I’m interested in learning archery

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  • Diesel-Dad

    Member
    Jun 25, 2016
    247
    HARFORD COUNTY
    So I went in Lancaster archery with a buddy today and holly cow! Think I wanna go down this rabbit hole. Any advice?


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    outrider58

    Pronouns: It, That
    MDS Supporter
    Jul 29, 2014
    38,373
    Are you thinking of recurve or compound? Hunting rig or competition?
     

    outrider58

    Pronouns: It, That
    MDS Supporter
    Jul 29, 2014
    38,373
    Compound and to hunt once I’m practiced enough.


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    My advice would be to buy as much bow as you can afford, one that fits you. That will require trying several brands. Even though they will all be fit for your draw length, some will fit your 'body' better than others. They should fit like shoes. Now you, just starting out, may not know what a good fit will be. That's where a pro should be able to help.

    Also, buying a bow is a lot like buying a reloading kit. You begin to realize, you are only 2/3 there. You will need sights(good bows don't come with them), bow quiver, string wax, arrows, broadheads, etc. You get the picture.

    Another thing, drawing a bow is something your body is probably not developed for. The major musculature required is normally not very well developed, so go with a bow that will give you the widest range of draw weight adjustability. I good trick to figure out if you're draw weight is too heavy for you(once you've gotten used to drawing and shooting), sit in a chair and try to draw your bow. If you can't or you have great difficulty, you should back the weight down.

    Lastly, Don't get hung up on arrow speed. Not yet anyway. Focus on silence. A quiet bow is way deadlier than a fast bow.
     

    Horseman308

    Member
    Jan 27, 2016
    208
    You'll get lots of different schools of thought here. @outrider58 is steering you right in the importance of finding a bow that fits well, the accessories you end up needing, and the physical side.

    I'll add that bows, especially compound bow, are like cars. There's a new model every year, often with minimal change or "performance improvement", and they lose a lot of value once once they're off the lot. So, you kinda have to balance between trying several - and a good shop here is a wonderful resource - versus buying used, as that is usually a better value for money.

    What size are you physically? The closer to average you are the easier it will be to find used. Average draw length runs between about 27-29 inches (broadly speaking) and roughly 50-65 lbs draw weight.

    Finally, two things about developing as an archer. First, as you shoot and your musculature develops, you draw length will probably lengthen a little, assuming you develop good shooting mechanics. Some compounds have adjustable draw length, others have to have parts swapped out. Second, many people overestimate the amount of draw weight they need. You can effectively kill deer with 40-45 lbs if you are accurate and hunt effectively. Heavier draw weights get you flatter trajectory, but can lead to injury and bad shooting mechanics of you start too heavy. So, go lower than you might initially think you need to.
     
    30+ years ago I started with this book. The equipment is outdated but the info is still useful. The basics for setting up and shooting a compound bow are covered.
    Lancaster Archery Supply offers 1 on 1 instruction at the Lancaster Archery Academy downstairs from the store. My son shoots Olympic recurve in competition and we use the Academy for additional coaching and fine tuning of his shooting.
     

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    RRomig

    Member
    Industry Partner
    MDS Supporter
    Aug 30, 2021
    871
    Burtonsville MD
    Lots of good advice so I’ll just echo good bow and great shop. A $1100 bow doesn’t mean squat if it isn’t set up correctly. Mine are 11 and 10 years old with one restring and small adjustments over the years. Unfortunately the shop I used closed so no recommendations on where to go.
    Practice, practice, practice but not to the point where your too tired to shoot with perfect form and follow through. It’s better to stop at ten shots when starting out than shooting 50 and being too sore for 3 days. Multiple short sessions are far more productive than singular long sessions.
    Have Fun!
     
    Jun 1, 2013
    184
    Pikesville MD
    Heed the words from Outrider as a starting point.
    Consider talking to many people as possible, not just the sales person behind the counter. Like firearms, you can have the most expensive bells and whistles equipment, but if you don't shoot it well, then it ain't worth it.

    Mountain Archery in Timonium gives personal archery lessons. Google his info.
     

    Spaceballs

    Member
    Sep 7, 2022
    135
    Pennsylvania
    There is an archery store in Glen Rock PA, Baily's Archery that is the single greatest store I have ever been to. Run by an old dude who has lived and breathed archery since he was a kid. Still has his original receive bow hanging on the wall of his shop.

    If the distance is okay, I recommend this store wholeheartedly.

    As for getting started.... you CAN buy a used bow. There are tons in Craigslist (especially at the start of hunting season when hunters have just upgraded their bows and want to sell their old ones). Problem with that is that you are new to archery and you don't know how to inspect a bow to make sure it is safe. Plus it made need maintenance that makes it a bad deal in the long run, like needing a string replacement. Saving $100 ona used bow to find you need to spend $100 to replace the string is a bad deal.

