Arrows, Arrows, Arrows….

It didn’t seem like a wise use of money to fork out big bucks for high-end equipment when switching to an Olympic recurve from compound bows.  (145 days ago) Why do that when the compound bows were in the $800.00 range purchased new. It wasn’t as if prior archery gear had been high-end.

When it came to high-end gear the nicest pieces of equipment associated with the compound bows had been the sight and release.  Those were high quality Axcel/TruBall products.

The arrows shot using the compound bows had been purchased and prepared by folks that, at the time, seemed to know better.  Two out of three times their suggestions were correct.  For the remaining third the arrows are too stiff.

Some ‘expert’ on YouTube presented a video suggesting that spine calibration is a myth so long as the arrows shot are fletched.  The video he posted was an experiment where he fired off sets of arrows of various spine strength using fletched and bare shaft arrows.  He was shooting a recurve bow. I repeated his experiment.  My results yielded an opposing result.

I’d hoped for similar results.  I’ve got some nice arrows, those among the good 2/3 of my moderately priced arrows and wanted to upgrade the Easton 1000 arrows I’ve been shooting with the Olympic recurve.  What I found is that the stiffer more expensive arrows didn’t bend properly and the tail end of those arrows hit my riser.  The flex between nodes simply wasn’t flexing properly. I was hoping to save some money by avoiding the purchase of new arrows.

The Easton 1000s are excellent beginner’s arrows.  I’ve won two State Championships using a $249.00 Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division shooting those $5.00 arrows.  However, I know the $5.00 arrows are holding me back when it comes to a few extra points. (For now there is nothing wrong with the inexpensive bow)

The tip of the Easton 1000s comes included along with fletching for the five bucks.  The tip is 65 grain, which is okay.  The fletching is a bit tall again okay for indoor tournaments.  Okay is not great in competition.  The set up does mean being just a hair off on form and the shot will be completely uncompensated.  In words too often associated with archery gear – these arrows are not very forgiving.

Part of the lack of forgiveness is that the spine of an Easton 1000 peaks at around 29 pounds.  As I’ve improved I’m pulling 34 pounds. On a 3-spot with the gear at hand I’m averaging 9 points per arrows without a clicker (I don’t have one yet). I believe with a stiffer spine and more weight on the tip I’d get my average per arrow up a little.  The current fletching is dragging on my rest and that too can be improved by shooting a smaller profile vane.

If I cut the 1000s a bit that would stiffen the spine. But, adding a heavier pile weakens the spine.  Changing the fletching isn’t an issue aside from I know it needs to be done and simply haven’t done it.

The best bet is to purchase new arrows with the correct spine, cut them to the correct length, add the correct pile weight to compensate for the cut and have low profile vanes.

Victory Archery, a maker of arrows, does have a moderately priced arrow that, per their spine calculators, meets the spec for my current shooting. Lancaster Archery does have them on clearance (the 2019 version).  Even so, spine, nocks, vanes will still run around $250.00.

My estimate of points per arrows gain for the $250.00 investment is 0.18 points per arrow against a vertical 3-spot.* It seems like just a little but it really is a lot of gain.  I just hate spending the money right now. (It also might help to adjust the tiller to positive versus neutral)

* calculation based on distance from center, 60 shots, measured in the yellow only. (45 our of 60 arrows. 15 red arrows attributed to form errors and dropped) Distance mean variance on average times spine weakness estimated percentage.  (1.6 X 0.11 = 0.176 rounded up) 3-spot, outdoor, no wind – when it is windy all bets are off.

The NFAA Indoor Nationals

As I approached the site for my shot at the NFAA Quarantine Edition of the Indoor Nationals all I could think was “shit”.  There wasn’t a mask in sight.

The tournament venue for me was in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  That county has the second most Covid-19 cases in the state, around 50,000.

I’ll be 66 in a few months.  My age group is one of the harder hit clusters.

I had a mask with me.  My mask protects others by reducing my expiratory ‘plum.’

The others in this case, other archers, seemed not to care they might be asymptomatic.  Their ‘plums’ are harmful to me.

I left. I was and remain disappointed.

Oh Well There’s Always Next Year

The NFAA Indoor Nationals for 2020 couldn’t have been any better.  There would be no long haul to compete.  The venue is a 45-minute drive away. Excellent.

Because of Covid-19 the NFAA created a format allows NFAA Affiliate ranges to provide a base where to compete for the 2020 Indoor Nationals.  These Nationals are being held at ranges all across the country.

I’d signed up and selected the Archery Learning Center just up the road.  I could drive over shoot and come home.  Easy.

A few days before the event I cut my finger.  Not a bad cut but a cut.  In most instances I’d hardly notice.  In this instance the cut is on the middle finger tip of my drawing hand.

