Geena Davis Archery Video

In case you haven’t seen it yet:

Below is a link to behind the scenes with Geena of the same video.

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/5c8bad86df/behind-the-scenes-geena-davis-archery-tricks

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Changes..

In my last post I reviewed my Spigarelli Barebow and then promptly sold it… Sounds bad doesn’t it?

Spigarelli Barebow riser.

Spigarelli Barebow riser, it just looks badass doesn’t it?

I sold it for a couple of reasons, the first is I’ve taken an interest in Olympic type archery and I wanted a more appropriate riser and two I’ve developed a nagging bit of tennis elbow which gets worse with a heavy setup (and a low grip).

I did want to get some information out on this riser though as there isn’t enough said about these nicely designed and well thought out  barebow risers, hence my review.

I knew that I wanted my next riser to be lighter for an Olympic setup but have many options for controlling where I could apportion weight. I also wanted enough flexibility in the riser that I could still shoot it barebow, a tall order!

I spent a fair amount of time going through specs and in the end chose another Spigarelli. I really do like the detailing and thought that the Italians bring to the table and the Spigs have captured my admiration. If all goes well my local shop “Lakeside Archery” will have a Grey Spigarelli Explorer 2 waiting for me when I show up after work on Friday.

My wife and kids will be out of town for the weekend so aside from some chores I am planning a bachelor weekend of tuning and setting this bow up.

So, please help me out and cross your fingers that the UPS driver doesn’t have a bad day and leave my package on the loading dock…

Best, C.

The Barebow

Often when the word barebow comes up we imagine a bow that is akin to the word. Meaning a bow that is bare. Many imagine a wooden bow with not a thing on it. Naked, you might say, or as the Italians say il arco nudo.

In competitive circles, particularly in Europe where shooting the barebow classes is more popular than here in the US,  a dedicated barebow is more often than not an aluminum riser complete with elevated rest and plunger that resembles a modern Olympic bow.

What makes them different? Well to answer that we must first regress and get into rules and organizations a bit. Just a bit.. As getting into this deeply can be an exercise of frustration.

There are many governing archery bodies like FITAIFAA, and NFAA, their rules for barebows differ but for the most part they revolve around some basic elements of this type of archery.

The most important, the one everyone agrees with and the distinguishing feature between this type of archery and others is that we don’t use sights. None, nada, zilch, no sights or anything that could be used as a reference to aim, no marks of any sort, or anything protruding into  the sight window to act as a reference to help you hit the target.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t aiming methods it just means that the bow is in it’s birthday suit and can’t help you in that regard.

Another element of this type of archery, which we do share with other classes,  is that this is a fingers deal. Releases of any sort are a no, no. It is fingers on the string, baby. Tabs, gloves or a chew strap if you are impaired are accepted.

That is the simple part, after that it can get confusing depending on class and organization. What the different classes tend to regulate beyond the above are the accessories we add to our bows, such as arrowrests, drawchecks, counterweights and stabilizers.

For the purposes of this blog entry what you need to know is that there are archery organizations which limit or don’t allow the use of stabilizers in the barebow classes and because of this barebow design differs from Olympic bow design.

An archer shooting a sighted Olympic bow in the appropriate class can add any number of stabilizers at various lengths, angles, directions and weight, because of this Olympic risers tend to be lighter, the expectation is that the archer will customize the bow getting to the weight and stabilizer arrangement that is optimum and usually most forgiving for them.

Olympic bows set up with stabilizers

Olympic bows set up with sights and various stabilizers

Barebow shooters (depending on class & organization) don’t have this option. they can’t take advantage of the benefits of stabilizers so rely on design and weight  to create a balanced and stable shooting platform that is more forgiving at release than a lighter Olympic bow shot bare would be.

Bernardini Nilo weight riser weights

Bernardini Nilo with integral riser weights added and a Spigarelli weight added to the lower stabilizer bushing. – Photo by Nathan W Lediard

Olympic bows shot without a stabilizer or counterbalance will typically have the upper limb tip back towards the archers head at release. Which is accepted by some but a bit annoying for most.  To compensate for this, barebow design shifts the riser weight and usually allows you to add weight to the lower part of the riser body.

Spigarelli Barebow weight mounted on the lower riser.

Spigarelli Barebow weight mounted on the lower riser, the Allen head fastener keeps it in place.

Weight module on a Spigarelli Barebow, the weight can be set flush or proud of the riser body.

Another view of the weight system of this Spigarelli Barebow.

