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.

 

Sharon shooting a 3D between the trees

Shoot report – Spirit of Sherwood – December 2018

Spirit of Sherwood December shoot

Spirit of Sherwood December shoot

On a chilly and slightly damp Sunday Sharon and I headed to the Spirit of Sherwood grounds. It is a course we have shot numerous times before and you can check out the previous review here. This shoot would be a wooden arrow only

Sadly this was the first time I have ever had to withdraw from a shoot but after falling fowl of a chesty cough I did not feel up to shooting the entire course and withdrew after a few shots. A couple of days later and following a visit to the local doctors surgery I would be diagnosed with a chest infection and on a course of antibiotics. So this is a bit of a short review.

Anyway back to the somewhat brief shoot report. There were 36 targets on the course mostly 3Ds, sadly I only got to see a few, but he ones I did view were set to the normal high standards expected of SOS courses.

One of the more open shots

One of the more open shots

I spoke to a few people who said they had a long slow day, having to wait on targets. I think might be due to the popularity of Spirit of Sherwood. It attracts a lot of archers of all levels, which is great but can sometimes cause delays.

Sharon shooting a 3D goat

Sharon shooting a 3D goat

Of the few shots I did get to see was a very nicely set Ram 3D positioned by a tree stump. I think it was a great bit of course laying and what made it a good shot was that you weren’t sure of the size of the target or exact angle of the 3D.

Close up of the 3D goat shot

Close up of the 3D goat shot

I think Sharon probably had the luckiest shot of the day where she managed to get a very lucky shot on a 3D bear.

Sharon showing off her trick shooting with a lucky shot on a 3D bear

Sharon showing off her trick shooting with a lucky shot on a 3D bear

As has become a trademark of the Christmas shoot at Spirit of Sherwood there were boxes of quality street boxes located round the course.

The woodland terrain is flat with the course arranged in three loops round a central admin and catering spot, making it pretty easy to get round.

The course layers make good use of the tree covers affording for framed shots using the trees to provide avenues for archers to negotiate.

Another thing that Spirit are famous for is their cake stall and if you ever have the chance of shooting there make sure you get the cakes early as they disappear very quickly.

Archers gathering at the Spirit of Sherwood cake stall

Archers gathering at the Spirit of Sherwood cake stall

I do wonder what the future will hold for the club as their grounds are due to be visited by loggers in the next few months and going by the number of trees marked for removal I wonder what the woods will look like. Here’s hoping for the best for the club as they set some of the best courses in the NFAS in my view.

As always thanks for reading. I would also like to say thanks for following this blog over the past year. I appreciate all the comments on here or in person.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Christmas, with safe journeys and great memories. Good luck for the New Year too.

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.