    But if you find one that is $100 total (and there are cheap used bows out there, look in the York section of Craiglist) and want to take a shot ...you can. Just have it inspected by a professional before shooting it. Some will do it for free just to hook you as a customer. Other may charge a nominal amount.

    I did this. Bought my first bow on a whim off Craigslist. Got lucky as it was in good condition. And now I am hopelessly addicted to it. I absolutely love it. I ended up getting my kids into it. We shoot as a family. It's so much fun.

    AND!!! THE BEST PART!!o You buy an arrow for $8. You can shoot it 100 times! None of this "darn ammo prices are up again" crap.

    Also if you are a seasoned firearms shooter you will find archery isn't that much different. The basic fundamentals apply. Controlled breathing, sight picture, yada yada... it's a little different in practice but the basic fundamentals are the same. So you aren't starting at 0. I found I picked up archery really quick and became decent enough to have a good time within 2 or 3 sessions. I still have room for improvement but I'm good enough to be on paper and having fun rather than missing way wide and searching for my arrows in the grass.
     

    wilcam47

    Active Member
    Apr 4, 2008
    23,880
    Changed zip code
    You'll get lots of different schools of thought here. @outrider58 is steering you right in the importance of finding a bow that fits well, the accessories you end up needing, and the physical side.

    I'll add that bows, especially compound bow, are like cars. There's a new model every year, often with minimal change or "performance improvement", and they lose a lot of value once once they're off the lot. So, you kinda have to balance between trying several - and a good shop here is a wonderful resource - versus buying used, as that is usually a better value for money.

    What size are you physically? The closer to average you are the easier it will be to find used. Average draw length runs between about 27-29 inches (broadly speaking) and roughly 50-65 lbs draw weight.

    Finally, two things about developing as an archer. First, as you shoot and your musculature develops, you draw length will probably lengthen a little, assuming you develop good shooting mechanics. Some compounds have adjustable draw length, others have to have parts swapped out. Second, many people overestimate the amount of draw weight they need. You can effectively kill deer with 40-45 lbs if you are accurate and hunt effectively. Heavier draw weights get you flatter trajectory, but can lead to injury and bad shooting mechanics of you start too heavy. So, go lower than you might initially think you need to.
    Add my 2cts... you dont need a 70lb draw weight bow, 50-60 will do just fine, get a proper bow draw for you, lots of accessories and opinions.

    Aim small miss small, From words of Ted Nugent.
     

    outrider58

    Pronouns: It, That
    MDS Supporter
    Jul 29, 2014
    38,373
    There is an archery store in Glen Rock PA, Baily's Archery that is the single greatest store I have ever been to. Run by an old dude who has lived and breathed archery since he was a kid. Still has his original receive bow hanging on the wall of his shop.

    If the distance is okay, I recommend this store wholeheartedly.

    As for getting started.... you CAN buy a used bow. There are tons in Craigslist (especially at the start of hunting season when hunters have just upgraded their bows and want to sell their old ones). Problem with that is that you are new to archery and you don't know how to inspect a bow to make sure it is safe. Plus it made need maintenance that makes it a bad deal in the long run, like needing a string replacement. Saving $100 ona used bow to find you need to spend $100 to replace the string is a bad deal.

    But if you find one that is $100 total (and there are cheap used bows out there, look in the York section of Craiglist) and want to take a shot ...you can. Just have it inspected by a professional before shooting it. Some will do it for free just to hook you as a customer. Other may charge a nominal amount.

    I did this. Bought my first bow on a whim off Craigslist. Got lucky as it was in good condition. And now I am hopelessly addicted to it. I absolutely love it. I ended up getting my kids into it. We shoot as a family. It's so much fun.

    AND!!! THE BEST PART!!o You buy an arrow for $8. You can shoot it 100 times! None of this "darn ammo prices are up again" crap.

    Also if you are a seasoned firearms shooter you will find archery isn't that much different. The basic fundamentals apply. Controlled breathing, sight picture, yada yada... it's a little different in practice but the basic fundamentals are the same. So you aren't starting at 0. I found I picked up archery really quick and became decent enough to have a good time within 2 or 3 sessions. I still have room for improvement but I'm good enough to be on paper and having fun rather than missing way wide and searching for my arrows in the grass.
    I would never buy a bow, 'sight unseen'. The OP is just starting out and in my opinion, buying a bow off Craigslist or any place similar is a huge gamble and completely unnecessary and at the very least, dangerous.
     

    Spaceballs

    Member
    Sep 7, 2022
    135
    Pennsylvania
    I would never buy a bow, 'sight unseen'. The OP is just starting out and in my opinion, buying a bow off Craigslist or any place similar is a huge gamble and completely unnecessary and at the very least, dangerous.
    Who said sight unseen?

