Caribou Gear Tarp

First season archery hunting.

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
I’m going to attempt to shoot a mule deer with a bow this year for the very first time. I have shot bows before. I bought my wife a Hoyt compound for her birthday almost ten years ago, and had zero interest in archery prior to that. I quickly lost interest in compounds. They’re too mechanical. The sights and release are too much like a rifle. I wanted a stick bow. I made four from boards. The first was trash. The second and third were okay. The fourth was decent, but it’s not what I currently want. I longed(and still do) for a good limb or trunk to split some real staves from. Due to buying a home and changing jobs I just didn’t have the time to keep messing around with it and sort of put it on the list of things to do someday. I did, on a whim, about eight years ago carry my compound in the woods one afternoon in an archery only spot and had a few shot opportunities on some deer that weren’t legal, so this won’t technically my very first time to go hunting with a bow in my hand.

Why now? The main thing that has kept me from moving it from the “someday” list to the “this season” list has been the fact that attempting bow hunting would come with a fairly high cost in terms of bringing meat home. I like bringing meat home. In my home state, there were no archery only seasons on property that I could hunt that didn’t involve at least a 3hr drive, and until mid Oct, I’m essentially unable to take week days off work, and often work Saturdays as well(that’s also why my pronghorn applications are so limited. I only apply close to home for hunts that include the weekend). Our any weapon season was very short, and the three places that I hunt deer all get substantial pressure from other hunters(who even hunt from a moving vehicle on the piece of private that I can hunt), so taking a bow would be a big impediment to my success rate. As for hunting out of state, I haven’t really wanted to spend a ton of money on tags and fuel, and burn my limited time away from home, to almost certainly come back empty handed because I just don’t know anything at all about archery hunting Some people are willing to do so, and good on them, but I wanted to get some experience archery hunting before I burned my out of state time and budget on an archery hunt. THIS YEAR, my state game agency has added a month long archery season for my county! Essentially, I can hunt that entire season, and if I’m unsuccessful, I’ve lost nothing other than the time I spent gaining valuable experience as I can still hunt the any weapon season if I haven’t punched my tag! As a result, this is the year I’ll be diving headfirst into archery hunting!
 
Last edited:

WestKyHunt

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
625
Location
COS
Last year was my first seriously trying Archery.

To speak for myself, there was a slight learning curve. I mostly stand hunt for white tails. Trimming shooting lanes is paramount. As is learning when to draw vs when to stand still
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
The bow/bows - I don’t know why anyone would care, but people seem to post this kind of crap, so I will too. I have zero interest in using my compound. Of the four board bows I built previously, one is potentially suitable as is(but would benefit from some modification), and another one could be suitable with a few modifications. The original plan was to make said modifications(which would not take too terribly much time) and practice with them while some staves split from logs and roughed out went through a quick drying process, and then became bows. Unfortunately, that plan has changed. I have significantly injured my left arm and it may be quite a while before I can fully use it. Since I probably will not be able to shoot for a while, or fell a tree, or split logs, I’m just going to build some better board bows than the ones I currently have. I’d really like a self-bow, which can be made from a good board, but because my board suppliers are big box home improvement stores, and a high end lumber seller that doesn’t really like me digging through the stacks for the perfect piece of bow wood. I’ve purchased two pretty good pieces of red oak from a big box home improvement store, and will mostly likely buy some 8/4 white oak or 12/4 ash from the lumber store. With 8/4 or 12/4 a semi decent board can yeild a pretty good stave just but cutting it parallel to the grain. That store doesn’t sell hickory over 4/4, and at 4/4 it takes a pretty good board, which requires going through the stack more exhaustively than they really like, so I probably won’t go with hickory. The two oak boards I have are probably good enough to make self bows, but they’re on the edge. I decided to go ahead and back them, at least the first one, since I don’t really want to waste time breaking a bow or two in addition to some potential delays due to injury. I’m not 100% opposed to glass or carbon fiber, but for the first one I plan to back it with combed flax. The designs are going to be some combination of an American flatbow, Holmegaard, and Andaman Islands bows. I’m starting pretty much triangular, but may reduce tip width to more of an Eiffel Tower profile. Due to the injury, I’ll likely try to knock out 2-4 bows so that I can start with something pretty light as soon as my left arm allows. Currently I can’t draw a 33lb bow. We’ll see how it goes.

