The X-Count is Killing Me

A five spot seems like an easy target. The X-ring is huge. Shooting a five is practically a no brainer. A 300 score is a given.

Compared to the NFAA Indoor Nationals in the Professional Men’s Division, my 300 scores don’t mean a thing. Even a 60 X, in the case of the mentioned tournament, hitting the X 120 times means you are competitive. You need to drop down 16 places among the pro men before you find the first missed X out of 120 arrows per archer. My averages over the past few months lands me around 106th place in the men’s professional class.

5-Spot scores since January 2014

You simply can’t miss the X on a 5-spot be remain competitive at a National level among the top professional archers.

And on a personal level, it doesn’t matter. It is the 60Xs I want and as yet haven’t mastered archery to the point where I’ve obtained the mark. Over 120 arrows I’ll score 600 points, but only hit on the mid-80s when it comes to X-count.

X-count over the past few months

Occasionally, an arrow misses the X that for all over indicators, I think, it should have been an X. I walk  up to the 5-spot to pull arrows and see a shot that has missed the line. Not off by a mile, just off. Certainly, a blown shot could easily lead to a blueberry, 4 points rather than 5. That’s rare, but it can still happen. It can happen to anyone. A momentary brain-fart and there’s an arrow smack in the middle of the blue rings.

There are times on poorly illuminated ranges were my single pin does not pick of enough light to radiate. During those shoots I rely on the shadow of the pin to take aim. Not a good way to go.  Makes me wonder whether I’ve chosen the best dot (in my case a single mono-filament pin) to use for lining up my sight. The sight issue extends to my other gear.

I honestly don’t now what is best for me. Partly because during the past four years, four weeks and 10 days of trying to become a competitive archer I’ve probably not gotten the best technical advice available.  Some advice has been good, some has been seriously bad to down right wrong. Too often advice seems more like a sales lead toward a purchase starting with a new bow.  I don’t think I’ve ever walked into a bow shop where someone didn’t try to sale me a new bow.

There is a point where equipment does become a factor in success. Maybe, I’m at that point. For example, the bow I use isn’t exactly a target bow, or a 3D bow, or a hunting bow. It’s a very good general-purpose bow.

It’s a bit short axil-to-axil for targets, kind of slow for 3D and a little too long axil-to-axil for hunting. But, it shoots nice. The let off might be too much for optimal stability. Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know, it is time to look into equipment changes or adjustments that might improve accuracy beyond the archer.

There are certainly better releases than what I use.  The “better” releases must be better, they cost about twice as much as what I paid for mine.  But, mine feels good in my hand.  The trigger is so lethargic that I can put pressure on it, move it, change my mind, stop and start over without the arrow releasing. This obviously is a reference to a release other than my hinge releases.

I really enjoy shooting with a hinge.  I’d do it all the time if there was only a way to set the release point so that it is just right.  Mind hinge release does not have any calibration marker for setting the release point.

Currently, the hinge release is too hot.  You may have the temperament to fidget with a release to get it just right.  If so, good for you.  Mine has been so frustrating I sent it back to the manufacturer begging for help.

I’ve got all sorts of questions about arrows. The last ones I had made for 18-meter shooting were changed by the builder and I was sent a different spine and tip weight.  When I asked about the changes, he said, “Oh, I changed that because I thought it would be better?” Really? How did you come up with that thought? I had to pay before I got the arrows.  He had my money. I had something I hadn’t ordered because the builder had a thought.  He assured me he was an expert.  Months later, without refreshing his memory we spoke again.  His opinion of himself had expanded, my opinion of him diminished.

Frankly, I know what I am shooting is not the best.  I am shooting what I is probably the best I could come up with. But, I know, from decades of competition in other sports, I am at a point where equipment is becoming a factor. Maybe some equipment tweaking will bring that X count up a few points. Or maybe, not.

(To my good friend Bumper – The arrows mentioned above are NOT ones you built. This is about those arrows build by someone else and you had to replace 100% of the vanes.  To the reader, a dozen arrows 36 vanes fell off upon arrival. Caveat emptor.)