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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I just signed up yesterday and have spent about five or six hours reading posts on this forum and the Archery Talk forum. I’ve been “researching” archery on the internet for about two months, and think I’m starting to get a sense of the direction I want to go. I’ve read just enough to realize that it’s time to start asking questions, so here it goes...

I’ve taken one lesson at a school near me in NJ. I feel like I learned a lot (starting from zero to hitting the target every time is a lot!) and plan to go back. The coach there emphasized a form that is very different from what I have seen on YouTube where the string presses my nose and my thumb presses up under my jaw rather than the side of my face, with the knuckles on my other hand making a 45 degree diagonal line, with the triangle made by my arms and the bow being very tight. The discussion was very oriented toward Olympic target shooting and he didn’t seem to want to discuss my interest in learning without a site.

I have purchased Shooting the Stick Bow by Anthony Camera and am on chapter 3. I’m going to finish it before I buy anything and before my next lesson.

I’ve been interested in archery since I was a kid (late 80s) and am now in a position to do it. There’s a range about ten minutes from me that I can use for free if I bring everything, including targets. I’m specifically interested in recurve bows for aesthetic reasons and because it is a simpler tool with fewer parts. I am leaning toward bare bow because it seems (as an outside observer) to be more of a direct relationship with both the bow and the arrow than a compound setup. I am generally not attracted to bows with lots of gear attached to them, although as a designer and mechanic I think that what that stuff does is very cool.

I’m not looking to hunt. I might in the future, but I want to spend a year or two getting consistent. To me, hunting is a separate game entirely that means learning to find and stalk game, clean the animal, do something with it afterward, etc. I just want to kill paper targets for now.

I’m very drawn to the wood laminate recurves, but I also love Love LOVE the W&W Black Wolf. However, I am 6’ 1” and measure 73 1/8” in span. The coach told me my draw length is 30-30.5”. I have doubts about a bow under 69” in length because I’m new and want a stable bow sized to my measurements.

I am very confused by the idea that I should have a 70” target bow (due to draw length) but I would be fine with a 64” hunting bow (due to availability).

I would prefer to start with ILF and definitely want a takedown recurve.

I want to start with very light weight (<30#s).

Questions:

Will sticking with Olympic-style form make me a better archer, or will it limit me to only being able to shoot under certain conditions?

Should I try some other coaches? There aren’t many super close to me, but I could get to One that is very compound oriented and tried to talk me out of recurve when I went there last time, or try to find another range.

Is it okay to start on a bow that is less than 68”? I don’t see any starter bows over 64” (Spyder XL). I could put together an ILF recurve that’s longer but I’m looking at $400 To $800 at that point. Not really starter territory. Most of the used equipment I’m seeing is on the short side or very high end.

When does new equipment tend to come on the market? In other things there tends to be a convention or event that triggers a bunch of new stuff coming out and usually means big sales but low inventory around that time.

Do there tend to be good Black Friday sales? It’s coming up.

Thanks In advance for the help!
 

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I'd look for a coach who understands the form compromises required to aim a barebow, Olympic form is rarely/never used by competitive barebow shooters for a reason.
For equipment I'd just get a 25" riser and long limbs. This is easily found for under $300. Eventually those same limbs could go on a 21" riser for hunting.
 

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Olympic style form is great but you have to make a few adjustments. All my coaches have been trained in Olympic style archery, or were Olympic style coaches. The fundemental concepts are the same with all forms of shooting. The key differences, other than aiming, is shooting three under instead of split finger, and anchoring differently. Unlike Olympic archers, you will not be able to run the string down the front of your nose and your chin. In fact, with my face geometry, I cannot even do it with an Olympic bow. The fact that the coach will not adapt to barebow, which is competed along with Olympic recurve and compound, is a problem. Several years ago college archery added barebow to their competitions in the US which resulted in a lot of new young barebow target archers.

