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Buyer's Guide
New Compound Bow Shooter Recommendations - February 17, 2017
It's all down hill from here! I got completely sucked in about 20 months ago. I shoot 7 days a week average 45 arrows per day. I've bought 5 bows since I started. 8 if you count the bows I bought for my grandsons and the one I had 100% set up and took for a 250 arrow test drive, then gave it back.
Most of this is directed toward the compound bow shooter, but much of it will also apply to the recurve shooter. You’ll just have to sort out what you can use.
Here is my abbreviated advice that I wish someone had told me on the way to the bow shop the first time. Even if money is not an object:
Unless you have a LOT of money, don’t spend more than $500 on your first bow. And you will probably do GREAT with a used bow that you got for half that, literally. Regardless of price, I’d not buy a bow older than 5 years. Top of the line will probably be $1,400 (plus the sight and arrow rest). On the high end bows, a year old will save you at least $2-300, 2 years old will save you $4-600. No matter WHAT you buy, you are going to change it later. Don't spend the big bucks till you at least know what the QUESTIONS are. You come up with good questions by getting experience. You get experience by shooting thousands of arrows…
Bow technology is GREAT. No company is reinventing the archery wheel every year. The only really measurable difference between a new bow and a 4 year old bow is going to be the arrow speed. Arrow speed is measured under PERFECT conditions. If you are looking at a bow that advertises 350 feet per second, “your results may vary”. In other words, if you see a real 310’ per second, that is plenty! It is ALL about shot placement, NOT arrow speed.
If you are young and in reasonably good health, get a bow that will adjust up to 70 lbs. Your ego won't allow otherwise. You do not NEED a 70 lb bow, but as with your 6.5 Creedmore rifle cartridge, it shoots faster/flatter and will make your yardage estimations less critical. As with firearms, it is ALL about shot placement. A 40 lb bow is legal for hunting in most states, and a well placed shot will stop anything on the continent (lower 48).
Put a good drop away arrow rest on it. There are lots of good ones, I've put the QAD Ultrarest HDX on all the bows I bought and zero regrets. Great customer service.
Put a good sight site on it. I've bought about 6 different sights. The IQ sight is a great one that I believe WILL help you with your form and consistency, which is what Archery is ALL about. Any sight you can afford will be sufficient. Since the IQ, I have purchased 4 of the HHA Optimizer King Pin single pin sights, with the dove tail so you can slide them in/out on the bow. I got the .010 diameter pins on them so at longer ranges the pin doesn’t cover the target.
Have a REAL pro shop set it up. Cabelas is great, but you want this done REALLY right or you'll always be wondering if it is you or the equipment. That is only going to happen at a pro shop. They will make sure it fits properly. It is going to take them about 45 minutes to do it properly. If you didn’t buy the bow from them, there will be a charge. WELL worth it.
Get a dozen arrows. When I first started I lost or broke an arrow about every hundred shots. Get arrows stiffer than you need (spine) because you are probably going to increase your draw weight as you get physically conditioned.
Don't spend more than $7-8 per arrow and $5-6 is probably really enough. You are going to lose them or break them before you are good enough to need more expensive ones. .005 or .006 will be plenty straight enough for you for at least 6 months. Damaged fletching won't make much difference in your shooting. You are going to tear it and shoot arrows through it. Don't worry about it, just keep shooting. Again, you'll break them or lose them before you have to fix them.
Get a decent Release with NO velcro. Velcro is LOUD when you are trying to be quiet! I bought a Scott Silverhorn (actually 3). Again, NO regrets and great customer service from the factory.
UPDATE 8 19 15: You WILL break the little trigger springs in there. If you buy this, immediately call SCOTT and ask them to send you a few extras.
Buy some string wax. I like the synthetic in the green tube. My pro shop sells it for $10, Sportsman's Warehouse has it for $5. Have also used some liquid silicone (just started) that seems to be working better than I thought it would. The jury is still out…….
UPDATE 8 19 15: I have been using a liquid silicone “wax” from G5 (Prime) and I love it. Seems to work as good/better and is much less mess than traditional wax.
Buy some Woody’s arrow lube. Sooner or later you are going to be shooting into rubber or cardboard. The lube makes it easy to get the arrows out. Only lube about 1.5”. The target will spread it down the shaft. 1.5” will keep your arrow rest clean.
My preference is a hard case. Plano has the good "middle of the road" case for about $80. The mid level SKB you'll like better, but pay $145. Top of the line will be $250-$280. If this is just a test drive...go cheap. If you are IN this sport, and especially if you spend the big money on a bow and sight, don’t go cheap on the case
Get the basic 30 minute lesson. That will be like 4 encyclopedias of info for you to digest. Anything longer will be a waste of your time. 30 minutes will be enough for them to give you the BASICS and safety info.
Go shoot 1,000 arrows or so. Some people will tell you to shoot 3 arrows. I'm here for the shooting, NOT the walking. I shoot 6 arrows so I have to walk half as often. Then go get a second class. Early on when I’d get tired, I’d keep shooting JUST to help my strength. If you can shoot 30 yards and start to get shaky, shoot another 20 arrows at 20 yards just to develop the muscles. Critters are going to be watching for you to draw your bow before you shoot them. Being able to stay at full draw for a couple of minutes, unnoticed, could be the difference between taking home the game or going empty handed.
I use 2" x 2" fluorescent orange duct tape (Walmart or HomeDepot) for my "target". Aim small miss small..... After you get your first Robin Hood, it's not cool anymore, it's just $12-$20. If I’m shooting 6 arrows I put at least 3 spots at 30 yards or less to minimize the damage. Fewer if I’m shooting 40 yards or out.
UPDATE: Buy only DUCK brand duct tape. The SCOTCH tape is noticeably less bright, especially as light wanes.
You are working on your FORM and CONSISTENCY. As with your rifles, you want a group. Right or wrong, do the SAME thing EVERY time. This consistency will make it easy for the coach to "fix" you in your second lesson.

You can adjust the sights AFTER you get a consistent group. When I started and had no consistency or confidence, so I'd shoot about 30 arrows before I ever moved the site. Until you are reasonably sure that it is the sight and not you, why move it?
Keep a log of:
1) How many arrows you shoot through the bow. This will be invaluable if you ever have a warranty issue such as a string failure or something else goes gunnysack.
2) How often you wax the string (at least every 400 shots)
3) For recurve shooters, measure the string when it is new. As you use it, it will stretch a little. Stretching is normal, but it will reduce the poundage of the bow (for a specific draw length) which will affect your point of impact.

Have fun with it!
Mike Gibson
208 870 6789
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