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My Love for Archery
I used first to do Archery when I was ten to thirteen years of age, using my brother's American flat bow and used to shoot bamboo cane arrows, from out of trees and even doing a bit of clout shooting in the field opposite. This is selecting a target (a flag or other arrow) and shooting from a distance and getting as close as I could to it. It is cheaper than buying an actual target boss or bale of straw. This of course wasn't serious stuff as I didn't enter a club for competitions. I then went on to play soccer and never picked up a bow again until I was 54 years old (Two years ago now); when I saw an advertisement in the local paper for lessons.
As my football days were long behind me, this caught my eye. So I phoned up and arranged to go along.
The lessons were £60 for 10 lessons and I thought I would start where I left off. Wrong! The first two shots I missed the Boss (Target) completely, but then with a bit of help from my instructor (Janice) I began to get a few decent scores. I wondered who said you couldn't teach old dog new tricks.
The bow I used was a trainer Re-curve bow with sights and aluminium arrows. I enjoyed this so much I just had to get my own bow and kit a few weeks after; now this is where it got interesting.
I went to Janice's shop where they set me up with the kit, The "KAP" riser (bow handle and mounting for sight, clicker and pressure button) and limbs and string came to around £150 approximately, then there was the bag and tool kit and of course the aluminium arrows and bag bringing the total to over £200. I made a few things myself beforehand like the quiver and arm guard to keep the price down a bit but bought new ones later on.
One tip I do have with these bows are that they are cheaper compared to others and are OK for beginners, but one thing I discovered later was that it was slightly out of line to the Limbs; so when aiming I had to make sure I lined up the bow to the same point each time. It does work but ideally it should have been returned to the manufacture or the shop.
Later as I progressed, I bought a small "SMIRTECK" Hunter's bow which was a shorter but more powerful, which I still shoot without sites and is more of a challenge but gives me variation using better quality aluminium arrows, I can say I am quite pleases with my shooting techniques.
I then progressed to a Longbow during the summer with a 50 pound draw which is light compared to some longbows but it suits me and using Cedar or Hickory wooden arrows are quite authentic and great when you shoot over 100 yards to see them flying through the air.
Buying a Traditional long bow is best to buy new or made for you as these can dry out. Buying a second hand it could be older than you think and they can snap. These you can buy cheap but normally range from £125 for a good one. American Flat bows start from around £45-£50 but aren't as good in my opinion.
Of course my next target is to try compound which is quite mechanical and precise, but that will be some time off yet as bows start at around £200 new then you have the carbon fibre arrows which start at around £12 each for anything decent.
I recommend Archery for its discipline and social activities with many willing to give advice and of course fun. A good way of get out of doors for some fresh air although there are places to shoot indoors during the winter.
Chances are that your first introduction to archery will be at a fair, village show, or whilst on holiday. This was probably with some pretty basic equipment, but hopefully you shot OK with it and got a taste for it just like me!
If you do want to carry on with archery then go to a local club, they will have equipment and expertise to make sure you learn to shoot safely and get the most enjoyment from the sport. The first few sessions are free, and then a years membership will cost around £80 this includes insurance cover and they will lend you equipment too. You can spend this much on football boots so it's not that expensive.
When you start shooting at a club they will usually have equipment that you can borrow to learn with. This will almost certainly comprise of a wooden riser (the handle bit) and wood/fiberglass laminated limbs (the springy bits). With the latest technology the wooden riser is now being replaced by composite materials which may offer some added performance, but I don't think they look as nice!
Usually at this stage you may use a sight, which you can line up with the centre of the target or gold, and this is where your arrows will hopefully also go. The key to archery is consistency, if you are consisten every shot all your arrows will group close together, and thus hopefully all be in or near the gold!
To protect your fingers from the string a small piece of leather is used called a tab, these come in a variety of forms to aid consistecy but simple ones are just fine. To stop your clothes catching the string you will also use a bracer/arm gaurd which also protects your arm should you stick it in the way of the string when shooting!