Innovative riser design has also changed the way mass/weight is distributed in barebows as well as how those elements affect stiffness and vibration reduction, the Green Horn Sirius and the Stolid Bull Black Thunder are good examples of this.

Green Horn Sirius 25 inch riser

Green Horn Sirius riser

Stolid Bull - Black Thunder - Photo by Nathan W Leidard

Stolid Bull – Black Thunder – Photo by Nathan W Leidard

Italian archery companies have created some of the world’s best known barebows such as Bernardini, Best and Spigarelli. Below are images of some of their excellent work.

Best Moon with weights

Best Moon with integral riser weights, custom Jager grip, and a Spigarelli weight in the main stabilizer bushing.

Bernardini Nilo

Bernardini Nilo – Photo by Nathan W Lediard

Spigarelli Barebow

Spigarelli Barebow- Photo by author

As far as competitive barebows made on this side of the pond the bow that comes to mind is the recently introduced TR-7 riser made by Sky Archery. I had a brief conversation with Jim Belcher, owner of Sky Archery,  to get the skinny on it as the word on the street is that this very appealing riser could be configured as a barebow.

Sky TR-7 25 inch riser

Sky TR-7 25 inch riser

Jim confirmed that in fact it could. You  remove the Mathews harmonic damper at the bottom and insert a custom1/4 pound weight which balances the bow in hand.

If you’d like more weight he also has a 5/8ths pound weight that can be used. This coupled with Sky limbs should make for a heck of a competitive bow. Jim mentioned that many top shooters are lining up for one to include Michelle Frangilli, Italian Gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics.

I would finish by saying that if you want to shoot barebow competitively and what you already have at your disposal is an Olympic ILF riser and you’d like to balance it, you can experiment by adding weight to the stabilizer bushings or adding custom weights to the riser and be on your way. Many top barebow shooters prefer an Olympic bow and do just this.

Spigarelli weights which are popular with barebow shooters can be had from Arco Sport Spigarelli in Italy,  Lancaster Archery in the US, and Alternative Sporting Services in the UK or go to your local shop which can order them in for you if they don’t have them on the shelf.

 

C.

Spigarelli Barebow

My Christmas present this year was a Spigarelli Barebow riser. I ordered it through my local shop, Lakeside Archery and got lucky with a 3 week turnaround. (These risers have been back ordered and have been a bit difficult to get)

I will write a detailed review on the bow a little later once I’ve really gotten a chance to use it. I can however tell you that it is well balanced, steady in hand and a sweet shooter. It feels great.

See some pics below:

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DSC01048 DSC01045 DSC01046

A tale of winter archery

When it comes to archery, I can relate to the post office motto:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”

 The version I go by is a little different:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, stays this archer from the completion of his practice rounds”

So, I practice at night, day, early morning, winter, summer, inside, outside and while the inches pile up.

P1020425

The comical part of this to me is that I’m currently practicing for “indoor archery competition” outdoors…

Winter archery both fills my need to be outside and satiates my, dare I say, addiction to this sport.

There are pluses to being out with ol’ man winter:

It’s beautiful out. It is great to be out in the world hearing the sounds and seeing the sights, whether they be animal, bird life or the snowflakes accumulating on the tip of your stabilizer.

How many times in our lives will we get to experience this while letting go of arrows?

I get that this has the potential to be a cold and uncomfortable experience, but by stacking the cards in your favor and dressing for the event, one can be comfortable and happy outside, so, dig out that long underwear and pile on the layers, use a neck buff or scarf, insulated boots and good socks and turn a potentially miserable experience into an enjoyable one.

Snowy arrows

Snowy arrows

One of the minuses of shooting outside in winter for an archer is dealing with your hands.

Whatever you have in contact with the string whether it is a tab or an archery glove will have an effect on arrow flight, so wearing nice, warm, insulated bulky gloves is not really an option if you are trying to pile them into the bullseye.

I compromise by using thinner gloves and realize that I will be out there until my hands can’t take it and I need to go inside. They are the weak link in this winter endeavor.

I use fleece gloves which aren’t as good as their insulated companions but good enough to get practice time in. For my string hand, I took an old beat up glove and cut off the middle three fingers. Then I wear a 3 finger leather Damascus archery glove beneath. This does the trick for me.

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My winter solution to archery gloves

I’m on a hiatus from using a tab so I haven’t tried using one over gloves, if you have, please leave me a comment with how you fared.