If you are not looking to hunt then you definitely want an 70 inch ILF bow made from a 25 inch riser and long limbs. Don't let anyone persuade you otherwise. Shorter bows are for hunting. They are a compromise. A 64 inch bow is considered long for a hunter, but is a child's bow for a target shooter. Grant, who posted above, has shot Olympic style so he understands. I am a long draw archer at 32 inches, so I understand long draw lengths, like yours. For a couple of reasons long bows are better. One is finger pinch which is the angle of the string at full draw. You want a larger angle to make it easier for your fingers to release from the string. The other is bow balance. Finger and grip pressure can significantly impact the balance of the bow, i.e, how much you are stressing the top and bottom limbs relative to each other. The longer the bow, the less impact there is from variations in finger and grip pressure. Thus, it is easier to learn, the bow is more forgiving of mistakes, and as an added bonus, it is more comfortable to shoot. So keep in mind that most folks on Tradtalk are accustomed to short bows. That is what they know so that is what they usually recommend. For full disclosure I shoot a 74 inch bow.

Having started with Olympic style coaches, I don't think it is a bad thing. You will begin by learning the foundational principles correctly. It is easier to make the transition to barebow when you have a solid foundation. It is not like unlearning bad habits. That is how I did it. I did most of my shooting as the barebow outlier in the Olympic archery community in my area. If you can find a coach that knows how to apply Olympic style form to barebow then I would go for it. That is what I did. My personal goal is to apply Olympic style methods to barebow archery.

An advantage of an ILF bow is that you can buy low cost limbs for learning. I actually use a set of 18 pound limbs when I am making major changes. Then I bridge back to my heavier limbs (which are not that heavy) gradually so that I have an opportunity to program the changes into my muscle memory. Recognize that with your longer draw length you will get more holding weight that what is marked on the limbs. I generally used 35 to 36 pounds limbs when I was shooting in the low to mid 40's. As such, you need to go about 4 to 5 pounds lower with your limbs than what you want to pull.
 

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Check on youtube Jake Kaminski Archery channel - he has very well explained videos regarding form and as Olympic medalist who is switching to barebow a lot of interesting material is shared there. I believe that aren't better coaches than him in NTS - his in depth understanding is way beyond average and he has the ability to pass that knowledge in simple words.
 

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Welcome to our merry band.

Your own thinking is very good, as is the advice above. I too, studied and practiced Olympic style archery for a while, before stripping down my bow, and then simplifying further with longbows.

The problem with that method is that the end of the nose, under the chin type of hold is lousy for aiming at shorter ranges, fine for 60 to 100yards with your long draw. Good for defending castles and keeping French cavalry at bay. There are a couple of remedies:

You could use a bowsight while you learn (it will not take two years, you could be good by springtime with careful training.)

Or you could use the three fingers under hold and and anchor somewhere on your cheekbone, perhaps just under it.

That way you can aim intuitively/instinctively at short ranges and by the gap method further out. If that is your choice get back to us and some of us will try to talk you out of instinctive and some of us will help you learn how.

Instinctive is not hard, women and children learn it easily, some men you cannot tell anything. (A little teasing here.) An apt pupil can sometimes get pretty good at it in 20 minutes. I like to call it 'natural aiming' and it has served archers well for 60,000 years. - lbg
 

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welcome to the forum, Matthew.
I think you can try 4 or 5 different minor styles of shooting over the next few months, as you see different pictures & videos and read different descriptions and advice.
You can shoot them all well enough for most of us, if you learn & ingrain the basics well.
The most important common denominator is that you have a CONSISTENT FORM.....strong bow arm, grip angle, not torquing the grip, draw arm lineup with arrow...back tension......consistent release. & I'm sure I missed stuff.
Get an ILF bow - used - there are good GILLO 25" risers used cheap on various ads, and whatever used LONG limbs fit your pounds to start......or get new cheap limbs....and good luck. You can experiment later with the 64" bows, after initial LEARNING phase and you're shooting somewhat well. Used equipment is easily obtained in decent shape, no one wears them out, much, and people buy-sell-trade all the time. "so I hear".
 