I only get 30min here and 40min there this time of year, so 3-6hrs of construction may take a few weeks. Here’s the first 30min installment. The next installment will either be flying down the combed flax or making a new tillering stick since I threw my old one out a summer or two ago after I decided that I was unlikely to dedicate any time to building another bow anytime soon. If I get lucky, I might squeeze in both.
 

Attachments

  • E60EABEA-8F06-489F-A106-4A871E6386FC.jpeg
    E60EABEA-8F06-489F-A106-4A871E6386FC.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 9
  • 46C16CFD-A7E6-4BEE-936A-DD60A62018A2.jpeg
    46C16CFD-A7E6-4BEE-936A-DD60A62018A2.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 9
Last edited:

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
Good for you @ImBillT . You are about to be a changed man. Won't be long before you think, "November rifle? Meh, boring and cold ".
You may be right about falling in love with archery hunting, but one of my bigger concerns has been hunting in the heat while the snakes are still out. I might decide that I like the cold, but around here, October is not cold enough. Even November can be a little warmer than I wish it was.
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
Last year was my first seriously trying Archery.

To speak for myself, there was a slight learning curve. I mostly stand hunt for white tails. Trimming shooting lanes is paramount. As is learning when to draw vs when to stand still
I expect that learning curve, and that’s a substantial part of why I haven’t pursued it earlier. I wasn’t willing to take the hard knocks of learning it INSTEAD of rifle hunting. Now that I can do it IN ADDITION to rifle hunting, I’m quite excited.
 

WestKyHunt

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
625
Location
COS
I expect that learning curve, and that’s a substantial part of why I haven’t pursued it earlier. I wasn’t willing to take the hard knocks of learning it INSTEAD of rifle hunting. Now that I can do it IN ADDITION to rifle hunting, I’m quite excited.
That is why I finally started bow hunting, opens up more opportunity! I am definitely a lot more picky on what I shoot with a bow during the early season, then if I don't kill a buck during gun I get 2 more months of bow to try
 

Wallydeuce

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
1,015
Location
NV
You may be right about falling in love with archery hunting, but one of my bigger concerns has been hunting in the heat while the snakes are still out. I might decide that I like the cold, but around here, October is not cold enough. Even November can be a little warmer than I wish it was.
Heh, I don't like them much either. I hunt mostly Pinion/Juniper country and I see them occasionally. The closer I get to a water source, the more I'm watching. I say watching because I can't hear them unless I'm looking right at them. I took a muzzle blast from a 3006 in 1985 and I've had a buzzing in my right ear ever since. Moving through rocks and sagebrush near water raises my situational awareness.

What is the draw weight minimum for a bow where you live?
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
Heh, I don't like them much either. I hunt mostly Pinion/Juniper country and I see them occasionally. The closer I get to a water source, the more I'm watching. I say watching because I can't hear them unless I'm looking right at them. I took a muzzle blast from a 3006 in 1985 and I've had a buzzing in my right ear ever since. Moving through rocks and sagebrush near water raises my situational awareness.

What is the draw weight minimum for a bow where you live?
We don’t have a minimum draw weight. Unfortunately, there’s not a draw weight that I can draw currently. My abilities will depend entirely on healing.

If I’m 100% functional by August, then I don’t see why I couldn’t shoot 80lbs+, and don’t think I would hunt with less than 60lbs. If I’m not fully functional, but can draw a bow, then I might end up going as light a 40lbs, or even a little less.
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
The arrows- Now this is the part that I could see some people actually taking an interest in. I plan to go heavy, and high on FOC, with a single bevel broadhead.

