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Archery review '89.

Bow-shooting gear gets better and better as the years go by. There has not been a major breakthrough in technology like the compound bow for nearly 20 years just sure, steady improvement of existing design. Such refinement might not be earth-shattering, but it is every bit as important in the long run. Here is a look at new and better products available at the present time.

Bows

There are several noteworthy trends in bow design. Compound bows clearly dominate the marketplace, with some 95 percent of all archers using these for serious hunting. Current compounds vary considerably in exact configuration, but most are faster shooting and more dependable than ever. Here's why.

On average, compound bows are shorter in overall length. This offers the fringe benefit of easier handling afield particularly in and around tree stands but the primary advantage is increased arrow speed. By shortening bows from the 46-inch norm to 40 or 41 inches, manufacturers can install noticeably larger wheels or cams to match your personal draw length. Larger wheels store more energy at full draw, which ensures greater arrow speed and energy. This makes hitting targets and animals somewhat easier at unknown distance, and also guarantees deeper penetration in game.

Examples of the present short-bow trend are numerous. Among the more popular choices are the Jennings Unistar Plus (39 inches), High Country Avenger (40 inches), PSE Mach-Flite 4 (41 inches), Golden Eagle Pro Turbo (41 inches), Xi Impact Plus (41 inches), Martin Cougar Speed Flite (41 inches) and Hoyt ProForce Extreme (42 inches).

A very short compound bow embodies one potential problem - it tends to pinch the bowstring fingers at full draw because string angle is more acute. However, a second trend in modern bows effectively cancels this difficulty. Most compound bows with short overall length relax a full 65 percent at full draw, placing relatively little pressure on the drawing fingers.

In times past, all bowstrings were made of multiple Dacron strands. Today, a space-age material called Fast Flight is rapidly replacing Dacron. Fast Flight is lighter in weight yet stronger, and also resists stretching far better as the bowstring comes taut. This combination of factors yields significantly faster arrow flight, all else being equal. On average, a Fast Flight bowstring instantly boosts compound speed about eight fps.

Many bow companies have scrapped steel compound cables altogether, converting instead to a cable-and-string system made completely of Fast Flight. Hoyt USA lead the field with this innovation two years ago, and the design has since been widely copied. Other companies like Martin have switched to stronger, less breakage-prone "super cables" that are 5/64-inch in diameter-almost twice as strong as former 1/16-inch cables.

Another reliability trend these days is the increased use of solid-fiberglass limbs in compound bows. Traditional laminated limbs of maple and glass have always been prone to come apart at the seams in severe heat or damp weather, and always lose flex and poundage over time. By contrast, solid-glass limbs like those on the Hoyt ProVantage Tracer, PSE MachFlite 4, Ben Pearson Spoiler, ProLine Point Blank, Bear Whitetail Hunter, and York Timberline are virtually indestructible, completely weatherproof, and not prone to lose one ounce of draw weight.

One other present trend in compound bows must be mentioned here. Almost all top-quality models now have handle risers with offset or "tunneled" sight windows to allow the use of an overdraw shelf. An overdraw shelf requires that a broadhead be pulled behind the handle, and conventional compound handles invited interference with the blades. Today, collision between bow handle and arrowhead is not a common problem.

Bow Accessories

The most revolutionary accessory sold today for bows is the overdraw shelf. This is an extension to the back of a bow handle which bolts solidly in place. Once an arrow rest is attached to the overdraw shelf, you can shoot arrows up to six inches shorter than normal for superior arrow speed and trajectory. All major archery companies sell overdraw shelves, and some install these on their bows as standard equipment.

Bowsights have shown design refinements and better dependability the past few years. Top models like the Hoyt Pro Hunter are extremely compact with all aiming pins on a single adjustment slide. The PSE Mongoose sight is extremely stout - the sort of gear you can bump or fall on afield without fear of bending or breakage. Fine Line's excellent Hunter crosswire sight is also sturdy - a composite of aluminum alloy, brass and steel. The list of strong, smartly designed bowsights goes on and on.

Bow-attached quivers are quite popular with hunters because arrows can be compactly attached to the bow. The best bow quivers today are sturdy models featuring quiet, two-point hookup. One popular type is PSE's Unisystem - a one-piece combination of bow quiver and bowsight that bolts to twin bowsight holes that are standard on every compound bow. Another excellent choice is the two-piece rotating quiver - a design first offered in the Sagittarius Pegasus 11 and more recently sold as the Hoyt Pro Bow Quiver. This type of quiver quick-mounts in two parts to brackets beneath the draw-weight adjustment bolts on a compound bow.

Other popular bow quivers include the Olympus In-Line Quiver, Martin Super Quiver, Browning Dual Mount Quiver and Bohning Pinnacle Quiver. All top bow quivers incorporate a roomy plastic arrowhead hood to safely house broadheads and a row of sturdy rubber arrow grippers to hold shafts firmly and quietly in place. The average model has a six-arrow or eight-arrow capacity.

Bow quivers are not without their faults. They unbalance a bow, increase accuracy-degrading torque and add one or two pounds of extra carrying weight. For this reason, hip quivers are increasingly popular with serious hunting archers. Bear, Neet and several others sell inexpensive hip quivers made of vinyl and I presently market my own Adams Arrow Holster for those who want a lifetime quiver designed from full-grain cowhide.