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Conventionally, your estimated draw length is 73.125 / 2.5 = 29.25. This is wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) divided by 2.5. This is a standard beginning calculation. Your mileage of course may vary, but usually not too much. My wingspan is 78", my DL is 31", so the calculation worked for me. My target bows are 68".

I point this out because this allows you to start out with 'regular' length bows. (But longer is not bad.) You mentioned the Spyder XL, a very good 64" starter setup, easily sold if you decide to move up to other bows such as one-piece or to the myriad combinations of ILF. I started out with the predecessor to the Spyder XL, the Samick Journey, 64". Or you can instead look for good used inexpensive ILF setups, knowing your needs are for 'regular' lengths.

The Camera book is a great source, as are the many Youtube videos available. Look for Arne Moe for great form, Jimmy Blackmon for explanations on everything barebow, and others.

Hard to find bad advice on this forum.
 

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I think you need a new coach. If you had put your location I'd have done the work for you. Go to 'USA Archery', Click on coach finder. It will give you name and phone number call them and tell them the kind of archery you want, not what the coach wants. As a coach that's embarrassing.

Bowmania
 

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Generally speaking...

Olympic archery is based on using optimal biomechanical form. Its a form that many people feel is the best use of your strongest muscles and makes your body the most stable platform. The sights are basically put where they need to be to allow you to have this optimal form.

Barebow(competitive) on the other hand usually involves compromising the "perfect" form on order to have the best possible sight picture because all you have to use for sights is the arrow tip and the string blur.




Its my personal observation that from a historic perspective martial archers who used very heavy bows used a sort of form that focused on the biomechanical. They did learn to aim but it was more important that they be able pull heavy bows and shoot quickly.

Primitive hunters often used lighter bows but used a form that allowed them to aim better. My historical perspective here is just mine, Im sure some reasonable people will disagree.
 

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Galaxy Bullseye bows are available up to 66". At a whopping $125, it's not a bad choice for any adult beginner. Downside is that if/when you get serious, it will be of little use to you except recruiting friends to the sport. Or dragging out for fun plinking.

You may be looking in the wrong place for used ILF bows in the size you want. The competition stuff is hidden away from other used bows on Archery Talk. They are a subforum under the FITA forum rather than the classifies. That is the best place to watch for 25" risers on the used market. Then look for inexpensive long limbs on traditional classified there or on here to start with.

Honestly, information overload can be a problem with new archers. ILF is a more accurate platform for folks who know how to set it up. If you have help with that, fine. If you are going it alone, the options for adjustment and how to make those adjustments might seem daunting and lead to frustration for a beginner.
(After shooting compounds and take-down longbows for a few years, setting up an ILF bow still took longer than I expected.)

If you just want to get shooting, a 66" inexpensive bolt down bow will get you shooting. When you get better and your passion remains, the $400-$800 price tag won't matter anymore. Don't worry too much about minute details that only affect skilled folks. Just find something acceptable and get shooting.

You don't need a race car to learn how to drive. Worry about learning first. The race car comes later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone for the feedback!

I had another private lesson today; same place and same coach. It was a good class. We did two rounds to see what I remembered from last time, spent fifteen minutes working on my form, and the last 30 minutes shooting different types of barebow technique (gap, face walking, and string walking). I have another private lesson scheduled for next week.

The other thing that happened was I shot like crap compared to my first class. I think this was mostly because today’s bow was 20 lbs and last weeks was 8 lbs. time to find something to exercise with. I’m feeling it in my right shoulder.

I think I’m going to buy something, and I think I know what. I can get a 20% discount from Lancaster, so I’m limited to their inventory for new stuff, but I’m pretty much set on a Gillo G1 for the riser. I’m going to go big on that, and be restrained on the rest. I think I’ll start with some 16-lb limbs, and I’m researching the rest.

Before I do drop a pile of cash, I’m planning to see about classes (as opposed to lessons) and what equipment they have for me to borrow.

The main reason, though, I want my own gear is that there’s a public archery range two towns north of me, so I need to find out how I can get access to it.
 