Heavy- Here’s why. When I started playing softball I developed an aversion to composite bats. The Ultra and OG Sybergy had already been banned and I didn’t like the soft feel and lack of feedback. It became so easy to hit that I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything. I began collecting some the high end metal bats that had been discontinued. Playing baseball in highschool we had been beaten over the head with the concept of using the lightest bat possible, and that’s how I started playing softball, BUT some of the metal bats I wanted to add to my collection(after selling some off I still have over 150) were difficult to come by in any weight, let alone the weights I preferred, so some of the bats i squires were heavier than I usually swung. I ended up discovering that I was very consistently hitting farther with heavier bats EVEN THOUGH I WAS SWINGING SLOWER!!! This was a head scratcher, but I couldn’t really argue with the results. Once I began intentionally experimenting with heavier bats, it turned out that I actually couldn’t even find a bat so heavy that I couldn’t hit farther with it than I could with a lighter bat of the exact same model EVEN THOUGH IN WAS SWINGING SLOWER. At the same time I was studying mechanical engineering and taking physics. In the physics class I got a BIG portion of the explanation for what was going on. MOMENTUM. Momentum has direction, and during a collision momentum is CONSERVED. Energy does not work that way. The professor beat us over the head that during a collision, momentum was the most important thing to look at. I eventually figured out exactly what was taking place in the bat/ball collision, but I’ll spare you the explanation. I go off on enough tangents as it is. Back to Momentum and energy. I’m going to skip the really detailed explanations of the difference between the two, BUT the point is that ENERGY has wrongly focused on by hunters for longer than I’ve been alive when MOMENTUM is what we should be looking at. I experienced it hitting softballs before I had an explanation, and once I had an explanation, it stuck with me a lot better than it would have if I had not experienced it first hand and been very curious about what was taking place. From that point on, I leaned a little heavier in my bullet selections. I still like velocity in a hunting cartridge, but I certainly stopped trying to figure out just how light I could go. So, no doubts, I’m going heavy with my arrows, and always planned to when I someday got around to archery hunting.

FOC- I had never heard of FOC until I heard Ed Ashby on the MeatEater podcast. At first I was a bit skeptical of the idea that where the weight was distributed on an arrow would effect penetration. While he did make some errors in his descriptions of certain parts of the physics, the more I thought about what he said would take place when comparing two arrows of equal weight and differing FOC as they left a bow, flew through the air, and impacted a target the more I realized that what he claimed was exactly supported by physics, and sure enough, it made sense that a high FOC would increase penetration, even if arrow mass was unchanged. I’m going to have to build and tune some arrows that have a decent FOC.

Broadhead- I’m pretty much settled in on the 315gr Ashby broadhead from GrizzlyStik. One-piece, forged, and heavy. That fits the bill for me. I think the broadheads from IronWill look pretty good, but I’m not sold on the fact that the blades are screwed onto the ferrule, and I wish they were a little heavier. IronWill did use an excellent steel and heat treat it to a higher hardness, but I still wish it was solid. I wish GrizzlyStick had chosen a different steel, and further wish they’d gone just a tad harder. Oh well, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m going with.

Arrows and inserts- I’m listening. I’ve heard a few negative things about GrizzlyStik arrows, and I would definitely prefer a one-piece steel insert, or in-outsert, or insert plus collar. If no one has broken a GrizzlyStik in-outsert, then I might consider them. Since I don’t have a sight, and will be limiting yardage considerably, I don’t think my arrows have to be as perfect in terms of straightness and weight tolerance as for a competitive compound shooter, but I don’t want anything too sloppy either. There’s no point in adding to my inaccuracy by shooting arrows that can’t be shot accurately by anyone.

Tuning- This might be slightly tricky. First, the most frustrating thing about my injury is that I won’t be able to start tuning until I’m substantially healed. I really wanted quite a bit of lead time on tuning arrows. With no arrow rest, or shelf, and not being cut center-shot, and no adjustment in poundage, most of the tuning is going to come from the arrow. On the bow I can really only adjust brace height and how thick my handle wrap is. Typically for tuning arrows, you start with a weak spine and cut them down until they are close, then you can fine tune with some other things like point weight. Since I have(or at least had) an almost 31” draw length, there isn’t much cutting down that I can do. I need to get the spine pretty close to correct right out of the box. The problem with that is that even spine charts and selection tools that have longbows listed are not calibrated for bows with wide handles and no arrow shelf, or point weights of 315gr with heavy inserts. Hopefully I can heal up quickly enough to get that worked out with plenty of practice time remaining!
 
Last edited:

Mighty Mouse

New member
Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
14
A few thoughts...

Draw weight: 80 lbs is a lot for a single string bow, so is 60 lbs. Were you shooting that heavy before your injury? Getting from 0 lbs now to 60+ by hunting season seems like a tall order. I would suggest getting an inexpensive 3-piece bow with interchangeable limbs and start working your way up from 20 lbs while you heal and work on your self bows. A Samick Sage would fit the bill, or an entry level ILF bow if you want a wider variety of limb options.

