Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Cautionary Tale

I've just finished a 32" flight arrow with parchment fletches. I thought I'd test it using my only 32" draw bow and another couple of similar weight flight arrows.

I drove to a playing field which is big enough for 2 cricket pitches (almost 1/4 mile long.)
There is one bloke jogging round and it's a completely clear view... or is it?
I got my bow ready and checked, yes still clear, but in the centre of the field are some cricket nets, well I can see through them, there are also two cricket sight screens. Well if anyone was walking behind them, I'd have seen them come out by now.
Ah, but every man is his own safety officer, so I moved 50 yards to one side, and sure enough 4 young kids were now visible playing and walking their dog! (I was there at 2pm on a school day specifically to minimise the chance of kids being there).
My blood ran cold as that's exactly where my arrows subsequently landed.
Is it ever safe to take a blind shot?
No... simple as that.

I waited for the kids to go and the jogger to be at my end of the field, effectively behind an imaginary shooting line.

The sub title for this post is:-
Why serious flight shooters build shooting machines.
With 3 arrows, shooting each 3 times I got inconsistent results.
Not enough data and too many variables. I didn't take accurate measurements as I was only interested in the relative distances.
If the arrows are B (for 'boo), P (for parchment fletches) and C (for cedar). In order of distance they were.
Shot 1:-  P, then 4 yards on C, then 17 yards further on B
Shot 2:- C, then 3 yards on B, then 9 yards further on P
Shot 3:- C, then 5 yards on P, then a real flyer 16 yards further on B

Make of that what you will.
The thing I really noticed is that 32" is beyond a controlled draw for me even at 80#, it's not the poundage but the draw length.
I s'pose the logical test is to fletch B with parchment too.
The main differences in the arrows are B is smaller diameter. B has a balance point only just forward of centre and is the heaviest.
B=530 grain
C=595 grain
P=612 grain

Interesting to note that the 'boo is both lightest and smallest diameter. Some organisations (ILAA) don't allow 'boo flight arrows, all a bit random and arbitrary, but I s'pose 'boo isn't in keeping with ELBs or Warbows.
The longest shot was about 260 yards, it shows that the loose is very important when all other things are similar and can may 20 yards difference easily.
Should I go and make a shooting machine?

Anyhow that's it for now, stay safe, I'm so glad I took that extra look.

The parchment fletchings stayed on fine and didn't scrape my shooting hand at all. With a Warbow or ELB the nocking point on the string is usually about 1/4" above the point where the arrow would be at 90 degrees to the string (braced) this helps the fletchings to clear the hand. For flight shooting, this should probably be reduced, or a bit of bristly hide added to the shooting glove to provide what is a soft rest for the arrow. I don't know if this would be frowned upon by the ILAA and I can't be bothered to pore over the rules.

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