Talk to me about Archery.

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  • Talk to me about Archery.
  • Premier Icon Cougar
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    Yes and no.

    I would suggest, in the first instance, approaching a local club before you buy anything. They should be able to advise on equipment, let you try different disciplines, and actually show you how you shoot.

    There’s two distinct strains of archery, field and target, loosely analogous to MTB and road riding. Target archery is what you see on TV; concentric circles for targets, measured distances, indoors or out. Field archery usually takes place in a woods, targets are pictures of animals, natural hazards such as tree branches.

    I could wax lyrical at length the pros and cons of each, if you like?

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    (I should add; I used to teach field archery, in a past life.)

    Where are you geographically?

    Our neighbour has been playing music quite late into the night recently and all I can hear is the thumping bass. So, an arrow through the chest whilst he’s in the back garden should just about do the job I reckon.

    I’d also like to take up the sport. I’m looking at a recurve bow and related kit and buying a 90cm foam boss and targets, safety net and hoping that my 20m x 12m rear garden will give me enough room to practice. Am I on the right line?

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    Borrow my medieval-style longbow?

    Only a lightwieght bow at circa 60lbs but enough to sort your neighbour out!

    I know it’s not a popular view, but i can’t see the point of modern bows with all that pulley gubbins – get a proper longbow made to suit you and learn to shoot properly (that should occupy the next 15yrs!)

    Premier Icon martymac
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    i tried it a few years ago, i was really surprised how quickly my accuracy improved over a 1hr lesson.
    frankly, i thought it was brilliant.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    One of my mates (in my former medieval re-enactment group) shoots at his local club, but obviously uses his longbow.
    It seems some clubs aren’t too fond of people using these things so may be worth checking. Certainly, my local archery club were extremely sniffy when i rang up to enquire about joining so i had somewhere to practise.

    Premier Icon househusband
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    Having done both I really like Cougar’s analogy to MTB; but I’d like to add that field archery involved a lot of drinking real ale… maybe that was just the club I was in!

    Have a 60lb compound bow you can have for little more than postage..?

    swiss01
    Member

    +1 for cougar. even then if you’re serious about it i wouldn’t go near a club that didn’t have a decent level of coaching going on. unless you’re going to be content with bad technique and poor performance!

    which may sound a bit sniffy (as an ex national target champion i think i get to be!) but it a great sport and the more you put in the more you get out

    Premier Icon househusband
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    which may sound a bit sniffy (as an ex national target champion i think i get to be!) but…

    I can be sniffy too then; I was Scottish U15 Indoor Champion many years ago… and then I moved to England and discovered field archery – and real ale…

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    Swiss – as an ex-champ, how do you feel about the longbow being used in a modern archery club?
    I ask ‘cos i had some real resistance to me joining my local one, very sniffy and seemed somewhat ‘class-based’ as i think a golf club would be!
    It wasn’t as if i was turning up with bodkin-points or broadheads…

    swiss01
    Member

    i went the same way hh! trouble was i loved target but not field so have left it alone for some years. met someone at work tho who shoots for money in europe so when i get some form of regular work hours sorted you never know i might go back to it!

    as for longbows, there was a woman at the last club i was in and she had one and nobody was that bothered. she couldn’t shoot for toffee tho, but then neither could anyone else. my dad had one and his shooting was fairly dire also. they’re good for a laugh but there’s a reason they’re niche – like singlespeed! lol

    archery folk? much the same as bike folk. in broad terms i’d say target is a bit more focused (like track cycling) while field is much more informal – at least if you’re winning!

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
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    Our local club is happily devoid of people using compound bows. I don’t if that’s just because they’re not allowed or what, but the vast majority have recurves.

    Having owned both a recurve and a compound, I definitely think it is time for a long bow. I quite fancy this guy’s work, for example.

    Coyote, where in the country are you? I would love to get my kids outside shooting, instead of the local community centre.

    fairhurst
    Member

    hmmm good thread this,something oneself has come to admire and consider taking up on a regular basis.