Arrow shafts: Don't waste your money on GrizzlyStiks. The tapered profile offers negligible practical benefit and their concentricity tolerance is very poor, especially for the price ($240/dozen). I would suggest either Black Eagle Vintage or Easton Carbon Legacy for 3 reasons:
• Standard diameter (no need to mess with the expensive and fragile half-outs or outserts required by small/micro diameter shafts, just use an "old-fashioned" flanged insert of your desired weight and material)
• 34" length (with a 31" draw length, you'll likely need around 33" shaft length to keep the broadhead in front of the riser, not many shafts are made that long)
• Price (around $100/dozen)

Broadheads: Take a look at Cutthroats. I've been shooting their 150 gr single bevels for a few years and have been happy with them. I think the Iron Will ferrule design is adequately strong, but I understand your concern about a mechanical connection. Cutthroats are monolithic. If you want more weight than Cutthroat (or Iron Will) offers, just use a heavier insert or add weight screws behind the insert. If you're targeting around 300 gr total up front, a 200 gr head with 100 gr insert (or 150 gr head + 150 gr insert) would give you the flexibility to downsize the insert and keep shooting the same head if you need to stiffen the arrow or want to flatten trajectory. If you use heat reversible glue ("hot melt"), you can easily swap inserts.

Tuning: 3 Rivers Archery sells test kits for some shaft makes/models consisting of one shaft in each static spine offering. One of these kits might be a good investment to help determine what spine you need before you order a significant quantity.

Arrow weight: I agree that heavy is good. Go as heavy as you can while maintaining a trajectory you can tolerate and keeping the arrow well-tuned.

FOC: I'm not convinced that a high FOC arrow will appreciably outpenetrate a same-weight arrow with lower FOC. I don't make efforts to intentionally boost FOC, I just target my desired total arrow weight and let FOC fall where it may. Most of the weight goes on the front, so if you build a heavy arrow, you'll wind up with high FOC.
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
A few thoughts...

Draw weight: 80 lbs is a lot for a single string bow, so is 60 lbs. Were you shooting that heavy before your injury? Getting from 0 lbs now to 60+ by hunting season seems like a tall order. I would suggest getting an inexpensive 3-piece bow with interchangeable limbs and start working your way up from 20 lbs while you heal and work on your self bows. A Samick Sage would fit the bill, or an entry level ILF bow if you want a wider variety of limb options.

Arrow shafts: Don't waste your money on GrizzlyStiks. The tapered profile offers negligible practical benefit and their concentricity tolerance is very poor, especially for the price ($240/dozen). I would suggest either Black Eagle Vintage or Easton Carbon Legacy for 3 reasons:
• Standard diameter (no need to mess with the expensive and fragile half-outs or outserts required by small/micro diameter shafts, just use an "old-fashioned" flanged insert of your desired weight and material)
• 34" length (with a 31" draw length, you'll likely need around 33" shaft length to keep the broadhead in front of the riser, not many shafts are made that long)
• Price (around $100/dozen)

Broadheads: Take a look at Cutthroats. I've been shooting their 150 gr single bevels for a few years and have been happy with them. I think the Iron Will ferrule design is adequately strong, but I understand your concern about a mechanical connection. Cutthroats are monolithic. If you want more weight than Cutthroat (or Iron Will) offers, just use a heavier insert or add weight screws behind the insert. If you're targeting around 300 gr total up front, a 200 gr head with 100 gr insert (or 150 gr head + 150 gr insert) would give you the flexibility to downsize the insert and keep shooting the same head if you need to stiffen the arrow or want to flatten trajectory. If you use heat reversible glue ("hot melt"), you can easily swap inserts.

Tuning: 3 Rivers Archery sells test kits for some shaft makes/models consisting of one shaft in each static spine offering. One of these kits might be a good investment to help determine what spine you need before you order a significant quantity.

Arrow weight: I agree that heavy is good. Go as heavy as you can while maintaining a trajectory you can tolerate and keeping the arrow well-tuned.

FOC: I'm not convinced that a high FOC arrow will appreciably outpenetrate a same-weight arrow with lower FOC. I don't make efforts to intentionally boost FOC, I just target my desired total arrow weight and let FOC fall where it may. Most of the weight goes on the front, so if you build a heavy arrow, you'll wind up with high FOC.
Thanks for the input!

