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What makes a bow more forgiving?

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What makes a bow more forgiving?

Old 08-23-2003, 08:44 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default What makes a bow more forgiving?

I have been shooting for 3 years now and I have only shot one bow which is obviously the one I am currently set up with. I hear people talking about how bows are more forgiving. In what way are they more forgiving? How come a larger brace height is more forgiving? Thanks for all of your help-Sam
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Old 08-23-2003, 09:32 PM
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

The term " forgiving" is too loosely used. I am also guilty at times.

No bow is " forgiving." To forgive generally means that one pardons a wrong. I do not have to tell you that, so far, a bow will never forgive a mistake, auto correct the mistake, and then allow your arrow to fly as though a wrong did not occur.

All bows are sensitive. Some are more sensitive than others.

As for brace height, two general beliefs apply. 1: The higher the brace, the sooner the arrow leaves the string and the bow. The sooner the arrow leaves the string and the bow, the less chance there is for something you do wrong to affect the flight of the arrow. 2: Lower brace heights are more prone to wrist or arm contact.

I am not sure I buy into #1. However, I do #2.
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Old 08-23-2003, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

Maybe we should call it " shooter friendly" instead of more forgiving.

With shorter brace heights (and short axle lengths) - hand placement, hand torque, and arm slap (espeacially if the bow is a little long) play an important role. Longer axle-to-axle plays and important role also. If you look at just about all your top 300 indoor shooters they are shooting long axle to axle bows with longer brace heights.

So why not shoot a 44" axle to axle with an 10" brace height?

You really cant find them any more.
There hard to tote around in the bushes.
They are also generally much slower than shorter axle/brace height bows.

Hope this helps a little bit.

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Old 08-24-2003, 12:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

Longer ATA means the bow is a bit harder to move around (both tipping side to side, and front to back) which makes it " jump" less along those planes when shot (But can jump forward as much as any bow...Not that that would be a problem as this occurs AFTER the arrow is gone.)
Short brace, as mentioned, means the arrow is on the string for a shorter amount of time. I also question how much this really effects the shot...at least on a NON drop away rest, as the arrow is still in contact with the bow. Another thing the short brace does, is it amplifies any imperfections in center shot and nock height.
Lay an arrow on the table, with a pencil under the arrow at the tip. Doesn' t look too bad...now, while holding the nock down...slide the pencil back to the nock. Suddenly the tip of the arrow is 12" in the air. Think of the pencil as your arrow rest, the closer to the nock (string) the more pronounced the imperfections will be...and that INCLUDES imperfections due to a poor follow through, or torqueing the bow. Drop away rests shine best on short ATA and brace bows.
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Old 08-24-2003, 07:44 AM
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

My compound is a Hoyt ProTec, LX Pro limbs and Accuwheels. 46" axle to axle, 8 1/2" brace height. I' m shooting 457 grain carbons out of it for 3D and 580 grain 2315' s for hunting. I specifically avoided a speedy, short, single/hard cam bow and bought this one. Old fashioned, maybe, but it was the smartest choice.

The longer axle to axle bows are more stable and resistant to cant. Enough has already been said about that. But they are slightly more forgiving.

The ProTec is a deflex riser design, meaning the grip is in front of the limb pivot points. That means when the bow is drawn, the string, wheels, limb tips, limb butts and riser are all being pulled in a straight line. It is practically impossible to accidently torque the grip on a deflex riser bow while shooting. The vast majority of today' s bows are reflexed risers, with the grip behind the limb pivots. On those, you are pulling the string, cams and limb tips in one line and desperately trying to push the limb butts and riser in the same line. Reflex riser bows are VERY easy to torque. That' s why I think a lot of guys are saying there is no such thing as a ' forgiving' bow.

Deflex risers are more forgiving.

Along those same lines we get to letoff. My bow is 65% letoff. High letoff bows don' t have a lot of tension on the string at full draw and that makes it very easy to pull the string out of alignment with the cam(s). And it' s easy to torque the string, especially if you hook your release directly to the string. More holding weight, more tension on the string, and the better it resists those nasty tendencies of high letoff bows.

65% letoff is more forgiving. (And 50% is even better!)

The 8 1/2" brace height lets the arrow clear the string just a splintered second sooner than it would if the brace height was 7" or even 6" , but sometimes that slintered second makes the difference between a good shot and a bad shot, when you do mess up with your shooting form. Not to mention the fact that with the higher brace height, your will have a better chance of clearing your arm when you take your shot on ol' Mossyhorns on a cool morning in the stand with a jacket on.

High brace heights are more forgiving.

I chose round wheels because of my shoulders. Today' s cams bring up the draw weight very fast, hold it until you' re nearly at full draw, then body slam you into the wall. And some guys call that smooth!??! I call it painful. Round wheels bring up the draw weight slowly, hold peak for a little bit, then ease you down into the valley like a mother laying her baby in the crib. Of course, that cuts 40-50 fps off your speed, but being able to shoot vs giving up the sport.... I can live without the speed, thank you. So, I' d say wheels are more forgiving than cams on your body parts.
Reflex risers, low brace heights and hard cams give you speed, and speed is more forgiving if you don' t know how to judge yardage. Fine and dandy for that. But the higher performance your bow is, the higher performace your arrows have to be and the more particular you have to be with your selection and alignment of broadheads for those arrows. The faster the arrow flies, the easier it is for just a few thousandths of an inch misalignment to send a broadhead tipped arrow off into nevernever land.

Arrow selection and broadhead alignment are critical on slow bows too, but slower arrows have a better chance of staying close to their course if something goes wrong.

Shooting a slower bow is more forgiving.

