Deer Creek Archery
Deer Creek Archery
When building hunting and target arrows, we have already covered the idea of total arrow weight, and how it can affect momentum and kinetic energy. However, before your arrow gets to your target or the animal, it needs to fly straight, and that is where this week's topic FOC (front of center) comes into play.
FOC is the term used to describe the balance point of your arrow not being at the true middle of the arrow, but rather slightly forward of the center (hence the name). Ideally, this number should be about 10-20% of the total arrow length. So, as an example, if an arrow's total length is 30", the FOC point should be approximately 3-6" in front of the exact center of the arrow. The reason it is desirable to have the FOC so high is because the arrow will fly truer. With the weight distributed that way, the arrow's fletchings conduct the air around the arrow to guide it more effectively, and the arrow doesn't get thrown off course. Below is a schematic of how the balance point of the arrow should be aligned.
If your FOC is correct, your arrows will fly straighter, and conduct the air around the arrow more effeciently. However, if your arrow's FOC is off, the fletchings of the arrow will produce too much drag and send the point of your arrow in different directions, and the arrow flight will be very erratic, resulting in poor shot placement on the animal you're hunting, or a missed shot on a target. But don't go overboard on the FOC- if the weight is too far forward, the arrow will sink into the dirt at even short distances.
To test the FOC of your arrow, balance the arrow on your finger (or any object) so that you can see where the arrow balances. You then find the center of your arrow by measuring the total arrow length from the end of the shaft to the throat of the nock, and then mark the center of the arrow. From there, mark the arrow and measure the distance from the center of the arrow to that mark. Calculate the percentage of the total arrow length that the FOC distance makes up, and make sure that number is between 10-20%!
See below to see an example of an arrow that has poor FOC and an arrow that has solid FOC.
When you are building your hunting arrows, you need to ensure that your FOC is well designed, otherwise your arrows will fly in unexpected and inaccurate ways, causing poor shot placement, slower and less ethical kills, and unpredictable results. The target archers need to know that this simple arrow set up principle can cost them the match!
Stop in to Deer Creek Archery soon and we will help you figure out your arrows' FOC, and help you reconstruct or setup your arrow builds for a more ideal shot!
When it comes to peep sights, size really does matter. Many people say that you need to have an ultra tiny peep for accuracy, while others will claim that you need to have the peep as large as possible for maximum lighting. We believe that there are trade offs either way, so this week is dedicated to helping you select the right size peep for your eye and your bow build.
Right off the bat we need to say that small peeps improve accuracy. The smaller the peep sight, the smaller the window of your aiming, and the more accurate your shot thus becomes. Additionally, people with naturally strong vision will notice that the smaller peeps actually allow them to have clearer vision down range because the reduced aperture allows their eyes to focus better on further targets. However, small peeps can cause huge issues in settings with strange lighting, low lighting, or for those people with problematic eye sight. Below is an example of the various sizes of peeps, with the smaller ones being the more accurate.
Larger peeps tend to be easier to use for those with poor vision or in scenarios with low or poor lighting because the larger aperture. Our older archers tend to prefer the larger peep sights for that exact reason- it helps them see the target no matter the lighting. That said, larger peep sights are significantly less accurate because there is a lot of space around the sight within the sight window of the peep sight, and that area gives the archer the ability to be unknowingly inconsistent as the sight moves around the area of the peep sight's sight picture. Check out the picture below for an example of that spacing causing issues.
So, what peep should you select? We recommend that archers get the smallest possible peep that still allows them to clearly see the target, For some archers, that may be the large, 1/4" peep, while most others will have a fine time with a 1/16" peep. A really good idea is to invest a bit of extra money in a Specialty Archery Peep Sight with threading. Using that peep and a tool that is included with the package, an archer can adjust the size of the peep sight as needed, allowing for a flexible, durable, and adaptable peep sight size that fits them even as their eyes and bow change.
If you still can't decide, I recommend that you fit your peep to the sight of your sight, once you are at full draw. The edge the peep should perfectly eclipse the edge of the scope at full draw such that looking through your peep sight is looking only through the sight. Below is an example of a peep being too large, too small, and just right.
We hope this helps you increase your accuracy, and we look forward to seeing you on the range!
Many of our archers and bowhunters have issues where their shots unexpectedly hit left and right and they cannot figure out why. They check their grip, their stance, their posture, and then they start tweaking the sight back and forth, chasing the gold. However, many of our archers do not think about their follow-through. It is a vital and difficult to master part of a shot, and improving your follow-through can drastically improve your archery accuracy.