Since I haven’t gone waaaay down the archery rabbit hole yet, the longest arrows I’ve used have been 32”, and YES I’ve been concerned at getting a broadhead on them. On a compound it wasn’t a big deal to just set it up at 30” and not overdraw it. In no way am I attached to a tapered shaft. It’s not a huge part of the equation, and getting a shaft that I can actually tune is a lot more important.

Yes I could shoot my 80lb bow before I got hurt, but no I wasn’t planning to hunt that heavy. I have a sprained wrist and a fractured radius in my bow arm. Luckily the radius didn’t break completely in half. I fell off a concrete ledge and landed on my palm with a locked elbow(not intentional). It should be about two more weeks before I can start doing some minimal weight bearing with it. Currently a coke can is near my limit for what I can hold. It could be 2-3 months before my arm is healed about as well as it’s going to. I expect some level of issues in my wrist and elbow long term. Hopefully not. My guess is that I should be able to do whatever I want by late July to early August if not sooner. What my starting point will be in terms of draw weight, I’m not really sure. I think if the injury had been in my string arm that I would have a much more up hill battle.

I’m mostly settled on the Ashby broadhead. While I think 440C was a poor choice considering all the advantages of the newer steels based on 440C, AND I’m always skeptical of 440C knives because of special handling issues during manufacturing something with 440C that get ignored by many manufacturers(especially if they won’t pony up for some of the better stuff), it’s still a very good steel if they manufactured it properly AND if you know what it takes to sharpen it(natural stones and sharpening steels won’t do it with 440C even though they will with the newer super steels that are mostly based on 440C). I have a love/hate relationship with 440C. One of my favorite knives was 440C, and some terrible knives I’ve owned were 440C. It has to be forged in an oxygen free environment and the heat treatment has to be very highly controlled. Lots of manufacturers ignore these processes, and the get to put “440C” on the product, but the product sucks. Also, while I wish they had made it a few points harder, I still think(analytically, but by experience) that it’s one of the best broadheads out there. The tip design and extended ferrule should keep it pretty strong, and perhaps it doesn’t NEED to be any harder than 55RC.

FOC- I didn’t think it would matter initially. Even trying to of why it might I was drawing a blank until Ashby started talking about the shaft vibrating at impact. Sure enough, he has to be correct. When the broadhead hits the target, it absolutely slows down, and no material is actually completely rigid. When the tip begins to slow, a few atoms behind it aren’t slowed until they press on the atoms in front of them that are already slowing down. The whole arrow will deform, starting at the front and the rear won’t slow down until that force is transmitted to the back. Stretch a slinky out 5-6 feet and quickly push one end toward the other end. The whole slinky doesn’t compress all at once. You’ll see a wave of compression move toward the opposite end of where the force came from, and when it reaches the end, it will be reflected back. The exact same thing happens with the arrow. The vibration of the shaft is creating drag against the tissue of the animal as the arrow penetrates. If you change mass distribution to the front, you actually decrease the amount of energy that goes into vibration of the shaft because the broadhead decelerates less(it’s heavier). Transmitting less force to shaft as a result of the broadhead decelerating less will absolutely result in more penetration. How much? I can’t say I know how to calculate that, nor can I say that I’ve tested it. According to Ashby, IIRC, a low FOC shaft(I think in the single digit range) will penetrate about 40% less than an extreme FOC(over 30%) shaft of the same weight. That’s pretty big. I’m just going to have to go with his numbers, but I don’t see why he has any reason to make it up. At first I didn’t like his test of drilling a hole in a board and bending an arrow and timing how long it took to fall through. Then I thought about it. I do think that’s a fair demonstration of what happens when a heavy tailed arrow hits a target compared to a light tailed arrow, AND what happens if a heavy nosed arrow drags a shaft through a target compared to a light nosed arrow. It’s not just the shaft. The effect of gravity pulling a 300gr point through a hole, while it’s attached to a 300gr vibrating shaft, will absolutely be different than the effect of gravity pulling a 100gr point through a hole while it’s attached to a 500gr vibrating shaft(I kept arrow weight the same so that we’re only testing weight distribution). Also, the acceleration due to gravity should have a similar or identical effect compared to the deceleration that occurs at impact. I think that test is a valid way to demonstrate the effects.