I sort of reminded me of turf toe. Not a horrible injury but a real nuisance – painful and bothersome enough to keep professional football players out of a game.

Practicing while hoping for a speedy recover of the cut was a loss.  Each session the finger’s small wound would open and bleed.  It hurt enough to cause a minor shift in finger pressure leading to more on the index finger that is correct.  The arrows landing a bit higher as a result.

The practice scores suffered a little with a few more points dropped per practice than the pre-cut scores. There was only one solution, hold off shooting for a few days and let the cut heal.

Such a little thing

The NFAA Indoor 2020 as convenient as this year’s might be is a miss for me.

Georgia 25-Meter State Championship

Everyone had to wear a mask inside the Georgia Southern Shooting Sport Education Center in Statesboro, Georgia for the 25-meter State Championship. Masks were required even while shooting.  Most athletes followed the rules despite it being a bit weird shooting while wearing a mask.

I noticed a few archers sliding their masks off while shooting giving them an unfair advantage.  The cheat also created a pocket of their expired gases in the area where they stood on the line.  It was unfair to their competitors.

I didn’t report it to the judges.  If I could see the malfeasance they too should have been aware.

Aside from that, in my opinion unfair advantage of breaking the mask removal rule, everyone else was careful in relationship to potentially spreading the Covid-19 virus. I did notice one of the intermittent mask removers had an ample supply of religious icons on his person and equipment.  He likely supposed that was all the protection necessary for himself and those around him.

The tournament went well as they all do at GSU.  I was able to win again with an Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division.

Pandemic Archery

I’ve shot 4 tournaments in 2020.  That is pitiful. I know many archers have competed in a lot more events. No me.  I know too well how healthcare in America functions.  I don’t want to end up at the mercy of our healthcare system.

Wait, you might think we have the best healthcare in the world.  You’d be wrong.  When it comes to healthcare we’ve dropped from 6th in 1990 to 27th.  (1) I know firsthand how our healthcare system works and how other countries manage their healthcare. I spent 42 years in the medical field and 21 of those were international medical experience.

Last week I was visiting a hospital.  Honestly, I’ve never seen worse. So, I am cautious when it comes to my health. This has meant only four tournaments in 2020.

I won 3 out of 4 of them.  I also used this time away from competition to switch to Olympic recurve.

Olympic recurve is a different game all together.  Comparing compound bow shooting to Olympic recurve is like comparing checkers to chess. Recurve shooting is an entirely different world.  It is a nice switch so far.

I am looking forward to competing using this recurve.  I have completed one event with the recurve.  It ended well.

1) https://www.businessinsider.com/us-ranks-27th-for-healthcare-and-education-2018-9

 

 

Dang! That’s a lot of money. Oh, he’s blessed!

I don’t often look at Facebook.  The propaganda spewing unchecked is too awful.  I tried to delete my page and failed.  So, once in a while I look.  It is like looking at some circus sideshow freakishness.  Yesterday, I looked.  I was rewarded.

My reward was a post written by Mr. Archer.  You may know him.  He’s the fellow that is blessed with the latest gear provided by the most pious supplier and whose archery performance remains superior because of his unparalleled support from God.

God has provided Mr. Archer has some extremely expensive gear.  Excluding his stabilizers I looked up the price of his bow, sight, scope and arrows.  The package price: $2588.98.  The bow, a compound, is the 2021 edition.  Along with the bow he’s “blessed” to now have a new sight, scope and arrows.

Mr. Archer posted one if his practice session’s results.  No doubt it was excellent! Not perfect but pretty close using Vegas scoring and relating it to USA Archery scoring on a 3-spot.  Nevertheless, pretty impressive.

Mr. Archery is, also, a “Pro” archer with a number of sponsors! Perhaps, this guy is really good.  So, I checked.  You know finding results of archery performances are not difficult.  What turned out to be amazing is that he was a rare find and a winless one at that!  It seems his “Pro” sponsorships are based on his potential and perhaps God’s recommendation.

Mr. Archery is indeed blessed not with one $1549.99 bow but two.  He has one for target archery and one for 3D.  Obviously, I attend the wrong church.  Clearly, neither God nor Jesus has been so inclined to provide me with cash or sponsorships to subsidize $3099.98 in brand new 2021 bows.  Heck, it was all I could do to get permission from my wife to purchase a $249.99 Olympic recurve bow.

Now, to be fair to Mr. Archery and God, I admit I do have two compound bows.  Their combined price was $1398.00 spread over six years.  Both are similar models made by the same manufacturer.  Neither, the Shaker 5000 or the Decelerate remains on the market.

