to try them out on one of my bag bosses a bit more but haven’t had chance thanks to too many garden projects. Though they seemed to work fine on the tests I did perform.

Overall I like the ease of use as it takes less pressure to push them into the target boss, I do think making them slightly larger would make them even better. Overall not bad and work well.

Thanks for reading

Setting up a target boss

target boss in garden

Setting up a boss is a common activity, but requires some thought and care to ensure it is done correctly and safely whether this be on a course or as in this example in the garden. In this article I will try and cover some of the things to consider.

Target

Target set up and ready?

Here you can see a boss having been erected ready for practise. Looks good?

One commonly made mistake when setting up a boss is forgetting to check where the metal binding for the plastic strapping is located.

closeup

These should always be on the back of the boss and never facing the direction of the shot.

Why?

The binding can damage arrow tips if they are hit. I have also seen arrows shot from a compound bow hit one of these metal fastenings and bounce straight back some 15 yards landing at the archers feet.

You should also ensure the wood frame of the boss is always to the side and not on top or bottom.

Why?

If the arrow falls low, it will run the risk of hitting and embedding itself in the wooden frame, which is likely to  result in some work to extract.

If the arrow impacts at the top of the boss it runs the risk of deflecting off in any direction . So rotate the boss to ensure the wood frames are on the side of the boss.

Target Boss

Target Boss

Location, location, location – no not the property program commonly seen in UK.

Look at the space surrounding the boss – there appears to be a stile behind and to the right of the boss, does this mean there is a footpath?

What about the space behind the boss with regards to overshoot. A safe over shoot area is vital for any target positioning.

N.B. we own the field beyond the gate and the boss usually lives in the field.

Any  there any other risks?

Well yes there are. There is a building to the side so you wouldn’t be able to see people approaching from that direction.

The metal gate is also a risk as if an arrow misses the boss and hits the gate it is likely to deflect in any direction.

Securing the boss to the stakes is vital to ensure it doesn’t topple over when arrows are removed. It is worth considering whether the stakes need to be proud of the boss. Also try to put them to the side or rear of the boss frame so as to avoid or limit the number of arrows hitting them.

Those are a few thoughts and tips to consider when positioning practise bosses. Have you got any further advice or tips?

We are fortunate in owning the field and knowing there is no public access or routes to it other than via our boundary.

I hope you find this article of interest and if you have any comments let me know. Thanks for reading.