Basically an arrow rest is part of your bow setup that holds the arrow in place, ready to be shot. Allen asked…
What kind of rest would you recommend for a beginner recurve shooter? I’m a COMPLETE newbie to archery, so I blindly went with the archery shop guy’s recommendations when buying my first bow. I ended up buying a Samick Polaris that he set up with a rug rest. Is this a bad kind of rest to use? Wouldn’t the two non-index fletches hit the bow on the way out? My arrows tend to hit the target at an angle instead of perpendicular, so I wonder if the rest could be causing it.
First lets cover the various types, most people say there are four basic types of arrows however I believe there are five; shoot-thru, containment, drop-away, pressure/plunger rests and the additional shelf. The shelf is often overlooked because it is part of the bow, however you do “rest” the arrow on it.
Here is a general overview of each type.
Shoot-thru (or prong) rest : A two-pronged arrow rest with a gap between and spaced about two-thirds of the width of the arrow to create a cradle. The arrow sits on top of the prongs with one fletching pointing down between them and is usually spring-loaded to allow additional clearance for the fletchings. These rests can be tricky for beginners because the arrow can fall off with wind or bad form. They are best for hunting and the use of a mechanical release.
Containment rest : A totally encircled or a simultaneous 3-point contact arrow rest holding the arrow completely in place until release. These are the most common choice for archery hunting, they are relatively easy to install and tune. Great for beginner hunters since the arrow will not fall off the rest.
Drop-away (or fall-away) rest : Designed to drop out of the way upon release and therefore eliminate any chance of contact with the arrow. Activated by the release of the string, the rest holds the arrow long enough to keep straight and needs to drop out of the way before the fletching reaches the rest. Since this can be very tricky to tune; it is best suited for a compound bow. It is popular for hunting with large fixed-blade broad heads and helical fletchings.
Pressure/Plunger rest: Used commonly by finger shooters (no-mechanical release), they are designed to counter-act the horizontal oscillation from release with your fingers. Standard type bows without a cut-away, typically use a simple flipper rest (a rest with an additional “flipper” that acts like a plunger to help push-back against the pressure). Bows designed with a cut-away for your center shot typically use a rest along with an adjustable plunger. A pressure rest is used on Olympic bows and can be used be any finger shooter.
Shelf: Most traditional longbows and modern recurves bows are now designed with a cut-away area in the riser which includes a shelf area. For this type of bow instead of a pressure rest you can choose to shoot off the shelf. An arrow rest is attached to the shelf of your bow and is usually installed with an arrow plate to the side. They serve as protection for the bow and arrow and act as a soft, smooth surface for the arrow to be shot from.
Selecting a rest depends on a list of things including…
- Type of bow (compound or recurve)
- Chosen application (hunting or target shooting),
- Type of release (finger or mechanical)
- Budget (cold hard cash)
- Experience (your ability to tune the rest and bow)
- Form (some rests are more forgiving)
- Tradition and historical nostalgia
- Competition division (division restrictions)
- And personal preference (bling factor)
There are a ton of rests available on the market and most bow manufacturers follow the same AMO (Archery Manufacturers Organization) standards. Therefore the drilling and tapping for the majority of bows are universal however before you purchase or upgrade make sure a selected rest will work and function with your bow.
A rug rest is a type of rest for a shelf and could be a very good selection for your shooting style if you are shooting traditional however it would not be the best selection for an Olympic archer or a compound hunter. I am not in a position to recommend the best rest for your bow, since the bow is only as good as the alignment between the rest, release and nocking point. Obliviously, a better quality rest for your style of shooting can impact your accuracy.
To specifically address… My arrows tend to hit the target at an angle instead of perpendicular, so I wonder if the rest could be causing it.
A rest is only one small piece of the bow, and has very little to do with controlling the oscillation of the arrow. I would personally need to watch you shoot and inspect your bow to provide any valued and specific advice. There are a ton of things that can cause your arrow to impact the target on an angle. The bow may need tuning, you may be plucking the string, the arrows may be too stiff or too flexible, and a lot of other things.
Quick Insight: “Bows only perform actions as directed by you; so make sure you have good form first.”
For more information on good form check out my website page The 10 Basic Steps of Archery and to understand controlling arrow movement such as oscillation, check-out the complete Arrow – The series.
Reblogged this on Rasher Quivers and commented:
Another great educational article from Jordan Sequillion. This one covers an archer’s arrow rest. I had no idea that there were so many options until I read this article for myself. This article was another one that just had to get shared.
Thanks for answering my question, Jordan! However, I’m still confused about how rug/shelf rests can work without causing two of the fletchings to hit the bow on the way out. Is that just a natural aspect of this type of rest that you need to compensate for when you shoot?
Also, you mentioned that the style of rest depends on the type of shooter. I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but what is the difference between a traditional shooter and an Olympic archer?
Natural oscillation helps the arrow “bend” around the bow however there is often contact with the bow and usually rug shelves are installed with an arrow plate to help reduce the effects.
There are many differences between traditional and an Olympic bows, mainly the use of a sight and other accessories. I will do a blog in the future about outlining the differences in more detail.
Great, thanks for the additional information! I just bought a camera that happens to be able to take slow motion video, so I’m going to try to set it up to record some shots so I can see exactly what happens with the arrow as it is fired. It would be very cool if I could capture the arrow bending around the bow.
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