The Price of a Sight

In August of 2020 (it is December 11th today) I ordered an Olympic Recurve from Lancaster Archery in Pennsylvania.  Even though I’d been shooting compound bows for six years, seven months and 22 days when I placed the order I’d wanted to try shooting an Olympic recurve style bow. The new Olympic Recurve bow arrived 133 days ago.  I’ve now shot compound bow over the past 133 days.

When ordering the recurve I tried to get the most bow for the least cost.  I ended up spending around $460.00 for everything including a tab and stand.  The bow, riser and limbs, priced out at $249.98.  The accessories for the bow ended up costing another approximately $210.00.

The riser is good the limbs stack but aren’t bad.  The stabilizers seem okay but I lack the experience to make a comparison.  The original string lasted a few weeks and a replacement was purchased from 60X.

Of the 133 days I’ve owned the recurve I’ve allowed 30 days of recovery from practice.  So, I’ve shot the bow 103 days.  Those days have been part of a process of gradually building arrow count.  I started with only 50 per day.  Now I am roughly at 1000 arrows per week and have shot 11,054 arrows (to date) using the recurve bow over roughly four and a half months.

I remain satisfied with the riser and limbs.  In fact, I’ve won two State Championships in the Men’s Senior Division with the gear, the Georgia Field and Georgia 25-Meter championships. There is, however, one major problem.  The sight I initially purchased.

The sight is an inexpensive Cartel Focus K with 9-inch aluminum extension.  The cost was $34.99.  It wasn’t a bad place to start.

The first problem, which really wasn’t a problem at first, is the large stem mounted pin in the aperture that is included in the $34.99.  I ended up aiming so that the pin and the upper curve of the aperture bordered the spot on the target I wanted to hit with an arrow.  I replaced that with a Spigarelli aperture which ran $18.99 excluding shipping, handling and tax which brought the priced to $26.70.

The Spigarelli is better.  Both apertures have one problem in common not associated with the aperture. The sight itself fails to maintain a grip of the apertures and both rotate clockwise while shooting.

The thumbscrews on the Cartel Focus K all loosen following every shot.  Now part of my shot sequence is to tighten the four thumbscrews and check the position of the aperture prior to each shot.

The sight also fails when it comes to small adjustments.  Although the marketing material suggests micro-adjustments are possible – not with my fingers.  When it comes to adjustments its approximate.  For example, yesterday my arrows were shooting slightly to the right.  For those with expensive sights ‘about two to three clicks’.  The Cartel K features a large screw rotation that means there is no exact click of calibrated movement.  So, it is easier to aim a little to the left to compensate.

The elevation is also rough.  Since the block moves rather stiffly and the tigthening of the thumbscrews after movement isn’t exact the elevation is a hit or miss process. This was especially challenging during the Georgia Field Archery Championship.  But, so long as the distance doesn’t change and the thumbscrews are tightened between shots and the aperture hasn’t rotated the sight has been okay for an entry-level sight.

It really is time to upgrade.  Therein lays another problem.  There isn’t any point in purchasing a half-ass medium grade sight.  The difference in quality doesn’t warrant the outlay of cash.

I do know that the current sight has caused me to drop a few points.  Partly my fault for missing the thumbscrew-tightening element of the shot sequence.  So, I decided to check out a proper sight.

The sights I used with compound bows have all been Axcel sights with the exception of the first sight I bought. The Axcel sights are excellent.

Looking at the Axcel Achieve RX recurve style, non-carbon, I am going to need $334.99.  Before I retired there would have been no hesitation – I’d have had that sight weeks ago.  In fact, I have two of their sights now on compound bows, both purchased prior to retiring. Since retiring I’ve gotten more discrete regarding spending.

When I look at the really nice gear I can’t run out and grab as I once did all I can do is shrug.  I know of lots of local men and women that get free stuff or greatly discounted gear.  Heck, even I once had “sponsors.”

Those sponsors, ‘Pro-Staff’ arrangements offered a discount to me.  I maintained those relationships until I learned a friend with the same affiliation received his products free.  In head to head competitions I’d beaten him 5 out of 6 times. In this  case it wasn’t so much how he shot but who he knew. The following year I stopped all affiliations with manufacturers that provided a minor discount and have not since sought supplementation.

Certainly, I’d enjoy help with gear.  I’d loved to have top gear.  But, I don’t and I am still shooting this $249.98 recurve fairly well along with the rickety sight.  I just need to remember – “Tighten the screws, Stance, Nock, Hood and Grip…..”