If I am shooting a compound bow and a release I use good fitted fleece gloves (LL Bean fleece glove a size small) which work fine with the release I use.

P1020433

One last benefit for those of you that live in the cold climes. When it is cold, dreary and miserable out, it’s easy to make the choice of staying indoors. I don’t know about you but this sometimes leads me to cabin fever. It leaves me restless and makes me lethargic. Getting out and pounding arrows into a target or stump or whatever you’re into is invigorating and will put some pep in your step!

It breaks up that winter monotony and gets your blood pumping, it also makes the coming indoors that much sweeter.

Why not give it a try this winter?  Bundle up, get out of the house and watch your arrows arc through the snowflakes, quietly making their way through the snowy stillness.

P1020440

Kids bows continued..

Here’s a big shout out to nine year old Owen Barter from Edgecomb, Maine who got his first bow this Christmas. Here he is, off to a good start. Nice form Owen!

Go Owen!

Go Owen!

Owen received a 54 inch, 20 pound bow from LL Bean, it is part of a family archery kit that they sell. These are good bows made by Samick for Beans, an archery company making a full range of bows from entry level to Olympic bows.

The kits are very complete and include an elevated rest, 3 arrows, paper target, hip quiver, armguard and a storage case. I also believe it comes with a stringer. The string has finger pads which makes it an easy bow for a beginner to use. Click here for LL Bean’s description.

Mom reports that the folks in the archery department at LL Bean were very helpful and offered for Owen to come in after Christmas to get the basics in their range. Way to go Beans.

If you do go to Bean’s in Freeport there are a number of good, experienced folks in their archery department. Make sure you ask for one of them.

If your kids received bows this Christmas and are new to it, make sure to keep the targets close (10 yards max). It is important for them to have success and keep them interested and motivated, leave the distant stuff for a little later when their foundation is more established. If there is a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program nearby, or after school program, these are great for kids to develop as archers and people.

Good luck Owen!

Starter Bows for kids

One of my co-workers asked me for a recommendation for a Christmas bow for her son, so while on this line of thought, I thought I’d share my research and thoughts on the subject.

I would start by saying that the very, very  best thing you can do, is to go to a good archery shop and let them help  you.

You want a place where archery is their main gig. There are some shops where archery is a sideline, not the mainstay of their business, you may end up with a bow that is not appropriate for a child. Do a little research on the web or ask someone knowledgeable in your area for a referral to a good shop.

Shops that are used to working with kids will often have a JOAD program (Junior Olympic Archery Development)  and lessons, these are great places for kids and their growth as archers and people. Very often these shops will have bows that you can try out.

If you don’t have access to a shop and or want to know what to look for in a bow for a child, just keep on reading, I’ll highlight the important stuff.

The number one issue for not only children but any new archer is bow weight. I don’t mean the physical weight of the bow but how much weight or “pull” an archer has to hold at full draw.

Bows are usually rated for a certain poundage at a certain length of draw, this rating is usually written on the bow or limbs.

This issue is important for a couple of reasons:

  • A young archers body is developing, a heavy bow can injure a child’s young body.
  • Too heavy a bow will be difficult to hold at full draw, which will make it hard to focus on the things they need to learn because they are too busy just trying to control the bow, it can also lead to bad form issues and general unhappiness. Too heavy a bow is often the reason a child loses interest in archery, its no fun!

Bows are not like other things where you can buy them a little big for your child to grow into them. You want to get the right size and weight for their current age and development. You can always pass them down to a sibling or resell them later, some bows have enough adjustment latitude that they will last a pretty long time.

Length of bow – This part is more common sensical, you want to get a bow that fits your child’s stature. This is easier as lighter weight bows meant for children are often already shorter/longer to accommodate a young shooter’s size.

Compound or a classical style bow?

Compound bows are technological marvels, they use modern, mechanical components to leverage energy in their favor. They are faster and more accurate than their classical counterparts. They are also more expensive and complicated and depending on your setup have more components and accessories to buy than classical bows. You will very likely need professional help to set one up  or tune it.

There are compound bows on the market now that have a wide range of weight adjustment making it possible to purchase a bow that will last a young person a long time, making your upfront investment last.

Classic bows are the eternal teachers of this discipline. Particularly the recurve bow, which is the mainstay of modern archery education.

The plus of these bows is that they are fundamentally simple. They are easy to maintain and are relatively inexpensive and you don’t need a lot of accessories to use one. You can learn to tune one yourself or have a professional help you.