The Shaker 5000 was notorious for rattling limbs so hard they would crack and the Decelerate lost parts every few thousand arrows.  Both were introductory bows and I expect the maker never expected anyone purchasing those bows would shoot over 3000 arrows per year.

I understand, from Mr. Archer’s posts on Facebook, his new bows are very forgiving. I’ve never really understood how a bow can forgive an archer.  I expect my current $249.99 bow is simply shy and quiet around those big money bows.  If it had emotions or empathy enough to forgive it likely feels a little dejected next to all those prouder more forgiving bows.

Now, Mr. Archer does offer advice beyond how one makes the best sublimation to God via Facebook in order to get the most bang for your prayers (and as such become Blessed).  He further points out that it is currently time to get ready for the indoor archery season.  In fact, he makes this recommendation a full six days before his first announced indoor competition.

On Facebook he reveals to all that might read his post that he has spent a couple of hours practicing to get ready.  I can only suppose with God and Jesus on his side that is ample practice.  His sponsors are fortunate to have such a hard working athlete to inspire others to run out and purchase their forgiving bow.

I’ve often wondered how an individual athlete seeks heavenly support for victory.  Would a prayer be like, “Oh Lord, give me the strength and skill to vanquish my competition?”  Or, “Dear God, help the beat everyone here today.”  Or, “Sweet Jesus, help me performance my best in order to win.” Maybe it is good enough to type “Amen” and forward Mr. Archer’s prayer on Facebook. I haven’t tried that, yet.

No such prayers would ever be in my thoughts and being blessed with two new bows remains absent for me.  I remain simpler, “Lord, help me be a good example and let me help others where it is needed and help me to treat folks with kindness.”  That prayer too often fails.  I miss a lot and not just when it comes to shooting arrows.

Georgia 25-meter Indoor Championship Coming Soon

The Georgia 25-meter Indoor Championship is about three weeks away.  It is being held that the Georgia Southern Shooting Education Center in Statesboro, Georgia. Aside from poor lighting, fluorescent bulbs high above the floor, it is a nice facility.

This year is a bit different.  First only 24 archers are allowed to compete during any of the three times offered. Spectators are not allowed in the building.  Archers must wear a mask at all times and temperature checks will be taken before competitors are allowed inside the building.  All of this is understandable considering the current state of this pandemic.

While I have no issue with the conditions, I admit shooting while wearing a mask is a challenge.  I’ve been testing masks to see how it goes during practice.  It doesn’t go well. Wearing a mask my average score at 25-meters drops 26 points!

On a poor day shooting my average will fluctuate about 10 points.  Ten points is my worst drop off from my average.  That is unless I am wearing a mask. The difference from my high score at 25-meters and low score is 27 without a mask.  The difference with a mask is 49 points. The low score without a mask was shoot over a month ago and was my first attempt at 25-meters.  It was also the 69th day of shooting a recurve bow.  Even that score is higher than any score I’ve achieved wearing a mask.

Obviously, more practice is needed while wearing a mask to bring up my score when wearing a mask.

 

 

Shooting while wearing a mask

In a few weeks Georgia Southern University is hosting the Georgia State 25 meter Championship. Over the past two years, since moving home to Georgia, I competed in that event in the Masters 60 Age Group using a compound bow.  I won it once and took a second place (losing by 1 point).

This year is different.  First, I switched to Olympic Recurve, second I am shooting in the Seniors Division, and third archers must wear a mask at all times during the 2020 25-meter event even while shooting.

The first two differences, the recurve and competing as a senior (the younger group) versus the masters (the 60-69 year old division) aren’t issues.  The mask on the other hand is a problem.

I practiced while wearing a mask a few days ago.  It was awful.  I shot 54 points lower than my mask free 25-meter average.  I tried again today and landed 43 points lower than I scored while not wear a mask on the same day.

I have no concrete idea what is the problem.

First Olympic Recurve Event: Georgia State Field Championship 2020

On Saturday October 17, 2020 it was 38°F in Acworth, Georgia at 0830.  The weather report had ‘suggested’ the temperature would be 48°F at 0830 with a rapidly increasing warmth to follow.  The weather forecast had been off. It was cold at the Kennesaw Archery Club for the Georgia State Field Archery Championship.

On Wednesday the 14th of October, a day before registration closed I entered the event. The reasoning was to put off entry until nearly the last moment in the event of a forecast to rain or me still flinging arrows like a clown with a water gun.  The forecast for the weather wasn’t the main deterrent for a rejection to enter.  In reality if was the drive through Atlanta being the major issue against attending.

The secondary consideration was whether or not I’d make a fool of myself shooting at $249.00 Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division having only just started shooting a recurve.  In total I’d had 62 days of actual practice shooting an Olympic recurve.  Granted, I believed those days to have been fairly high quality practice days.