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For an adult male I think 16 pounds is too low. I have taught a lot of archers and would not be too high. Most women and girls can do alright with 25 at their shorter draw lengths; if you get 25 you will be able to help most anybody else to join our sport.

With less than that their arrows will not fly fast enough to stabilize well, and they will not be able to reach even to 20 yards, which is frustrating. So, 25 minimum, 30 if you wish. You will adapt to it quickly, with ease. - lbg
 

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The lightest limbs I use for form work are 18 pounds. If I recall, they put me at about 24 pounds at my 32 inch draw length. I can pretty much ignore weight as a factor with those limbs. 16 may be too low. They may be great to start with, but you would only use them for a short time before you need to move up.

That said, several years ago I was teaching some decently fit kids in their 20's. I was using 16 and 18 pound limbs. The ones using the 16 pound limbs learned the fastest. They were picked up alignment fundamentals pretty quickly due to the lighter weight. The issue is that the very light limbs are only good for a few sessions. Having the 16 pound limbs gives me a good place to start folks. They are still my go to first limbs to put on a beginners bow. I have a friend I was teaching who is middle aged but a very athletic gym rat. First time out I set him up a nice 70 inch bow with 26 pound limbs. The bow ate him up. I had to reset him up with 18 pound limbs for shooting the field course. It was form and not strength that was causing the problem. I see a lot of folks that are overbowed, like he was, try to force it to work. They may eventually cobble together a way to over power the bow, but not using anything that resembles desirable form.

You are on the right track. It is now down to making the correct choice. The only downside to the 16's is that you would need to move up in weight pretty soon, and that would mean another set of light limbs. You would not want to jump from 16 to a much higher weight in one step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all of the great advice so far! You’ve all been great.

I was wondering if you have any opinions about what I should order if I buy something. After doing some looking around online and asking Lancaster for their advice, this is some of the stuff I am thinking of ordering. Please let me know if you think I should choose anything different.

Gillo GQ 25 L Recurve Riser vs G1M (I keep going back and forth between these and can’t decide. It would help if they had both of them in all the colors I like but they don’t.)

Shibuya DX Plunger
Spigarelli Zero Tolerance (ZT) Rest
WNS Explore B1 Glass/Bamboo Recurve Limbs Long/20 lbs

Yost Archery 3-Under Pro Tab AND Bateman TCD Finger Tab (I didn’t know if I should get both tabs or not. I’m learning gap, 3-under, and string walking right now)

Easton Dr. Doug's Bow Square - T
AAE Gorilla Grip Arrow Puller
Selway Limbsaver Recurve Stringer

I need but have not chosen a wrist sling, an arm guard, and most importantly, a bow string. I am still waiting for their recommendation on arrows, but would love to hear what people think. Isn’t this dependent on the string I choose? Any advice is much appreciated.
 

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Gillo, great choice. It will work for either barebow or Olympic style. You can really load it up with weight if you like. At that price you are all in on archery. As long as you stick with target you will be okay with your choice.

Limb choice is fine. That is the right price to pay for low poundage limbs you will learn on. The question is whether 20 pounds is a good choice. It would be for me because of the way I am coached. 26 could be better, but starting on 20 and moving to 26 would be a good play.

Shibuya DX plunger is a solid choice if you plan to bolt down you plunger rather than adjust on the fly.

I hear good things about your choice of rest but have not personal experience with it.

If you are playing with stringwalking then you may as well get the stringwalking version of the tabs. Both Yost and Bateman make them. I use both but prefer the Yost since the marking are etched in the metal and last long. I have had to refill the Bateman with paint when the lines start to become difficult to see. Other than that, the Yost has thicker leather but you have to cut it yourself. That can be a problem if you don't know how to properly size a tab. The Bateman is also really good. I have sensitive fingers so Bubba Bateman made me four with thicker leather. Either choice will work.

The bow square is fine. The weak link on them is the string clips. I am still looking for one I really like.

Arrow puller is good.

Stringer is good.
 
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