    Premier Icon Rio
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    There’s another way in which archery is similar to cycling; at any event there will be 2 competitions going on, one for the best score and one for the flashiest/newest/most expensive kit. I used to shoot with a member of the British Olympic team, he usually won both.

    If you go down the back garden route (which I wouldn’t advise) check your public liability insurance carefully, arrows go astray very easily.

    Premier Icon househusband
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    I got the compound when I got into field; haven’t shot either seriously in a long time so target archery may have moved on.

    I loved the fact that it was such a ‘technical’ sport in terms of equipment, bow tuning, making your own arrows, technique, etc. Have sometimes been tempted back for that, and the mental discipline.

    What about Border Bows..?

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    Saxonrider – i’ve looked at some of that chaps work at various re-enactment events over the years, seem like decent bows but if you like i can ask around my mates etc who they think the best bowyer is – (they all shoot proper bows).

    Not always the best choice for a beginner though as the draw wieght can be offputting for some. Personally i dislike the modern things, but thats because i see a bow as a weapon not a piece of sporting equipment.

    project
    Member

    When i was in school one of the kid took the top of his finger off when he put it over the bit where the arow flew from.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
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    muddydwarf,

    I think my recurve had a fairly low draw weight, while my compound was entirely adjustable. I’ve shot a good number of bows, though, so wouldn’t be scared of drawing something challenging.

    And while I am certainly happy shooting for sport, I would like to think that any bow I owned could be used for hunting – yes, even a long bow.

    EDIT: I should add that I would love to know what people thought of that guy’s work.

    I personally would not invest in that kit for a 20yd back garden and would go with Cougar on advice to try an archery club first as they will be able to run you through a beginners course and you can try club gear before deciding what to get (and whether you actually enjoy it enough to take it up).

    I can do you a deal on a Hoyt Gold Medallist with all the carbon bits and two dozen Easton Aces if you need 8) 20 year old now but all good stuff.

    The main reason some (but not many I don’t think) clubs are sniffy about long bow archers is that some home made arrows have a habbit of leaving the pile (point) in the boss (target) which buggers up everyone elses arrows if not removed. Also you get wannabee bow hunter types turning up with broadhead arrows which slashes the boss to ribbons. And finally, some clubs just don’t like medieval re-enactment weirdos who won’t toe the green and white uniform line 😉

    I got a 20lb recurve bow for my son. He never learnt to fire it properly. The actions and patience are like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. He was a bit young though. After my kids broke two of the replaceable notches on my alu arrows, I found cheap rawlplugs fit just nicely 🙂

    A 37lb+ bow for an adult can be quite fun for a bit though and I was thinking about getting something decent since we never know when we’ll catch an armed Scotsman within our city walls after dusk.

    weare138
    Member

    Ive just pulled a 75lb bow, similar to ones used at Agincourt. Hard work and didn’t even get it to my ear.

    fairhurst
    Member

    any pictures or videos to study?

    Ive just pulled a 75lb bow, similar to ones used at Agincourt. Hard work and didn’t even get it to my ear.

    I think it’s been decided that war bows were well over 100lbs in draw weight and some 150lbs plus 😯

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    how do you feel about the longbow being used in a modern archery club?

    Any field archery club would welcome you with open arms.

    He never learnt to fire it properly.

    One does not ‘fire’ a bow. *looks at you*

    Premier Icon househusband
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    Always remember reading an article in ‘The Glade’ (still going..?) circa 25+yrs ago about the archer involved in the ‘Robin Hood’ TV series with Jason Connery; he was asked to loose an arrow toward the camera for a stunt shot. The BBC armorer promised him that the glass secured in front of the camera was more than robust – he put a cedar shaft from a longbow right through it.

    daftvader
    Member

    Evening
    Got another link for saxonrider Bakewell bows this chap was absolutely brilliant when I bought my longbow (bakewell elite and matched arrows). Listened to what I wanted and had constructive stuff to say. It shoots as sweet.now as it did when I first drew it and that was nearly 10 yrs ago. Have used it for field, clout and target. This chap Earthwood bows also makes some absolute stunners too, so wanted to get one…. Hope its usefull
    Cheers

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
    Subscriber

    An English warbow of the later medieval period was a pretty tough proposition – the bows found on the Mary Rose have been rated to around 160lb draw-weight although that is reckoned to be on the somewhat extreme side.
    Most warbows were reckoned to be over 100lbs, i’ve drawn an 80lb bow and it hurt. I doubt there is more than a handful of archers in England that could draw a full strength bow.