    On Craigslist you touch the item in person before handing cash over. If it's obviously damaged you walk away.

    And then I clearly said to take it to be inspected before shooting it.

    Hence the risk. You spend $100 on a possibly good bow, then take it to a qualified tech to have it safety checked. If it fails, you lost the $100 you risked.

    If it passes, you get to try out the sport on a cheap bow and get a feel for what you like and don't like about it so when you are ready to spend $500 you have a healthy idea of what you actually want.

    Increase your chances of buying a serviceable bow by taking an experienced archer with you and let him check it out Then still take it to a shop and have it looked over by a professional.

    I've bought 2 this way. One for me. One for my kid. Both worked out great when they passed inspection but both were a risk of losing $100.
     

    outrider58

    Pronouns: It, That
    MDS Supporter
    Jul 29, 2014
    38,373
    Who said sight unseen?

    On Craigslist you touch the item in person before handing cash over. If it's obviously damaged you walk away.

    And then I clearly said to take it to be inspected before shooting it.

    Hence the risk. You spend $100 on a possibly good bow, then take it to a qualified tech to have it safety checked. If it fails, you lost the $100 you risked.

    If it passes, you get to try out the sport on a cheap bow and get a feel for what you like and don't like about it so when you are ready to spend $500 you have a healthy idea of what you actually want.

    Increase your chances of buying a serviceable bow by taking an experienced archer with you and let him check it out Then still take it to a shop and have it looked over by a professional.

    I've bought 2 this way. One for me. One for my kid. Both worked out great when they passed inspection but both were a risk of losing $100.
    Tl;dr
    Let me put it this way, I would never recommend anyone buy a bow, let alone draw one, that hadn't been inspected by a pro. Ever have a blow up in your hands? I have. Luckily, the only thing that suffered (besides my bow) was the big dent in my drywall. I've seen pictures of forearms split open, embedded with carbon fiber.
    Moral of the story, buy from a professional, be it a used bow or a brand new one.
     

    Spaceballs

    Member
    Sep 7, 2022
    135
    Pennsylvania
    Tl;dr
    Let me put it this way, I would never recommend anyone buy a bow, let alone draw one, that hadn't been inspected by a pro. Ever have a blow up in your hands? I have. Luckily, the only thing that suffered (besides my bow) was the big dent in my drywall. I've seen pictures of forearms split open, embedded with carbon fiber.
    Moral of the story, buy from a professional, be it a used bow or a brand new one.
    One more time....

    I EXPLICITLY said to have any used bow inspected by a professional before shooting it.

    Said it in both posts. Clear as day.

    If you choose not to read a post because there are too many words, that is fine. Words aren't for everyone. But don't quote posts you didn't read and say they had content that they didn't.
     

    Micktaco

    Member
    May 2, 2009
    548
    Walkersville
    You don't need to drop 1000+ on a new compound. A bear or diamond archery bow that has a wide range of length and draw weight adjustments will do you nicely at first. But you will want it set up and tuned by someone who knows what they are doing and who can cut arrows to your draw length. There is a good chance that you'll eventually upgrade to a nicer setup if the habit sticks, that was the route I took at least.
     

    Archeryrob

    Undecided on a great many things
    Mar 7, 2013
    2,332
    Fairplay, MD
    Look on Facebook too and local archery/hunting message boards. Lots of guys bought a New $700 bow to be 15 FPS faster than they were 2 years ago. Many times they sell the old arrows, sights and everything as a complete package. They buy into the industry "Got to have the newest, fastest and best" You can save a lot of money on a 2 year old bow as long as you don't mind used.
     

    Micktaco

    Member
    May 2, 2009
    548
    Walkersville
    Look on Facebook too and local archery/hunting message boards. Lots of guys bought a New $700 bow to be 15 FPS faster than they were 2 years ago. Many times they sell the old arrows, sights and everything as a complete package. They buy into the industry "Got to have the newest, fastest and best" You can save a lot of money on a 2 year old bow as long as you don't mind used.
    Archery talk forum is a good one for getting used bows and equipment as well. Like MDS, you gotta be active on there for a bit with posts and such though.
     

    possumman

    Active Member
    Jan 13, 2011
    2,309
    Pikesville Md
    Starting out with a recurve without sights is not a bad idea--you can take deer with a 40-50# recurve and you will learn to shoot instinctively-you wont have blazing arrow speed but they will still pass thru--killed a bunch of deer with cedars and Zwickeys---and the broadheads aren't $15 each
     

    Diesel-Dad

    Member
    Jun 25, 2016
    247
    HARFORD COUNTY
    Thanks guys for all the input! Autumn sky is on my way home from work, I think I’ll try those guys out. Lancaster archery certainly looked well set up but it is a bit of a ride. I’m not against buying a used bow if it’s gonna work for me. I’m in no rush and don’t mind shopping around or being coached.


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