Busted bags and busted blocks

Recently, someone posted a question on Facebook, I think it was Julie at Archery Talk, an informal survey asking which target did archers prefer, the bag type or the block. If there was a final tally I never read it. I shoot both, and both fall to pieces.

Buck Commander vomiting its guts out after a few weeks

Since October 2013 I’ve purchased two block style and three bag style targets. They’ve ranged in price from $39.00 to $89 for a total of approximately $245.00 without tax. That is about $22 per month spent on blocks and bags, not including the paper targets that are pinned to them. The painted marks on bags and blocks don’t wear well and don’t match up to any target I’ll shoot in competition.

New block and a shiny new paper target
The same block after four weeks, a bitter and old mess.

Archery paper targets run 75¢ to $1.00 where I buy them. They typically last one day often times less.  Pistol and rifle targets aren’t any cheaper and often don’t last as long, but they are easy to find. A problem with them is they have only one center shot per sheet. That may be fine for bullets but isn’t great for arrows.

Shooting a pistol target pinned to a duct taped block with one good side remaining. You can see by the angles of the arrows I move around in an attempt to avoid hitting the previously shot arrows.

Shooting at one center using multiple arrows will destroy arrows. They get banged together, holes are punched into fletching, nocks get cracked, and Robin Hoods waste two arrows.

For an instant it’s cool, then the realization – $20, or more, gone

Arrows can be expensive. I hate breaking them, worse I hate losing them, and they eventually end up with fatigue or stress fractures. Shooting on a block, which still seemed to have some life, a center shot cut through the paper and didn’t slow down until it was in the forested area behind the target. That block has now been retired.

Arrows sinking deeper into foam
Note the extra red dots. Added to save arrows and this new bag
Same bag after a few weeks.

Retirement means all six sides of the block are shot to pieces. I rotate bags and blocks, move the pinned paper targets around, shoot the corners as well as the center. That recently retired block was purchased in mid-July, it lasted about eight weeks. On an average new bags and blocks have a life expectancy of eight to nine weeks despite my efforts to salvage them.

Actually, the life span is very misleading. From November to February I shot indoors almost exclusively. So, the targets from October had rest from their depreciation during those months.

Shooting inside on someone else’s range. Certainly keeps you out of the cold in the winter
Shooting inside can be expensive. One arrow per target means spending time walking back and forth to retrieve arrows. Time is money when paying by the hour. Shooting two arrows per target face can add to the cost

Tomorrow I’ll head out to buy a new target. It won’t last very long. The cash I pulled out of the ATM today will go even faster. Maybe, one day, I’ll get a target sponsor. Or, perhaps, a target manufacturer will send be their bags or blocks as part of a focus group to study the endurance of their products.  If I could find one that would last sixteen weeks – that would be an improvement.

4 thoughts on “Busted bags and busted blocks”

  1. David, I work for a company that is a new target manufacturer. Our targets will be hitting the market mid November. I urge you to contact us as we have a solution to your target problems. I had a great job that I was rapidly moving up in the company. My next position was operations manager that would have came to pass in about a year. I started testing the targets for Walk-On Archery in January. I shoot around 15,000 shots per year and went through bag targets about as fast as you. This 6 sided cube lasted me till April when I was offered a job at Walk-On. I accepted the job due to my belief in this target system. These are the best I have ever shot. I hope to hear from you soon.

  2. One more thing. Although I have another larger Walk-On Archery target that I have started using, I still shoot the Robbin Cube that I have on occasion. Even with being exposed to the weather without a cover on it this entire time, it still stops arrows well with no tips protruding out of the back.

    1. That is good to know. I typically live mine out unless it rains. I shoot at least twice a day in NC and moving time inside and back outside would be a pain. I am traveling – Maryland, back to NC for a few days, then to Georgia to hunt. When I return I’ll place an order. Thanks, David

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