    I do agree about homemade arrows though, i’ve seen some shocking ones in my time. We only use ‘mod-bods’ for target shooting and reserve repro heads for displays – i.e. a side of pork hung up with a maille coat over the top to show how useless maille is against a bodkin point 🙂

    Steelfreak
    Member

    I’m not really interested in archery but this is the best STW thread in ages…!

    Rich_s
    Member

    This is bringing back some memories – I was into toxophily before mtb. Still got a Marksman Portland 2000 kicking about in the loft iirc; I can file the serial numbers off and loan it to the op if that helps?

    I was into it when carbon arrows were first coming in, and I remember a guy shooting the indoor 20yd round (portsmouth?) putting one down the back of another – caused a hell of a mess and then he was a bit too quick picking up the remnants and managed to get a large carbon splinter down his fingernail :bloick:

    History/slaughtering Frenchmen-wise, there is a story about Wellington preparing for Waterloo and asking if we were still capable of fielding archers! Sadly the art had died out by then…

    skiboy
    Member

    http://www.grozerarchery.com/index_b.htm

    this is where i would spend my money, on a hungarian bow

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Most warbows were reckoned to be over 100lbs, i’ve drawn an 80lb bow and it hurt

    Point there though is, it was all about range. The English longbowmen weren’t snipers, the idea was to rain down arrows on your enemies from as far away as possible.

    I do agree about homemade arrows though, i’ve seen some shocking ones in my time.

    I make my own arrows. Works out (or did) a lot more cost-effective than buying pre-made ones. I was taught how to do it properly though.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    Massed archery is a very effective area-suppression weapon but i would disagree that English (and Welsh) archers weren’t capable of snap shooting. Earl Rivers on Crusade in Spain in the C15th used archers very effectively in just this manner, advancing down narrow Moorish streets with the heavy armoured boys up front and archers ducked down behind them. As the bow is so much quicker to reload than the crossbow it was very effective.
    Also lots of accounts of men-at-arms and knights etc getting the good news when they were daft enough to take their sallets off at the rear!
    My mate can loose 15/16 arrows in a minute into a pretty small grouping on the target, and he is just an enthusiast not a pro specialist soldier.

    swiss01
    Member

    skiboy, that has to be my link of the year so far! i’ve always wanted to try a recurve of that general type and now you may just have encouraged me right into it!

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    muddydwarf – Member

    Most warbows were reckoned to be over 100lbs, i’ve drawn an 80lb bow and it hurt. I doubt there is more than a handful of archers in England that could draw a full strength bow.

    I seem to remember Brian Blessed was a useful archer years ago and was one of the few people in the UK who got close to drawing a medieval warbow. (I may be wrong – it was a long time ago…)

    He never learnt to fire it properly.

    One does not ‘fire’ a bow. *looks at you*

    Sorry about the terminology, I’m more the marksman with things that go ‘bang’.

    Ive just pulled a 75lb bow, similar to ones used at Agincourt. Hard work and didn’t even get it to my ear.

    But then, I was trained to fire from the ear with a recurve, pushing the bow forwards to the release point.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    i would disagree that English (and Welsh) archers weren’t capable of snap shooting

    Fair comment. I was really trying to explain why you’d have such heavyweight bows; I don’t know offhand but I’d guess that the shooting you’re describing would use lighter bows that you can shoot all day.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Incidentally,

    Has the OP been back since, or have we frightened him off? (-:

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    But then, I was trained to fire from the ear with a recurve, pushing the bow forwards to the release point.