As far trajectory, I can’t say I’ve looked at charts or compared them in real life, but A) I’m going to be shooting a fairly slow bow regardless of what weight arrow in shooting, and B) I can’t imagine I’ll be shooting very far. 20-25yds might be an optimistic maximum. A few days before I fell I was shooting cantelope to volley ball sized groups at 19yds in the back yard(instinctive no sights. I can’t shoot a compound at 20yds without hitting the arrow that’s already in the target). I’d like to get better than that, but that should kill a mule deer. An average selfwood bow should shoot 150-155fps with a 10gr/lb arrow at 28” draw length. An extremely well designed one should do about 175fps. I’m thinking my arrows will end up in the 650-750gr range if I use a 315gr head. I’m hoping that I can get that into the 150fps range. If the components are available to build a 600gr arrow with a 15% FOC or a 600gr arrow with a 30% FOC, why not build the higher one? Trajectory will not be negatively impacted.

A test kit might be the answer for picking a spine, but if I start light and work my way up, it might not be the worst idea to have 2-3 different spines anyway, and eventually build out properly tuned sets of arrows for 2-3 different bows. I’m thinking that if I can get the spine right, I can fine tune with point weight(GrizzlyStik has a wide variety) and once I have a total point/insert weight that is properly tuned, I can find an insert that gives me the same total when combined with the 315gr broadhead.
 
Last edited:

Firedude

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 2, 2015
Messages
256
Wow... that's pretty in depth. I like equipment discussions. Especially like this one when you are building a bow from scratch.

First thing that comes to mind when I read about heavy F.O.C. is that yes the arrow will drive deeper on impact but I found they weren't as accurate and harder to tune. I think the issue the same pysics as impact but on acceleration of the arrow. That's just my experience. I'm sure there are guys that shoot very heavy FOC arrows just fine. It's probably very dependant on the bow you shoot, type and spine of arrow, etc. I know my arrows are a little front heavy, but no idea how much honestly. I just added and subtracted weight by trial and error until my groups tightened up. But with a compound everything is magnified.

With my recurves and longbow over the years I really haven't experimented with heavy F.O.C. but I mainly use cedar shaft arrows with those bows. Why? Because at one point an old archer gave me about 300 of the things... and I'm pretty accurate with them. So at a 30 yard hunting limit why NOT use them up? I'm curious to see your results of testing though.

I build recurve bows for a hobby and lately have had enough requests to build them I'm considering starting a small business doing just that. That also means I'll start doing just what you are doing and experimenting with arrow types, weights, balance, etc.

I think you are building a fine bow. I think a doe with a bow you made by hand is a bigger trophy than a big buck taken by a crossbow. That's just me. I think the big thing is don't over think it. If you want to nerd out then by all means nerd to your hearts content. But if you start getting frustrated or feel like it might not work, just remember our ancestors were killing very successfully with bows made from anything they could find that bent. Arrows were all different lengths and spines. Heads were whatever weight they ended up sharp. It doesn't have to be perfect as long as YOU know the limits of your equipment.
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
Wow... that's pretty in depth. I like equipment discussions. Especially like this one when you are building a bow from scratch.

First thing that comes to mind when I read about heavy F.O.C. is that yes the arrow will drive deeper on impact but I found they weren't as accurate and harder to tune. I think the issue the same pysics as impact but on acceleration of the arrow. That's just my experience. I'm sure there are guys that shoot very heavy FOC arrows just fine. It's probably very dependant on the bow you shoot, type and spine of arrow, etc. I know my arrows are a little front heavy, but no idea how much honestly. I just added and subtracted weight by trial and error until my groups tightened up. But with a compound everything is magnified.

With my recurves and longbow over the years I really haven't experimented with heavy F.O.C. but I mainly use cedar shaft arrows with those bows. Why? Because at one point an old archer gave me about 300 of the things... and I'm pretty accurate with them. So at a 30 yard hunting limit why NOT use them up? I'm curious to see your results of testing though.

I build recurve bows for a hobby and lately have had enough requests to build them I'm considering starting a small business doing just that. That also means I'll start doing just what you are doing and experimenting with arrow types, weights, balance, etc.