Arrows

Arrows are becoming faster and lighter in weight each year. Easton Aluminum, the largest arrow shaft manufacturer in the world, offers more than 30 aluminum sizes for hunters alone. Those range from relatively heavy, deep-penetrating shafts like the 2018, 2117, 2219 and 2419 to large-diameter, thin-wall "SuperLite" models like the 2114, 2213, 2413 and 2512. In addition, Easton has introduced an Aluminum/Carbon/Hunter line utilizing the latest in aluminum and carbon fiber bonding technology. A/C/H shafts consist of a thin internal tube of aluminum overlaid by uni-directional carbon fibers. This combination averages 50 or 6O grains lighter than all-aluminum shafts, and the inner aluminum tube allows straightenability which is impossible with non-composite carbon glass shafts.

For those who wish to pay less money for their arrows, both AFC and Beman market lightweight, reasonably straight all carbon-glass shafts in several sizes.

The big news in arrows - aside from more lightweight sizes - is PermaGraphic camouflage. This hard-anodized coating is now available on many top aluminum arrows, including the Jim Dougherty Serpent and Easton XX75 Trebark. PermaGraphic camouflage is attractive, and blends exceedingly well with the woods. Standard, dull-anodize arrow patterns like Camo Hunter Green, Autumn Orange and Gamegetter Brown are also available to those who prefer such traditional colorations.

Arrowheads

Given the latest trends in compound bows and arrows, it should come as no surprise that many arrowheads are lighter and faster than ever. The standard, average weight of target points and hunting broadheads has always been 125 grains, and arrowheads below 115 grains were almost unheard of until recently. However, today's archers can choose from several hunting broadheads in the 85-grain to 110-grain class. Such heads stiffen a shaft, which in turn allows higher bow poundage or the use of an innately lighter weight shaft. The mere fact that these new arrowheads weigh less also lightens an arrow and further increases speed.

Well-designed, lightweight hunting broadheads include the Satellite Mach 110 (110 grains), Hoyt Chuck-It (85 or 95 grains), Rocky Mountain Ultra Lite (110 grains) and Rocky Mountain Fast Flite (90 grains). It is important to note that such arrowheads are only acceptable when attached to very lightweight arrows in the 400-grain to 450-grain class. To fly correctly, an arrow must be about 9-percent nose-heavy, and arrowheads weighing less than 115 grains do not produce such aerodynamic balance on heavier arrows with an overall weight of 500 or 550 grains.

Satellite, America's largest broadhead company, presently sells a variety of arrowhead styles complete with matching-weight field points in every package. This nifty idea ensures identical point of impact with both broadheads and field points -provided your bow is correctly tuned.

One other trend in hunting broadheads is noticeable today. More and more companies are selling so-called "cutting nose" broadheads with slicing blades all the way to the front. Good examples are the Bear Razorhead, Rocky Mountain Grand, Satellite Titan, Satellite II-XL, Hoyt Bow Bullet, Hoyt Short Cut and Bohning Blazer. Such heads penetrate more deeply in animals than those with nose cones up front because they create less friction in flesh. This is especially important in large animals like elk, moose, and bear.

Shooting Aids

A number of shooting aids are popular with modern archers. In the forefront is the mechanical bowstring release. Mechanical releases have grown in popularity with hunters for more than a decade, chiefly because they grip the string at one point and provide a slick trigger release of the arrow. Both features contribute to accuracy. At present, an estimated 25 percent of America's 2.4 million bowhunters use mechanical releases.

There are primary disadvantages associated with mechanical bowstring releases. These tend to be noisier and slower to use than the fingers, and also complicate basic shooting gear because there are more moving parts to go wrong. However, manufacturers have introduced dozens of sturdy models to meet rising consumer demand. An exhaustive list of brands is not possible here because more than 50 are currently available. Martin Archery's yearly catalog lists 30 models alone.

Archery rangefinders have been popular with hunters for years. In terms of sales, the most popular of all has been the Ranging Model 50/2 - a compact, dial-operated unit easily carried in a padded belt pouch. Other quality rangefinders commonly seen in the woods have been the Golden Eagle 3X and Ranging Model 80/2. All such units have made precise distance determination to animals a near-instant process - great insurance against a crippling hit or complete miss.

The latest dial-operated rangefinder for archers is the Ranging Model TLR-75, a compact unit with revolutionary through-the-lens distance readout. In times past, archers were required to turn a distance dial, then read the range off an external scale. The TLR-75 makes the range-viewing process even faster, and pinpoints distance out to 75 yards - far enough for any field application.

Bow stabilizers are near-standard equipment on modern bows for hunting and target shooting. A stabilizer is a short, weighted rod that screw-attaches to the front of a bow just below the grip. Its primary purpose is accuracy enhancement - the forward weight minimizes bow torque (twist) during a shot. Stabilizers also absorb bow-shooting noise, a plus on wary animals like whitetail deer.

Many sorts of stabilizers are sold today. Relatively simple, one-piece models like the Golden Eagle Hunting Stabilizer and Easton Gamegetter II Stabilizer are fine for general use. Discriminating archers sometimes prefer variable-weight stabilizers like the Easton Enhancer line with eight, 10, and 12-ounce interchangeable front weights. More complex stabilizers are also preferred by some. For example, the Martin Bent-Rod Stabilizer has a dogleg offset to compensate for bow quiver weight, thus balancing a bow exactly. The Saunders Torque Tamer stabilizer has internal shock absorbers to soak LIP excess vibration and effectively reduce torque. The Xi Hunting Stabilizer serves double duty as a broadhead puller, and the Hoyt Flashlight Stabilizer projects a strong beam with the flip of a switch for easy walking to your pre-dawn deer stand. These and other models are available through archery distributors continent-wide.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, modern archery equipment is specialized, precise, and sturdy. When correctly matched, bows, arrows, and accessories are extremely accurate and trouble-free. Bowhunters and target buffs have never had it so good !
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Title Annotation:new trends and technology
Author:Adams, Chuck
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Feb 1, 1990
Words:2024
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