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…..”