I nearly forgot, arrows!! I've done it before too, get to the shooting line at a competition, reach down for an arrow, and, urm, ooops, arrows! They may look like sticks but in fact these are probably more important than the bow itself. There's a saying that any old bendy stick can make a bow, but it takes a very special piece of wood to make a good arrow. This holds more truth than at first seems, and judging by the prices you can pay for top level arrows you can see the effort that goes into their design and manufacture!
To start with you'll have basic aluminium arrows, or, if you are lucky some basic carbon fiber ones! But don't dismiss these as being rubbish as you can shoot well with these you just have to be consistent! You'll keep your arrows in a quiver, generally not Robin Hood style on your back, but down by your side hanging from a belt where they can be easily reached.
When you get to this stage you will have noticed that there are a number of different archery 'styles':
Longbow, the traditional 'bendy stick' made of various woods, ash, yew (very traditional) or laminations of various woods. Longbow arrows are also wooden with feather fletchings (you can't use aluminium or carbon arrows with a longbow as they are too light and you may damage it).
Recurve, a 'normal' bow with a sight, and stabilisers, clicker (to make sure you draw the bow (pull the arrow back) consistently).
Barebow, a 'normal' bow with no extra rubbish! As you might guess, I shoot barebow!
Compound, a bow that has pulleys to make it easier to use a more powerful bow, a scope for aiming, stabilisers and a trigger for releasing the string, the ultimate in technological voo-doo!
Anyhow, by the time you get to buying your own bow most people choose to shoot recurve, which you can also use as a barebow if you just take off all the gubbins. Also, be warned, when you get your bow you will shoot worse than before! Yes, worse! But don't worry, you'll quickly improve, and overtake your previous scores.
There are a wide range of bows available. Most risers are made from a strong aluminium alloy, which has been machined to offer strength, rigidity, lightness and to prevent vibration. There are a number that also now incorporate carbon fiber to increase the strength and improve performance. These bows usually have universal fitting limbs but be careful as Hoyt have slightly changed the way they do 'universal'.
Limbs, most people will stick to a reasonable priced set of limbs, and will have built up the necessary strength to start pulling a heavier (stronger) bow. These can be still made from glass fiber laminated with wood or foam. Carbon foam laminates are available, but are generally suited more to an experienced archer. As you carry on shooting you will get stronger, so may have to buy a second set of limbs, so the expense of carbon limbs would be hard to justify until you are stable.
Aluminium arrows are usually the thing to go for still, and will perform very well. These have to be of a specific spine rating (stiffness) to work well with you and your bow, the only way to check this is to seek advice from a reputable archery shop or get advice from your club.
Other bits: There are plenty of good sights, mostly aluminium, and they come on a bracket which allows them to extend out the front of the bow, this can improve accuracy. You may want to get a clicker, this makes sure you draw length is consistent, and can be helpful, although it is not an excuse for poor technique. You chould have your own quiver, in which you can keep all sorts of goodies like score book, arrow puller, and to which you can attach your medals! Tab, most people will use a platform tab, which allows you to securely position your hand under your chin when holding the string back. Pressure button, this helps with the position of the arrow against the bow, and controling how it flies from the bow.
By this stage you will have been shooting for several years so probably know most things already. You may decide to change bowstyles and experiment at this point, or continue as you have been doing.
More expensive equipment such as Carbon foam limbs, and carbon fiber arrows will now be something that can help you to carry on improving your performance. The biggest input however will be your time, it takes a lot of regular practice and effort to get really good. At university we used to practice for two hours three times a week! Most clubs meet once or twice a week though.
Very basic fiberglass bow kits for 'garden fun' can be had for around £50
Starter kits, as described above for a beginner cost around £150 when you move on you can sell these on easily, or you may be able to get them off other people in your archery club as they progress.