I think you are building a fine bow. I think a doe with a bow you made by hand is a bigger trophy than a big buck taken by a crossbow. That's just me. I think the big thing is don't over think it. If you want to nerd out then by all means nerd to your hearts content. But if you start getting frustrated or feel like it might not work, just remember our ancestors were killing very successfully with bows made from anything they could find that bent. Arrows were all different lengths and spines. Heads were whatever weight they ended up sharp. It doesn't have to be perfect as long as YOU know the limits of your equipment.
I agree that a doe with a bow you built is a bigger trophy than a giant buck with a gun you bought at the store! I think trophies are entirely subjective. Personally, a tough hunt, or tough pack out, or the person I shared the hunt with are as important to the trophy as the size of the antlers, and perhaps more so(but loving a dink doesn’t make me want some big antlers any less). That said, the plan is to hold out for a buck bigger than any I’ve killed yet in my home state. They exist there, but the past season was short, and crowded, and because I really like putting meat in the freezer, I’ve had a hard time laying off the trigger. The addition of an archery season came with antler restrictions and a longer rifle season. I don’t think the other hunters with permission to hunt there are the type to take up archery hunting, so I’ll likely have the place to myself, but I may not. However, with the extended rifle season, I’ll have the option to fill my tag later if I don’t with a bow, so PLAN to hold out. Who knows if I actually will. Does are not legal here.

As far as FOC, I don’t know if high FOC arrows are actually any more difficult to tune or not. I’ve heard people claim they’re harder and other people claim they’re easier. I’ve never done it. It does make sense that the arrow will be more stable with a higher FOC. That’s the entire concept of a dart or a shuttle @#)(#. So, while I have no experience, I lean toward a higher FOC arrow be easier to tune IF the necessary components are easily accessible. One impediment to high FOC that I’m finding is an arrow with enough spine to allow a high FOC at my draw length. It turns out that 3riversarchery has what APPEARS to be a very good arrow spine calculator that will actually take my handle width into account. According to it, there aren’t many arrow shafts that will even handle a 315gr broadhead at 32” and 50lbs plus draw weight. I’d rather a have a 33”+ arrow, and that reduces the choices even further, and the ones that are stiff enough are also heavier, which reduces FOC. All of that was at fairly modest draw weights as well. Get up into the 60lb+ range and a 32” shaft and there was almost nothing but GrizzlyStik. So, I’m not sure that the tuning is more complicated, but it does look like finding an arrow with the correct spine could be difficult. Now if a guy had a 26” draw length, then suddenly he has a lot of shaft choices, AND his FOC goes up just from shortening the shaft. There are some arrows out there that seem to fit the bill, but which were not in the 3riversarchery spine calculator. Anyway, I’m sold that FOC is a big PART of the penetration equation. I’m not sold that it’s most of the equation, or the biggest part. That said, Ashby never claimed it was the only part, or the biggest part. I’m definitely going to try to get sufficient structural integrity, good arrow flight, a single bevel broadhead with good mechanical advantage, good edge finish, and high arrow weight, so regardless of FOC, I should be just fine. If you put two 700gr arrows in front of me, both were tuned to my bow, and one was 15% FOC and the other 25% or 30%, I’d pick the high one, BUT that may not be something that is easily doable.

As far as my “testing”, I don’t plan on doing a lot. For each bow I plan to just pick a shaft that should be close to the correct spine with somewhere around 450gr up front at my draw length and that bow’s poundage, then install an intentionally heavy insert, and tune by adjusting point weight from 100-315gr. Assuming I can tune it like that, then I’ll change to an insert that gives me the appropriate total weight when I install a 315gr point. IF I can find a 34” shaft that is stiff enough, then I can tune by shortening the shaft before I mess with point weight. So, basically I don’t plan on “testing”. I just want to get the arrow tuned to my bow, practice, and go hunting. I will likely do so with 2-4 bows, essentially just for different draw weights, and the only purpose for that is to have something light enough that I can shoot it depending on how I heal up, AND(if I heal up well enough) to have something a fair bit heavier than I plan to hunt with, so that whatever weight bow I go hunting with, it doesn’t feel heavy or near my limits. I’m not a highly experienced archer, and in my limited experience, it’s absolutely easier to shoot well with a lighter bow. I would LOVE for 120lbs to be light(I’m not small), but if my shooting goes bad at 45lbs, then I’m gonna have to live with that. I currently cannot hold a bow with my arm extended, so I don’t know what I’ll be able to draw this fall. I’m probably four weeks from shooting something really light.