Let’s get into it and go over some of the more popular bows for kids on the market today:

Samick Polaris

The bow on the left is a Samick Polaris takedown recurve. Takedown means that the bow can be broken down into three pieces, the riser (wooden middle section) and the two limbs. This can be practical for transporting the bow.

There are other makers of bows that have near identical bows to the one on the  left and would all be appropriate for a great starter bow, the ones that come to mind are  the PSE Buckeye and the Mohegan Recurve by Greatree Archery, in fact my youngest son, Alistair, owns a 16 lb Mohegan recurve.

All these bows seem to range somewhere in the $90.00 to $120.00 range.

If you decide to go the classic bow road, you will also need a bow stringer, they run aprox.  $10.00. Most of these bows come with an arrow rest, which sticks on to the bow for your arrow to sit on, should it not have an arrow rest, simple rests can be had for a few dollars. You will of course need arrows, again talking to a good pro shop is the way to go.

Now, there are of course many other options for a kid’s starter bow from simple fiberglass bows to traditional longbows, and Olympic recurves,  some cheaper and some more money. I’m just pointing out a true and tried style of bow used widely in early archery education, that will serve a young person well.

A popular kids compound bow is the Mathews Genesis.

Mathews Genesis

They are easily found,  and are a great first bow if you decide to go the compound road. They also come in nine different colors to include pink and camo, to suit most any kid.

Compound bows usually have a feature called let off, this means that as you draw the string you get to a point where the bow weight shifts and you’re only holding a fraction of the weight, usually 20% to  30% of the original weight. Making it easier to hold at full draw for longer.

This bow doesn’t have that and for the weight range, doesn’t need it. Not having let off makes it more easily acceptable to a variety of draw lengths and also helps the bow grow with the child.

The weight on this bow can be adjusted from 10 to 20 lbs.

This bow runs about $165.00, you can also buy a kit which will come with arrows, quiver, arm guard and targets for aprox. $ 220.00.

There is also a mini version of the Genesis, with adjustable weight from 6 to 12 pounds and a Pro version with adjustable weight from 15 to 25 lbs. The pro will run you $185.00 for the stock model.

Very similar to the Genesis Pro in concept is PSE’s Discovery 2. It also comes in a variety of colors and has the same universal draw length as the Genesis. The weight range of the PSE Discovery 2 is 20 to 29 pounds, so it has a bit more ummph, should you want it. My 11 year old owns this bow.  Price for one of these is about $180.00.

PSE Discovery 2

For parents of kids that want a compound bow that will have all the features of an adult sized compound, to include the ability to “let off” or shift gears to a lower holding weight, and a greater range of weight adjustment, a few bows come to mind.

PSE Miniburner w/accesories

PSE Miniburner w/accessories

PSE’s Miniburner is a full fledged compound bow. The weight is adjustable from 15 to 40 pounds which means that this bow can really grow with the child. They retail in the $200.00 range.

Diamond’s Infinite Edge is also a full compound bow and is adjustable from 5 to 70 lbs, a huge range of weight. You could shoot this bow as a young person and retire with it if you’d like.  It comes as a package deal with sights, rest, peep, quiver, etc. The package price will run you $ 349.00.

Diamond's infinite edge with accesories

Diamond’s infinite edge with accessories

I’ve shown you all these compound bows as viable options for a beginner however my personal belief is to start simple.

Which in my mind means starting with a straightforward stick and string, like the recurve pictured at the beginning of this post.

There are practical reasons for this like cost. A simple recurve will be cheaper than a compound, also compounds come with more accessories, sights, complex arrow rests, and releases to name a few. All of which will add to the expense. Another plus of starting with a simple less expensive bow is if your child finds that archery isn’t their cup of tea, you’re not in very deep.

Although a compound bow can be shot with fingers on the string, the majority of compound archers use a release. A release is a device that either straps to your wrist or you hold in your hand that attaches to the string. The release has a trigger, when you are ready to let go of the string you activate the trigger and off your arrow goes.

I say let them do it the way Robin Hood did it, with fingers on the string. Let them feel and be a part of archery’s long history. Once they’ve gotten a grasp of it and have built a bit of a foundation to their shooting and understand the fundamentals of archery via a simple bow,  they will then be in a great position to decide if they would like to give a compound or any other type of bow a try.

Whatever you decide, archery is a great discipline to introduce  to your children, the learning of which can transcend the simple act of releasing arrows and help them in their growth.