The Olympic recurve is a satisfying bow.  At $249.00 for limbs and riser a barging for entertainment.  As a serious competitive bow, well since I’ve not shot any other Olympic recurve is seems just right.  The arrows that are flung off the bow’s rest cost $5.50 each complete with fletching, pile and nock.

Those arrows are a tad under-spined, un-cut, and there is no clicker on the bow.  There is a sight, which is, as sights go, one level above the trash.  I admit openly, the sight is awful. The price for the sight was around $20.00 new.  In this case, you really do get what you pay for.

The sight moves on it own, the aperture rotates between shots, and the calibration assembly aligns “in the ballpark” at best. “In the ballpark” after 62 practice days is probably good enough.

At 0830 there I was, sitting in my Ford-150, at the Kennesaw Archery Club’s range for the tournament.  I was thinking, this is really stupid.  I am going to be so embarrassed. But, I’d made the first leg of the drive (getting there) paid my $35.00 registration fee, so I might as well enjoy, albeit cold, the learning experience.

I unloaded myself from the pick-up, grabbed my introductory level bow and somewhat miserably began the hike to the check-in table. There I confirmed my initial target assignment and walked over to the warm-up range.

Along the way I passed friends and opponents.  This is my first recurve tournament.  I’d won the event in 2019 in the Men’s Masters 60 year old age group using a compound bow.  The recurve contest wasn’t as a Master.  I’d decided to compete for a while in the Senior division.

A friend of mentioned he’s not going to Gator Cup because they don’t have a 70+ division.  Many tournaments bail out of the age group divisions at 50.  I figured I might as will shoot with the guys under 50 since I’m starting something new.  At least there will always be a division in that age group.

There were comments about the in my hand recurve, of course.  There were folks suggest their opinion that the discount equipment was “Good for you.”  Said in the vein of “That’s a piece of crap but maybe you’ll have some cheap fun and not lose too many of those toy arrows.”  There was even the curiosity regarding what happened to the blue rubber tips I’d removed from the arrows to insert the 65 grain pile. One polite fellow, when he mentally digested my bow and arrow set changed the subject to cycling.

Others had more invasive questions. As answered: No, the set did not arrive in the mail zip tied together on cardboard and sealed in vacuum packed plastic. No, this bow isn’t available at Wal-Mart.

Admittedly, the budget bow and arrow set assisted in a good time. The sight was a frustration since it wouldn’t stay locked. It was a minor problem that was dealt with after each arrow.

One thing I will add is the Kennesaw Archery Club has a very nice facility.  Another is Atlanta traffic sucks!

When I left I brought this with me. (No 5-finger discount, I actually won it) 1st Place Senior Mens Recurve Division

Planning a recurve tournament

I’ve been shooting a recurve for several weeks.  It isn’t a fancy high priced rig.  It is an Olympic recurve style bow priced at $249.99 brand new off the shelf.  The arrows are Easton Vector 1000s, which are $66.00 for a dozen online.  The event is the Georgia State Field Championship.  I think it could be fun.  Winning isn’t the goal.

Nope, I think I’ll be pleased to hit every target with every arrow shot.  At this point I am certainly not competitive.  My arrows are under spined; the sight added to the bow rattles loose after every shot and the stabilizers bounce all over the place. I do have a nice tab and decent string.  I’ll also say for $249.99 the riser and limbs seem fine. But, at this point what do I know.

The arrows on the other hand are okay for the price but not really high end.  They are too long for my draw length, which doesn’t matter so much since I don’t yet use a clicker.

The under spined problem isn’t horrible.  The limbs are at 34 pounds.  At my draw length (calculated) I am pulling 32 pounds.  The arrows are labeled for use up to 29 pounds.  (These were represented as the correct spine for 34 pounds upon purchase) Since the arrows haven’t been cut (a matter I’d planned to have addressed on October 6thbut was disappointed when I arrived to learn the person to have had been assisting with this endeavor had forgotten the appointment, despite correspondence less than 24 hours prior to the meeting confirming the meeting) shortening them may just correct the floppy spine. Until then there will be floppy arrows flying out from my bow.

The issue isn’t a problem at 30 meters or less other than an occasion funny flung arrow.  Beyond 30 meters I have to use a version of Kentucky windage to correct the rightward shift.  The real problem is when I overdraw just a tad.  There seems to be a break point where the overdraw (beyond 26.4 inches) when the arrows throw in the towel.

At this point none of it matters. With ten weeks of recurve shooting this upcoming tournament is purely for fun. The biggest hurtle is the drive.

Gotta drive through Atlanta