Simply put, follow-through is what you do after the release fires or your fingers release the string. Many people erroneously think that as soon as the release goes off, the shot is done and you can look where it went and ignore what happens with the bow drawing hand afterward, However, the truth is that for a fraction of a second, the bow and the arrow that is being shot are still in contact with you, and what you do in those moments of transition are very important. A common issue, for example, is for right handed archers with an index finger trigger release to shoot using their finger to pull the trigger, not follow through properly, and thus have arrows go oddly left with no explanation. This issue can be fixed with proper follow-through!
Below are exaggerated examples of good and bad follow-through. Check them out and compare the differences.
As we covered in previous weeks, the best shots in archery happen by surprise by using our back muscles to pull slowly through the shot. The same pulling motion will create an excellent follow-through if continued after the shot breaks. The body must remain still, and the only motion comes from the release going off, allowing your elbow to pull to a point behind you as your hand thus drifts naturally over the rear shoulder, directly in line with the bow string as it leaves your face. Executing a shot in this way increase accuracy and consistency, and when you try it and get comfortable with it, you will likely see that it feels better, too.
Check out archery expert and renowned coach John Dudley's synopsis of this same idea. He teaches a method using a positive contraction of the bicep that may help some archers who have a hard time understanding what the shot should feel like.
Arrow spine ratings are a vitally important number when building the right arrow setup for your bow, but they can often be very confusing. Arrow manufacturers often don't use a universal standard rating system, so a 350 in one arrow can be the same as a 400 in another, and to complicate the matter further, some arrows (like the Carbon Express Maxima Reds) have different spine strengths in different parts of the arrow. So, what do we do?
First, you need to get your bow build's numbers. Specifically, you need to know your bow's draw weight, the length of your arrow shaft (not your draw length), and your desired point weight. These three numbers can be used to reference an arrow selection chart from your favorite arrow manufacturers (we particularly like what Black Eagle has going on), to select your arrow. Generally, the lower the number, the stiffer the arrow's static spine. The arrow's static spine is measured simply by weighting down the center using a spine testing machine. It's old school, for sure, but it is effective!
However, the stiffness you select there is only the static spine of your arrow- the spine of the arrow at rest. When you begin to alter the length of the arrow shaft, add weight to the front or rear of the arrow, or alter the arrow in any other way, you change the dynamic spine rating of the arrow. Adding point weight increases your arrow's FOC (front of center balance), but it decreases the dynamic spine rating, whereas shortening your arrow can increase the dynamic spine of an arrow that is too weak, but be careful not to cut too much! So, for example, if you had a Black Eagle Deep Impact Arrow with a 350 spine, but you add 185 grain broad heads to it (like a German Kinetic) your 350 spine is now going to perform at a spine rating more like a 400-450, even though the static spine rating is the same. If I then cut the arrow down to 27", I can increase the dynamic spine of that arrow back toward it's static spine rating. There's no perfect formula for this calculation, but talk to your local pro shop, or confer with experts online like John Dudley's "Knocked and Ready to Rock" segments for support.
In later weeks, we will get into building arrows, tuning arrows, and more detailed on arrow selection, but for this week, you are armed with the knowledge of how to select arrow shafts using the spine rating, and the knowledge of how arrow components can affect an arrow's dynamic spine. See you on the range!
Whether you are training for the national professional World Archery or IBO circuit, hunting deer and elk deep in the woods, or just shooting once a week at your local range, having the right arrow setup is critical to any archer. While the most scientifically complex element of arrows is their spine (either static or dynamic), one of the most important parts of the arrow composition, and one thing that is often not discussed enough, is the overall mass weight of your arrows.
We hear the debate about once a week in our shop:
"You want a light arrow, man! You'll lost all your speed otherwise and then your deer is gone by the time it gets there!
"No way- you need that high mass weight to get a lot of kinetic energy. Without it, you can't get a good pass-through shot and the deer can survive longer!
So, which is it? Does an archer need light, fast, arrows or heavy arrows with a high kinetic energy rating? The truth is that sometimes, and archer wants both!
Fast, lightweight arrows are best for getting your arrow out toward targets that can react quickly (in the case of hunting) like an axis deer.. The lighter arrow is also advantageous in the event that you are shooting at distances that are not clear or that you have to estimate, because the lighter arrow will have a more stable/flat flight trajectory at the longer distances. When you get a light, fast arrow, it will get to your target quicker and give you some vertical forgiveness for longer range, but it will also cost you in flight stability and kinetic energy. Light arrows get there quickly but often do not punch as deeply into the target, creating smaller wound channels without passing through the target and increasing the distance that you must go to find the animal you were hunting,
Heavy arrows are excellent for taking down large targets or targets with a thicker hide that cannot be penetrated with lightweight arrows. Additionally, given their higher inertia and kinetic energy, these heavy arrows are less effected by wind and more likely to pass through a target upon impact, creating a larger wound channel for a quicker kill. Furthermore, these heavy arrows take so much power for your bow to shoot that they significantly quiet down your bow! So, in short, you get a heavy, powerful, silent shot. A moose is a good example of a target that would be better suited for a heavy arrow build, since they are one of the largest ungulates in the world and have thick hide and bodies. But keep in mind that these arrows drop much more quickly due to their weight, and thus are not forgiving for estimated distances, nor at longer distances where you'll have to have a specialty sight to be able to aim at the target.
