Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Newer gear, better performance and an error in judgement.

The Alpine archery bow I have been shooting was too short. I kind of knew that, but as I got more practiced I started missing shots as my overly bent lead arm began to 'jerk' after the release. I have been struggling a bit too with snapping the trigger pull, and wanted to change from a wrist strap release to a four finger release (more on that later) but I was worried that would make the problem even worse. So I started trolling archery-talk and craigslist for a new(er) bow with at least a 30" draw, and much to my surprise and joy, I found one. A Mathews z7 xtreme. Super cool bow, very fast, very quiet, all of the reviews on this bow are exemplary, and what's more I got it for cheap.
The gentleman who was selling it didn't have a paypal account, couldn't use google wallet, and wanted a check delivered via post before he would ship the bow. This could have set me up to get ripped off, but a couple things are in my favor: 1) I have friends that live within driving distance of his house. 2) I looked his house up on google maps (nice place, new(ish) vehicles in the driveway. 3) When I offered to have my brother pay him in cash and pick it up, he didn't balk. So I took a risk and sent the check. I don't regret it for a second.
I got the bow and saw immediate improvement in my shooting. I had no idea how much I was compensating for the shorter bow. It was terrible.
new release on top, old on bottom
From there I decided to go ahead with switching my release. I had confidence that I was shooting well, and decided to change my release as well. This gets a bit convoluted. When I started this debacle I had no idea what releases really were available. I simply took the advice of the archery shop on what to use. Most hunters use a release that straps to your wrist, then two small jaws clamp on to a loop that hooks on your string. You pull back on the wrist strap, settle in, and pull the trigger with your index finger. The good things about this are you are completely connected to your string, the release can't be lost because it is hooked to you. The downside is your index finger is connected to your hand. It can be hard to move your finger without moving your hand, I have a problem with it.
The four finger release is a small hand held grip that has a hook that sticks between your index and middle fingers. with a button for your thumb to release the arrow. I have found that with a four finger release I am considerably more accurate. This is not true for everyone. I have seen experienced archers who could not use the four finger to even draw their bow. It is very different, but for me, it is better. The down side to the four finger is that if it slips out of your hand you have just released an aluminum projectile into the heart of your bow.. which happened to me. There is a safety strap that goes around your wrist, but in my hubris I didn't use it. I got lucky. My new bow (one that I cannot afford to replace) was fine, but the rest was broken.What could have been a catastrophic mistake ended up being a $30 lesson. It did ruin my day though.
the up side is I'm shooting really well with the new rig.
 the picture is right side up, I have the target upside down to try and get some of the filling in the top to compress a bit. 5 arrows from 20 yards good tight groups. I'm super happy with that (it's not Olympic caliber archery, but it's progress) I've got some new arrows on order for two reasons. 1) I'm selling my old bow and if I include a few arrows it'll be more likely to sell, and 2) The arrows I have are cut a bit too short. They work, but it is a little dangerous to shoot a broadhead with a short arrow.
Once I get them wrapped and fletched I'll talk you through the process.

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