Archery Bow Cases

In the archery world it is pretty hard to go shoot without some kind of travel involved. Canada is a very large country and you can travel several hours even to a local tournament.  For example going to the Canadian National Championships, which can be anywhere in Canada, often will require flying, and/or driving. So, while traveling you need some form of protection for your bow, enter the bow case.

There are basically two kinds of bow cases, soft or hard shell and they are available in many shapes, sizes, and materials for every type of bow including traditional, take-down recurve, compound or crossbow.

Soft-shell Case

softcase

Typically manufactured from nylon, often they are just one big pocket to wrap up your equipment with additional smaller pockets for some smaller items. Soft-shell cases are typically lighter therefore great for carrying distances as they are typically lighter than hard-shell cases however because they are made from flexible material, you can not stack anything on them otherwise you will damage the bow or equipment inside. Although not as durable as hard shells they are typically less costly and therefore great on the budget.

softcase-compound

Hard-shell Case

Hardcase-recurve

Typically manufactured from hard-plastics and/or light metals, hard-shell cases provide more protection for your bow and allow you to stack them without worry of damage to the contents. Most hard-shell cases offer many compartments, Velcro latches, and even formed foam to securely hold your bow in place during transportation. Most offer a place to store your arrows, lockable latches, and some cases even provide handles and wheels for trekking through the airport.  Typically, hard-shell cases are more expensive than soft-shell cases however usually they are far more durable and offer far more protection, especially for those who are traveling abroad where others are handling your cases.

Hardcase-compound

Since, there are no take-down compound bows, either soft-shell or hard shell for compound bow cases are typically designed the same way because the shape is fairly consistent and the same can be said about crossbows. With recurve bows there can be greater variances such as traditional bows and take-down bows and the need to transport additional equipment such as larger stabilizer systems. There are three basic types of cases for recurve bows, a bow sock, a single bow case and a double bow case.

Bow Sock

bow-sockTypically used for by non-take-down recurve bows, they are usually made from cloth or nylon. Designed to slip-over and cover the entire bow while unstrung and a great option for traditional bows.

Single bow Case

TopSingle bow cases can be either soft-shelled or hard-shelled and typically designed to host a single Olympic bow. Most hard-shelled versions and some soft-shelled cases provide various pockets and areas for all the associated equipment including stabilizer system, sight, stand and even arrows.

Double Bow Case

double-caseSimilar to a single bow case however typically only available in hard-shell, are usually much larger and provide space for two complete Olympic bows and accessories. This is a must for any competitive archers participating in international events since it is recommended that you have two identical bows for competitions.

Which case is right for you? This will depend on your equipment, your shooting style, the tournaments you plan to attend and your budget. If you are planning to travel to tournaments where someone else may be touching your bow case such as porter or flight attendant, you may want to invest in a hard-shell case. Personally, I have two hard-shell cases, one for short trips to local tournaments and one for long trips that can handle two bows.

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Rests

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.

Arrows – The Series (This time, it’s personal)

Since arrows are extremely important for an archer, I thought I would do a couple of blogs about arrows starting with the various components. I will be focusing on arrows for recurve target archers, since there are a lot of articles about arrows for both compound and traditional archery already. Selecting the correct arrows for your best performance is not simple task. There are tons of things to know and understand and it may require some trial and error. In this first blog we will start with the basic components.

An arrow is comprised of four major components the shaft, the point, the nock and the fletching.

Shaft : The shaft is primary structural component of the arrow and all other components are attached to it. Originally arrows shafts were made from wood however new shafts are made from aluminum, carbon fibre or both.  It is very important to properly match the arrow stiffness (or spine) to the archer for the best groups. Spine, or stiffness of the arrow, references how much or little the shaft bends when compressed through the shot and it typically matched by using the archer’s draw length and the bow poundage.

Fletching : Glued towards the back of the arrow, fletching are the airfoils for the arrows designed to stabilize the arrow in flight. Traditionally made from real feathers, target arrow fletching are now typically either plastic feathers or plastic vanes. Most target arrows have three fletches that are attached with a slight twist to help the arrow spin and stabilize faster in the air.  The quicker and more stabile the arrows is, the more consistent your groups will be.

Point : The point, or arrowhead, is the functional part of the arrow that is inserted and glued to the front end. It provides the weight and is typically made of various types of metal include tungsten.  Target points are usually bullet-shaped and designed to penetrate target butts easily without large amounts of damage.

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Nock : Found at the rear end of the arrow, target nocks are typically made of plastic. They are inserted, capped over or combined with separate medal pins inserts and held in place by friction. Target nocks are designed to gently pinch the bowstring to hold it in place when the bow string is drawn.

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Over the next few blogs we will dive deeper about these components, various discussion concepts like center shot, arrow indexing and numbering your arrows in upcoming posts and help understanding things like spine and Archer’s Paradox.

Remember, this blog is not meant cover everything about arrows. I am still learning and visit my coach regularly to help me develop my understanding about everything archery. I encourage you to share your knowledge and experiences so we can all develop together.

Remember Cartel Doosung offer a wide variety of arrow lines including aluminum and carbon fiber including their new line of Arista arrows for young archers. If you are in the market for some new arrows check my earlier blog about selecting and purchasing arrows.