So, do you train 3 to 4 times per week?

I was an innocent question, “So, do you train 3 to 4 times per week?”

I honestly didn’t want to answer the question and tried to side step it. However, our friend, a yoga student of my wife’s, was persistent.  I provided the short version:

I train everyday.  If there is a day off it is part of a plan for recovery.  Generally, this is how it works:

When I wake up in the morning I spend 26 minutes stretching. I eat breakfast then run for 30 to 40 minutes. When I finish the run of skip rope using a speed rope for 5 minutes.  Then, I shoot my bow for an hour to an hour and a half.  Next I eat lunch followed by a short nap taken on the floor so I don’t get too comfortable.

From there I get up and have a snack.  After the snack I ride a bike for 30 minutes to an hour.  This is also the time when I’ll write something for this webpage or one of the books I am writing. Then, I shoot my bow for another hour to an hour and a half. The last part of my training is to play my trumpet for 30 minute to an hour (brain training). Playing music, I believe, helps with concentrations and seeing ahead.  By seeing ahead, I mean having the notes written on sheets of music in my head before I play them. For me, this is like seeing (and feeling) where an arrow is going to land before it is released.

After dinner I watch something on the television, usually something on Netflix, Amazon or the BBC. Sometimes it is YouTube where I watch archery videos. That lasts between and hour and forty-minutes and two hours.  I am never in front of a screen until 7 to 7:30 pm aside from this computer. Then I go to bed and read for a short time before I fall asleep.

Essentially, that’s it.  It doesn’t explain the training plan, shooting reviews, practice objectives, etc.  That detail would have certainly put an inquiring mind into a deep sleep. It is a six days a week occupation.

Turf Toe versus String Finger

Turf toe, a football injury, is a pain.  It isn’t horrible like a broken bone.  It is just a pain in the toe that prevents elite performance.

The skin on the middle finger of my drawing hand has a small split.  It bleeds and hurts a little when I shoot.  My wife calls it string finger and compares it to turf toe.

It isn’t a blood blister.  Practicing in the cold, I believe is the root cause. This is just a small split in the skin.

I use a Fairweather tab.

All I know to do is put the bow down while it heals – completely – then use a Band-Aid to help prevent this from happening again until the weather warms up.

Any suggestions?

Dang that was too rough

It happens every winter – the outside temperatures drop. Today was rough.  The temperature was in the upper 30s so not horrible.  The wind on the other hand just cut through me.

Even the cold and the wind aren’t awful shooting a compound bow.  But, the string on my fingers in the cold is another story.

The cold makes the calluses on the middle finger of my drawing hand crack. Then, it bleeds.  It is tender but I can shoot through it.  Every once and a while the release is a hair off and the cut gets stung.  It wakes me up.

I shortened the morning practice since the cold wasn’t abated using the outdoor heater.  The little propane heater couldn’t keep up with the wind.  It will warm up into the 40’s my mid-day and I’ll lengthen the afternoon practice.

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

 

 

It’s Cold Outside

A fellow I’ve shot with posted a picture of his practice on Facebook.  He’s got a nice indoor range at his home.  I was envious.  My range is outside and it is cold.

Nice to have this in your basement

My old range for indoor distances began in a shed where I stood next to a heater.  It was cold but not in the wind and it was warmer than outside standing in the shed.  My new range at my home in Georgia is entirely outside.

It is a nice range.  I can practice out to 90 meters and have a 3D range with 18 animals on it.  I’ve also put an outdoor propane heater on the target range.  I stand next to it when I shoot.  It isn’t all that bad.  It isn’t as nice as this friend’s indoor range.

He’s an elite archer and built his house to accommodate a range in the basement.  That is pretty awesome.  He doesn’t shoot 3D so he doesn’t need a large area for foam animals.  He does have a nice outdoor 70-meter range.

The temperature here when I practiced today was 37°F.  The average for this day is 60°F.  I know this cold won’t last and the mild winters we have here will return.  Even so, I got out and shot.

I’d put up new targets so I had to shot them

Yesterday, there was a misty light rain and it wasn’t much warmer.  I ended up with 180 arrows shot before I was frozen.  I didn’t try to ignite the propane heater in the rain.

Despite the cold and damp weather going outside to practice archery beats staying indoors.

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.