An intermediate riser can be £100-£150, with the limbs coming at £100 too, and arrows around £40 for 8.
Advanced equipment can set you back £800 for the bow, and anything up to £360 for 12 arrows., and about £300 for a sight, stabilisers and other bits These costs however are the extreme top end and are by no means a necessity!
My new bow cost £300 and is a carbon fiber riser and carbon foam limbs, my arrows were second hand at about £75 for 12 and I still use them 7 years later, with these I can shoot in the top 5% of archers that shoot barebow.
For the first 7 years of my archery I used a wooden riser bow and won numerous competitions and set many new north wales and british university records. That bow cost me £90, and I used to beat people with several hundred pounds worth of gear so don't think equipment is the be all and end all!
Good luck, have fun and enjoy your venture into archery, be warned though it's addictive!
After reading the Review from baldeagle about Archery Equipment felt that i wanted to have my say about the sport.
i have been doing archery now for 5 years roughly and and member of a club and also work at my closest archery store. i think that the sport is amazing and there is a lot of pleasure with family and freinds doing this sport wether in a club or at home in the garden (has to be a big one!).
i started in the scouts and wanted to see how far i could go so i found a local club and went for a taster day where i was shown how to shoot with a sight and some proper shooting techniques. after that i went back to join the club after doing an initiation course. and here i am now i have moved a long way from my first bow and baldeagle is right you nver forget your first bow.
I bought my first bow after 4 months at the club. i went to the shop whih i am now working at (Quicks) where i was set up with a recurve starter kit. in which you get the basic package ideal for clubs which include a bow arrows case and every thing else i needed the bow i had was great but now it is unfortunatly been sold but ast least i know that i is in good hands.
i bought my new bow after about another year and im going to keep the riser (handle)as it can be used with any limbs i wish to put on it. at the moment i am pulling 40lb at 31 inches which is quite a bit for a 15 year old but i am happy i go most sunday for a whole day and just shoot round. this sport is so adictive as we hold monthly competitions which i have won 2 of shows you ow hard you have to work but that is part of the fun i recon as whats the point of just shooting when you have n0o compititon.
i am hoping to get much better over the next 6 years and hopfuly get into the london 2012 olympics as that would be my dream. but anyway archery great sport can be expensive when getting new equipment once you get good but dont worry bout that until you have to. the great thing about this sport is that at the start you are nice and calm and all of the people involved are nie i have gone to quite alot of competitions at other clubs and every one helps each other out i think it is a great sport and woud recomend it to many people no matter age soze of stregth just have a go!
Having been unable to resist trying my hand at archery at every outdoor event I go to - usually at a cost of five arrows for a quid - I actually went out and bought a bow and some arrows this weekend. After a quick search on the net via google.com, I found a relatively local supplier midway between Wolverhampton and Cannock - bowsports.com. After a period of confusion, I discovered that there are two types of bows - the recurve, which is simple and effective, or the compound, which is very effective but more complex in design and structure. Being of the simple but effective type myself, I went for the recurve, and after a very lengthy measuring up job, I was the proud owner of a 66 inch bow with 32 pound limbs (the bits that the string attaches to). With a recurve, you can match the bow to your ability, and add different bits as you get more confident and competent. The arrows, also made to measure, make a huge difference to how well you can shoot, and how far, and I needed the 28 inch length for my draw. Feeling like a later day Robin Hood, and about £90 poorer, I ambled out to the range (all part of the excellent Bowsports service) and selected my target distance. On a good day, and with a bit of a tail wind it was just about in spitting distance. My eight arrows were launched, and they all hit the target. Success was sweet, till I noticed the guy standing at the next mark. He also hit his target every time, but he needed binoculars to see it - approx 90 yards further down the range from mine. I have caught the bug, and would strongly recommend anyone thinking about the sport to give it a try, but be warned, not only is it very addictive, but at the risk of stating the obvious, its very dangerous. I am now looking for a local club to hep me develop my new found interest.