So, what should you do? Well, the answer is not a simple "this one is better." What you should do is ask yourself what your goals are and how you will be using the arrows you are building. If you hunt shorter, known ranges and distances, if you are hunting larger game, or if you are looking to kill an animal as quickly as possible, it's time to get some weighty arrows like Easton FMJs or Black Eagle Deep Impacts. Conversely, if you are shooting at animals at distances you frequently must guess at, shooting at animals with quick reaction time, or shooting at animals with lighter hide, a lighter arrow such as the Victory V-Force or the CarbonTech Whitetail might be best for you.
Additionally, in the event you have arrow shafts whose weight you want to manipulate, keep on checking back to this blog where we will later show how to use brass inserts, heavy broad-heads, and lighted nocks to affect the arrow's dynamic spine rating and FOC.
In other articles, we will tackle many more parts of arrow information such as FOC (front of center) on arrows, setting up arrows with the correct spine rating, manipulating arrow spine, arrow diameter and friction, and more. However, for this week, use this information to end the debate- archers can make use of both types of arrows, and you should determine your goal before making your selections. Check out this video below for a summary of this information from Easton.
Archers everywhere use stabilizers for both hunting and target archery, but many don't know what a stabilizer is for and what makes a good stabilizer.. In Deer Creek Archery's opinion, stabilizers are best used to reduce vibration and to increase rotational resistance so that the bow holds steadier during the execution of your shot.
First, stabilizers are about adding stability (who would have guessed?) to your shot. This is accomplished by adding weight to the end of a rod that points away from the middle of the bow. The basic rule of thumb is that the further the weight is away from the pivot point of your bow (your handle), and the more weight is on that stabilizer, the steadier your hold and the more accuracy you achieve. So, how long should your stabilizer be? The answer is that it should be as long as you are able to comfortably maneuver, control, and balance at full draw, given your application. By no means does that mean you need a 32" rod with 15oz. on the end. In fact, while you do hold steadier with more weight, you should never have so much weight that you sacrifice technique. If you can't hold your bow and maintain a perfect body alignment like a "T," then that bow is too heavy! But don't worry, even a few ounces just 6-8" from your riser can dramatically increase your performance. We would encourage you to test a stabilizer before you buy it to ensure that you are getting a good fit.
The second reason to use a stabilizer is to reduce the noise and vibration of your bow. The bow's resonance after a shot breaks can be largely eliminated use rubber or other sound and vibration dampening elements such as gel, sand, etc. This quieting effect makes your bow have that much sought after "dead in the hand" feel and reduces the sounds that animals might hear when your shot breaks, thus giving them less time to react and evade your shot.
Whether or not to use a rear bar is also a matter of preference. Many hunters use them, and just as many hate them. The trade off is about balance and maneuverability. The more weight you have on the bow makes it hold steadier, and adding weight to the rear of your bow to counteract the stabilizer in the front absolutely keeps the bow more balanced, but if you can't crawl toward an animal you're stalking or climb into your tree stand because your stabilizer is digging into things, it's worthless! What works for you may vary from your friends, so come on in to Deer Creek Archery and test some out. We have some of the best stabilizers on the market from Stixx to Axion, and a host of accessories for your convenience.
For a more detailed look at stabilizers from one of the most renowned coaches and instructors in the archery game, George "Griv" Ryals, we would send you to his website at this link to read his article on the topic
There are many different kinds of stabilizers out there, and which one you like best is a matter of personal feel. We hope that this Technical Tuesday article has given you some things to consider when buying a stabilizer.
It is well known that in the recurve or compound archery game, archers are looking for consistency. One of the best ways to establish a consistent and repeatable shot is to have the shot execute not by your command, but rather with a "surprise shot" using back tension. (We will be going more in-depth with what that really means and how it works on another post.) However, many target archers and bow-hunters don't properly position their releases in order to create this consistent style. So, today, we bring you John Dudley (@nockontv), one of compound archery's most renowned coaches and hunters, explaining the basics on how to shoot your release.
Stay tuned next week for another Technical Tuesday tip. See you on the range!
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Deer Creek Archery will use this to archive articles and videos with tips from our team and the professionals on how to shoot and set up your bow more effectively.