Intro To Archery
BFD031.jpgWith an increasing number of hunters looking for an additional challenge, and some extended time in the woods, there are a growing amount of people picking up a bow for the first time.  While most of us are familiar with some of the basics involving the stick and string, there are quite a few things that beginners should know from the beginning.  Here is a brief overview of some archery basics that everyone should know.

Bow Components:

No longer are bows just a piece of wood with a string tied between two ends.  Today's high-tech compound bows feature many different components that all act together to create superior speed and accuracy.  Here are a few of the major components.

The riser is the main "handle" of the bow, so to speak.  The majority of today's bows feature risers made out of machined aluminum in order to maintain strength while reducing the overall weight of the bow.  There are still some bows on the market with cast aluminum risers, but they are becoming fewer and fewer as the years go by.  Risers come in many different shapes and sizes with today's trend leaning towards longer, leaner risers with multiple cutouts in order to reduce weight and add visual appeal.

While many compound bows in the past featured limbs made of laminated wood, today's bows feature composite limbs made of carbon and graphite.  These limbs are stronger and more resistant to cracking and warping than traditional wood laminate limbs.  Several manufacturers still produce bows with split limb technology, utilizing two skinny limbs on each end of the riser instead of one fatter limb.  While this technology helps to alleviate the problem of limbs cracking at the "V" where the axle attaches, they are not without their share of problems.  Most notably uneven wear of the limbs, causing them to have a "bent" look and adversely effecting performance.

There are many choices when it comes to cams these days, but they can pretty much be narrowed down to 3 major categories:  Single Cams, Dual Cams, and Hybrid Cams.  Single cam bows utilize a single power cam combined with an idler wheel to provide smooth drawing and level nock travel.  Dual cams feature two separate cams working independently of one another to provide superior arrow speed.  Hybrid cams feature two cams that are "slaved" together to eliminate some of the timing imperfections found in traditional dual cam bows.

Gone are the days of metal cables and teardrop connectors.  Today's bows feature pre-stretched strings made of high strength fibers that resist abrasion, creeping, and stretching.  These superior bowstrings help alleviate accuracy and tuning issues caused by changes in string length due to stretching over the life of your bow.

Now that we've covered the 4 major components of today's modern compound bows, let's talk about some of the terminology used to describe their benefits and features.

Axle to Axle Length (ATA)- This refers to the distance betwen the axles around which the cams rotate.  Today's bows feature ATA lengths of anywhere from 31" to 39", which the majority being in the 33"-35" range.

Let-Off - The amount of weight that is dropped from the bow's peak draw weight to the point at which it is fully drawn.  The majority of today's bows feature let-off in the 70%-80% range.

Brace Height - This is the distance between the string and the back of the riser when the bow is at rest.    As general rule of thumb, the shorter the brace height the less forgiving the bow is.

AMO and IBO Speeds - These are the industry standards of measurement when it comes to determining at how many feet per second a bow is capable of firing and arrow.  AMO ratings use a 30 inch drawin length, an arrow weighing 560 grains that is shot out of a 60 lb bow.  IBO ratings use a 30 inch draw length, and an arrow weighing 350 grains that is being shot from a 70 lb bow.  Therefore IBO speeds are always greater than AMO speeds.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how today's compound bows are put together, let's take a look at how all of these components work together to form an effecient hunting weapon.  Click here for more about compound bows.

If you want to skip the science of the compund bow and go straight to arrow shaft selection, Click here!

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