I shoot fingers instead of a release. It' s mostly because I' ve never found a way to silence that ' CLICK' when a release goes off. It gives me a good case of the grins, all the hoops folks jump through to silence their bows, griping about noisy arrows sliding across their rest, whining about whistling broadheads and fletching, when the biggest noisemaker is right there in their hand. And, of course, there is no way to lose my fingers walking from the truck in to the stand.

Fingers are more forgiving than a release.

My bow does not have sights on it. There have been too many times I' ve been in situations where sights have been a bigger PITA than a help. Scenario 1: I get stuck in bright sun, the animal is under deep shade, and I don' t have a buddy to hold an umbrella for me and block the sun off my sights. Scenario 2: It' s getting late in the evening, about a half hour before sun down, I' m in pretty dark woods to begin with and it begins clouding up. I' ve got an hour of legal shooting left, and can clearly see my immediate surroundings out to 20 yards, but it' s too dark to see my pins, and there' s a nice buck right there in front of me.

Shooting without sights is more forgiving.

Deflex riser, high brace, slow shootin' bows, fingers and no sights not only make more forgiving hunting rigs, you can save hundreds of dollars that you don' t have to spend on accessories. So they' re more forgiving on your wallet also.

Only problem is that shooting a rig chosen for as many forgiving qualities as you can load on it, is IBO speeds become meaningless. You' re going to be closer to AMO speeds. Shooting slower bows, fingers and without sights relies a lot on a few basic skills (judging yardage, knowing your trajectory, and developing a clean release) and requires a certain level of dedication to practice.

It' s a little too extreme and too tough for most guys these days. [>:]

By the way, my 46" compound might be long, but it' s a heckuva lot shorter and handier than my 68" longbow or 72" selfbow.
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:14 AM
Typical Buck
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

I' ve seen a lot of post on here and other forums that swear that brace height has more bearing on forgiveness than a/a length. I' m not convinced of that yet. simply because the first bow I owned was 41" a/a and had about a 7" b/h. I' ve owned 4 bows since that first one and all were around 36" a/a with one havin an 8" b/h. I haven' t been able to shoot any of these 4 bows as well as that first 41" ' er.
that' s why I don' t agree with b/h has more bearin on forgivness than does a/a length.[:-]
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:21 AM
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

I' ve owned 4 bows since that first one and all were around 36" a/a with one havin an 8" b/h. I haven' t been able to shoot any of these 4 bows as well as that first 41" ' er.
Kinda makes you wonder why you even bothered with those other bows, doesn' t it.

I think when you' re splitting hairs, I' d have to go with brace height over axle to axle length, but I do think it' s a lot closer call than a lot of other guys seem to feel. I won' t have a bow that' s too short, either axle to axle or on brace height. A to A much under 40" is too short. Much under 8" is too short on brace height (unless you' ve got a pretty short draw length).
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:41 AM
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

Auther P, the only reason I got rid of that 41" PSE was it was slow as christmas, and to heavy also. I wanted a little more speed. I don' t want to shoot 280-290 fps. but I do like a bow that shoots around 250-260 fps.
just curious, what kinda speed or you gettin with that 46" a/a and 8 1/2" b/h with round wheels? I might just go back to round wheels if I could get around 245-250 fps. they sure do draw smoother than these cam bows.
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Old 08-24-2003, 02:13 PM
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?

I get about 245 with the carbons and around 215-220 with the aluminums. That' s 60 pounds draw with a 33 1/2" draw length.
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Old 08-24-2003, 02:21 PM
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Default RE: What makes a bow more forgiving?


I just scanned your post and the others and am not sure if you missed referencing the actual mass weight of the bow and how it affects forgiveness. Len' s bow would be a good example of that. It nearly broke my arm when I held it....


I am one of those folks who " places more stock" in brace height in comparison to axle to axle when it comes to overall forgiveness....all else being equal. The problem is that rarely is " all else equal" . Mass weight, riser geometry, cam style, etc... all factor into it so saying one is " more critical" than the other is a bit misleading. I think what many folks fail to consider is how brace height and draw length affect one another to some extent.

Take any 7 inch brace height bow and have an average shooter with a 27 inch draw length shoot the bow. It will probably turn out to be relatively forgiving for him while still offering relatively good speed because of the decent sized powerstroke that if offers. Then take that same bow and put it in the hands of someone with a 30 inch draw length. That 7 inch brace height bow might still be more " forgiving" than a 6 inch brace height bow for the 30 inch draw length shooter but it is not going to be " as forgiving" as it would be to the 27 inch draw length shooter because that extra 3 inches of draw length also means 3 more inches of powerstroke....which translates into more sensitivity.

I tend to think of 7 inches as being the minimum brace height that I would recommend for beginning or even intermediate level shooters. However, maybe I should clarify that belief/comment. For the average archer...29 inch draw....a 7 inch brace height bow is about as low as I would generally recommend. But, as the draw length of any given archer becomes shorter than 29 inches then said archer can probably get away with a slightly shorter brace height and still expect a relatively decent level of forgiveness.

I would also point out that the two would not necessarily be of equal measure.....meaning that if you had a 28 inch draw length then I would not necessarily suggest a 6 inch brace height bow (a 1 to 1 inch ratio in that case). I would probably rather suggest something around .25 inches of brace height for every inch of draw length below 29 inches. In other words, an " average shot" 26 inch draw length archer might be able to shoot a 6.25 inch brace height as well as 29 inch draw length " average" archer would shoot a 7 inch brace height bow.

Now by no means is that an absolute. It could equate to a half inch per every inch of draw length or an eighth of an inch. It really varies per individual and per bow however I think my example is a relatively good one.

Hope this helps.
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