As far as our ancestors shooting anything that bent, I think that may be an over simplification and perhaps overlooking what our ancestors actually made and shot. From my understanding, most intact bows in the archeological record, whether from a few hundred years ago or a few thousand, were actually extremely efficient designs for the particular wood they were made of, and also of extremely high quality of craftsmanship. Similar statements can be made of ancient arrows, many of which were quite high in FOC, and did you know that cane shafts grow tapered and our ancestors oriented them so that they tapered toward the rear? What’s my point? I don’t think that I have to have everything perfect to kill a deer, but I’m not going to use the fact that I have access to kiln dried lumber, carbon arrows, and tools that my ancestors didn’t have as an excuse to be sloppier than necessary.
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
Bow build update. Saturday I “trapped” the back, and backed my bow with combed flax. I’ve backed bows with woven fiberglass before. I’ve worked with woven fiberglass, fiberglass mat, chopped glass, milled glass, Kevlar, woven carbon fiber, and unidirectional carbon fiber tapes(but not tow), and I’ve used all of those with polyester ester, vinyl ester, and epoxy. The most frustrating(at least for someone who isn’t a pro) is the glass mat. Well, combed flax and wood glue was more frustrating than glass mat. It was sunny, almost 100, and low humidity. The wood glue started getting a skin on it in under a minute. The flax fiber which had spread over the bow quite simply and easily while dry, clumped and stuck and made a mess once wet. Trying to spread it at all once wet caused huge chunks to pull out of the bundle. It felt like a disaster, and was almost dry 2-3 minutes after I started. I figured I would just lay it on thick, then sand it to a uniform thickness. Well, that didn’t work. Sunday when it was dry, I ended up just sanding it all off. It’s really obvious just how poorly I managed to to spread it in the picture after the glue dried. It was awful. But like I say, it was too dry to work with within only a few minutes. I was actually empressed with the material itself, but not with my application. I suspect that thinning the glue would make it easier and buy me some time. While sanding it, it seemed surprisingly similar to epoxy and glass. Now that it is sanded off, the first bow is just going to be a self bow. Fingers crossed I don’t break it. 20 minutes Saturday and 40 minutes Sunday essentially wasted. Perhaps I can make time to tiller it this weekend or at least get it close.
 

Attachments

  • 84ED9DB1-21A4-4FF4-A7F4-A7DB477C247A.jpeg
    84ED9DB1-21A4-4FF4-A7F4-A7DB477C247A.jpeg
    3.9 MB · Views: 5
  • 2A64F0C8-C3C8-49A4-8B21-4D1932CC577B.jpeg
    2A64F0C8-C3C8-49A4-8B21-4D1932CC577B.jpeg
    3.5 MB · Views: 5
  • 4B3E7E31-1ED6-4FD5-817B-C85ED503A828.jpeg
    4B3E7E31-1ED6-4FD5-817B-C85ED503A828.jpeg
    2.8 MB · Views: 5
Last edited:

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,976
I did an initial floor tiller, and strung it with a knock length string(a little short for a tillering string), and when I did the handle backing popped off. Well, I should have known that I needed to thin the near handle wood more than I had. Oh well. The picture is drawn to 17” and it’s 48lbs. The board originally had about 3/8” reflex, and now has about 1/4” deflex. 5/8” isn’t a lot of set, but being an imperfect board that isn’t backed, I don’t want to push it too much farther. Additionally, with the handle reinforcement glued back on, and the handle no longer working, the back would be under more strain at 48lbs than it is currently. As such, I will probably not try to push this one past 50lbs at 31”. I guess I’ll see what the set looks like at 48lbs without bend in the handle before I make that decision. There’s still a fair bit of wood to remove before I get to 31”, so I’ve got plenty of room to work.

I can now hold a bow in my bow hand, and I can draw my 33lb bow to around 20”. I have to think that without any setbacks, I’ll be able to resume shooting my 33lb bow within another two weeks or so. Perhaps not.
 

Attachments

  • 7CFD18FA-84D2-4B3E-A375-07B19E3491C6.jpeg
    7CFD18FA-84D2-4B3E-A375-07B19E3491C6.jpeg
    2.3 MB · Views: 3
Last edited:
Leupold Banner

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
100,406
Messages
1,587,483
Members
31,513
Latest member
Bluetix
Top