Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Bows and Arrows

My return to archery -

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and bringing others into the sport.

Recently I have been considering alternatives to firearms with an eye towards things that depend less on consumables that I couldn’t make myself. I considered black powder but with the exception of the flintlock and older designs they rely on primers/percussion caps but flint isn’t exactly common around here so with the possible exception of the CVA Electra I don’t think that is quite what I am looking for. Then I started thinking about archery and how much fun it was as a kid shooting into hay bales in front of the barn. I still have my old Bear recurve and another recurve that I inherited back then.

I got my compound bow out for the first time in years and re-fletched the arrows for it. I had purchased the compound bow about 8 or 9 years ago and shot it only three times since. An injury to one shoulder shortly after its purchase prevented me from using it for some time eventually it was all but forgotten. At some point I also decided I wanted to return to traditional archery so after looking around a bit I picked up an inexpensive recurve, just in case it didn’t agree with my bad shoulder I didn’t want to be heavily invested. The recurve I found has 26# limbs on it with the ability to change them out for heavier ones if I feel my shoulder can take it in the future. My compound is turned down as far as it can be (about 50 lbs) and with the let off it’s not too bad so sticking to a low draw weight on the recurve should be fine.

Yesterday, after work, I went to the archery range and had a lot of fun trying to relearn an old skill and condition some muscles that haven’t been used in a while. It’s a good thing I was the only one on the range otherwise it would have been embarrassing, at least at first. I did get down to a consistent 8 inch group at about 20 yards with the compound bow which I thought was pretty good all things considered. The recurve is another story. An 8 inch group at about 15 yards is about all I could muster and that’s only if you don’t count the one or two flyers out of a dozen shots. I probably could have done a little better with the recurve or at least gone without the flyers had I gotten some better quality arrows but these were the only ones I could find with the correct spine. As it is one of them is noticeably worse than the others consistently going about 18 inches left at 15 yards and it sounds a little funny too.

After reporting back to a friend/coworker we made a trip down to the same archery shop where he picked up his first bow, the same recurve that I purchased a few days ago. So I’m back in the game, my shoulder seems to be fine today, not sore or anything and I have a new shooting buddy.

My father tried to force me into archery when I was a kid, and I pretty much hated everything about it, other than being outdoors.  Lately though, partially due to TSPC, I've been re-considering getting back into it.  I'm unfortunately right handed and left-eye dominant, so I'll probably end up training myself to shoot left handed.  I shot right handed as a child, but I didn't like doing it. I shot with a compound bow, but I'd like to practice with a long bow, instead.  They're the easiest bows to make, and very easy to store. Also, I want to shoot with at least a 50 or 55 pound bow, but my arms have grown so weak over the years, that recently I found it impossible to draw my nephew's bow. It was like 60 pounds, but I clearly need to rebuild my arm muscles.

My dad shoots everything with his recurve. Deer, turkey, hog, quail, fish, rabbit, everything. He makes his own arrows, and has served as a president for a major oklahoma archery club. So as you can imagine, I have a lot of knowledge about the sport tucked away deep into my memory banks.

I've never really been into archery, at least not since a kid. Lately, tho, I have been considering it as a backup.

I found a PSE Nova at one of the local pawn shops, with arrows, bow-mounted quiver, sights, mechanical release, etc. - all listed for about $100+ under current retail, less if I push them on the price (I know some of the workers).

If I get it, I will have to have the cams turned down a bit, as I cannot get my puny arms to pull it at 65# - yet.

Great post Dan + 1 to you all.  The lowly bow has many, many things going for it as far as "we", are concerned here.  Can be inexpensive, quite, light weight, short learning curve to the killzone, can be 100% homemade, wide range of "ammo" variables that also can be homemade, reusable ammo, decent range, adjustable to user capabilities, good physical conditioning, accurate, and on and on. 

The downsides:  Bulky/cumbersome in heavy cover (but probably no worse than a longarm w/sling), limited ammo capacity (ever seen a 30 round quiver?), easy arrow deflection in cover, and a few more I haven't thought of yet.

I had an old right handed recurve that one of my military buddys had given me when he "gave up killing", and being a Southpaw myself, I had a lot of difficulty learning to shoot it well.  Many a string burn!  I finally gave it away myself and wound up with a left handed older compound that fit me like a glove.  I think it went up to 75 pound pull weight and if I missed a weekend practicing with it at 75 pounds, I couldn't raise my arms the next day.  I finally had it backed down to 45 pounds and after getting used to the new trajectory, I was very pleased, and was able to pick it up and shoot it all day after months of non-use without loosing the use of my arms for the next week.

If you haven't seen the "tactical" use of a compound in "Next of Kin" with Patrick Swayze, you owe it to yourself.


Welcome back to archery Dan. ;)


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