    I think what you’re describing there is what we call a T-draw. I always favoured a V-draw, which starts with the bow low and horizontal; the act of raising the bow to shot height equates to your ‘pushing’ the bow (which TBH sounds a bit odd to me, but it’s been a while).

    They used to laugh at me back at the club, cos I was a scrawny slip of a teenager and could draw bows that the huge rugby-player guys couldn’t. It’s maybe 80% technique and 20% having the muscles in the right place. The T-draw is arguably smoother and more consistent (I’d wager it’s the only one you’ll see in the Olympics), but more tiring to shoot all day.

    It’s personal preference of course, though the V-draw tends to be more popular in field archery than target, or a mixture of both, as you don’t tend to have to avoid overhanging branches in target archery.

    Premier Icon househusband
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    I seem to remember Brian Blessed was a useful archer years ago and was one of the few people in the UK who got close to drawing a medieval warbow. (I may be wrong – it was a long time ago…)

    I don’t think you are wrong – I can remember seeing that on telly many moons ago…

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    Cougar – from the various C15th sources i’ve seen it would appear that bows were drawn to the nose for a snap shot and to the ear (full draw) for the distance/power shot.
    We must remember that the C14th/C15th archers were a breed apart. By law they trained from the age of 8 til they were eligible for military service aged 16. People worked manually back then so would have been pretty strong anyway and a man who’s practised his archery 3/4 times a week for 8yrs is going to be good. Not all archers were ‘pro’ class of course, but a good archer who could bring his own bow/equipment plus horse could command a payscale of around 6d a week – a ploughman earned around 2d a week for a comparison. The skeletal fragments on the Mary Rose point towards archers who’s bodies had deformed due to the stresses placed upon them. Shortened, thickened and heavily-reinforced left arm bones massively muscled right shoulders, elongated fingers on the right hand, fused lower vertebrae etc.

    It is strange why no other Nation produced such men, but it required a huge investment in time to produce an army based around the archer.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    On the draw technique – what cougar is calling the V-draw seems to be the trad way of drawing a warbow. The bows were that powerful that i doubt many people could hold the bow at full draw for any meaningful length of time.

    I once had a bloke tell me that no-one could pull a 100lb bow unless they were using their feet on the shaft of the bow – all whilst a 5’2″ 9.5 stone dwarf was happily drawing a 70lb bow in front of him!

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
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    I seem to remember Brian Blessed was a useful archer years ago and was one of the few people in the UK who got close to drawing a medieval warbow. (I may be wrong – it was a long time ago…)

    Sure it wasn’t Robert Hardy? He was a recognised expert in the field of medieval archery and could draw a full strength bow i believe.

    Premier Icon stevomcd
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    It is strange why no other Nation produced such men, but it required a huge investment in time to produce an army based around the archer.

    The Mongols?

    Supposedly the mongol bows had a higher draw weight and better range/penetration than an English longbow, despite being much shorter (and hence usable from horseback) and coming significantly earlier.

    Their bows were heavily laminated with horn on the inside and tendons on the outside.

    As with the medieval archers, they trained pretty much from birth.

    huws
    Member

    There’s a lot of information in this book about the mounted armies of Attila the Hun, including (if I remember correctly) a Hungarian guy who’s spent 20+ years practicing to shoot 6 shots into the same target at a full gallop. It also has plenty of interesting accounts of how they were used to great effect in battle.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
    Subscriber

    I would dispute that the Mongol bows were of a far heavier draw weight – i’ve read Conn Iggulden make that claim but TBH i haven’t seen it backed up anywhere else as yet.
    The Mongol bow – being a laminated recurve was capable of high power and would penetrate the armour of the enemy. However, that armour was often either maille or laminate sections. Put a Mongol or English warbow against steel plate and the results are very different.

    The mechanics of drawing a heavyweight bow from a seated position would make a 150lb+ bow very difficult to draw – reduce the actual draw weight to 70lb and multiply it by the mechanical properties of the bow and you have a winner.

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