Thursday, 12 May 2016

Some More Thoughts on Archery

Left to right: Rowan, Richard, Kevin, Vicky, Susan and me.

On the Bank Holiday Monday I shot in my first one day event at my club's St George's Day Shoot.

On Saturday we had gone to practice as usual, and the weather was perfect.  I had a new set of limbs and arrow heads (heavier to make my arrows flex more the riser and then fly straighter).  I changed my sight settings to compensate for all the changes and was shooting really well during the morning's practice session.

I was optimistic that on Monday I would rock.

Admire my awesome carbon limbs.

On Sunday I lovingly hand waxed my new string for Monday's shoot. Monday the weather forecast was for rain later and the day was cloudy with lots of wind.

I'm shooting what is called a short Western, this is where one shoots three dozen at arrows at 50 yards, then move the target to 40 yards and repeat, and finally pulling it back to 30 yards for shooting the final three dozen arrows.

Not allowed to wear combats during a competition, so leggings and a skirt.

Before we began the competition we got to shoot six sighting arrows.  All mine fly over the target and I have to reset my sight based on nothing more than my best guess, which isn't much to go on.  The wind is making the arrows fly all over the place and my dream of rocking in the competition disappeared in a gust of wind.

Then the sun came out to play.

So I took layers off as I was getting hot and bothered.  Then the sun went back in and the wind chill cut in.  Just look at those grey clouds in the picture below.

Look at my pigtails flying in the wind.

I was shooting at one butt with Susan and Rowan, a new archery friend, and here's our arrows at the end of the tournament.

By this point the target was 30 yards.

My score sheet is below.

That poor first round killed my chances of coming anything but last.  I had fun, but I was a bit disappointed.

The following Saturday the day was glorious and I had to take my leggings and extra layers off because I was so hot.  If only the competition shoot could have been so nice.  However, I still didn't manage to match my shooting consistency with that of the first Saturday with the new limbs, partly down to having to reset the sight and the change from the new high performance string affecting everything.

Me trying out Susan's 24 lb bow, which I could barely manage to draw only a month or so ago.

What I learnt, and this is the RPG/wargaming relevant content part of the post, is that wind will bugger your chances of making a shot, and that even small changes to your bow and arrows can have a big impact on your shooting.


  1. Wind can make a huge difference to your ability to hit a target, and that's one that is not moving and trying to defend itself. Add in terrain, especially woodland, and you realise it can be nigh on impossible to hit something even though you can clearly see it!

    1. Preach it far and wide, especially wargamers who think archers are like machine guns.

  2. I had to abandon a round a month or so ago as the arrows kept blowing off the rest and ended up pointing 90 degrees sideways!

    The good thing about the weather is that it provides lots of good excuses when the arrows aren't hitting :)

    1. That makes my complaints about the wind seem rather insignificant by comparison. Though it has to be said that the arrows were flying down range side-ways at some points during the day.

      Whether the weather be fine or whether the weather be not, we'll weather the weather, whether we like it or not (paraphrasing).

    2. When I was shooting .22 pistol, even at 50 yards the rounds would often go through the target sideways with no assistance from wind. Not enough mass for the paltry spin you'd get from a few inches of barrel, I assume.

  3. It's nice to have a hobby that involves focusing you eyes further than 6 inches away (unlike painting and photography!). Shooting that many arrows has to be killer on your shoulders and arms by the end of the day. Sorry about the absence in commenting but I've been mainly lurking in recent months. I'm glad to see that you've been busy though on all fronts.

    1. If you're doing it right, it's the shoulder-blades that ache. I don't have a lot of upper body strength and I can't Bull my way through a shoot like most men can. So I have to focus on technique, which means posture and using my back to draw the arrow.

      And as you say, it has made a change from being hunched over my workbench painting and assembling models, though I did a bit of that this Sunday just gone. Slow progress though.